Lake Minnetonka Scurry Flurry 5K

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Not really much to say about this race. It was an flat out and back course (yuck!), on a snow and ice pack trail (yuck!), and my time sucked (yuck!). But I got out there and did it.

The Time
My time was slower than Vegas (how is that possible) but my pace was faster. This race was a lot longer than Vegas…and I when I say a lot I mean almost a quarter of a mile. LOL! So I guess a lot longer is a matter of perception. I just wasn’t feeling it. The first mile was the fastest…you know I was having a bad day if mile 1 was the fastest. Mile 2 was the slowest and mile three was only 1 second faster than mile 2. Not a good run at all.

The Course
The course was on the Lake Minnetonka Regional Trail, which in the summer I bet is really nice. We got to run next Lake Minnetonka for part of it. But during the winter, the trail is snow packed which usually doesn’t bother me but there were some icy patches and those do bother me.

The Cold
It was really cold at the start, granted it was 21 positive degrees but the wind was making it feel like 11. This was our coldest run since last winter and the wind. Yuck! I dressed to stay warm while standing around and paid for it later when I was roasting. I’m glad my January race is done. Hopefully I can get back to my good race times in 3 weeks for the Valentine’s Day run.

Pictures, Splits and Maps

See it was cold, gray and cloudy!

Pre-Race Warming was actually warm!

After the Race, Eric looks not so much

Bev’s 90th Birthday

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Yesterday we went down to Eau Claire to celebrate my Aunt Bev’s 90th Birthday. A lot of my cousins were there so that was nice to see. Here are some pictures:

Trip Planning :)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

I’m getting so excited!  Only 137 days until we jet off to Europe again. And I’m thrilled! It has been a busy week on the planning front. I have figured out the plan of attack for London, bought our London Passes, booked our Eurostar tickets to Brussels and planned day trips from Brussels with Eric’s cousin Elizabeth.

Here are a few of the things we are going to see in London:
Houses of Parliament & Big Ben
London Eye
Trafalgar Square
Piccadilly Circus
Buckingham Palace & changing of the guard
Hyde Park & Princess Diana Memorial
Marble Arch
St. Paul's Cathedral
Millennium Footbridge
Westminster Abbey
Doctor Who Police Box on Earl's Court Road (outside station)
Kensington Palace
Tower of London (Crown Jewels!)
Tower Bridge Exhibition
Leadenhall Market (Harry Potter’s Diagonal Alley)
River cruise to Greenwich
Royal Observatory Greenwich
The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 3/4

Also we would like to include a race, the Summer Breeze 10K near Wimbledon.

As far as Brussels, we are planning day trips to Monschau, Germany, Aachen, Netherlands and Maastricht, Netherlands:
Monschau, Germany

Monschau, Germany
Aachen, Netherlands 
Maastricht, Netherlands
And a day trip to Ghent:
Ghent, Beligum

Ghent, Beligum
It is turning into a very interesting trip.

A Bachelorette Party and Building a Wall

Monday, January 19, 2015

I really haven’t had much to say the past nine days. Work has been busy. Life after work has been busy.  

Last Sunday was my dress fitting. The alterations are as much as the dress. Yikes! I also did something I’ve never done before…I used my crock pot! I know crazy! Eric bought pork chops at Costco and I had to figure out how to prepare them. I’m not much of a cook. But I found a crockpot recipe that was super easy and now I’m hooked! I need to find more recipes. Unfortunately, I can only use it on the weekends. I’m away from home too long during the week (almost 11 hours) to use it during the week.

Tuesday was volleyball. We had “playoffs” for the lower bracket (i.e. the teams that suck). We won both games! We get t-shirts! We went and celebrated. :)  …I didn’t get my run in. :(

Wednesday I finally hit the pool again. It was so nice, just me and Kin. I really don’t know Kin but he is always swimming when I go and his name is always on top of the sign-up sheet. I did about a half a mile. After a quick bite to eat, I went to sub for a volleyball game. We won all those games too. It was a good week for me and volleyball!

Thursday I worked late and got home late and got to band practice late. Oh well…that is the nature of the year end beast. It was fun to play my trombone again. It had been almost a month since the last time I played.  I know I always drag my feet and don’t want to go to band but once I’m there I have fun and love it. It is kind of like running. I drag my feet out the door and start running, hating it, but by the end I’m in love…not always, but usually.

Friday I decided to take advantage of the nice day and go for a short run outside. Eric joined me. We only did 2.25 but it was nice to be outside. Indoor running is not fun. After dinner, I didn’t have time to get to the pool before it closed. Probably a good thing, I might have drowned with all the food from dinner.

Saturday morning I went for a shorter long run. I mean 4 miles isn’t long, even by my standards, but after taking so much time off from running (and gaining 9 pounds) that was about all I could do. I also had a time constraint because I had a band council meeting at 10am so I didn’t have much time to get my run in. It felt ok, not great.  After the meeting, I went home to pick up Eric and we went to Boston Market for lunch and shoe shopping. I know, I buy a lot of running shoes. I’m addicted to new shoes. I got a different brand this time though. They are Hokas. I’ve heard really good things about them so I thought I’d try them out…but man are they expensive! Yikes! I was excited to try them out but waited until Sunday…I already ran once today.

After the shopping we came home, packed our bags, and headed down to Mankato for the Bachelorette party for Danielle. It was me, the bridesmaids and a few friends. We went to dinner at Bonfire’s and went back to Danielle’s and played Cards Against Humanity and had drinks and Jell-O shots. It was a fun evening.  Eric and Bradley had an exciting evening too. They rented a jackhammer and removed part of a wall in DJ’s basement. After that they got the floor ready for a new wall.

Sunday morning Beth and I met DJ and Brenda at Tandem Bagels for breakfast. Yum! A bagel breakfast sandwich! And a cinnamon roll! (No wonder I gained 3 pounds over the weekend.) After breakfast, Bradley and Danielle came over the DJ's house and we worked on building a wall. It was hard work but kind of fun. I also got a run in with my new Hoka shoes. At first I wasn’t impressed. I felt like I was running with bricks on my feet. I’m not sure if it was the shoes or my legs were tired from Saturday. But I persevered and ran 3 miles. I’m still not sold on the shoes. But I’ll keep trying them.

As for the 2015 Challenge, I’ve done 19 miles. Not the best performance but I have a whole year to make up for my slow start.

5 miles done, 500 or so to go

Saturday, January 10, 2015

I really struggled and actually took 8 days off from running. Monday we got home from Vegas and I wanted to relax. Tuesday I was exhausted after work and sat my butt on the couch for the night. Wednesday I thought about swimming but it was freezing cold so I didn’t do anything. Thursday it snowed and it took us 2 hours to get home and I didn’t want to run. Then January 9th came and I started to panic. Am I going to stop running again?  Am I going to become a lazy bum?

The answer is NO! I got off my butt and ran 2 miles at the community center. It was a struggle but I did it. Today I ran 3 miles at Eden Prairie High School track. I really like the track. 19.5 laps = 3 miles. I even brought Eric along. It felt good and I ran sort of fast considering.

2,015 Miles in 2015
So DJ and Brenda invited us to join their team for the 2015 Challenge. It requires that we, as a team, run/walk 2,015 miles this year. That comes to about 505 each. We can do this!

I have registered us for races in April, September and December. I still need to register for the half marathon in May. I don’t know if I can do it. If you would have asked me on Monday-Thursday this week I would have said heck no. But today I thought maybe I could do this.

Other News
Mike had his hip replaced and is walking again. He said the hip doesn’t hurt but the incision hurts. He is already trucking on that new hip. Today we took the Christmas Tree down. Swirl was very depressed. He glared at us as he watched us take his toy away. I’m glad that I don’t have to deal with him puking up green stuff for another 11 months. That’s about it.

A Day with the Murtishaws and the Tournament of Kings

Sunday, January 4, 2015

We spent the day with my cousin Jerry and his family. His kids are my age and they have lots of little kids of their own. We started out meeting them at the Flip Out place (a large room full of trampolines) for the January Birthdays. There are a lot of them! After that we went to Tracy’s house for lunch and for the kids to open presents. It was a great morning and afternoon. I have met some of Jerry’s kids but not all of them so this was nice to get to know them. They were a lot of kids…is like a Williams get together! Here are some photos of the family:

Tournament of Kings
After the party, we came back to the Excalibur Hotel and Casino for the Tournament of Kings. I had never been before but I’ve heard about it. It was interesting. It was a dinner and show. We got Dragon’s blood soup (tomato soup) for our first course. The main course was Cornish hen with potatoes and a biscuit. We had to eat it with our hands…seriously no silverware! Our desert was an apple Danish. The food was good but I’m not sure how I feel about eating with my hands! As you probably guessed…no photos were allowed. L

The Strip at Night
We finished off the night driving down the Strip to take in all the lights. It is so colorful!


Grand Canyon Surprise

Friday, January 2, 2015

Today we woke up at 5 and decided it would be a go to the Grand Canyon. I saw that I-40 was reopened in Arizona. We headed out early for the long 4 hour drive. I’m so glad we did. It was a sad day for me, I constantly was thinking of Eric and all his family at Dan's funeral. I made the mistake of watching the video of memories on the drive. I cried a lot! 

The drive was bit stressful at times with the bad roads but thankfully they were inside the park. All the roads to the park were good. It is amazing how many people were visiting. It was crazy! We stopped just outside the park in Williams, AZ. (Isn't that a great name for a town???) :) It is the last town bypassed by I-40. See they even have a sign that tells you that:

Grand Canyon has Snow!
So I think it is pretty awesome they got a foot of snow because that means my pictures are awesome. What an amazing place!  We started out driving 25 miles to Desert View with the watchtower. I love the watchtower. You could tell they got a lot of snow. We saw 3 cars in the ditch over the 25 miles. Our roads looked like this:

But the drive was worth it for this:

We slowly made our way back to the main area and the visitor center. Here are pictures taken along the way:

We stopped at Wendy’s in Grand Canyon Village and drove back to Las Vegas. We didn’t get back until after 7pm. I was so happy to relax in the room and do nothing else. 

The Day Arizona Got a Foot of Snow

Today was a tough day. I woke early to say good bye to Eric and Tracie as they made their way to Rapid City for Dan's funeral. I tried to get some more sleep after they left but it wasn’t happening. My heart is sad. Today was supposed to be our Grand Canyon day. We didn’t get there…a foot of snow in northern Arizona closed I-40 so it wasn’t meant to be.

Big Shot at the Stratosphere
After Allista woke up we decided to do a day of fun in Vegas. We started out going up to the top of the Stratosphere. Mike wanted to see if he could fit in the Big Shot ride. He did!  It was so cold and windy up there! After the ride we walked around the top and watched one of those crazy rides that extends out of the tower and looks down…not doing it!

The Big Apple Coaster at New York, New York
 Next up was the Big Apple Coaster at New York New York. Mike decided to skip this one…chicken! Allista and I did it though. Going 67 mph in the cold brisk Las Vegas air (I’m not being sarcastic here, it was cold…40s.) I forgot how much that ride hurts the ears! It was fun.

Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill
After the rollercoaster we went out for lunch at Toby’s Keith’s place. It was ok. We had some appetizers and Mike had a wrap. The waitresses were scantily dressed which was out of place for country place. Oh well.

High Roller at the LINQ
The newest attraction in Vegas, which opened in 2014, is the High Roller Wheel. It is 550-foot tall. High Roller is 9 feet taller than the 541-foot Singapore Flyer, which held the record for the world's tallest observation wheel from its opening in 2008 until High Roller opened to the public on March 31, 2014. It was a cool ride. It lasted 30 minutes:


Fremont Street
After that we ventured back to Pahrump to drop Allista off and headed for Downtown Las Vegas and the Fremont Street Experience…not my favorite spot but it was ok. We stayed at the D’s. The hotel was nicely remodeled but outside our room is stage and the band is very loud!  

2014 Running Recap

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Races: 25
Runs: 172         
Miles: 575
Highest Miles (Month): 64.6 in August

Lowest Miles (Month): 34.6 in June (I was training for the biking portion of the triathlon.)
Outdoor Runs: 136
Indoor Runs: 36
Longest Run: 7 miles (3 times!)
Average Pace: 12:43
Slowest Pace (Month): 13:43 in January 
Fastest Pace (Month): 11:53 in November

2014 was a great year for running. My pace went from 13:43 in January to 11:53 in November (December went up a bit-too much food!). Most of the runs were outside which is incredible considering how cold it was at the beginning of the year. I did 25 races and got quite a few medals. I’m very proud of them. I completed my first 10K race in May (it was actually an 11K) and completed 2 more by years end. Some races were great like the Reindeer Run and the Mankato 10K. Some were not so good like the Resolution Run (last run of the year) and the Suds Run (I had bronchitis!). I learned a lot over the year. I learned that you are not going to get a PR at each race.

I also started speed work outs in October and it helped immensely with my races in October, November and December. There was an immediate improvement! My September 5ks were over 36 minutes. By November it was down to ~33:35. Over 2 minutes in 2 months, that is amazing.

I have run in some amazing places too. Including 8 States (California, Washington, Nevada, Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota) and 3 Countries (US, Canada and Iceland).  The most beautiful run was the 11K in San Francisco. It was breathtaking (in more ways than one…OMG hills!). 

It was a great year!

Iceland couldn't fit on the map above. Here is Iceland:

December 2014 Recap

Runs: 13          
Miles: 42.6
Races: 2 (Reindeer 5K - 33:38; Resolution Run 5K 35:20)
Outdoors: 11
Indoors: 2
Longest: 7 miles
Average Pace: 12:05

December started out great. The weather was nice for the most part so I could run outside more than November. I did some good long runs of 6.5 and 7 miles. But like every December, the Christmas season took over with overeating and not running as much and so I gained weight which I think is the main driver of my slower pace this month. Also two longer runs also slowed me down. 

I had two races this month, Reindeer Run the first Saturday and Resolution Run in Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve. Reindeer run was good. It was officially my fastest 5K as the others before it were not the full 5K length. My overall pace was 10:50! Woo Hoo! So that was good. 

Resolution Run was bad, I just wasn’t feeling it and I gained some weight, I was on vacation and I was not happy how cold it was…in VEGAS!

I managed to get to almost 43 miles. I’m surprised by that. My goal was 30. So I’m happy. But the last week of the month really disappointed me, I could have got to 50!

Trophies for December

I'm surprise there isn't a trophy for running on Christmas...I did that! But I got my Exra Frosting trophy for running on my birthday! :-)

Resolution Run 5K & Hofbräuhaus

Resolution 5K Vegas
A race in Las Vegas…you would think it would be nice and warm…well it was not! It says it was 39 degrees but the wind made for a chilly run. It also wasn’t my best race. I finished in 35:20 which isn’t horrible but really slow considering where I was in early December…damn you Christmas food! I know I gains some weight so I’m not sure if that is part of it and I was on vacation for a while and didn’t do much running so that is probably part of it too. The start was delayed but eventually we started. It doesn’t seem like it but it felt like it was all uphill! The route wasn’t that exciting. It was around a park with fields. It was also an out-and-back and I hate those. Not really much to report about the race. My last mile was the best just under 11. (Map and Splits below)

After the run we got our medal (ornament) our champagne glass and headed back to the hotel. We had an important date with the Hofbräuhaus.

I have been to the original Hofbräuhaus in Munich a few times, once on New Year’s Eve. I love it. So I thought what a great way to celebrate the New Year was there. We had some food, Mike and Mom had some drinks and we listened to the band. It was a great time. Mike and Mom did shots of fireball. Mike and Eric were bad and got paddled. Since Eric had an early morning we didn’t stay out until midnight. That was our New Year’s Eve night. 

Splits and maps