Monday, September 22, 2014

Inline Marathon, Rollerski 9.5k TT and a Running Half Marathon

It is tempting as a racer to only compete in events that you are good at.  I am a big proponent of  getting out and trying something new.  This spring while meeting with K2 they mentioned that they would be in Minnesota in the Fall for the North Shore Inline Race.  K2 is the parent company for Madshus our Ski, Boot, and Pole sponsor.  My focus is still cross country skiing and qualifying for the upcoming World Championships in February but I figured that inline skating would be fairly similar and the cross training would be good. 

Post race with Rollerski and Inline Skate friends
Several local groups" Team Hoigaards, Team Twin Cam and my friend Paul, let me join in on a few of their inline skate workouts.   I quickly learned that my expectations for the race may have been a bit bold.  My second timeout on skates I found myself skating with a heart rate of 180 and being dropped from the pack.  I watched a few more YouTube videos on inline skate technique and did my best to mimic the other skaters around me. K2 also sent me a faster set of skates with some harder wheels.  Both skates feel so fast relative to my roller skis but I would say that skating in the newer skates was similar to switching to your race skis with flouro waxes on them.  Although I originally had been entered in the pro open category I decided it would be best to move back in to the Advanced 1 wave.

Inline racing is fast and we averaged just under 20 mph for the marathon.  This meant that drafting was key.  Similar to racing in Europe, I spent the first part of the race earning a spot in the group.  No one would let me in to the pace line at first, so I would have to skate hard to the very front of the group.  It is amazing at such a speed how big an advantage the draft is.  Myself and several others made attacks along the course to try and break away but the big group was too fast with a slight headwind. We finished in an exciting sprint and thankfully no one was injured.  I had a blast and learned a lot about race tactics, positioning and competing in a group of strangers.

Caitlin and I made it a double race weekend, joining the St. Scholastica Saints Nordic Team for their annal Strand Time Trial.  We both felt great and set course records for the Men and Women.

Boys and Girls Club kids teaching me how to stretch.  Keep stretching when you are young or you will end up like me.
Caitlin and the Run Club crew practicing for Warrior Dash with a 400 m run and a lap of the playground without touching the ground.
The first half of the week we were joined by Lincoln a videographer with LL Bean.  LL Bean is a sponsor of In The Arena and will be opening a new store at the Mall of America this November.  

Fitting Madshus skis at the Hoigaards Tent Sale
This weekend also marked the Hoigaards Tent Sale.  Hoigaards is a big sponsor and supporter of Team Gregg and for the last 46 years has had a huge Fall sale on Winter gear.  The deals are hot and it is a festive event.  We have a blast helping fit skiers from first timers to experienced racers as everyone is getting excited for the snow to fly.

A fresh supply of FruitShare Organic fruit to fuel Run Club and Team Gregg this week.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Run Club: Heart of the City 5km

Running laps at Run Club practice at The Club
Minneapolis schools are back in session and the Club opened up on Tuesday for our Fall hours.  Providing a positive and supervised after school option for over 100 kids on any given day.  On Mondays and select Wednesdays and Fridays the Run Club meets and we run laps around the park in front of the Club.  We are in the heart of Minneapolis so our safe running options as a large group of kids are limited.  We have a 1/3 mile course and each lap earns runners a Popsicle stick.  The Popsicle sticks are turned in to earn squares on our mileage board in the Club.  We have been running all summer in anticipation of the Heart of the City 5km Race in Burnsville, MN.  The race is also a fundraiser for Kids Feeding Kids the program that helps provide snack and dinner for the kids at the Club every day as part of their annual $5 Club Membership.

Adrian, our top finisher from the Boys and Girls Club in the final kilometer of Saturdays 5km Race
The horn for the race start went off at 7:35am which is an early start.  In order to makes sure that we were all able to make the early start we decided to have a lock in at the Boys and Girls Club the night before.  I am starting to wonder it that was the best move athletically for us all, but I can tell you every one was trying to prove that they were having the most fun.  We had a blast, and I know that I wasn't the only one who fell asleep before the light was even out on Saturday night (post race)

Dyterious and his running buddy Erik.  Dyterious' favorite activity at the Boys and Girls Club is Run Club

Each kid is paired with a buddy to run the race.  This is the second year that the Run Club has been a part of this event and it is great to see almost all of the volunteer buddies back to help again this year.  Thank you.   The kids really enjoy the one on one time, plus it allows me to race as well which is fun. 

My focus is on the kids for this event, and this year that meant my warm up was a short pre-breakfast, pre-kid jog and blasting the heat in the van on the drive down.  I worked in to the race and thankfully finished injury free and with the win.  I ran 16:47 which is about a minute off of my 5 km pr from July but only 23 seconds slower than my time on the same course last year.   

Lebron and his buddy Joe

Danielle running with Tony and Tonishea

Me and Tonishea post race

Kamari and her older Sister Khallya
Khallya ran the 5 km race last year and couldn't wait to come back.  Her younger sister, Kamari, just 6 years old really wanted to come to.  5 km is a long way for a 6 year old and we were very proud of her for finishing her first 5 km.

Post race celebration at Grand Slam
A big thank you to the owners of Grand Slam who for the second year in a row hosted all of us for a post race celebration.  The kids were tired after what seemed like pretty much an all nighter at the Boys and Girls Club and then running a 5 km race.  Something about bumper cars, laser tag, mini golf, batting cages and games to make you forget about your sore and tired legs.