Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Moving on

Hello all.

We're moving back to Denmark in 10 days. Soon, our house will be a confused mess of boxes. Our belongings will go back to the storage space and we'll be gone from here. There are so many things we will miss, but there are things to look forward to as well. Tomorrow, we will run sweet trails in 95 degree weather. In 11 days, we'll be running on the very acceptable trails around Naestved; it will be 60 degrees.

I got close to my oldest son. I could have gotten closer, and hopefully I will next year. Now, he has seen that I keep coming back. At one point in the future, he may live with us and my ex will get Natali. Maybe we will switch for a year. Christian will miss him more than anyone.

The Girl says we are coming back in a year. Back to the US, yes. La Crosse; we're not sure. The Girl has many conflicting career plans, only one of which brings us back here. The truth is that we don't know what the future holds right now, but the one avenue that leads us back to La Crosse is a good one.

I'm about to start a new job that will be very unlike my current one. In the last 20 hours, I have seen broken bones, irregular beartbeats and two miscarriages. Soon, every single patient will have cancer. They tend to be very worried and they bring their children and friends. In Denmark, many patients are paranoid that they are not getting the best care available. In general, that's not true, but the media can be very critical of doctors, so patiens tend to be a little sceptical. I have had problems with this in the past; I stress out easily.

I've thought about starting a fast training group in Naestved. We'll see how that goes. The runners are there, but it will take some energy and initiative to get a critical mass going. The Girl has made it clear she wants to part of it, but if a few fast women show up, she may show up too.

My next races are two trail marathons (Skovloeberen and Skovmaren). I am in shape and am hoping for top 3 in both races like last year. I have thought about running the Nordvest 100K, which is a new 100K trail race. It may be the only 100K trail race in Denmark, actually. I don't know if I am ready for a 100K, but it would be fun to try. We'll see.

But honestly, this is what I really look forward to: for life to get into a rhythm. Natali in school, the boys in day care. The Girl's study humming along. The Dark Danish winter approaching. Friday nights at the FladsaaHallen pool. Intervals on the treadmill and on the Herlufsholm loop. Getting a new winning streak going.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Afton 50K

I was feeling really unmotivated going into the race. I felt so good this winter and spring, with my 11-win streak and all. Once it got hot, I just started feeling lazy. I'm not just running less, I hardly do any core work and swim much less. I was at work last night; it was slow in the ER, and I realized that a few months ago I would be doing push-ups and planks forever. Last night, I was eating gummi bears and watching the Tour.

Anyway, I met Aaron Drevlow before the race. Aaron, with whom I was battling at Chippewa. I told him my spring fitness was gone and he said something like, "fitness doesn't go away in a few months", and I thought maybe I could eek out a good race, after all. Aaron looked friggin' strong, by the way.

Apart from Aaron, I recognized Craig Hertz from Duluth. Other than those two, the top guys were all unknown to me. We took off slowly, but then it strung out going up the first hill. I let go of the front group coming down to the first aid station. I thought it prudent to start slowly, but although it felt slow, it did not feel easy.

I ran that whole first loop by myself, kind of getting into a zone. I started feeling a little better on the snowshoe loop right before the end of lap one. No runner's high per se, but a couple of sections of effortless joy. I have written about this before: if it's a good high, it feels lile I am about to cry. There were no tears, though.

Steve Quick appeared in the warm mist, like the soft-spoken wiseman that he is. I yelled something like "I haven't seen anyone is 2 hours. How far up is the next person?" He took what seemed like 30 seconds to think it over and then uttered the single word "minutes", as if that was supposed to help me. The Girl is certain that he was messing with us, to ensure that I would finish 5th and she would finish 3rd, just as he had predicted.

Shortly aften the halfway point, I passed the early leader (Tim Scanlon). He had dropped out, from the looks of it. Maybe at mile 20, a walking Aaron Drevlow suddenly appeared. He looked dead, but to his credit he was able to shift gears and jog it in, while encouraging other runners.

I passed Jordan Hanlon with 5 miles to go, and was able to push a steady pace until the finish. I got 4:06, 4th place. The race was won by Forrest Tracy in 3:55. Dang. I'm far from that level. I'm ok with the time and the way the race progressed. I'm a man of the far north, and even high 70's is way too much for me. After a few miles, I looked like I had just emerged from a lake; I was that sweaty. For the first time ever, I took salt tablets and, amazingly, I didn't cramp ip at all. I always thought salt caps were mainly placebo, as I have never seen low sodium in any young, healthy person. Maybe it was coincidental, but I am taking them at my next race, too.

The Girl. The Girl. She is a klutz, for sure. Some kind of abnormality always happens to her, so there is an actual, official finishing time and a if-the-sasquatch-had-not-tripped-me finishing time. At Afton, she lost part of her CamelBak tube and had to run back to get a belt instead. She did well, though, and finished 3rd in 4:49. She is in killer shape now; Afton isn't really her type of course. If she doesn't get injured, she will set all kinds of PRs this fall in Denmark. She was very proud of "relatively chicking" me, ie. finishing higher among the women than me among the men. Pretty soon she will actually chicking me, I think. And all joking aside: I'm very proud of her.

She is a little manic right now, not taking rest days and wanting to sign up for different races every day. The big question is whether she is doing Challenge Copenhagen on August 12. I am trying to talk her out of it, just because her running is going so well.

July 2012 running log

3: Last HPT before Afton.
7: Afton 50K. 4:06, 4th place. See report.
10: 30K on the bike. The Girl could hold my wheel on the flats. Holy crap!
11: an hour on HPT. Wasn't really sore, but both achilles tendons were hurting, the right more than left. After a while, it felt more like an injury and I had to stop.
12: Feeling injured. Freaking out.
13: feeling a little better. Still very spooked.
16: Intervals on the treadmill. 11x 600, escalating from 10 mph to 11 mph. Achilles felt tight but then stopped hurting afterwards.
18: Intervals on the treadmill. I forget the times.
20: Quick litte 8 or so miles in Hixon. A little Achilles tightness. I have decided to run through it.
22: "Almost a marathon" with the Girl, Alicia and Divesh. Hot!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

St. Paul Trip

Natali, Andreas, Cora (their step-sister), Christian and I went to St. Paul last week for 3 days of big city vacation. We stayed downtown and only once got into our car (to go to the zoo). We got lost in the skywalks but were able to navigate around the city on foot.

We saw the science museum, which was fun. My dad runs the science museum in Copenhagen and I worked there for several years, so it's always fun to compare one museum to another. I like the Minnesota science museum. We caught an I-Max movie that thrilled the girls and scared the boys. The giant cuttle fish gave Andreas nightmares.

The zoo was hot but fun. The dolphin show was a highlight as was the monorail, which essentially shows you the whole zoo in 20 minutes.

On day three, we saw the historical museum and the Capitol. The Capitol building is not as cool as the Madison one, I will say. In Madison, we always walk up to the top balcony, even in mid-winter. That did not seem to be possible in St. Paul, although there was some construction going on.

Here are some very artsy photos (we thought), taken during our many walks around town or by the river.

The heat was bad, although this week got even worse than last week. There were times when my insisting on walking almost caused a mutiny:

Or when Christian and his 4-year old personality became too much for the older kids:

This weekend, we go back to the Tiwn Cities for Afton.

I don't know. I tried running in 100 degree weather today and almost passed out. I mean, it's like standing next to a fire, except the fire is everywhere around you. I get short of breath just standing still when it's this hot. It's supposed to cool down a little on Saturday, but I don't do well with heat, so I am going to have a low threshold for dropping out. Danes really should not be out in this kind of weather; we only function in the 50-70 degree ribbon.

Steve Q linked to the ultramn.com website, where I am apparently the favorite to win. It does look like the big hitters of previous years are staying away (Pat Russell, Brian Peterson, Wynn Davis, Chris Lundstrom etc, who would be soaking in the St. Croix by the time I made it in). If it's not insanely hot, I will start out and see how it goes.

Spectating might be more fun that running, as the Girl is also doing the 50K. After being injured for most of the spring (but still PRing and winning races, mind you), she is back in business. The very fast Eve Rembleski is running, so the Girl won't win, but as readers will know, she is tough (aka a little stupid) and actually likes running in heat. She says she will start out slow, and with the way her training is going, I think she will be doing nothing but passing people throughout her race.

And to make it perfectly clear, if there is any chance that I am about to get "wifed", I am dropping out ("due to heat", of course) immediately.