Todd’s Weblog

A place to collect and share my random thoughts about running and other stuff

Running in NYC

Posted by toddruns on September 19, 2010

I wasn’t sure I’d like running through downtown (or was it uptown?, Nope – Midtown!) Manhattan, but it turned out to be very enjoyable. I was in NY for 3 days attending a conference for work, and I was determined to get my workouts in. Actually, not having the distractions of home meant that once I was awake, there was little else for me to do anyway but head out the door, because the  none of the 3 Starbucks within a couple of blocks of my hotel were open that early. I was about a mile or so from the Southeast corner of Central Park (59th and 5th Ave) so I ran to the park and then different variations everyday of courses through the park. It was hillier than I thought it would be. Also – there were lots of runners and bikers out early every morning. Even the morning I started at 5:00 AM there were still quite a few runners out. I liked running on the bridal path (unpaved) around the reservoir (the reservoir path was fine too), but it was also fun to run along Central Park Drive and have the company of the cyclists practicing their echelons and sprints.

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Superior 50k Trail Race

Posted by toddruns on May 22, 2010

Woo hoo!

What a fun race. What a freaking hard course (indeed the most challenging trail I’ve ever run on). What a beautiful day. What nice people. What a great adventure.

I start to assume there is little purpose to writing one of these anymore, because they usually consist of :

I started out fine, I got tired, I recovered, I got tired again, I felt better, I ran a bunch, the course is beautiful, aid station folks were great, I saw the finish, I either hammered it in OR was too tired to hammer it in, I finished in xx:xx.

The reality is, well that. I guess the coolest thing about these races is the emotional, physical and mental roller coaster that I ride. So in random order, here are some of my observations that I may need to remember again someday:

  • Because the footing is so tricky, the time spent looking around is less than ideal. Yet somehow, I was able to come away with great images of sun soaked trees and meadows, stands of pines and aspen again dappled with sunshine, small violet and white wildflowers, glimpses of lakes far off in the distance from the side of Moose Mountain, the scenic views off of Carlton Peak, the challenging approach to Carlton with all the rocks and big boulders and tricky footing, the boardwalks through the low areas and the relentless mud, mud and more mud.
  • The smiles and grins on the faces of the other runners should be included above, but they are a special treat and deserve their own bullet.
  • Running for a stretch from Sawbill to Oberg with Eric, keeping each other company and on some semblance of pace, joined occasionally by Rachel.
  • Running for a while with Rachel, having some company before the climb up Moose.
  • Being in a long snake line of runners headed up by Maria on the outbound trip up Moose Mountain, often wondering if it was worth it to try and pass and always deciding that it probably wasn’t.
  • Putting on my version of the afterburner down the hill after we finally got close to Oberg Aid station and the path widened enough to get by people. As I filled my bottle and got ready to leave I looked back to see the pack exiting the woods and I was glad I pushed it.
  • Spending some time on the trail with Zach who caught me shortly after leaving Oberg on the outbound and who was with me off and on up to Carlton and back into Sawbill.
  • See Sheila and Kara shortly after the turn-around.
  • Noticing how tired I was after Moose on the return, and slowing considerably until I realized that nothing was hurt, no injuries had reared their ugly heads (like my sore ankle or plantar fasciitis or knees or blisters…) – at which point I decided it was incumbent upon me to make a better effort to push myself a bit more.
  • Having Amy catch me a few miles from the finish and keep me from slowing down. We ran a few miles together and her knowledge of where were at helped me focus and be relieved that it was almost over. The final push down the gravel road to the finish was longer than I would have preferred, but it is downhill and once I got going it seemed bad form to slow down.
  • Seeing Mark, Sarah and Aaron near the finish line.
  • Thinking for a long time (at least from the top of Moose to the finish) how much I wanted to run this again.

Here’s the course profile I made from my gps.

Course Profile from GPS coordinates and TOPO USA software

Approximate split times:

Start to Oberg A.S., about 1:30

Oberg to Sawbill: 2:45

Turn around at Carlton: 3:05

Carlton to Sawbill: 3:20

Sawbill to Oberg: 4:46

Oberg to Finish: 6:43:06

Fuel – mostly gels (4), some PBJs and Gummies at aid stations, 3 s-caps, HEED in my handheld and plain water in my waist-belt. I’d carry more gels next time, and maybe take more s-caps. I only experienced signs of legs cramping a couple of times, I should have anticipated more and taken the s-caps earlier.

Shoes were Innov-8 Mud Roc 270s.

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Lake Minnetonka / Wells Fargo 1/2 Marathon Race Report

Posted by toddruns on May 4, 2010

It’s been so long since I posted anything, I feel obliged to report on my most recent “donning of the chip”. The race in question was last Sunday’s Well’s Fargo Lake Minnetonka 1/2 Marathon, a point to point endeavor that starts in Wayzata and ends in Excelsior. Adhering to the old adage that it’s good to have goals, I decided to start out at pace that if sustained, would net me a finish time of 1:40:00 or less. This magical number is under my PR by over a minute, so it was aggressive and yet maybe doable should I be in decent race shape. It is also the time I would need to run to net a guaranteed entry into the New York City marathon. Not that I have immediate plans to run that. Or even distant plans to run it. It’s just a nice round number that means something besides 100 minutes. Of course, it was 3 years ago when I set that PR and I was probably ( OK – definitely) in better shape then. This year it was my first race of the year and I’ve only recently been feeling like my training is actually accomplishing anything, so I was not super confident that I would be able to hold that pace for an entire 1/2 marathon. For me, the typical first and second miles of a half marathon race consist of me running too fast while the effort feels almost too easy. Not these first miles. At mile 3, I started to think that I was crazy for attempting this. From 3 to 6 I slowed some but I decided to stop looking at my watch and I just tried to relax. At mile 7 I was pretty deflated and discouraged because it felt like I was slowing more, but I think  I was settled into a pretty consistent 7:50 ish pace. Somewhere between 7 and 8 I started to actually feel a little bit better and decided that racing doesn’t suck after all. About this time I heard someone say to a runner behind me – “nice job Trish”. I thought – hey – I know a Trisha running this race and sure enough she caught me and we chatted a bit. She is someone who is faster than me and I like running with her as she usually pushes me out of my comfort zone a bit. I guess I was expecting her to do this again, but I noticed after a minute or 2 that she wasn’t running with her usual effortlessness. (She also said something to the effect of it being a miracle if she manages to finish which I took to be merely a little bit of hyperbole on her part in an attempt to humor me). She fell back a bit as we went up a slight slope over the Narrows bridge, and I kept expecting her to pull back up to me but she never did., but I think she stayed pretty close back. I guess in a way though she did push me because I was determined to at least keep up the appearances of racing which I had started to do when she joined me. I also noticed that I was finally relaxed enough to feel like I was enjoying the ride. I haven’t looked at the splits (they are Garmin miles not the ones marked along the course) but I do remember that my slowest mile was 8 to 9, which is about where I got that Trisha boost. I was eventually passed by a familiar looking gal who made me feel like I was a rock as she flew by. After the race I figured out who she was – a friend of my friend’s daughter who was running her first 1/2 marathon. She ran the first 6 miles with my friend Susan in a very conservative fashion and then decided to crank it up the second half. I think she has a 20:43 6k cross country time to her credit, so I didn’t feel quite as slow as I did initially.

The changes to the finish area became the story of the day for many runners. The original course was essentially from the Wells Fargo bank in Wayzata to the Wells Fargo bank in Excelsior, but over the years it has been tweaked a little bit – mostly at the very start and finish to accomodate some changes in roads near the finish. For most of the previous 5 or 10 years it ended on a little bit of the LRT gravel trail near the Excelsior Wells Fargo but this year they decided to move the finish to the area of Excelsior known as The Commons – a very nice community park on the shore of Excelsior Bay with lots of room for runners and spectators alike to mill about and cool down post race. Instead of the pancake flat and gently curving gravel trail folks were used to, we were faced with a several quick turns and 2 short but steep hills in the last 1/4 mile. Good times. I probably should have been annoyed but instead found it kind of funny. I was able to pass a few people who were obviously not enjoying the speed bumps as much as I was. Well, enjoy is a bit of a stretch, but it was interesting. And I do enjoy trying to release that potential energy I’ve worked so hard to gain on the backside of those bumps. My final time was 1:43:23, so more than a bit slower than the original goal, but not so slow as to leave me unhappy with the effort. I’ve run this course enough now that I know what to expect (other than the finish), and it truly is a scenic course. Other than some windy stretches where the course was right by the lake, a guy couldn’t ask for better running weather.  Now that its all over, I sort of wonder why I don’t run more half marathons. I think 1/2 marathons and 10 milers are great distances. Maybe I need to  find a couple more to do this year.

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From “Lore of Running”, Chapter 10 by Tim Noakes, MD

Posted by toddruns on October 1, 2009

The marathon is less physical event than a spiritual encounter. In infinite wisdom, God built into us a 32-km [20 mile] racing limit, a limit imposed by inadequate sources of the marathoner’s prime racing fuel – carbohydrates. But we, in our human wisdom, decreed that the standard marathon be raced over 42-km. So it is in that physical no-man’s land, which begins after the 32 km mark, that the irresistible appeal of the marathon lies. It is at that stage, as the limits to human running endurance are approached, that the marathon ceases to be a physical event. It is there that you, the runner, discover the basis for the ancient proverb: “When you have gone so far that you cannot manage one more step, then you have gone just half the distance that you are capable of.” It is there that you learn something about yourself and your view of life.

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Nothing to read here, just move along…

Posted by toddruns on July 26, 2009

To the Border to Border specific blog, that is.

Since it is a team effort, I am creating a blog just for the race.


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Afton Trail Run -2009 Edition

Posted by toddruns on July 4, 2009

25k in 2:44:01. This was supposed to be my second or 3rd ultra this year, but in the end it was not to be. On Thursday I emailed John Storkcamp and asked him to switch me from the 50k to the 25k race. It was a good choice. The factors were many: a lack of focused training for the 50k distance (my longest run since Chippewa was 18 miles last weekend), no trail running to speak of, and instead of a nice taper week of easy running and getting lots of rest –  I was instead trying to get ready for the Border to Border Relay ace in 4 weeks. Sunday was an 18 mile run; I paddled Monday (about 100 minutes worth); ran on Tuesday (6 miles hilly fast), Wednesday (14×400 intervals), and Thursday (10 miles); and then biked 50 miles on Friday. No wonder I was tired during the race this morning. I certainly felt the fatigue on a couple of the hills. But it was still fun, and although I was drenched from the humidty after the first 4 miles, I didn’t get too hot since the cloud cover kept the heat down. I also enjoyed the freedom to run hard when I felt like knowing that I only had to finish one lap. As usual, the aid stations were superb, the technical shirts as cool as ever (a BIG reason I didn’t want to skip the race altogether), and the organization top notch. I stayed around long enough to watch Helen finish as first female, and then I hit the road to get home.

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The new ride

Posted by toddruns on June 21, 2009

So I decided to build this new bike, with much help from my friend Lindsay  (who teaches science at Lakeville High but works part time at Maple Grove Cycling ). I was in search for the longest time for a titanium bike frame and I saw a few that caught my eye and maybe might fit in my budget. A Linskey Houseblend Cooper or maybe a used Litespeed from Ebay.

Then I saw this closeout Carbon fiber frame at Colorado Cycle for less money than the Ti frames and it was lighter too. A Titus Oseo. So, the project began, and after searching and weighing options and ordering about 40 different parts, I had the makings of a lightweight and rather cool looking (in my humble opinion) road bike:


Here’s a list of everything that went into the build:




Titus Oseo


Titus Oseo

Steerer Tube Compression Nut



Cane Creek IS3

Headset Spacers

Generic carbon (40mm)


Easton EA70


FSA Energy Bar

Handlebar Tape


Brake Levers

SRAM Rival Brake / shifters

Brake Calipers

Tektro TRP R920

Brake shoes

Inc w/ brake calipers

Brake Cables

Inc w/ brake calipers

Brake Cable Housing

Inc w/ brake calipers


SRAM Rival


SRAM Rival


SRAM Force

Derailleur Cables

Inc w/ shifters

Dealer Cable Housing

Inc w/ shifters

Bottom Bracket

SRAM Rival

Crank and front chainrings

SRAM Rival

Rear Cassette

SRAM Rival




BeBop ChromeMoly


Selle Itialia C2


FSA SL-K Carbon Seatpost

Seatpost Clamp

Inc w/ frameset

Seatpost Bolt

Inc w/ frameset

Rim – front

Flit Letica

Rim – rear

Flit Letica

Front Spokes

Flit Letica

Rear Spokes

Flit Letica

Front Hub

Flit Letica

Rear Hub

Flit Letica


J&L Titanium Super Light

Rim Tape



Continental 4000



Bottle Cages

Minoura Dura Cage (AB100-4.5)


Cateye Strada Wireless

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Chippewa Moraine 50k

Posted by toddruns on April 26, 2009

I haven’t blogged in a bit,  so I thought I would throw down a few words about the second annual Chippewa Moraine 50k Trail Race.  Wynn Davis did a bang up job again with the organization. The course conditions were great – no snow but a little bit of mud, and a few downed trees in a couple of spots to make it interesting.

I started off with Jim Wilson and Kami Holtz. It was nice to catch up with folks I haven’t seen in a while, hearing about their race down in Kentucky. Jim was obviously having a great day and he took off after awhile. I was feeling under trained for this race and I was hoping to take it easy. It helped to run with Kami as she was also trying to take it easy. The course sure looked different than last year without any snow on the ground or covering all the branches of the trees. It was and is a beautiful stretch of trail. I was lucky to be out there enjoying it.

I ran from the last aid station to the finish line with Jenifer Flynn.  She announced to Karen as we were leaving that she and I were going to work together to finish. We introduced ourselves and headed out, agreeing to stick close and keep each other on pace. I think it worked well, as she seemed stronger on the uphills and pulled me along while I was faster on the downhills (her quads were complaining). It sure helped to run the last 5 miles with someone else – the presence of someone right behind me kept me from giving in the to temptation to walk when I otherwise might have.

Great food, good company and a gorgeous course. It is hard not to love this race.

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Posted by toddruns on October 5, 2008

This is sort of an abbreviated version of my impressions of the race. There was lots of rain early on, especially from mile 6 to about mile 9. There was a little bit of a brisk breeze here and there too, especially off of Calhoun. I missed my (ultimate) goal by 50 seconds, but still managed to PR by 17 minutes. I am officially pleased with my effort, and I no longer feel like I suck at the marathon distance. I also know what I need to do should I try again (besides training for more than 6 weeks). My chip time was 3:36:49.

My race highlights include: feeling great much longer into a marathon race than I ever have before (up to and beyond 20 miles), noticing the great crowd support under less than ideal conditions, the cool temps, and seeing friends along the way. I really do enjoy being part of this race, since it was my first race ever (not just my first marathon) and that event sent me down this crazy and fun journey of long distance running. My favorite sign of the day was timely. My feet were feeling a little sore on the bottoms ( I was wearing my Asics racing flats) and as I turned the corner from Cretin onto Summit, there were some women cheering and they had a sign that read something like this: “Your feet are sore from kicking ass!”. It was fun to see Matt along the course, as well as my friend Jeni who had to sit this one out after training hard all summer.  I chatted with Helen at the finish, and I ran a few miles with my colleague Jan from work. I also got to hang with a few friends (Kerri, Dawn, Dean and Chanda) before the race. It was a great day. It will be interesting to see what all the training miles earlier this year do for my recovery. That mileage sure helped me out with the abbreviated training cycle.

Todd Rowe
bib number: 1583
age: 52
gender: M
location: Excelsior, MN
overall place: 1233 out of 7966
division place: 78 out of 472
gender place: 1092 out of 4803
time: 3:37:22
pace: 8:17
chip time: 3:36:49
5k: 25:19
10k: 50:11
half: 1:46:13
30k: 2:30:53
20 mile: 2:42:05

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Pre-Race Jitters

Posted by toddruns on October 4, 2008

Here I am less than a day from the start of TCM. I am a little nervous, but shouldn’t be since I had pretty minimal expectations when I signed up. However, it seems I’ve managed to pick up that Boston Qualifying time dream again, as I’ve been looking at various ways I can average 8:11 for the race. It should be doable. On the other hand, I always seem to under-perform at this distance. I think of all my marathons, I’ve only had one where I finished close to my goal and had a good time doing so. So – the weather looks good, the training has gone well (albeit a little bit abbreviated) and I have no injuries to blame. OK – there’s a little tendinitis in my right foot, but it doesn’t seem to bother me while running. No excuses, right? I only need to avoid going out too fast – which I always have a tendency to do.

My plan is to try and run 8:22 – 8:24 for the first mile, and then 8:20 for 2, then slowly pick it up to the 8:08 – 8:10 range. Do my best to stay even splits, but allow some float between 8:06 and 8:10 /8:11. Allow for some slowing from 21 to 23. Never go below 8:00 until I’m on Summit past Snelling. Assuming I feel good towards the end, then I can put the hammer down around mile 25. Take 4 or 5 gels. Take Succeed at 1 hour intervals. And have fun. I should have put that first.

I picked up my packet last night and saw Maria at the Expo and Joel Button who is turning this race into the last 26.2 of a 100 mile effort. I had entertained thoughts a while back of running from the finish to the start and then running the race for a 52 mile effort, but that was before I realized that I might be in good enough shape to attempt to run it fast (fast for me anyway). Anyway – it is always fun for me to see all of the competition at the Expo, and most of all to see so many fit people in one spot is always pretty inspiring. It is cool to think that there will be 9000 plus lining up to start the marathon and another 5000 running the 10 mile.

Good luck to all those running this or the 10 mile.

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