Wednesday, March 31, 2010


The problem with trying drastically new footwear in the middle of marathon training is I don’t want to lose a day. What I mean is, since I’ve only worked up to 4 miles in the VFF I don’t want to wear them on any day where I’m supposed to run longer than that – which is every day. And, I’m not about to embark on a 7 mile run with a change of shoes! Anyway, I’m going to try and go 6 miles in them tomorrow.

Speaking of running barefoot, check out this article about Abebe Bikila, who ran (and won) a couple marathons, including one in the Olympics performed barefoot.

I would also like to add that he has his own Facebook page with over 260 times more Facebook friends than I, and he passed away almost 40 years ago.

Don't Be Hangin' Your Life on the Wall

Or so sings Texas troubadour, Guy Clark.

Well one person who follows this creed is Terry Hitchcock.

Alert reader, Polar Bear plunger, and MDRA mainstay Kristen Johnson let some folks in the Spring Marathon (and half marathon) Training class know that tomorrow April 16* there will be a movie about Terry Hitchcock playing Friday night at St. Anthony Main at 7:30.  Tickets go on sale tomorrow.

The movie is called My Run: The Terry Hitchcock Story.

Plagiarizing Paraphrasing even more from Kristen's e-mail, here are some relevant links.

The movie's website, including a trailer. The close reader will note that Terry began his run to Atlanta from St. Paul, MN.  So there is your local connection.  It also looks like the production company has Minnesota ties.  Link.

Terry Hitchcock's website.  Link.

Tickets go on sale April 1, 2010.  Link.

* I erronously said the movie is tomorrow, when it is actually Friday April 16th.  My fault.  In the meantime, meet Chad Austin, whom I may have to hire as a fact checker for this blog.  Chad, I will buy you a shot of Ultima for every error you correct of mine.  How's that for a paycheck?

Blognation Pop. 2

You can't stop blognation; you can only hope to contain it.  In seven days, with the addition of the post, blognation has DOUBLED in size.  Amazing.

New this week (don't let the name scare you): Steve in a Speedo?! Gross!.  Steve is kind enough to add the word "Gross" to the end of that title. So fear not, the blog is not just a picture of some guy standing in front of a mirror flexing in a Speedo.  You're thinking of Mike in a Speedo?! AWESOME!!, which is a totally different website.

But as per usual, I digress.  Steve in a Speedo, as I was saying, is more about training and racing than anything else.  Specifically, triathlon training but with am emphasis on the running.  The blog is a definitely an entertaining read.  So bike, swim, or run over to his blog and check it out by clicking here.

Hey did you know you only spell triathlon with only one "a"?  All these years I assumed it was "triathalon."  It's only 7:33 a.m. and I've already learned something new.  This promises to be a very educational Wednesday for me.

If you are an MDRA member and have a blog you would like to have added to our list of links, contact me at Michael.d.nawrockiATgmailDOTcom and I will check it out and add it to the list.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Race Results and Reports Roundup #2

Update #2 (10:15 a.m. 3/30/10):  Two race reports added (Dances with Dirt and my own race at Jackalope Ranch) and two photo galleries added (Down the Backstretch and TSL's Facebook page).

Update (3:30ish p.m. 3/29/10): Two new race reports have been added (Simon Says... Run and Nichole Running).

Congratulations to everyone who raced over the weekend.  The results and race reports look like a lot of people are pleased with how they ran.

Share any links with me at Michael.D.NawrockiATgmailDOTcom.

Saturday March 27, 2010
MDRA Seven Mile Results
Results wanted (please send me a link if you have one): Elizabeth Rose Benefit Run

Sunday March 28. 2010
St. Patrick's Day Human Race Results

Elizabeth Rose Benefit Run: Link.

Race reports from the Human Race
Run Jean Run
Renee Rambles Runs a PR
Steve in a Speedo
Junk Miles
Nichole Running
Simon Says... Run
Jackalope Ranch
Dances with Dirt
Down the Backstretch's photo gallery
The Sporting Life has a photo album from the 8k on their Facebook page.

Saturday April 3, 2010
 MDRA Ron Daws 25k (Hopkins, MN) 8:15 a.m.  Link #1    Link #2
  • $4 entry fee.  But be forewarned: there is no race-day registration and the race is limited to the first 180 entrants.
  • Due to road construction, portions of the course may be changed this year (more on that in an upcoming post this week), but it should still feature some rolling hills, and a big one here and there, for your enjoyment.
  • This course and distance was put together with all you spring marathoners in mind.  It's a great race to prep for Boston or any other spring/early summer marathon.
Strive Scholarship 5K Run/Walk and 10k (White Bear Lake, MN)  Link
  • $20 if entry mailed by April 2, 2010.  $22.15 to register on-line on or before April 1,2010.  $30 for race-day registration.
  • 10k is new this year.
  • Based on last year's results, this small race features a nice range of runners.
  • A stop on the White Bear Lake Grand Prix race circuit.
  • Out-and-back course.
  • Proceeds go to a one-year scholarship for students at Century College who show academic improvement.
 Running Opener 5k and 10k and Kids' 1k Fun Run (Lake Phalen, St. Paul, MN) 9:00 a.m.  Link
  • 5k starts at 9:00 a.m.  10k starts at 9:05 a.m.  Kids' Run starts at 10:15 a.m.
  • 5k and 10k: $25 by mail (by 3/30), $28 on-line.  $30 after 3/30 or on race-day.
  • Fun run: $11 by mail (by 3/30), $13.50 on-line.  $13 after 3/30 or on race-day.
  • The course loops Lake Phalen (once for the 5k, twice for the 10k), a very flat, underrated area of the Twin Cities for running.
  • Proceeds go to
Run with the Wolves 5k/Run Walk and Kids' 1/2 Mile Run (Lake Harriet, Minneapolis, MN) Link
  • Kids' Run starts at 9:15 a.m.  5k starts at 9:30 a.m.
  • $20 postmarked on or before 3/30, $23.25 if you register on-line, $25 for race-day registration.
  • Kids' run: $15, $18.25 if you register on-line.
  • Free ticket to the April 3 Timberwolves/Heat game (featuring Dwyane Wade of the Heat).
  • Proceeds go to the Timberwolves FastBreak Foundation
  • Good news for the kids! Crunch the Timberwolves mascot will be there.  Good news for the fellas! The Timberwolves dance team will be there.  Good news for the ladies! The Men of MDRA Dance Team featuring Mike Nawrocki will NOT be there.
Sunday April 4, 2010 
Easter Sunday Rise and Shine 5k (Como Lake, St. Paul, MN) Link
  • 8:30 a.m.
  • $24 if pre-registered, $27.25 to register on-line, $30 race-day.
  • Two loops around Como Lake makes for five kilometers.  So a 1.5 mile walk/run is also an option.
  • This is a Charities Challenge Race.  I usually run the Charities Challenge GivingThanks 5k on Thanksgiving morning.  This is a great way to start a holiday day out with families and friends.  CC races are very laid back and family-friendly.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

VFF: Not My BFF...Yet

You can’t stop progress. My last run in the VFF (that’s what kids these days are calling the Vibram Five Fingers) was really quite pleasant; four miles on a soft trail over lunch. I ran in them sans socks, which was a pretty good idea until I blistered, otherwise I would have gone another couple miles. Next time I’ll be wearing a pair of socks.

It’s virtually impossible to miss the barefoot craze. ‘Minimalist running’ is blowing up. Beyond Born to Run, other prominent and varied organizations have weighed into the fray including Brooks, who did so via an open letter from CEO Jim Weber; as well as Popular Mechanics; Nature, Harvard University Skeletal Biology Lab, among countless others. As Rocco mentioned in one of his previous blog posts, Marathon Sports was even hosting a debate this evening on the topic. Of course this all makes for fascinating reading and discussion. How is it that for millions of years, man has coped with the impact of running barefoot before the dawn of modern running shoes in the 1970s?

At this point, I don’t intend to give up on my running shoes, but I do anticipate training in the VFF at least once per week to strengthen my feet, which I believe will only benefit my shod (not a typo!) running. Personally, I’ve had some positive physical results that I’ll share in an upcoming post. In the meantime, check out the links above and feel free to weigh in with your own two cents.

MDRA 7 Mile Race

You know the routine: another spring Saturday means another free “members only” race for MDRA members. This Saturday (March 27, 2010) brings the MDRA Seven Mile Race in Hopkins. What the name lacks in creativity it makes up for in truth because, well, it’s seven miles long.

Race starts at 9 a.m. and registration starts at the race site at 7:30 a.m.
Click here and here for more details.


  • Hills. What better way to get yourself into racing shape than with a hilly course. The chair of the MDRA Race committee, Norm Champ, pointed out that the spring race series is designed to get runners in race shape by the end of spring. If the four miler last week was designed to get those racing feet wet again, this Seven Mile Race is designed to build your strength and sharpen your mental edge.
  • Last year's course marked a change in the course. Savvy veteran runner and MDRA Secretary Kathy Benhardus described the course as a continuous series of hills. The previous course featured something called "Puke's Peak." "If you can make it to the top of that hill, you feel you can do anything."
  • This year's course will bring on some new changes due to road constructions, but expect just as many hills, or as savvy MDRA 7 Mile veteran, Rosemary Harnly says, "a grand vertical experience."
  • Like all MDRA races, this is a very accessible, age-group friendly race, where runners of all ability participate. "This race is a great age-group experience," says Harnly, "The masters gals are a bunch of incredible performers."
  • And Harnly is clearly a runner with good taste. She is quick to note the giant Great Harvest cookie, the defining feature of any MDRA race.
So come out and enjoy this free members only race. If you're not a member, it's a good time to join MDRA because it's alwayss a good time to join,

Come out for the hills, the old school, grassroots atmosphere, and of course, the cookie.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Blognation Pop. 1

One final weekly feature I want to add to this blog and then we will be set for awhile.

One thing I have discovered over the last few weeks as I have been working on posts is there are A LOT of running blogs out there, all with a lot of great pictures and training or race reports. I personally like to read what other runners are up to. No story is too fast or slow to be of interest.

The breadth of runners in MDRA is impressive. We have trail runners, marathoners, road racers, and people who just like to run and could do without any races. And hopefully, week by week, we can get all those types of runners and more represented in Blognation.

But I prefer to build Blognation up one blog at a time, so it is not overwhelming and suddenly you have 60 new blogs to sift through.

So I will start with Westy's Running. Why? Well because he was the first person to contact me in my initial call for bloggers.

It's safe to say the blogger over at Westy's running likes marthons, mileage, and ultras a lot more than the average runner. As someone who prefers the 5k over anything else, it is nice to see how another cross-section of runners in MDRA live. I will say this, we both share an appreciation for trails over roads.

So this your TO DO list.
1. Head over the Westy's Running and check out his blog. Ophidiophobes may want to wait a few days for the next post.

2. Contact me at Michael.d.nawrockiATgmailDOTcom if you have an MDRA member and have a blog of your own, or one that you enjoy reading. I will highlight the blogs in the order that they are received.

3. Stay tuned every Wednesday as Blognation adds a new member and grows in population.

Please please please contact me. I love hearing from other runners.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Upcoming Running Clinic

Much thanks to MDRA member Rob Hart for alerting me to an upcoming running clinic put on by the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine at Mall of America. It looks pretty good to me. I like the holistic approach Dr. Laskowski mentions. As he says, "You shouldn't play your sport to be in shape. You should be in shape to play your sport." Here are the deets:

WHAT: Running clinic focusing on injury prevention and management
WHEN: Saturday April 10, 2010 Noon to 3 p.m.
WHERE: Mall of America, Sears Court
PRESENTERS: Dr. Edward Laskowski and Jeff Galloway as well a Physical Therapist on site to analyze runners' form.
TIMING: Running evaluations start at noon. Presentations start at 1 p.m.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Race Results and Reports Roundup #1

This is the first weekly installment of (who doesn't love alliteration?) Race Results and Reports Roundup, or known from here on out as RRRR. Please hang in there with me for this one post. I know it is a loooooong post, but I want to set the tone and get some ground rules down. Future RRRRs will be shorter and more concise (yeah right, like I'm capable of writing that way).

The format will be simple. First I will provide links to any results from the weekend I can find. Then I will share links to any race reports that are shared with me. And then we will look ahead to future races.

And this is where you come in. Remember my call earlier to all bloggers to share with me their race reports? If you have a report on a blog, please share it with me. One blogger e-mailed me to share his blog and mentioned he wasn't sure it was what I was looking for, as he wasn't a front-of-the pack runner. So I wrote him back and said his blog is EXACTLY what I'm looking for. Most of us (well 99% us to be exact), belong to an exclusive club I like to call the 99 Percenters. We are the runners who finish in the bottom 99 percentile scores of all races, and we make up 99% of the MDRA. Whether you're in a chase pack, the middle of the pack, or the back of the back, you are part of every race you run and your report is just as important and interesting as anyone else's.

So if you have a link, share it. If you don't have a blog but want to share your race report, you can use the comments sections.

One disclaimer, I do reserve the right to pull a comment or link at my discretion for language or content. I am all for constructive criticism on how a race can be organized better, but if your only purpose in commenting is to rip a race or its director, I urge you to consider just how tough his or her job is. Keep the dialogue constructive and healthy. In fact, if you have a problem with a race or ideas on how to improve one, contact me and it may make for a good blog post and discussion. We may learn that there is a reason race directors have to do what they do for reasons that are not readily apparent, or they could learn from your experience.

Share your links and thoughts with me at Michael[DOT]d[DOT]Nawrocki[AT]gmail[DOT]com

Saturday March 20th
Team Ortho Get Lucky 7k Results
Monticello March Madness Results
MDRA Lake Johanna 4 Miler Results
Results wanted (please send me the link of you have one): Run for Orphans

Sunday March 21st
Rock Bottom Brewery 5k for Hunger Results

Steve Stenzel wrote a nice write-up of the Lake Johanna 4 Mile race for the The Examiner, which includes pictures. Link
He also has a race report of his own personal race and some more pictures. Link
Wayne Kryduba has pictures from Team Ortho's Get Lucky 7k. Link

Saturday March 27
MDRA 7 Mile (Hopkins, MN) 9 a.m. Link #1 Link #2
  • Another free members-only race for MDRA members, but a $1 donation is suggested for the the church that lets us set up shop in there to provide you shelter and restrooms.
  • Stay tuned for another write-up on a more comprehensive description of the race in terms of course description, experiences, and history.
Elizabeth Rose Benefit Run (Big Lake, MN) 9 a.m. Link
  • 8k walk/run
  • All proceeds will go towards a fund to help a young woman fighting ovarian cancer.
Sunday March 28
St. Patrick's Day Human Race (St. Paul, MN) Link
  • 5k run/walk at 11:20
  • 8k run at 1:20
  • 1/4 mile and 1/2 mile fun run for the kids at 12:40 and 12:45 respectively
  • Fast net downhill course.
  • Fast field with runners of all ability participating.
  • A great chance for you to watch me drink beer in a bar, typically O'Gara's, afterward. Please form an orderly line.

    If you know of a race between 3/22 and 3/28 that I should add to this list, contact me at Michael[DOT]d[DOT]nawrocki[AT]gmail[DOT]com
  • Saturday, March 20, 2010

    Five Fingers - The Initial Voyage

    Now that my NCAA bracket has imploded (thanks Kansas), I’d like to provide an update on my Five Fingers wear test. Previous to the last post, I had only run in these on a treadmill for three miles and they were perfectly comfortable. There was nothing of interest to report other than the attention I garnered from wearing something other than running shoes; several of my buddies took notice and asked questions during and after the run. The true test would be running outside. So last Sunday I gave it a shot and here are my immediate impressions:

    1. You feel everything. I guess I expected this but it was still surprising. Every crack, every bump, every rock could be felt. Nothing hurt per se, but I was certainly cognizant of where my feet were landing.

    2. Since the ground was still soggy from the Spring thaw, I had to stay on pavement, which became surprisingly uncomfortable after just two miles. I expected to go three miles easily but my calves were screaming after two. I owe this to the fact that my heels weren’t touching the ground which, I guess, is supposed to happen.

    3. The few times I was able to run on soft ground was really quite nice. I could drop my heels a bit more, which relaxed the calves. It seemed more like a regular foot strike.

    4. My feet were wet immediately after running through a few shallow puddles.

    5. If you want to wear socks you have but one choice: Injinji. This is because the Five Fingers wrap around each toe individually. For my next run I’ll skip the socks as my toes felt a little too snug.

    So anyway, back to post run recovery. My calves were aching. In fact, they ached all week, through each and every one of my runs. My takeaway is…I probably shouldn’t have pushed it so much on this first outdoor run. I’ll be more careful next time.

    Oh, here’s a coincidence I find simply amazing. Occasionally I frequent this great website called Put This On. This site has nothing to do with running. At all. The guys that run this website were arriving at SXSW in Austin, TX and snapped this picture of one of the “dudes” arriving at the event. Five Fingers and Injinji socks and…a skirt.

    Judging from the comments, the combination makes a horrible first impression.