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This one has me pretty excited – for the first time I ran for 25 minutes straight! No walk break, just 5 minute warm up, 25 minute run, 5 minute cool down. That’s pretty amazing coming from this woman!!

I think what surprised me the most is that I didn’t feel like I was gasping for breath, I thought I would be panting from all that running. My calves really stung but my lungs were fine.

I have 3 weeks of training left. This is going to work out great since on June 21 is the 5K I have entered. I am already thinking beyond this 5K to when is the next one I will run.

I think my daughters and I will sign up for a color run somewhere this fall. They just sound like a lot of fun.

I just need to remember, the William A. Irvin 5K has not happened yet so I need to get through that one before planning for the next one. Here’s to hoping for nice weather for the rest of the week!

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Time really flies! Here I thought I would be right on top of things and posting here on the blog weekly with my training progress…well that didn’t quite work out at all the way I wanted it to.

I have been training though, got a little behind schedule, but have started my 4th week of training. The intervals for today (and 2 more times this week) include 5 minutes of running – twice! I have to admit, I did not make the entire 5 minutes the first interval this morning but pushed myself on the second 5 minute run and did it. I think if anyone would have seen me they would have thought I had lost my mind. I cannot explain how good it felt to be able to push my way through to the end of 5 minutes.

I know, I know for some 5 minutes isn’t long at all but for me that is a milestone. I am really enjoying the training and getting outside to do this. I guess that is the thing I want to stress, I never thought I would be able to run for 5 minutes….and I did it!!

I have been trying to watch what I am eating as well. I have found over the years that carbs and I have a love/hate relationship so I have not cut them out entirely but I am trying to eat more vegetables and fruit plus protein. I love my protein. (PORK of course!)

So to wrap things, I have made it to 4 weeks of training for the 5K in June. I will just keep pushing and when I look ahead – by the time the program I am following is done, I will be running for 25 minutes straight….that just seems like a long way off!

I want to begin this post with a huge thank you to all the pork producers in Minnesota. Your financial support and willingness to sponsor Grandma’s Marathon is phenomenal.

Our weekend started with a couple promotional shifts during the Expo. Once again, handing out samples of loin roast and having the chance to interact with runners and their families about the nutrition of pork and the recent change in recommended cooking temperature was a great experience. Thursday night gets a little slow in the DECC Arena during the last hour, so I spent a lot of time interacting with various vendors of running and a couple of Olympians that were there. (a shout-out to Lorraine Moller.)

I saw Beth running the 1/4 mile Whipper Snapper race, and her late charge to a 4th place age group finish was cool. I headed back in to listen to Frank Shorter finish his talk, then got inspired again by Dick Beardsley. My take home message from him this year was to give it 100% and not be disappointed with the results if you do. Lori ran a fantastic 5K, shaving a couple minutes from last year.

The boys and I got up at 4:00 to get dressed and sample some of the light breakfast that the Radisson offered. They went off to the Garry Bjorklund start with Theresa S, Monica, & Theresa K, all great mothers for them. Later I learned that they finished the race in 1:40:05 fashion, having run and experienced it together. They finished 30th and 31st in their age group.

It was raining on the bus ride the Two Harbors, but quit as I got off the bus. I met up with Eric FitzSimmons, another Pork Power runner, and also Ben Linder, a med school student from Easton. We chatted and got off to a nice smooth start.

Weather in the 40’s, cloudy, and a nice tail wind are a nice combination for distance running. After a couple miles, I decided to push a little harder and see what would happen. I rolled through 13.1 miles in 1:31, and even though I felt a little tired, decided to do system checks every 2 miles, instead of walking like I had done last year. About the only issues I had were energy (just enough with a combination of ShotBloks and orange slices) and slight cramping in my right hamstring (I just didn’t press as much the last 5 miles). My finish time was 3:04:29 (chip), which is 1:00/mile faster than last year’s effort. It is good enough to allow me to register for the Boston Marathon on the first Monday, so I will get for 2012. Overall I placed 304th, 240th of males and 24th in my age group. Further details, and even finish line footage, are available here .

To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift. -Steve Prefontaine

Grandma’s Marathon, 1/2 Marathon and 5K are less than 2 weeks away. Despite that, most of our discussions lately have centered around our families and farm activities. This is for good reason, since these are the activities that take up most of the time in our lives.

But as our races get closer, I get the feeling that most of us feel pretty good with where we’re at. Dale has a good solid base and isn’t feeling the aches and pains he did last year. I have more confidence since I’ve been running more. The boys are fresh off a successful track season and even though the 1/2 marathon is a stretch, they’ve vowed to run together and help each other out.

So the excitement builds and we look forward to the race, hanging out with our friends and meeting new people as we promote the product and lifestyle we love.  Stay tuned and see you in Duluth!

 

Grandmas weekend was a blast, and the race wasn’t too bad, either.

As I reflect on what transpired, the moments that stick out had to do with people. Things started for me Thursday afternoon. After arriving at the Radisson, I went out for a run to loosen up. At the street corner I met a skinny guy in running gear that was looking for a good route to run. I volunteered to help him, even after admitting that I hadn’t been down near Canal Park for many years.

I quickly sized this guy up as being much faster than myself, but we did fall into a common pace and conversation easily. This gentleman was from Ethiopa by way of New York, and had been invited to run the Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon. He was a little cagy about his projected finishing time, but the end result is that he finished 3rd in the race.

After working at the Expo for a couple hours, and receiving very positive feedback from those sampling pork, I grabbed my race packet and wandered around. I was greeted by a guy seated behind a table “You must be Brett and Adam’s dad.” (We were wearing the same Pork Power shirts). This man was Dane Rauschenberg, who had run 52 marathons in 52 weeks during 2006. Quite an accomplishment, and also an inspiration to many runners.

On Friday the boys and I spent time talking to Vali Tomeschu, the coach of the Romanian women that won gold at the Beijing Olympics marathon. He had some coaching tips for the boys, and wanted to hear how they finished at the William A. Irvin 5K that night.

Friday afternoon we watched Beth run her Whipper Snapper race, along with Callie and Shayna (Joe and Teresa’s daughters). Their races were short and fast, and the girls looked strong running. It is a thrill to see them finish so well.

I stayed at the Expo Friday afternoon, and reached the people-meeting zenith for me. Dick Beardsley was signing his book, and I talked to him for about 15 minutes. Various topics were farming and running, UM-Waseca, where Lori also went to college, and our promotion of pork at Grandma’s. Later, I made it to the presentations, catching the tail end of Kara Goucher’s talk, then Dick’s talk. During the question and answer period for Kara, a lady 15 feet from me said that she had something to give Kara that has been around for 25 years. She was talking about a laurel wreath (given to winners of the Boston Marathon), and that she was Lisa Weidenbach, the last American woman to win at Boston. Kara politely declined, since she wanted to earn hers.

The 5K race went about as I expected, with 1500+ runners causing a traffic jam and a slow start. The 5 Stevermers, Brett, Adam, Lori, Joe and Jenna, foundtheir stride and ran good races. Once again, it was so exciting to see family members working hard and having success.

I will save a blow by blow review of Grandma’s for the next time. My bus ride to the start went quickly because the person seated next to me was a good listener and experienced marathoner. A resident of Boston, he had helped a friend re-qualify at the 2010 Boston, so had traveled to Duluth to qualify. He is a physical therapist, and gave a few pointers on the miniscus tear that I am dealing with. I enjoyed running past the Bacon Section and proudly pointed out my Pork Power shirt. I also met up with some runners from Rochester that I had met 3 weeks ago at the Med City half.

The most important people were the ones I spent the rest of Saturday with: my family and friends that were in Duluth. Thank you for your support, and thanks to the MN Pork Board for spurring me on to run my 7th marathon, a Boston qualifier.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle

Under the photo section is this PorkPower blog is a picture of my family at a road race this summer. Everyone did really well, especially Beth. If you recall, one of my goals for doing the 5K was to run like the rest of my family. Doing things together as a family is important to us. We’re fortunate that we all like sports and athletic activities. But we also like to go to movies together or play games or just hang out. Our Friday night “Family Fun Night” in which everyone gets to take a turn choosing the activity for a Friday night; is an important event to us.

I hope you have been reading Monica’s blog about her and Maddie running. I’m so excited for them. I can’t wait to cheer them on at the finish line.

By the way, my sons, Brett and Adam have also decided to run the William A. Irvin 5K in Duluth before Grandma’s Marathon. Both of them run cross country and track, so they’ll be ahead of me. But just knowing we’re doing something together makes me feel good.

Well, Sunday morning was an early run. After a warmup jog, I turned around and ran 3.11 miles hard. The course wasn’t spectacular, just 1.5 miles either side of our farm. I also ran into a 8 mph headwind, mostly so that I wouldn’t get too cold running back home.

The neat thing – my time was 20:24. I don’t know how that calculates on age-graded charts, but the effort was hard. My legs felt strong, but my lungs didn’t quite seem like they could keep up. I sounded so bad I was glad I was alone the last mile.

One other thing – I have more appreciation for cross country runners. Brett has a 9:17 PR as a 9th grader, and Adam ran 20:44 as a 7th grader. On grass. In crowds. Now that I know how hard I worked to get there, I will give them more support and encouragement as they run.

There is no shortcut. Success lies in over-coming obstacles everyday.