Peder with a D

[plays well with others]

I Ran a Marathon!

Posted by Peder on 5 October 2010

Well there it is, I’m a marathoner!

This past Sunday, October 3rd I ran in the 29th Twin Cities Marathon which connects downtown Minneapolis to the Capitol Building in St. Paul. Along the way we ran through some of the most beautiful and iconic neighborhoods of the two cities.

Marathon #1

Starting at 8:00 in the morning we left from a fenced-in corral on the south side of the Metrodome and traveled down 6th St through an abandoned Minneapolis. Of course, the city wasn’t abandoned, but with whatever passes for urban life early on a Sunday morning held back by barriers and drowned out by cheering fans, it certainly felt like the whole city and each majestic reflection of that frosty sunrise from the solemn skyscrapers existed only for us runners. Supporters lined both sides of the street and all of the intersections throughout downtown and the rest of the course beyond. One ingenious group stood up on the third level of a parking garage on 5th Ave giving them an elevated view of the masses starting the race. I wonder what kind of pictures they got?

We continued south on Hennepin Ave toward Loring Park. The bells from the Basilica of St. Mary were in full concert encouraging us along. I passed a man with a tag on his back that indicated he was over 80 years old and I thought to myself, “I know I’m gonna be hurting at the end of this. I wonder how he’s gonna feel?!” But there he was, trudging along like the rest of us. I actually ducked out of the race for a brief moment at that point to use a Port-a-Potty on the course. Apparently I drank too much water before the start. But you know, as far as first-time marathon mistakes are concerned, I figure over-hydrating has to be about the most benign form I could muster. Anyway, as I rejoined the throngs back on the course I passed the same octogenarian again. I offered him my encouragement and he gruffed in my direction. I’m such a whipper snapper.

Night Before: I'm Ready!

The course continued through the Kenwood neighborhood and toward the Chain of Lakes. Around mile 2.5 the Honorable Alan Page, chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court and Hall of Fame Vikings lineman, stood on one of the street corners playing his tuba as he has done every year since somewhere in the mid-late 1990s. How fun is that?

via Star Tribune

During that first half of the race I was so happy. Pure joy. I had a smile the whole time. I pumped my fist at the encouraging crowds. I high-fived little kids. I made jokes with other runners. And I enjoyed the reality that after four months, 65 training runs and 469 training miles here I was finally running a marathon. I mean, who would’ve thought I’d ever run a marathon?

But the whole race wasn’t so carefree. Around two-thirds in — at around the 17-18 mile mark — my quadriceps started barking at me. My legs started getting tired. My smile started to waver. I turned up my music hoping to distract my brain from itself and its thoughts of slowing down, walking or even stopping altogether. I had put together a playlist for that race including some Tom Petty and the Rolling Stones and somewhere between the songs “Don’t Do Me Like That” and “Gimme Shelter” I found my groove and got that pep back in my step.

With renewed vigor I caught up with a young woman I had been pacing with earlier. We had briefly chatted around mile 11. She was impressed by how well I was holding up during my first marathon and I was impressed she had qualified for the Boston Marathon (a mark of excellence for any runner) after the 2009 Twin Cities Marathon, her first. In fact I met all kinds of characters throughout the morning. There were a couple of guys dressed up as Twins’ stars Joe Mauer and Carl Pavano (complete with sideburns and mustache, respectively) keeping a running total of who got the most compliments from the crowd. (Mauer was miles ahead.)  A woman with taped up hamstrings told a story of how she had to drop her pants in the middle of the crowded marathon expo the night before to receive that treatment. And, while making the gorgeous crossing over the Franklin Ave bridge I met a man who was on his 100th marathon. Can you imagine?

Halfway There!

After crossing into St. Paul we found ourselves on the home stretch — the infamous run up Summit Ave to Cathedral Hill. Now I’ve run that stretch many times before, but race veterans couldn’t help to point out how different it would feel after 21 miles of marathoning. I now know how right they were. As the elevation data from my running watch shows (scroll down a bit), that hill stands as a near-criminal offense at that point in the race. Whatever sadist decided to include that stretch … But what are you going to do? Stop? No way. There’s only one thing to do and that is to continue. To persevere. For a couple miles already by that point by legs were tired/sore enough that I didn’t feel I could get the full stride length I was used to earlier in the race. So I focused my mind on my leg turn over, the constant chug-a-lug, chug-a-lug of putting one foot in front of the other. I was the little engine that could. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can …

And it worked. I was passing people on the uphill. I’ve always prided myself for running strong uphill. I don’t have any data to prove that I’m any better than anyone else, but in my mind, hills are the places where I differentiate myself from other runners. And it worked! I was passing people along those final miles. I didn’t stop. I never walked. (Well, I slowed to a walk to drink at the water stations, but even after mile 22 I didn’t stop at them anymore.) I had only one goal in mind: The Finish.

Race Shirt and Finisher's Medal

My legs ached. I mean ached! I had never felt them that tired and not stopped to rest before. I knew eventually (days later) they wouldn’t hurt anymore, but that if I stopped at that point I would be kicking myself forever for whimping out at the end. I wanted to run the whole damn race. And as I crested Cathedral Hill and saw the Capitol Building a half mile away I could only think one thing. “Don’t fall on the downhill!” Seriously, that was about my only real concern for the whole race. I knew I would finish, but I didn’t know how my aching, tired legs would deal with the downgrade along John Ireland Blvd. Wobbly legs + downhill can be a recipe for disaster, but fortunately mine stayed beneath me and I “sprinted” to the finish. Success!!

My Shoe with Timing Chip

I finished my first marathon in 3:31:30 which I’m very proud of. (Official Results) I finished in the top 15% of all runners and in the 25th percentile of all men in their 30s. And I even stopped to go to the bathroom and pause for a picture near the halfway point. With continued training the future looks bright!

Even though my legs hurt so bad today that it’s hard to walk up and down stairs, I’m already looking toward future races. Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth is definitely in my future, as are likely the marathons in Fargo, Chicago and New York (pending qualification). Who knows, if I keep at it maybe I can shave the 20 minutes I need to qualify for Boston? After finishing Marathon #1, who am I to say where the limit now lies?


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So You Want to Play Online in China?

Posted by Peder on 21 September 2010

Well then you’ll need some different toys.  Trust issues, money, and cultural differences have laid the foundation for an alternative social network for netizens of the the Middle Kingdom.  If you head over there, be prepared to leave your Facebook and Twitter access at home.  And if you really want to live like the locals, add Baidu and Sina (English) to your bookmark lists.

I’ve tried out a few of these sites and the biggest obstacle is obviously the language.  But as Google Translate continues to improve, it becomes easier and easier to understand foreign content.  Check out this translated version of Baidu.  And most international sites have an English page anyway.

Probably the most fun I’ve had has been on video sites like Tudou or Youku.  These sites are less stringent than Youtube about what kind of IP (read: TV shows) they host.

Source: Huffington Post (via)

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Mr. Chameleon

Posted by Peder on 23 August 2010

the chameleon
basks imperceptibly as
he hides in plain sight

Posted in Haikus | Leave a Comment »

The road ahead looks bright

Posted by Peder on 19 August 2010

soft light awakens
smells of early dew tickle
slowly, morning grows

The road ahead looks bright, originally uploaded by slippay.

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Copperfield Mix

Posted by Peder on 9 August 2010

Last week I put the finishing touches on the following mix.  I’m really proud of this one.  It’s got some really rocking grooves, a mix of new tunes and old familiars, and flows pretty nicely from one song to the next … if I do say so myself!

My Copperfield Mix

I’ve really been impressed by some of the covers Lissie has put together recently, and Foxy Shazam still has to be my favorite find of 2010.  The Checks have a fun new album out as well, and jumping on their bandwagon now gives you the chance to say “I knew about them back when …” in a year or two when they eventually blow up.

the Copperfield explanation

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Training for My 1st Marathon

Posted by Peder on 15 June 2010

Yesterday I went on my first training run as part of my training for the Twin Cities Marathon this fall.  I’m using a training plan from Runner’s World based on my results from the latest Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon.

On paper, the early training runs seem slow.  I often run my solo recreational runs at a less-than-8:30 min/mile pace, but rarely does my plan ask for easy runs faster than 9:00 min/mile.  In contrast, however, the fast runs – the pace runs and interval training runs – feel a little fast.  They require I sustain a faster pace (7:30-7:45 min/mile) for longer than I’m generally used to.  But seeing as this is the first time I’ve trained for a marathon, I’ll defer to the experts who created this training schedule.

This will be my first marathon, but not my first timed race.  I have three results over the past eight months that are representative of my improvement and the work I’ve put in to become a better runner. I’ve placed well since dusting off the shoes last summer.  My placements are in the top third of all race entrants, and don’t fare much worse when you consider only men’s times. Within my division (a combo of gender and age), I’ve been better than the average runner.

Race Date Chip Time Min/Mile Place Gender Place Div Place
Twin Cities 10K Oct 2009 0:51:45 8:20 19% 33% 37%
Drumstick Dash 10K Nov 2009 0:51:03 8:13 27% 42% 41%
Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon May 2010 1:44:18 7:58 16% 28% 34%

And there will be more 10Ks and half marathons to come before the marathon this fall.  I look forward to running in the Time to Fly 10K at the end of June. Proceeds benefit children’s cancer research.  Then there will be the Urban Wildland half marathon in early August and the City of Lakes 25K in September.  I might register for another 10K or two as well as I’m very excited to set a sub-49:00 (or better!) 10K personal best this season.  You can follow all my training runs and races through my Garmin Connect page. See you on the trails!

Getting Ready for the Twin Cities 10K

With Friends after the Twin Cities 10K

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Long Winter, and Tribute Videos Rule

Posted by Peder on 19 February 2010

Last night I listened to the Musicheads podcast from this week. At the end they discussed the question, “What one song helps you get through the lo-o-o-n-n-n-g-g-g-g-g winter?” Steve Seel‘s answer was “Glósóli” by Sigur Rós, which is a very good song for loving winter. Here it is:

Glósóli (Glowing sole) by Sigur Rós

So I listened to it last night because I like Sigur Rós and that song made me think of another song, but I couldn’t place exactly which one; “Glósóli” planted an earworm. That song turned out to be:

Love You All by Cloud Cult

This was the final cut from an awesome 2008 album called Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-Partying Through Tornadoes) which has a lot of other awesome songs including:

Journey of the Featherless by Cloud Cult

The Musicheads also talked about the new Yeasayer album, which is good, and I want to include this quick in-studio performance video:

Madder Red by Yeasayer

Their Minneapolis show at the end of April will be very warming indeed. Until then winter continues.

Waiting For Spring, originally uploaded by Ronaldo F Cabuhat.

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Big Party Tonight: Techno Karneval!

Posted by Peder on 13 February 2010

In Europe, Mardi Gras is called Karneval and is a huge party celebrated in major cities and small towns across the continent.  Costumes, music, people, laughter.  It’s all there.

In keeping with this most fun, if not grandest, of European end-of-winter traditions, the Germanic-American Institute (my employer) is hosting its annual party tonight!  In recent years the numbers have listed into the hundreds as people from around the region stream in with their crazy costumes to get their techno freak on.  You should definitely check it out!

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a German party, but they are not to be missed!

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More Calvin and Hobbes

Posted by Peder on 1 February 2010

Last week I included a Calvin and Hobbes image in my post on isolationism.  Today I wanted to include a full strip.  Happy February!

(Sorry for the fuzzy scan.)

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Music Mix and Podcast Update

Posted by Peder on 30 January 2010

I’ve blogged before about music mixes and podcasts I like.  Here’s a quick update of what I’ve been up to recently.

Music for the Appreciation of Nature

I was running on a wooded trail a few weeks back and realized I didn’t have the right mix for appreciating nature.  Such a mix would be more subtle than other running inspiration I’ve used.  Its dulce tones would foster quiet reflection.  To contrast, a few bombastic, awe-inspiring anthems would enrich the soul with energy and joy … the aural equivalent of the bright sunshine warming my face.  Voilà!

There’s some African stuff in there, southern Asian (Indian), Icelandic … as well as East Asian and electronica sounds.  And a touch of Latin in the second track.  I tried it out on a run last Sunday, and it sounded great.


A bunch of songs I liked from the movies Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill (did you know they’re making a 3rd?) and Inglourious Basterds.  It’s meant to be shuffled; I don’t have a set play order for these tracks.  Of particular note is that Santa Esmeralda version of “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.”  It’s a 10 minute version, but miraculously never wanes in excitement!

Podcasts (I’ve linked their websites, but it’s probably easiest to grab these feeds through iTunes. Just type the title into the search bar.)

Stuff You Should Know – Hosts Josh and Chuck take on a new topic almost daily on a podcast which is now near the top of the iTunes Most Popular list.  Ranging from totem poles to geocaching to the CIA testing LSD on the public, each episode will teach you something in a fun, informal manner.  Yeah, learning!

All Songs Considered – Ripping the name from All Things Considered, this National Public Radio production looks into the modern music scene with an informed perspective.  The commentators can periodically come off a bit pretentious, but I’ve realized the good aspects of the show more than outweigh the bad.

Live Concerts (from All Songs Considered) – Speaking of NPR, they publish live concerts for free online.  Some short sets are even on video.  ‘Nuff said.

Musicheads – New music album commentary from a local radio station.  Their schtick is to ask if an album is “working” for them.  Unfortunately, over the last six months or so, more and more albums seem to work, meaning the show is becoming something of a promotion vehicle for the music they’re playing on the station.  Also, they repeat shows a little too often for my tastes.  In a perfect world they’d have more shows and use the space to rip on a couple albums once in a while.  Especially the ones I don’t like!

The Dinner Party Download – I just started listening to this one, and it has promise.  Each short episode has a quick joke and some fun stories from the past week.  And a drink recipe.  The idea is to prep you with stories and banter for your next dinner party.  Not a bad angle.

The Five Minute Linguist – Being that I’m a language nerd, this show has really peaked my interest.  But it’s not all grammar rules.  Topics range from how do languages spread, to what’s up with Esperanto, to was German almost the official American language?

That Sucks – This is a video blog that highlights little-known comedians.  Each short episode is centered around the theme of something that sucks.  Very funny.

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