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Minneapolis miles..

doug in co



#1 son's college swim conference meet, MIAC, was at the U of M a couple of weeks ago. It's taken me until now to recover sufficiently to write it up.. meet was very loud, very hot, very intense.

Since the torn calf muscle had somewhat healed, helped on its way by foam rolling, the Sacro Wedgy, and not running: it was possible to get in some long slow foot tours of the river. Weather was 26 degrees and breezy, with that fine MN snirt (mix of snow and dirt) on the ground. There's a good river trail all along the mighty Mississippi here but it is not plowed, which kept me mostly on the road. Runner population was thin, a couple of cyclists, mostly students on astonishingly rusty old bikes.

Not quite scenic, but definitely historic and folkloric, running upriver from the U of M. Old locks and grain mill sites, neon signs for Gold Medal Flour and Grain Belt Beer cheerfully lighting up the somewhat dank evening.


Don't that make you thirsty ? it did me. Later we ate excellent burgers at Stub & Herbs, they had a good selection of beers but I went for the Grain Belt, pretty good for an American lager, +1 would drink again.

Running under Hennepin Avenue with roadmelt dripping on my head ew, I realized the location of the Tom Waits song Ninth and Hennepin was just up the road. Then I remembered the lyrics, and ran a little bit faster..
Fifty minutes up and forty back, avoiding the detours into rutted lumpy snow along the trails on the way back. A bit chilled by the end but the Target (pronounced “Tarzhay") run pants worked mostly well. I'm too old for tights anymore.

Our friends Carl and Mary were with us, as their daughter swims for Carleton College just across the river from #1 son's college St. Olaf. Carl and I went full dad every day,


Carl's also a swimmer and had figured out where to find the Minnesota Masters on previous trips to swim meets. The U of M pool is a glorious deep Olympic-size pool, very fast. We snuck out of the hotel at 4:30am to go meet the masters, ducked back up an alleyway and came in the back way, seemed very clandestine to me. -2 degrees at that hour of the morning ow. About twenty others showed up, including a tiny young woman who Carl knew from previous visits, coxswain of the U of M rowing team. She said as soon as the river thaws they go out, she sometimes comes back with a thin shell of ice coating. A fine swim was had by all, about 3500yds of varied short intervals.

The meet hours made eating difficult - 10am to about 1-2pm, then evening session starting at 6pm to 9:30 or so. After eating Chipotle at 10pm the first night and lying there with that cannonball burrito heavy on my backbone all night, we ended up on the two meal a day plan. A large late breakfast followed by a large early dinner, with snacks, worked well. We'd go meet the swimmers as they went for lunch, just to see them and chat.

Day 3 run went downriver. Again I was unreasonably optimistic and detoured down to the river path, which appeared open from the vantage of the road, but it quickly vanished into the trees and the same unploughed lumpy rutted snow. The East River road was not busy though, so it was still pleasant. The detour allowed me a short tour around the outside of the U of M boat house, a couple of canoes frozen to their stands out back and the river entirely hard. There was a short section of open water below the lock upriver.


Going down this way the houses start just past the U of M, large tenured professor style residences, set well back from the road. As you get downriver so the student housing starts to show up with apartments beginning about two miles out. The city is just riddled with colleges - all of those shown on the map here were at the MIAC meet, except of course for U of M which is Div I. There's a swim meet earlier in the year called the Saints meet, all of the St. colleges, Thomas, Olaf, Catherine, etc. I thought that was kind of sweet.  I'm sure it's gorgeous here in the spring and fall but winter is not its best face.


Still enjoy being out running in whatever weather, for my daily high-impact meditation session. Just south and east of my turnaround is the Minnehaha Falls park. Minnehaha.. hahahaha.. *slap* sorry, once I start laughing maniacally these days it's hard to get stopped. A little further downriver is the Unorganized Territory of Fort Snelling. I feel myself in a somewhat unorganized territory these days too.

#1 son had a good but not excellent meet, improved his PRs in all races, made the 50 final and got on the podium though did not do quite as well as he'd hoped. Given he spent 3 days in hospital with pneumonia and a collapsed lung in December, I called it a significant victory. The four of them got bronze in the 200 medley relay.


My young man is the one in the blue/mango speed suit. This is mostly because his Dad's a skinflint and buys the speedsuits on sale for $200 instead of the $400 full price, which leaves you with a choice of odd colors. Left to his own devices he wears a salmon-colored Speedo, so the blue/mango isn't really a stretch for him. All those tattoos are temporary ones of the St Olaf lion,


A lion with an axe, what could go wrong ?

Last year after this meet there was a big party at the St Olaf swim house, like Animal House but with swimmers finally off the leash after four months of steady training and clean living for the conference meet and NCAAs if qualified. DW got a text while in church, "Mom don't panic but I woke up this morning with a broken foot and my ears pierced". This year we did not have anything broken so that's progress.

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You know, there's a song about a tangerine speedo ...

Great that you could watch him swim and spend some quality time in the Minnesota snirt. I do not miss the Midwest - at least this time of year. 

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Love that streetscape! Now I'm going to go listen to some Tom Waits.

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