Chippewa Moraine 50K Training: Week 17

Spring is here.

Monday: 6 mi, treadmill
Tuesday: 4.7 mi, treadmill
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: 6.3 mi, road (neighborhood)
Friday: 3.5 mi, road (neighborhood)
Saturday: 6.5 mi, paved trail (Mississippi River Trail/Harriet Island)
Sunday: 10 mi, paved trail (Big Rivers Regional Trail/Fort Snelling)
Total: 36.9 mi

I made it. I am actually surprised at how different I felt between Wednesday and Thursday. A light was turned on inside me. A switch was flipped. I felt weightless and full of energy. I ran around my neighborhood as the snow melted around me. I wore shorts and a t-shirt on Saturday and Sunday (and already have a farmer’s tan! Well not a tan, I’m still pasty) and was actually too warm on Sunday.

I know I’m “supposed” to be tapering since I have the race on Saturday, but it was just so nice out. And I had some light training weeks the past couple months, so I’m not exhausted or dealing with aches and pains and fatigue. My worst fatigue has been mental. Of course as I write this, I have been sneezing and feel kinda tired and my head is stuffy, but my hope is it’s just allergies. I WANT TO RUN THIS FREAKING RACE.

My one worry is my legs were a bit sore on Monday after my medium-long run on Sunday. But I guess I’ll have to deal with that next Monday. I know I can do this – I’ve run enough races to know that if my mental game is strong, I’ve got this in the bag. (Provided my upper respiratory system behaves. Ugh. Can’t blame this on the “taper flu” since I am not really tapering.)

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Chippewa Moraine 50K Training: Week 16

Monday: rest
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: rest
Friday: rest
Saturday: 7.7 mi, treadmill
Sunday: 7.75 mi, treadmill
Total: 15.4 mi

Okay, not a great week. Monday I had intentions to run, but I had a headache and decided to scrap it. That was good, because Tuesday I still wasn’t feeling great, and by the afternoon (when I drove up to Duluth with my husband and friends for a national championship celebration for the Bulldogs) I was achy, with chills and sweats, and thought I had the flu. I stayed home from work on Wednesday and Thursday, and though I went back to work on Friday, I didn’t run, of course.

It started snowing Friday evening.

So, I won’t be running outside anytime soon, considering over a foot of snow fell over the weekend. I managed to drag myself onto the treadmill both days, plus get some strength work in shoveling!

I’m really glad I didn’t run Zumbro. The finish rate was absurdly low for both ultra distances, and the 17 mile race was canceled. We’ll see what course conditions end up being for Chippewa Moraine – wet, muddy, icy, snowy, mixture of all? Surprise blizzard? Ugh. This winter will never end.

I guess this is the start of an extra long taper? Now I have to trust that I’ve got the endurance and strength to have a good race in in 12 days, and that I have enough time to recover from my illness (cold? who knows? obviously not the flu) to make it to the finish!

Chippewa Moraine 50K Training: Weeks 13-15

I’ve pretty much given up all hope that the weather will ever be nice again. It’s really hard, I’m not going to sugar coat it.

Monday (3/19): 4.5 mi, trail (Brickyard)
Tuesday: 6.1 mi, treadmill
Wednesday: 6 mi, road/pavement (Harriet and Raspberry Island)
Thursday: rest
Friday: rest
Saturday: rest
Sunday: rest
Total: 16.6 mi

Monday (3/26): rest
Tuesday: 5.4 mi, road/pavement (Brickyard/Harriet Island)
Wednesday: 5.2 mi, road
Thursday: 3.6 mi, pavement (Centennial Lakes)
Friday: 8.1 mi, road/pavement (River to River Greenway)
Saturday: 10.1 mi, pavement (MS River Trail/Harriet Island)
Sunday: 8.2, treadmill
Total: 40.6 mi

Monday (4/2): 7 mi, treadmill
Tuesday: 6 mi, treadmill
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: 8 mi, treadmill
Friday: 5.5 mi, treadmill
Saturday: 3.5 mi, treadmill
Sunday: rest
Total: 30 mi

You know, when I write it out like that, it doesn’t look so bad.

The week of the 19th was kind of hard. As I said before, we had a minor but frustrating bed bug infestation, and I did not get much sleep, plus I was covered in bites from before we realized what was going on. I was supposed to run the Hot Dash 10 miler and didn’t. We drove to Sioux Falls, SD on Saturday to watch the Bulldogs win the regional and earn their way back to the Frozen Four.

I did explore a couple new locations. The Brickyard trail is HARD. It’s a long downhill, which means a long uphill, FYI. I also did it in soft snow so my legs were ON FIRE. I also ran around Harriet Island and Raspberry Island, then across the Wabasha St. and Robert St. bridges. I am really looking forward to warmer weather, because there are so many cool places to explore in St. Paul that I just don’t feel like investigating when it’s cold.

The week of the 26th was better! I ran outside almost every day! I thought I was turning a corner! (Spoiler: I was not.) There was no hockey that weekend, so it was very relaxing. I experimented with lunchtime running on Thursday (it’s ok but I have to get my act together on organization), and ran around in the neighborhood on Wednesday, which I hated. I can’t stand when I have to piece together mileage because roads end or sidewalks end or I end up on a busier-than-I’m-comfortable-with street. I found a new paved trail, the River to River Greenway (Friday), which I’ll be trying out again soon! I ran the Brickyard trail again on Tuesday, and won’t be running it again any time soon. It’s a soggy mess and there’s only going to be more sogginess. I’m not interested in running through ankle-deep water on an urban training run.

Saturday, I thought I had everything planned out: the Mississippi River Trail is hundreds of miles long – I can run mindlessly for 5 miles, then turn around and run mindlessly for 5 more miles. NOPE. I was thwarted by a road and trail closure only 3 miles in, and had to run around the Lilydale trails and Harriet Island (again) in a stiff and miserable wind in order to get the planned 10 miles in. So I was cowardly and ran on the treadmill on Sunday.

The week of April 2nd was so depressingly cold. I traveled to Missouri for work, and mistakenly thought it would be decent out. It was not. I ran on the hotel treadmill Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday, I didn’t run, but I did walk around the Mississippi riverfront in St. Louis before my late afternoon flight. Thursday, I had the day off for the Frozen Four semifinals (which were after working hours, but I knew I’d be too nervous to work), so I had time to run a longer treadmill run, then I walked around St. Paul and also spent lots of time jumping around and cheering and also raised my heartrate through sheer panic. UMD won and made it to the finals! Friday the high temperature was below 30 F, so it was amazing I did anything at all. I worked half a day, had lunch with friends at a Russian restaurant, ran on the treadmill, and then went to the grand opening of my friend’s 9 Round Fitness franchise. I want to join, because it seems like a good cross-training opportunity for me, but it’s too far away! Saturday was the NCAA championship game, I ran 3.5 miles on the treadmill (I planned to do more, and then didn’t), and then walked around St. Paul quite a bit, and then cheered and screamed and literally raised my heart rate to 110 bpm while sitting quietly in my seat because I was so nervous, and UMD won the national championship and life was grand. Sunday was a rest day, because obviously.

Zumbro 50 starts in 5.5 hours, and I am so glad I’m not racing it. It’s cold and dreary and the driving post-race is going to be atrocious – we’re going to get dumped on with snow. Plus the added pressure of a 50 mile race during my downtrodden winter training would have been crushing. I think I’ll be ready, with my imperfect training, to take on Chippewa Moraine, but I would in no way have been ready for Zumbro, even if the race day weather had been perfect. There’s always next year.

Spring Running Goals 2018

It’s already a month into spring and I’m still not really focused. I suppose that’s in part due to moving and the upheaval that’s caused (currently we’re dealing with bed bugs and in a sort of limbo waiting for the exterminator to come before we can finish packing), and in part due to the weather (it’s still pretty chilly, often damp, and the extended forecast looks crappy). I’m not really all that motivated right now.

The goals I’ve been kicking around in my head for awhile are as follows:

  1. PR at the Hot Dash 10 Mile
    I DNS this race despite going to packet pickup. I just didn’t want to run it. I woke up and decided I’d rather sleep in. I think it was a good decision, as we drove to Sioux Falls later that day. I kept this on the list in the interest of full disclosure.
  2. Course PR at Chippewa Moraine 50K
    This should be fairly easy, considering I have a much faster 50K PR now and I have figured out how to keep sunscreen out of my eyes.
  3. Overall PR at Chippewa Moraine 50K
    This is going to be harder, because I think this course is harder than the Fall Back Blast course, but I think I can do it. I’m definitely going to be coming up with a sub-8 hour race plan. My training hasn’t been superb but I’ve got a few weeks to get my energy back.
  4. Sub 4 hours at Superior 25K
    I was close last year. I know it’s possible this year.
  5. Sub 30 minutes at Be The Match 5K
    I haven’t run a sub 30 5K since… since last year’s Be The Match. So I’m not even looking to PR right now, just looking to get back in that ballpark.

These are all time goals, and I usually try to mix in goals that aren’t time-related, but I can’t think of anything I want to do right now. I need to get back into a rhythm with training as well as with my daily life before I start to figure out what other goals I can set for myself. I guess one mini goal I had was to run across the Wabasha Street Bridge, which I did, so I can pat myself on the back for that.

Chippewa Moraine 50K Training: Weeks 11-12

Wait, I’m running an ultra next month?

Monday (3/5):
 7.2 mi, treadmill
Tuesday: 6.1 mi, treadmill
Wednesday: 6.8 mi, treadmill
Thursday: rest
Friday: rest (sick)
Saturday: 5.7 mi, treadmill walk
Sunday: 5.8 mi, treadmill walk
Total: 31.6 mi

Monday (3/12): rest
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: rest
Friday: 3.2 mi, treadmill
Saturday: 2.5 mi, treadmill
Sunday: rest
Total: 5.7 mi

A lot happened. I ended up getting a cold, which wasn’t great, but it wasn’t so bad that I was bedridden. I consider this a massive improvement over the colds I used to get. I walked on Saturday and Sunday of week 11 just to keep my legs going, since I knew that I wasn’t going to do much the next week.

Monday of week 12, the movers arrived to start packing up my house. I got in 10,000 steps just dealing with packing stuff and cleaning and preparing to move. I slept really poorly Sunday night, so my plan to work out after the movers left on Monday didn’t come to fruition.

Tuesday, the movers loaded all the stuff onto their truck, my husband and I cleaned up the house we were renting in Duluth, and then we loaded the last few things, plus our cats, into our cars and drove down to St. Paul. Another exhausting day.

Wednesday, the movers showed up with all of our stuff, and then we started unpacking. Thursday, my husband worked and I tried to do some unpacking, but it’s sort of a puzzle, or like untangling a thread. In order to unpack this box, I need to unpack that one, and in order to unpack that one, I need to figure out where the bookshelf is going to go, and so on. Or I can’t unpack this box because I don’t have a bar in my closet to hang stuff.

Friday I finally worked out for awhile! It felt strange. I ran on the treadmill, which is now in my living room (we couldn’t get it downstairs) and on a wood floor, so it’s a bit noisier. (Well, it’s on a mat on a wood floor.) Then I went to two hockey games and walked all over downtown St. Paul. Saturday I did an even shorter workout, chilled with my nephew for a bit, and then went to two more hockey games and walked all over downtown St. Paul. Sunday I went to a baby shower and didn’t get up in time to buy a gift and drive across town to the shower, so I didn’t run.

So now I’m in a new city with a new role, a longer commute, and no tried-and-true running routes (but plenty to discover!). I’m trying to get back to normal, but it might take awhile to get back into a groove. Warmer weather should help, if that ever comes. Today is the vernal equinox, so of course it snowed. Ha!

Chippewa Moraine 50K Training: Week 10

Marking time.

Monday: 8.6 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Tuesday: 7 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Wednesday: 4.6 mi, treadmill hill workout
Thursday: rest
Friday: 6.5 mi, treadmill
Saturday: 10.2 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Sunday: 8 mi, road (Minnesota Point)
Total: 45 mi

After a few weeks of lower mileage, I picked things up again this week. I only had two treadmill runs, too! That was pleasant. Somehow I didn’t even remember that – I thought it was yet another week of the treadmill grind.

Since it snowed a lot last weekend and then we had a few warmer days with below-freezing nights, I knew I was going to be limited in spots to run. Sidewalk shoveling is iffy (I’m guilty of this myself) and drainage is poor, and I figured many trails would either be skating rinks or unpacked, so I stuck with the safest options.

The Lakewalk itself is a lake in spots, which was slightly annoying. I had to detour onto the gritty snow on the sides a few times, which was fine but took a bit out of my legs. Tuesday, it turned out that there was a Grandma’s Marathon training group out as well, so I ended up “banditing” part of their training run (I went past their turnaround point, so they were all gone by the time I turned around #humblebrag). I filed that away in my memory for this week, since that was a significantly larger group of people than I prefer to encounter during training.

Wednesday was my grandmother’s 92nd birthday, so I visited her for an hour or so pre-workout. I considered making that my rest day, but since I was driving to and from the Twin Cities on Thursday for work, I just did a short workout after my visit. That kind of makes me sound like I sacrificed time with my grandparents for a workout, but we had a great visit and I am there at least twice a week, so I’m not a completely awful person.

Both Saturday and Sunday, I started my workouts significantly later than I needed to, for no reason. I find myself stalling and finding all kinds of distractions and excuses not to start my run, and then I get in my head about it. “You ate breakfast/lunch like you were going to run 10 miles, now you have to.” “But it’s cold.” “But I’m going to be done late.” “But I am enjoying watching this movie.” “Maybe I can just do 6 miles.” “Maybe I’ll just run on the treadmill even though I have the opportunity to run outside.” “What if the route is snowy/icy/impassable?” “I don’t wanna put on all that gear.” “I’m so slow, this will take forever.” “I have to pee for the 10th time.”

I really admire people who just get out there and run. I also admire me because I do get out there and run, eventually. It is hard, for no reasons other than ones I invent for myself, but I do still have to grapple with those reasons. I’d like to think that I’m not going to be quite so neurotic about running once the weather clears up, but I can’t say for sure. I guess eventually it’ll be warm and I’ll find out.

Chippewa Moraine 50K Training: Weeks 7-9

I’m in survival mode right now, which has resulted in a lot of treadmill running and not much other stuff. I’m moving in a couple weeks and have a lot of other stuff to take care of on top of training.

Monday (2/5): 7.9 mi, treadmill
Tuesday: 6 mi, treadmill hill workout
Wednesday: 5.6 mi, treadmill
Thursday: 8.1 mi, treadmill
Friday: rest
Saturday: 8.4 mi, trail (Hartley)
Sunday: 16.1 mi, trail (Munger)
Total: 52.1 mi

Ever have a training run that feels as amazing as a race? That was me on that 16.1 mile run on the Munger trail. I was flying at the end, even after suffering through some bitterly cold winds in the last 5 miles.

Monday (2/12): 6.2 mi, treadmill
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 6.2 mi, pavement (Lakewalk), fartlek
Thursday: 7 mi, road (Minnesota Point)
Friday: rest (I closed on my house this day!)
Saturday: 8.7 mi, trail (Hartley)
Sunday: 8.3 (3.1 & 5.2) mi, treadmill
Total: 36.4 mi

This was a planned cutback week, although I intended to run more on Sunday. I planned to run outside on Sunday (or do a split indoor/outdoor), but then decided against it due to the snow (it snowed Sunday-Tuesday), and then I ended up with a shorter run than planned since my stomach was acting up a bit. The weather was fairly balmy Wednesday and Thursday, so I was able to get outside and run. I’ve been carrying a head lamp in my pocket and putting it on if needed, but it’s so pleasant to have more daylight.

Monday (2/19): 7.9 mi, treadmill
Tuesday: 8.3 (2.7 & 5.6) mi, treadmill
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: 5.6 mi, treadmill
Friday: 8.1 mi, treadmill
Saturday: rest
Sunday: 2.5 mi, treadmill
Total: 32.4 mi

This last week ended up being an unintentional cutback week. I knew that due to snow, we’d have to make a weekend trip down to check on our new house and to shovel the sidewalks there, so I tried to front-load my week as much as I could. Wednesday I had dinner with friends, so I knew that would be a rest day. Thursday was brutal. I’d stayed up extremely late watching USA win the gold in women’s hockey, and couldn’t fall asleep after due to the adrenaline and excitement. I slept poorly and was a zombie at work all day, but I still managed to get in a workout. Hooray for me. Friday I stayed up even later watching USA win the gold in curling, and there was no chance for a workout the next morning. Saturday I drove down to shovel the sidewalks at our new house, and then got a few things done there. I stayed overnight due to the weather, shoveled again at the new house, did a few other things to prep for the move, then drove back to Duluth to shovel at our current place. I was glad to get any miles in at all on Sunday.

Other than shoveling, I haven’t been doing much strength. Maybe some push-ups or planks here and there. I need to get back into that, but at the same time, I’m in survival mode, so I’m trying not to wear myself down. Since I’m a master procrastinator, what I should do is start my strength routine while I’m in procrastination mode (specifically on the weekends), instead of waiting til after the workout is done, when it’s dinner time, or when I get home from a run and I’m chilly from wearing damp, sweaty clothes. I am dreaming of the balmy spring days just around the corner, when the temperature doesn’t sap my energy.

Now that the Olympics are over (I devoured as much Olympics content as I could, sometimes watching a TV feed of one event and a stream of another), I have a bit more flexibility with my running. And maybe I need to wax up my cross-country skis and get out on the trails in this fresh snow…

UMD women’s hockey is also done for the season, so that frees up a little more of my time. Trying to get a run in before an afternoon hockey game was kind of a pain in the butt. Ugh, the amount of time and mental energy I expend procrastinating my runs is really starting to add up. Sometimes I spend more time procrastinating than the actual run takes. It’s a vicious cycle that I need to find a way to escape. It’s extra vicious in winter, so I know it’ll resolve itself in a few weeks, but avoiding that entirely next winter would be nice. Maybe next winter I’ll be so much faster that my runs won’t seem so onerous. Hahahahahaha.

Great news, though: I signed up for FANS 24 hour again. Game on. Never mind that I’m in a mental mindset right now where I can’t imagine racing – that’ll pass. At least, it had better pass, as I have a race (Hot Dash 10 mi) in less than a month!