Chippewa Moraine 50K Training: Week 6

Halfway there! I can’t decide if that’s awesome or scary.

Monday: 4.6 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 7.4 mi, road (Minnesota Point)
Thursday: 4.1 mi, road
Friday: 3.2 mi, paved trail (Medicine Lake)
Saturday: 10.5 mi, road + paved trail (Hot Dash 10 Mile, + 0.5 mi warm-up)
Sunday: 4 mi, road
Total: 33.8 mi

Last week was an intentional step-back week. I wasn’t sure how I would feel after racing a longer road run, so I didn’t want to put too much stress on my body.

I’ve basically forgotten most of last week already. I’m kinda tired after a two-day training that took a lot out of my brain, and I was busy all weekend with hockey stuff. I had a few nice-ish days of running, temperature-wise, but not really. A lot of the ice is gone from the sidewalks, which is especially nice since the Lakewalk is apparently under construction for some kind of utility work. I haven’t verified this is true, but it said it would be in the paper last week. There are still some icy patches here and there from melting snow re-freezing, but they’re at least avoidable at this point.

Thursday I had planned on running a few more miles, but I had to go to the dentist in the morning, and wanted to wait until my mouth wasn’t numb anymore, but I ended up having to run with slightly numb lips because I had to get it done before my cat sitter stopped by to pick up the keys. A very exciting lifestyle, I know. We drove down to the Twin Cities on Thursday afternoon.

Friday I wanted to get a very short run in, to at least keep my legs moving. I only ran like 5K, but I felt like crap most of the time. One of these days, I am going to run around Medicine Lake, but I didn’t make the time this visit. I spent the rest of the day at the NCHC hockey tournament, cheering on the Bulldogs. I did get another 4 miles of walking due to wandering around the Target Center, competing horribly in a dance-off on the video screen, and cheering for the Dogs.

Saturday was the race, of course. I was cold after the race and ended up lounging around at my Dad’s house in my pajamas, tucked in blankets. I didn’t want to be cold at the hockey game. I walked around downtown Minneapolis a bit before the Bulldogs game, and between my nerves from the game and some secondary fatigue from the race, I wasn’t sure how I would make it through the game. It turned out to be exciting, enraging, and exhilarating all at once, so after the ‘Dogs won, I was so jacked up I couldn’t go to sleep.

I ran a short recovery run on Sunday after we drove home. I thought I’d feel like crap, but my legs felt pretty good! At least once I got past the large annoying hill on Kenwood that always locks up my calves if I hit it too early.

This week, my mini-goal is to recover, I guess. (My mini-goal last week was to race well. Accomplished!) I am hoping to get in a long run, but I also might have to go to Fargo to see about some hockey on Saturday.

Race Report: Hot Dash 10 Mile

Ha! I ran a race. I was going to make a post about my goals, but didn’t make it a priority. It wasn’t a race I trained specifically for, so I didn’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about it. To the point where I didn’t even look at the course in detail, and didn’t really look at how I was even going to get there/park/other stuff until this morning.

Official Results:
Time: 1:48:08
Pace: 10:49
Overall: 1628/2008
Gender: 935/1228
Division (F 30-34): 196/243

Watch Results:
Time: 1:48:16
Pace: 10:25/mi
Distance: 10.39
Heart Rate: N/A

A: 1:50:00
B: 1:59:59
(I swear these were my goals, not just goals I made after the fact to make myself look like a rock star.)

What I ate the night before: bratwurst (I was at a hockey game) and Chex Mix
What I ate on race morning: Clif bar
What I carried with me: water + electrolytes

What I wore: t-shirt, shorts, arm warmers, buff as headband, ball cap, tall socks (that fell down)
Gadgets: GPS watch, fitness tracker

Discussion: That was very cold.

The early forecast made it seem like it was going to be in the low 50s on race day, but then started creeping down into the 40s, so I quick ordered some arm warmers since I didn’t want to wear a long sleeve or gloves, but didn’t want to be cold at the start. It was about 33F when I left my dad’s house Saturday morning for the race (with a stop to buy my morning snack, and then another stop at the ATM in case I had to pay to park, which I did not), but I figured it would warm up a bit and by the end of the race maybe be like 40F. I was going to be running for about 2 hours, and the race started later in the day (9:15). News flash: it did not warm up much. It was about 35F at the end. Ugh.

I slept ok the night before, which is always a crapshoot for me. I wasn’t at home, which always makes it tougher to sleep, and I often get too amped up or anxious about races, so I stay up half the night or more (like my DNS at Curnow). I did dream about being late to the race and forgetting half my gear, whoops.

I felt a little rushed trying to get to the race, since I thought I might need cash, and the ATM was broken at the convenience store where I stopped to get my Clif bar, so I had to stop at a drive up ATM further on. I was worried about needing to pay for parking. Then I ended up parking on the street, so that was a waste of time. I sat in my car with it running and got all my stuff together. At the very last minute, I decided not to wear my jacket, and left it in the car. I ran the half mile from my car to the race start, then found my friend and talked to him for a little bit. He wanted to start closer to the front than I did, so we parted ways. I was a bit chilly, but not shivering. It was overcast and there was an unpleasant wind.

The race started but I didn’t make it over the timing mat until 2:38 had passed. Fine with me. I dodged and weaved a little bit but since we were running on closed streets, there seemed to be more room than normal. We did a quick zag down and back a couple of blocks right away, and then crossed the Mississippi River on 8th Ave NE. The bridge was of course a bit of an uphill but it wasn’t too bad. The route then followed the river down past the mill ruins, underneath 35 W, underneath 94, and down just past Mississippi Gorge Park (though that was on the other side of the river). I wish it had been later in the year, or that spring had already arrived, because I think it would have been more scenic, but it was cool to run by the Mill City Museum and the Guthrie and all the other great stuff along the river front.

This course is not flat, by any means. I didn’t really know what I was in for, so I actually am extra pleased with my pace results, since there were several significant hills. I ran them all, even though it felt kind of terrible. This was ultimately a training run, but I still wanted to see what I was capable of, so I didn’t hold back much. I didn’t know the route at all, so I couldn’t come up with a race plan, I just went with it. I knew my GPS was off, so I just switched my watch over to display elapsed time whenever I came upon a mile marker (they had these nice big flags, so I could see one and quick switch over), and made sure I was under 11:oo pace (since my watch was measuring long, it had me at a great pace!).

I don’t remember much about what happened after crossing the river for the first time, and the turnaround. There was a very nice downhill that I knew would become a very unpleasant uphill. Between miles 3 and 4, I passed 4 or 5 different splatters of puke, probably from the same person. Look, in a 10 mile race, if you’re throwing up less than halfway in, you are either going too hard, or you are too hung over and need to call it a day. Gross. Puke in the grass, at least.

I was able to fly through the aid stations because I had my handheld. There were great, enthusiastic volunteers all along the course, from the water stations to the turns (every turn had a volunteer, so great!), and I was glad I had the breath to thank them. That was actually my best way of gauging my effort level: I was able to thank volunteers in full sentences, so I wasn’t going out too hard. Shortly before the turnaround (which was at around 5.5 miles, I think), I caught up to my friend and talked to him a bit. I hit the 5 mile timing mat at a 10:54 pace, which was just under goal pace. I kind of liked that the turnaround was a little past 5 miles, because it meant I already had less than half the race to go.

I caught the 12:00 pace group (who had started much farther up to the front) in the early miles, and in the back half, I realized I was closing in on the 11:00 pace group. I knew since they started ahead of me, as long as I stayed ahead of them, I’d finish under goal pace. I got ahead of them just before a hill, which kind of stunk. The pace leader told me to keep my head up, which was a good tip, since I’m always dropping my head. He said it shortens your stride on uphills. Interesting! I did my best to hammer up the hills and then keep my legs churning til they recovered.

The course crossed the river at the Stone Arch Bridge, and went past St. Anthony Main before crossing onto Nicollet Island. I thought oh, this nice downhill must be close to the end, but then no, the race took us back up another uphill as we crossed back over onto the east bank. There was yet another uphill before the finish, but then a downhill and a nice flat finish just short of where the race began.

Here’s my race results link, which has my finish video, in which I look super amazing. I’m the only person in shorts. (When anyone commented on the shorts, I replied “I live in Duluth,” which they all found sufficient for an explanation.) I felt great, cruising into the finish line, even though the surprise hills at the end threw me a bit. I had tried to get my final kick going a couple times before realizing oh, there’s another hill, gotta hang on, but I still had legs left to finish strong and happy.

I waited around for my friend to finish, and that was probably not the best idea for me, health-wise, because I was sweaty and it was still cold. I cheered him on just before the finish, and then met up with him after he left the chute. We talked for a little while, but I absolutely had to get going because my hands were getting cold. I got my finisher’s medal and walked back to the car, feeling miserable because my hands were just getting redder and colder by the minute. I made it back to the car and sat there for a few minutes (I put my running jacket on right away) before my hands recovered enough to drive. I picked up bagels and a latte on the drive home, though I was still chilled (and had to stand near the door while waiting for my coffee, getting a blast of cold air every time it opened) and really should have gone straight back. I recovered at home for awhile, finally getting the chill to go away by wrapping up in blankets, then taking a shower about half an hour later.

The race was pretty fun! It was a nice challenging course, and a positive way to kick off my 2017 race calendar! The race jacket, which came with my entry fee, is great for one reason: ZIPPERED POCKETS. I don’t have enough running gear with zippered pockets in which to store my car key. This race also helped me build confidence for Chippewa Moraine: surely even on trails, I can still hit those cutoffs. If I can run a hilly 10 mile road course in under 11 min miles, I can run 15 miles at less than a 15 min pace.

Chippewa Moraine 50K Training: Weeks 4 and 5

I was away all week for a work training and after long days learning about quality management auditing, I didn’t have the mental acuity left to write a grocery list, let alone a blog post about training.

 5.3 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Tuesday: 6.1 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Wednesday: 5.1 mi, trail (Bagley)
Thursday: rest
Friday: 8.4 mi, road + paved trail (Lakewalk + Minnesota Point)
Saturday: 15.4 mi, road + trail (road + Hartley Root Canal + Guardrail)
Sunday: 3.5 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Total: 43.9 mi

Monday: 7 mi, treadmill
Tuesday: 6 mi, treadmill
Wednesday: 5 mi, treadmill
Thursday: 6 mi, treadmill
Friday: rest
Saturday: rest
Sunday: 16.2 mi, paved trail (Munger Trail)
Total: 40.2 mi

Oof. A couple of tough weeks. I’ve already forgotten everything that happened in Week 4. Except I managed to run 15.4 miles in 3:32, so I am in better shape than I thought for this race. Maybe I won’t get cut! And I still have several weeks of worthwhile training to go.

Sunday-Friday I was in the Twin Cities for a work training, as I said. It was pretty tiring, but I did manage to work out every day that I stayed overnight (except Sunday, I ran before I left). I know it seems odd to have Friday and Saturday as rest days, but as I looked at the weather report, I saw that Friday was going to be pretty cold (like, a high of 15 F) and I chose to do 4 treadmill runs and rest Friday rather than freezing my butt off. And then on Saturday I woke up and decided not to run. Eh, I had 2 hockey games to attend, and I was tired.

Sunday’s long run was awful and I truly hope it’s my last long run in the cold until maybe like December. (I mean I would prefer I don’t have a cold long run in December either but I’m being realistic.) I ran on the Munger Trail now that I am positive that the snowmobiles are off it. While large stretches of the trail are bare now, there were lots of icy sections, including one where I walked for like half a mile because I couldn’t avoid the ice, and one section that was SO slippery that even sliding across the ice without picking up my feet, I lost control and slid (very slowly) off to the side without intending to. I almost biffed it several times along the way. And then it started to snow. And then I turned around and the second half of the run was into the wind. It was awesome. (No). I’m so tired. I took an ecologically-unsound-length shower to try to warm up and make my arms work again. It was my first run in a long time with my hydration pack, which is like a strength workout! Also I got sort of zoned out about 11 or so miles in and forgot to take a drink for awhile, and the water froze in the tubes. And I was so thirsty at that point! Or just annoyed.

This week I’m running a 10 mile race on Saturday, so it’s going to be a step back week, mileage-wise. Forecast says it’s going to be in the 40s or maybe even 50s, so I’m thrilled. Of course something crazy will happen and it’ll be 30 and sleeting.

Chippewa Moraine 50K Training: Week 3

Back to winter weather. Although I shouldn’t complain, it’s not sub-zero.

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 3.3 mi, road
Wednesday: 7.1 mi, road
Thursday: 5.2 mi, road/paved trail (Lakewalk + Minnesota Point)
Friday: 5.1 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Saturday: 7.9 mi, road
Sunday: 14 mi, road + trail (Minnesota Point + Lakewalk)
Total: 42.6 mi

It rained on Monday so I took an unexpected off day. That meant it would be more challenging for me to meet my mileage goal for the week (43 miles), due to other commitments during the week. I decided to run a very short workout before my class on Tuesday, in order to take advantage of the last warm-ish day in the forecast. I’m glad I did!

Wednesday I was able to get in a longer run, in a light rain/snow mix, but Thursday and Friday I really had to push. Due to high school hockey games, the Bulldogs men’s games were Thurs-Fri instead of Fri-Sat, so I had to hustle and get my runs in between work and the games. Of course, I was late to both games anyway, Thursday because I had to do an emergency load of laundry as my cat barfed on my duvet cover, duvet, and sheets. I made it to the game after throwing everything in the dryer. Friday I was late just because I lollygagged. I managed a couple of 5 mile runs that I wouldn’t call tempo runs, but they weren’t exactly relaxed. It’s amazing to me that I’m now running 5 mile workouts at what was my race pace in my first 5K since getting back into running. An unconventional way of measuring progress, sure, but it made me smile.

Because I didn’t have enough hockey between streaming UMD’s women’s games and attending the men’s games, I went to the Duluth East – Cloquet-Esko-Carlton game on Saturday with my dad. This meant once again completing a run before a certain time (I was late to the game anyway). I ran 7.9 miles on a loop through Hunter’s Park, avoiding large patches of ice and walking up the big hill on Glenwood because I just didn’t feel like running it. It was sunny, but colder than I expected.

Sunday I put off my run because it was still snowing when I got up. I had planned to run to Hartley, do 2 loops there, and then run home, but since it had snowed a couple inches and plowing/shoveling was iffy along the route, I decided to change my plans. This was confirmed as a good idea when I saw a woman biff it on the sidewalk, slipping on some ice concealed by the fresh, fluffy snow. I knew there were icy spots along my planned route, and I didn’t want to run on such uncertain ground. I parked in Canal Park, ran over the bridge and down to the airport at Park Point & back, stopped at my car to grab a water bottle and a bite of food, and then ran to the end of the “main” Lakewalk and back.

Sunday’s run wasn’t really pleasant. There were lots of spots where I had to break through the snow, and though it was soft snow, it slowed me down and wore down my legs. I also had to run on the shoulder or even in the road at times. There were other spots that looked like they were wet, but could have been black ice, and I wasn’t interested in finding out by slipping and twisting my knee, so I was forced to slow down or dodge around them. I was cold, too. My gloves were wet from sweat and snot, so my hands were cold, and only got colder when I started carrying my water bottle. I was cranky and tired and sick of my running clothes, and I didn’t want to keep running. But I did, and that’s what counts.

My mini-goal for the week was to do strength workouts. I did 4: 1 yoga video, 2 body weight sessions (that weren’t very long), and 1 bout of shoveling (this probably doesn’t really count). I’m still doing all right on sleep, which was the previous week’s mini-goal.

This week’s mini-goal is to quit procrastinating and start my runs earlier. I get home, fart around, and then it’s after 6 pm by the time I start my run. That’s fine in the summer, when it’s light out til like 10 PM, and it’s cooler in the evening anyway, but it isn’t so great in the winter, when I lose all motivation after the sun goes down. I’d like to get some stuff done around the house, and fit in more strength sessions, so I need to start earlier. Unlike my other mini-goals, this won’t be something I can necessarily repeat every week, since sometimes I’ve just got to decompress after work, but I just have to make it through a few more weeks of wintry weather (I hope) before the days are longer and milder. And I did laundry last night, so I have fresh clean running clothes and gloves to motivate me!

Short and Sweet

In praise of short runs.

Before yesterday, my last run that took under an hour happened December 29th, and my last run under 4 miles (that wasn’t a race) was November 30th.

This isn’t really surprising, since I have been training for longer races for almost a year now, and I am slow, so even short runs take quite awhile. Lots of people can get in a medium-length run in under an hour, but I can’t.

It’s also hard to see the point of hauling on all my gear just to get out and do 2 or 3 miles. It seems like a lot of effort for very little benefit. What’s a 2.5 mile run (that isn’t a speed workout) going to do for my 50k training?

This winter, I have been using Tuesday as my off day, because I have a night course prepping for the Fundamentals of Engineering exam. I don’t have enough time to run between work and class. But yesterday, I was determined to get out. The weather is going to start turning colder (though not terribly cold, relatively speaking), and I did not want to miss out on the last mild day for awhile. So I left work slightly early, suited up as quickly as I could (only a little bit of lollygagging, since I got a package from my mom in the mail), and put in 3.3 miles on the road.

It was awesome. I was giddy at the prospect that not only had my run barely started, it was almost over. (Of course this also meant that the proportion of time the run sucked was very high — the first 2 miles are always the worst.) I didn’t wear gloves, because I didn’t have to worry about cold hands – I’d be done soon! It didn’t matter if my feet got wet – they wouldn’t have time to get cold either! It was still light out when I finished, AND I had time to get coffee and a muffin before class. I was also still high on endorphins during class, and further elated that I finally remembered something about a subject (statics). Usually I sit there with a blank stare, trying to remember the class I took 3 years ago on the subject du jour. “So you guys remember this, right? It’s a simple redox reaction. The half reaction isszzzzzz…”

My choices lately when I don’t have a lot of time to run are either 1. don’t run or 2. run longer and be late to wherever I have to be. That is really stupid. If I can fit in an extra rest day and still get the mileage I want, I should probably go with the rest day, but there’s always been this option right in front of me, that I’ve been avoiding: run a short run. They’re nice.

Chippewa Moraine 50K Training: Week 2

Monday: 5.6 mi, trail (Bagley + one loop around campus)
Tuesday: rest (FE prep course)
Wednesday: rest (hockey)
Thursday: 7.2 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk + Minnesota Point)
Friday: 6.4 mi, road + trail (to/from Bagley, one short loop)
Saturday: 8.1 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Sunday: 11.9 mi, road + trail (to/from Hartley, Guardrail + Root Canal + SHT to Arrowhead Rd)
Total: 39.1 mi

A great week of training! I ended up with 2 days off last week again, since I made plans on Wednesday, but was still able to hit the mileage I wanted to. 2 rest days is kind of nice, although I wouldn’t mind having some time to myself on one of them. That might happen this week, if it rains as much as it says it’s going to today.

The weather was mild all week, and I took full advantage of it. I was grinning, just grinning, during most of my runs. I was happy to get in some trail running during the week. I still need a headlamp, but it’s staying lighter later & later, which I enjoy.

Thursday I actually ran without a headlamp, which I did not intend. I forgot it, and I was already halfway to the parking lot at the Rose Garden, so I didn’t turn around. I survived, although I had to slow down a bit due to uncertain terrain. There are still so many icy patches.

Friday, even with the headlamp, I ended up having to walk a lot during the last couple of miles due to icy sidewalks. The sidewalk drainage in Duluth is not the best. I was late to the hockey game (like, I arrived at the start of the second period) on Friday due to a late start running, and then ended up freezing cold at the game. I get a bit chilled after a run, and sitting in a cool rink, holding a cold pop, doesn’t help.

Saturday was so warm I ran in a tank top and shorts. I warmed up with a jacket on, but realized after only a mile or so that I’d be too hot if I kept it on, so I ended up running with it tied around my waist like a dork. I started later than planned (I went to a town hall meeting in the morning, and needed to get to a hockey game by 4, which I did not, but came close), so I ended up turning it into a tempo-ish run. I didn’t have a lot of jump in my legs, but I did end up with an average pace of 11:39. For me, that’s pretty good, especially since I had to dodge tourists and Pokemon Go players.

Sunday was warm again, though not as warm as Saturday. I wore tights, but ended up with the jacket around my waist again. I had a t-shirt on and wore my lightweight gloves, and only felt a bit cool. The snow was soft, so it was kind of slow going, and there was one point where I had to break trail (when I left Woodland to get on the Superior Hiking Trail segment that links in to Hartley) which wore on my legs a bit. I finished the whole run at a pace of 14:32, which is fantastic. I need to finish the first half of CM50K in 4 hours, which is a 15:2X pace, so I am feeling pretty confident about that right now. I realize it won’t be on the road, but it also won’t be in snow.

My focus last week was to work on getting more sleep, and I did a great job, I think. I registered about 7 hours of sleep each night (although some of that wasn’t actually sleep, just me lying in bed trying to ignore my cats or my husband’s snoring, but my fitness tracker thought I was sleeping). I’ll pat myself on the back, and try to keep that up while I focus on something new this week: strength training.

I say this every training cycle. I think I’m at “definition of insanity” levels of repetition here. I don’t know what my freaking problem is. Well, one of the problems is that I’m always procrastinating and starting my runs so late that I’m out of time to do a strength routine before dinner/hockey/whatever. That’ll be a focus next week, maybe, but I need to get back to strength training RIGHT AWAY. I do not know why this is so hard for me. Do some freaking push-ups, lady. I plan to do a lot more running this year than I did last year, so I need to take care of my core. My back was a bit sore after my fast-ish run on Saturday, which was a wake-up call. So, if I do any strength at all (that includes like, 3 sets of pushups or something), that’s a win for the day.

Spring Running Goals: 2017

As I alluded to last week, I set my goals for “spring” (let’s call that March-May).

  1. Race a distance I have not raced before.
    This will probably be a 10K or a 10 miler, in March.
  2. Run a race where I’m not sure I can make the cutoff.
    I have a fear of getting swept, so I’ve always signed up for races with extremely generous cutoffs (either walk/runs, or trail races where there are longer distances). I’m going to want to run those longer distances one day, so I’m going to need to face my fear eventually. Chippewa Moraine 50K, with a 4 hour cutoff at the halfway point, and a 9 hour overall cutoff, will be my first chance to face my fear.
  3. PR at the 50K distance.
    My PR is 10:25, so it’s PR or bust at CM50K.
  4. Help my team for Be The Match 5K raise $2000.
    Last year we raised $1286.66, so $2000 would be a huge PR!
  5. Improve my time at Superior 25K.
    Last year was rough, because it was so hot. I am hoping for cooler weather, or if not cooler weather, then better coping skills.

The most ambitious of the goals might be the fundraising goal. Maybe this year someone other than my mom and me will solicit donations. The rest are pretty conservative, but since spring running up here is so unpredictable, sometimes even conservative goals are hard to achieve (see: Superior 25K).