Twin Cities Marathon Training: Week 13

Friday the 13th on week 13? Spooky!

Monday: 5 mi, treadmill
Tuesday: 6.3 mi, paved trail (7 x 0.5 mi, MRT)
Wednesday: 5.4 mi,
Thursday: rest
Friday: 6.1 mi, paved trail (40 @ tempo, Bruce Vento Regional Trail)
Saturday: 6.1 mi, paved trail (3 @ marathon pace, Battle Creek)
Sunday: 12.1 mi, trail (Afton State Park)
Total: 41 mi

I took Monday off after Superior, knowing I’d need a day to recover from the hectic pace. I thought I’d be able to run somewhere fun since I had all day, but it rained and was cold so I ended up on the treadmill again. That was disappointing, but I did manage to get in a nice groove and only had to pause twice in the beginning (once because getting on the treadmill always makes me have to pee, and once because something fell off the table behind me and I wanted to make sure nothing was broken or in danger of getting stuck behind the treadmill).

Tuesday I meant to do 8 x 0.5 mi repeats, but after 2 repeats I didn’t want to do them anymore, after the third repeat I realized I needed to do them in control rather than as fast as possible (especially since I’d eaten an excess of goldfish crackers prior to the workout), and after the fourth repeat realized I wouldn’t have time to get home by 8 PM if I didn’t skip the last repeat as well as the usual mile cooldown I do afterward. Whoops. So I did seven repeats and a wimpy cooldown and went home to play HQ trivia.

Wednesday’s workout was great! I had thought I was going to be stuck on the treadmill again due to rain, but the rain passed through earlier than anticipated and I was able to get out and run around Crosby Farm and the Mississippi River Trail. It was cool and the last few miles felt effortless in a way running hasn’t felt in a long time for me. I took Thursday off due to the weather, and then did a tempo run on the Bruce Vento trail along Swede Hollow and Phalen Blvd on Friday. There were several, um, events occurring in Swede Hollow Park (especially around Swedehenge); one of which appeared to be something staged by the Life and Death Brigade from Gilmore Girls. I felt like crap during the run and my legs felt like they weight a ton each (do I write this every week? I think I do), but I did manage a decent overall pace and was happy with the results of the run even if it was miserable to do.

Saturday I had a couple things to do in the afternoon (a housewarming party for friends and a visit to see my mom’s new tiny kitten), so I needed to get my run done quickly. I went to Battle Creek because it was easy and did a loop around the dog park area, then a loop around the water park/playground area, and then another dog park loop. I tried to run 3 of those miles at marathon pace, but dialing that in wasn’t easy. It was either too hard of an effort or too easy, I couldn’t ever really settle in to 11:29. So that’s going to be my battle the next few weeks; understanding what marathon pace feels like. I’m paying for the “marathon effort” workouts done in the heat this summer!

Sunday I wanted to do a longish run, but also needed to pick up a state park pass so I can be ready for my volunteering stint next weekend at In Yan Teopa. I decided to go to Afton and did 12 miles, which was fun but also slower than I wanted to be. Afton is hilly and it was hot! I need to go back there once the weather is slightly cooler and see what it’s like to run there when I’m not baking in the sun on the prairie loop. I do love running there, although I hate running along the river when there are so many power boats roaring up and down it. It’s not very peaceful.

I was glad to get over the 40 mile threshold this week, not just because I’m in a hyper-competitive steps challenge at work, but also because I’ve been slacking on my mileage lately. For good reason, of course – spending time with my family over Labor Day weekend and spending time with my friends at Superior was far more important than an extra 5-10 miles of training.

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Twin Cities Marathon Training: Weeks 11 and 12

I had a couple down weeks in training thanks to a fun Labor Day vacation and an amazing weekend volunteering at Superior. Well worth it in both cases!

Monday (8/26): 3.1 mi, road
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 6.3 mi, road (7 x Wabasha St Bridge)
Thursday: 6.4 mi, paved trail (50 @ tempo, Mississippi River Trail)
Friday: 3.4 mi, trail (Battle Creek)
Saturday: 6.2 mi, road (Pike Lake loop)
Sunday: rest
Total: 25.3 mi

Monday (9/2): 13 mi, paved trail (MRT and Crosby Farms)
Tuesday: 6.4 mi, paved trail (Big Rivers)
Wednesday: 6.2 mi, paved trail (45 @ tempo, MRT)
Thursday: 3 mi, treadmill
Friday: “rest” (Superior volunteering)
Saturday: “rest” (Superior volunteering)
Sunday: 4 mi, trail (Battle Creek)
Total: 32.7 mi

I’ve felt pretty tired lately, so it was good to have some down time and some extra rest days. Running 6 days a week gets kind of annoying, but I just don’t have the time to get in that mileage over 5 days. #Slowrunnerproblems I guess.

The week of the 26th, my legs felt heavy and yucky. This is probably in part because on Monday, after my short run around my neighborhood, I went to see Iron Maiden and rocked out super hard. I had to take the next day off because my poor legs had taken such a beating. My bridge repeats were tough on Wednesday were tough, too. I got them done, but it felt like my legs weighed a ton apiece. My tempo run went a little better, though I wasn’t sure at the time (I try not to look at my pace during tempo runs, I run by effort). I don’t usually stack up two speed workouts back to back, but there wasn’t any other way to get them both completed.

On Friday, we decided to head up to Duluth in the evening to avoid the bulk of the Labor Day traffic, so I got in a short run before the drive. I managed to pry myself away from the craziness on Saturday (sailing, jet skis, etc.) to go for a run around Pike Lake, but I couldn’t muster the energy on Sunday so I took that as an extra rest day. We headed home on Sunday afternoon, later than planned, and by the time we got home, I didn’t want to do anything but veg out on the couch.

That rest day on Sunday was helpful because it allowed me to get in a long run (13 mi) on Monday, without having super tired legs. I didn’t realize pretty much everyone in the Twin Cities metro area had decided to descend on Crosby Farms and Hidden Falls, so it took me a really long time to find a place to park. Both of the Crosby lots were full, and there was a huge backup at Hidden Falls but I managed to snag a spot by being in the right place at the right time, when someone else was leaving. I started at Hidden Falls, looped around to Crosby Farms and then came back around Hidden Falls from Mississippi River Blvd, continued to Shadow Falls (running into my husband, who was out for his daily walk, along the way!), and then turned around headed back to my car.  It was a decent long run but I should have started sooner so that I could have gotten a few more miles in. If there’s one thing my marathon training is lacking, it’s long runs.

I had a great run on Tuesday at Big Rivers; my legs felt good for the first time in awhile, and I had a spring in my step. That’s probably because the weather was pretty good, although the wind kicked up at the end. I wanted to add some mileage so I ran across the Mendota Bridge and then came back, and the wind on the return trip was brutal. I was glad it was to my back, because it was blowing sand against my legs hard enough that it stung. I felt sorry for the cyclists headed the other way. The next day I ran a tempo run (only 45 minutes! I’m on the downward slope of my training cycle now!!!) that went pretty well despite being rather hilly. I was pretty pleased with my overall tempo pace, which included just over a minute of waiting for a light, so my actual running pace was even better! I didn’t bother to calculate it because of course a break is a break, it’s part of the run.

Thursday I got in a VERY quick treadmill run before we headed up to Lutsen. I haven’t been on a treadmill in months, which is awesome, but I was too anxious about getting everything packed up and getting on the road with plenty of time to get to the 100 mile packet pickup site in Two Harbors, so I didn’t feel like I had time to get in a road or trail run.

Friday and Saturday I was too busy to get in a run, and I needed to channel all of my physical and mental energy into my volunteer duties. Naturally I’ll be recapping all of that in its own post. I got in a short trail run on Sunday after we got home – it was nice to be out on the trails for myself, instead of just watching others run. I think I ended up with my best time on the Battle Creek ski trails! It’s nice to see my legs come back around and recover from the heaviness and tiredness I’d been experiencing earlier.

There are only 4 more weeks until the marathon! I can’t believe it! I also need to take advantage of this cool weather and get in some runs at marathon pace so I actually know what it feels like. I’m a little nervous about that sub-5 goal. Maybe it’s possible? I ran a half marathon at that pace on minimal training. But that was a half marathon, not a marathon. I do still feel like if I make smart choices on race day, I can get a huge PR, and I’m excited about that!

Summer 2019 Running Goals Revisited

The windy, cooler weather this past week has made it clear that summer is over, so it’s time to take stock of what I’ve accomplished this summer.

  1. Distance PR. I ran 45.4 miles at FANS, which was 3.1 miles farther than I’ve run before. It wasn’t what I hoped for, but it’s still an accomplishment!
  2. Unofficial 50K PR. I didn’t get this – I ran 50K in about 8:44, which isn’t my worst time but is well off my best.
  3. Run a 10K. I ran the Run Baby Run 10K on August 3rd. It wasn’t pretty, but it meets the requirements. I can’t wait to get after that PR!
  4. Run 5 new counties. I took advantage of two work trips to accomplish this goal. In late July, I ran Douglas, Clay, Kittson, and Morrison Counties. In mid-August, I ran Winona County. I also visited six new state parks as a result of this trip!
  5. Volunteer for trail work. I reached out to someone coordinating volunteer work at Fort Snelling State Park, but I haven’t heard back yet. I don’t think that’s a good sign for the condition of the park.

So, 60% is a barely passing grade, and I’m really disappointed that I didn’t get any trail work in (partially because I miss running at Fort Snelling!), but I had a lot of fun getting in new counties and doing lots of exploring around the state.

I also have updates for my annual goals 2/3 of the way through 2019:

  1. 2019 mileage > 2018 mileage
    I’m still behind on this goal, but my mileage significantly declined in the last few months of 2018, so there’s still a lot of opportunity for me to make up ground.
  2. Do 100 pushups/day
    I’m off track on this. I was really doing well, up to 150 pushups/day at one point, but during my trip to North Dakota, I got off track, and it turns out new habits die easily.
  3. Run more new races/courses than old ones.
    I’ve barely raced at all this year, and I haven’t done any repeat race courses!
  4. My highest category of training mileage will not be treadmill mileage.
    I started off with a lot of treadmill running this winter, so it wasn’t until a week or so ago that I pushed treadmill mileage out of the top category for both mileage and quantity of workouts. I’ve now run more workouts and more total miles on paved trails than any other terrain. I haven’t been on a treadmill in a long time!
  5. Start taking a multivitamin.
    Still going strong.
  6. Volunteer at a race that isn’t put on by Rocksteady Running.
    Already completed in the spring.
  7. Go for a run in every county in MN.
    This is of course a multi-season goal, but I am plugging along! I’m trying to make sure I get quality, interesting runs in each county and I’m also trying to do this in a way that is less wasteful by planning ahead and getting a few counties in one trip, and piggybacking on already planned trips.

Twin Cities Marathon Training: Weeks 8, 9, and 10

It’s been awhile.

Monday (8/5): rest
Tuesday: 5.8 mi, road (6 x Wabasha Street Bridge)
Wednesday: 3.3 mi, paved trail (Hyland)
Thursday: 6.4 mi, paved trail (MRT, 45 @ tempo)
Friday: rest
Saturday: 15 mi, paved trail (Crosby Farm + MRT)
Sunday: 5 mi, trail (Battle Creek)
Total: 35.6 mi

Monday (8/12): rest
Tuesday: 6.1 mi, paved trail (MRT, 45 @ tempo)
Wednesday: 5.2 mi, paved trail (Crosby Farms to Hidden Falls & back)
Thursday: 4.4 mi, paved trail (Vento Regional Trail)
Friday: 12.1 mi, paved trail (Wirth Park – Brownie Lake – Cedar Lake – Lake of the Isles)
Saturday: 6.7 mi, trail (2.8 @ Whitewater State Park, 3.9 @ Great River Bluffs State Park)
Sunday: 5.4 mi, paved trail (Fox River Trail)
Total: 39.9 mi

Monday (8/19): 4.5 mi, paved trail (Fox River Trail)
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 5.6 mi, paved trail (Fox River Trail)
Thursday: 6 mi, paved trail (Fox River Trail)
Friday: 7, trail (Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve)
Saturday: rest
Sunday: 12.2 mi, road (home to Summit and back)
Total: 35.3 mi

Sheesh, I guess I went 3 weeks without recapping my training. How will I remember what happened? It doesn’t matter that much.

In Week 8, I plowed through some hill repeats despite hot, windy weather. The next day, I headed out to Hyland on my lunch hour (big mistake, it was way too far of a drive!) to get in a quick run since I was volunteering at the final installment of the Endless Summer Trail Run Series. That race was held at Spring Lake Park Reserve in Hastings, and I need to go back there to run, it was gorgeous! After pounding out a decent tempo run on Thursday, I took a break on Friday because I was planning on running a (free to me) 5K Saturday morning. Instead, I said screw it, slept in, and ran 15 miles, much of it in the pouring rain, in the afternoon. It was a nice change from the heat! I finished up on Sunday with a short run at Battle Creek.

In Week 9, I moved quite a few workouts around to accommodate my weekend travel. I had another fairly decent tempo run on Monday, tested out a new section of trail between Crosby Farms and Hidden Falls (it had been closed for awhile since it was under water and then under river sludge) on Wednesday, barely beat out a storm during a short run on Thursday, and completed my long run on Friday around some of the chain of lakes. I did take a short detour around the quaking bog before heading across the freeway and around Brownie Lake, part of Cedar Lake (light rail construction prevented me from going all the way around), and Lake of the Isles before returning. I did see a woman get into a minor scooter accident and made sure she was okay before continuing. Dramatic! Saturday I drove down to the Chicago burbs for a work training, so I stopped twice to run along the way (checking off Winona county and two more state parks, yay!). That kind of sucked because it made my trip really long and I had to drive 4 more hours in sweaty, stinky clothes… but I suppose I could have also changed clothes if I’d been smart. Thanks to my friend Chris from Running Ahead, I got great advice on a place to run, the Fox River Trail, and ran my first segment after class on Sunday. (Yes, my training started Sunday. Yes, it was a miserable week.)

Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I ran various other segments of the Fox River Trail. It was pretty nice – mostly flat, not too busy, with some decent scenery for the most part. The final day, the route was soured a bit by detours and some grubby areas, but it was fun to try a new section each night without needing to drive too far (or pay any tolls!) before I had dinner and studied for the next day of class. Friday, I had a test in the morning and then went for a run in the late afternoon. It took me over an hour to get to Waterfall Glen Park Reserve due to traffic and due to taking a super long route to avoid tolls (yay!), but it was worth it! Crushed gravel is the best surface ever! (Besides hard-packed dirt singletrack without roots or rocks.) Plus the trail goes around Argonne National Laboratory, which made me feel right at home as an engineer. I drove home Saturday, planning to run when I got home, but there was a mixup with my husband (who was visiting his parents) and I didn’t get my rental car returned until it was much later in the day than I’d planned. I made up for it on Sunday by running from home to Summit Ave (up Ramsey Hill, woof), running down to the start of the St. Thomas campus, and then back home. It rained a bit, but wasn’t too bad.

I’m trying to get back into a normal schedule and into my normal training structure, but I’ve got more disruptions coming the next two weekends, so I’ll just take training as it comes. The weather has started to cool off, so it looks like I might actually have to start, like running marathon pace workouts at marathon pace. Uh oh!

The Existential Dread of Local Running Stores

“Support your local running store!”

What a complicated statement. Be prepared for a heavy dose of emotional hand-wringing and navel-gazing! And also some privileged whining from a cis white lady of average size who can’t get out of her own head.

I have needed a new pair of road shoes for awhile now. I put a lot of miles on my shoes despite advice (propaganda?) to replace them at 250-300 miles. I meant to replace them at 450 mi or so, but I went over the 500 mile mark last week and had to draw a line in the sand.

I hate going into running stores. I just hate it. The very things that make them unique and valuable are also what fill me with existential dread. Knowledgeable, passionate, talented runners – I feel like they can smell my amateurness and my double-digit minute mile pace and think I don’t belong in their store.

This is stupid because I have never actually received overt discrimination from a running store employee. I feel pretty fortunate because I know there are others out there who have been given the once-over by some young, fit, 18 minute 5Ker and been ignored, patronized, or straight up insulted. And here I am unable to get out of my own head and accept that I belong in these spaces.

I had a couple running stores in Duluth that I liked (Austin Jarrow and Duluth Running Company), and if I’m in Duluth when I need new shoes, I will shop there. Out of sheer laziness or cheapness I have purchased shoes online, but I try to avoid shopping online for a variety of reasons (packaging waste, pollution, big box stores that don’t support my running community) and I made a point that I was not going to give in to my laziness this time around. I was going to buy from a Twin Cities-based store and do it in person.

The running stores that are the most involved in the events that I do (trail races, especially) are also the least convenient for me to get to, so I decided to try a different one last weekend, one that I’d never really heard of and didn’t know much about, because it was significantly more convenient. Unfortunately, the experience wasn’t that great, even though it was really no fault of the store or its employees and more my own neurotic reaction to perfectly normal circumstances.

I walked in to the store (with my non-runner spouse) and there were quite a few people in there for such a small store. Probably half the people in there were teen boys, most of whom appeared to be employees, milling about and talking to each other. When I worked in retail, managers would always tell us not to stand in groups and talk, partially because they wanted us to be busy doing stupid stuff like cleaning or trying to open credit cards, and partially because it was poor customer service. It puts the customer in a position where they feel like they are interrupting. Of course I often stood in groups and talked to people, because you can only stand in silence, cleaning the same glass countertop over and over again, for so long before you go insane.

I had a moment of panic where I thought they didn’t have the shoe brand I wanted, and I would have to endure the awkwardness of either leaving right away, or listening to a sales pitch of how I would like this other brand (usually Brooks, it’s always Brooks, or New Balance) and then I’d have to say “No, I do not want to switch shoe models in the middle of marathon training” and then imagine them internally saying “You are running a marathon? Let me guess, Disney in a tutu with your mom friends,” and externally saying “Oh, is this your first marathon?” and then I’d die a little inside because I like pizza and bagels too much to ever look like I’ve run a marathon before. Also there’s nothing wrong with running Disney in a tutu with mom friends, beyond the conspicuous consumption that accompanies the Disney races. Tutus, mom friends, they are cool with me. We don’t all have to wear XXXS singlets with our track club on them in order to be considered runners.

To the store’s credit, one of the teens peeled off from the group right away to approach me politely and ask if he could help me, and then pointed me to the correct spot on the wall where the Mizunos were. I had a moment of disappointment when I saw that the shoes were the exact same color pattern as the pair I had just run into the ground. Boring! He went and grabbed a box, which took approximately one eon to find, while I stood there feeling like I was in everyone’s way, looking around and pondering why Ryan Hall felt the need to write a Bible verse on the signed photo displayed near the register.

The guy handed over the box and I told him I didn’t even need to try them on, which he was cool with. I got in line and that’s when things just got really weird for me. This customer ahead of me was being so strange. He was some kind of running coach, either for high schoolers or for a running club or something, and he was talking loudly with one of the employees about various races that his team had participated in. This woman was also some kind of coach and this guy just seemed like he was… posturing? Trying to appear dominant? Just bragging? I don’t know. It was very weird and he was extremely annoying and his constant talking was slowing down his transaction and prolonging my time in this uncomfortable situation. He filled up the room with his loud talking about how his club beat her club or he would have put together a team for some event but it was age-graded or something. I don’t even know, it was just weird competitive team running stuff that I don’t understand. I mean, I was the SLPHS cross country team manager (boys and girls, mind you) for one season in 2001, so I consider myself somewhat of an expert on this subject, but I couldn’t follow much of what he was talking about. All I knew is if this guy was a dog, he would have been peeing all over this store to mark his territory.

I realize this is unfair to the store, because it’s not their fault they had a weirdly insecure customer loudly talking and practically shouting across the room at their employee. But I really don’t want to go back there because it was such a weird experience, despite it being a relatively convenient store for me to patronize.

This whole experience is part of a larger question for me; I wonder if there will ever come a time when I feel like I belong in running-related spaces. I mean, I generally feel comfortable at trail races now that I’ve met so many people and volunteered and participated. But will there ever be a time when I show up to a race, or walk into a store, or pick up a packet, or wander an expo, and not feel like every person in the place thinks I don’t belong?

And if such a time comes, when will that be? When I reach a certain time in a 5K? When I lose a certain amount of weight? When I wake up one day and get the eff over myself? That last one sounds pretty appealing. Because intellectually I know that if I run, I am a runner, and I belong in a running store, buying running shoes to run in as a runner. Emotionally, I need to catch up. I’ve got 215.2 more miles on my trail shoes to figure that out!

Twin Cities Marathon Training: Week 7

Wasn’t it just Week 6?

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 5.8 mi, paved trail (MRT, 6 x 0.5 mi)
Wednesday: 2.8 mi, trail (Murphy-Hanrehan)
Thursday: 6 mi, paved trail (Big Rivers, 40 @ tempo)
Friday: 4.3 mi, trail (Battle Creek)
Saturday: 14.6 mi, road (warm-up, Run Baby Run 10K, evening run)
Sunday: 5.1 mi, trail (Battle Creek)
Total: 38.6 mi

I hate Monday rest days. They’re the worst! They set the tone for the rest of the week and remove all flexibility. I had my violin lesson and got home later in the day and didn’t have the time to get a run in. It’s a shame, because the weather was PERFECT.

Tuesday I did half mile repeats on the Mississippi River Trail. I still haven’t mastered the proper pace, which probably contributed to the inflated sense of ability I brought to my 10K. It wasn’t exceptionally hot, so I wasn’t entirely miserable, but yuck do I hate these workouts while also loving them and feeling bada$$ once they’re over.

I volunteered for another installment of the Endless Summer Trail Run Series on Wednesday, and got to the park early to run most of the course. The run was awful. I dislike running at Murphy due to the flies — even one or two buzzing around me drives me bonkers. I wasn’t in a great frame of mind and didn’t have a lot of energy, so I couldn’t even muster 3 miles. I spent the rest of the night volunteering. One of the volunteer photographers posted a rather unfortunate picture of me in the photoset for the evening, so that was kind of a downer.

For Thursday’s tempo run, I “cheated” a bit. Well, not really. I started the run heading mostly uphill at one end of the Big Rivers Regional Trail (the Lilydale end), and the peak pace for the tempo run happened to hit just as I was turning around to run back downhill. So it’s not cheating in the sense that I ran the first 20 minutes of the tempo going uphill, but I did hit my peak effort while running downhill. It was tough! But it felt pretty good. I averaged a 10:55 for the whole tempo effort.

Friday’s run was a regular old boring run at Battle Creek (near the dog park). Not much to report. I recapped Saturday morning’s 10K already, but I did top up my mileage with another 7-ish mile run in the evening (with new shoes! I hit 500 miles on my road shoes so I had to spring for a new pair). That run was a bit of a disaster. It was hot during the day, so I didn’t start until 8:30 PM. I ran across the High Bridge and was tooling around St. Paul, planning to cross Shepard Road near the Science Museum. There was a train going through so I did a short loop through Upper Landing Park and then planned to wait out the train, which was almost through. But with the end of the train in sight, it stopped. And didn’t move. And I was stuck. There are only a couple other ways across Shepard Road along the river, and both were quite a distance away. It was late, probably 9:30 at this point, and I had a choice to either turn around and cross at Randolph (which turned out to be over a mile away) or continue and cross at Jackson (which was about 3/4 mile away). I made the (correct) choice to continue downriver and cross the street and the railroad tracks at Jackson, then come up along Kellogg and cross the Mississippi on the Wabasha St. Bridge. This added a bunch of time and distance to my night, as well as the potential to encounter some sketchy people, which I fortunately did not. It was a giant pain in the butt and a little bit disconcerting. I am lucky to live in a fairly safe city, but I did put myself in a not-so-great situation without a great option for extrication. I also did not have my cell phone with me, which I usually don’t for runs in my neighborhood. Safety moment!

Sunday I did a run in the middle of the day at the Battle Creek ski trails. One day, I will have a nice, pleasant, fast-ish run along those trails (and get some nice pics!), but Sunday was not that day. It was hot and sunny, and I actually ran out of water! I filled my soft flasks with only ice, and while the water was deliciously cold, there wasn’t enough of it. So yes, ice does melt slower in an air solution vs. a water solution (heat transfer, baby!), but I sacrificed volume for temperature. Yuck. Oh, also, it was hard to get water out of the soft flasks when it was still mostly ice – I kept sucking air instead.

I have another 5K coming up this weekend, and I think I’ll take the lessons of this last week and do a LOT of things differently, including a second rest day the day before the race, so I can build up my confidence again.

Race Report: Run Baby Run 10K

Surprise! I ran a 10K.

Official Results:
Time: 1:09:09
Pace: 11:08
Placing:
Overall: 47/60
Gender: 25/34
AG (F30-39): 10/11

Watch Results:
Time: 1:09:10 (Not bad for a non-chip-timed race!)
Pace: 11:05
Distance: 6.24 mi
Heart Rate: N/A

Goals:
A: 59:59

Food:
What I ate the night before: tacos, chips and guacamole
What I ate on race morning: gel, crackers
What I carried with me: water

Gear:
What I wore: t-shirt, shorts
Gadgets: GPS watch, fitness tracker

Discussion: I guess I’m a bit delusional. I thought somehow I was in shape to run a one hour 10K! It turns out, not even close, although conditions were not ideal.

I signed up for this race only a couple days ago. I knew I wanted to run a 10K this summer but it never seemed like there was a convenient one that I wanted to do. I actually heard about this race via a Facebook ad, so congrats on that, Zuckerberg. The race was in White Bear Lake, a place I’d never actually visited until I picked up my packet on Friday. The guy running packet pick-up was wearing a Chippewa Moraine t-shirt and had just run Voyageur the previous weekend, so I knew this would be a good race for me.

I didn’t sleep very well the night before. I kept worrying that the race would be so small that I’d be 30 minutes after the second to last runner and would annoy everyone. I don’t mind being last at races, but I do mind being last by so much that I’m an inconvenience. I don’t worry about it at 5Ks anymore, but 10Ks are a different animal, especially when there’s a shorter 5K option. 10Ks are a big commitment! I have to stop worrying so much about races.

I woke up in the morning and thought about not running. I even woke up before my alarm! That was annoying. I told myself if I could fall asleep before my alarm went off, I could skip it. Of course, I couldn’t — I was too busy worrying about how much I’d be angry with myself later, and how I’d still have to get in a long run, and blah blah blah. So I got up, got dressed, and drove the 20 minutes to the start of the race. It was really easy (and free) to park, and there weren’t a whole lot of people there (only 105 racers overall).

I did a mile warm-up and was already sweaty. Like, not just a few beads of sweat, but really sweaty. It was in the mid 70s and humid and wasn’t even 8 a.m. yet. Not a great sign. The race started basically at 8, and we started with a loop through a neighborhood before coming back around through the start and heading the other way around the lake. Since I’m not really familiar with the area and the course was a bit unusual, it’s hard to describe. The course was a mix of sidewalks and roads, and mostly flat. They didn’t close the roads or have any crossing guards (except for at one spot, where we turned onto a busier road), so that was a bit unusual. I didn’t love running along a 40 mph road with a rather narrow shoulder, but it wasn’t exceptionally busy. I did have to stop once in the last third of the race because of a car, which was slightly annoying. There were quite a few other pedestrians, dogs, non-racing runners, and a few bikers on the sidewalks/paved paths. At one point, I was following some people I thought were in the race, and almost went the wrong way. Fortunately, there were signs along the route as well as volunteers at every turn, so I didn’t get lost when those people went right and I was supposed to go left.

The race itself was miserable for me. I hated most of the first 2 miles, and I fell off 59:59 pace within the first mile. The humidity was killer; my shirt was drenched in sweat and clung to me within the first couple miles — that is NOT normal. So maybe I should give myself a pass on not nailing my first 10K, but I also know that I could have pushed harder. My average pace for this race was only like 20 seconds off what I want to run for marathon pace! It seems like maybe sub-5 is out of my hands right now. Yes, it was humid and warm, and yes I was tired and hadn’t taken a rest day since Monday so I didn’t have fresh legs, but still. It was a wakeup call.

Each mile was progressively slower than the previous one — no consistency in pace at all. Mile 6 was 11:55 average! I mean, come on, what is wrong with me? Slowness and laziness, I guess. There was a woman ahead of me who had passed me but stayed in sight, and she was taking walking breaks. If I had been more driven, I would have made a little goal to try to pass her. Well, I kind of did make that goal, but I didn’t work very had to try to achieve it. I managed to pick up the pace for the last quarter mile and finish with some pride, but overall it was a disappointing effort.

I did set a goal to run a 10K this summer, and I achieved that. And I guess I have a PR that I can chip away at, even though I spent a lot of the race thinking how much I disliked the distance. It’s hard! I prefer the half marathon for a middle distance type race, and I prefer the 5K for when I want to push the envelope. But now that it’s over, I don’t mind as much, and I’d like to do one again in better weather, when I’m rested, to try for a faster and more consistent effort.

I went home and took a two hour nap, something I almost never do, and I still have like 7 miles of running I need to get done this evening (this is my long run day — the plan called for a half marathon but I didn’t feel like racing a half marathon and I AM SO GLAD I DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR ONE even though there was one run practically in my neighborhood. It was nice to run a race – I haven’t raced since FANS, which was two months ago! Weird.