On Streaking

I started a run streak on Thanksgiving, something I was planning to carry through until the new year. I am philosophically opposed to run streaks and wholly in favor of rest days, but I also think it’s important to get out of my comfort zone (and rut) with running. I got challenged by one of my friends to join his holiday run streak, so I decided to join in. It wasn’t years-long, so I figured it was doable. I also thought it would be a good opportunity to ensure I met my goal of beating last year’s mileage, a goal which has been slipping away from me lately after a promising start.

I managed 17 days of straight running, completing anywhere between 2 miles and a half marathon a day (the Moustache Run was right at the beginning of the streak). Actually now that I look back at my running log, I actually ran 22 days straight, but 5 of them were before the streak began. Hooray for me?

I stopped early because I got sick Saturday night with a stomach bug that was itself brief (no small mercy), but ended up knocking me back for longer than expected due to some dumb choices on my part (sleeping all day Sunday without drinking any fluids led to more dehydration issues than actually getting sick, I think!). I ended up not running at all from Sunday-Tuesday, and I began the streak anew yesterday. It won’t be the same as running all the way through until New Year’s Day, but there’s nothing I can do about it now.

First of all, how do people do really long streaks? Do they never get sick? Do they run whether they have a monster head cold or explosive diarrhea? I know I’m not a paragon of a healthy lifestyle, could stand to eat better, etc., but even people who don’t eat bagels or vanilla Cokes must get sick. Or do they?

Anyway, even at 17 (22) days, I was struggling to see the purpose of the run streak. Maybe I would have reached some kind of moral clarity about it, had I pressed on long enough, but it seemed more like a burden at times than a fun choice. I never wanted to quit or skip a day, but I didn’t enjoy running daily. I already run six days a week, so giving myself the mental space to rest and recharge on that seventh day is essential, especially when my work is stressful or mentally taxing. I had one day where I wanted to just pack it all in and give up on the streak; I had taken the day off and planned on a nice run along the river, followed by a mid-afternoon drive up to Duluth. It turned into a day of me taking phone calls and scrambling to find answers for about three urgent issues, broken up by a 2.15 mile run (my shortest), and then when we finally got going to Duluth, I slipped and fell down the deck stairs (only 3 stairs, so not terrible) and lay in the snow pondering the cruelty of the world for about five minutes.

There is value in suffering, of course. That sounds absurd, but as ultrarunners, all we do is practice suffering. I found a rigor I’ve been lacking; somehow there was time in a day to work, run, attend my violin lesson, eat, and catch up on the news. But there’s also value in one fewer day’s worth of laundry, in one evening where I can do nothing or go to a movie or just not be sweaty for a day. There’s value in channeling that energy into my work, or into one of my other hobbies, instead of into my running.

I don’t think I’ll ever see value in running 1 mile or 2 miles just to say that I continued a streak. For me, I’d rather have a rest day than just run a single mile. At least know I know that for sure.

And now I know that I can complete a run streak without completely falling apart. Of course, the days were low mileage; I don’t know if I could do a run streak while running lots of double digit runs, or difficult speed workouts, or heat training. So then, I don’t see the usefulness in a run streak either, if I have to keep it low mileage or risk serious burnout.

I can see its appeal, though. There is a kind of simplicity in waking up and saying “I will run today” and following through every day. It’s a ritual. It’s alone time, time to clear one’s thoughts. It sounds really nice, put like that. Maybe someday it’ll be like that for me.

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Fall 2018 Running Goals Revisited

It’s December, which means I need to look at how my fall stacked up against my goals.

  1. Distance personal best. Nope, I did not start Surf the Murph, and that was my one shot at it.
  2. Marathon personal best. Success! 5:32:55 at Twin Cities Marathon.
  3. Moose Mountain Marathon course personal best. I got a course personal worst, instead.
  4. Spend some time exploring St. Paul. Well… I guess. I mean, I ran all over the place. I ran across the High Bridge for the first time. I ran around Battle Creek Park. I ran around my neighborhood. I ran to TCM packet pickup. I ran across the Mississippi on the 35E bridge, and across the Minnesota River on the Mendota Bridge.

I went 2 for 4, and those were probably the easiest two goals to make, but that’s ok. I will get that distance personal best soon.

I’m not going to set any goals for the winter. There’s slim pickings for races, and the training is hit or miss. I like to give myself a season to just do what I want.

As for my 2018 goals:
-Taking deliberate rest breaks: I have done that a few times, though sometimes I have had to take them sooner than planned due to colds.
-Running more miles than 2017/reaching 1000 miles earlier than 2017: I need to run an average of 4 mi/day to beat my 2017 mileage. I reached 1000 miles 11 days earlier than last year.
-Going outside daily “with intention”: Still working on that. It’s not every day, but more often than not.
-Turning strength training into a habit: No.
-Tracking spending: I forgot I was going to do this, so no.
-Spending more time with other runners: I’m not really sure. I have made more running friends, that’s for sure, but most of my contact has been through social media. I have managed to find someone I know at most of the start lines I’m on, and I have done volunteering, as usual.

Race Report: Moustache Run Half Marathon

Official Results:
Time: 2:32:02
Pace: 11:37
Placing:
Overall: 356/384
Gender: 157/177
AG (F35-39): 24/25

Watch Results:
Time: 2:32:04
Pace: 11:20
Distance: 13.41 mi (not sure what the culprit was here)
Heart Rate: N/A

Goals:
A: 2:30
B: 2:35
C: 2:45

Food:
What I ate the night before: Jersey Mikes #13 sub, homemade chopped salad with homemade peanut dressing, homemade apple pie
What I ate on race morning: bagel with cream cheese, part of another bagel with nothing on it
What I carried with me: 3 gel packets (I ate 1)

Gear:
What I wore: t-shirt, tights, hoodie, buff, gloves
Gadgets: GPS watch, fitness tracker

Discussion:
I finally ran a road half marathon! Hooray!

I got a great night’s sleep the night before (okay 5 hours, but for the night before a race, that’s amazing).  I find this ironic considering this is the least prepared I’ve been for a race in a long time, with the exception of Surf the Murph. I didn’t do any specific training, most of my runs lately have been half-assed treadmill efforts, and I’ve been sick. I guess my brain was like “okay, it’s ‘just’ a half marathon, you have training runs longer than this.” Yeah I do, brain, but I also don’t try to run fast in training runs. I would like to know what was different about this race. Logistics were very easy, but I have had many races with easy race day logistics (like Superior – literally roll out of bed, walk to bus, get on bus), plus I did worry about finding parking and stuff so it’s not like I was super chill. I’m very happy I slept well, but I wish I could recreate that for future races.

The weather was really terrible on Friday. I had a great run in the early afternoon; I ran across the High Bridge in St. Paul for the first time. It has been closed since before I moved. I didn’t consider that there was a Wild game that afternoon, so I ended up dodging earlycomers (WordPress spell check says that is not a word!) while running along 7th Street.

It was really warm! Like in the mid 40s F, and there wasn’t much wind so it felt really mild. I wasn’t sure what to wear to the race as a result – I was overheated in a hoodie and t-shirt, but the forecast was for a colder day on Saturday.

An hour or so after I finished running, it started to rain, and it rained all afternoon, all evening, and well into the night.  Concerning! I thought it might get below freezing and then I might need to bring my skates to the race instead of my shoes. I went shopping (for records and for a new laptop, which I am using to type this!), then went home and did laundry. Most of my running gear was dirty and I wanted to be able to wear my favorite stuff to the race. The tights that don’t feel like they’re falling down, the hoodie with pockets, etc. Also I needed to wash my gloves since they were covered in snot from my run on Wednesday when my sinuses were emptying.

Back to race day, now. I set my alarm for 6:30, hit snooze, and then got up at 6:50. Clothes were all laid out (in a heap on the living room floor, not in a nice pretty flat lay), so I got dressed quickly and then ate a bagel and cream cheese, much to the chagrin of my friend Alan who (rightfully and kindly) points out my race day nutritional miscues. But I love bagels so much and I almost never eat them anymore. I stuffed a couple gels in my pocket, grabbed another bagel and some water to sip on in the car, and headed out the door. I left my race bib in my car after I did early packet pickup on Wednesday at Mill City Running, which is a great “life hack” (I hate that term – a tip to make things easier or repurpose a thing is not a hack!) for people who are very forgetful.

Getting to the race was very easy – they provided a suggested address for people to use  in their navigation apps, since the start didn’t have an address. I parked in the parking ramp at St. Anthony Main, although there were likely other parking options that did not cost $7. On a Sunday! $7! Madness. Whatever, I wanted the convenience. I sat in my car for about 15 minutes dinking around on the internet (checking the paces I needed to hit for each of the goal times – that didn’t take 15 minutes but it was one of the things I did to pass the time) and then walked down to the start/finish area. I did a very short warmup, about 0.6 miles, but it was enough.

The 10K and the half marathon start at the same time, which I find a little odd as it must be a little crowded at the front for the fast people. I’m sure they’re very glad I’m considering their feelings. I got completely confused as there appeared to still be half marathoners on the sidelines when I crossed the start, and I thought I was in the wrong spot. Nope, there just weren’t nearly as many half marathoners, and there were probably fewer back-of-the-packers in the half than in the 10K. It was nice to have more people running my pace in the first 4 miles.

This course is very similar to the course for the Hot Dash 10 Mile, although it starts at St. Anthony Main instead of Boom Island Park, and of course continues a little farther south on West River Parkway before turning around. It has the same hills, though! This is actually a pretty challenging half marathon, because although it’s nice to bomb down a few big hills, it sucks to go up them.

For the first few miles, I was ahead of the 2:30 pacer, and I felt pretty good about that. I thought if I could just keep her behind me, I’d be set for my main goal. I was running a bit too fast out of the gate, although I don’t really know how fast I was going because my watch was likely off already. It felt good so I went with it. Same as TCM. I figured I’d be slowing down a bit later because of this, but having never run a half marathon before, I didn’t know what to shoot for as far as intensity. I mean, I had a general idea of pace, based on my TCM half split (which I came within seconds of hitting!), but pace is only one part of the equation. Pace means nothing if, on race day, it’s harder/easier to hit it. I still don’t have a good idea of what kind of intensity I can sustain for 13.1 miles, since my pace fell off at the end (spoiler alert!)

The first few miles went by pretty smoothly. We crossed the Mississippi River right away, on 8th Ave NE, so there was a nice little incline to start off with, but I ran it even though my legs aren’t very accustomed to running hills right now. So many lazy 0% incline treadmill runs. I had a few issues with my glasses fogging up, thanks to the humid, just above freezing conditions. After a few miles of running, a car came up behind us and told us to look out for the 5K leader. Well, that was a bit demoralizing, since the 5K started 15 minutes after the half. The leader came through a bit after the warning. I was amused because I saw him at the start and thought “Hmm, that guy must be fast.” Even though he looked like a cross between Steve Prefontaine and a young David Crosby (I mean this in a good way), I just had this sense about him, and I was correct. He and his thick, long, luscious hair (unrestrained by any elastic or headband) blew by the rest of us schlubs.

We hit the first water stop at just under 4 miles – one thing I like about this race is they give out bottles of water instead of cups. They do this to avoid spillage, as the race has the potential to be run in sub-zero temps. If it’s really cold, it could get slippery out there. I loved it because I didn’t have to gulp down cups, I could sip as I went along. It was a little bit annoying to hold the bottle while also holding my gloves, but it was still way better than overhydrating at cup stations.

Once the 10K runners peeled off, I was pretty much on my own. There weren’t many people around me, although I kept leapfrogging with this couple who was running with a stroller, because they kept stopping to do god knows what. The guy was actually banditing the race and was doing the stroller pushing. I didn’t understand the point of what they were doing, but perhaps it was their first time doing a race with a stroller and they wanted to see how it went. It was kind of annoying, but mostly because I find leapfrogging with people in a short period of time very annoying. Pick a pace, please. I think the banditing guy eventually peeled off.

About 5 miles in, the 2:30 pacer got ahead of me. I was kind of bummed about it, but I figured I’d keep her in my sights and then hunt her down if I could. According to my watch, mile 5 was my second slowest mile. Yikes! I was feeling a little warm at this point, even after pushing back the buff (I was wearing it as a headband), removing my gloves, and unzipping my hoodie all the way to the top of the bib. But I had read the weather report and seen that it was going to continue to cool off throughout the day, and I was right. After the second water station (which I skipped, I still had a little bit left in the mini bottle I’d grabbed at the first station), I put my gloves back on.

I managed to get myself back up to pace again by the halfway point so I could keep trailing the pacer. My legs felt a little tired and what I should have done is gotten a fresh water bottle at the 6.5 mi water station and then eaten a gel. I didn’t feel hungry, but I should have taken one proactively. I didn’t do that, and once I reached the turnaround, I started to slow a lot. The turnaround is nice because it’s at mile 7.3 or so (not quite sure), which means there’s less than half the race to go at that point. Somehow that’s mentally comforting. I kept thinking the turnaround was coming, only to go around another bend and see it was nowhere in sight. There was a timing mat there, and I was hoping to see what my split was at that point, but the timing mat is marked as 6.55 mi, even though it was nowhere near there. So it shows a 13:22 pace to that point. Nope.

The race course is pretty lonely. Beyond the scattered police and civilian volunteers who are guarding the blocked off streets, there’s not much for crowd support. I didn’t mind, it was nice and quiet. I didn’t even get stuck with a group of talkers on my tail. It was actually very peaceful, much more like a trail race. I don’t feed off crowd support the same way; I’m more energized by periodic support than a constant stream of cheering, although the nice thing about a constant stream of cheering is that no matter what, if you need a pick me up, someone is there offering it.

Once I turned around, I noticed the wind. It was really starting to get cold, and I was glad I hadn’t worn shorts or gone with a t-shirt/arm warmer combination. I never got chilled, so I think I made the right choice for clothing. Plus, my hoodie has 2 zippered pockets, so I put gels in one and my phone and car keys in the other. I finally started eating a gel somewhere between mile 8 and the water stop, because my legs were really starting to get tired (my quads were getting sore, as were my hips) and mentally I was starting to say “hey, I could just walk now,” especially on the hills. I took little bites of gel and then grabbed a water bottle to wash down the last few bites. No stomach issues at all!

I tried to use any downhill to make up time on that orange pacer balloon that was getting farther and farther away. I reeled in a few people in this time frame (including one in my age group, taking me from last to second to last in my AG), but the balloon escaped me. The wind just broke me; it started to get really bad in the last 4 miles, especially once down at river level. I planned to walk part of the last really big hill to save my strength, and I think it worked out great for me. I walked for about 2 minutes, then ran (slowly) up the rest of the hill. The rest was enough to give me energy for the end. The 12 mile mark is just at the end of that hill, and then I knew I was going to have enough legs to finish strong. Once I reached the turnaround, I’d been counting down milestones, like “Oh, only a 5K to go… now only 2 miles to go, that’s not bad.” It definitely made it easier to keep going.

With about half a mile to go, I turned onto the Stone Arch Bridge, which was full of people. Well not full, but there were plenty of people taking selfies, milling around, getting engaged, etc. as I slogged on by. I was trying to speed up, but I also wasn’t sure quite where the finish line was. Once I got across the bridge, though, I saw that I’d be running off the bridge right into the street where I’d done my warmup, and I knew I was close. I passed another woman right at this point, and she started to run too, but she ran on the sidewalk while I ran on the cobblestones (the actual course). I was a little annoyed because that was definitely “cutting” the course, but seriously, what does it matter? I just didn’t want to have someone start running right at the end thanks to me passing them, only to finish ahead of me because they cut the route. Those little competitive things that come out in those last moments in the race…

I managed to speed up once I was off the cobblestones and onto the brick, which was much more even, and finished slightly ahead of the other woman (actually several seconds ahead, because she must have started before me). I saw the clock said 2:32:XX and tried to get across the line as quickly as I could, because the “fake” PR I had in the half was 2:32:08, and I wanted to beat that/make it official. I didn’t know how many seconds behind the gun I’d started, and my gun time was 2:32:58, so I was a little worried I wasn’t going to make it.

I got my medal and my post-race water, but there didn’t seem to be any other food or snacks. I walked up the hill to 2nd St, where the post-race festivities were being held. It was crowded and loud inside and I felt a little anxious. I also didn’t see any food there! I went up to get my free drink, but they didn’t have any non-alcoholic options. So my choices were a free beer, which I didn’t want, or nothing. So I paid $85 for no food and a free drink I didn’t want (yeah, it’s my choice, but I almost never drink alcohol and certainly couldn’t stomach a beer directly after a race, sorry I’m not “cool”); that was a little disappointing. I wouldn’t mind if I knew that almost all of my race fee went to cancer research, but it’s so hard to tell where that money goes. So I left, walked back to the parking garage, walked up the stairs to the fourth floor (#cooldown), and got in my car. I made a quick stop at Starbucks for an eggnog latte, something I don’t usually drink because it has one bazillion calories. The only danger to getting it after the race was it might destroy my stomach with its richness. It didn’t, it was delicious, and I probably won’t have another one this season.

I am not sure if I would run this race again, but only because there are so many other races that go on parts of this same course (e.g. Goldy’s Run, Hot Dash, TCM). It’s easy to get sick of, especially because of the hills. So I don’t know if I’ll ever make it a goal race, but it’s nice to have it there at the end of the year as one last longer distance race option.

I’m pretty excited to get a PR, have an overall great race, finally be healthy, and put myself in good standing toward meeting one of my big goals for the year (beating last year’s mileage – it’s gonna be tight). I think I still want to run a 5K in December just to try one more time for a PR, since I feel so speedy now.

Race Goals: Moustache Run Half Marathon

Apparently if I want to get sick, all I need to do is sign up for a race! I’ve been battling a cold since last Wednesday (so, one week strong) and while I am over the worst of it, I still have a lingering cough and some fatigue. I have been running a little bit since Saturday (I literally ran 1.3 miles on the treadmill on Saturday before I was like “This is stupid, there is no point!” and gave up. (Well, I made sure to end on an even tenth of a mile.)

I still picked up my packet for Saturday’s Moustache? Mustache? Run. I was over in Minneapolis getting a haircut so I picked up my packet and hat at Mill City Running. It was very awkward because I walked up to a table of bibs, said my name and the race distance, and they were like “Oh, M(o)ustache Run? That’s over there.” Then waved in the general direction of the back of the store, where there was… nothing but merchandise. I guess the table was for some Thanksgiving race or something. The Moustache Run setup wasn’t as fancy, just a computer which was not a touchscreen but that I tried to use like a touchscreen. After signing up, I also purchased a sweatshirt because they told me runners who picked up their race packets in store got 20% off. The guy pointed out this cool pale pink sweatshirt and I was like SURE I WILL TAKE THAT because I was high on how great my hair looked like after my haircut. Another sales guy then said “Can we also interest you in a Garmin?” because I must have seemed like a manic shopaholic.

I am still confident I will be able to run this race, but not sure what it’ll be like. It must be nice to be a mid-packer and know that if you slow down a bit, you’ll still be done in a decent length of time and you won’t be bringing up the rear. I’m going to be bringing up the rear to begin with! So the margin for error here is slim. My #1 goal is to feel well enough to run the race and make it to the starting line. I already DNS my first attempt at a road half marathon due to a UTI, so I am anxious to give it another shot. Other than that, I have my time goals:

A Standard: 2:30
B Standard: 2:35
C Standard: 2:45 (roughly my TCM pace – I really want to beat that)

I’m throwing numbers at a dartboard here, because I don’t really know what I’m capable of right now, but I do at least know that I ran a 2:32:08 half marathon for TCM. And that was also on the tail end of a cold! So I guess I’m in the same shape? Seems like a good omen!

Idle Feet

I’m really bored and unfocused with my running lately. The days are shortening, and the weather is getting colder. Over the weekend it was so cold! In the low 20s/high teens (F, of course. What I wouldn’t give for some 20 C weather…) I just got back from Duluth and instead of running on one of my favorite trails, I ran on the hotel treadmill. I guess I didn’t look at the weather closely enough, and packed clothes that might be acceptable for a run in near-freezing temps, but not 15 degrees colder and windy. Whoops.

In order to try to bring some excitement back into my running, I went out and spent a bunch of money on races. Ugh.

I’m probably going to race 2 more times in 2018, we’ll see. I signed up for the Mustache Run half marathon in 2 weeks. I’m not really training for it, just hoping to capitalize on my residual training from the Twin Cities Marathon (that was only a month ago??). I’m also well-rested from lower mileage and additional rest days. I think it’ll be fun, as long as the weather isn’t awful. I saw a very early forecast and it called for light rain in the morning. No thank you. Obviously anything would be a half marathon PR, as my current one (3:51:24) is from the Harder n Hell Half in 2015.

I hate road races – they’re so freaking expensive! Although I think I could have saved some money by signing up sooner. It was like $80 though! I had better get a gold-plated finisher’s medal.

I also signed up for Zumbro 50, which cost $90 – much better cost per mile than the Mustache Run. (Although I’ll also have travel and lodging costs so that is misleading.) Last year, I waited too long to sign up and it filled. I was somewhat bummed but also wasn’t sure I was ready to run it, and I’m also really glad I didn’t sign up because it ended up being terribly snowy, and I would not have been prepared for that. Now I know that I’m capable of it. I ran 42 miles in 13 hours at FANS, for crying out loud. I keep having to remind myself of that when I get scared of these 50 milers. Not only did I complete 42 miles in 13 hours, but a lot of that was walking/limping due to my poor foot.

Speaking of FANS, I also signed up for the 24 hour race again. I can’t help it – I love this race so much. I keep having disappointing results there, but I keep coming back for more. This coming year, I think things will be better. I’m planning to set up my tent with friends this time, so I’ll have a fun camp and that will mean my husband/my dad won’t be sitting by my tent alone while crewing me, bored out of their minds. FANS doesn’t fill and the price increase isn’t until April, but I signed up anyway. I guess that’s less money I have to worry about paying later?

The only downside right now is that Zumbro is the same weekend as the Frozen Four in Buffalo. Obviously I have no idea if I’ll be there or not, but the Bulldogs are having a great season! I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it, I guess.

Now all that’s left is to get back into the groove of winter running. I’m not really excited about it, and it feels like I barely had any decent running weather at all in 2018 (it seems like it went from cold to blazing hot and back to cold), but I also know that this current cold snap is making it feel a little more difficult. Once it’s back to more normal temps next week, of course my crappy attitude will magically dissipate!

When the Music’s Over

Not training for anything is really boring.

I am still running here and there. I’m still trying to ensure that I reach my goal of beating last year’s mileage, and since I didn’t finish up October’s mileage in one fell swoop with Surf the Murph, I’m focusing on that while still trying to give myself a break. 7 more miles over the next 3 days! I can do that.

I am really at peace with my decision to skip Surf the Murph. It looked like an incredibly fun event, but I am pretty sure I wasn’t in the shape to do it. On the day of the race, once I finally got some sleep, I headed out for an 11 mile run around Fort Snelling, and realized my legs were still pretty heavy and overall I was lacking energy. It confirmed I’d made the right choice, especially because Monday I had to spend the day traveling.

I made the choice to leave all my running gear at home while I was on my work trip, partially because work travel wears me out, and partially because I didn’t have much room in my suitcase due to all the safety gear I bring with me. Monday was a fairly long day – I worked from home for awhile, running a couple miles on the treadmill before heading to the airport. I flew to St. Louis, then drove 3 hours to a city relatively near my construction project site. Lest you think that my sleeping problems are limited to running, I also had trouble sleeping Monday night.

Tuesday I spent the day at the construction site (as well as a quick visit to another site of an in-development project), and I was pretty wiped out by the end of the day. The banks of both sites were fairly steep and I had to do quite a bit of “hiking,” so I was doubly glad I had not done the race, and by the end of the day I was so tired I think I went to sleep at 10 PM. Which for me is absurdly early. Wednesday I spent the morning at the construction site and then drove/flew back home, so I didn’t work out when I got home. I actually spent like 20 minutes going out of my way at the airport to get a coffee after I got off the plane. My bag was the only one on the carousel when I finally got there, but I had only had terrible hotel coffee for the past couple days and it was not feeding the addiction.

I ran at lunch Thursday and Friday, which leaves my evenings free, but doesn’t make for a lot of mileage. And then Saturday (my birthday!) I didn’t end up running. I had planned on canvassing for my friend who is running for city council, then running, then watching some hockey — then I learned the hockey game was in the late afternoon, not the evening, and… I just didn’t really care that much about getting a run in. Again, not training, so there’s not much to motivate me.

Today I wasn’t going to run, either. I went to a rally of sorts in support of trans/enby/gender expansive people, had a late lunch at Mickey’s Diner with a friend, and then was going to run a few dull treadmill miles. I saw the temp was in the high 50s F and changed my mind – how many more times would I be able to run in weather that nice? I wasn’t going to waste it. So I ran 7 miles at Battle Creek (getting a twinge in my calf in the first few minutes of the run – I hope it wasn’t something bad…) and enjoyed the gorgeous weather.

I think I’m going to race one last big one this year – the Moustache Run half marathon on Nov 24 – and then start training for next spring. I had a good first half of Twin Cities marathon and would like to see what I could do if I didn’t have 13.1 more miles to go at that point. I also should probably find a 5K to run, but those are a dime a dozen. I get bored if I’m not planning or strategizing – apparently I don’t get enough of that at work.

DNS: Surf the Murph

Oh, look. Another race I didn’t start.

I decided at about 1 am, when I was still wide awake, that I would not start the race. I am so incredibly sick of running races on 1 or 2 hours of sleep, but I don’t know how to fix it. I went to bed at about 8:30 last night, and tried to relax. But that same anxiety gripped me and my heart rate was way too high and I could not get my mind to turn off. It doesn’t help that in addition to worrying about the race, I’ve had a lot to worry about at work as well. So, knowing that I had to get up at about 2 or 2:15 AM in order to get ready for the start, I decided at about 1:05 that I would not be running the race.

I feel pretty defeated that once again, I’m sidelined or slowed by a lack of sleep. It doesn’t seem to ever get any better.

The more I thought about it (because I couldn’t fall back asleep after I decided not to run — I probably didn’t fall asleep until 3:00), the more I realized that this was an overall stupid idea. I signed up for this race impulsively – I was thinking about doing it and then signed up for certain when I was in a funk after having a bad race at Superior. My mileage has been fairly low (below 40 miles/week) for this whole training cycle, and I’ve been sick off and on thanks to the changing weather. I haven’t done any long runs (besides Twin Cities Marathon), I haven’t done any night running (and I’d be starting and ending in the dark), I haven’t done any practice with trekking poles (which I planned to use), and I didn’t do nearly enough logistics planning (I was planning to drive myself home after the race – probably not safe). I wasn’t ready for this race and I really need to stop pretending I’m one of those Type Z runners who can sign up for a race on a whim and just waltz their way onto the course.

I feel pretty embarrassed that I’m not running this race, but embarrassment is not a reason to run a race I’m ill-prepared for in countless ways. I’m disappointed about the opportunity costs of entering this race – I missed out on a hockey weekend in Duluth, I missed out on options to run several shorter races like Wild Duluth, or the new Loppet Loppet race, or even a shorter distance at Surf the Murph. I feel guilty that I’m wasting money on races I don’t run.

I need to remind myself that I ran 2 marathons in a month’s time, and that’s kind of a lot for people who aren’t, like, Killian Jornet. And I am not him. I need to focus on enjoying running again, staying healthy, avoiding burnout, and celebrating the successes I’ve had. I’m going to head out for a shorter run today instead, and try to shake off any lingering feelings of frustration or disappointment in myself. I run for enjoyment, and I need to keep that in the forefront of my mind during setbacks or screw-ups. I run with a smile — even when I’m smiling to suppress my gag reflex.