Zumbro 50 Training: Week 3

Monday: 7.7 mi, trail (Hartley)
Tuesday: 6.3 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: 6.8 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Friday: 5.6 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Saturday: 5.3 mi, trail (Hartley)
Sunday: 15.2 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Total: 47 mi

Once again, I missed the 50 mile mark. However, almost every run this week was done in very cold temperatures. The only nice days were Monday and Sunday, and Sunday it was still only like 10-11 F, so my standards are very low right now.

I ran on trails for the first time since Wild Duluth! It was very pleasant. Monday was my first time back at Hartley since the huge windstorm last summer that wreaked havoc on the park. There are some noticeable bare spots (although they were also in the midst of a project to thin out the trees, so I’m not certain what was due to that project and what was due to the storm), and there are a lot of downed trees still visible off the trails. I might be imagining this, but I think some of the trails have been re-routed a bit. There seems to be about a mile (maybe more) chopped off of the Root Canal – Guardrail loops, when I compare last year’s running log to this year’s. It stinks if that means there’s still significant trail damage to deal with. It stinks on a more selfish note because that means it’s harder to get a longer run out of the Hartley trails, especially since some of the trail system is converted to nordic ski trails for the winter.

The good thing is that I’m much faster on these trails than I used to be. I never looked down and saw a 20 minute pace (unless climbing a hill). Hooray! I made a good choice to focus on speed for awhile. Well, I didn’t really focus on speed, rather I focused on running terrain that doesn’t naturally slow me down.

Most of the week, I ran in frigid temps, sometimes below 0 F. Yes, I am a total bada$$. I’m not even going to pretend to be humble. I bought new gloves (they were very expensive but TOTALLY WORTH IT, my hands are never cold anymore), a pair of long underwear bottoms, and a balaclava on my rest day. I was able to survive running on Thursday and Friday in the bitter cold, although my butt and thighs were still frozen. I can’t seem to figure out how to fix that. Even wearing shorts over my three layers of pants isn’t working. I might have to try wearing some pants that aren’t tights. The balaclava is ok. Even with the breathing holes over the nose/mouth, my glasses still fog up. I have to pull the nose/mouth covering down, which defeats the purpose of the balaclava. A few times I ended up having to take my glasses off and carry them, because I needed to warm my face. Surprisingly that did not end up with my glasses getting crushed under my foot after I dropped them.

Sunday’s long run went ok. I would like to run a long run NOT on the Lakewalk, but with the condition of most sidewalks and roads, that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. If it is warm enough I could do a trail long run, but when it’s cold, I need to finish the run as quickly as possible. It actually felt decent out for most of the run, and I never truly felt COLD. However, my water bottle did freeze up and become useless after about 2 hours. I dropped it at my car after 11 miles (and swigged a few glorious gulps of vanilla Coke) and finished up the final 4 miles without anything in my hands. It started snowing at that point, stinging little pellets that have left me with a red nose this morning.

I’m vacillating between confidence and pessimism regarding my ability to cover 50 miles on foot. I’ve got 13 weeks to go, but so much can happen between now and race day – illness, injury, mental fatigue, major life events, college hockey national championships (ok that’s a major life event). No matter what, as long as I keep working and training like I am going to run this race, I will benefit, even if I am in Chicago instead of the Zumbro River Bottoms on April 8th.

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