Twin Cities Marathon Training: Week 5

It cooled off! Relatively speaking.

Monday: 5.3 mi, road
Tuesday: 5.6 mi, pavement (Battle Creek, 5 x 0.5 mi)
Wednesday: 8 mi, pavement (Lake of the Isles/Bde Maka Ska)
Thursday: rest
Friday: 5.6 mi, treadmill (35 min tempo)
Saturday: 14.2 mi, trail (Afton State Park)
Sunday: 9.2 mi, trail/pavement (Cedar Lake/Kenilworth Trail/Cedar Lake Regional Trail)
Total: 47.9 mi

It’s been a long week, but it has felt really good to run without as much heat and humidity. It’s still hot, especially in the afternoon when it feels like the sun is still directly overhead at 3 PM, but it isn’t as oppressive as it was the past two weeks. Running was much more pleasant this week, and the higher mileage is starting to feel good. I mean, it sucks in the moment sometimes, of course.

Monday I ran around my neighborhood, which was okay. It’s not a ton of fun because I can’t zone out, I’m constantly thinking of how to cobble together enough mileage to make a decent workout. A lot of streets don’t go all the way through, and I’m not familiar enough with the area to remember which ones do, so I spend a lot of time recalculating, like my brain’s an analog version of a GPS unit after a missed turn.

Tuesday I drove over to Battle Creek and did loops around the park to complete my interval workout. I’ve given up on trying to find a track, I guess. The repeats were all pretty fast, which was surprising. Now I want to find a real 5K to see if I can legitimize my PR. There was a group of high schools kids doing either a summer cross-country practice or dryland training for nordic skiing, and I felt a little dorky next to all these young people running fast with such ease, but hey. I’m out there running, too. Who cares if I’m running fast? They barely noticed me, anyway.

Midway through the week, I took over cat-sitting duties at my mom’s, which meant I was driving in the opposite direction from home during rush hour. I decided to run somewhere near there instead of trying to buck traffic on 94E. I parked at Lake of the Isles and unintentionally did an entire loop around, since I missed the turnoff for Bde Maka Ska. I continued past my car, did a loop around Bde Maka Ska (soooo crowded), and then headed back to my car the short way around Lake of the Isles. I love that area for the most part, even if it was crowded, and the scenery was amazing.

Friday I wimped out and did my run on the treadmill, since there was a line of thunderstorms rolling through. The radar made it look like one could hit at any time in the evening, so I played it safe. It’s actually a lot easier to do a true tempo on a treadmill, since it’s easy to control the pace and slowly ramp it up. I am kind of a scaredy-cat about running fast (for me) on the treadmill – I’m afraid of tripping and falling or otherwise hurting myself. But it went well, even if I was miserable and hating life during the 35 minutes of actual tempo running, and I was sweating buckets.

I checked out Afton State Park for the first time on Saturday. I liked it, kind of. It’s about 30 minutes from my home, so it’s sorta like driving to Jay Cooke used to be, but that does add an hour round trip to my run time. The trails themselves are a bit confusing – I couldn’t always read the maps very well, especially when the YOU ARE HERE stickers were missing. There are a lot of trails, though! I was able to put together 14 miles without doubling back too much. I did see a dead raccoon (twice) and a dead bunny (depressing). There was a mix of terrain – pavement, grass, gravel, packed dirt. Lots of hills, plenty of shade, and not a whole lot of people (probably because the swimming beach was under water). The miles were slow to begin with, but I rallied at the end (ok, it was flat terrain and also some pavement) and felt a little better about my pace.

Sunday I decided to go do another chain of lakes run since I was in the area feeding los gatos again. I figured I’d start at Cedar Lake instead, which was dumb. Cedar Lake is the weird misfit lake. There isn’t a nice paved path around it – instead I ended up on some single track and kept coming upon people who seemed like they would prefer to be left alone. I turned around and went the other way, and ended up in a grassy area with a sign that said “end of public trail.” Then I decided to say screw it, got on the Kenilworth Trail, and did the remaining 7 miles on that and the Cedar Lake Regional Trail. I was supposed to be running 7 at marathon pace, but that just was not happening. The first 2 miles were like 15 minute miles, so that blew my average pace and sapped my energy, so I just pushed through with a regular old medium length run. Can I just have one marathon pace workout where I even get close to what I expect to be able to run come October? I don’t think my goal of around 5 hours is that unreasonable!

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