Twin Cities Marathon 2019 Goals

It’s chilly and damp here in the capitol city and I’m tired in mind and body. This isn’t a great way to end marathon training, but I have two days of rest and relaxation before the race. I’m off work tomorrow and will head to the dreaded expo, since the weather on Saturday looks like more garbage.

I’m staying pretty active this week since it’s the final week of this crazy steps challenge I’m participating in at work. I feel oddly competitive and my team is in the lead, so I don’t want to let them down! I’ve been on the treadmill the past couple of days since it’s been damp and chilly.

I don’t know what is realistic to expect for this marathon. I think my training went all right. It wasn’t great, once again I didn’t get in much training at actual marathon pace, but I really feel like I was committed to this training cycle. I did almost every speed workout required, with a couple exceptions (I think twice I was traveling, once my stomach was upset, and once I realized I didn’t have enough time to do all the repeats I needed to and finished one short). I didn’t do many long runs; I think I topped out at 15 miles. I don’t know how much that matters – I know how to run for a long time. Well, I know how to be on my feet for a long time, intermittently running.

I’m going to set myself up for success based on some lessons I learned last year. Of course I won’t be driving up to Duluth, going to a hockey game, and then driving home (not that it mattered, I didn’t sleep more than an hour the night before the race anyway). I certainly won’t be eating a rich chocolate cake that upsets my bowels the night before the race either. I’ll bring more stuff to put in my drop bag, now that I know how efficient it is. I’m going to bring a soft flask to put in my hydration vest (I wore the vest last year just to store my phone and keys) so that I can take a sip of water when I feel like it, rather than gulping down water at aid stations and getting a side stitch as a result. I’ll also carry some mints to avoid dry mouth. I know I’m going to be carrying a lot of stuff and real marathoners don’t carry anything with them and blah blah blah but also I am a real marathoner and this is my strategy and it’s valid. Suck it, Letsrun.

A Standard: 4:59:59
B Standard: 5:05
C Standard: 5:20

I have stated already that I want to run a sub-5 marathon, and I’m going to stick to it, and I’m going to do my best to do it. I’m going to remind myself of that at mile 5, at mile 13, at mile 21, at mile 24, as many times as it takes to keep going when I mentally want to check out. I got a lot of practice with that at Ice Age 50K, when a huge blister on my foot popped with a few miles to go and every step caused my shoe and the painful raw skin under that blister to collide. Even though I quit FANS early, I still willed myself through several loops on sore feet before throwing in the towel. So I’ve gotten some practice honing my mental game this year.

I think 5:05 is a reasonable backup goal, especially if I commit the cardinal sin of positive splitting (this is almost certainly going to happen because I don’t have a solid idea of my training, I don’t have a detailed race plan, and I’m not very good at holding a steady pace). I would be immensely proud to run that time if I gave all that I could and just didn’t quite have the fitness to go sub-5. A lot can go wrong over 26.2 miles and 5-ish hours.

5:20 is a nice PR (about 13 minutes) and I wouldn’t feel awful about it, but I’d definitely be hungry for another race so I could redeem myself with a successful result. Of course last year I didn’t even make my C goal, so I could end up in a troubleshooting situation where eking out even a 5:20 is a big achievement. I’m fairly certain I could have run somewhere around 5:20-5:25 if I hadn’t had the side stitch issue. I’m sure I’d have faded but I don’t know by how much.

Non-time related goals: avoid a massive negative split like last year, stay out of the med tent, finish the race, walk as little as possible, and don’t become a meme.

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Fall 2019 Running Goals

We’re already a couple weeks into the fall season! I can’t believe how time is flying by. I’m not quite ready for it to be cold yet, I’ve got a lot to do.

  1. Marathon PR
    This is the big one, the one I’ve been working for all year. I would like to get under 5 hours at the Twin Cities Marathon, but I don’t know if that’s going to be possible or not. I don’t want to count myself out just yet, but I also know that even a 5:15 or 5:10 would be a huge gain for me.
  2. Half marathon PR (official or unofficial)
    It would probably be bad for me to PR in the half marathon during the full marathon, but of course that’s a possibility. I also plan on running the Moustache Run again and could go for it there. Just typing this out makes me waffle on whether or not I want to focus on this but why the heck not put it out there?
  3. 50K PR
    I know, I know, slow down there with the PRs lady! But I added the Icebox 480 to my race calendar in early November, and I want to get to 50K in the 8 hours of allotted time. It seems possible. I hope. I guess I don’t know the trail so I don’t know how hard it might be.
  4. Visit a state park with my friend Laura.
    One of my long time friends also has a goal of working her way through the entire list of Minnesota State Parks. She has a much better record-keeping system: she has a parks passport from her childhood that has evidence of where she’s visited. We’ve been planning to visit one together for a few months now, and I’m going to make it happen!
  5. Catch up to last year’s mileage.
    I’m still behind where I was year to date last year, but I’m slowly catching up, and my mileage was WAY down in Q4 of last year, so I think I can get caught up by Nov 30th, provided I stay healthy and motivated.

These are some pretty ambitious goals for me, especially that 50K PR. The most important one is the marathon, since I’ve been training for it for months and have put off other fun racing opportunities to stay fresh for the marathon. I’m pretty excited, but also nervous since the marathon’s only a few weeks away!

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.

Summer 2019 Running Goals

Okay, it’s the summer solstice, so I should finally reveal my summer running goals, even though I’ve been “governed” by them for 21 days already.

  1. Distance PR. (Trust me on this one, it was always on my list.)
  2. Unofficial 50K PR. (Again, I know FANS has come and gone, but it’s been on my list.  wrote a draft of these in my private running journal on May 16th.)
  3. Run a 10K. I’ve still not managed to sign up for a 10K in, what, four years of consistent running? I’m sure there will be plenty to choose from this summer.
  4. Run 5 new counties. This goes along with my multi-year goal to run at least a mile in every county in MN. I have a trip to North Dakota in July that could pound all those out at once.
  5. Volunteer for trail work. I do a lot of volunteering at races, but I don’t have a lot of experience doing trail work. There are some opportunities coming up I’m hoping to take advantage of.

That is sort of boring, but I also don’t do that much during the summer because I am such a delicate flower, wilting in the heat. And my big big big goal, Twin Cities Marathon, isn’t until fall, but I will be working toward it this whole season. Playing the long game, as it were.

FANS and ESTRS

I had a dream last night that it was snowing for FANS, and I had absolutely nothing except a winter coat (I guess that was fortunate). I tried to go home and pick stuff up (specifically like 25 pairs of socks) and realized I didn’t have my car keys. I think this is a sign that I need to get my butt in gear and start doing actual planning for the race. It is in six days, so that’s good advice.

Wednesday, I volunteered for the first installment of the Endless Summer Trail Run Series. It was a bit on the chilly side, so the “summer” part seemed more like “beginningless” than endless, but I was covered for many contingencies – I had long pants, a sweatshirt, and even a poncho. The poncho is so great that I almost want it to rain during an event so that I can bust it out. I spent the evening checking in runners, wrangling (and eating) pizza, and cheering people on. It is SUCH a great event: the prize this year is a race-specific sticker (collect all 5!), the people who volunteer and/or run are top-notch, and the locations are awesome, too. If not for this race, I wouldn’t have known about Lebanon Hills! I signed up to volunteer at all 5 events this year, just so I wouldn’t miss out on the party.

Before I headed to the ESTRS shindig, I went to the new FANS course over lunch for some course recon. I went with my much faster colleague (who is competing in the 6 hour event) and ended up busting my butt to try not to bog him down, but I feel like I got the lay of the land anyway. The FANS race committee had to scramble to find a new place since Fort Snelling is still experiencing flooding. What a nice surprise for the new race directors! This year it will be at Normandale Lake, which has some positives: no gravel, no fee to get in (great for spectators), and the course is much closer to the lake, so I think that will help keep things cool. It has some challenges, too: it’s all asphalt, which could be tough when it gets hot, and it has some hillier hills. They aren’t that bad, but I’m sure by the 10th time around, they’ll be annoying. They are strategically placed to facilitate walking breaks, so that will be good!

I still have a lot to do this week to get ready, including a trial run at setting up my tent on my own, purchasing gels (I went to REI during their sale and the selection was not great!), restocking my tackle box of supplies, and figuring out how to deal with my feet. I did finally rid myself of this annoying callus I’ve had forever that was causing some serious issues, but my right foot is still sort of healing from the blister I got at Ice Age. I think it should be ok, but I’m still missing a layer of skin from where the blister was, and there’s a ridge where the old skin meets the new that I’m a bit wary of. What an appetizing though, I know.

I’m hoping my newfound talent for getting a decent night’s sleep before wasn’t a fluke, but I’m taking the day before the race off of work, and I plan to avoid sugar and caffeine in the afternoon and evening. I’m hoping to avoid a lot of my past FANS mistakes this year (eat more, walk more, deal with ANY problem, no matter how small, ASAP, apply more sunscreen) while also avoiding new mistakes, I want to get a BIG distance PR, and I really, really, really want to get at least one short lap in (meaning, I’m still in this thing in the final hour). Other than that, no expectations. No A, B, or C standard distances planned. Just see what I’m capable of, and try not to permanently damage myself.

Spring 2019 Running Goals Revisited

“Spring” as defined by me for the purposes of this site (March, April, May) has effectively ended. As is tradition, I’m reviewing my goals for the season and the year to see my progress.

I will note this winter/spring has been pretty terrible for me as far as running is concerned. I found joyful runs to be few and far between, and spent far, far too many miles on the treadmill. I also found it hard to get my runs in while heading up to Duluth for hockey. That’s something I’ll have to work on for next winter.

My spring running goals were:

  1. Distance personal best. Zumbro 50 was canceled, but I wouldn’t have finished anyway considering my training and the men’s hockey national championship game.
  2. 50K personal best. I thought I came close at Ice Age Trail 50K, but then it turned out I misremembered my PR. I got my second best overall time, though!
  3. Set up a corporate team for Twin Cities Marathon. I’m working on it, but haven’t gotten very far. We can have an unofficial team, if that doesn’t work out.
  4. Run in three new counties. I ran in Carver County, Le Sueur County, Wright County, Rice County, and Goodhue County. Overachieving!
  5. Throw away all socks that have holes in them. This is ongoing since I am making new holes all the time, but I ditched a LOT of pairs of socks.

Let’s call that 2.5/5. Not great, but I did have a great time exploring new areas of Minnesota.

My annual goals are:

  1. 2019 mileage > 2018 mileage
    I’m not doing very well on that right now, but I’m not too far off and have plenty of time to make it up.
  2. Do 100 pushups/day
    The first few months of the year, this didn’t go well. Then my colleagues started doing a group push-up challenge at work, and I got back into doing them. I’m not anywhere near 100/day, but I’m working toward making up for lost time.
  3. Run more new races/courses than old ones.
    So far, I haven’t run any old courses! I ran the Polar Dash Half in January, which was a new race to me, and then I ran Ice Age Trail last weekend, which was entirely new terrain. Even FANS is going to be a new course, thanks to epic flooding on the Mississippi River.
  4. My highest category of training mileage will not be treadmill mileage. I’m still at probably around 50% treadmill workouts and maybe 45% treadmill mileage, but again, I can make a lot of that up as the year progresses.
  5. Start taking a multivitamin. Done. I didn’t notice a difference.
  6. Volunteer at a race that isn’t put on by Rocksteady Running.
    I volunteered at The Willow 10 & 20 Miler in Hudson, WI. I didn’t know anyone there, but I had a great time and truly enjoyed everyone I met. I got to hand out the awards to the top runners, answered questions, and helped call off bib numbers. I narrowly avoided being showered in blue Gatorade puke by a hard-charging tween boy.
  7. Go for a run in every county in MN. See above.

I think for the year, I am doing pretty well, except in the push-up area, which I’m already working on. I’m not sure what my summer running goals will be, I should firm them up in the next week or so.

Ice Age 50K Goals

I’m racing in 12 hours! Surprise surprise. I am of course going from excitement to anxiety and back from minute to minute. The farther away from home I go for a race, the more that seems to happen.

I really want to get a 50K PR, so my goals are as follows:

A Standard: 7:45
B Standard: 8:00
C Standard: 8:20

Ambitious? Maybe. Probably. Yes.

The single most important thing I can do right now is get enough sleep. I mean, 4 hours would be great. I don’t have to get up super early (maybe 6:45?) so maybe that is going to work in my favor, but maybe not. I was on a work trip last week and I had a terrible time sleeping, so I am not anticipating a nice long snooze. Of course worrying about it now doesn’t help, does it?

I don’t know much about this course. It sounds like the first 13 miles are hilly and the two 9 mile loops after are more runnable. I don’t know what to expect beyond that. The area looks gorgeous, and I hope I am able to enjoy it.

That sounds very fatalistic, I guess. I realized I haven’t run an ultra in almost a year. That is crazy! I didn’t realize it had been that long, but I DNS both Zumbro (canceled) and Surf the Murph (ugh), and my other two big fall races were marathons. So it’s hard to know what to expect, plus my mileage has been a lot lower lately since I’ve been not super enthusiastic about running. I think I’m in good shape and I’m going to have a much better race than I did at, say, Moose Mountain Marathon, but I also don’t know what kind of mental shape I’m in. We shall see.