Fall Running Goals: 2017 Revisited

Fall ends very early in Duluth, so even though we’ve not reached the winter solstice, I’m ready to close the book on the season.

I won’t be setting any goals for “winter” (December-February), because I don’t really race then. I’ll set my year-long goals in January, and then do seasonal goals for spring, summer, and fall. I know some people need that next race on the calendar to get themselves psyched up, but I feel great about not having any running obligations, and I’m glad to have a break from race fees!

My fall running goals were as follows:

  1. Course personal best at WD50K.
    I didn’t finish, so I’m starting off well here.
  2. Set another marathon PR.
    I didn’t start the Birkie, so I didn’t set a marathon PR. I finished the Fall Back Blast in 15:55, a pace nearly a minute faster than my marathon PR pace from July.
  3. Run all the remaining segments of the Superior Hiking Trail between Duluth and Two Harbors.
    I completed all the segments except the long one from Lake County Demonstration Forest to Reeves Road. Bummer, but I didn’t have the time nor the energy for a 22 mile run, and couldn’t make it work to run with a friend and coordinate parking.
  4. Take 2 weeks off deliberately.
    In progress. I’m four days in and have a cold already. Huzzah.

That was a pretty poor showing (25%!), but at the same time, I still set an overall 50K PR, I ran a lot of fun new segments of the Superior Hiking Trail, and I am enjoying my time off during a really annoying cold snap. I had plenty to enjoy about my fall season, even if I didn’t achieve many of my goals. It’s about the journey, not the destination.

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‘Twas the Night Before a Thanksgiving 5K

Ugh why do I run these stupid things? I am not good at them. I decided to “sabotage” my race by running almost 7 miles today. I say “sabotage” because for all I know, it’ll help.

I’m not getting any better at 5Ks, which is not surprising because I am putting zero effort into improving at them. It turns out running trail ultramarathons is not great for speed. Who knew? Well, I knew.

Sometimes I think about putting serious effort into my 5K time. It never happens because I always find some shiny new trail race to occupy my training. Also I feel really stupid about putting a lot of effort into 5K training, when the average semi-fit person could amble up to the start wearing basketball shorts and Chuck Taylors and knock out a better time than I can with a full training cycle. I realize that’s kind of pathetic and I should just run my own race and get on with my bad self, but it’s unlikely.

5Ks are really hard for me to do well at. I wonder about this. I am running at a very hard effort for 30 minutes. A faster person is running very hard for like 25 minutes, or 22 minutes, or 18 minutes (we’re talking local 5Ks here, people, not the Olympic trials). That’s way easier! Says me, the person with no experience running anywhere near that pace. Hey, if people can make obnoxious generalizations about how a 10:00 pace is “not really running” or make snide remarks about people who participate in Thanksgiving Day 5Ks like it’s some kind of offense to the sport of running itself, I can say it’s easier to run hard for a shorter period of time.

Why yes, I do feel very defensive. I don’t care.

I’m still going to go into this with hope of a PR (current PR is 29:21 and is now almost a year old) even though I have no reason to believe I have the leg speed to do so. Which, let’s be real, “believing” is the actual problem. My mental game is weak.

A Standard: 28:59
B Standard: 29:20

Okay, gauntlet thrown down. Time for me to also pick it up.

Fall Running Goals: 2017

It’s meteorological fall! Time for some new goals!

  1. Course personal best at WD50K.
    The time to beat is 10:25:27. Obviously an overall 50K personal best would be amazing, too, but the course is harder.
  2. Set another marathon PR.
    This is tricky, because the Birkie is not actually a marathon distance. So I’ll look at overall pace in addition to overall time.
  3. Run all the remaining segments of the Superior Hiking Trail between Duluth and Two Harbors.
    Segments remaining: Sucker River to Fox Farm Road, Fox Farm Road to Rossini Road, Rossini Road to Lake County Demonstration Forest, Lake County Demonstration Forest to Reeves Road (11 miles, yikes!), and Reeves Road to Lake County Road 301.
  4. Take 2 weeks off deliberately.
    Once I’ve finished Wild Duluth, I’m going to give myself 2 weeks off, for real, with no guilt. I need the mental reset, and to let the blisters and scabs and twinges truly heal. I’ve taken time off before, but usually due to either illness or a mental funk, so it’s never as satisfying as planned time off.

Checking in on my summer running goals:

  1. Reach a personal best in distance.
    Nope.
  2. PR at the marathon distance.
    I ran 7:22:17 at the Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon, a PR of 1:01:12.
  3. Run from home to my dad’s place on Pike Lake.
    I never made the time to do this. I still need to plan a route and then drive it to see how safe the roads look.
  4. Run from Gooseberry Falls to Split Rock Lighthouse.
    I did this at the end of July. It was ok. I might try it again and go all the way to the lighthouse.

Only 50%? That’s not a very good showing. I did a lot of other fun stuff this summer so I don’t mind.

Summer Running Goals: 2017

Gotta get these done before the weekend. “Summer” running goals are things I want to accomplish between June and August.

  1. Reach a personal best in distance.
    Bring it on, FANS. I’m hoping to see huge increase over 50km this weekend.
  2. PR at the marathon distance.
    My current marathon PR is 8:23:29, set last year at the Moose Mountain Marathon. While I expect to set an unofficial PR this coming weekend at FANS (and set an unofficial PR at CM50K of some unknown time under 8 hours), I’m looking to set an official PR at the Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon in July. Since I DNSd that race last year, just getting to the finish line is a small victory.
  3. Run from home to my dad’s place on Pike Lake.
    It’ll be a fun adventure. I just have to plan a route that keeps me off the highway.
  4. Run from Gooseberry Falls to Split Rock Lighthouse.
    This one is a holdover from last year. It seems like a good idea for a long run (an out and back is the most likely way I’ll achieve this, due to my lone wolf nature).

As for my spring running goals, let’s evaluate.

  1. Race a distance I have not raced before.
    I raced the Hot Dash 10 Mile in March and loved it!
  2. Run a race where I’m not sure I can make the cutoff.
    I raced the Chippewa Moraine 50K in April and finished 2:31 before the cutoff, after missing the intermediate cutoff but being allowed to continue.
  3. PR at the 50K distance.
    I dropped my PR from 10:25:37 to 8:57:29! Granted, CM50K was an easier course than Wild Duluth, but I’m taking some of that credit for myself.
  4. Help my team for Be The Match 5K raise $2000.
    I really flopped on this front. My mom and I raised over $1100 (probably more like $1200 as we had a couple make general donations), which is neither a fundraising PR nor anywhere near my stretch goal. Yuck.
  5. Improve my time at Superior 25K.
    I ran 45 minutes better than last year. Check check.

Spring Running Goals: 2017

As I alluded to last week, I set my goals for “spring” (let’s call that March-May).

  1. Race a distance I have not raced before.
    This will probably be a 10K or a 10 miler, in March.
  2. Run a race where I’m not sure I can make the cutoff.
    I have a fear of getting swept, so I’ve always signed up for races with extremely generous cutoffs (either walk/runs, or trail races where there are longer distances). I’m going to want to run those longer distances one day, so I’m going to need to face my fear eventually. Chippewa Moraine 50K, with a 4 hour cutoff at the halfway point, and a 9 hour overall cutoff, will be my first chance to face my fear.
  3. PR at the 50K distance.
    My PR is 10:25, so it’s PR or bust at CM50K.
  4. Help my team for Be The Match 5K raise $2000.
    Last year we raised $1286.66, so $2000 would be a huge PR!
  5. Improve my time at Superior 25K.
    Last year was rough, because it was so hot. I am hoping for cooler weather, or if not cooler weather, then better coping skills.

The most ambitious of the goals might be the fundraising goal. Maybe this year someone other than my mom and me will solicit donations. The rest are pretty conservative, but since spring running up here is so unpredictable, sometimes even conservative goals are hard to achieve (see: Superior 25K).

Summer Running Goals 2

Last year’s goals are here. I didn’t achieve too many of them.

This year, I’ve broadened my focus a bit, and it’s not just about running in state parks. Here’s what I’ve got:

  • Run a <30 5K
  • Run across the Bong Bridge
  • Become a marathoner
  • Recon every section of the Moose Mountain Marathon
  • Volunteer at an aid station
  • Traverse the entire Lakewalk in one run
  • Run from Gooseberry Falls to Split Rock

This is a nice mix of goals, I think. Last year’s goal list was focused solely on places to run, most of which required significant driving distances. There’s more variety to this year’s list, which I think will make it more achievable.

I had to get this post out quickly as my first sub-30 attempt is in just a few days. If I don’t make it then, I will have to try another race in August. That also means finding another race in August that will work. I’m already signed up for two marathons and a volunteering stint, so I basically have to show up and do what I’m supposed to and I can tick off those other goals. The rest are all about timing and planning.