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.

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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.

Spring 2019 Running Goals

It IS actually spring, according to the rules here at CoM (spring = Mar-May, summer = Jun-Aug, fall = Sep-Nov, for goal setting purposes), so I need to step it up and get my spring running goals together, even if running is making me miserable right now.

I don’t have a whole lot planned for the spring, so I had a hard time coming up with too many short-term goals. I managed to come up with four distinct goals:

  1. Distance personal best. It’s mine as long as I finish Zumbro.
  2. 50K personal best. I was gunning for that last spring at Chippewa Moraine and didn’t make it, so I’ll give it another shot at Ice Age in May.
  3. Set up a corporate team for Twin Cities Marathon. Several of my colleagues have expressed interest in running TCM this year, and I thought it would be fun to get some of the perks that come with being a corporate team. I’m in the beginning stages of setting up the team (and setting myself up as team captain!)
  4. Run in three new counties. I set a multi-year goal to run at least a mile in every county in MN, and I am ready to start exploring! With upcoming races and the current poor trail conditions, it’s going to be hard to get too many new counties in, so I am setting the bar kind of low.
  5. Throw away all socks that have holes in them. (I added this 3/11/19). I realize this makes me seem like a pathetic hoarder, but I wear clothing into the ground. A hem coming out? A hole in a seam? Faded/dingy whites? Small stain? I’m still wearing it. But holey socks are just going to lead to foot discomfort. Time to jettison those socks and replace them (hopefully with more durable pairs).

I know once the weather improves, I am going to get excited about running again, so it’s just a matter of buckling down for these last few weeks of winter weather (I’m being optimistic here, of course there could be 6 more weeks, but I can’t think about that now.)

2019 Running Goals

Another year, another chance to set myself up for three seasons of successful, enjoyable, purposeful running. I leave my more practical goals for the beginning of each season (Mar-May = spring, June-Aug = summer, Sep-Nov = fall, and I don’t set goals for winter) and instead let my year long goals be more holistic.

  1. 2019 mileage > 2018 mileage
    This is an obvious goal. One day I’ll stop setting this as a goal as I think I’ll reach a point where there are diminishing returns for additional mileage, but I know I’m nowhere near that point.
  2. Do 100 pushups/day
    I keep saying I need to do strength training and keep failing to do it. This is a good way to do something measurable and achievable to jump start that initiative. My friend Jeff had an amazing year of running last year, and he did at least 100 pushups a day, even during FANS when he was 3rd overall in the 24 hour race! So why wouldn’t it work for me, too? Look for me to be winning races left and right thanks to pushups.
  3. Run more new races/courses than old ones.
    I have been running a lot of the same races (Superior, Be the Match, Chippewa Moraine, FANS), and it’s time to branch out and try some new things. Be the Match 5K has ended, so that’s out, and I didn’t enter the lottery for either Superior Spring or Fall. I’ll still head up in September for the big party, but as a volunteer only. I’m still doing FANS and Twin Cities Marathon, so I’ll have some repeats. I’m doing Zumbro 50, so that counts as a new race even if it’s not a new course.
  4. My highest category of training mileage will not be treadmill mileage.
    Last year, 42% of my workouts were treadmill workouts! 34% of my mileage was treadmill mileage, so if I made it out the door, the run was probably longer. It’s cold sometimes. It rains sometimes. I travel to places that aren’t great for running. The treadmill is convenient. But as a trail runner, I can’t have nearly half of my workouts be indoors.
  5. Start taking a multivitamin.
    I am not a “clean” eater. I’m totally fine with that. I don’t want to be the type of person who refers to food by its macronutrient type. While I’m working on making incremental improvements to my food choices, I want to make sure I’m supplementing those efforts with the right micronutrients.
  6. Volunteer at a race that isn’t put on by Rocksteady Running.
    I love RSR, I love supporting their events, and I will continue to volunteer at them, but I need to support other events as well! There are so many races in the area that need volunteer support, and I want to spread that love around a little more.
  7. Go for a run in every county in MN.
    This is a multi-year goal I’m starting today (that is retroactive). It’s a bit of an homage to Gary “Lazarus Lake” Cantrell, except I’m not planning to run across every county.

Now that I have some direction, I can go out and start executing. Since my abs and chest muscles are killing me today, I can tell the push-ups challenge is going to be a good one… eventually.

2018 Goals Revisited

I got my last run of 2018 in this afternoon. It was pretty miserable – 4.9 miles in stinging snow, but it was also kind of lovely. And I was proud of myself for getting out there even though it was already snowing when I left.

At the beginning of 2018, I laid out a couple of goals for the year:

I wanted to take more planned rest breaks. I took one planned rest break after FANS, but the rest were unplanned and due to either illness or my move. I have to stop getting sick, because I love planned rest breaks that are there for no reason but my own sanity!

I wanted to run more miles than I did in 2017. I ran 1689 miles this year, vs. 1706 in 2017. That’s 17 fewer miles, which is both frustrating and fine. I came so close! If not for my illnesses in December, I’d have made it. Just 3 or 4 more days of running! But at the same time, it’s not like I missed it by a lot and I took a huge step back in my running. So that makes it not a huge deal. It’s like a third of a mile per week, so it’s virtually the same outcome. I’m still not going to say I made my goal, but I’m not going to fret too much over it. I will note I took 24 fewer rest days in 2018, so my miles per run went down. That’s probably more concerning – I didn’t do nearly as many long runs as I should have in my various training cycles. Something to fix in ’19.

I wanted to reach the 1000 mile mark sooner than in 2017. I did this on July 20th, which was 11 days sooner than 2017. I achieved this on the treadmill, which is apropos for this year and will need to be addressed in next year’s goals.

I wanted to go outside every day with intention. I did this 284/365 days, for about 78% achievement. So a C+, which is about what I deserve. Some of the days were pretty simple, just stepping outside to look at the stars or let my cat run around on the porch for awhile. Other days were races, or hikes, or long days hanging out on the lake. But this also means that 81 days, I did absolutely nothing outside beyond walking to/from my car to get to work or wherever else I was going. And a few of those days, I likely did not even leave the house! That’s probably bad.

I wanted to turn strength training into a habit and track my spending. I didn’t do either.

I wanted to spend more time with other runners. I think I did ok at this, although I did no group runs. I volunteered a lot more so I made new friends that way, which was perfect. All my running friends are people I’ve met volunteering.

2018 was a pretty darn good year for me! I ran my fastest and slowest marathons. I set a distance personal best at FANS. I ran personal bests in the half marathon and 5K. I finally beat 4 hours in the Superior Spring 25K. I volunteered at both the spring and fall Superior races as well as 3/4 of the Endless Summer Trail Run Series. I made new friends and strengthened my existing friendships. I found a lot of neat new places to run in my new home of St. Paul. I ran in sweltering and frigid temps. I tried and failed at a run streak. I raced the fewest races since 2015, and DNS the most ever (Hot Dash, Women Rock Half, Surf the Murph, is that it?).

The actual running season in 2019 still feels so far off. It’s going to get cold soon (well, tomorrow is going to be awful, but then it’ll warm back up for a bit), just in time for me to start needing lots of mileage in preparation for a big spring season. I’m hoping for a real spring this time, not an extended, snowy winter, spring barely jammed in, and then a short but sweltering summer, leading into a cold autumn. I don’t even know if that’s really what the year was, but it is my perception of it right now.

Happy new year, and best of luck in reaching all of your big and small goals in the coming year!

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.