Surf the Murph 50 Goals

Oh man this race. I am basically not ready for it. That’s all I’ve got to say. It’s 6 PM and the race starts at 4 AM. I’ve sort of gotten my stuff together but I just… I don’t know. I’ve gone the entire two weeks since the Twin Cities Marathon ignoring what’s coming. Of course this is of my own making but whatever.

I’m hoping to get a few hours of sleep, but I don’t know. This is probably completely crazy. I have no idea what I’m in for. Although that’s somewhat ridiculous to say, considering 4 months ago I ran 42 miles. This is only 8 more. I’m just scared, mostly scared that I don’t have the toughness to get it done. It’ll be fine.

A Standard: 14:00
B Standard: 15:00
C Standard: 15:45

Let’s see what happens.

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Post-Mortem: Twin Cities Marathon

Hey! That race was really fun! And I’m already recruiting colleagues to be on a corporate team next year!

tcmfinish

Look how freaking happy I am here! The finish of this race is actually amazing. Round the corner, see the cathedral, and see the gentle downhill to the finish. Maybe it’s too small to see how much I’m enjoying myself but I am! Thank you, magical endocannabinoids! I sure know how to pull it together for the finish of a race.

Thoughts/lessons learned/etc:

Road marathons are so easy! Hahahahah, not really true. They’re hard in a different way. But there’s something to be said for not being on my feet as long, even if I am putting in a faster effort. I didn’t have to plan ahead for something like Moose Mountain. I could mostly get into a rhythm. I never had to worry that I was out in the middle of nowhere and if I did try to push through something, that I would be in an unsafe situation if I got more injured/sick/whatever.

There’s a huge advantage to running on familiar terrain. I’m glad this was my first road marathon, because I’d run or driven on probably 90% of the course. I knew what was coming, or at least had a good general idea where I was. It was also an emotional boost to run through the chain of lakes and think of other fun times I’ve had with my friends, or to cross from Minneapolis into St. Paul, my city of residence. I got chills and thrills when I ran by the Basilica and the church bells were pealing.

It would have totally sucked if it had been sunny. I tried to pare down what I carried, so I didn’t carry any sunscreen. I brought some in my drop bag and applied it while on the light rail, but that didn’t last 7 hours. I was very fortunate I didn’t get sunburned.

Speaking of carrying stuff, my problems started once I tossed my water bottle. I know snobby runners like to make fun of marathoners who wear hydration vests or carry water bottles, but those people can go to hell. When I was able to sip water, I was in much better shape. Once I had to drink at aid stations, I was overdoing it. I should have either refilled that bottle, or I should have brought the small flask that came with my vest. Then I wouldn’t have gotten that stupid side stitch issue.

Maybe next time, I’ll try to pace it more evenly. I mean, duh. I had a 30 minute positive split. But I also didn’t have much of a race plan, and I sort of enjoyed going out too hard, even though I knew that I was screwing over my second half self. I wanted to see what I could do. I wonder how things would have gone if I hadn’t consumed too much water. I’d probably have shaved maybe 5 minutes off my time. Nothing drastic – I’m sure I’d still have been reduced to a walk.

I am terrible at following a training plan, but I still liked having one. The first month or so, I was kicking butt. However, the heat made the marathon pace workouts hard to do — I had to resort to marathon “effort.” And even then I was just guessing at what pace should be marathon pace, anyway. Then work, travel, and illness started to chip away at the training plan, and I was running whatever I could muster the strength and mental energy to run. Still, I liked having various planned workouts, like hill repeats or tempos.

I’m used to being self-sufficient at races, but it was nice to have the logistics taken care of. Free light rail right to the start! Extremely efficient drop bag check-in! Never a doubt whether I was on course. Water and Gatorade every mile (or so). EMTs everywhere. Entertainment and crowd support through almost every yard of the course. Someone to literally wrap me in the space blanket at the end! Immediate results, and a quick turnaround on videos and pictures. It was all very luxurious, and I was glad I was able to relinquish control and take advantage of some of the services and logistics support the race offers. I still threw my cups in the garbage, even if there were plenty of volunteers raking them up.

It was too crowded for my taste. I run alone almost all the time. I run alone at trail races, too. I went through periods where I was tired of seeing people, and hearing them. The expo and the start were both overwhelmingly crowded to me. I’m not agoraphobic by any means, but when I’m running, I feel uncomfortable around so many people, especially if I’m standing around alone. I hate accidentally being in the background of people’s selfies. And I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate hearing people chatter on in conversation during races.

Trail running is better, but I’m absolutely going to run more road marathons! I want to chase down a sub-5 marathon. I want to keep participating in this race, since it’s so convenient. I’m hoping to incorporate road marathons (and half marathons) into ultra training blocks as supported long runs. And maybe… maybe someday I’ll do Grandma’s.

Twin Cities Marathon Goals

Arrrrrrgh. Still sick. I hate everything. I ran to the race expo and back today, and it was basically a terrifying experience. Not the run, the run was fine. The expo was a nightmare. First, I actually took the long way around the Xcel Energy Center to get to the expo because when I was crossing Kellogg after going over the Wabasha Street Bridge, I saw a group of runners making their way over to the expo, looking official and even being videotaped by a guy. NO THANK YOU, I do not want to run by fast-looking people, I will take the long way around.

To get in to the expo, I had to go through a metal detector. Since I ran there, I had nothing on me but my phone, ID, and a credit card, so I went through easily, but ugh. I was feeling sweaty and a little fatigued thanks to my semi-stuffy head, and was quickly overwhelmed by the crowd. And I also felt like a total loser. Everyone there was thin! I mean, duh, this is a marathon. But I felt like a total outsider. Everyone there was also white, so I can imagine a person of color would feel even more like an outsider. I mean, I felt like I didn’t belong simply because I had curly hair. Also I had cat hair on my running tights and I had wiped my nose on the sleeve of my jacket about 7500 times on the run to the expo, so I was pretty much a complete goober. A water buffalo in a room of gazelles.

I picked up my bib and then I wandered around a little bit. I thought there might be cool stuff to look at but then realized I didn’t want to talk to anyone. It was really crowded and people were exhibiting an astounding lack of awareness of their surroundings, so I was ready to leave. This is NOT a good omen for the race. Sometimes in a trail race over an hour will pass without me seeing another person. I LOVE THAT. But I am here to try something new.

I am glad I picked up my packet today, rather than waiting until tomorrow. While it was a disaster zone already due to the expo AND the Lynyrd Skynyrd concert, tomorrow is the Wild’s home opener and there will be some kind of fan thing going on all afternoon in addition to the expo. The Skynyrd folks seemed a little puzzled about what was going on. I had a chat with one of the guys directing traffic and wished him well through the crazy weekend.

So, goals. I don’t really know what to do here. I have been all over the map with training. I didn’t do any “marathon pace” workouts successfully, thanks to the hot weather. I have cold-like stuff that may or may not be gone by race day. I’m going to Duluth and back on Saturday. I’m not exactly setting myself up for success. And I’ve never done this before. I’ve never run a race this long that is runnable the whole way. What is my body going to think about a marathon with no hiking? It’s gonna be so confused. And maybe it’s gonna be like “no.” I don’t know.

Even with all these unknowns, I’m sticking with my same A goal of sub-5. Now, that doesn’t mean that, come race day, I’m going to hold that pace even if it feels like misery from the get-go. I will do what I’m capable of on Sunday, not shoot for something I want regardless of ability. I decided months ago that I wanted to run a sub-5 marathon, and so I’m not going to back away from saying it out loud. If I don’t make it, I don’t. It’s okay to not make every running goal you set, and it’s okay to publicly fail. Or maybe it isn’t, for the gazelles of the world, what do I know?

A Standard: 4:59:59
B Standard: 5:15
C Standard: 5:30

Non-time related goals: stay out of the med tent, finish the race, walk as little as possible, and don’t become a meme.

Twin Cities Marathon Training: Weeks 14 and 15

Two weeks of incredibly dull training, comin’ atcha!

Monday (9/17): 5.6 mi, treadmill
Tuesday: 6.2 mi, treadmill
Wednesday: 5.5 mi, treadmill (hill workout)
Thursday: 6 mi, treadmill
Friday: 5.3 mi, treadmill
Saturday: rest
Sunday: rest
Total: 28.6 mi

Monday (9/24): 5 mi, treadmill
Tuesday: 6.1 mi, paved trail (MRT)
Wednesday: 6 mi, paved trail (MRT)
Thursday: rest
Friday: 5.3 mi, paved trail (Battle Creek)
Saturday: 5.5 mi, treadmill
Sunday: 6.1 mi, paved trail (Fort Snelling to Minnehaha Park & back)
Total: 34 mi

I’m officially in the “marking time” phase of training, which is probably not a normal marathon training phase, but I always seem to end up here. Probably because I’m always catching colds and entering survival mode.

Week 14 revolved around prep for our party on Saturday. I ran on the treadmill because it was the easiest way for me to control the amount of time my workout would take. I would run on the treadmill and then spend the next several hours of each night running around frantically trying to clean the house, decorate it, shove stuff in closets, and prep food. I think we took six or seven separate trips to the grocery store between Wednesday and Saturday.

I’d planned to take Saturday off from running, of course. I spent all day giving tours of my house and flitting from room to room worrying my guests were not getting enough of my time and attention. My friends and family are pretty great and could fend for themselves, but I still fretted about entertaining them, especially the ones who didn’t know anyone else. (My high school friends, meanwhile, were out back playing an extremely aggressive soccer game with a sad looking basketball found under my back deck by the sons of two of my friends. They were good to go.) It turned out all the fun and frenzy wore me out and I was in bed by 10 PM.

My plan for Sunday was to work out, go to a welcome party for my cousin’s darling new baby, go to a birthday/PhD celebration for one of the aggressive soccer players from the previous day, and then have a dinner with two other friends who could not make the party. I was tired, my back hurt from standing so much the day before, and I was mentally drained (but happily so!) – so I hit the snooze button and focused on spending time with friends and family. It’s not like I’m winning this damn marathon or something.

Then, week 15, I came down with another cold-like illness. And here I am, Wednesday night, over a week later, still not totally over it, despite going through an entire bottle of Zicam QuickMelts. Of course, I did keep running – I really wanted to beat my Sept 2017 mileage. (Narrator: She did, by 0.88 mi.) I also didn’t feel so sick that I needed to stop. While I was tired, had a bit of a stuffy head/runny nose, and sneezed a bit, I never got that horrible, sick, sweaty feeling like I did when walking to meet the bus for the Moose Mountain Marathon. I never felt dizzy or light-headed, so I kept on. I even did a tempo run on Tuesday, and though I felt like total crap and like my legs were encased in concrete, I ended up running about the same pace I would have wanted to run. So hey, a good sign?

I did a lot of runs on the Mississippi River Trail, just to get out of the house and off the treadmill. It would have been perfect weather for running almost every day last week, had I not been ill. I ended up overdressing for most of my runs in order to avoid getting chilled.

Race week is upon me now, and I’m using it to rest, get healthy, and run teeny tiny distances. I even have Friday off from work to relax! (Ha ha, work got insane so I’ll prb be working anyway.) At this point, my main goal is to get to the starting line with clear lungs and clear sinuses. I dream big!

Good News Bad News

Training has been completely lackluster lately. But, whatever. I’m not too worried about it because whatever, at this point the only thing I can do is maintain fitness. There’s no speedwork or long run or other workout that will improve my marathon.

On the other hand, there are all kinds of ways I can screw it up. Like, apparently, going out in the world. Because I have the same kind of weird cold-like symptoms I had before Superior, thanks to another weather warm-up and cool-down cycle, and also thanks to some colleagues who brought some germs in to the office. I’m very annoyed by this but hoping that it’ll clear up by next Sunday. But obviously worried that it won’t. Ugh.

So that’s the bad news. The good news is regarding Surf the Murph. I found out they were offering an opportunity for runners to start at 4 am in order to make the cut-offs. I jumped at the opportunity! I can’t wait to freaking run at 4 am! Ugh. But this means I’m way, way, way more likely to finish the race, and that’s what matters. If I can sleep a few hours in advance, that will be great.

Of course, with this cold/whatever, pretty much everything sounds exhausting right now, so even running like one mile seems impossible. But I WILL get over this stupid cold, and SOON. I have an actual weekend that doesn’t involve travel or cleaning, so that’s a good place to start!

Twin Cities Marathon Training: Week 13

Accidentally a lighter week.

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 4.4 mi, paved trail (MRT)
Wednesday: 4.2 mi, paved trail (MRT)
Thursday: 3.3 mi, trail (Centennial Lakes)
Friday: 4.3 mi, paved trail (Battle Creek)
Saturday: 6.3 mi, treadmill (50 @ tempo)
Sunday: rest
Total: 22.4 mi

So I’ve been living in my new house for 6 months now, and only a handful of friends and family have ever seen it. We lost a lot of time and energy due to dealing with bed bugs, and didn’t realize how much that set us back in our plans for the house. I decided we were just going to have to pick a date, do what we could to set up the house, and if we didn’t have all the little projects completed, so be it. We’re not having a photo shoot for a fancy home decor publication, we’re just having a little party with people who already know what a slob I am.

I did want to get the kitchen cabinets repainted, and unfortunately that took up more time than I expected – so we’ve spent the past week or so finishing that up, cleaning, organizing, and putting things away (or just out of sight) in preparation for the party this upcoming weekend. I still got my workouts in, but the quality and quantity of the workouts were less than what I’d have liked. I suppose it’s not really that big of a deal considering I’d run a marathon the weekend prior… somehow Superior feels like it was months ago.

Monday I rested, giving myself another day to recover from the marathon. I felt pretty good, which is unsurprising since I hiked so much of the run. Tuesday and Wednesday I returned to my old haunts on the Mississippi River Trail – Tuesday I ran starting at Upper Landing Park, and Wednesday I ran starting at Harriet Island Park. My legs were pretty heavy both days, so I was glad I’d taken Monday off. I didn’t push myself, just tried to keep from dragging.

Thursday I had plans for my mom and aunt to come over (my aunt had just returned from her trip to Norway and was heading back to Colorado, so we wanted to see her again before she left), so I ran at lunch around Centennial Lakes. I discovered that I could add a larger loop by turning off the trail and going under York Ave, so now I have a nice way to lengthen my lunch runs and add variety.

Friday I planned to run more miles, but I forgot that Battle Creek’s trails are pretty short, and I also started really late, so I ended up finishing nearly in the dark. I’m not used to these shorter days! Ugh.

Saturday we were heading up to Duluth for a wedding, so I got up early and pounded out a tempo run on the treadmill before we left. (I showered, too, don’t worry.) The wedding was a blast, and I got in some nice cross training on the dance floor. I like the Backstreet Boys about 1000000000x more now than I did in high school, it appears.

Sunday my dad and I had plans to go kayaking on Lake Superior, but we were foiled by fog. Once I was back in the Twin Cities, I just… didn’t feel like running. It was hot out, I had a lot to do around the house, and I didn’t have any energy. (No, I wasn’t hung over!) So, whoops, I didn’t run.

I really wanted to get in a lot more mileage this last week, but in the grand scheme of things, it was probably better for me to take it easy. I can’t believe I have fewer than 3 weeks to go til TCM! Eek.

Twin Cities Marathon Training: Week 12

Where did the time go?

Monday: 6.2 mi, treadmill (50 @ tempo)
Tuesday: 3.5 mi, treadmill
Wednesday: 3.3 mi, road
Thursday: rest
Friday: rest (volunteering)
Saturday: 26.2 mi, trail, Moose Mountain Marathon
Sunday: rest
Total: 39.2 mi

Huh, apparently it’s already Friday. I didn’t even notice, I’ve been fairly busy at work, which is great!

I took it easy last week after that last tempo run, but it wasn’t enough, as I started coming down with cold/allergy symptoms that ended up affecting my race. Massive bummer. I had originally been planning to do a final short run on Thursday, and possibly even a run on Sunday morning, but it wasn’t meant to be.

It seems like from here on out, I’ll be deviating significantly from the training plan I devised, as my next couple of weekends are kind of full, and I’m trying to avoid getting worn down. I’m not sure what my training will entail, but it’s unlikely to include any more long runs due to time constraints. I figure I can do more to harm my race than help it at this point!