Post-Mortem: Fans 24 Hour Race 2018

Over a week’s gone by, and I’m mostly back to normal. My foot still hurts a little bit, but I am able to walk without limping and most of the time I do not have any pain at all (although when I wrote that sentence, I had just gone to the printer to pick something up and my foot hurt a bit, so I guess I jinxed myself). I haven’t had much time to enjoy my break from running, because I’ve been traveling for work, but I’m looking forward to a weekend of nothing. Well, not nothing. I painted my bathroom. But there won’t be any running.

I’ve had some time to consider this years FANS experience. Overall I had a great time and I’m proud of my result. Of course it wasn’t what I wanted, but I did reach a new distance PR, and I made it past 12 hours. Some thoughts/lessons learned:

I liked bringing less stuff, but I really did need food at my tent. I got sick of the race food after awhile, probably because I was eating mostly cookies and pretzels. I realized right before I quit the race that I was behind on my food, and I either had to go back to the main aid station or walk a mile+ to the first aid station. I had some gels at my tent but what I really needed was a substantial snack like a bagel or a sandwich or anything different.

I don’t know nearly enough about foot care. I did a few things right, like stopping to fix my heel when my shoe was rubbing against it, or lancing my blisters and just getting on with it, but what I really should have done was tape up my callus to begin with. I read an article on I Run Far a couple days ago on blister care with a hilarious infographic on causes of blisters, with the #1 cause being “saying ‘I don’t usually have problems with blisters’ before the race.” TOO SOON, LIZA HOWARD. TOO SOON. I just ordered Fixing Your Feet so I can fix my feet.

42.3 miles wasn’t really that much harder than 31. Okay, it was also on a mostly flat trail, I didn’t have to carry my own water or gear, and I had plenty of people to motivate me along the way, but still. I was on my feet for almost 13 hours, and I felt pretty good the next day. As we were taking down the camp, I felt pretty crappy and sad about quitting early again, and thought maybe I wasn’t meant to run more than 50Ks. Then the next day I felt pretty good (other than my foot), and I realized that I completed 42 miles in about 13 hours with the last 10 miles at a slow walk, and the 50 mile dream was resurrected.

My job is more important than my race. I don’t get paid to run, I get paid to be an engineer. I had a site visit the Wednesday after the race, and it would have been unsafe for me to go out there with limited mobility. If I had continued for 11 more hours, even walking slowly, I doubt I would have been able to complete the site visit. Running is my hobby, not my livelihood, and this race was a good reminder of how to balance those. I’m reminded of one of my former coworkers, a construction manager who was a bull rider in his spare time. His superintendent finally told him that he had to choose between work and rodeo because he kept showing up to work injured. I don’t want to jeopardize my career for recreation.

It’s time to try something new. I’ve “failed” at the 24 hour event twice now, but I really love this race! I think it’s time for me to do the 12 hour race and set a different goal (like 50 miles?) before I give 24 hours another shot. Could the third time be the charm? Maybe. But it’s a lot of work and logistics and pressure to plan a 24 hour race. With a 12 hour race, I can sleep in my own bed!

Advertisements

FANS 24 Hour 2018 Goals

Here we go again. After last year’s disastrous end at 29.5 miles, I’m ready for redemption.

My goals are the same as last year:
A Standard: 100 mi
B Standard: 90 mi
C Standard: 75 mi

The weather is not looking dry, but I think I prefer rain to heat. I think. Will I feel the same way tomorrow at this time, when it’s been pouring for six hours straight and my feet are raw and I’m shivering too badly to use my hands?

Many of the lessons I learned last year are not applicable to this year’s race. All my heat management techniques are pointless. That’s okay, though. I did learn a couple other things that I’m working on for this year:

  1. Less stuff. I brought so much stuff last year that I didn’t need, and it was extra embarrassing to haul all that gear back after quitting early. Some of it was necessary because I didn’t live nearby and I needed to be prepared for all kinds of weather. A few days before the race it was predicted to be cold and rainy, and instead it was hot and sunny. So I had a lot of clothes and gear. This year I am bringing way less gear, but I also only live 7 miles from Fort Snelling now. If I need something, someone can get it for me in half an hour. I’m not bringing any food besides vanilla Coke and some gels – I’ll rely on the aid stations.
  2. No crew in the morning. My dad is picking me up and helping me haul my gear, but after the start, he’ll leave for awhile. He’ll miss out on some prime people-watching, of course, but I found last year that I felt guilty about having someone sit there all day just to give me fresh water bottle every half hour or so. I have run enough ultras to know that I can be self-sufficient for the first several hours of the race, and rely on volunteers, aid stations, and my campsite for anything I need. I can focus on getting in the miles and not on worrying about the entertainment of someone else. No one that visited me while I was running last year was anything but helpful and understanding, and no one ever gave the slightest hint of annoyance at being there, but I still felt like I was inconveniencing people.
  3. Arrive earlier to try to snag a better campsite. Last year, I had to set up my tent off the path. The people who arrived earlier set their tents up along the running path, which was way more convenient! I had to walk off the path, through someone else’s campsite, to get to mine.
  4. Relentless forward progress. This worked okay for me for awhile last year – I felt too fatigued from the heat and the sun to run, so I walked. I’m going to aim to do a better job of that this time. And if I do have to take a break, I’ll do it – and then get up. I don’t have to leave early.

This year I have some advantages I didn’t have last year. Obviously, I live here, so I’m not paying for a hotel room and I’ll be able to sleep in my own bed. The weather will be cooler so if I’m having chafing issues, I can switch to pants. (I’m making a mental note to pack a pair of tights.) I bought a pair of shoes with a rock plate but smaller lugs, so the gravel won’t bug me as much. And, of course, I now have “beat last year!” to drive me forward.

I won’t have time to post my Summer 2018 goals post yet, but I am setting a couple goals that will pertain directly to FANS – I’d like a distance PR, an unofficial marathon PR, and an unofficial 50K PR – hopefully I can get all three!

Fans 24 Hour Training: Week 4

Tapering hardcore.

Monday: 5.1 mi, road (Minnesota Point)
Tuesday: 5.1 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Wednesday: 3.4 mi, road
Thursday: rest (kind of)
Friday: 4.4 mi, road
Saturday: 4.2 mi, road
Sunday: rest
Total: 22.1

I spent the first part of the week in Duluth, which was nice. I ran on the Lakewalk and on Minnesota Point – the two easiest spots to run when staying in Canal Park! It was nice to be back. I bought a new pair of shoes at Austin Jarrow and have been breaking them in. They have a rock plate but much smaller lugs than my current trail shoes, so they should be good for the gravel paths at FANS.

Home for a few days. #lakesuperior #duluth #onlyinmn

A post shared by RWD (@runninwiththedogs) on

Wednesday I got in a short evening run in the neighborhood after we drove back from Duluth. I’m really just trying to keep my legs moving and maintain my weight leading up to fans.

Thursday I went to see Slayer in concert in Minneapolis. They’re retiring, so this was my last chance to see them play, ever. I didn’t run but I did do a hell of a lot of jumping around and I was on my feet for 6 hours. My legs were exhausted afterward. So was that really a rest day? I don’t know!

Friday and Saturday were more boring neighborhood runs. The nice thing about finally living in a neighborhood with somewhat of a grid layout (not entirely, though, because it is St. Paul) is that I can mix things up and don’t have to take the same route. It gets annoying to have to manufacture mileage, but it’s better than running the same old routes because only a couple roads actually go through. Friday I also hit up REI since they were having a sale and I had a bunch of gift cards.

Sunday I took an unplanned rest day as I seem to be coming down with a cold. There’s no workout I can do right now that will help my race, but hundreds of ways I can mess it up, so I just took a day to relax, stain some furniture, and see Solo: A Star Wars Story.

I suppose I should do some planning and prepping for FANS… but I haven’t yet. I’m headed to Duluth tomorrow for a couple days, so most of my prepping will have to be Thursday and Friday. Maybe if I’m more laissez-faire about it, it’ll go better.

Fans 24 Hour Training: Week 3

Final “tough” week of training.

Monday: 6.4 mi, treadmill
Tuesday: 3.1 mi, paved trail (Centennial Lakes)
Wednesday: 8.9 mi, paved trail + road (2.9 @ Centennial Lakes, 6 road)
Thursday: 3.6 mi, road
Friday: rest
Saturday: 15.5 mi, trail (Superior Hiking Trail – Superior 25K)
Sunday: 4 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Total: 41.5 mi

Monday I had to hit the treadmill due to the weather, which sucked. I powered through as best I could, but I am not used to it anymore!

Tuesday I went to the Twins game (the Bulldogs men’s hockey team was being honored before the game), so I brought my stuff to work and ran at lunch. It was very warm. I walked probably another mile at the Twins game because I lost my cell phone. Brilliant. It turned out it was in one of those doggy dishes they use at the security checkpoint. So I lost it right away. Sigh. The Twins won, though! And I had a delicious ice cream served in a mini-helmet.

Wednesday I knew I wanted to knock out some extra miles. It was hot again, so I didn’t want to do them all at once, and decided to split my run between work and home. I didn’t intend to run as far in the evening, but I chose to run to the State Capitol grounds. It’s a mini-goal I set for myself (I should have saved it for my summer goals post!) – to run from my house to the Capitol grounds. I found all kinds of places I need to explore along the way – like the Tim Horton’s and the Candyland. I need to explore some chocolate-covered potato chips, yes. I also need to go walk the Capitol grounds and see all that there is to see there. I should make a St. Paul exploration checklist for my spouse and me to check off.

Thursday I ran a quick jaunt around my neighborhood. It felt kind of labored, but I got it done. Friday I headed north for the race, and spent several hours on my feet hawking Rocksteady Running gear.

Saturday was the race, already covered in the report linked above. After the race, I felt a lot better than I have in years past, and after a shower, some chili, and a bit of time lounging around tinkering on the internet, we decided to go on an adventure. We started out at the Onion River, just south of Lutsen, right off Highway 61. I questioned why I had agreed to hike uphill for probably almost a mile, but I had the energy, so I did it. We took some pictures along the way, then turned around and hiked back down.

We got back in the car and headed north, planning on going to Grand Marais for dinner, and to kill time with whatever we could find in the meantime. The weather had improved from gray and windy to intermittently sunny, which made the hiking a lot better. We pulled over at Cascade River and hiked around there a little bit, and then decided we might as well go to Devil’s Kettle, so we ended up there. THAT was at least a mile’s hike in, and included 176 stairs at one point. Thank you, Satan.

After that hike, we were ready to head into Grand Marais. Last year, we walked out along the breakwater to the lighthouse, but were too cold to hike out on the other side of the tombolo, so we decided to finish that journey this year. It wasn’t a long hike, and it was gorgeous at the end. The water looked so clean and clear, and the lake stretched on endlessly into the horizon, without Wisconsin in the distance to ruin things. I’d say conservatively we hiked 4 or 5 miles, which was tiring but also helped me avoid a lot of stiffness and soreness. We also made the most of our trip, unlike last year when I didn’t have the energy or inclination to do much additional exploring.

Sunday we headed back down to Duluth, since I am working here until Wednesday. We decided to make another adventure of the trip back, and stopped at Tettegouche State Park, where we hiked another mile or so to see Two Step Falls and High Falls, then hiked back out (obviously) and drove to the rest area at the entrance to the park, since my husband tripped and cut his hand while we were hiking and wanted to wash it out before we continued the drive. He powered through the hike though! We stopped just down the road at Palisade Head, which isn’t really a hike, since the road goes to the top. Palisade Head is impressive to look at, and it’s exhilarating to stand so high above the lake and look out in the distance. I was a little too nervous to get close to the edge to look over, but I still reveled in the experience from a safer distance.

After we got to Duluth, visited my grandparents, and went to see Deadpool 2, I went for a short run on the Lakewalk to complete my weekly mileage goal (running only – obviously I exceeded that with hiking). It was so nice to be back there. I’m feeling so torn between my new home in St. Paul and my old home in Duluth. I really thought I was adjusting to the transition – until I came back here.

It’s time to start winding down the mileage to rest my legs for FANS. I am hoping to run at least 36 more miles in May, in order to beat last month’s mileage, but I’ve got plenty of time to get that done.

FANS 24 Hour Training: Weeks 1 and 2

Transitioning to FANS training now!

Monday (4/30): 4 mi, road
Tuesday: 4.6 mi, road
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: 6.8 mi, paved trail (MRT)
Friday: 7.4 mi, road
Saturday: 7.1 mi, paved trail (MRT)
Sunday: 11.3 mi, paved trail (MRT/Harriet Island)
Total: 41.1 mi

Monday (5/7): 5.5 mi, pavement (MRT)
Tuesday: 6.1 mi, treadmill
Wednesday: 2.8 mi, pavement (Centennial Lakes)
Thursday: 7.7 mi, paved trail/road (3 mi @ Centennial Lakes, 4.7 mi around Harriet Island)
Friday: rest
Saturday: 4 mi, road (Be the Match 5K @ Lake Harriet + warmup)
Sunday: 16.1 mi, paved trail (MRT)
Total: 42.1 mi

Week 1:
Not bad for the week after a 50K! Monday I was still hurting, but a bit less – I just had a hard time walking after sitting for awhile. Tuesday I felt pretty decent and was almost back to a normal pace. I took Wednesday off running to get a massage. Now that I am back in the Twin Cities, I can see my previous massage therapist/friend. She is the best, although we end up gossiping through the session, so maybe I have to curb that.

I felt amazing on Thursday when I got back out to run. I ran across the Wabasha Street Bridge, came back across the Robert Street Bridge, and then ran along the Mississippi River Trail until the flooding began near Lilydale. That section of the MRT is going to be inaccessible for awhile until the water recedes, so I’ve knocked it off my route. It wasn’t especially washed out where I turned around, but there was no reason for me to run through water on the road.

Friday I decided to try to run to the Upper Landing Park, which is across the river from Harriet Island. It was not as easy to access as I thought. I ended up running down 2nd Street, which is VERY SHADY and smelled of urine. Then I ended up in a parking lot and got trapped by the railroad. I accidentally trespassed on the railroad right of way before getting the heck out of there. I finally realized there was no trail access from where I was, turned around, and ran up Kellogg until I passed the Xcel Energy Center and went down Eagle Street. From there I could reach Shepard Rd. and Upper Landing Park, but it was time to turn around and head for home at that point. I ran by several promgoers heading to the X, and then I ran by 2 guys, one of whom imitated me running. Thanks, fella.

Saturday I parked at Upper Landing Park, since I now know how to get there! I attempted to do some fartleks on the Mississippi River Trail, but after the first couple miles I realized it was too hot and ended up in survival mode. Sunday was also hot. I planned on parking at Lower Landing Park and couldn’t figure out how to get there, but accidentally found a new spot to run. I ran through Indian Mounds Regional Park and then joined up with the Mississippi River Trail (right around where I turned around the day prior) until I turned off to follow Battle Creek. I felt pretty hot and miserable the last few miles and walked some of the uphills.

Week 2:
I felt basically back to normal this last week. It was like I’d never run a 50K! Ha. Monday I parked at Upper Landing Park and ran in the Minneapolis direction. (West? I’m not sure. The river really winds around.) Tuesday I thought it was going to rain so I ran on the treadmill. Wednesday and Thursday I ran at lunchtime around the lake at work; my pre- and post-run processes need some improvements for efficiency and hygiene/comfort. That’s deserving of its own post. I ran a second short run on Thursday as well, which I kind of liked – getting in a decent mileage day without having to spend my whole evening running!

I rested Friday for my 5K on Saturday. I had actually planned on either doing a longer warmup or a cooldown after, in order to have a higher total mileage day, but did no running cooldown at all, and couldn’t even run a mile to warm up. Sunday I hit the Mississippi River Trail again, starting at Lower Landing Park and turning around just past Hidden Falls Regional Park. I am finding all kinds of cool new places! To get in a little more practice for FANS, I employed a run/walk strategy. On the way out, I ran 10 minutes/walked 2 minutes. On the way back, I ran 12 minutes/walked 2 minutes. The way back was significantly harder than I thought it would be, although I’m not sure if that was because of the 2 extra minutes of running or if I was just getting too warm. I had my hydration pack on me so I had plenty of water, but I forgot to wear a hat (I planned to but didn’t grab it) and got too much sun on my face. Overall I liked the run/walk strategy – it broke things up nicely and I still had an overall pace of 13:14, and that included stopping at a couple traffic lights.

My office is doing a push-up challenge (we are cumulatively trying to reach 30,000 push-ups), so my strength training got a bit of a boost the first week of the month, but I started feeling some muscle pain in my lower abdomen, only on the left side, so I stopped. The pain has gone away, so clearly I was just overdoing it with the pushups (we were literally on the floor in our cubicles doing pushups multiple times a day), but I am cautious about continuing.

This upcoming week, I have Superior Spring 25K to look forward to! I’m excited to return to the Superior Hiking Trail.

Be the Match 5K 2018 Race Goals

This will be the fourth Be the Match 5K I’ve participated in! I enjoy running it every year, even if it does seem to be less of an “event” each year for my extended family. We used to have a fairly large group (10-15 people) walking or running the race, but now it’s down to my immediate family. It does make logistics a lot easier, though.

I haven’t run a 5K since December, and that race really sucked. I would like to think that I ran a much slower than expected 5K at Jingle Bell Run (and at the Gobble Gallop) because I was worn out, and that I can bounce back now with a better time, closer to where I was last spring/summer. I haven’t done much to ensure that, doing very little speed work and continuing my training without any time off after running the Chippewa Moraine 50K a couple weeks ago. I did lose a little bit of weight, but eh, I’m not convinced that’s going to be a difference maker.

I haven’t felt “fast” since July, when I ran the Park Point 5 Miler. I have been focusing on running longer distances, but I thought with my inexperience and general lack of fitness prior to 2015 (approximately), I could still make some gains with shorter distances. It’s just not the same thing, though. A lot of what I train for in ultras/marathons is the opposite of what I would need to do for a 5K. I don’t push enough, and that shows in my race results.

I will say that I’m fortunate to have been relatively injury-free over my short running “career,” and that’s probably in part because I am not doing a ton of speed work. So there’s some benefit to staying slow and doing a lot of “easy” running. (Running up the Ohio Street hill is not easy.) So there’s an upside here.

My goals for tomorrow’s race are:

A Standard: 29:20
B Standard: 29:42
C Standard: 29:59

Lol. What is the difference, even? It’s quibbling over seconds, really. But in a 5K, seconds matter. In a marathon or 50K, minutes matter. And in longer races, hours matter. It’s such a perspective change! The A standard is a PR, B standard is a course PR (is that even a thing in a road 5K?), and the C standard is just to get myself below 30 minutes again.

Anything worse and I’ll quit running. Ok, just kidding. Middle-distance speed is just not a priority for me right now, but I’d like to stop regressing.

Post-Mortem: Chippewa Moraine 50K 2018

Refreshers
Race Report
All CM50K 2018 posts

Good Things
Adaptivity. I went into this race knowing I was undertrained, not even sure if I was going to be able to make it to the start line due to my cold. I had so many opportunities to back out, and I didn’t. I watched as all my goals slipped out of reach, but I didn’t let that frustrate me, I just kept pushing to the finish. I figured out some good in-race strategies (like walking the muddy sections rather than attempting to run them) and I managed to execute the most important part of the race (making the cutoff) perfectly. I mean, relatively speaking.

Planning. I’m trying to cut down on the amount of stuff I bring to races and the amount of stuff I carry with me, because I have been going overboard, mostly out of fear. I used almost everything I brought with me, with the exception of a towel, a pair of pants, and a book, a pair of socks, and all 3 of those things had logical, probable purposes. I didn’t bring a ton of extra food (just a few extraneous cans of pop), clothes, or “emergency” items (I didn’t even bring Pepto, which was unintentional, but I survived without it). It was SO much easier to pack and organize without a bunch of extra stuff.

Bad Things
Training. This training cycle sucked. There’s just no other way to put it. It started out great, I was getting in 50 mile weeks, but things started to slide once I closed on my house and the move was imminent. That’s life. I don’t regret sacrificing my training to enjoy UMD’s journey to their second national championship in men’s ice hockey, but it did obviously take a toll. And yet again, I sucked at strength training, but as my personal training journal and my whiny posts on here attest, I was in a terrible mental funk for a couple months. I did what I could mentally handle, but it wasn’t ideal training. I only had a few long runs, with the longest being 16 miles. I definitely needed to pack in a lot more of those, considering this training cycle was 19 weeks long (my count was off by one, whoops).

Nutrition. I started off okay, but I definitely needed to eat more along the way. I think two more gels would have been sufficient, if eaten at the right time. I carry gels and end up not eating them, in favor of solid food, but what I probably need to do is eat the same amount of food, and then add in a couple more gels. I was clearly bonking/running out of gas at the end of the race, and making stupid decisions as a result (specifically, the stupid decision to not eat more).