Post-Mortem: Chippewa Moraine 50K 2018

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).

Chippewa Moraine 50K Training: Week 18

Race week! What a disaster.

Monday: 4 mi, paved trail (Mississippi River Trail)
Tuesday: 2.5 mi, treadmill walk
Wednesday: 2.7 mi, treadmill walk
Thursday: 3.1 mi, treadmill
Friday: rest
Saturday: 31.1 mi, trail (Ice Age Trail)
Sunday: 3.4 mi, paved trail (MRT/Harriet Island)
Total: 46.8 mi

Not exactly the week I was looking for. I am not sure if my allergies kicked in or what, but I had sneezes/stuffy head/cough symptoms for most of the week (excepting Monday, clearly, since I ran). In the mornings I felt like crud, but by afternoons I usually had energy, so I did walk on the treadmill Tuesday and Wednesday to keep my legs active, and did a test run on Thursday.

I tried out some active recovery on Sunday, because I didn’t feel like sitting around the house on a gorgeous day, and also because I have other races to do. I ran a 15:50 overall pace and that was without any walking. I know some people can’t even fathom moving that slowly and still maintaining a running gait, but here I am, living proof that it’s possible! I did feel better afterward, and less like a slug, so it’s definitely something I’m going to do in the future, unless I’m suffering from an actual injury rather than just running-related soreness.

This training will segue right into my training for FANS in June, so I’ll be trying to find a balance of mileage that won’t leave me too worn out, but won’t be too light, considering I only have 4 more weeks before FANS race week (holy crap).

Race Report: Chippewa Moraine 50K 2018

Official Results:
Time: 8:32:22
Pace: 16:28
Overall: 172/195
Gender: 67/81
AG (F 30-39): 26/29

Watch Results:
Time: 8:39:09 (I forgot to stop my watch!)
Pace: 15:21/mi
Distance: 33.81 mi (Massive GPS discrepancy for most of the race)
Heart Rate: N/A

A: 7:50
B: 8:10
C: 8:25

What I ate the night before: soup and sandwich from Erbert and Gerbert’s
What I ate on race morning: bagel and cream cheese
What I carried with me: 5 Gu packets

What I wore: t-shirt, shorts, ball cap, buff, arm warmers (I didn’t wear the buff or the arm warmers the whole time)
Gadgets: GPS watch, fitness tracker

Discussion: I’m just glad I got to the starting line! Earlier this week, I had some mild cold symptoms, and while they were improving on Thursday, on Friday they started to get a bit worse. I had until midnight on Thursday to cancel my hotel room, and since I felt pretty good on Thursday, I went ahead with my plans.

Friday, I left work a bit early, and went home to finish packing. I’m trying to work on my obsessive tendencies to overpack, and I think I did… okay. I guess. I didn’t bring any food besides bagels, cream cheese, and vanilla Coke. I really like bagels and cream cheese. I probably should have also brought some peanut butter or something with a little bit of nutritional variation. I’m pretty limited in what I like to eat in the early morning. I like a lot of breakfast foods (bacon, pancakes, waffles, sausage patties, etc), but I can’t always tolerate them on very little sleep. Also I need something easy to assemble so that I don’t have to get up too early.

I brought a set of clothes for the drive home along with my race stuff. I didn’t look at the forecast closely enough, otherwise I’d have possibly brought some slightly warmer gear just in case. It still felt like a lot of stuff, although the only things I brought that I didn’t use were my pants (I drove home in my race shorts), a towel, and a book on the history of grunge.

I didn’t buy much for this race, just the bagels, vanilla Coke (I only drink that when racing or after long runs, otherwise it’s vanilla Coke Zero or mineral water for carbonated beverages), sunscreen (large size and mini size, new for the season), and various lubricants (Trail Toes and Body Glide). A lot of previous races, I’ve bought a ton of junk food or new gear or other stuff that I worried I might need.

I also didn’t pack much in my hydration pack, relative to what I used to do. I filled the bladder with water and I was going to bring a small bottle of water to mix with electrolyte tabs, but I opened my electrolyte tab tube and discovered moisture had gotten in there and the tabs looked funky. I brought the bottle anyway and ended up getting it filled with Coke at the aid stations. I also brought 5 gels (I think 5? I should count what I have left), some leftover wintergreen Life Savers and Jolly Ranchers that have been in my pack since Fall Back Blast (there were also some COOKIES in my pack that I forgot to take out, so I am disgusting), my cell phone (in a plastic bag), a mini spray sunscreen, lip balm, a mini tube of Vaniply, and my pace chart for my various goals. That seems like a lot, but in the past I have brought all kinds of other stuff with me and had my pack stuffed to the gills. I’m learning what is essential and what’s just there to keep me from worrying.

I drove 2 hours to packet pickup, which is in the Obey Interpretive Center, so there’s taxidermied animals and other weird stuff around. I like it! I picked up my bib and timing chip, a reusable one attached to a strap that secures around the ankle. It was like a monitoring bracelet for someone under house arrest. I talked to a few friends I know from previous volunteering assignments. Let me reiterate that volunteering is the best possible way to meet people and make friends in the running community! After taking a panoramic photo of the view from the race start, I drove the half hour to my hotel.

I was tired and feeling kind of crappy, with a bit of a cough and a stuffy head. I was getting worried I was going to wake up feeling even worse. I picked up dinner and then lounged in my hotel room for awhile before going to bed EARLY. Well, early for me, I went to bed at about 10 PM. I was tired, but the second I turned the light off and curled up for sleep, my brain went into PANIC MODE. I spent several hours trying to relax, but I think I only got maybe 2 hours of real sleep. Sometimes I wonder if I am actually sleeping off and on while freaking out, but it doesn’t really matter. I got enough sleep – as long as my brain shuts off for a couple hours, that’s what I need to re-set.

I got up, got dressed, packed up all my stuff, and drove to the race start. I meant to arrive at 7, but ended up setting my alarm for later and I arrived at 7:30. That was plenty of time. I sat in my car for a little bit, finishing my breakfast, applying sunscreen, putting the last few things in my pack, etc. It was about 32F so I didn’t want to stand out there too long, although it wasn’t windy so I felt pretty comfortable for the 10 or 15 minutes I had to wait outside. I met up with some friends at the start, and then we lined up and the race started.

Start to AS 1: 3.3 mi, 0:47:37, 14:26 section pace
The start of the race went fine for me. I lined up near my friend Lynette, and when the race started, I went at my own pace and let people go ahead of me as they chose. We all tramped down the giant hill of death, then across a grassy section with some snow/frosted ground. The course crosses over the driveway to the interpretive center, so I got to pass my car and think about how I could just jump back in it and go home. I didn’t. At this point I was still trying to evaluate how I felt. I thought I felt fine, but I also thought I felt fine to start Wild Duluth last fall, and then nearly blacked out on the course. There were a couple early hills and I felt fine on them, so I decided that I was probably not overdoing it, and was instead looking for excuses.

During the second mile, the course goes behind the interpretive center, so there’s always a small group of folks cheering. It’s also another chance to turn back, haha. I had a pretty crappy attitude for a lot of the first half of the race. I spent a lot of the time wondering about why I was doing it, and hating every step of the way. For no reason! The race was going fine. I guess it just felt like it was going to take forever, and I was wondering what the point of it was. I went right through the first aid station as I didn’t really need anything.

AS 1 – 2: 6.15 mi, 1:36:42, 15:43 section pace

This section is probably the best section of the race, although for some reason both out and back, I ran it much more slowly than I thought I did. The elevation is not that bad. One day I will be able to run the hills, I hope, because a lot of them are gradual enough to be runable for stronger runners. I need to work on my leg strength and conditioning, I guess, because for now it’s more efficient for me to hike them than to run them. There are a lot of glacial lakes in this section, and many of them were still frozen or partially frozen. The cool air wafting off the lakes kept my hands a little colder than I’d have liked, but I knew it would feel great coming back in the afternoon. It already felt like I’d been running all day and it was like 9:30 am. From time to time I was running with other people, but it was mostly quiet. I had a gel around the 5 mile mark, and remembered to drink some water. Since I wasn’t warm, I wasn’t doing a fantastic job of hydrating early on.

I stopped at this aid station to get some Coke and cookies, and then headed out. I checked my pace chart and realized I’d lost a little time – I was ahead of the pace I wanted to be on (3:55 to the turnaround) at the first aid station, and now I had lost a minute or so. It was hard to tell because the race started at 8:02 and my pace chart had planned for an 8:00 start. I need to adjust my planning – I just now updated the display on my watch to show elapsed time instead of just time of day.

It also turned out that the confusing/vague “cutoff” at this section was just a suggestion: if people knew they weren’t on pace to make the cutoff, they could turn around here. No one was enforcing it. I should have known, but of course I worry about these things. Maybe I should just get faster.

AS 2 – turnaround: 6.1 mi, 1:36:1615:47 section pace

This section really sucks a lot. I walked to start off with, so I could finish shoving the cookies in my mouth. I ate two of them and then put the other two in my pack. I have a problem with clenching my teeth, so I wear a mouthguard at night and another more discreet one during the day. I can’t eat with it in, so I had to take it out and hold it while I ate my cookies. That was kind of annoying, but since I don’t have terrible jaw aches anymore, the mouthguard stays and I work around it.

Right after the aid station, there’s a big section of mud. I walked through most of it, because there’s absolutely no point in trashing my legs to run through energy-sapping mud. I made a mental note that the mud was right after the aid station, so I’d know I was close when I hit the mud on the way back. Around this time, I started seeing the frontrunners, and knew for the next 5 or so miles, I’d be seeing folks fly by in the opposite direction. Lucky people!

There are a lot of hills in this section. Something happened with the GPS signal on my watch and a lot of the altitude data is lost during this section, but it’s got almost all the bigger climbs. The middle section is all rollers, this one is much more steep. I took my time and told myself that I’d make it, I still had time, my goal allowed for a 5 minute buffer, they wouldn’t cut me off if I was one minute over or something. I thought I was closer to the aid station than I actually was, so I picked up the pace probably a mile or 3/4 mile away, only to realize I still had a whole section to go before I even got to the lake we had to go halfway around.

I ended up getting to the aid station before the cutoff, spent a few minutes there getting cookies and pop, reapplied sunscreen and Vaniply, and then left right at the 4 hour mark.

Turnaround – AS 2: 6.1 mi, 1:37:36, 16:00 section pace

I was ecstatic during this section. I walked for a bit while eating my cookies, and then ran when I could. I got passed a little bit out of the aid station by one guy, and that was the last person who passed me the whole race. Hooray! I guess. I was so happy to have made the cutoff, and I felt great, so I thought hey, maybe I can be on pace for a PR! I don’t remember much from this section, other than I passed a couple of dudes. I made it to the aid station and left somehow still on pace for an 8:10 finish. I had a couple of cookies and some pop there before heading out.

AS 2 – finish: 9.45 mi, 2:54:11, 18:26 section pace

I forgot to hit my watch after leaving the final aid station, which is unfortunate because I can’t tell at what point the race fell apart. I mean, it never really “fell apart,” but somewhere in the 4.45 miles between the aid station and the 5 mile marker, I slowed considerably, even though I thought I was moving well. This section has lots of flats or gentle slopes to cruise along, but I guess I was either running way more slowly than I thought, or slowing down significantly on the hills. I ate a gel at some point during this section, probably with about 6 miles to go, not quite sure. That 5 mile marker took forever to appear. I remember this happening last year as well. I’d think it must be getting close, and it wasn’t. I would think more time had passed and more miles had passed than what was actually going on. And once I did get to the 5 mile mark, I realized that even a PR was slipping away from my grasp, as was my C goal of 8:25. I did keep pushing, and decided I was going to skip the aid station entirely, forget about reapplying sunscreen or Vaniply, and just push on to the end. I zipped through the aid station, passing a couple people who were stopped there.

Two women fell in behind me, and they were listening to music. It was not great. I’d been running for the whole day and enjoying the quiet for the most part, and they were listening to external music, which is explicitly against the rules. They were talking to each other about how someone had said they were “having a party in the woods,” which was nice since someone else hadn’t been so nice about it. I replied (even though I was not in the conversation) that it was against the rules, and that was why someone had said something. They both seemed surprised. This is something that really bugs me – not reading the rules of the race. It was on the event page as well as in the email sent out by the race director. I tried to just ignore the Paul Simon and push on, but one of the women started whistling and singing and I stepped to the side and told them I’d prefer if they passed. I think I said something like “I run trails because it’s quiet!” Which I do. I wasn’t super nice about it but I certainly could have been meaner. They offered to turn it off and I said “no, just use that as motivation to push to the finish, then we all win!” but they didn’t seem to appreciate that. Whatever. I am a Rule Follower and I’m unable to suppress those tendencies after 28 miles of running. They seemed surprised that none of the volunteers had said anything, but volunteers are not race officials, they don’t have a lot of authority.

The last section of the race really sucked for me. I just kept slowing and slowing. Probably because I was bonking. I finally sucked it up and had a gel with a little under two miles to go, because I realized that it was still going to take me half an hour to finish at the rate I was going, and I was hungry. I needed some gas in the tank for that final hill. It was a lot muddier than it had been earlier in the day, and the big hill that goes behind the interpretive center was very muddy. The climb was exhausting, but I just kept plodding away. I tried to run whenever I could and just focused on getting to the finish. I knew I would finish, I just needed to keep putting one foot in front of the other. It just sucked so much. Once I finally got onto the grassy section, I started to perk up, and then when I crossed the driveway, I started to think about how I was going to attack the huge hill. The section around the base of the hill was way longer than I remembered (everything was at this point), and it was muddier than it had been earlier, but I just pressed on as best as I could. I reached the base of the hill and dug in.

I could see the music women ahead of me as well as the guy who had passed me out of the aid station. Since I hadn’t had sight of him in hours, I was surprised to see him on the hill. It wasn’t going well for him, and he got passed by the other two. I thought I might also pass him and felt like a huge jerk about it. The hill… wasn’t as bad as it was the first time around. It is extremely difficult to climb a steep hill, even a short one, that late in the race, but hey – if we wanted easy, we’d run road races, right? I powered up as best I could, without stopping, and then somehow had the legs to run through the finishers’ chute just after the 8:32 mark (apparently 22 seconds after – I thought the clock had just turned over right before I went through the chute, oh well).

Post race, I talked to a few friends for a little bit, then went down to my car (that’s where I realized my watch was still running), moved it up to a closer parking spot, and changed out of my t-shirt, socks, and shoes into a tank top, sweatshirt, and flip-flops. I went back to talk with my friends and watch a few more finishers before they decided to go back to Chippewa Falls and I decided to drive home. I made a bagel and cream cheese for the drive, since none of the food at the end seemed more appetizing than that (there was soup but I didn’t feel like soup). I thought I’d be cold but I wasn’t, so I just left my shorts on instead of changing into pants.

Overall, even though I didn’t have the time I wanted, I still had a great race. I didn’t have any super low points, I had a huge improvement over last year, I had no nausea or other physical issues, and I had a good time! That’s really all that matters. I’ll chase that PR another day!

Chippewa Moraine 50K 2018 Goals

I’m pretty excited to get back into racing, after DNFing my first race of the year. I’m still feeling a little under the weather, but it hasn’t gotten worse, so I’m hoping it’s just allergies.

This is my second time running this race. Last year I finished in 8:57:29, 2:31 before the official time cutoff. In re-reading my race report, there are a few things I obviously need to do differently: eat more pre-race, protect my eyes from sun/sunscreen/sweat/salt, and run faster. Other than that, this race is a different beast.

My training is somewhat up and down, just like last year, but the “downs” were later in my training cycle this year. Last year I had my bad months in January and February, and this time I had them in March. However, I had crappy training weeks leading up to the Fall Back Blast and still managed to kick butt at that race, so I don’t think it’s going to be a huge problem.

The big question is trail conditions. Will there be lots of snow? Will there be ice? Will there be mud? I’m guessing there will be a mix of all three. What I’d really like to know is if there are any actual dry spots. I’m a little concerned my poor legs are going to get chewed up by the course. I wouldn’t care if I had lots of time cushion, but that 4 hour intermediate cutoff (plus some randomly announced vague threat of being forced to turn back at the second aid station!) has me stressed out. However, I just looked up that I made it there in 4:08 last year, and I can surely run 15.55 miles 8 minutes faster than I did last year. That’s like 30 seconds/mile. As long as I can make that halfway cutoff, I think I’m golden.

A Standard: 7:50:00
B Standard: 8:10:00
C Standard: 8:25:00

I want to finish this race injury and illness-free, sleep well before the event, have a good time, complete the distance, and make the cutoff with room to spare. I’ve set up my pace chart so that I have a 5 minute buffer to make the 4 hour cutoff, so as long as I stay ahead of that, I should be in good shape. I’m gunning for a big course PR, at a minimum. I thought about re-adjusting my goals based on the potentially bad trail conditions, but I will stick with what’s on my pace chart.

Chippewa Moraine 50K Training: Week 17

Spring is here.

Monday: 6 mi, treadmill
Tuesday: 4.7 mi, treadmill
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: 6.3 mi, road (neighborhood)
Friday: 3.5 mi, road (neighborhood)
Saturday: 6.5 mi, paved trail (Mississippi River Trail/Harriet Island)
Sunday: 10 mi, paved trail (Big Rivers Regional Trail/Fort Snelling)
Total: 36.9 mi

I made it. I am actually surprised at how different I felt between Wednesday and Thursday. A light was turned on inside me. A switch was flipped. I felt weightless and full of energy. I ran around my neighborhood as the snow melted around me. I wore shorts and a t-shirt on Saturday and Sunday (and already have a farmer’s tan! Well not a tan, I’m still pasty) and was actually too warm on Sunday.

I know I’m “supposed” to be tapering since I have the race on Saturday, but it was just so nice out. And I had some light training weeks the past couple months, so I’m not exhausted or dealing with aches and pains and fatigue. My worst fatigue has been mental. Of course as I write this, I have been sneezing and feel kinda tired and my head is stuffy, but my hope is it’s just allergies. I WANT TO RUN THIS FREAKING RACE.

My one worry is my legs were a bit sore on Monday after my medium-long run on Sunday. But I guess I’ll have to deal with that next Monday. I know I can do this – I’ve run enough races to know that if my mental game is strong, I’ve got this in the bag. (Provided my upper respiratory system behaves. Ugh. Can’t blame this on the “taper flu” since I am not really tapering.)

Chippewa Moraine 50K Training: Week 16

Monday: rest
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: rest
Friday: rest
Saturday: 7.7 mi, treadmill
Sunday: 7.75 mi, treadmill
Total: 15.4 mi

Okay, not a great week. Monday I had intentions to run, but I had a headache and decided to scrap it. That was good, because Tuesday I still wasn’t feeling great, and by the afternoon (when I drove up to Duluth with my husband and friends for a national championship celebration for the Bulldogs) I was achy, with chills and sweats, and thought I had the flu. I stayed home from work on Wednesday and Thursday, and though I went back to work on Friday, I didn’t run, of course.

It started snowing Friday evening.

So, I won’t be running outside anytime soon, considering over a foot of snow fell over the weekend. I managed to drag myself onto the treadmill both days, plus get some strength work in shoveling!

I’m really glad I didn’t run Zumbro. The finish rate was absurdly low for both ultra distances, and the 17 mile race was canceled. We’ll see what course conditions end up being for Chippewa Moraine – wet, muddy, icy, snowy, mixture of all? Surprise blizzard? Ugh. This winter will never end.

I guess this is the start of an extra long taper? Now I have to trust that I’ve got the endurance and strength to have a good race in in 12 days, and that I have enough time to recover from my illness (cold? who knows? obviously not the flu) to make it to the finish!

Chippewa Moraine 50K Training: Weeks 13-15

I’ve pretty much given up all hope that the weather will ever be nice again. It’s really hard, I’m not going to sugar coat it.

Monday (3/19): 4.5 mi, trail (Brickyard)
Tuesday: 6.1 mi, treadmill
Wednesday: 6 mi, road/pavement (Harriet and Raspberry Island)
Thursday: rest
Friday: rest
Saturday: rest
Sunday: rest
Total: 16.6 mi

Monday (3/26): rest
Tuesday: 5.4 mi, road/pavement (Brickyard/Harriet Island)
Wednesday: 5.2 mi, road
Thursday: 3.6 mi, pavement (Centennial Lakes)
Friday: 8.1 mi, road/pavement (River to River Greenway)
Saturday: 10.1 mi, pavement (MS River Trail/Harriet Island)
Sunday: 8.2, treadmill
Total: 40.6 mi

Monday (4/2): 7 mi, treadmill
Tuesday: 6 mi, treadmill
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: 8 mi, treadmill
Friday: 5.5 mi, treadmill
Saturday: 3.5 mi, treadmill
Sunday: rest
Total: 30 mi

You know, when I write it out like that, it doesn’t look so bad.

The week of the 19th was kind of hard. As I said before, we had a minor but frustrating bed bug infestation, and I did not get much sleep, plus I was covered in bites from before we realized what was going on. I was supposed to run the Hot Dash 10 miler and didn’t. We drove to Sioux Falls, SD on Saturday to watch the Bulldogs win the regional and earn their way back to the Frozen Four.

I did explore a couple new locations. The Brickyard trail is HARD. It’s a long downhill, which means a long uphill, FYI. I also did it in soft snow so my legs were ON FIRE. I also ran around Harriet Island and Raspberry Island, then across the Wabasha St. and Robert St. bridges. I am really looking forward to warmer weather, because there are so many cool places to explore in St. Paul that I just don’t feel like investigating when it’s cold.

The week of the 26th was better! I ran outside almost every day! I thought I was turning a corner! (Spoiler: I was not.) There was no hockey that weekend, so it was very relaxing. I experimented with lunchtime running on Thursday (it’s ok but I have to get my act together on organization), and ran around in the neighborhood on Wednesday, which I hated. I can’t stand when I have to piece together mileage because roads end or sidewalks end or I end up on a busier-than-I’m-comfortable-with street. I found a new paved trail, the River to River Greenway (Friday), which I’ll be trying out again soon! I ran the Brickyard trail again on Tuesday, and won’t be running it again any time soon. It’s a soggy mess and there’s only going to be more sogginess. I’m not interested in running through ankle-deep water on an urban training run.

Saturday, I thought I had everything planned out: the Mississippi River Trail is hundreds of miles long – I can run mindlessly for 5 miles, then turn around and run mindlessly for 5 more miles. NOPE. I was thwarted by a road and trail closure only 3 miles in, and had to run around the Lilydale trails and Harriet Island (again) in a stiff and miserable wind in order to get the planned 10 miles in. So I was cowardly and ran on the treadmill on Sunday.

The week of April 2nd was so depressingly cold. I traveled to Missouri for work, and mistakenly thought it would be decent out. It was not. I ran on the hotel treadmill Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday, I didn’t run, but I did walk around the Mississippi riverfront in St. Louis before my late afternoon flight. Thursday, I had the day off for the Frozen Four semifinals (which were after working hours, but I knew I’d be too nervous to work), so I had time to run a longer treadmill run, then I walked around St. Paul and also spent lots of time jumping around and cheering and also raised my heartrate through sheer panic. UMD won and made it to the finals! Friday the high temperature was below 30 F, so it was amazing I did anything at all. I worked half a day, had lunch with friends at a Russian restaurant, ran on the treadmill, and then went to the grand opening of my friend’s 9 Round Fitness franchise. I want to join, because it seems like a good cross-training opportunity for me, but it’s too far away! Saturday was the NCAA championship game, I ran 3.5 miles on the treadmill (I planned to do more, and then didn’t), and then walked around St. Paul quite a bit, and then cheered and screamed and literally raised my heart rate to 110 bpm while sitting quietly in my seat because I was so nervous, and UMD won the national championship and life was grand. Sunday was a rest day, because obviously.

Zumbro 50 starts in 5.5 hours, and I am so glad I’m not racing it. It’s cold and dreary and the driving post-race is going to be atrocious – we’re going to get dumped on with snow. Plus the added pressure of a 50 mile race during my downtrodden winter training would have been crushing. I think I’ll be ready, with my imperfect training, to take on Chippewa Moraine, but I would in no way have been ready for Zumbro, even if the race day weather had been perfect. There’s always next year.