Chippewa Moraine 50K Training: Week 10

Amazing week! The weather was finally warm!

Monday: 5.3 mi, road
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 6.6 mi, road
Thursday: 4.6 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Friday: 22.3 mi, paved trail (Munger Trail)
Saturday: 7.9 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Sunday: 4.1 mi, road
Total: 50.8 mi

The weather was rather erratic this week, but on the days it was warm, I felt like I was flying. I had a hard time getting my butt out the door earlier in the week (I had convinced myself on Wednesday that I could take another rest day — and then made it out! And Thursday I got home and got distracted, so I didn’t get out running til 7:00, but I still made it!)

Friday I had the day off, and the weather looked decent, so I decided to do my last long run. I drove down to the Munger Trail trailhead near Jay Cooke, ran back toward Duluth, turned around just after the Buffalo House (6 mi), continued past my car another 5 miles past Carlton (after nearly getting stopped by a train), and then turned around and headed back for good. I felt really strong, with no stomach issues and no issues getting overheated (I wore shorts, a t-shirt, and arm warmers, which I took off about 10 miles in, and then put back on with about 4 miles to go). I did struggle a bit with an overactive bladder, which put me in the woods 5x (for basically no reason 3 of those times, ugh) and threw me off mentally, but that was the worst thing that happened.

I followed up Friday’s run with a medium run on Saturday. I meant to do 10 miles instead of just under 8, but didn’t have time as we had a long drive for a family dinner. It rained a tiny bit, and then ended up extremely humid. I felt great, though. The only part of me that was really hurting was the middle of my back, where the clasp of my sports bra has destroyed a small section of skin. I ignored my watch for most of the run, and tried to relax.

Sunday I went for a quick run before the Wild game (ugh, more sucky hockey) and again, I felt really relaxed and my body felt good. I’m not sure what the deal is, if it’s the warm weather or the fact that I don’t have to wear 4 layers or clothes or what, but I’m enjoying it.

I will sort of taper for the race (less than 2 weeks! OMG!), and I’m done with long runs for now (this is very exciting! I’ll have my weekends back!). This training cycle has been so weird and haphazard, but it seems to have kept me healthy in mind and body, so I’ll take it.

Chippewa Moraine 50K Training: Week 9

I had a great time in Chicago, even though the Bulldogs lost in the national championship game. They still had an amazing season!

Monday: 8.7 mi, road
Tuesday: 2.7 mi, road
Wednesday: 6 mi, treadmill
Thursday: 4.8 mi, treadmill
Friday: no running
Saturday: no running
Sunday: rest (travel)
Total: 22.2 mi

I had to piece together this week as best I could due to travel. Monday, I knew I had to get in a medium-length run, and I felt pretty great, despite a 50 mile week the week prior. Tuesday, my normal rest day, I sneaked in a very short run before my final FE prep class. It turned out I could have run after the class, since it only lasted about an hour (instead of 3), but whatever.

Wednesday we left for Chicago, and I ran on the treadmill when we got to the hotel. I’m going to pat myself on the back for that, because it was tough to work up the motivation to run after sitting in the car for almost 7 hours. It kind of sucked but I survived, and watched part of The Hunt for Red October while I ran. I’ve never seen it before, and it was on mute (I was also listening to music) and had captions, but I think I got the gist of it. After I ran, we went out to dinner and I ate a burger and fries in about 40 seconds.

Thursday, I got up early (early-ish) to run on the treadmill again before we checked out. I felt pretty crummy while I was running and actually had to pause the treadmill a few times to drink (and also to turn the AC on full blast). I finished with about 40 minutes to shower, get packed, and check out. We drove in to the city to our VRBO condo, and then walked over to the bar where the UMD Alumni party was, then to the United Center, then did plenty of walking around the arena (and also screaming and clapping and jumping around) and walked home after the second game.

Friday was a free day, so we did plenty of walking around the city. I got in 22,000 steps according to my fitness tracker, between walking to the El, visiting the Field Museum, watching a Twins game, and heading home. It’s so different to be in a walkable city with an established public transportation system. I’ve spent all my life in the suburbs or in Duluth (which is not walkable and the buses aren’t more convenient than driving), except for the three years I lived in Champaign while attending college, round 1.

Saturday was more of the same, walking down along the river and then heading to the bar, and then the arena for the final game. My legs were killing me, not because of the walking, but because of all the standing. That was tough on my calves for some reason.

Sunday we drove back to Duluth so I was basically sedentary. Oh well.

It was nice to have some days off running but still stay active. I am not counting any additional miles beyond the 22 I actually ran, but I still consider this an ok training week. It’s not like I sat on my butt like I usually do on non-running days!

Less than 3 weeks before the race! I really need to get focused on it, I’ve kind of been pretending it’s in the far-off future.

Chippewa Moraine 50K Training: Week 8


Big week!

Monday: 6.4 mi, road
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 5 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Thursday: 8.6 mi, road
Friday: 4.1 mi, trail (Bagley)
Saturday: 20.2 mi, trail/paved trail (Western Waterfront Trail/Munger Trail)
Sunday: 6.1 mi, trail (Hartley)
Total: 50.4 mi

Pretty pumped. 50 miles! I’m not sure I’ve hit that in a week (as defined as Mon-Sun) ever, will have to look through my spreadsheet to be certain.

I felt pretty good this week. The weather has been better, so it’s been easier to get out of the house, and the streets are mostly clear of snow and ice, so I’ve had additional routes open up for me. Now I only have to run the Lakewalk when I’m feeling exceptionally lazy.

Of course, if I run the Lakewalk, I’m treated to things like this:

View this post on Instagram

Sailor's delight. #duluth #conservationofmomentum #sunset

A post shared by RWD (@runninwiththedogs) on

View this post on Instagram

To the lighthouse. #duluth #lakesuperior #conservationofmomentum

A post shared by RWD (@runninwiththedogs) on

That was well-earned, because it was incredibly windy.

My weekday runs were pretty basic. Procrastinate, finally get my butt out there, feel like a goddess for doing so. Repeat. I was determined to have a good training week. No hockey to schedule around, and pleasant weather for the most part!

Saturday, oof. It was a tough one. It was a lot warmer than I thought, and I was wearing black heavier-knit tights when I should have been wearing shorts. I did the first nearly 7 miles on the Western Waterfront Trail, which was good because it broke up the run a bit, and bad because it was gravel, and I now hate gravel. It’s hard to get good footing, and I hate kicking loose rocks (not picking my feet up enough + the tread on my shoes = kicking lots of rocks). My stomach also went sour fairly quickly. I wasn’t feeling like I was going to hurl (for the most part), but I had some reflux issues and some lower abdominal cramping and knew I had hours of running to go. I handled it ok – I grabbed my vanilla Coke and some mints in the parking lot before heading out on the Munger Trail, and at mile 9, started doing a walk/run combo to give myself a break, up until the last 2.5 miles, which I was able to run without breaks. It was good practice for my upcoming 24 hour race, if nothing else, and definitely a good exercise in problem-solving on the go and working through some mental issues. I still completed the run with a 14:02 average pace, well ahead of where I need to be for the first half of CM50K. So, hooray for that.

Sunday was almost worse. Hartley was muddy, and I was over it. I quit looking at my watch, walked when I needed to (uphill and over slippery spots), and just tried to survive mentally. I think I need to stop running at Hartley for awhile, not just because the trails need a chance to recover & dry out, but also because it’s messing with my mind. The trails are shorter now due to the flooding (I assume), and I have not adjusted my expectations accordingly. I ended up having to piece together 2.5 miles to even get to 6 miles, and it was really frustrating to do so. I used to be able easily pry a 5-6 mile run out of a single loop (without even going on the ski trails section). I got it done, I made it to 50 miles, that’s the important thing.

I’m kind of tired now (writing this Sunday night), thanks to a long running week and the damp, chilly weather that came over the city right after I was done with my run (there was some light rain during the run, but nothing noticeable). This upcoming week is yet another step back week, thanks to my trip to Chicago to attend the Frozen Four. I will probably only be able to run Monday & Tuesday (v. short run, thanks to class – last one, then I have to actually register for the stupid FE exam) before leaving for Chicago on Wednesday. If I can either run before we leave (hahahahahahahha) or run at the hotel (maybe), then I can run Wednesday, and if I can run Thursday before we check out (hmm, maybe), then maybe I’ll be able to salvage the week. We are staying in a VRBO the rest of the weekend, which naturally does not have a gym. The good news is, I’ll be walking a lot, and of course elevating my heart rate through hockey stress.

Chippewa Moraine 50K Training: Week 7


Monday: rest (massage)
Tuesday: 5 mi, road
Wednesday: 7.1 mi, road (Minnesota Point)
Thursday: 5.8 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Friday: 4.1 mi, road
Saturday: rest
Sunday: rest
Total: 22 mi

Oops, hockey got in the way.

Monday I got a massage, which I normally reserve as a treat after big trail races, but I hadn’t had one in awhile and I also have been putting my body through a lot, even without racing. It was a good idea. It was relaxing, rejuvenating, restorative, all those “re” words. I love being all warm and cozy on the massage table. I got out of work with enough time to run before the massage, and it was a nice warm day, but I wanted to get the most out of the treatment, and didn’t want tight muscles. My calf muscles are already tight as violin strings. I got a bit of a headache afterward, which happens sometimes due to all the “toxins” moving through my body, or whatever.

Tuesday I got out of work early enough to run before my FE prep course, so I was able to get in a 5 mile road run, which felt easy thanks to my newly-relaxed muscles, I guess. Wednesday I had a really unmemorable run, and Thursday I almost didn’t run because it was raining a little. I almost turned my car around… and then I didn’t, I got out there and ran, and it was fine, and I got home about 10 minutes before it started pouring/sleeting/something loud. Whew. It was a good thing I was doing some intermittent pickups so I finished quickly.

Friday I wasn’t going to run, because I wanted to listen to UMD’s hockey game, which was slated to start at 5:30. It didn’t, due to a double-overtime game preceding it, but I ran just a short 4 miles since I figured Saturday I’d do my 20 mile run as planned, and I didn’t want to overdo it.

Nope! Thanks to UMD winning their game and North Dakota losing in that double-overtime game I mentioned before, I ended up in Fargo on Saturday to see the Bulldogs win the regional final and earn a berth in the Frozen Four. I considered running Saturday morning before the game, and chose to sleep instead. I also didn’t run Sunday after returning to Duluth. I could have, but chose to be lazy instead. My race is 5 weeks away, so this is probably not the best (especially since I’ll be going to Chicago for the Frozen Four and won’t be getting a long run in that week yet again), but I strive for a hockey-run balance, the way most people seek a work-life balance. This upcoming week is going to have to be on point, though.

I signed up this week for a 24 hour race in June, which deserves its own post.

Chippewa Moraine 50K Training: Week 6

Halfway there! I can’t decide if that’s awesome or scary.

Monday: 4.6 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 7.4 mi, road (Minnesota Point)
Thursday: 4.1 mi, road
Friday: 3.2 mi, paved trail (Medicine Lake)
Saturday: 10.5 mi, road + paved trail (Hot Dash 10 Mile, + 0.5 mi warm-up)
Sunday: 4 mi, road
Total: 33.8 mi

Last week was an intentional step-back week. I wasn’t sure how I would feel after racing a longer road run, so I didn’t want to put too much stress on my body.

I’ve basically forgotten most of last week already. I’m kinda tired after a two-day training that took a lot out of my brain, and I was busy all weekend with hockey stuff. I had a few nice-ish days of running, temperature-wise, but not really. A lot of the ice is gone from the sidewalks, which is especially nice since the Lakewalk is apparently under construction for some kind of utility work. I haven’t verified this is true, but it said it would be in the paper last week. There are still some icy patches here and there from melting snow re-freezing, but they’re at least avoidable at this point.

Thursday I had planned on running a few more miles, but I had to go to the dentist in the morning, and wanted to wait until my mouth wasn’t numb anymore, but I ended up having to run with slightly numb lips because I had to get it done before my cat sitter stopped by to pick up the keys. A very exciting lifestyle, I know. We drove down to the Twin Cities on Thursday afternoon.

Friday I wanted to get a very short run in, to at least keep my legs moving. I only ran like 5K, but I felt like crap most of the time. One of these days, I am going to run around Medicine Lake, but I didn’t make the time this visit. I spent the rest of the day at the NCHC hockey tournament, cheering on the Bulldogs. I did get another 4 miles of walking due to wandering around the Target Center, competing horribly in a dance-off on the video screen, and cheering for the Dogs.

Saturday was the race, of course. I was cold after the race and ended up lounging around at my Dad’s house in my pajamas, tucked in blankets. I didn’t want to be cold at the hockey game. I walked around downtown Minneapolis a bit before the Bulldogs game, and between my nerves from the game and some secondary fatigue from the race, I wasn’t sure how I would make it through the game. It turned out to be exciting, enraging, and exhilarating all at once, so after the ‘Dogs won, I was so jacked up I couldn’t go to sleep.

I ran a short recovery run on Sunday after we drove home. I thought I’d feel like crap, but my legs felt pretty good! At least once I got past the large annoying hill on Kenwood that always locks up my calves if I hit it too early.

This week, my mini-goal is to recover, I guess. (My mini-goal last week was to race well. Accomplished!) I am hoping to get in a long run, but I also might have to go to Fargo to see about some hockey on Saturday.

Chippewa Moraine 50K Training: Weeks 4 and 5

I was away all week for a work training and after long days learning about quality management auditing, I didn’t have the mental acuity left to write a grocery list, let alone a blog post about training.

 5.3 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Tuesday: 6.1 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Wednesday: 5.1 mi, trail (Bagley)
Thursday: rest
Friday: 8.4 mi, road + paved trail (Lakewalk + Minnesota Point)
Saturday: 15.4 mi, road + trail (road + Hartley Root Canal + Guardrail)
Sunday: 3.5 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Total: 43.9 mi

Monday: 7 mi, treadmill
Tuesday: 6 mi, treadmill
Wednesday: 5 mi, treadmill
Thursday: 6 mi, treadmill
Friday: rest
Saturday: rest
Sunday: 16.2 mi, paved trail (Munger Trail)
Total: 40.2 mi

Oof. A couple of tough weeks. I’ve already forgotten everything that happened in Week 4. Except I managed to run 15.4 miles in 3:32, so I am in better shape than I thought for this race. Maybe I won’t get cut! And I still have several weeks of worthwhile training to go.

Sunday-Friday I was in the Twin Cities for a work training, as I said. It was pretty tiring, but I did manage to work out every day that I stayed overnight (except Sunday, I ran before I left). I know it seems odd to have Friday and Saturday as rest days, but as I looked at the weather report, I saw that Friday was going to be pretty cold (like, a high of 15 F) and I chose to do 4 treadmill runs and rest Friday rather than freezing my butt off. And then on Saturday I woke up and decided not to run. Eh, I had 2 hockey games to attend, and I was tired.

Sunday’s long run was awful and I truly hope it’s my last long run in the cold until maybe like December. (I mean I would prefer I don’t have a cold long run in December either but I’m being realistic.) I ran on the Munger Trail now that I am positive that the snowmobiles are off it. While large stretches of the trail are bare now, there were lots of icy sections, including one where I walked for like half a mile because I couldn’t avoid the ice, and one section that was SO slippery that even sliding across the ice without picking up my feet, I lost control and slid (very slowly) off to the side without intending to. I almost biffed it several times along the way. And then it started to snow. And then I turned around and the second half of the run was into the wind. It was awesome. (No). I’m so tired. I took an ecologically-unsound-length shower to try to warm up and make my arms work again. It was my first run in a long time with my hydration pack, which is like a strength workout! Also I got sort of zoned out about 11 or so miles in and forgot to take a drink for awhile, and the water froze in the tubes. And I was so thirsty at that point! Or just annoyed.

This week I’m running a 10 mile race on Saturday, so it’s going to be a step back week, mileage-wise. Forecast says it’s going to be in the 40s or maybe even 50s, so I’m thrilled. Of course something crazy will happen and it’ll be 30 and sleeting.

Chippewa Moraine 50K Training: Week 3

Back to winter weather. Although I shouldn’t complain, it’s not sub-zero.

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 3.3 mi, road
Wednesday: 7.1 mi, road
Thursday: 5.2 mi, road/paved trail (Lakewalk + Minnesota Point)
Friday: 5.1 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Saturday: 7.9 mi, road
Sunday: 14 mi, road + trail (Minnesota Point + Lakewalk)
Total: 42.6 mi

It rained on Monday so I took an unexpected off day. That meant it would be more challenging for me to meet my mileage goal for the week (43 miles), due to other commitments during the week. I decided to run a very short workout before my class on Tuesday, in order to take advantage of the last warm-ish day in the forecast. I’m glad I did!

Wednesday I was able to get in a longer run, in a light rain/snow mix, but Thursday and Friday I really had to push. Due to high school hockey games, the Bulldogs men’s games were Thurs-Fri instead of Fri-Sat, so I had to hustle and get my runs in between work and the games. Of course, I was late to both games anyway, Thursday because I had to do an emergency load of laundry as my cat barfed on my duvet cover, duvet, and sheets. I made it to the game after throwing everything in the dryer. Friday I was late just because I lollygagged. I managed a couple of 5 mile runs that I wouldn’t call tempo runs, but they weren’t exactly relaxed. It’s amazing to me that I’m now running 5 mile workouts at what was my race pace in my first 5K since getting back into running. An unconventional way of measuring progress, sure, but it made me smile.

Because I didn’t have enough hockey between streaming UMD’s women’s games and attending the men’s games, I went to the Duluth East – Cloquet-Esko-Carlton game on Saturday with my dad. This meant once again completing a run before a certain time (I was late to the game anyway). I ran 7.9 miles on a loop through Hunter’s Park, avoiding large patches of ice and walking up the big hill on Glenwood because I just didn’t feel like running it. It was sunny, but colder than I expected.

Sunday I put off my run because it was still snowing when I got up. I had planned to run to Hartley, do 2 loops there, and then run home, but since it had snowed a couple inches and plowing/shoveling was iffy along the route, I decided to change my plans. This was confirmed as a good idea when I saw a woman biff it on the sidewalk, slipping on some ice concealed by the fresh, fluffy snow. I knew there were icy spots along my planned route, and I didn’t want to run on such uncertain ground. I parked in Canal Park, ran over the bridge and down to the airport at Park Point & back, stopped at my car to grab a water bottle and a bite of food, and then ran to the end of the “main” Lakewalk and back.

Sunday’s run wasn’t really pleasant. There were lots of spots where I had to break through the snow, and though it was soft snow, it slowed me down and wore down my legs. I also had to run on the shoulder or even in the road at times. There were other spots that looked like they were wet, but could have been black ice, and I wasn’t interested in finding out by slipping and twisting my knee, so I was forced to slow down or dodge around them. I was cold, too. My gloves were wet from sweat and snot, so my hands were cold, and only got colder when I started carrying my water bottle. I was cranky and tired and sick of my running clothes, and I didn’t want to keep running. But I did, and that’s what counts.

My mini-goal for the week was to do strength workouts. I did 4: 1 yoga video, 2 body weight sessions (that weren’t very long), and 1 bout of shoveling (this probably doesn’t really count). I’m still doing all right on sleep, which was the previous week’s mini-goal.

This week’s mini-goal is to quit procrastinating and start my runs earlier. I get home, fart around, and then it’s after 6 pm by the time I start my run. That’s fine in the summer, when it’s light out til like 10 PM, and it’s cooler in the evening anyway, but it isn’t so great in the winter, when I lose all motivation after the sun goes down. I’d like to get some stuff done around the house, and fit in more strength sessions, so I need to start earlier. Unlike my other mini-goals, this won’t be something I can necessarily repeat every week, since sometimes I’ve just got to decompress after work, but I just have to make it through a few more weeks of wintry weather (I hope) before the days are longer and milder. And I did laundry last night, so I have fresh clean running clothes and gloves to motivate me!