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.

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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.

Race Report: FANS 24 Hour Race

Official Results:
Distance: 29.5 mi
Placing:
Overall: 116/147
24 Hrs: 77/84
Gender: 18/19

Watch Results:
Time: 10:24:37 (This includes about 25 minutes of time between when I finished my last lap and when I finally stopped my watch)
Pace: 19:57
Distance: 31.3
Heart Rate: N/A

Goals:
A: 100 mi
B: 90 mi
C: 75 mi

Food:
What I ate the night before: sesame chicken with brown rice, chicken satay skewers
What I ate on race morning: bagel, Clif bar
What I carried with me: n/a

Gear:
What I wore: to start – tank top, shorts, trucker hat; later changed to t-shirt, shorts, trucker hat
Gadgets: GPS watch, fitness tracker

Discussion: There’s nothing like “failure” to make me want to try again.

Also it’s really funny that 9 months ago, I’d never even run a marathon, and now I’m looking at 29.5 miles as failure. Once that thought popped into my head yesterday, I started to feel ok with the results.

I have a long history of quitting when it comes to running. I walked the mile runs in gym class because I didn’t want to put in the effort. I ended up in the duty van in college during ROTC physical training runs far too often, because I would rather quit than be so much slower than everyone else. I DNSd 2 races last year because I didn’t get enough sleep the night before. So in some ways it’s not surprising that I quit this race so early on.

My husband and I drove down to the Twin Cities on Friday afternoon, picked up my packet, and then went to my dad’s to transfer all my supplies to his truck. The plan was: I stay at my dad’s Friday night, he takes me to the race, we set up, he crews me til late afternoon; my husband stays at our hotel Friday night so he can sleep as late as possible, he arrives at the race in the late afternoon to crew me til the next morning. That part worked out pretty well, although I slept really poorly. I must have gotten an hour or two of sleep at some point, but nothing really restorative.

It was 75F at 6:30 a.m., so that was not the best omen. It took about half an hour to drive to the race start, which was really easy to find and had plenty of parking. We unloaded some of the gear, set up the tent, and then I ate a bit before heading over to the start. I should have made sure we unloaded the chairs, so that I could have sat down for a bit before the race started. Not that it really mattered in the end, but still, I was standing and moving around for an hour before the race started. I didn’t warm up, but I wasn’t planning on it.

The race started right on time, and we did a shorter out and back on the path before turning around and starting our first full loop. The trail loops around Snelling Lake and has significant sections of shade, though it also had stretches of full sun. The shaded sections were actually bearable, but when the sun blazed down on me, it sapped away my energy. By noon, the temperature had reached 90F. I know that’s nothing compared to the heat from, say, Western States or Badwater or Marathon des Sables, but I have had zero heat training.

I ran almost all of the first “long” loop (the out & back + the full loop), stopping to walk for 5 minutes so I could finish my Clif bar. I did a few intervals of Run 30/Walk 5, then went to Run 10/Walk 5, and then deteriorated into Walk Slowly/Run Occasionally. The loops all kind of blend together to me, so a traditional recap isn’t going to make a lot of sense.

During (I think?) my 9th loop, I was walking along and heard some cracking noises. I thought it was squirrels or just trees moving in the breeze. Nope. A tree came crashing down about 20 feet behind me, and maybe 15 feet behind a runner coming up to pass me. We looked at each other in shock, then I high-fived him, because what else do you do to celebrate a near miss like that?

The heat was really frustrating to me. I’m so envious of the folks who were still able to run in the heat, and who didn’t seem to have even a touch of sunburn. I was reapplying sunscreen every 1.5-2 hours, and I STILL got sunburned (though not too badly). All I could think about was making it until the sun went down. If I could just hang on, and keep moving forward at whatever slow pace I could comfortably manage, I could rally in the evening.

My friends showed up around the 6 hour mark, and one of them did loops 10-12 with me. My feet were starting to hurt, so I’d changed into my trail shoes to relieve some of the pain from the gravel. The extra support and the rock plate helped a bit, but the bases of both my heels were really hurting. After loop 10, I took my socks off to see what was up. On my left foot was a blister stretching across most of the circumference of my heel. On my right foot was a blister that had formed on top of the remnants of an old blister (from Chippewa Moraine, I think!), about the size of a walnut, puffing out about half an inch. So, no wonder. I lanced them as best as I could, bandaged them up, and started moving again. It didn’t feel amazing but it felt a little better.

I managed 2 more slow laps, talking with my friend, gimping along, and then sat down to rest again and talk with them. They decided to leave, and just as I was gearing up to leave again, my dad told me my stepbrother and sister in law and my 2 nephews were at the park getting their permit. I didn’t think they were coming since it was so hot and my younger nephew had been sick. I decided to stay until they arrived, and then talked to them for a little while, ate some of the snacks they brought me, and then headed out for what I didn’t know would be my final lap, lucky #13. The blister on the right hurt a lot, and I ended up changing my gait to try to accommodate it, which was bad news. I planned to try to tape it up better with some moleskin, and I did, but when I got up to test it out, the chafing on my inner thighs/near my shorts liner really started to sting and burn, despite changing my shorts, cleaning the salt away with wet wipes, and slathering the area with Vaniply and Vaseline.

So I quit. I chose to take the easy way out. Neither the chafing nor the blisters were the worst anyone has seen in the history of chafing and blisters, but I didn’t see any reason to continue and to make them worse. (It’s 2 days later and I’m wearing flip-flops at work, so I’m glad I didn’t in that regard.) I had sort of stopped caring about the race, and there wasn’t much to look forward to, just endless loops. I didn’t want to trudge around in a circle with a stinging crotch for 14 more hours. That was really not going to give me any guidance as to my readiness for a longer race.

It’s funny that in the end, it didn’t even matter that I was undertrained. I was plenty well trained for 29.5 miles! And while the heat really concerned me, I think I managed my hydration well (I only lost a pound at the first weigh-in, and had the same weight at the second weigh-in, probably because I wasn’t running hard), I didn’t have much nausea, and I still had the sense that I could pick it up once the sun went down.

I’m chalking this race up to a learning experience, even if it wasn’t the learning experience I was looking for. There were still a LOT of lessons for me.

  1. Having a crew makes me uncomfortable.
    My dad was so kind and gracious to sit out there in the heat for 10 hours, fill my water bottles, monitor my food, and support me. He kept offering to do other things, like spray me with sunscreen, but it just made me feel more guilty and uncomfortable. I am so used to doing everything for myself, since I usually go to races alone. I spent extra time at my tent because I felt bad that he was by himself. He did enjoy the people-watching; I think he was getting too many ideas from one of the other crews nearby – there were like 7 people crewing one guy and they were like a NASCAR pit crew! No thank you. I think if I do a long race, I won’t enlist a crew until the later stages, when I need extra gear or to get resupplied or something.
  2. Visitors are too much of a distraction.
    It was awesome to have my friends and family visit. But it kept me at the campsite longer than I should have. It was also sort of demoralizing that when I was running with my friend, he was walking. So I walked, too, when maybe I could have run here and there. And I talked, which slowed me down, too. It would have been better if we were both entrants in the race and could meet up, part ways, meet up, and so on.
  3. I brought too much stuff.
    I should have just relied on aid stations. I didn’t need like 75% of the stuff I brought, and again, it kept me in the campsite longer than I needed to be.
  4. Running a marathon doesn’t destroy me physically anymore.
    I’m not walking around much, but that’s mostly due to the blisters, since even without shoes on, they hurt. I have some general soreness in my back and my hips, but that’s it. Granted, I took several long breaks, but I still traveled 29.5 miles.
  5. I’m the slowest walker ever.
    I’m short, and I’m long-waisted. So my legs are not really built for fast walking. But it was hard to be out there, seeing people putting in a similar effort but passing me with ease, or even seeing people struggling and being unable to catch up with them.
  6. Summer is not the time to try new distances.
    I don’t do well in the heat, so I think it’s best left to the spring and fall when I’m trying something new, at least as long as I’m living in Duluth.
  7. I don’t really like timed race formats.
    I like point to point races. I like running a set distance, rather than a set amount of time. I just couldn’t shift my paradigms enough. I really should do more “run for x number of hours” training runs, to try to get into that mindset better.
  8. I will totally do this race again.
    Maybe just one more time, for “revenge.” It was such a cool atmosphere, though! I mean, I got an email from the race director yesterday with the subject line “Well, THAT Happened!” These are my people. The race rules packet was littered with funny, snarky comments. The whole attitude is so relaxed – it’s not full of aggressive, hyper-competitive runners, it’s full of people doing their own thing, whether that’s winning, taking it easy, or doing all their laps in the opposite direction. And the volunteers were so great! Especially the lap counters. My lap counter (a guy for the first 6 hours and a woman for the last 4) were SO cheerful every time I came through, calling out my name and telling me great job. This is a real benefit of a looped course: getting to know the volunteers and making a connection. So many more times to thank them, too.

Now I don’t know what to do with myself. I’m getting a massage tomorrow, and then I’m not running for awhile. At first I said two weeks, but now that I didn’t really go above and beyond in distance, I might amend that. HOWEVER, no running until my feet heal completely. Curnow is in 6 weeks, so I do need to be mindful of that and at least put in a bit of training. Maybe I’ll have a really great performance there, since I didn’t beat myself into the ground this past weekend!

FANS 24HR Race Goals

Tomorrow I’ll be running in circles for 24 hours. I’m in denial, as usual.

noidea

I have no clue what this will be like. I haven’t run longer than 50km or 10 hours. It might be hot. It might be cold. It might storm. It might be sunny. It might be all of these things, and more.

My goals are:
A Standard: 100 mi
B Standard: 90 mi
C Standard: 75 mi

I don’t know how achievable any of these are. I suppose it depends on conditions, my health, and my mental capacity.

Less quantifiable goals:
1. Relentless forward progress. No long breaks. No sleeping in the tent. No quitting early.
2. Avoid sunburn and manage heat.
3. Eat and drink well. Keep my GI system healthy.
4. Finish happy, healthy, and with my relationships with my husband and my dad intact.
5. Gain a better understanding of what else I need to do to be prepared to run a 100 mile race next year.

If I do those three things, I should be able to achieve any of the distance standards I’ve planned out.

I’ve overpacked, overplanned, and undertrained for this race. Sounds like a typical situation for me.

FANS 24 HR Training: Weeks 15 and 16

Lower mileage than I’d like, but I suppose I’ll just be that much more rested?

Week 15
Monday:
 6.1 mi, trail (Lester Park)
Tuesday: 5.2 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: 8.4 mi, road
Friday: rest/travel
Saturday: 15.3 mi, trail (Superior 25K)
Sunday: rest/travel (raining)
Total: 35 mi

Week 16
Monday:
 6.3 mi, road
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 8 mi, road
Thursday: 7.4 mi, road
Friday: 4.4 mi, trail (Western Waterfront)
Saturday: 8.7 mi, road
Sunday: 5.6 mi, road
Total: 40.4 mi

In week 15, even though I raced, I wanted to treat it as a true training week. That didn’t really work out, because my planned Sunday run didn’t happen. I made a non-noteworthy pasta salad (my own “recipe,” so basically some pasta, bell peppers, cheese, cilantro, and Newman’s Own parmesan-garlic dressing. Usually it has pepperoni, too, but I forgot.) and had a nice trail run at Lester Park. The only thing I don’t really like about running at Lester Park is the elevation: it’s all up, then all down. It’s not hard, but I prefer more variety.

In week 16, I switched my focus entirely to FANS, and started practicing walk/run intervals. I am not planning to do a Galloway-style walk run, that takes a lot more adjustment. I tried it once and found that I was constantly staring at my GPS watch, wondering if I missed a beep (and then I did miss one, the one time I wasn’t staring at it). I think that would be too distracting for me during a 24 hour race. I did some run 10/walk 5 intervals and some run 15/walk 5 intervals, to see which I liked better. The transition is harder than I thought. I found that run 10/walk 5 worked ok, but I wasn’t warmed up enough for the first transition and my calf muscles felt really tight, on the verge of cramping. I don’t think that will be an issue for the race, because I plan to run at least the first hour or so straight without walk intervals, but if my plan changes, I want to make sure my muscles are sufficiently warm before starting my first walk interval. I am probably over-complicating this but I excel at that.

I also made this:

Easy Chickpea Salad, once again from The Sea Salt. I didn’t cook the chickpeas long enough, so they didn’t absorb the dressing as well as I’d have liked. I subbed cilantro for parsley because I’m a freak for cilantro. The next day I made pasta and re-made the dressing from the recipe, added some of the leftover chickpea salad, and had a slightly different take on the meal. Be warned: it makes SO MUCH FOOD. I think I ate this 4 days in a row (2 with the pasta) and still had to toss some, not because it had gone bad, but because I needed to eat something different!

Last night, I made this:

Chicken Curry from Food52. I used half a jar of curry powder, which is amazing. I ended up using some extra cream, too (probably 2 cups instead of 1.5), since the skillet I used was kind of large and I wanted to make sure I had the chicken covered well. Also, I like sauce. I didn’t want to bother with the mess of cutting up chicken breasts, so I bought some already cut up chicken. I know that’s really lazy but I don’t really care. I guess that also means less chance of contamination. I actually didn’t put any cilantro in because I’ve bought it so much lately and some keeps going to waste. My meal planning skills are rudimentary.

The weather has been slowly starting to get nicer, and I have had a marked change in my mood. Earlier in the month I was stressing myself out a lot about the temperature, worrying about being cold only to find out it wasn’t that cold once I got outside. The last week+, I’ve run in shorts almost every day and felt fine. It was even hot for that 8.7 mile run on Saturday of Week 16! Some last minute heat training! Except now it looks like rain/thunderstorms for race day with highs in the 60s F. Woo.

I’m done running until Saturday! That feels strange to say. I plan on walking a few miles here and there to keep my legs moving, but other than that, I’m resting, prepping, and trying not to drive myself crazy between now and Saturday morning.

FANS 24 HR Training: Weeks 13 and 14

I’m including all the CM50K training in my FANS training, not selecting an arbitrary week-numbering system.

Week 13
Monday:
 rest
Tuesday: rest (massage)
Wednesday: 4.5 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Thursday: 6.5 mi, road
Friday: 5.5 mi, trail (Bagley)
Saturday: 8.2 mi, trail (SHT, Twin Ponds toward Haines Rd & back)
Sunday: 10.2 mi, trail (SHT at Jay Cooke toward Wild Valley Rd & back)
Total: 34.9 mi

Week 14
Monday:
 5.3 mi, road
Tuesday: 9.6 mi, road
Wednesday: 6.1 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk), 4 miles at tempo effort
Thursday: 6.7 mi, trail (Hartley)
Friday: rest
Saturday: 3.3 mi, road (Be the Match 5K + short warmup)
Sunday: 14.9 mi, trail (SHT @ 123rd Ave W toward Jay Cooke & back)
Total: 46 mi

So, some of this training I’ve already forgotten about. Whoops.

In these last few weeks leading up to FANS, I’m trying to eat better and overall do a better job of taking care of myself. Taking training seriously doesn’t just mean putting in the miles; that’s only a portion of what it takes to have a successful race. I’ve been doing myself a disservice by neglecting the nutrition part of my training. I can’t fix my bad eating habits overnight (well, I can, there’s actually nothing stopping me other than my own willpower and laziness, but it is more likely to stick if I make smaller changes first), but I can take steps to improve my diet overall.

This doesn’t mean I’m going to go crazy with any radical food intake strategies like keto or high fat low carb or Whole 30 or whatever. I won’t be smugly posting about how “clean” I’m eating. I eat food I’ve dropped so I don’t eat clean. I am not the only person eating in my household, and I’m not the only person who prepares food, so I can’t make drastic changes to what I eat without bringing my husband on board, and it’s not my place to dictate the menu on the nights I’m not making food (which used to be every night! I rarely cooked). But now I’m making dinner about twice a week. My plan is to make something Monday and Tuesday night that is relatively healthy and will have leftovers, so I can have some decent lunches. No more pizza lunches 3x a week!

I am not super creative in the kitchen, so I never know what to make. I also don’t have a dishwasher, a lot of counter space, or a lot of fancy appliances, so I can’t make complex things without causing a lot of extra work for myself. I do know someone who is super creative in the kitchen, though: my cousin writes a food blog, The Sea Salt, with lots of delicious recipes, surfing photos, and mostly vegetarian ingredients. (I don’t really care because I like to eat meat, but it’s a nice feature for those who are vegetarian or looking to reduce the amount of meat in their diet.) So I made a recipe of hers last Monday, Falafel Spiced Quinoa Salad with Crispy Chickpeas. It was delicious AND it provided a LOT of leftovers! I might add chicken to it next time I make it.

I’m not a chef and the lighting in my kitchen sucks, but I took a photo anyway.

Besides trying to make some better food choices (which I wasn’t completely successful at – the red velvet Oreos I bought for CM50K but did not eat were NOT going to go to waste), I did do actual running. I took 3 days off after Chippewa Moraine 50K, got a massage the final day off, and then returned to running. I made a concerted effort to start running on challenging trails again, rather than just Lakewalk run upon Lakewalk run (and I’ve got to stop running there shortly, as it’ll be overtaken by tourists in those awful surrey-with-a-fringe-on-top bike things).

I ran the Be the Match 5K on Saturday the 13th. It went ok. I ran 29:43, which is not my best time ever, but was still under 30 minutes. My hope is that I’ll never run a road 5K in over 30 minutes’ time, unless I’m 80 years old, pacing a friend, or… I don’t know, some other extenuating circumstance. I was planning to do a short recap of the race, but decided not to. It wasn’t a goal race, it wasn’t a particularly well-run race, and my recapping plan was spoiled by technical difficulties.

I wanted to experiment with taking real mile splits, so I hit the lap button when I passed each mile marker (well, the first two). According to the auto-lap feature, my splits were 8:59, 9:33, and then 11:11 for the final “1.17” (a 9:34 pace). So that wasn’t the best, but other than the first mile, it’s not super far off, as I ran a 9:35 overall pace via the official results.

My lap button time splits were: 9:40, 7:26, and 12:38 (11:29 pace for 1.1 miles). Uhhhh. I think there was a mistake with the placement of the second mile marker, as best as I can tell. I’ll have to try this experiment again. Overall, this was not a particularly well-run race, thanks to poor training, tired legs, and poor mental attitude. I slept ok and ate ok before the race, for the first time in the history of me running this race, and I still ran my second best 5K time ever, but I was kind of thinking I’d just magically PR. I also didn’t PR in fundraising, although I think we came close to last year’s. We raised just over $1100 officially, but we did have 2 donors who made donations that were accidentally not attributed to our team. I was hoping to raise $2000, but realistically that wasn’t happening. My mom and I are the only ones on our “team” who fundraise, so realistically we’ve already maxed out our donor base.

The weather was decent the past couple of weeks, for the most part. There were even a few days that were actually hot! Relatively speaking. I run so much better when I’m in just a t-shirt and shorts. I’m breaking in a new pair of road shoes at the moment (Mizuno Wave Runners), and trying to decide what shoes to wear at Superior. My shoes from Chippewa are pretty beat up, but it’s looking like this weekend is going to be muddy and gross, so I might wear my old shoes (with ~567 miles on them) and save the new ones (~157 miles) for another day.

I’m kind of ready for this block of races to be over with: I don’t think I’ll plan so many races that require travel in such a short period of time.  Between traveling for hockey, racing, and work, I’ve been away from home more than I’d like. Too much time away from the cats! Next year I’ll have to be much more thoughtful about how I schedule my races.