Twin Cities Marathon Training: Week 13

Accidentally a lighter week.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Twin Cities Marathon Training: Week 11

I rebounded!

Monday: 7.3 mi, treadmill
Tuesday: 6.3 mi, road (7xWabasha St Bridge)
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: 5.8 mi, paved trail (Lake Nokomis, 42 @ tempo)
Friday: 6.2 mi, road
Saturday: 7.5 mi, road (split into 2 runs)
Sunday: 8.6 mi, trail (Fort Snelling)
Total: 41.6 mi

I was determined to get in a decent week of running this past week, and I succeeded, I think. Obviously I didn’t do any long runs, but that’s fine. Monday I stuck to the treadmill because I was still not totally over my illness (I think I am now, or at least I hope so — the alternative is I have a silent infection slowly taking over my body — shudder). Tuesday I’d had enough and headed out on the roads for bridge repeats, which sucked as they always do. But I always feel so self-satisfied afterward, like I’ve really accomplished something. Which I have.

Wednesday I was planning on running and didn’t. I had a long day at work and didn’t get home til almost 6, so I decided to pack it in. It was worthwhile, my brain was pretty fried and I had a big meeting Thursday morning I wanted to be prepared for. I brought stuff to work on Thursday so I could go directly after work to Lake Nokomis. Well, actually I parked at my cousin’s house, ran from her place to Lake Nokomis, did 2 laps around, and then ran back. I did a tempo run, my first on the road in awhile, and it felt really really really freaking miserable and difficult. Possibly because there was a STRONG wind around the lake, and I was running right into it at times. And also because I hadn’t done one on the road in awhile. I ended the tempo segment at 42 minutes, right when I got to the spot where I turned off the path and onto the street again. I thought my training plan had called for a 50 minute tempo run and I was SO DONE, but it turned out it only called for 45 minutes, and I think I had 3 more minutes in me, had I known.

I thought I needed to rush back to my cousin’s house to meet my mom and my aunt, who were walking her dogs, but it turned out they were late arriving and so I ended up hanging out at the house for awhile, chatting with my mom, my aunt (visiting from Colorado on her way to Norway), my cousin, and her mom (who is my mom’s cousin, but I didn’t feel like writing out “second cousin” and “first cousin once removed” because who cares?) while holding my cousin’s squishy new baby. (I waited until I’d dried off a bit and washed my hands first, because I didn’t want to snuggle with a newborn while drenched in sweat and caked in salt.) So I guess I had time to get those last minutes of tempo in, but whatever.

Friday I ran starting at Indian Mounds Regional Park. I need to remember not to do that, because it starts off as a lot of downhill. That means it ends with a lot of uphill. It was pretty miserable. There’s a great view of the city at sunset from the park, which I was treated to as I cruised in for the last half mile or so. There were some gentlemen enjoying adult beverages when I started my run, and they were still there when I returned, and one of them complimented me for running for so long. I was in a good mood and generally I don’t mind exchanging a few words with a drunk stranger if they are nice and not aggressive, so I thanked him and said it was tough, then wished him a good evening.

Saturday I split my run into 2 runs, because I had a bunch of stuff to do. I ran about 4 miles around lunchtime and got absolutely scorched. It made me feel fairly miserable and faintly nauseated for several hours afterward, even after taking a shower (far too quick) and rehydrating. My husband and I drove over to my mom’s, had a mid-day meal with my family before my aunt left for her trip, and then we drove home to start our project for the weekend: painting the kitchen cupboards. Ugh. What a dumb idea. We took all the cabinets down, removed the hardware, and then I went for another run in the evening (about 3 miles) which was a lot less miserable.

Sunday I got up, went to Fort Snelling, and had an actual enjoyable run around Pike Island and then up the Minnesota River Valley Trail toward Minnehaha Falls (I’ll have to run there another time). It was significantly more enjoyable to run that area without feeling like I had to pee the whole time. It was warm but most of the trail was shaded. I felt pretty strong but also caught myself spacing out and running at a mindless pace. I’d look down and see like 15:45 pace on my watch. I do not understand how I can let myself get so much slower just by zoning out. It’s really annoying, because zoning out helps the miles go by. I need to figure out a better way to run by feel, because I thought I was cruising along at least 2 min/mi faster. Then I went home and finished prepping my kitchen and started painting, which about killed my poor legs.

Superior is this week, I can’t even believe it. Time for my mini-taper (and time to get more done around the house)!

Twin Cities Marathon Training: Week 10

I guess when I said I wasn’t tapering much for Superior, I was tempting fate.

Monday: 6.6 mi, treadmill (45 @ tempo)
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 7.4 mi, road
Thursday: 7 mi, road
Friday: 2.9 mi, road
Saturday: 7.7 mi, trail (2.5 @ Fort Snelling) + treadmill (5.2)
Sunday: 5.7 mi, trail (Fort Snelling)
Total: 37.3 mi

Okay, let’s talk about Saturday first. Clearly I did not run the Women Rock Half Marathon I was so excited about. Instead, on Friday evening, I discovered I had a mild UTI (oversharing? Maybe. But it’s just an illness!) and I decided the next morning not to run. I felt really stupid about it, because I had very few symptoms. I’m used to having a cold, or an upset stomach, and having symptoms that wear me out. I felt like a quitter, like I should have gutted it out and run the race, but I was worried about putting my excretory system through a half marathon when it has an infection. Well, I felt guilty about it and packed up in the afternoon for a long run at Fort Snelling. Nope. I made it 2.5 miles before I called it quits and went home, because while I mostly felt fine, I spent the entire time I was running (one loop of FANS, basically) feeling like I had to pee, and then I went to the bathroom and still felt like I had to pee. What an annoying symptom. So I went home and managed to get a run in on the treadmill (with like 3 bathroom breaks) so the day wasn’t a total loss.

I’m disappointed I didn’t get to run the half marathon, and annoyed that I wasted $65 on a race I signed up for on a whim, but I don’t feel like I made a bad decision.

Back to Monday —  I can’t remember why I ran on the treadmill. Laziness? Weather? It was so long ago. 8 whole days. A lot is going on at work right now so my brain can’t remember more than a few days prior. I did a tempo run, which I can do more effectively on the treadmill – I can keep my pace under control and slowly ramp it up and down. It just sucks because I hate running on the treadmill, although I use it as a crutch a lot.

Tuesday I planned to run and came home to find every sports bra I had was dirty. And I already wear them more than once because I’m gross and just don’t care if I smell bad, so when I say dirty I really mean it. I had recently thrown two away because the hook and eye closures were coming apart, so I had a shortened rotation. Fortunately REI’s Labor Day Sale started Friday, so I picked up 2 more on sale (along with some gels). I was annoyed because I was all ready to run and wanted to take a rest day before the half marathon, but I dealt with it.

Wednesday and Thursday were both road runs that were nothing special. I did pick up my race bib on Thursday, but that was about as exciting as it got. Friday I ran a short shakeout run around my neighborhood and then discovered the bad news.

Sunday I wanted to give Fort Snelling another try. It’s the closest state park to my house, and I don’t know why I never considered running there before. I only go there for FANS. I guess I assumed there weren’t great trails there, but that was incorrect! Instead of doing the FANS loop, I ran to Pike Island, ran around that, and then ran back to the swimming beach. I was planning to do 8.5 miles but cut it short at 5.6 miles because again, I felt like I had to pee the whole darn time. I tried to ignore it but failed, and it slowed me down quite a bit and made my run a grind. I’m running a difficult trail marathon in less than 2 weeks. I don’t need to be grinding out runs.

I was pretty proud of myself for sticking to the training plan I’d worked out – the first 6 weeks went really well, other than not being able to really do marathon pace workouts due to heat. Then life started to get in the way, and while I am bummed to not be nailing every planned workout, I also don’t mind life getting in the way. My family and my job are always going to come before running, and if that means I run lower mileage than most runners, that’s fine. It still takes me a heckofa long time to get the runs in while maintaining lower mileage, so I make do with my abilities and the amount of time I want to devote to running. It works for me for now, and if it doesn’t, I’ll figure that out when it happens.

Twin Cities Marathon Training: Week 8

Oh my god what a week.

Monday: 5.6 mi, treadmill
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: 7.4 mi, treadmill
Friday: 9.4 mi, trail (Lebanon Hills)
Saturday: 5.9 mi, trail (Murphy-Hanrehan)
Sunday: 3.3 mi, treadmill
Total: 31.6 mi

I didn’t intend for this week to be so low mileage, but here we are. Monday I had to go to North Dakota for work. I drove, because my last minute plane ticket was so expensive and it seemed like a waste, plus I hate flying. I wish I’d flown, because I was wiped out by the drive. Probably because I actually got lightly sunburned during the drive. I need to remember to put on sunscreen! I planned to get there, change into my running clothes, have dinner with my family in Grand Forks, and then get a recommendation for a good place to run from my sister in law. Instead I discovered my suitcase wouldn’t open – the zipper had started to tear away from the body of the suitcase, and so the teeth wouldn’t line up right. I wasted precious time trying to open it and then ended up taking it over to my brother’s, thinking we’d have to cut it open. He managed to get the zipper to open without further damage, hooray. I ended up on the hotel treadmill after our dinner though, since it was getting late.

Tuesday I had a bunch of extra driving from Grand Forks to get to my actual work location, then had a couple hours of meetings, then turned back around and went home. I had planned to run after I got home, thinking I’d be back by 5:30 or so. Instead I got back to my house at 8 PM and was so wiped I couldn’t think of running. Wednesday I didn’t feel well at all, like a cold was coming on, so I decided to rest. I don’t think it was a cold actually, I think it was an air quality issue, because the symptoms came and went the rest of the week but never really blew up into anything.

Thursday I ran inside on the treadmill because I was tired and didn’t want to deal with the heat. Friday, I left work a bit early due to my long days on Monday and Tuesday, and went home to change before heading to Lebanon Hills for some trails. I was planning on doing 12 miles, but I didn’t get out in time, and I ran more than enough, especially in the heat. I wasn’t planning on running Sunday, so I knew I needed to get a long run in on Saturday.

Obviously, no long run materialized on Saturday. I tried. I drove out to Murphy-Hanrehan Park, but I just could not get myself in gear. I had another work trip the next day, and I couldn’t stop thinking about all that I had to do for that, and worrying about how long the run would take. I could not get the anxious feeling in my chest to go away, even after a couple of miles. I just worried and worried and worried. I felt guilty about spending 4+ hours away from my husband (and cats) when I was leaving for a week the next day. I knew I had to do laundry and pack, and go to bed early, etc. The worry, combined with the heat, the bugs, and the grass, slowed me down to the point where I knew I needed to call it a day. I was done before the ice in my pack melted!

Sunday was an absolute disaster of a day. I got up at 4, after about 2 hours of sleep (and 4 hours of worrying in bed before that), drove to the airport, and had a relatively uneventful flight to Boston. Things started to unravel after I waited an impossibly long time to get a coffee after my flight (I hadn’t had coffee before the flight, because I don’t like to get up if I don’t have to – if you know what I mean). Then once I got to the rental car facility and tried to check in online, I realized I didn’t have my driver’s license. (I use my passport as an ID when flying.) I had taken it out of the pencil pouch I use as a wallet/purse when I was filling out my absentee ballot, and I didn’t put it back. So I had no way to rent a car. I ended up taking a taxi to my friend’s house (I had already planned to visit her), and then beat her there, then huddled under the eaves to unsuccessfully avoid the light rain for about 10 minutes before she got back. (It turned out she had a little mudroom/porch I could have waited in, but the door was sticky so I thought it was locked, argh.) She was unbelievably kind and offered to drive me to Portsmouth (her infant son is soothed by car rides), so now I just have to take transport to my training and put off any sight-seeing until after my husband overnights my ID. I took a nap at the hotel, walked to get dinner, and then conjured up enough energy for that treadmill run. Woof.

I’m in Portsmouth, NH this upcoming week and it’ll be another jumbled up week of workouts. I didn’t do a single prescribed run last week (although Thursday’s run was a semi-tempo, I guess), and I don’t know if I’ll be able to do any this week, either. I’ll just get done what I can and not sweat it.

Twin Cities Marathon Training: Week 7

Much more of a cutback than I expected.

Monday: 3.5 mi, pavement (Centennial Lakes)
Tuesday: 6.1 mi, pavement (MRT, 40 @ tempo)
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: 7.4 mi, road
Friday: 8.5 mi, treadmill
Saturday: rest
Sunday: rest
Total: 25.5 mi

Okay, I guess I needed to take this time off. Oh now, now I won’t win the race, boo hoo.

Monday I ran a short, sweaty run during my lunch hour. It had to be done, because I knew I was taking Wednesday off. Tuesday I did a miserable tempo run on the Mississippi River Trail. It was hot and I didn’t realize I sped up much too quickly, so I was blowing up during the tempo. I actually stopped and walked a bit! Not ideal, and the data got all messed up with some kind of GPS error. I set a world record with my 2:11 mile, which took me across the Mississippi!

Wednesday was much cooler, but of course was my off day. I volunteered at the final Endless Summer Trail Run. It was fun, as always. I won’t see my Rocksteady Running friends again until Superior! Which is less than 5 weeks away, whoops. I made my reservation finally.

Thursday was also relatively cool, and I ran 7.4 happy and relaxed miles down to Sibley High School and back. It felt so good (after the first couple miles, which hurt a bit thanks to some muscle tightness – the magnesium oil isn’t a cure-all) to run effortlessly, and to finally approach a speed resembling what I’d like to run in a marathon.

Friday I ran 8.5 miles on the treadmill before we left for Duluth for the weekend. I didn’t really have a reason to run on the treadmill, because the rain had already passed by and it wasn’t that warm. I couldn’t shake the anxious feeling I get when I’m pressed for time with a run. Where should I go? What will get this done the fastest? It’s paralyzing, and I end up losing time just worrying. I get in my own head a lot about even stupid stuff like individual training runs. I was lazy and took several breaks (once for water, once for a bathroom break, and… maybe one other time just because?), but I got it done. Then once we were up in Duluth, I stopped in at Austin Jarrow to pick up some new road shoes. They’re the ones that’ll carry me through this marathon!

Saturday it rained all day. I spent it inside, playing cribbage with my family and in general having a good time. By the time it cleared up, it was fairly late, so I decided to skip it rather than get caught outside in the twilight without a headlamp or reflective vest. Again.

Sunday I just didn’t give a crap, and that’s the truth. I could have run, but I didn’t. No energy, no enthusiasm. Instead I ate a lot of treats.

This week will be interesting, as I have a very short work trip to North Dakota (I will spend more time driving than working, since it cost like $900 to fly) and then I leave on Sunday for a longer work trip to New Hampshire. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get in a true long run, but I’ll certainly have to find a way to do better than 25 miles. I’m not super worried — I know I needed the extra time to recover this week, and I will have a lot more energy moving forward!

Twin Cities Marathon Training: Week 6

Not the best week. It’s a sign it’s time for a cutback week, I’d say.

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 7 mi, road
Wednesday: 5.8 mi, road (5x Wabasha St. Bridge)
Thursday: 6 mi, treadmill (40 min tempo)
Friday: 5.1 mi, road
Saturday: 13.2 mi, trail (Murphy-Hanrehan Park)
Sunday: 12.1 mi, pavement (Mississippi River Trail)
Total: 49.2 mi

First off, I hate taking Mondays as rest days. I had to as we had made some dinner plans, which then fell through. I was already tired and had mentally planned on not running, so I didn’t make a last minute change to get miles in. Instead we went to see Ant-Man and the Wasp, which was funny.

Tuesday I had to go over to see about my mom’s cats again, and decided to start my run from her house, rather than drive somewhere else. I ran around my old junior high (now called a middle school, so weird), then into an area of the city I’ve never been (at least, that I was aware of – maybe I went to some friend’s house when I was like 5 and they lived in that neighborhood). St. Louis Park is not that big, so it’s kind of strange I didn’t know anyone living over there well enough to have visited, but I guess there are other pockets of the city I don’t know and need to explore. I turned around and headed back toward my mom’s house once I reached a natural turnaround point (I reached a major road), but realized I wasn’t going to make even 6 miles that way, so I ran past my old elementary school (now housing a Montessori school and a French immersion school) and over the highway, before swinging back around toward home underneath the highway.

Wednesday I did bridge repeats with dead legs. I hated the workout but it had to be done. I felt a little bit crummy and I guess that carried over into Thursday, because I felt like total garbage at work Thursday afternoon (well, also I ate 2 ice cream sandwiches) and left early. I ended up feeling better only a few hours later so I guess I just had indigestion. I ran on the treadmill as a precaution. Friday I had no interest in running but did it anyway. Hooray, I guess? It was a dull 5 miles meandering through my neighborhood, trying to remember which streets went through and which dead-ended. I wasn’t super successful at that, but it helped tacked on the miles.

Saturday I planned to do some recon for Surf the Murph at Murphy-Hanrehan Park. I’m considering running the 50 miler this fall. I’m still undecided, partially because I’m going to use my result at Moose Mountain Marathon to extrapolate whether or not I can make the cutoffs, and partially because I didn’t love my run there on Saturday. There was a lot of grass, which I hate. I despise the feeling of grass on my legs – so itchy! And of course I am paranoid about ticks. (I found none on me. That must mean they are all in places I can’t see.) If they mow the course, I’m still in. If they don’t, I’m out.

I planned to run 15 miles, and through 8 or so I was cruising. I was like “Wow, yeah, I can do this! I can totally race a 50 miler here!” Then I bonked. I guess I didn’t eat my first gel soon enough, although I wasn’t really hungry. But I also was experiencing a non-food-related bonk, if that’s a thing: a bug bonk. Some deer flies were following me, probably only a couple, but they were dive-bombing me over and over again and I was flailing my arms in vain, trying to get rid of them. I think I killed one or two but ugh. So annoying. I hate flies. I got turned around quite a bit on the trails and wasn’t sure how far I would have to go to get back to the parking lot, and I was running out of water. I reached the parking lot at 12.7 miles, and I had been walking for probably 2 miles. Even through the runnable sports. I gave up. I actually started to walk out another 1.2 miles so that I could do an out & back to get the 15 miles I had originally planned for, but after a quarter mile I actually said out loud “This is stupid” and returned to the parking lot. Ugh.

I decided to add the remaining 2 miles to my run on Sunday. Determined not to bonk again, I ate more food before leaving, and I opted not to do any marathon pace miles. I parked at Hidden Falls Park (up above on Mississippi River Blvd, not down near the picnic shelter) and ran 5 miles downriver, turned around, ran back, and then did another mile upriver and back to get to 12. It sounds slick and easy but it wasn’t. It was another miserable run. It rained for about 2 minutes right before I started running, so the sun was back out AND it was extra humid. The air was so hot, even though it was only like 80-82 F, since the humidity was so high. Most of my run was pretty slow once the heat caught up with me, and even after the clouds returned an hour and a half into the run, I was already sapped and couldn’t really recover. I was thirsty even though I had plenty of water (probably because my mouth was getting dry – I should have had a candy or something) and my stomach was a little too full of water so I felt uncomfortable a lot. It wasn’t as miserable a slog as it was on Saturday, but it wasn’t great. If the clouds hadn’t come through and provided shade for most of the run, I am pretty sure I’d have quit early.

So, this upcoming week’s a cutback week! I’ve had 6 weeks of increasing mileage and my body is starting to say nope. I’ll be in Duluth this coming weekend anyway and won’t have time for 4-5 hour runs. I also need to give my poor back a rest – no, not my muscles, my skin. My sports bra has totally shredded the middle of my back since I wore my pack 2 days in a row (and it was pretty bad after the first day, woof), and I need a chance for it to heal!

Twin Cities Marathon Training: Week 5

It cooled off! Relatively speaking.

Monday: 5.3 mi, road
Tuesday: 5.6 mi, pavement (Battle Creek, 5 x 0.5 mi)
Wednesday: 8 mi, pavement (Lake of the Isles/Bde Maka Ska)
Thursday: rest
Friday: 5.6 mi, treadmill (35 min tempo)
Saturday: 14.2 mi, trail (Afton State Park)
Sunday: 9.2 mi, trail/pavement (Cedar Lake/Kenilworth Trail/Cedar Lake Regional Trail)
Total: 47.9 mi

It’s been a long week, but it has felt really good to run without as much heat and humidity. It’s still hot, especially in the afternoon when it feels like the sun is still directly overhead at 3 PM, but it isn’t as oppressive as it was the past two weeks. Running was much more pleasant this week, and the higher mileage is starting to feel good. I mean, it sucks in the moment sometimes, of course.

Monday I ran around my neighborhood, which was okay. It’s not a ton of fun because I can’t zone out, I’m constantly thinking of how to cobble together enough mileage to make a decent workout. A lot of streets don’t go all the way through, and I’m not familiar enough with the area to remember which ones do, so I spend a lot of time recalculating, like my brain’s an analog version of a GPS unit after a missed turn.

Tuesday I drove over to Battle Creek and did loops around the park to complete my interval workout. I’ve given up on trying to find a track, I guess. The repeats were all pretty fast, which was surprising. Now I want to find a real 5K to see if I can legitimize my PR. There was a group of high schools kids doing either a summer cross-country practice or dryland training for nordic skiing, and I felt a little dorky next to all these young people running fast with such ease, but hey. I’m out there running, too. Who cares if I’m running fast? They barely noticed me, anyway.

Midway through the week, I took over cat-sitting duties at my mom’s, which meant I was driving in the opposite direction from home during rush hour. I decided to run somewhere near there instead of trying to buck traffic on 94E. I parked at Lake of the Isles and unintentionally did an entire loop around, since I missed the turnoff for Bde Maka Ska. I continued past my car, did a loop around Bde Maka Ska (soooo crowded), and then headed back to my car the short way around Lake of the Isles. I love that area for the most part, even if it was crowded, and the scenery was amazing.

Friday I wimped out and did my run on the treadmill, since there was a line of thunderstorms rolling through. The radar made it look like one could hit at any time in the evening, so I played it safe. It’s actually a lot easier to do a true tempo on a treadmill, since it’s easy to control the pace and slowly ramp it up. I am kind of a scaredy-cat about running fast (for me) on the treadmill – I’m afraid of tripping and falling or otherwise hurting myself. But it went well, even if I was miserable and hating life during the 35 minutes of actual tempo running, and I was sweating buckets.

I checked out Afton State Park for the first time on Saturday. I liked it, kind of. It’s about 30 minutes from my home, so it’s sorta like driving to Jay Cooke used to be, but that does add an hour round trip to my run time. The trails themselves are a bit confusing – I couldn’t always read the maps very well, especially when the YOU ARE HERE stickers were missing. There are a lot of trails, though! I was able to put together 14 miles without doubling back too much. I did see a dead raccoon (twice) and a dead bunny (depressing). There was a mix of terrain – pavement, grass, gravel, packed dirt. Lots of hills, plenty of shade, and not a whole lot of people (probably because the swimming beach was under water). The miles were slow to begin with, but I rallied at the end (ok, it was flat terrain and also some pavement) and felt a little better about my pace.

Sunday I decided to go do another chain of lakes run since I was in the area feeding los gatos again. I figured I’d start at Cedar Lake instead, which was dumb. Cedar Lake is the weird misfit lake. There isn’t a nice paved path around it – instead I ended up on some single track and kept coming upon people who seemed like they would prefer to be left alone. I turned around and went the other way, and ended up in a grassy area with a sign that said “end of public trail.” Then I decided to say screw it, got on the Kenilworth Trail, and did the remaining 7 miles on that and the Cedar Lake Regional Trail. I was supposed to be running 7 at marathon pace, but that just was not happening. The first 2 miles were like 15 minute miles, so that blew my average pace and sapped my energy, so I just pushed through with a regular old medium length run. Can I just have one marathon pace workout where I even get close to what I expect to be able to run come October? I don’t think my goal of around 5 hours is that unreasonable!