Twin Cities Marathon Training: Weeks 8, 9, and 10

It’s been awhile.

Monday (8/5): rest
Tuesday: 5.8 mi, road (6 x Wabasha Street Bridge)
Wednesday: 3.3 mi, paved trail (Hyland)
Thursday: 6.4 mi, paved trail (MRT, 45 @ tempo)
Friday: rest
Saturday: 15 mi, paved trail (Crosby Farm + MRT)
Sunday: 5 mi, trail (Battle Creek)
Total: 35.6 mi

Monday (8/12): rest
Tuesday: 6.1 mi, paved trail (MRT, 45 @ tempo)
Wednesday: 5.2 mi, paved trail (Crosby Farms to Hidden Falls & back)
Thursday: 4.4 mi, paved trail (Vento Regional Trail)
Friday: 12.1 mi, paved trail (Wirth Park – Brownie Lake – Cedar Lake – Lake of the Isles)
Saturday: 6.7 mi, trail (2.8 @ Whitewater State Park, 3.9 @ Great River Bluffs State Park)
Sunday: 5.4 mi, paved trail (Fox River Trail)
Total: 39.9 mi

Monday (8/19): 4.5 mi, paved trail (Fox River Trail)
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 5.6 mi, paved trail (Fox River Trail)
Thursday: 6 mi, paved trail (Fox River Trail)
Friday: 7, trail (Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve)
Saturday: rest
Sunday: 12.2 mi, road (home to Summit and back)
Total: 35.3 mi

Sheesh, I guess I went 3 weeks without recapping my training. How will I remember what happened? It doesn’t matter that much.

In Week 8, I plowed through some hill repeats despite hot, windy weather. The next day, I headed out to Hyland on my lunch hour (big mistake, it was way too far of a drive!) to get in a quick run since I was volunteering at the final installment of the Endless Summer Trail Run Series. That race was held at Spring Lake Park Reserve in Hastings, and I need to go back there to run, it was gorgeous! After pounding out a decent tempo run on Thursday, I took a break on Friday because I was planning on running a (free to me) 5K Saturday morning. Instead, I said screw it, slept in, and ran 15 miles, much of it in the pouring rain, in the afternoon. It was a nice change from the heat! I finished up on Sunday with a short run at Battle Creek.

In Week 9, I moved quite a few workouts around to accommodate my weekend travel. I had another fairly decent tempo run on Monday, tested out a new section of trail between Crosby Farms and Hidden Falls (it had been closed for awhile since it was under water and then under river sludge) on Wednesday, barely beat out a storm during a short run on Thursday, and completed my long run on Friday around some of the chain of lakes. I did take a short detour around the quaking bog before heading across the freeway and around Brownie Lake, part of Cedar Lake (light rail construction prevented me from going all the way around), and Lake of the Isles before returning. I did see a woman get into a minor scooter accident and made sure she was okay before continuing. Dramatic! Saturday I drove down to the Chicago burbs for a work training, so I stopped twice to run along the way (checking off Winona county and two more state parks, yay!). That kind of sucked because it made my trip really long and I had to drive 4 more hours in sweaty, stinky clothes… but I suppose I could have also changed clothes if I’d been smart. Thanks to my friend Chris from Running Ahead, I got great advice on a place to run, the Fox River Trail, and ran my first segment after class on Sunday. (Yes, my training started Sunday. Yes, it was a miserable week.)

Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I ran various other segments of the Fox River Trail. It was pretty nice – mostly flat, not too busy, with some decent scenery for the most part. The final day, the route was soured a bit by detours and some grubby areas, but it was fun to try a new section each night without needing to drive too far (or pay any tolls!) before I had dinner and studied for the next day of class. Friday, I had a test in the morning and then went for a run in the late afternoon. It took me over an hour to get to Waterfall Glen Park Reserve due to traffic and due to taking a super long route to avoid tolls (yay!), but it was worth it! Crushed gravel is the best surface ever! (Besides hard-packed dirt singletrack without roots or rocks.) Plus the trail goes around Argonne National Laboratory, which made me feel right at home as an engineer. I drove home Saturday, planning to run when I got home, but there was a mixup with my husband (who was visiting his parents) and I didn’t get my rental car returned until it was much later in the day than I’d planned. I made up for it on Sunday by running from home to Summit Ave (up Ramsey Hill, woof), running down to the start of the St. Thomas campus, and then back home. It rained a bit, but wasn’t too bad.

I’m trying to get back into a normal schedule and into my normal training structure, but I’ve got more disruptions coming the next two weekends, so I’ll just take training as it comes. The weather has started to cool off, so it looks like I might actually have to start, like running marathon pace workouts at marathon pace. Uh oh!

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Twin Cities Marathon Training: Week 7

Wasn’t it just Week 6?

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 5.8 mi, paved trail (MRT, 6 x 0.5 mi)
Wednesday: 2.8 mi, trail (Murphy-Hanrehan)
Thursday: 6 mi, paved trail (Big Rivers, 40 @ tempo)
Friday: 4.3 mi, trail (Battle Creek)
Saturday: 14.6 mi, road (warm-up, Run Baby Run 10K, evening run)
Sunday: 5.1 mi, trail (Battle Creek)
Total: 38.6 mi

I hate Monday rest days. They’re the worst! They set the tone for the rest of the week and remove all flexibility. I had my violin lesson and got home later in the day and didn’t have the time to get a run in. It’s a shame, because the weather was PERFECT.

Tuesday I did half mile repeats on the Mississippi River Trail. I still haven’t mastered the proper pace, which probably contributed to the inflated sense of ability I brought to my 10K. It wasn’t exceptionally hot, so I wasn’t entirely miserable, but yuck do I hate these workouts while also loving them and feeling bada$$ once they’re over.

I volunteered for another installment of the Endless Summer Trail Run Series on Wednesday, and got to the park early to run most of the course. The run was awful. I dislike running at Murphy due to the flies — even one or two buzzing around me drives me bonkers. I wasn’t in a great frame of mind and didn’t have a lot of energy, so I couldn’t even muster 3 miles. I spent the rest of the night volunteering. One of the volunteer photographers posted a rather unfortunate picture of me in the photoset for the evening, so that was kind of a downer.

For Thursday’s tempo run, I “cheated” a bit. Well, not really. I started the run heading mostly uphill at one end of the Big Rivers Regional Trail (the Lilydale end), and the peak pace for the tempo run happened to hit just as I was turning around to run back downhill. So it’s not cheating in the sense that I ran the first 20 minutes of the tempo going uphill, but I did hit my peak effort while running downhill. It was tough! But it felt pretty good. I averaged a 10:55 for the whole tempo effort.

Friday’s run was a regular old boring run at Battle Creek (near the dog park). Not much to report. I recapped Saturday morning’s 10K already, but I did top up my mileage with another 7-ish mile run in the evening (with new shoes! I hit 500 miles on my road shoes so I had to spring for a new pair). That run was a bit of a disaster. It was hot during the day, so I didn’t start until 8:30 PM. I ran across the High Bridge and was tooling around St. Paul, planning to cross Shepard Road near the Science Museum. There was a train going through so I did a short loop through Upper Landing Park and then planned to wait out the train, which was almost through. But with the end of the train in sight, it stopped. And didn’t move. And I was stuck. There are only a couple other ways across Shepard Road along the river, and both were quite a distance away. It was late, probably 9:30 at this point, and I had a choice to either turn around and cross at Randolph (which turned out to be over a mile away) or continue and cross at Jackson (which was about 3/4 mile away). I made the (correct) choice to continue downriver and cross the street and the railroad tracks at Jackson, then come up along Kellogg and cross the Mississippi on the Wabasha St. Bridge. This added a bunch of time and distance to my night, as well as the potential to encounter some sketchy people, which I fortunately did not. It was a giant pain in the butt and a little bit disconcerting. I am lucky to live in a fairly safe city, but I did put myself in a not-so-great situation without a great option for extrication. I also did not have my cell phone with me, which I usually don’t for runs in my neighborhood. Safety moment!

Sunday I did a run in the middle of the day at the Battle Creek ski trails. One day, I will have a nice, pleasant, fast-ish run along those trails (and get some nice pics!), but Sunday was not that day. It was hot and sunny, and I actually ran out of water! I filled my soft flasks with only ice, and while the water was deliciously cold, there wasn’t enough of it. So yes, ice does melt slower in an air solution vs. a water solution (heat transfer, baby!), but I sacrificed volume for temperature. Yuck. Oh, also, it was hard to get water out of the soft flasks when it was still mostly ice – I kept sucking air instead.

I have another 5K coming up this weekend, and I think I’ll take the lessons of this last week and do a LOT of things differently, including a second rest day the day before the race, so I can build up my confidence again.

Twin Cities Marathon 2019 Training: Week 6

I’ve already forgotten what happened last week.

Monday: 3 mi, trail
Tuesday: 3.9 mi, trail
Wednesday: 5.8 mi, paved trail (Mississippi River Trail, 32 @ tempo)
Thursday: rest
Friday: 5.2 mi, paved trail (Mississippi River Trail, 3 @ marathon pace)
Saturday: 13.2 mi, paved trail (Mississippi River Trail)
Sunday: 6.4 mi, trail (Battle Creek)
Total: 37.5 mi

I started out the week with a drive to North Dakota for a site visit for work. I really dislike flying and when I visit remote sites, it often doesn’t save much travel time to fly. It also gives me the freedom to plan my trip how I want it to go. I was able to combine this trip with some state park visits and check off some more counties from my goal of running a mile in every county in Minnesota.

I stopped first at Lake Carlos State Park in Douglas County, and ran about 1.8 miles around Hidden Lake. I forgot my bug spray so the run wasn’t super pleasant, there were flies and mosquitoes buzzing around me.

I drove for a few more hours and then stopped at Buffalo River State Park, in Clay County, before I crossed over into North Dakota. I was running a bit behind schedule and kind of hungry so I didn’t get a very good run in, only 1.3 miles. I was planning on having dinner at my brother’s in Grand Forks (and to meet my new baby nephew!), so I didn’t want to get set delayed too much by my runs.

It does take a lot of extra time to drive to the parks and run. I’m slow so even a mile is going to take somewhere between 12-15 minutes, depending on the terrain and my energy level. The parks are often several miles off the route, so driving there and then getting back on the freeway can take another half hour or so. So each run probably added at least an hour to the trip, something I need to account for better in the future.

Tuesday, I got up and drove to meet my colleague at our work site, which was about an hour’s drive north of Grand Forks, up near the border. We conducted our (fruitless, but that’s another story) site visit, and then I hopped in the car to drive home. Since I was nearly in Canada, I was able to head east across the border and visit Lake Bronson State Park, knocking off one of the most remote counties, Kittson.

That’s probably the first and last time I’ll ever be in Kittson County, but the state park was really pretty! I got back on the road and drove through a lot of other counties that I’d have loved to have checked off the list, but I didn’t want to spend all freaking day driving, and while I looked for some options for a spontaneous stop in a county park or recreation area, they were all like 20 miles off the road, or just a tiny park on the side in one of the itty bitty towns along the way. I made a second stop in Little Falls (Morrison County) at Charles Lindbergh State Park, which was nearly impossible to get to due to construction.

It was SO BUGGY. I probably got like 15 mosquito bites during a 2 mile run. I was pretty grumpy when I got back in the car, and still had over an hour and a half of driving to go, ugh. Overall it was a fun trip and I liked breaking up the drive (we are encouraged to do this for our own health and safety, so it’s not like I was screwing around on the company dime), but I need to do a little better job of planning, especially when I have time constraints.

Wednesday I did a tempo run. It was supposed to be 40 minutes at tempo, but I could only manage 32 before I hit the lap button. I was having terrible abdominal cramps, in my stomach and my lower GI system, and was even reduced to walking a few times. It was pretty miserable. I took Thursday off to make sure I was recovered.

Friday called for 3 miles at marathon pace. I ended up running a bit faster than marathon pace (11:06/mi vs. 11:29/mi) because I was ignoring my watch and kind of going by feel. My current marathon pace is somewhere between trying somewhat hard and running sort of relaxed — it’s in this weird spot where the pace doesn’t come naturally to me. I try to run “comfortably hard” and it ends up being either too hard or too chill. Probably need to start nailing that down once the weather is more consistently comfortable to run in. I’m not super worried about it because it was only a 3 mile effort, so I guess I can write it off as another tempo.

Saturday I chose to do my long run. I started at Hidden Falls and ran the Mississippi River Trail, crossing the river at Franklin and running back on the other side. Once I crossed the river, things started to fall apart. It was hot out, but on the east side I was shaded. On the west side of the river, I was exposed to full sun for long stretches at a time, and after awhile I started taking short walking breaks to survive. I ran down to Minnehaha Falls (HUGE mistake, it was crowded, duh, and I was internally cranky at the people in my way), then looped around the Wabun Park area, then headed back across the river to finish the run. I was planning to run 14 miles (the plan called for 17), but only managed to get 13.2 because I couldn’t stand it anymore.

Sunday I ended up trying and failing to dodge the weather. I ended up running a few miles in the light rain, but when it wasn’t raining, the humidity was suffocating. I was glad I didn’t have to run in direct sunlight, but I was hoping for a more enjoyable run around Battle Creek. Once it’s cooler, I’m really going to enjoy running those ski trails. I’m not wishing summer away by any means, but it does get frustrating to boil in the sun or feel like a fish out of water in the humid air.

I have completely fallen out of the habit of doing push-ups, and need to get back on track. I was doing so well, and then fatigue and travel got me out of my routine. On the bright side, while I’m not performing very well to my push-up goal for the year, I’ve only got one more county to pick up this summer to meet my goal of 5 for the season!

Twin Cities Marathon 2019 Training: Week 5

I need to remind myself that meteorology is an inexact, dynamic science.

Monday: 4.2 mi, road
Tuesday: 5.3 mi, road (5 x Wabasha Street Bridge)
Wednesday: 5.4 mi, paved trail (Mississippi River Trail, 40 @ tempo)
Thursday: rest
Friday: 4.2 mi, road
Saturday: 8.2 mi, road
Sunday: 12 mi, trail (Afton State Park)
Total: 39.3 mi

I spent most of last week frantically switching up my running plans with the changing forecast. There were storms predicted almost every evening, and they never materialized. Well, they did materialize Saturday morning, the worst possible time to manifest.

The dynamic weather forecast meant I kept pushing back my rest day and shuffling around my workouts. Normally I wouldn’t do two speed workouts back to back, but I wanted to make sure I got them both in. For the bridge repeats, I tried to do them in control, rather than as fast as possible. I didn’t want to be fading at the end and desperate to reach the top. I think I did a pretty good job of being consistent!

hills5

Obviously there’s some variation, but there isn’t a huge dropoff at the end.

Wednesday’s tempo wasn’t that pleasant, but I got it done, and I managed a 10:41 pace despite the heat and despite a lack of desire to get it done. I had planned on making Wednesday my rest day, so knowing I had to slog through another day was sort of depressing.

Friday was terribly hot and I didn’t get out to run until about 8:30. I did a slow run around my neighborhood, which was fun. I found some new cool houses and other little nooks and crannies that I hadn’t seen before. And also some crazy house that looked like a compound for preppers/militiamen. I’ll try to get a pic of it but also they might think I was a census taker and shoot be or something.

Saturday morning, I got up early to run a 5K with my friend near the Bell Museum of Natural History. It was a celebration of Apollo 11, with a space-themed kids’ race and a very cool medal showing the phases of the moon. Since I am not an idiot, I understand that a finishers’ medal doesn’t mean I won the race, but I also appreciate unique, aesthetically pleasing tokens. Runners also received free admission to the museum, and I have not been to the new location, so I wanted to take advantage. My friend Samantha, who also ran the Night Nation Run with me last year, joined me since she also loves space and science and the natural world.

Five minutes before the race was to begin, the lightning and thunder started. The race was postponed for thirty minutes, as per policy, but that was wishful thinking. The sky opened up and poured, and the thunder and lightning continued, until there was no way the event could finish in time before (I assume) the permits expired and the museum had to open. So we sat around until the museum opened and then checked out all the cool stuff they had there.

I still had to run though! That was frustrating. I was tired from getting up early, and from waiting to eat, and from getting actually cold for the first time in weeks, but once it cleared up, I hauled myself off the couch and ran from home across the river and the freeway to Summit. I did my first run up Ramsey Hill, which wasn’t terrible, and then did a little circle around the cathedral before running down Summit. I was supposed to do a marathon pace run, but I didn’t have the energy thanks to the early morning wakeup and the humidity.

Sunday I went to Afton State Park to run. I was supposed to do 16 miles but got a bit of a later start than planned, and ran a bit slower than I thought I would. I really enjoyed the run though, there are so many lovely places in that park! It took 3 hours to complete my 12 hour run, so I figure that time on feet is more important than actual miles run, and I got in a lot of hills. I do need to start putting in some longer runs, but I don’t feel like I missed out by skipping those 4 miles.

Twin Cities Marathon 2019 Training: Week 4

It’s so hot.

Monday: 4 mi, road
Tuesday: 5.5 mi, paved trail (MRT, 5 x 0.5 mi)
Wednesday: rest (volunteered at Endless Summer Trail Run Series)
Thursday: 3.7 mi, trail (Battle Creek ski trails)
Friday: 6.2 mi, pavement (Big Rivers, 33:36 @ tempo)
Saturday: 10.1 mi, trail (Lebanon Hills)
Sunday: 8 mi, paved trail (Battle Creek, 7 @ marathon “effort”)
Total: 37.5 mi

Woof, this last week has been pretty steamy. It wore me down a bit, honestly. I started Monday with a pretty slow run starting at Harriet Island and crossing the Mississippi twice (on the Wabasha St. and Robert St. bridges). I did another set of sweaty half mile repeats on the Mississippi River Trail on Tuesday, starting at Upper Landing Park and heading downriver. I find the best way to get those repeats in without running out of real estate is to go back and forth on the section of the trail that parallels Warner Road – it’s not as busy as some other sections, and it is relatively flat. My paces were all over the place (8:51, 8:20 [how??], 9:02, 9:08, 9:10) and once again, too fast for what the workout calls for. I don’t know if I allow myself too much recovery or what the deal is, but I need to get better at pacing myself for these speed workouts.

Wednesday I volunteered at Lebanon Hills, checking in runners and feeding them pizza. One of these days maybe I should actually run an ESTRS race, but I find that it’s much more relaxing to volunteer and use it as a rest day, plus I am trying not to spend as much money on races these days (especially because I finally registered for TCM and that was a HUGE chunk of change). Perhaps next year?

Thursday I did a short but challenging trail run at Battle Creek on the ski trails. The trails near the school had been recently mowed so it was a much more pleasant experience! I hate running in longer grass, it takes up so much energy. There was a peloton of bikers out on the same trails which was sort of awkward, but the ski trails are wide enough that there was always room for me to squeeze past, as long as the bikers were paying attention. One of these days I need to take some pictures up on those trails because they are really lovely.

Friday’s tempo run was a bit shy of the 35 minutes I was supposed to do. It was tough, because it was so hot, but I also timed it a bit poorly and ended up at the bottom of a large hill with 1:36 to go in my tempo time. I was not about to run up that hill (and make a deal with god), so I ended the tempo a little early. My overall pace was 10:23, not bad.

The weekend was hot again, so I swapped the long run and marathon pace runs in order to get the long run out of the way first. The plan was only 10 miles for the “long” run, so it wasn’t that hard to accomplish. I went to Lebanon Hills on Saturday and managed to eke 10 miles out of just one pass around the park (with only a few sections of backtracking). It was pretty shady there so I didn’t have a lot of issues with the heat, despite it being probably 90F or so and who knows what for a heat index. Sunday I waited until about 6 to start my marathon-ish effort run (on the paved trails at Battle Creek), because it was blazing hot during the day. It was still sultry and miserable to run in the heat and humidity, but at least the sun wasn’t beating down on me. I can’t say I gave a true marathon effort (and certainly did not approach marathon pace), but I was trying to be careful in the heat. I did a half mile warm-up, ran 7 mi at 12:44 average pace, then walked a half mile for a cool-down. I drank an entire handheld bottle of water during the run and probably sweat out twice that much!

One of the biggest challenges for me has been trying to plan my workouts around some rather fluid weather forecasts. I will see thunderstorms in the forecast, try to plan around them, and find they either do not materialize or shift earlier/later and screw with my plans. I don’t mind running in the rain a bit but I prefer not to be caught out in a thunderstorm!

Twin Cities Marathon 2019 Training: Week 3

Lots of schedule changes this week to accommodate holiday vacation plans.

Monday: 3.3 mi, road
Tuesday: 4.7 mi, road (35 min @ tempo)
Wednesday: 3.3 mi, road
Thursday: 3.8 mi, road (speed workout)
Friday: 6.2 mi, road
Saturday: rest (volunteering at Afton Trail Race)
Sunday: 12.1 mi, trail (Luce Line)
Total: 33.4 mi

Last week already feels 100 years in the past. It’s like I didn’t even have 4 days off, yikes. It’s been really hot, too, so that has made running pretty hard. I was tired early in the week and also had trouble getting motivation to get out and run. Tuesday I didn’t even start running until 8:45, after I had eaten dinner. Yes, I did a tempo run (at 11:07 average pace!!) after eating tacos. It wasn’t that bad. Other than that, the first 3 days of the week were fairly unremarkable.

Thursday my husband and I drove up to Duluth for a quick overnight for the holiday. My sister-in-law came with me for my late afternoon run after we had an early (like, senior citizen early bird special early) pizza dinner. She is also running Twin Cities Marathon! I don’t know how she finds the time to train between her career and her three kids – it kind of puts me to shame. She’s also much faster than me so I was really pushing – that’s why it became kind of a speed workout. Our overall pace was 11:17 and that includes a couple of stints of walking – I had some abdominal cramps from the food and rigorous running. It was fun to run with her although I definitely pushed myself too hard – I was trying to have a conversation and that was making it even harder. The good news was for once I wasn’t monopolizing the conversation.

Friday I ran around Pike Lake by myself (I couldn’t handle 6 miles at my SIL’s pace and I didn’t want to slow her down), which went pretty well. I was only planning on doing 3-4 miles but once I was moving, I decided to do the whole thing. My plan called for 7 miles but 6.2 was good enough! We went swimming about an hour afterward, and my nephews kept asking me to swim with them around the boat (they were wearing life jackets and using noodles, I was not) so I got pretty worn down. I crashed pretty hard on the drive home because I had not had enough to eat. Once I snacked in the car, I managed to come back to life.

Saturday I volunteered for Afton Trail Race. I’ll write a separate race report but I was BEAT at the end of the day. I am so glad I set that aside as a rest day because I had NO energy left to do a run. I slept for 12 hours on Saturday night/Sunday morning, only waking up once.

Sunday I drove out to run a new section of the Luce Line trail, parking at the Lyndale lot and running out to Watertown before turning around. I was worried I would be too hot, but the trail was pretty well shaded. There were a few flies, which was annoying, and I got a couple mosquito bites, but that was the worst of it. I started out really slowly because of course as soon as I got out on the trail I had to pee. After a couple miles, I quickly ducked onto a horse trail and felt a lot better. So the moral of the story is: if you have to pee 2 miles into a long run, don’t try to hold it forever. I ate two gels during the run, reapplied sunscreen once, and overall cruised along. The Luce Line trail is a railbed trail so it doesn’t really have any hills, which makes long runs so much easier! I don’t always seek to make my long runs easy, but when it’s hot, sometimes it’s nice to get done earlier. I was supposed to do 14 miles, but since I had only done 10 miles for my long run the weekend before, I decided that I wouldn’t ramp up quite as much.

I did my 125 pushups Monday-Thursday, but Friday I figure I replaced my strength workout with swimming, Saturday I lifted a bunch of stuff and was too gassed to do pushups when I got home, and Sunday I just kind of forgot/ran out of time since we went to a movie that night. I’m back in the habit again already though!

I was hoping for more miles this past week, and it’s shaping up that my July is going to be way lower mileage than last year, but the important thing is that I get in quality workouts, which I think I have been doing so far.

Twin Cities Marathon 2019 Training: Week 2

Monday: 3.3 mi, paved trail
Tuesday: 5.2 mi, road (4 x Wabasha Street Bridge)
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: 3 mi, trail (Battle Creek)
Friday: 5.7 mi, paved trail (MRT, 35 @ tempo)
Saturday: 10.6 mi, trail (4.2 + 6.4 at Battle Creek)
Sunday: 7 mi, paved trail (MRT, 6 @ marathon pace)
Total: 34.8 mi

Wow, that was a tough week.

Monday was a really hard day for me. I was tired, my workday was super frustrating, and I packed a lot of stuff into my evening: a quick run, my weekly violin lesson, and then dinner with my mom. All fun stuff, but stuff I didn’t have the mental bandwidth to handle. On top of that, my hamstring was really bothering me during my run. I felt like I was on the verge of hurting it badly, so I ended up walking quite a bit during what was supposed to be a quick, easy run.

Tuesday I was still having hamstring problems, even sometimes when walking. I was stretching it and using magnesium oil nightly, but it would go from feeling fine to giving me a zap unexpectedly. I decided to still complete my hill workout but not go full throttle. It was hard enough as it was! Plus I was running into the wind! Yikes.

Thursday I found a new section of Battle Creek trails. I did 3 miles of hilly x-c trails, which was fun except for the mosquitoes. I guess it really is summer now. I thought it was going to storm so I tried to stay conservatively close to my car, but then I ended up barely getting 3 miles. I like this section of Battle Creek (near the ballfields), but the grass was a bit long and I dislike running in grass.

Friday was pretty hot, but I had a tempo run to do. I picked a dumb section to run: starting in Mendota and heading downriver on the MRT. The section was too short for a 15 minute warmup plus 35 minute tempo plus whatever minute cooldown. I had to continue to Water Street, which is supposed to be closed to traffic, but people just go around the barriers and drive like idiots. Super safe. Also, it’s downhill to start, which meant it was uphill going back. I felt like I really struggled with the heat and especially with the direct sunlight beating down on me, even though it was already early evening. I did manage an overall pace of 10:52, which wasn’t terrible (especially since I am not even kidding, I walked a little bit during the tempo part), and I did manage to do the appropriate ramp up, peak, and taper off structure that I use for tempo runs. It just… sucked.

Saturday was hot, too. I was supposed to do 6 miles at marathon pace on Saturday, and then 13 miles on Sunday, but since Sunday was supposed to be even hotter, I switched them around so I could get the harder workout done first and coast through Sunday, relatively speaking. My plan was to run the various sections of Battle Creek (ski trails, water park area, etc), but after 4 miles on the ski trails, I wanted to quit. I thought I could go back home, cool off, and run somewhere else later. I changed my mind after a few minutes and decided that I could drive from the ski trails to the dog park area, cool off in the AC for awhile, and get back out there. This worked out pretty well! I could not bring myself to do the full 13 miles, as I was wilting in the heat and was running low on water, but I figure 10 miles in that heat was worth 13 normal miles, even split up. My time on feet was over 3 hours, so that’s definitely comparable to 13 road miles.

Sunday turned out to be cooler than expected! It stormed a bit during the day, so I was glad I’d flip-flopped my work-outs. I would have been interrupted by the thunderstorms if I’d done 13 miles on Sunday. I started running around 3:30, and while it was in the mid 70s F when I started, it was still pretty tough due to tired legs and high humidity. I didn’t worry too much about trying to reach goal marathon pace, just marathon effort. Even that was kind of difficult after the sun came out. I ran the MRT from Upper Landing Park to Elway Street and back, and it’s rather hilly, which made the workout even harder. So, even though I only ran a 12:16 pace for that section (still faster than my pace at TCM!), I’m trying to stay positive.

I did 125 push-ups every day, so strength training is going well, in the sense that I’m doing something rather than nothing. I do notice a difference in my upper body and my core, so this habit is starting to pay dividends.

This upcoming week is going to be a bit of a mess, with Independence Day and Afton Trail Run volunteering. You’d think a four day weekend would mean more opportunities to run, not less, but that isn’t the case. That 4:45 a.m. shift start at Afton is gonna be rough.