Twin Cities Marathon 2019 Goals

It’s chilly and damp here in the capitol city and I’m tired in mind and body. This isn’t a great way to end marathon training, but I have two days of rest and relaxation before the race. I’m off work tomorrow and will head to the dreaded expo, since the weather on Saturday looks like more garbage.

I’m staying pretty active this week since it’s the final week of this crazy steps challenge I’m participating in at work. I feel oddly competitive and my team is in the lead, so I don’t want to let them down! I’ve been on the treadmill the past couple of days since it’s been damp and chilly.

I don’t know what is realistic to expect for this marathon. I think my training went all right. It wasn’t great, once again I didn’t get in much training at actual marathon pace, but I really feel like I was committed to this training cycle. I did almost every speed workout required, with a couple exceptions (I think twice I was traveling, once my stomach was upset, and once I realized I didn’t have enough time to do all the repeats I needed to and finished one short). I didn’t do many long runs; I think I topped out at 15 miles. I don’t know how much that matters – I know how to run for a long time. Well, I know how to be on my feet for a long time, intermittently running.

I’m going to set myself up for success based on some lessons I learned last year. Of course I won’t be driving up to Duluth, going to a hockey game, and then driving home (not that it mattered, I didn’t sleep more than an hour the night before the race anyway). I certainly won’t be eating a rich chocolate cake that upsets my bowels the night before the race either. I’ll bring more stuff to put in my drop bag, now that I know how efficient it is. I’m going to bring a soft flask to put in my hydration vest (I wore the vest last year just to store my phone and keys) so that I can take a sip of water when I feel like it, rather than gulping down water at aid stations and getting a side stitch as a result. I’ll also carry some mints to avoid dry mouth. I know I’m going to be carrying a lot of stuff and real marathoners don’t carry anything with them and blah blah blah but also I am a real marathoner and this is my strategy and it’s valid. Suck it, Letsrun.

A Standard: 4:59:59
B Standard: 5:05
C Standard: 5:20

I have stated already that I want to run a sub-5 marathon, and I’m going to stick to it, and I’m going to do my best to do it. I’m going to remind myself of that at mile 5, at mile 13, at mile 21, at mile 24, as many times as it takes to keep going when I mentally want to check out. I got a lot of practice with that at Ice Age 50K, when a huge blister on my foot popped with a few miles to go and every step caused my shoe and the painful raw skin under that blister to collide. Even though I quit FANS early, I still willed myself through several loops on sore feet before throwing in the towel. So I’ve gotten some practice honing my mental game this year.

I think 5:05 is a reasonable backup goal, especially if I commit the cardinal sin of positive splitting (this is almost certainly going to happen because I don’t have a solid idea of my training, I don’t have a detailed race plan, and I’m not very good at holding a steady pace). I would be immensely proud to run that time if I gave all that I could and just didn’t quite have the fitness to go sub-5. A lot can go wrong over 26.2 miles and 5-ish hours.

5:20 is a nice PR (about 13 minutes) and I wouldn’t feel awful about it, but I’d definitely be hungry for another race so I could redeem myself with a successful result. Of course last year I didn’t even make my C goal, so I could end up in a troubleshooting situation where eking out even a 5:20 is a big achievement. I’m fairly certain I could have run somewhere around 5:20-5:25 if I hadn’t had the side stitch issue. I’m sure I’d have faded but I don’t know by how much.

Non-time related goals: avoid a massive negative split like last year, stay out of the med tent, finish the race, walk as little as possible, and don’t become a meme.

Ice Age 50K Goals

I’m racing in 12 hours! Surprise surprise. I am of course going from excitement to anxiety and back from minute to minute. The farther away from home I go for a race, the more that seems to happen.

I really want to get a 50K PR, so my goals are as follows:

A Standard: 7:45
B Standard: 8:00
C Standard: 8:20

Ambitious? Maybe. Probably. Yes.

The single most important thing I can do right now is get enough sleep. I mean, 4 hours would be great. I don’t have to get up super early (maybe 6:45?) so maybe that is going to work in my favor, but maybe not. I was on a work trip last week and I had a terrible time sleeping, so I am not anticipating a nice long snooze. Of course worrying about it now doesn’t help, does it?

I don’t know much about this course. It sounds like the first 13 miles are hilly and the two 9 mile loops after are more runnable. I don’t know what to expect beyond that. The area looks gorgeous, and I hope I am able to enjoy it.

That sounds very fatalistic, I guess. I realized I haven’t run an ultra in almost a year. That is crazy! I didn’t realize it had been that long, but I DNS both Zumbro (canceled) and Surf the Murph (ugh), and my other two big fall races were marathons. So it’s hard to know what to expect, plus my mileage has been a lot lower lately since I’ve been not super enthusiastic about running. I think I’m in good shape and I’m going to have a much better race than I did at, say, Moose Mountain Marathon, but I also don’t know what kind of mental shape I’m in. We shall see.

Race Goals: Moustache Run Half Marathon

Apparently if I want to get sick, all I need to do is sign up for a race! I’ve been battling a cold since last Wednesday (so, one week strong) and while I am over the worst of it, I still have a lingering cough and some fatigue. I have been running a little bit since Saturday (I literally ran 1.3 miles on the treadmill on Saturday before I was like “This is stupid, there is no point!” and gave up. (Well, I made sure to end on an even tenth of a mile.)

I still picked up my packet for Saturday’s Moustache? Mustache? Run. I was over in Minneapolis getting a haircut so I picked up my packet and hat at Mill City Running. It was very awkward because I walked up to a table of bibs, said my name and the race distance, and they were like “Oh, M(o)ustache Run? That’s over there.” Then waved in the general direction of the back of the store, where there was… nothing but merchandise. I guess the table was for some Thanksgiving race or something. The Moustache Run setup wasn’t as fancy, just a computer which was not a touchscreen but that I tried to use like a touchscreen. After signing up, I also purchased a sweatshirt because they told me runners who picked up their race packets in store got 20% off. The guy pointed out this cool pale pink sweatshirt and I was like SURE I WILL TAKE THAT because I was high on how great my hair looked like after my haircut. Another sales guy then said “Can we also interest you in a Garmin?” because I must have seemed like a manic shopaholic.

I am still confident I will be able to run this race, but not sure what it’ll be like. It must be nice to be a mid-packer and know that if you slow down a bit, you’ll still be done in a decent length of time and you won’t be bringing up the rear. I’m going to be bringing up the rear to begin with! So the margin for error here is slim. My #1 goal is to feel well enough to run the race and make it to the starting line. I already DNS my first attempt at a road half marathon due to a UTI, so I am anxious to give it another shot. Other than that, I have my time goals:

A Standard: 2:30
B Standard: 2:35
C Standard: 2:45 (roughly my TCM pace – I really want to beat that)

I’m throwing numbers at a dartboard here, because I don’t really know what I’m capable of right now, but I do at least know that I ran a 2:32:08 half marathon for TCM. And that was also on the tail end of a cold! So I guess I’m in the same shape? Seems like a good omen!

Surf the Murph 50 Goals

Oh man this race. I am basically not ready for it. That’s all I’ve got to say. It’s 6 PM and the race starts at 4 AM. I’ve sort of gotten my stuff together but I just… I don’t know. I’ve gone the entire two weeks since the Twin Cities Marathon ignoring what’s coming. Of course this is of my own making but whatever.

I’m hoping to get a few hours of sleep, but I don’t know. This is probably completely crazy. I have no idea what I’m in for. Although that’s somewhat ridiculous to say, considering 4 months ago I ran 42 miles. This is only 8 more. I’m just scared, mostly scared that I don’t have the toughness to get it done. It’ll be fine.

A Standard: 14:00
B Standard: 15:00
C Standard: 15:45

Let’s see what happens.

Twin Cities Marathon Goals

Arrrrrrgh. Still sick. I hate everything. I ran to the race expo and back today, and it was basically a terrifying experience. Not the run, the run was fine. The expo was a nightmare. First, I actually took the long way around the Xcel Energy Center to get to the expo because when I was crossing Kellogg after going over the Wabasha Street Bridge, I saw a group of runners making their way over to the expo, looking official and even being videotaped by a guy. NO THANK YOU, I do not want to run by fast-looking people, I will take the long way around.

To get in to the expo, I had to go through a metal detector. Since I ran there, I had nothing on me but my phone, ID, and a credit card, so I went through easily, but ugh. I was feeling sweaty and a little fatigued thanks to my semi-stuffy head, and was quickly overwhelmed by the crowd. And I also felt like a total loser. Everyone there was thin! I mean, duh, this is a marathon. But I felt like a total outsider. Everyone there was also white, so I can imagine a person of color would feel even more like an outsider. I mean, I felt like I didn’t belong simply because I had curly hair. Also I had cat hair on my running tights and I had wiped my nose on the sleeve of my jacket about 7500 times on the run to the expo, so I was pretty much a complete goober. A water buffalo in a room of gazelles.

I picked up my bib and then I wandered around a little bit. I thought there might be cool stuff to look at but then realized I didn’t want to talk to anyone. It was really crowded and people were exhibiting an astounding lack of awareness of their surroundings, so I was ready to leave. This is NOT a good omen for the race. Sometimes in a trail race over an hour will pass without me seeing another person. I LOVE THAT. But I am here to try something new.

I am glad I picked up my packet today, rather than waiting until tomorrow. While it was a disaster zone already due to the expo AND the Lynyrd Skynyrd concert, tomorrow is the Wild’s home opener and there will be some kind of fan thing going on all afternoon in addition to the expo. The Skynyrd folks seemed a little puzzled about what was going on. I had a chat with one of the guys directing traffic and wished him well through the crazy weekend.

So, goals. I don’t really know what to do here. I have been all over the map with training. I didn’t do any “marathon pace” workouts successfully, thanks to the hot weather. I have cold-like stuff that may or may not be gone by race day. I’m going to Duluth and back on Saturday. I’m not exactly setting myself up for success. And I’ve never done this before. I’ve never run a race this long that is runnable the whole way. What is my body going to think about a marathon with no hiking? It’s gonna be so confused. And maybe it’s gonna be like “no.” I don’t know.

Even with all these unknowns, I’m sticking with my same A goal of sub-5. Now, that doesn’t mean that, come race day, I’m going to hold that pace even if it feels like misery from the get-go. I will do what I’m capable of on Sunday, not shoot for something I want regardless of ability. I decided months ago that I wanted to run a sub-5 marathon, and so I’m not going to back away from saying it out loud. If I don’t make it, I don’t. It’s okay to not make every running goal you set, and it’s okay to publicly fail. Or maybe it isn’t, for the gazelles of the world, what do I know?

A Standard: 4:59:59
B Standard: 5:15
C Standard: 5:30

Non-time related goals: stay out of the med tent, finish the race, walk as little as possible, and don’t become a meme.

Fall Running Goals 2018

Getting this in before I start achieving/failing to achieve some of these goals.

  1. Distance personal best. I hope this happens at Surf the Murph, but I haven’t registered yet. I need to see how Superior goes before I sign up. There’s also the option of a timed race in ND.
  2. Marathon personal best. I’ve got two chances at this: Superior and Twin Cities. I would like to beat my current PB (7:22:17) at Superior (it would be a great predictor of success at Surf the Murph!), but if that doesn’t happen, I’ll get it at TCM or… I guess quit running.
  3. Moose Mountain Marathon course personal best. Considering I have run a 50K faster than I ran MMM last time, I think this is very achievable.
  4. Spend some time exploring St. Paul. This may or may not be achieved via running – maybe biking, or even walking? I need to check out more spots in my new city.

I think that’s probably enough.

I’ve written enough race goals posts that there’s not much new to discuss regarding Moose Mountain Marathon – it’s my second time on the course, it’ll be my third (?) marathon, and I still just want to have a good time, not barf, and live through the ordeal ready to compete (against myself) at TCM. So I’ll append my goals here rather than write a separate post.

A Standard: 7:00:00
B Standard: 7:20:00
C Standard: 7:59:59

I think 7 hours is a stretch, but I ran the spring 25K at a faster pace than that. I understand a 25K is not a marathon but I also know that I only have to go up Moose and Mystery Mountains one way. (I do have to go up Carlton Peak, but I actually don’t mind that too much.) I put it on the pace chart, so I’ll be aiming for it as long as it’s physically possible. I feel like total crap today so that’s pretty much right on cue for race week!

Women Rock Half Marathon Goals

I signed up for this race on Monday of this week, but that doesn’t mean I can’t shoehorn some goals into this event.

A Standard: 2:20
B Standard: 2:30

I literally have no idea if these are realistic goals. I used a couple of race predictors based on my most recent 5K (29:30) and then backed off even more because I’m not tapered or making this a goal race. I have never run a road half marathon before, so I don’t know how this is going to go. My suspicion is that I have the physical capability for these times but I have to find the mental capability inside myself. Also I have to be vigilant because sometimes I think I’m cruising along at a good pace and then I look down and I’m running like a 14 minute pace.

This is going to be a good chance for me to test out a couple things for Twin Cities. I am going to run without a handheld or a hydration pack, and just rely on the water stops. This is new for me – usually I’ve got at least a handheld. It’s like the equivalent of a security blanket for me. But I’ve got to take the training wheels off at some point.

It will be freeing to run without a pack on my back, and with my hands free. But will it translate into a faster pace over a sustained period of time? It should, as should running in the morning before it gets too hot.

Of course I have all kinds of excuses pre-set in my mind for how I won’t be able to perform up to what my abilities likely are. Oh, I just signed up for this race. Oh, I’m not tapered. I’ve never done this before. It’s early. I’m tired. I lack endurance. But what it comes down to is that in hard races like this, I race without courage. I worry about how the miles down the road will be affected by the mile I’m in. I worry about my stomach. I worry that it will be too hard. I worry I’ll get sunburned. I worry that even if I do run my hardest, it’ll be a mediocre time and what will be the point? I worry less about that last one than I used to, because it is what it is. But even after a couple years of slow-as-f*** running behind me, I still feel a bit embarrassed that my best efforts are times sneered at by faster runners when they think people like me aren’t looking.

Whatever happens, I guess I’ll be setting a road half marathon PR (since I’ve never done one) and an overall half marathon PR (since I haven’t run one since Harder ‘n Hell in 2015), and I’ll finally get an idea of what’s to come in October.