Racing Update

I still haven’t committed to a spring ultra yet, mostly due to cowardice (but also partially due to frugality), but I have signed up for a couple less daunting races.

In March, I am running the Hot Dash 10 Mile again. I don’t know if I’ll do it again after this year because it’s fairly expensive, but I do really like the race. It’s hard. The hills are really tough. I am hoping it’ll be a little bit warmer this year (last year it was like 33F); if not, I will dress a little more warmly than I did last year. Although I did feel fine while running the race, so maybe I just need to have a drop bag? I’m hoping I’ll be able to run faster than last year but not really sure what that will look like right now.

In May, I’ll be back in Lutsen for my 3rd straight Superior Spring 25K (here are my 2016 and 2017 RRs). I’ve already signed up to volunteer, and reserved my hotel room. I’m looking forward to running under 4 hours there this time around – I got so close last year. I feel compelled to return to this race after last year’s tragedy, to support the race staff and any runners who provided medical aid, and to honor the runner who passed away.

In September, I’ll be running the Moose Mountain Marathon again. I had to miss the race last year since I was in Maine, so I’m excited to get back. My hope is to volunteer at an aid station on the drive up Friday, and then work packet pickup, but I’m not sure how things will work out travel-wise. I’m signed up for at least the packet pickup shift. I’m really looking forward to this event – volunteering at this race sparked my love of trail running. Obviously I’m hoping to complete the event faster than I did in 2016, but I’ll leave any more specific goal setting for the fall.

I’m interested in an ultra at the end of February, but I’m not sure. It’s in Iron Mountain, MI, which is quite a drive, and there aren’t very many participants, so I feel like it would be very weird for me to run it. I don’t know if I’m comfortable with forcing volunteers to stay out there for 8 hours or so to support only me. Also who knows what the weather will be like? I don’t want to run in -10F conditions. On the other hand, it would be a good chance to get in a nice long long run before Zumbro (and would be a good bellwether for my performance at Zumbro), without having to deal with all the logistics myself. Update: Zumbro 50 is full! So the decision has been made for me.

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‘Twas the Night Before a Thanksgiving 5K

Ugh why do I run these stupid things? I am not good at them. I decided to “sabotage” my race by running almost 7 miles today. I say “sabotage” because for all I know, it’ll help.

I’m not getting any better at 5Ks, which is not surprising because I am putting zero effort into improving at them. It turns out running trail ultramarathons is not great for speed. Who knew? Well, I knew.

Sometimes I think about putting serious effort into my 5K time. It never happens because I always find some shiny new trail race to occupy my training. Also I feel really stupid about putting a lot of effort into 5K training, when the average semi-fit person could amble up to the start wearing basketball shorts and Chuck Taylors and knock out a better time than I can with a full training cycle. I realize that’s kind of pathetic and I should just run my own race and get on with my bad self, but it’s unlikely.

5Ks are really hard for me to do well at. I wonder about this. I am running at a very hard effort for 30 minutes. A faster person is running very hard for like 25 minutes, or 22 minutes, or 18 minutes (we’re talking local 5Ks here, people, not the Olympic trials). That’s way easier! Says me, the person with no experience running anywhere near that pace. Hey, if people can make obnoxious generalizations about how a 10:00 pace is “not really running” or make snide remarks about people who participate in Thanksgiving Day 5Ks like it’s some kind of offense to the sport of running itself, I can say it’s easier to run hard for a shorter period of time.

Why yes, I do feel very defensive. I don’t care.

I’m still going to go into this with hope of a PR (current PR is 29:21 and is now almost a year old) even though I have no reason to believe I have the leg speed to do so. Which, let’s be real, “believing” is the actual problem. My mental game is weak.

A Standard: 28:59
B Standard: 29:20

Okay, gauntlet thrown down. Time for me to also pick it up.

Fall Back Blast 50K Goals

I signed up for another race! Huzzah!

I wanted to do this 12 hour race in North Dakota on Oct 29 in order to try to meet my summer goal of a distance personal best, but I was worried I would still be sick, and the logistics were kind of terrible, and it snowed a lot here anyway, so I didn’t sign up. Hooray, money saved.

Still annoyed about my DNF at WD50K, I checked Northland Runner to see if I could find another marathon or ultra to do this fall. Glory hallelujah, I found the Fall Back Blast in Eau Claire. 2.5 hour drive, 4 loop course, 9 hour cutoff – works well for me.

The weather doesn’t look like it’s going to be spectacular – it looks like it’s going to rain in the morning – although earlier this week it looked like it was going to rain all day, so things are improving.

Goals:
A Standard: 8:00
B Standard: 8:15
C Standard: 8:45

Why not go for a 50K PR? It won’t be the course PR I was looking for 2 weeks ago, but I kind of have to get over that. Additional goals: avoid severe hypothermia, drive home after the race safely (I’m only staying over Friday night), and avoid soiling myself and/or vomiting everywhere. And then enjoy the extra hour of sleep on Sunday!

Wild Duluth 50K 2017 Goals

I’ve been sick since Friday evening with a crummy cold, and spent most of the two weeks prior traveling for work, so I have barely given a thought to the race unless I was worrying about it.

The weather doesn’t look great either, but I’ll just power through the rain if it comes. My goals are:

A Standard: 8:45
B Standard: 9:15
C Standard: 9:45

Last year I ran 10:23, and my last (significantly easier) 50K was 8:57. I think I can at the very least make my C Standard, even sick and in the rain. My hope is I’ll be able to sleep the night before the race, and I’ll be able to attend the Bulldog men’s hockey game after the race. I’m really excited, but I wish of course that I was healthy and that I hadn’t spent so much time traveling. There’s not much I can do about that now, except hope that my cough subsides and my sinus pressure subsides. And let the race day excitement take over and power me through to the finish.

Birkie Trail Run Goals

I was feeling super chill about the Birkie Trail Run until yesterday, when I started making my time chart and realized what kind of paces I needed to run. I hadn’t realized until recently that my goal of 7 hours was actually also the cutoff time for the “marathon” (the race is 25.6 miles, something I don’t quite understand, is there not a way to eke another 0.6 miles out of the course?) and I was going to have to readjust my thinking.

So I set my goal times:
A Standard: 6:00:00
B Standard: 6:30:00
C Standard: 6:59:59

And then I started working up my spreadsheet to figure out what time I’d need to be at each aid station. And then I realized all of the paces are faster than I’ve ever run a marathon before. And that for the first 14 or so miles, I’d need to be on that 6:30 pace to hit an intermediate cutoff. (There’s one cutoff before and one cutoff after that one that are 7 hour pace cutoffs so I’m confused.)

So now I’m really anxious about the race, and about getting enough sleep, and about driving an hour and a half each way to get there, and about my slight weight gain, and about the cold-like symptoms I’m experiencing today (the downside of a short taper must be getting that “taper flu” during race week, argh), and about how I have a work trip on Monday morning… worry came rushing in to fill the space left by nonchalance.

I know that I consistently limit myself, with my fears and my doubts. I hold back when I should push. I worry about what might happen a mile down the trail, 10 miles down the trail, instead of focusing on the mile that I’m in. I know that I am a risk-averse runner.

I know that this trail won’t be full of rocks and roots, won’t have long climbs like Moose Mountain (although it has a billion short climbs), and won’t be hot and sticky. I know that I’ve put in a lot of miles (although the average mileage is only a few miles higher than my previous races, due to some low or no mileage weeks) and I’ve run this distance (or farther) five times in the 12ish months.

My non-time-related goal for this race is to be bold. This doesn’t mean charging up the first hill of the race and wearing myself out. It does mean running uncomfortably at times. It does mean forcing myself through the low points in the race rather than babying myself until I get out of them. It does mean this race is gonna hurt. But if I don’t start running more bravely, I’m never going to progress. I’m never going to be anything other than a back of the pack runner who is limited from entering some races due to cutoffs.

Tonight and tomorrow, I’m going to do my best to relax, have fun with my family, eat some chocolate birthday cake (not my bday, my Gramps’), and get my prep work done early so I can wake up and drive to Cable on Saturday morning feeling confident and relaxed.

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.

Superior 25K Goals (2017)

My first repeat trail race! This should be interesting. It is most likely going to be cold – like 35 degrees colder than last year!

Last year I ran 4:51:40, which is a minute and a half slower pace than I recently ran a 50K. So I’m hoping I can improve upon that. I don’t know by how much. The temperature will probably be more favorable, but I think the trail is going to be pretty disgusting, considering the volume of rain we’ve gotten. (Maybe it hasn’t rained as much up the shore, I don’t know.)

I know what I’m getting into this year. I’ve faced down Moose Mountain and Mystery Mountain twice before. And yet somehow I still want to do it again? Ugh.

This year, my goals are:
A Standard: 4:15
B Standard: 4:30

I think the 4:30 is conservative, but accounts for any possible issues with trail conditions. If I am slip-sliding up the back of Moose Mountain, I am dead meat. It’s funny because last year, my B standard was 4:15… oh how little I knew.

My non-time-related goals are to finish injury-free, avoid stopping on the ascents, and of course not soil myself in any way. I’m relatively relaxed about this race, since it’s no longer a goal race, I know the course, and I just ran like 15 miles last weekend with no problems. My only real concerns are trail conditions and weather, and really I don’t care too much about the weather other than that I hope it doesn’t rain during the race. It’s looking like a high of 46F. If it rains on top of that, it could get ugly.

I’m driving up today and volunteering at packet pickup before the race, which I enjoy doing. I like talking with all the runners and there are so many cool people who volunteer at event after event. If I’m not totally destroyed by the race, I’ll probably jump in and volunteer at the finish as well. I am staying at the start/finish this year, so it’ll be really easy to pop upstairs, shower and change, have my vanilla Coke, and go back down to have chili and help out.

I’m going to try to stay relaxed and sleep better the night of the race, and to eat better in the morning as well. Easier said than done, but again, I’m not as keyed up for this race as I was for Chippewa Moraine, so maybe adrenaline won’t get the best of me. I have the day off today, so I’m at least getting some extra rest that way.

Oh, and I’m wearing my old shoes. Then throwing them away at the hotel, lest I be tempted to run in them again.