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.

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.


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.

Chippewa Moraine 50K Goals

First trail race in over 6 months! I’m both excited and terrified.

CM50K start

I took a picture of the start when I went to pick up my race packet this afternoon. This course looks lovely. I’m just sad the trees don’t have leaves yet.

A Standard: 8:00:00
B Standard: 8:30:00
C Standard: 8:59:59 (cutoff is 9 hours)

Hah, wouldn’t that be something, to have my 50K PR be better than my marathon PR? I need to hit the turnaround in 4 hours, so I’ve got to front-load my effort, which is contrary to my typical race plan.

I’m worried because I’m not feeling very well, and actually haven’t been feeling well since about Tuesday. Maybe Wednesday. All the days are running together. The good thing is, I haven’t actually gotten sicker, so maybe it’s just a combination of a cold front and race anxiety. I haven’t run since Monday, though I have done yoga. I had a vitamin C drink and a zinc tablet every day. I’ve avoided caffeine today (other than a latte this morning), and I’m trying to stay hydrated and relaxed.

I’m staying about 40 minutes away from the race start, which means an early morning for me. I’m hoping I’ll get more sleep than I did before Wild Duluth — anything more than an hour should guarantee that. Gotta stem the onrush of adrenaline through my system somehow, though.

Of course I want to finish this race without injury and without spewing bodily fluids from any of my orifices. I also want to rise to the challenge. All of my trail races to date have been companions to longer races, and I’ve had no worries about missing cutoffs. This is going to be a big challenge for me. This trail is also “easier,” in that it doesn’t have the big climbs that Superior and Wild Duluth both boast, so I will be able to see what I can do with a runnable trail. I was so tired when I was running Wild Duluth that there was no chance to push myself. I don’t want that to be true this time around. I want to run fast. Maybe not the whole time, but I want to run the flats and downhills with some speed! I would like to be less cautious. I’m such a conservative racer, always waiting for the blowup that never comes (or comes anyway, like in Superior Spring 25K last year when the heat got to me), and then I wonder if I could have found a little bit more inside my legs, or my gut, or my head.

Whatever happens, I made it to the start healthy, happy, and in a good position to PR (of course, with a PR of 10:25, I’ll either PR or tap out of this race), and I’m happy about that. Now I’m ready to go out and tear up this course!

Turkey Day 5K Goals

Let’s just get this out of the way:

A Standard: 29:29
B Standard: 29:59

I’ve got to get this stupid benchmark behind me. I sense that I have had the physical capability to break the 30 minute mark for awhile (um, duh, since I ran 30:02 5 months ago), but I’m still lacking the mental capability. So the Turkey Day 5K in Minneapolis is where I prove myself wrong.

I have done some speed work over the last few weeks, including 0.25 mi repeats, tempo runs, and of course another 5K. But then I’ve also neglected my strength training and took 9 days off running in the middle of this short training cycle. But then I also still ran 30:18 a few weeks ago, just a few weeks after my 50K and with NO speed work at all. So, can I find 19 seconds. Yeah. I’ll go with that. I ran a tempo run this evening that wasn’t exactly heartening, but it was sleeting, so maybe that wasn’t so bad. After a warm-up, I did 1 mi @ 11:24 pace, 1.1 mi @ 10:19 pace, and 1.1 mi @ 9:50 pace. The first 2 parts went as planned, but the second part was supposed to be 5K pace. Oh well, I’m not too worried. Unless it’s also sleeting on race day.

I’ll be driving down to the Twin Cities the night before the race, and sleeping on a fold-out mattress, so that’s not the best way to start things off. I also have to be up fairly early in order to get downtown, parked, and checked in. This is why I like doing races where I can get my packet early! It doesn’t work that way when I don’t live in town. I’m also going to be running the race by myself, since my husband is on call and my brother and sister-in-law decided not to run. It’ll be lonely!

The upside to arriving early and alone is that I will have no excuse not to warm up. I don’t even usually have excuses not to warm up properly, I just don’t do it. I will have nothing better to do so I will have to warm up. If I’d warmed up properly for the Superhero 5K, I’d probably have run under 30 minutes. Maybe. But it’s no surprise that the 5Ks where I’ve done the best (like my current PR, at Midnight Sun Midnight Run), I’ve had a decent warm up.

I also need to make sure I eat a decent meal the night before (so that I don’t have an upset stomach) and race day (for energy), and get decently hydrated, but not so much that I have to pee the whole time. I’m not sure what I’m going to wear, probably tights and a long-sleeved shirt. I have to do laundry tomorrow, regardless.

I don’t know the course, but I do know there’s a wave start. Wave 1 is sub 9 minute miles, and wave 2 is sub-11 minute miles. I like this, because I’m just slightly slower than wave 1. I can comfortably line up near the start of wave 2, and then maybe I’ll avoid dodging and weaving. We’ll see. They don’t allow walkers/strollers in the running waves, but I’m sure that won’t stop some of the more aggressive stroller runners from slipping in.

I’m a bit concerned about my GPS since part of the race will be downtown. That might be a blessing in disguise: I’ll just have to run hard. Pretty simple. Run hard. Push harder. No retreat, no surrender. Oh, there we go, got my motto and my pump-up song!

As always, hoping not to barf, become incontinent, injure myself, slip and fall, become hypothermic, or otherwise harm or humiliate myself and ruin Thanksgiving. It should be a great day, and I hope to have a triumphant race report forthcoming.

To the select and marvelous few who read this site, have a wonderful Thanksgiving.