Race Report: Hot Dash 10 Mile

Ha! I ran a race. I was going to make a post about my goals, but didn’t make it a priority. It wasn’t a race I trained specifically for, so I didn’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about it. To the point where I didn’t even look at the course in detail, and didn’t really look at how I was even going to get there/park/other stuff until this morning.

Official Results:
Time: 1:48:08
Pace: 10:49
Overall: 1628/2008
Gender: 935/1228
Division (F 30-34): 196/243

Watch Results:
Time: 1:48:16
Pace: 10:25/mi
Distance: 10.39
Heart Rate: N/A

A: 1:50:00
B: 1:59:59
(I swear these were my goals, not just goals I made after the fact to make myself look like a rock star.)

What I ate the night before: bratwurst (I was at a hockey game) and Chex Mix
What I ate on race morning: Clif bar
What I carried with me: water + electrolytes

What I wore: t-shirt, shorts, arm warmers, buff as headband, ball cap, tall socks (that fell down)
Gadgets: GPS watch, fitness tracker

Discussion: That was very cold.

The early forecast made it seem like it was going to be in the low 50s on race day, but then started creeping down into the 40s, so I quick ordered some arm warmers since I didn’t want to wear a long sleeve or gloves, but didn’t want to be cold at the start. It was about 33F when I left my dad’s house Saturday morning for the race (with a stop to buy my morning snack, and then another stop at the ATM in case I had to pay to park, which I did not), but I figured it would warm up a bit and by the end of the race maybe be like 40F. I was going to be running for about 2 hours, and the race started later in the day (9:15). News flash: it did not warm up much. It was about 35F at the end. Ugh.

I slept ok the night before, which is always a crapshoot for me. I wasn’t at home, which always makes it tougher to sleep, and I often get too amped up or anxious about races, so I stay up half the night or more (like my DNS at Curnow). I did dream about being late to the race and forgetting half my gear, whoops.

I felt a little rushed trying to get to the race, since I thought I might need cash, and the ATM was broken at the convenience store where I stopped to get my Clif bar, so I had to stop at a drive up ATM further on. I was worried about needing to pay for parking. Then I ended up parking on the street, so that was a waste of time. I sat in my car with it running and got all my stuff together. At the very last minute, I decided not to wear my jacket, and left it in the car. I ran the half mile from my car to the race start, then found my friend and talked to him for a little bit. He wanted to start closer to the front than I did, so we parted ways. I was a bit chilly, but not shivering. It was overcast and there was an unpleasant wind.

The race started but I didn’t make it over the timing mat until 2:38 had passed. Fine with me. I dodged and weaved a little bit but since we were running on closed streets, there seemed to be more room than normal. We did a quick zag down and back a couple of blocks right away, and then crossed the Mississippi River on 8th Ave NE. The bridge was of course a bit of an uphill but it wasn’t too bad. The route then followed the river down past the mill ruins, underneath 35 W, underneath 94, and down just past Mississippi Gorge Park (though that was on the other side of the river). I wish it had been later in the year, or that spring had already arrived, because I think it would have been more scenic, but it was cool to run by the Mill City Museum and the Guthrie and all the other great stuff along the river front.

This course is not flat, by any means. I didn’t really know what I was in for, so I actually am extra pleased with my pace results, since there were several significant hills. I ran them all, even though it felt kind of terrible. This was ultimately a training run, but I still wanted to see what I was capable of, so I didn’t hold back much. I didn’t know the route at all, so I couldn’t come up with a race plan, I just went with it. I knew my GPS was off, so I just switched my watch over to display elapsed time whenever I came upon a mile marker (they had these nice big flags, so I could see one and quick switch over), and made sure I was under 11:oo pace (since my watch was measuring long, it had me at a great pace!).

I don’t remember much about what happened after crossing the river for the first time, and the turnaround. There was a very nice downhill that I knew would become a very unpleasant uphill. Between miles 3 and 4, I passed 4 or 5 different splatters of puke, probably from the same person. Look, in a 10 mile race, if you’re throwing up less than halfway in, you are either going too hard, or you are too hung over and need to call it a day. Gross. Puke in the grass, at least.

I was able to fly through the aid stations because I had my handheld. There were great, enthusiastic volunteers all along the course, from the water stations to the turns (every turn had a volunteer, so great!), and I was glad I had the breath to thank them. That was actually my best way of gauging my effort level: I was able to thank volunteers in full sentences, so I wasn’t going out too hard. Shortly before the turnaround (which was at around 5.5 miles, I think), I caught up to my friend and talked to him a bit. I hit the 5 mile timing mat at a 10:54 pace, which was just under goal pace. I kind of liked that the turnaround was a little past 5 miles, because it meant I already had less than half the race to go.

I caught the 12:00 pace group (who had started much farther up to the front) in the early miles, and in the back half, I realized I was closing in on the 11:00 pace group. I knew since they started ahead of me, as long as I stayed ahead of them, I’d finish under goal pace. I got ahead of them just before a hill, which kind of stunk. The pace leader told me to keep my head up, which was a good tip, since I’m always dropping my head. He said it shortens your stride on uphills. Interesting! I did my best to hammer up the hills and then keep my legs churning til they recovered.

The course crossed the river at the Stone Arch Bridge, and went past St. Anthony Main before crossing onto Nicollet Island. I thought oh, this nice downhill must be close to the end, but then no, the race took us back up another uphill as we crossed back over onto the east bank. There was yet another uphill before the finish, but then a downhill and a nice flat finish just short of where the race began.

Here’s my race results link, which has my finish video, in which I look super amazing. I’m the only person in shorts. (When anyone commented on the shorts, I replied “I live in Duluth,” which they all found sufficient for an explanation.) I felt great, cruising into the finish line, even though the surprise hills at the end threw me a bit. I had tried to get my final kick going a couple times before realizing oh, there’s another hill, gotta hang on, but I still had legs left to finish strong and happy.

I waited around for my friend to finish, and that was probably not the best idea for me, health-wise, because I was sweaty and it was still cold. I cheered him on just before the finish, and then met up with him after he left the chute. We talked for a little while, but I absolutely had to get going because my hands were getting cold. I got my finisher’s medal and walked back to the car, feeling miserable because my hands were just getting redder and colder by the minute. I made it back to the car and sat there for a few minutes (I put my running jacket on right away) before my hands recovered enough to drive. I picked up bagels and a latte on the drive home, though I was still chilled (and had to stand near the door while waiting for my coffee, getting a blast of cold air every time it opened) and really should have gone straight back. I recovered at home for awhile, finally getting the chill to go away by wrapping up in blankets, then taking a shower about half an hour later.

The race was pretty fun! It was a nice challenging course, and a positive way to kick off my 2017 race calendar! The race jacket, which came with my entry fee, is great for one reason: ZIPPERED POCKETS. I don’t have enough running gear with zippered pockets in which to store my car key. This race also helped me build confidence for Chippewa Moraine: surely even on trails, I can still hit those cutoffs. If I can run a hilly 10 mile road course in under 11 min miles, I can run 15 miles at less than a 15 min pace.

Gobble Gallop Goals

The Gobble Gallop is tomorrow, so I guess I have some goals.

The course is really easy. It starts and ends and Duluth Running Co. and goes down Superior Street and back. It’s easier than the course for the Fitger’s 5K, which goes over I-35 and therefore has two large (for a 5K) hills. Of course I don’t mind a hill or two but this should be a faster course.

I’m not really sure about my speed right now but I’m just going to throw it out there, why can’t I shave another minute off my current personal best (34:21)? Okay, more like a minute and a third.

A Standard: 33:00
B Standard: 34:00

Why not? My treadmill repeats are faster than those paces. I’m stronger and I’m (slightly) leaner than I was back in June when I ran the 34:21. 33 minutes is a 10:37 pace and 34 minutes is a 10:57 pace. Obviously I have to run a little bit faster than those paces per my watch in order to ensure I come in at my goal times, just in case my watch is a little generous with the distance. I just need to be careful I’m not throwing down a 9 minute pace right out of the gate.

I’m fairly certain I’m physically capable of hitting my A Standard. I just don’t know if I’m mentally capable. I am more cautious than most runners, I think, or if not cautious, just unaware of how much harder I can push under certain circumstances. When I ran the Be the Match 5K, I let my cousin run ahead of me at the end because I felt like I couldn’t run any harder. She finished maybe 30 seconds ahead of me, I seriously could have hung on for that, but I let myself fall back.

It should be a fun race no matter what, although I’ll be a bit lonely since I don’t know anyone running. As long as it’s not raining and it’s not icy, I can handle it!

Summertime Dreams

Yes, I like Gordon Lightfoot! I listened to his records a lot as a kid. Also The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald made me terrified of Lake Superior.

Yesterday was absolutely dreary. It snowed in the early morning, changing to a “wintry mix,” as they say, and then the sun made a brief appearance as I was driving back to Minnesota over the high bridge. I take that as a sign from above.

I am absolutely sick of every road running route I have. Today would have been a nice day to get out of that rut, but I didn’t want to risk ending up on a sloppy mess of a trail, so I ran on the road. 5 miles. With wind gusting up to 35 mph. I totally walked about 20-25% of the run. There was no way on this earth I would be running uphill into the wind.

While I was learning about welding today, I made a list of state parks I need to run or hike in this summer (or spring or fall). Here’s my list so far:

Jay Cooke
Gooseberry Falls
Split Rock Lighthouse
George Crosby Manitou
Temperance River
Cascade River
Grand Portage
Soudan Underground Mine
Itasca (maybe)
Lake Bemidji (maybe)

I skipped a few parks in the Arrowhead, because I’ve got to leave something for next year, and I put the Northwestern parks as maybes because I’m not sure we’ll go to Bemidji. I’ll grab a state park pass the first time I’m at one; they’re $25 and good for a year. Some of the closer parks should be good for some of my long runs during this training cycle.


I question whether it is necessary to do hill repeats when one lives in a hilly city.

It probably isn’t. I mean, I could probably get a similar benefit from powering through the hills I encounter on my normal routes. I do wonder if one can run too many hills and if I’m not getting enough time on flat terrain, but it’s not like I am bounding up the side of Mt. Everest as my sole form of exercise.

The hill I chose for my hill repeats Tuesday is ideal in some ways and horrible in others. It’s about 3/4 mi into my route, but I have to reach it by going up hill. (This is why I question the wisdom of adding extra hills.) I also have to continue going up a hill once I’m done with the repeats in order to finish my route. Its good points outweigh the bad, I believe. The hill is about 200m, which is what the training plan suggested, it’s not too steep, it goes to a dead end, and the pavement isn’t uneven or cracked.

I wasn’t looking forward to this workout because I really don’t like running uphill. I also don’t like running up ramps or stairs. When I was in college the first time around, I was planning on being a Naval officer, and occasionally we would do our physical training in the football stadium. We would run the stairs of the bleachers and the access ramps and I would feel like dying even more than usual. (The sad part about that is I was still faster than I am now, and if I’d just tried harder I could have been a decent runner.)

I only had to do 4 hill repeats, and I have to say, they didn’t suck as much as I thought they would, and I didn’t suck as much as I thought I would. I hit 9:56 pace at the top of the hill on my last two repeats, which is surprising. Who knew I had that in me? I took the downhills slowly to try to recover my heart rate as best as I could. I wasn’t really looking at my watch much, but I think next week when I do more of these I will try to look at my heart rate and try to make sure I’m bringing it back down below 142 during my descent. (It goes without saying that I did not stay below my target heart rate for this run.)

At first, I didn’t feel too badly after I finished the repeats and started back on my normal route. I took it really slow, but then I had to speed up to get across a sidestreet when a driver waved me through, and then I thought my legs might give out on me for a few minutes, but I recovered, thanks to a timely traffic light and the choice to walk up a short hill.

I wrote this Tuesday night but scheduled it for Wednesday, so by the time this is published, I could be stiff, sore, and unable to walk. I hope not, because Wednesday has a 5 mile run on the docket, as well as some unknown form of precipitation, so I could be in for pain and suffering.

Planning Ahead

For week 5 of the marathon training plan I’m following, the prescribed plan is: Monday rest, Tuesday 4 miles, Wednesday 5 miles, Thursday 4 miles, Friday 3 miles, Saturday 5 miles, Sunday 7 miles, total 28 miles. Since I am going out of town tomorrow (Thursday), I have had to shuffle the days around. I do plan on running while I am out of town (I’m just going to visit family and go to the NCHC hockey tournament), but I would rather shift the shorter runs to the days I’m in the Twin Cities and get more sleep and time with friends and family. There’s no way I could do a 7 mile run on Sunday either before or after getting in the car for 2.5 hours. I don’t want to do it before because I want to get home to my cats, and I don’t want to do it after, because who wants to run after a long drive?

I front-loaded my running schedule to accommodate my plans. I decided to move my rest day to… probably Saturday. I took it easy last Sunday with just a hike (note, a short hike is not a rest day. A rest day is a day of rest, not a day off running.), so I feel like I can handle the extra mileage.

Monday I ran 4 miles. I was originally going to take a rest day, as it was raining, but I got home from work and it wasn’t too cold, so I headed out, even though it was 7:00. I finished the run in the dark, which I hate (these sidewalks are treacherous with their various obstacles and I’m afraid I’ll trip), but there was daylight for most of it. I pushed a little more than normal and ran the whole way instead of walking the hills, so my heart rate was up a bit, but I felt good.

Tuesday I ran 7.9 miles. The extra 0.9 was insurance in case I need to shorten one of my later runs. I didn’t push the pace at all, but my heart rate was a little high thanks to an afternoon cup of coffee. I also discovered (or re-discovered) that Rice Lake Road doesn’t have any sidewalks. What is with this city and its lack of sidewalks? Annoying. The speed limit on Rice Lake Road is 40-45 mph, so I felt a little vulnerable. I tried running on the side of the road but it was difficult, as the ground was spongy and covered in matted-down tall grasses. It’s a shame because I liked the route, but I’m not sure I’d run it again. Maybe earlier in the day.

Tuesday night we drove around trying to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. We drove up Highway 61 along the lake and stopped at a few points, but didn’t see anything except stars. I’m not going to complain, the stars were gorgeous and standing on the lakeshore in the middle of the night is so peaceful, but there were some unbelievable photos from around the area of some spectacular displays, and I missed out. As we were driving along I thought about Grandma’s Marathon. I’ll potentially be running along that same road in a few months. And probably wishing I was dead already. Maybe. We also drove out to Park Point and got a bit of a glimpse, but nothing much. The lake was calm and there’s still plenty of ice built up along the shore, so it was oddly quiet on the beach. We didn’t stay long because the park was closed (and it’s a good thing we left because a police car was coming over the bridge as we were leaving the point, probably to kick people out of the park) and I was pretty chilled from the run earlier. Even with gloves my hands had been cold on the run and the chill spread through my whole body.

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel today after a long run, but I actually feel amazing today. I thought my back and hips would be sore, but they aren’t. I decided last night I’d run the Lakewalk after work, and I packed workout gear in my backpack and everything, and then I forgot my running shoes. Sigh. I went home at lunch and got them, so the day is salvaged, but it was still a totally unnecessary stop. I wish I was a morning person.

On a completely unrelated note, I read this article, interviews with three people who recently set treadmill records: fastest 50k by a woman, longest distance in 12 hours on the treadmill, and fastest 50k by a man. The guy who ran the 50k missed the record by 47 seconds, so he ran it again 36 hours later and beat it. WHAT IS THE POINT? I would die of boredom.

If The Good Lord’s Willing and The Creek Don’t Rise

So, there was my Sunday.

Saturday I made the somewhat ill-advised choice of doing another long (for me) run. I ran from the entrance of Park Point to the lift bridge and back, which is 7.5 miles. My legs were a bit fatigued from Friday’s run, but I figured a flat route wouldn’t be too hard on them. I made up for that by being stupid and pushing the pace. I couldn’t help it, I was bored. It really was a good thing I pushed the pace at times, because I had misjudged the temperature. I finished the run at about 6:45 and it was only 38 degrees. I was only wearing a tank top, a tissue-weight long-sleeved shirt, and leggings, but the only part of me that was cold was my hands. And they were extremely cold by the end of the run, so much so that I didn’t have full range of motion of my fingers until I’d warmed them in the car for a few minutes. Oops. I really should have known better, since I’d worn gloves on Friday’s run even though I felt like it was warm enough to skip them. Lesson learned.

Sunday my hips didn’t really want to function. I don’t find this concerning because I obviously put a lot of stress on them on Friday and Saturday, and the soreness was symmetric. So, unless I have Joe Mauer’s bi-lateral leg weakness, I’m sure I’m fine. I decided, because I’m not a complete moron, I wouldn’t try to make up the rest of the week’s mileage (21 miles) on Sunday. Originally I had planned a short hike with a friend, and then a run to top things off, but I scrapped the plan for the run.

My friend and I hiked from Chester Park down to 4th St, and then walked back up on the road. That was not the original plan, but the trail along the creek alternated between mud and ice, so we decided not to try to crawl back up it. As the video above shows, the creek was roaring along. Underneath the flowing water, the creek bed was still covered in ice; it was pretty cool to watch. I still can’t do a trail review, I suppose that will take a few more weeks of above-freezing temperatures, no more snow and some evaporation or absorption of the water we slogged through on the path. The walk up wasn’t that pleasant; it was an annoying uphill on a sidestreet, nothing of note. I felt fine afterward and my overall soreness was barely noticeable on Monday, so I haven’t completely derailed my training.

Total mileage for Week 4: 16.1 (5 miles short of prescribed mileage) (I am counting the walking miles in my total mileage, since they were intended as a workout.)
(Total mileage for Week 3 is of course zero, no need to recap that)

Third Thoughts

I went for my first run in thirteen days today. A lot of things happened. It started off with some poor nutritional decisions that led to a dearth of sleep that led to dehydration that led to getting behind at work and in school. I’m sure someone could comb back through how I spent my time over the last couple weeks and point out times where I could have squeezed in a few miles here and there, but I don’t regret taking the time off from running.

I am on spring break as of 3 PM today (when I finished the second of two midterms on the docket for the day) and it is unseasonably warm here so I am thrilled to get back in my running shoes. Between the warm weather, the time change, and the overall longer days, I hope I can arrange my running schedule so I don’t have to run on the treadmill at all (unless it is raining or it gets cold again, which I am sure it will).

I previously said I had second thoughts about my heart rate training plan. It was getting too frustrating; I was tired of being out in the cold so long and struggling to keep my heart rate down because I was cold, which slowed me down and kept me out in the cold longer, and so on. Well, it’s warm now.

I ran 6.4 miles today, which was not the smartest training decision ever. I mean, it was fine, I felt good, but I am sure ramping my mileage back up is a stupid decision and could lead to injury. Since I’m not pushing the pace and I’m using a run-walk method to keep my heart rate down when going uphill, I am not too worried about it.

For the first five miles, I ran the same route I did on my last run. On that run, it was 25 degrees but the wind was awful and cold. Today, it was around 46 but the wind was mild. Comparing the two:

Mile 1
2/28: 15:24, 160 bpm
3/1: 15:00, 151 bpm

Mile 2
2/28: 18:24, 148 bpm
3/1: 17:36, 147 bpm

Mile 3
2/28: 17:55, 146 bpm
3/1: 17:16, 142 bpm

Mile 4
2/28: 19:14, 148 bpm
3/1: 18:08, 143 bpm

Mile 5
2/28: 15:55, 145 bpm
3/1: 15:09, 143 bpm

So after 13 days off, I’m able to run the same course 45 seconds faster (on average) than I did the previous time. This tells me I haven’t lost much fitness (or didn’t have much to lose), and it also tells me that the weather had a significant effect on my heart rate and pace. I should be back on track with marathon training starting next week, and I’m going to try to get some decent mileage this weekend so my weekly mileage isn’t too far off where it should be. The dream of Grandma’s Marathon isn’t dead!