Twin Cities Marathon Training: Week 8

Oh my god what a week.

Monday: 5.6 mi, treadmill
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: 7.4 mi, treadmill
Friday: 9.4 mi, trail (Lebanon Hills)
Saturday: 5.9 mi, trail (Murphy-Hanrehan)
Sunday: 3.3 mi, treadmill
Total: 31.6 mi

I didn’t intend for this week to be so low mileage, but here we are. Monday I had to go to North Dakota for work. I drove, because my last minute plane ticket was so expensive and it seemed like a waste, plus I hate flying. I wish I’d flown, because I was wiped out by the drive. Probably because I actually got lightly sunburned during the drive. I need to remember to put on sunscreen! I planned to get there, change into my running clothes, have dinner with my family in Grand Forks, and then get a recommendation for a good place to run from my sister in law. Instead I discovered my suitcase wouldn’t open – the zipper had started to tear away from the body of the suitcase, and so the teeth wouldn’t line up right. I wasted precious time trying to open it and then ended up taking it over to my brother’s, thinking we’d have to cut it open. He managed to get the zipper to open without further damage, hooray. I ended up on the hotel treadmill after our dinner though, since it was getting late.

Tuesday I had a bunch of extra driving from Grand Forks to get to my actual work location, then had a couple hours of meetings, then turned back around and went home. I had planned to run after I got home, thinking I’d be back by 5:30 or so. Instead I got back to my house at 8 PM and was so wiped I couldn’t think of running. Wednesday I didn’t feel well at all, like a cold was coming on, so I decided to rest. I don’t think it was a cold actually, I think it was an air quality issue, because the symptoms came and went the rest of the week but never really blew up into anything.

Thursday I ran inside on the treadmill because I was tired and didn’t want to deal with the heat. Friday, I left work a bit early due to my long days on Monday and Tuesday, and went home to change before heading to Lebanon Hills for some trails. I was planning on doing 12 miles, but I didn’t get out in time, and I ran more than enough, especially in the heat. I wasn’t planning on running Sunday, so I knew I needed to get a long run in on Saturday.

Obviously, no long run materialized on Saturday. I tried. I drove out to Murphy-Hanrehan Park, but I just could not get myself in gear. I had another work trip the next day, and I couldn’t stop thinking about all that I had to do for that, and worrying about how long the run would take. I could not get the anxious feeling in my chest to go away, even after a couple of miles. I just worried and worried and worried. I felt guilty about spending 4+ hours away from my husband (and cats) when I was leaving for a week the next day. I knew I had to do laundry and pack, and go to bed early, etc. The worry, combined with the heat, the bugs, and the grass, slowed me down to the point where I knew I needed to call it a day. I was done before the ice in my pack melted!

Sunday was an absolute disaster of a day. I got up at 4, after about 2 hours of sleep (and 4 hours of worrying in bed before that), drove to the airport, and had a relatively uneventful flight to Boston. Things started to unravel after I waited an impossibly long time to get a coffee after my flight (I hadn’t had coffee before the flight, because I don’t like to get up if I don’t have to – if you know what I mean). Then once I got to the rental car facility and tried to check in online, I realized I didn’t have my driver’s license. (I use my passport as an ID when flying.) I had taken it out of the pencil pouch I use as a wallet/purse when I was filling out my absentee ballot, and I didn’t put it back. So I had no way to rent a car. I ended up taking a taxi to my friend’s house (I had already planned to visit her), and then beat her there, then huddled under the eaves to unsuccessfully avoid the light rain for about 10 minutes before she got back. (It turned out she had a little mudroom/porch I could have waited in, but the door was sticky so I thought it was locked, argh.) She was unbelievably kind and offered to drive me to Portsmouth (her infant son is soothed by car rides), so now I just have to take transport to my training and put off any sight-seeing until after my husband overnights my ID. I took a nap at the hotel, walked to get dinner, and then conjured up enough energy for that treadmill run. Woof.

I’m in Portsmouth, NH this upcoming week and it’ll be another jumbled up week of workouts. I didn’t do a single prescribed run last week (although Thursday’s run was a semi-tempo, I guess), and I don’t know if I’ll be able to do any this week, either. I’ll just get done what I can and not sweat it.

Advertisements

Twin Cities Marathon Training: Week 6

Not the best week. It’s a sign it’s time for a cutback week, I’d say.

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 7 mi, road
Wednesday: 5.8 mi, road (5x Wabasha St. Bridge)
Thursday: 6 mi, treadmill (40 min tempo)
Friday: 5.1 mi, road
Saturday: 13.2 mi, trail (Murphy-Hanrehan Park)
Sunday: 12.1 mi, pavement (Mississippi River Trail)
Total: 49.2 mi

First off, I hate taking Mondays as rest days. I had to as we had made some dinner plans, which then fell through. I was already tired and had mentally planned on not running, so I didn’t make a last minute change to get miles in. Instead we went to see Ant-Man and the Wasp, which was funny.

Tuesday I had to go over to see about my mom’s cats again, and decided to start my run from her house, rather than drive somewhere else. I ran around my old junior high (now called a middle school, so weird), then into an area of the city I’ve never been (at least, that I was aware of – maybe I went to some friend’s house when I was like 5 and they lived in that neighborhood). St. Louis Park is not that big, so it’s kind of strange I didn’t know anyone living over there well enough to have visited, but I guess there are other pockets of the city I don’t know and need to explore. I turned around and headed back toward my mom’s house once I reached a natural turnaround point (I reached a major road), but realized I wasn’t going to make even 6 miles that way, so I ran past my old elementary school (now housing a Montessori school and a French immersion school) and over the highway, before swinging back around toward home underneath the highway.

Wednesday I did bridge repeats with dead legs. I hated the workout but it had to be done. I felt a little bit crummy and I guess that carried over into Thursday, because I felt like total garbage at work Thursday afternoon (well, also I ate 2 ice cream sandwiches) and left early. I ended up feeling better only a few hours later so I guess I just had indigestion. I ran on the treadmill as a precaution. Friday I had no interest in running but did it anyway. Hooray, I guess? It was a dull 5 miles meandering through my neighborhood, trying to remember which streets went through and which dead-ended. I wasn’t super successful at that, but it helped tacked on the miles.

Saturday I planned to do some recon for Surf the Murph at Murphy-Hanrehan Park. I’m considering running the 50 miler this fall. I’m still undecided, partially because I’m going to use my result at Moose Mountain Marathon to extrapolate whether or not I can make the cutoffs, and partially because I didn’t love my run there on Saturday. There was a lot of grass, which I hate. I despise the feeling of grass on my legs – so itchy! And of course I am paranoid about ticks. (I found none on me. That must mean they are all in places I can’t see.) If they mow the course, I’m still in. If they don’t, I’m out.

I planned to run 15 miles, and through 8 or so I was cruising. I was like “Wow, yeah, I can do this! I can totally race a 50 miler here!” Then I bonked. I guess I didn’t eat my first gel soon enough, although I wasn’t really hungry. But I also was experiencing a non-food-related bonk, if that’s a thing: a bug bonk. Some deer flies were following me, probably only a couple, but they were dive-bombing me over and over again and I was flailing my arms in vain, trying to get rid of them. I think I killed one or two but ugh. So annoying. I hate flies. I got turned around quite a bit on the trails and wasn’t sure how far I would have to go to get back to the parking lot, and I was running out of water. I reached the parking lot at 12.7 miles, and I had been walking for probably 2 miles. Even through the runnable sports. I gave up. I actually started to walk out another 1.2 miles so that I could do an out & back to get the 15 miles I had originally planned for, but after a quarter mile I actually said out loud “This is stupid” and returned to the parking lot. Ugh.

I decided to add the remaining 2 miles to my run on Sunday. Determined not to bonk again, I ate more food before leaving, and I opted not to do any marathon pace miles. I parked at Hidden Falls Park (up above on Mississippi River Blvd, not down near the picnic shelter) and ran 5 miles downriver, turned around, ran back, and then did another mile upriver and back to get to 12. It sounds slick and easy but it wasn’t. It was another miserable run. It rained for about 2 minutes right before I started running, so the sun was back out AND it was extra humid. The air was so hot, even though it was only like 80-82 F, since the humidity was so high. Most of my run was pretty slow once the heat caught up with me, and even after the clouds returned an hour and a half into the run, I was already sapped and couldn’t really recover. I was thirsty even though I had plenty of water (probably because my mouth was getting dry – I should have had a candy or something) and my stomach was a little too full of water so I felt uncomfortable a lot. It wasn’t as miserable a slog as it was on Saturday, but it wasn’t great. If the clouds hadn’t come through and provided shade for most of the run, I am pretty sure I’d have quit early.

So, this upcoming week’s a cutback week! I’ve had 6 weeks of increasing mileage and my body is starting to say nope. I’ll be in Duluth this coming weekend anyway and won’t have time for 4-5 hour runs. I also need to give my poor back a rest – no, not my muscles, my skin. My sports bra has totally shredded the middle of my back since I wore my pack 2 days in a row (and it was pretty bad after the first day, woof), and I need a chance for it to heal!

Twin Cities Marathon Training: Week 5

It cooled off! Relatively speaking.

Monday: 5.3 mi, road
Tuesday: 5.6 mi, pavement (Battle Creek, 5 x 0.5 mi)
Wednesday: 8 mi, pavement (Lake of the Isles/Bde Maka Ska)
Thursday: rest
Friday: 5.6 mi, treadmill (35 min tempo)
Saturday: 14.2 mi, trail (Afton State Park)
Sunday: 9.2 mi, trail/pavement (Cedar Lake/Kenilworth Trail/Cedar Lake Regional Trail)
Total: 47.9 mi

It’s been a long week, but it has felt really good to run without as much heat and humidity. It’s still hot, especially in the afternoon when it feels like the sun is still directly overhead at 3 PM, but it isn’t as oppressive as it was the past two weeks. Running was much more pleasant this week, and the higher mileage is starting to feel good. I mean, it sucks in the moment sometimes, of course.

Monday I ran around my neighborhood, which was okay. It’s not a ton of fun because I can’t zone out, I’m constantly thinking of how to cobble together enough mileage to make a decent workout. A lot of streets don’t go all the way through, and I’m not familiar enough with the area to remember which ones do, so I spend a lot of time recalculating, like my brain’s an analog version of a GPS unit after a missed turn.

Tuesday I drove over to Battle Creek and did loops around the park to complete my interval workout. I’ve given up on trying to find a track, I guess. The repeats were all pretty fast, which was surprising. Now I want to find a real 5K to see if I can legitimize my PR. There was a group of high schools kids doing either a summer cross-country practice or dryland training for nordic skiing, and I felt a little dorky next to all these young people running fast with such ease, but hey. I’m out there running, too. Who cares if I’m running fast? They barely noticed me, anyway.

Midway through the week, I took over cat-sitting duties at my mom’s, which meant I was driving in the opposite direction from home during rush hour. I decided to run somewhere near there instead of trying to buck traffic on 94E. I parked at Lake of the Isles and unintentionally did an entire loop around, since I missed the turnoff for Bde Maka Ska. I continued past my car, did a loop around Bde Maka Ska (soooo crowded), and then headed back to my car the short way around Lake of the Isles. I love that area for the most part, even if it was crowded, and the scenery was amazing.

Friday I wimped out and did my run on the treadmill, since there was a line of thunderstorms rolling through. The radar made it look like one could hit at any time in the evening, so I played it safe. It’s actually a lot easier to do a true tempo on a treadmill, since it’s easy to control the pace and slowly ramp it up. I am kind of a scaredy-cat about running fast (for me) on the treadmill – I’m afraid of tripping and falling or otherwise hurting myself. But it went well, even if I was miserable and hating life during the 35 minutes of actual tempo running, and I was sweating buckets.

I checked out Afton State Park for the first time on Saturday. I liked it, kind of. It’s about 30 minutes from my home, so it’s sorta like driving to Jay Cooke used to be, but that does add an hour round trip to my run time. The trails themselves are a bit confusing – I couldn’t always read the maps very well, especially when the YOU ARE HERE stickers were missing. There are a lot of trails, though! I was able to put together 14 miles without doubling back too much. I did see a dead raccoon (twice) and a dead bunny (depressing). There was a mix of terrain – pavement, grass, gravel, packed dirt. Lots of hills, plenty of shade, and not a whole lot of people (probably because the swimming beach was under water). The miles were slow to begin with, but I rallied at the end (ok, it was flat terrain and also some pavement) and felt a little better about my pace.

Sunday I decided to go do another chain of lakes run since I was in the area feeding los gatos again. I figured I’d start at Cedar Lake instead, which was dumb. Cedar Lake is the weird misfit lake. There isn’t a nice paved path around it – instead I ended up on some single track and kept coming upon people who seemed like they would prefer to be left alone. I turned around and went the other way, and ended up in a grassy area with a sign that said “end of public trail.” Then I decided to say screw it, got on the Kenilworth Trail, and did the remaining 7 miles on that and the Cedar Lake Regional Trail. I was supposed to be running 7 at marathon pace, but that just was not happening. The first 2 miles were like 15 minute miles, so that blew my average pace and sapped my energy, so I just pushed through with a regular old medium length run. Can I just have one marathon pace workout where I even get close to what I expect to be able to run come October? I don’t think my goal of around 5 hours is that unreasonable!

Twin Cities Marathon Training: Week 4

Another hot week. Ugh.

Monday: 4.8 mi, pavement (Mississippi River Trail)
Tuesday: 5.4 mi, pavement (Battle Creek, 35 min tempo)
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: 8 mi, treadmill
Friday: 4.2 mi, pavement (Battle Creek)
Saturday: 13.4 mi, trail + pavement (Lebanon Hills + Mississippi River Trail/Night Nation Run)
Sunday: 7.8 mi, pavement (Mississippi River Trail)
Total: 43.6 mi

I enjoy the long days, because I can get a run in while it’s still light out but not blazing hot. However, I miss being able to run at 5:30 or 6 in the evening (or on the weekends, at noon or 1) without suffering the beginnings of heat exhaustion.

Monday was a boring run and I don’t even remember it. I guess it was probably hot, though!

Tuesday I ran later in the evening – my partner was going out of town for a few days for work, so I had dinner and then went running after he left. I was able to have a much better tempo run since it was cooler – even though I was kind of miserable because the first mile of the run was uphill and my calves were super tight. I had a couple minor stops for road crossings but otherwise was able to plow through 35 minutes of tempo running and actually kind of enjoy it.

Wednesday I volunteered at the Lebanon Hills 7 mile race, part of the Endless Summer Trail Run Series. It was so freaking hot, and the air was stagnant. I was so thankful to be volunteering instead of running. Thursday we finally got a big thunderstorm, scary enough that I decided to run inside on the treadmill instead of seeing when the storm would pass. I thought that would cool things down but no. I mean, Friday wasn’t so bad, and I managed to do a loop at Battle Creek without melting, but it was still humid and warm.

I liked the surroundings of Lebanon Hills so much that for my “long” run (I didn’t do a true long run since I knew I’d be doing the Night Nation Run that evening) I drove out there again on Saturday. I’d planned on doing my run at around 1:30, but when I went to start getting ready, I realized it was 91 F. No thank you. So I waited to leave until around 3, which ended up being okay but not ideal. It didn’t seem that much cooler, and a lot of the path was shaded, so I could have left earlier. I felt pretty crummy directly after the run, and had only an hour and a half until I’d be walking a bit over a mile to Harriet Island, “running” 5K (in starts and fits, as detailed here), and then walking back home. I recovered quickly thanks to the magic of an iced latte with whole milk.

Sunday the same thing happened: I went to go running around 3 PM and discovered it was 92 F and “felt like” 101 F. I waited until 6 to head out for Minnehaha Falls Park, which I didn’t realize had pay lots. So I paid $3 to do a little recon of the TCM course – obviously on the running path, not the road, but it gave me a hint of what the section along West River Parkway would be like. Nothing I can’t handle.

Supposedly a cool front is coming through, so I expect to see lightning fast times coming across my watch! I did notice Sunday as I was slogging through the heat that from a musculoskeletal perspective, running is feeling a lot easier. As long as I’m in the shade or managing the heat well, my legs are responding well to the increase in mileage. I’m hoping to get up into the 50+ miles per week range soon, time and health permitting.

Summer Running Goals 2018

“Summer” as defined by me has already been going for two weeks! Of course, real summer hasn’t even started yet, but it feels like winter will be here in a matter of minutes. I’ve been traumatized by the cold climate, I guess. Anyway, I set more goals.

  1. Distance personal best.
    Spoiler alert: I achieved this at FANS, so now 42.3 miles is the longest I’ve traveled on foot.
  2. “Unofficial” marathon personal best.
    I also achieved this at FANS. By my calculations, my new unofficial marathon PR is 6:58:32.
  3. “Unofficial” 50K personal best.
    I didn’t achieve this at FANS, but I guess there’s always a chance to do this some other time.
  4. Check out the Endless Summer Trail Races
    This is a fun weekday evening trail series in the Twin Cities, put on by Rocksteady Running. I always hoped that my travel schedule would bring me down to attend one of the races, but now I live here and have no excuse!
  5. Legitimize my 5K PR.
    Due to Be the Match 5K using gun times rather than chip times for official race results, my 5K PR is 29:00 instead of 28:30 (per my watch). I want to make that 28:30 (or better!) official!
  6. Race a new distance.
    I don’t know what that’s going to be, as I was so focused on FANS, and I didn’t want to make any summer commitments until after I knew how I’d recovered from that race.

The good news is I’m really excited to start running again, and working toward my fall races. Considering how down I was about running during the spring, it feels good to know I’ve mentally recovered and am back to enjoying the sport!

Race Report: Fans 24 Hour Race 2018

Official Results:
Distance: 42.3 mi
Placing:
Overall (24 Hrs): 67/78
Gender: 21/25

Watch Results:
Time: 13:41:27
Pace: 18:25
Distance: 44.58
Heart Rate: N/A

Goals:
A: 100 mi
B: 90 mi
C: 75 mi

Food:
What I ate the night before: pizza
What I ate on race morning: bagel with cream cheese, bagel with hazelnut spread
What I carried with me: n/a

Gear:
What I wore: to start – t-shirt, shorts, trucker hat, vest
Gadgets: GPS watch, fitness tracker

Discussion: Two disappointing results in two years! Not a good sign.

I slept really poorly the day of the race, which was frustrating. I hadn’t slept well in the days leading up to the event, so I was starting with a sleep deficit. That ended up not being a factor, but it could have been. I felt grumpy and wished I could just go back to sleep and not run.

My dad picked me up and we loaded up the car quickly. I only had one tub of stuff, plus a cooler with some pop, and a chair to sit in. He had the tent (a different tent than last year, he has an abundance of tents) and his own chair already in the truck. We got their early enough that we had a spot on the path itself, which was a huge benefit over last year. He had a great people-watching spot, and I had easy access to my stuff.

The weather was cool enough that I put on a sweatshirt while I relaxed before the start. I liked setting up camp early and having time to finish my food and chill out – even if that meant I had to get up earlier. It didn’t really matter since I barely slept – half an hour wasn’t going to make or break me.

The race started at 8, and I ended up running and chatting alongside someone I’d recently met. It was a little faster than I would have liked, and after a little bit he did break off and run at his own pace, while I settled into mine. My plan was to run 10 minutes, walk 2 minutes, for as long as that was sustainable. I think it worked really well for me while I was able to run, but of course I can’t say what might have happened once I really started to get fatigued.

After my first lap, my dad left to go to work, and I was on my own for awhile. This worked really well for me. I got food and water at the aid stations and only stopped at my tent if I needed something (electrolyte tablets, gels, bug spray, sunscreen). Since it was threatening rain, I had to keep everything in my tent, which was annoying. I ended up tossing my sunscreen and Body Glide into my chair and not caring if it got wet.

It started to rain somewhere around 10 or 11. I knew it was coming, and I didn’t really mind. I didn’t want it to rain before the start, because I didn’t want to sit around getting wet or have to set up the tent on wet ground. I didn’t want thunderstorms to force the race directors to suspend the race. Neither of those things happened so it didn’t really matter. I didn’t have any chafing issues and it was warm enough that I didn’t get chilled. It was WAY better than heat and sun. I felt like everything was going well for the first few hours.

At around 4 hours elapsed (right after my first weigh-in), I stopped to fix my feet. One ankle was chafing where my shoe met my ankle. My sock was too low, and my ankle was dirty, so I had to stop and slap some moleskin on it. That fixed the problem, and at the same time, I worked on my other foot. I have a callus on that foot from some really old blister (possibly stemming from last year’s FANS race), and a blister was developing under that callus. I slapped some moleskin on it as well, but what I should have done is popped the blister. That was stupid. I thought the moleskin would be enough to protect it, but it was protruding too much. It seemed like a good enough fix at the time, so I continued, and was still able to run.

Since things were going really well, and I was finding my run 10/walk 2 strategy wasn’t working very well (I was always hitting the aid stations/my tent right in the middle of the run cycle), so I thought I’d try running to each aid station, then walking 2 or 3 minutes or so after the aid station/my tent. I did one lap of that and found it more fatiguing than I’d like, so I went back to the run 10/walk 2, and that was much more comfortable. I was having a decent time of running my own race, staying out of my head, and just letting the day happen however it would. I was pretty excited that I was still running many laps into the race, which hadn’t happened in 2017. I came through the 6 hour runners on their short laps and cheered them on.

My dad came back at around 2:00, and I was still running at that point, which was awesome. I was slowing down and my feet were starting to hurt, but I wanted to hit the 27.4 mark (12 laps) and get the unofficial marathon PR before I stopped to do anything. I came through 27.4 mi (12 laps) in 7:17:42, which is faster than my marathon PR; interpolating, that makes my unofficial marathon PR 6:58:32. So at least I made my first goal for the summer! I kept moving after that, wanted to hit the 50K mark (lap 14, 31.6 mi) before I stopped for a break. I wanted to get an unofficial 50K PR too, but since I was really slowing down, that wasn’t going to happen, and I also forgot to hit the lap button at that point. I think I came through somewhere under 8:40, which means that I finished 50K at around the same pace I did Chippewa Moraine. I was in good shape, time-wise, but I was slowing a lot, and both feet were really starting to hurt.

I took a longer break to deal with my feet – I lanced my blister several times but could not seem to fully pop it, no matter what I did. I finally decided to just cover it up with moleskin to protect it, and let the natural pressure from walking push the rest of the fluid out. I finally got up and started walking. The blister hurt, but so did my other foot. I had not realized how much I’d been compensating for the pain in my right foot. I thought if I walked it off, it would feel better, but it didn’t really.

I weighed in again and continued to walk. The blister pain actually did start to subside, and I was right – the pressure from my foot did make the swelling go down for awhile. The pain on the outer edge of my left foot was what kept me from running. It was especially bad during the gravel sections – it was impossible to keep from stepping on rocks and that seemed to exacerbate the pain, even though it was on the side of my foot, not the bottom. I just kept going, figuring that it would either go away or I’d just get used to it, and I kind of did.

I asked my dad about the weather, and he told me after about 4:30, it should be clear, so I got out my portable charger to charge my GPS watch, which was down to 10% battery. I clipped that on and wore it for the next 3 laps. Since I wasn’t running, it wasn’t a big deal to charge it while on the move. I tucked the charger itself into the pocket of my vest so my hands were free (other than my water bottle), and checked periodically to make sure the charging clamp didn’t dislodge. I got it charged up to about 60% and then put it back. My feet were still killing me and I was trying to decide what to do. I was thinking I should get to 100K and then stop for awhile, then I started re-assessing and decided I’d get to 50 miles and then stop. I walked through while the 12 hour runners were doing their final short loops and was able to cheer everyone on. The trails were a lot more empty at that point, except for a couple other people hustling through one final loop. One guy was running with his pacer and ended up dropping her as he took off to try to get that last loop in before the 12 hour mark – he had a little over a mile to go and plenty of time, but he wanted to make sure he made it.

I came through after the 12 hour race had ended, and decided to do one more loop before changing my clothes and shoes for the night. Mostly I wanted to use the porta-potty with my shorts on rather than with running tights – I didn’t want to wrestle with my tights in that confined space! I was still walking, and pretty much everyone was passing me, but I was still moving at least! It was getting toward dusk during that lap, and I carried my headlamp with me just in case, but it turned out to be fine. There were lanterns out on the course which looked really cool.

I sat down in my chair after lap #19 (42.3 mi) and took off my shoes. My blister had bubbled back up again, so I lanced it a couple more times. I went into the tent and changed into tights, a new t-shirt, and a hoodie, since it was getting kinda chilly. I brought out some fresh socks and then worked on my feet for a little while. It was getting dark out and I wanted to finish dealing with my feet before the light was gone. I finally put my shoes on, which was a difficult task because I was trying to avoid dislodging my moleskin. I lounged in the chair with my feet up for awhile, contemplating what I was going to do. I didn’t have a lot of hope left that I’d be able to start running. The pain in my left foot was not getting any better, and in fact was worsening. So I had 11 hours of hobbling ahead of me — or I could strike my tent and go home to my cats. I thought about it for awhile, and realized I wasn’t enjoying the effort. This was twice that I’d done this race and had it not work out. I also realized that I had been changed and sitting around for probably half an hour (I don’t really know), so I would be behind on my nutrition at a time when I really needed to be sure I was on top of it. Maybe quitting wasn’t a bad idea.

I said to my husband “I don’t want to do this anymore, let’s go.” He said ok, without any judgment, and I got up to take down the tent. My left foot hurt to the point where I couldn’t really stand on it, and that sealed it – but I made the decision to quit before I knew that. It turns out it was a good decision, because a day later, I’m still gimping around. I don’t know what the deal is – it doesn’t hurt at all when I’m not moving, there’s no bruising or swelling, but it hurts to walk. I am in big trouble if it doesn’t get better by Wednesday, because I am making a site visit in North Dakota and I have to be able to walk then. I’m hoping some stretching and massage, plus some rest, will be enough to make it feel better.

I don’t think the 24 hour event is for me, although I really enjoy the race! I guess maybe the 12 hour race would be a better option and would require much less from a logistical standpoint. I was questioning whether or not I actually ever want to do a long race, like a 50 miler or longer. I’m not sure if I’m cut out for that distance – I don’t seem to do that well with adversity, although I’m getting better. I lasted a lot longer this time and worked through a lot of issues before I ultimately gave in to the foot pain. I didn’t have any stomach problems, and today I feel pretty good. I was on my feet for 13 hours and traversed 42 miles, and I don’t feel much soreness in my hips or legs. If I’d dealt with that callus from the start (covered it up, or gotten a pedicure and just gotten rid of it), I probably would have been able to keep moving a lot longer.

I don’t feel the same level of regret I did last year, since I at least got in a mileage PR. I think the level of foot pain I’m still dealing with also makes me feel more justified – continuing could have done more lasting damage, or made it more likely I wouldn’t be able to do my job. I also had a great time – the atmosphere is so welcoming, and the other runners, volunteers, and spectators are so supportive. After a bit of time to think about it, I’m now really looking forward to doing the 12 hour event next year and creating some new challenges for myself. And… provided my foot gets better soon, I’m probably going to sign up for a fall 50 mile race, just to see what that’s like.

FANS 24 Hour 2018 Goals

Here we go again. After last year’s disastrous end at 29.5 miles, I’m ready for redemption.

My goals are the same as last year:
A Standard: 100 mi
B Standard: 90 mi
C Standard: 75 mi

The weather is not looking dry, but I think I prefer rain to heat. I think. Will I feel the same way tomorrow at this time, when it’s been pouring for six hours straight and my feet are raw and I’m shivering too badly to use my hands?

Many of the lessons I learned last year are not applicable to this year’s race. All my heat management techniques are pointless. That’s okay, though. I did learn a couple other things that I’m working on for this year:

  1. Less stuff. I brought so much stuff last year that I didn’t need, and it was extra embarrassing to haul all that gear back after quitting early. Some of it was necessary because I didn’t live nearby and I needed to be prepared for all kinds of weather. A few days before the race it was predicted to be cold and rainy, and instead it was hot and sunny. So I had a lot of clothes and gear. This year I am bringing way less gear, but I also only live 7 miles from Fort Snelling now. If I need something, someone can get it for me in half an hour. I’m not bringing any food besides vanilla Coke and some gels – I’ll rely on the aid stations.
  2. No crew in the morning. My dad is picking me up and helping me haul my gear, but after the start, he’ll leave for awhile. He’ll miss out on some prime people-watching, of course, but I found last year that I felt guilty about having someone sit there all day just to give me fresh water bottle every half hour or so. I have run enough ultras to know that I can be self-sufficient for the first several hours of the race, and rely on volunteers, aid stations, and my campsite for anything I need. I can focus on getting in the miles and not on worrying about the entertainment of someone else. No one that visited me while I was running last year was anything but helpful and understanding, and no one ever gave the slightest hint of annoyance at being there, but I still felt like I was inconveniencing people.
  3. Arrive earlier to try to snag a better campsite. Last year, I had to set up my tent off the path. The people who arrived earlier set their tents up along the running path, which was way more convenient! I had to walk off the path, through someone else’s campsite, to get to mine.
  4. Relentless forward progress. This worked okay for me for awhile last year – I felt too fatigued from the heat and the sun to run, so I walked. I’m going to aim to do a better job of that this time. And if I do have to take a break, I’ll do it – and then get up. I don’t have to leave early.

This year I have some advantages I didn’t have last year. Obviously, I live here, so I’m not paying for a hotel room and I’ll be able to sleep in my own bed. The weather will be cooler so if I’m having chafing issues, I can switch to pants. (I’m making a mental note to pack a pair of tights.) I bought a pair of shoes with a rock plate but smaller lugs, so the gravel won’t bug me as much. And, of course, I now have “beat last year!” to drive me forward.

I won’t have time to post my Summer 2018 goals post yet, but I am setting a couple goals that will pertain directly to FANS – I’d like a distance PR, an unofficial marathon PR, and an unofficial 50K PR – hopefully I can get all three!