Fans 24 Hour Training: Week 4

Tapering hardcore.

Monday: 5.1 mi, road (Minnesota Point)
Tuesday: 5.1 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Wednesday: 3.4 mi, road
Thursday: rest (kind of)
Friday: 4.4 mi, road
Saturday: 4.2 mi, road
Sunday: rest
Total: 22.1

I spent the first part of the week in Duluth, which was nice. I ran on the Lakewalk and on Minnesota Point – the two easiest spots to run when staying in Canal Park! It was nice to be back. I bought a new pair of shoes at Austin Jarrow and have been breaking them in. They have a rock plate but much smaller lugs than my current trail shoes, so they should be good for the gravel paths at FANS.

Home for a few days. #lakesuperior #duluth #onlyinmn

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Wednesday I got in a short evening run in the neighborhood after we drove back from Duluth. I’m really just trying to keep my legs moving and maintain my weight leading up to fans.

Thursday I went to see Slayer in concert in Minneapolis. They’re retiring, so this was my last chance to see them play, ever. I didn’t run but I did do a hell of a lot of jumping around and I was on my feet for 6 hours. My legs were exhausted afterward. So was that really a rest day? I don’t know!

Friday and Saturday were more boring neighborhood runs. The nice thing about finally living in a neighborhood with somewhat of a grid layout (not entirely, though, because it is St. Paul) is that I can mix things up and don’t have to take the same route. It gets annoying to have to manufacture mileage, but it’s better than running the same old routes because only a couple roads actually go through. Friday I also hit up REI since they were having a sale and I had a bunch of gift cards.

Sunday I took an unplanned rest day as I seem to be coming down with a cold. There’s no workout I can do right now that will help my race, but hundreds of ways I can mess it up, so I just took a day to relax, stain some furniture, and see Solo: A Star Wars Story.

I suppose I should do some planning and prepping for FANS… but I haven’t yet. I’m headed to Duluth tomorrow for a couple days, so most of my prepping will have to be Thursday and Friday. Maybe if I’m more laissez-faire about it, it’ll go better.

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Fans 24 Hour Training: Week 3

Final “tough” week of training.

Monday: 6.4 mi, treadmill
Tuesday: 3.1 mi, paved trail (Centennial Lakes)
Wednesday: 8.9 mi, paved trail + road (2.9 @ Centennial Lakes, 6 road)
Thursday: 3.6 mi, road
Friday: rest
Saturday: 15.5 mi, trail (Superior Hiking Trail – Superior 25K)
Sunday: 4 mi, paved trail (Lakewalk)
Total: 41.5 mi

Monday I had to hit the treadmill due to the weather, which sucked. I powered through as best I could, but I am not used to it anymore!

Tuesday I went to the Twins game (the Bulldogs men’s hockey team was being honored before the game), so I brought my stuff to work and ran at lunch. It was very warm. I walked probably another mile at the Twins game because I lost my cell phone. Brilliant. It turned out it was in one of those doggy dishes they use at the security checkpoint. So I lost it right away. Sigh. The Twins won, though! And I had a delicious ice cream served in a mini-helmet.

Wednesday I knew I wanted to knock out some extra miles. It was hot again, so I didn’t want to do them all at once, and decided to split my run between work and home. I didn’t intend to run as far in the evening, but I chose to run to the State Capitol grounds. It’s a mini-goal I set for myself (I should have saved it for my summer goals post!) – to run from my house to the Capitol grounds. I found all kinds of places I need to explore along the way – like the Tim Horton’s and the Candyland. I need to explore some chocolate-covered potato chips, yes. I also need to go walk the Capitol grounds and see all that there is to see there. I should make a St. Paul exploration checklist for my spouse and me to check off.

Thursday I ran a quick jaunt around my neighborhood. It felt kind of labored, but I got it done. Friday I headed north for the race, and spent several hours on my feet hawking Rocksteady Running gear.

Saturday was the race, already covered in the report linked above. After the race, I felt a lot better than I have in years past, and after a shower, some chili, and a bit of time lounging around tinkering on the internet, we decided to go on an adventure. We started out at the Onion River, just south of Lutsen, right off Highway 61. I questioned why I had agreed to hike uphill for probably almost a mile, but I had the energy, so I did it. We took some pictures along the way, then turned around and hiked back down.

We got back in the car and headed north, planning on going to Grand Marais for dinner, and to kill time with whatever we could find in the meantime. The weather had improved from gray and windy to intermittently sunny, which made the hiking a lot better. We pulled over at Cascade River and hiked around there a little bit, and then decided we might as well go to Devil’s Kettle, so we ended up there. THAT was at least a mile’s hike in, and included 176 stairs at one point. Thank you, Satan.

After that hike, we were ready to head into Grand Marais. Last year, we walked out along the breakwater to the lighthouse, but were too cold to hike out on the other side of the tombolo, so we decided to finish that journey this year. It wasn’t a long hike, and it was gorgeous at the end. The water looked so clean and clear, and the lake stretched on endlessly into the horizon, without Wisconsin in the distance to ruin things. I’d say conservatively we hiked 4 or 5 miles, which was tiring but also helped me avoid a lot of stiffness and soreness. We also made the most of our trip, unlike last year when I didn’t have the energy or inclination to do much additional exploring.

Sunday we headed back down to Duluth, since I am working here until Wednesday. We decided to make another adventure of the trip back, and stopped at Tettegouche State Park, where we hiked another mile or so to see Two Step Falls and High Falls, then hiked back out (obviously) and drove to the rest area at the entrance to the park, since my husband tripped and cut his hand while we were hiking and wanted to wash it out before we continued the drive. He powered through the hike though! We stopped just down the road at Palisade Head, which isn’t really a hike, since the road goes to the top. Palisade Head is impressive to look at, and it’s exhilarating to stand so high above the lake and look out in the distance. I was a little too nervous to get close to the edge to look over, but I still reveled in the experience from a safer distance.

After we got to Duluth, visited my grandparents, and went to see Deadpool 2, I went for a short run on the Lakewalk to complete my weekly mileage goal (running only – obviously I exceeded that with hiking). It was so nice to be back there. I’m feeling so torn between my new home in St. Paul and my old home in Duluth. I really thought I was adjusting to the transition – until I came back here.

It’s time to start winding down the mileage to rest my legs for FANS. I am hoping to run at least 36 more miles in May, in order to beat last month’s mileage, but I’ve got plenty of time to get that done.

FANS 24 Hour Training: Weeks 1 and 2

Transitioning to FANS training now!

Monday (4/30): 4 mi, road
Tuesday: 4.6 mi, road
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: 6.8 mi, paved trail (MRT)
Friday: 7.4 mi, road
Saturday: 7.1 mi, paved trail (MRT)
Sunday: 11.3 mi, paved trail (MRT/Harriet Island)
Total: 41.1 mi

Monday (5/7): 5.5 mi, pavement (MRT)
Tuesday: 6.1 mi, treadmill
Wednesday: 2.8 mi, pavement (Centennial Lakes)
Thursday: 7.7 mi, paved trail/road (3 mi @ Centennial Lakes, 4.7 mi around Harriet Island)
Friday: rest
Saturday: 4 mi, road (Be the Match 5K @ Lake Harriet + warmup)
Sunday: 16.1 mi, paved trail (MRT)
Total: 42.1 mi

Week 1:
Not bad for the week after a 50K! Monday I was still hurting, but a bit less – I just had a hard time walking after sitting for awhile. Tuesday I felt pretty decent and was almost back to a normal pace. I took Wednesday off running to get a massage. Now that I am back in the Twin Cities, I can see my previous massage therapist/friend. She is the best, although we end up gossiping through the session, so maybe I have to curb that.

I felt amazing on Thursday when I got back out to run. I ran across the Wabasha Street Bridge, came back across the Robert Street Bridge, and then ran along the Mississippi River Trail until the flooding began near Lilydale. That section of the MRT is going to be inaccessible for awhile until the water recedes, so I’ve knocked it off my route. It wasn’t especially washed out where I turned around, but there was no reason for me to run through water on the road.

Friday I decided to try to run to the Upper Landing Park, which is across the river from Harriet Island. It was not as easy to access as I thought. I ended up running down 2nd Street, which is VERY SHADY and smelled of urine. Then I ended up in a parking lot and got trapped by the railroad. I accidentally trespassed on the railroad right of way before getting the heck out of there. I finally realized there was no trail access from where I was, turned around, and ran up Kellogg until I passed the Xcel Energy Center and went down Eagle Street. From there I could reach Shepard Rd. and Upper Landing Park, but it was time to turn around and head for home at that point. I ran by several promgoers heading to the X, and then I ran by 2 guys, one of whom imitated me running. Thanks, fella.

Saturday I parked at Upper Landing Park, since I now know how to get there! I attempted to do some fartleks on the Mississippi River Trail, but after the first couple miles I realized it was too hot and ended up in survival mode. Sunday was also hot. I planned on parking at Lower Landing Park and couldn’t figure out how to get there, but accidentally found a new spot to run. I ran through Indian Mounds Regional Park and then joined up with the Mississippi River Trail (right around where I turned around the day prior) until I turned off to follow Battle Creek. I felt pretty hot and miserable the last few miles and walked some of the uphills.

Week 2:
I felt basically back to normal this last week. It was like I’d never run a 50K! Ha. Monday I parked at Upper Landing Park and ran in the Minneapolis direction. (West? I’m not sure. The river really winds around.) Tuesday I thought it was going to rain so I ran on the treadmill. Wednesday and Thursday I ran at lunchtime around the lake at work; my pre- and post-run processes need some improvements for efficiency and hygiene/comfort. That’s deserving of its own post. I ran a second short run on Thursday as well, which I kind of liked – getting in a decent mileage day without having to spend my whole evening running!

I rested Friday for my 5K on Saturday. I had actually planned on either doing a longer warmup or a cooldown after, in order to have a higher total mileage day, but did no running cooldown at all, and couldn’t even run a mile to warm up. Sunday I hit the Mississippi River Trail again, starting at Lower Landing Park and turning around just past Hidden Falls Regional Park. I am finding all kinds of cool new places! To get in a little more practice for FANS, I employed a run/walk strategy. On the way out, I ran 10 minutes/walked 2 minutes. On the way back, I ran 12 minutes/walked 2 minutes. The way back was significantly harder than I thought it would be, although I’m not sure if that was because of the 2 extra minutes of running or if I was just getting too warm. I had my hydration pack on me so I had plenty of water, but I forgot to wear a hat (I planned to but didn’t grab it) and got too much sun on my face. Overall I liked the run/walk strategy – it broke things up nicely and I still had an overall pace of 13:14, and that included stopping at a couple traffic lights.

My office is doing a push-up challenge (we are cumulatively trying to reach 30,000 push-ups), so my strength training got a bit of a boost the first week of the month, but I started feeling some muscle pain in my lower abdomen, only on the left side, so I stopped. The pain has gone away, so clearly I was just overdoing it with the pushups (we were literally on the floor in our cubicles doing pushups multiple times a day), but I am cautious about continuing.

This upcoming week, I have Superior Spring 25K to look forward to! I’m excited to return to the Superior Hiking Trail.

Chippewa Moraine 50K Training: Week 18

Race week! What a disaster.

Monday: 4 mi, paved trail (Mississippi River Trail)
Tuesday: 2.5 mi, treadmill walk
Wednesday: 2.7 mi, treadmill walk
Thursday: 3.1 mi, treadmill
Friday: rest
Saturday: 31.1 mi, trail (Ice Age Trail)
Sunday: 3.4 mi, paved trail (MRT/Harriet Island)
Total: 46.8 mi

Not exactly the week I was looking for. I am not sure if my allergies kicked in or what, but I had sneezes/stuffy head/cough symptoms for most of the week (excepting Monday, clearly, since I ran). In the mornings I felt like crud, but by afternoons I usually had energy, so I did walk on the treadmill Tuesday and Wednesday to keep my legs active, and did a test run on Thursday.

I tried out some active recovery on Sunday, because I didn’t feel like sitting around the house on a gorgeous day, and also because I have other races to do. I ran a 15:50 overall pace and that was without any walking. I know some people can’t even fathom moving that slowly and still maintaining a running gait, but here I am, living proof that it’s possible! I did feel better afterward, and less like a slug, so it’s definitely something I’m going to do in the future, unless I’m suffering from an actual injury rather than just running-related soreness.

This training will segue right into my training for FANS in June, so I’ll be trying to find a balance of mileage that won’t leave me too worn out, but won’t be too light, considering I only have 4 more weeks before FANS race week (holy crap).

Chippewa Moraine 50K Training: Week 17

Spring is here.

Monday: 6 mi, treadmill
Tuesday: 4.7 mi, treadmill
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: 6.3 mi, road (neighborhood)
Friday: 3.5 mi, road (neighborhood)
Saturday: 6.5 mi, paved trail (Mississippi River Trail/Harriet Island)
Sunday: 10 mi, paved trail (Big Rivers Regional Trail/Fort Snelling)
Total: 36.9 mi

I made it. I am actually surprised at how different I felt between Wednesday and Thursday. A light was turned on inside me. A switch was flipped. I felt weightless and full of energy. I ran around my neighborhood as the snow melted around me. I wore shorts and a t-shirt on Saturday and Sunday (and already have a farmer’s tan! Well not a tan, I’m still pasty) and was actually too warm on Sunday.

I know I’m “supposed” to be tapering since I have the race on Saturday, but it was just so nice out. And I had some light training weeks the past couple months, so I’m not exhausted or dealing with aches and pains and fatigue. My worst fatigue has been mental. Of course as I write this, I have been sneezing and feel kinda tired and my head is stuffy, but my hope is it’s just allergies. I WANT TO RUN THIS FREAKING RACE.

My one worry is my legs were a bit sore on Monday after my medium-long run on Sunday. But I guess I’ll have to deal with that next Monday. I know I can do this – I’ve run enough races to know that if my mental game is strong, I’ve got this in the bag. (Provided my upper respiratory system behaves. Ugh. Can’t blame this on the “taper flu” since I am not really tapering.)

Chippewa Moraine 50K Training: Week 16

Monday: rest
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: rest
Friday: rest
Saturday: 7.7 mi, treadmill
Sunday: 7.75 mi, treadmill
Total: 15.4 mi

Okay, not a great week. Monday I had intentions to run, but I had a headache and decided to scrap it. That was good, because Tuesday I still wasn’t feeling great, and by the afternoon (when I drove up to Duluth with my husband and friends for a national championship celebration for the Bulldogs) I was achy, with chills and sweats, and thought I had the flu. I stayed home from work on Wednesday and Thursday, and though I went back to work on Friday, I didn’t run, of course.

It started snowing Friday evening.

So, I won’t be running outside anytime soon, considering over a foot of snow fell over the weekend. I managed to drag myself onto the treadmill both days, plus get some strength work in shoveling!

I’m really glad I didn’t run Zumbro. The finish rate was absurdly low for both ultra distances, and the 17 mile race was canceled. We’ll see what course conditions end up being for Chippewa Moraine – wet, muddy, icy, snowy, mixture of all? Surprise blizzard? Ugh. This winter will never end.

I guess this is the start of an extra long taper? Now I have to trust that I’ve got the endurance and strength to have a good race in in 12 days, and that I have enough time to recover from my illness (cold? who knows? obviously not the flu) to make it to the finish!

Chippewa Moraine 50K Training: Weeks 13-15

I’ve pretty much given up all hope that the weather will ever be nice again. It’s really hard, I’m not going to sugar coat it.

Monday (3/19): 4.5 mi, trail (Brickyard)
Tuesday: 6.1 mi, treadmill
Wednesday: 6 mi, road/pavement (Harriet and Raspberry Island)
Thursday: rest
Friday: rest
Saturday: rest
Sunday: rest
Total: 16.6 mi

Monday (3/26): rest
Tuesday: 5.4 mi, road/pavement (Brickyard/Harriet Island)
Wednesday: 5.2 mi, road
Thursday: 3.6 mi, pavement (Centennial Lakes)
Friday: 8.1 mi, road/pavement (River to River Greenway)
Saturday: 10.1 mi, pavement (MS River Trail/Harriet Island)
Sunday: 8.2, treadmill
Total: 40.6 mi

Monday (4/2): 7 mi, treadmill
Tuesday: 6 mi, treadmill
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: 8 mi, treadmill
Friday: 5.5 mi, treadmill
Saturday: 3.5 mi, treadmill
Sunday: rest
Total: 30 mi

You know, when I write it out like that, it doesn’t look so bad.

The week of the 19th was kind of hard. As I said before, we had a minor but frustrating bed bug infestation, and I did not get much sleep, plus I was covered in bites from before we realized what was going on. I was supposed to run the Hot Dash 10 miler and didn’t. We drove to Sioux Falls, SD on Saturday to watch the Bulldogs win the regional and earn their way back to the Frozen Four.

I did explore a couple new locations. The Brickyard trail is HARD. It’s a long downhill, which means a long uphill, FYI. I also did it in soft snow so my legs were ON FIRE. I also ran around Harriet Island and Raspberry Island, then across the Wabasha St. and Robert St. bridges. I am really looking forward to warmer weather, because there are so many cool places to explore in St. Paul that I just don’t feel like investigating when it’s cold.

The week of the 26th was better! I ran outside almost every day! I thought I was turning a corner! (Spoiler: I was not.) There was no hockey that weekend, so it was very relaxing. I experimented with lunchtime running on Thursday (it’s ok but I have to get my act together on organization), and ran around in the neighborhood on Wednesday, which I hated. I can’t stand when I have to piece together mileage because roads end or sidewalks end or I end up on a busier-than-I’m-comfortable-with street. I found a new paved trail, the River to River Greenway (Friday), which I’ll be trying out again soon! I ran the Brickyard trail again on Tuesday, and won’t be running it again any time soon. It’s a soggy mess and there’s only going to be more sogginess. I’m not interested in running through ankle-deep water on an urban training run.

Saturday, I thought I had everything planned out: the Mississippi River Trail is hundreds of miles long – I can run mindlessly for 5 miles, then turn around and run mindlessly for 5 more miles. NOPE. I was thwarted by a road and trail closure only 3 miles in, and had to run around the Lilydale trails and Harriet Island (again) in a stiff and miserable wind in order to get the planned 10 miles in. So I was cowardly and ran on the treadmill on Sunday.

The week of April 2nd was so depressingly cold. I traveled to Missouri for work, and mistakenly thought it would be decent out. It was not. I ran on the hotel treadmill Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday, I didn’t run, but I did walk around the Mississippi riverfront in St. Louis before my late afternoon flight. Thursday, I had the day off for the Frozen Four semifinals (which were after working hours, but I knew I’d be too nervous to work), so I had time to run a longer treadmill run, then I walked around St. Paul and also spent lots of time jumping around and cheering and also raised my heartrate through sheer panic. UMD won and made it to the finals! Friday the high temperature was below 30 F, so it was amazing I did anything at all. I worked half a day, had lunch with friends at a Russian restaurant, ran on the treadmill, and then went to the grand opening of my friend’s 9 Round Fitness franchise. I want to join, because it seems like a good cross-training opportunity for me, but it’s too far away! Saturday was the NCAA championship game, I ran 3.5 miles on the treadmill (I planned to do more, and then didn’t), and then walked around St. Paul quite a bit, and then cheered and screamed and literally raised my heart rate to 110 bpm while sitting quietly in my seat because I was so nervous, and UMD won the national championship and life was grand. Sunday was a rest day, because obviously.

Zumbro 50 starts in 5.5 hours, and I am so glad I’m not racing it. It’s cold and dreary and the driving post-race is going to be atrocious – we’re going to get dumped on with snow. Plus the added pressure of a 50 mile race during my downtrodden winter training would have been crushing. I think I’ll be ready, with my imperfect training, to take on Chippewa Moraine, but I would in no way have been ready for Zumbro, even if the race day weather had been perfect. There’s always next year.