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.)

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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.

Chippewa Moraine 50K Training: Weeks 11-12

Wait, I’m running an ultra next month?

Monday (3/5):
 7.2 mi, treadmill
Tuesday: 6.1 mi, treadmill
Wednesday: 6.8 mi, treadmill
Thursday: rest
Friday: rest (sick)
Saturday: 5.7 mi, treadmill walk
Sunday: 5.8 mi, treadmill walk
Total: 31.6 mi

Monday (3/12): rest
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: rest
Friday: 3.2 mi, treadmill
Saturday: 2.5 mi, treadmill
Sunday: rest
Total: 5.7 mi

A lot happened. I ended up getting a cold, which wasn’t great, but it wasn’t so bad that I was bedridden. I consider this a massive improvement over the colds I used to get. I walked on Saturday and Sunday of week 11 just to keep my legs going, since I knew that I wasn’t going to do much the next week.

Monday of week 12, the movers arrived to start packing up my house. I got in 10,000 steps just dealing with packing stuff and cleaning and preparing to move. I slept really poorly Sunday night, so my plan to work out after the movers left on Monday didn’t come to fruition.

Tuesday, the movers loaded all the stuff onto their truck, my husband and I cleaned up the house we were renting in Duluth, and then we loaded the last few things, plus our cats, into our cars and drove down to St. Paul. Another exhausting day.

Wednesday, the movers showed up with all of our stuff, and then we started unpacking. Thursday, my husband worked and I tried to do some unpacking, but it’s sort of a puzzle, or like untangling a thread. In order to unpack this box, I need to unpack that one, and in order to unpack that one, I need to figure out where the bookshelf is going to go, and so on. Or I can’t unpack this box because I don’t have a bar in my closet to hang stuff.

Friday I finally worked out for awhile! It felt strange. I ran on the treadmill, which is now in my living room (we couldn’t get it downstairs) and on a wood floor, so it’s a bit noisier. (Well, it’s on a mat on a wood floor.) Then I went to two hockey games and walked all over downtown St. Paul. Saturday I did an even shorter workout, chilled with my nephew for a bit, and then went to two more hockey games and walked all over downtown St. Paul. Sunday I went to a baby shower and didn’t get up in time to buy a gift and drive across town to the shower, so I didn’t run.

So now I’m in a new city with a new role, a longer commute, and no tried-and-true running routes (but plenty to discover!). I’m trying to get back to normal, but it might take awhile to get back into a groove. Warmer weather should help, if that ever comes. Today is the vernal equinox, so of course it snowed. Ha!

Chippewa Moraine 50K Training: Weeks 7-9

I’m in survival mode right now, which has resulted in a lot of treadmill running and not much other stuff. I’m moving in a couple weeks and have a lot of other stuff to take care of on top of training.

Monday (2/5): 7.9 mi, treadmill
Tuesday: 6 mi, treadmill hill workout
Wednesday: 5.6 mi, treadmill
Thursday: 8.1 mi, treadmill
Friday: rest
Saturday: 8.4 mi, trail (Hartley)
Sunday: 16.1 mi, trail (Munger)
Total: 52.1 mi

Ever have a training run that feels as amazing as a race? That was me on that 16.1 mile run on the Munger trail. I was flying at the end, even after suffering through some bitterly cold winds in the last 5 miles.

Monday (2/12): 6.2 mi, treadmill
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 6.2 mi, pavement (Lakewalk), fartlek
Thursday: 7 mi, road (Minnesota Point)
Friday: rest (I closed on my house this day!)
Saturday: 8.7 mi, trail (Hartley)
Sunday: 8.3 (3.1 & 5.2) mi, treadmill
Total: 36.4 mi

This was a planned cutback week, although I intended to run more on Sunday. I planned to run outside on Sunday (or do a split indoor/outdoor), but then decided against it due to the snow (it snowed Sunday-Tuesday), and then I ended up with a shorter run than planned since my stomach was acting up a bit. The weather was fairly balmy Wednesday and Thursday, so I was able to get outside and run. I’ve been carrying a head lamp in my pocket and putting it on if needed, but it’s so pleasant to have more daylight.

Monday (2/19): 7.9 mi, treadmill
Tuesday: 8.3 (2.7 & 5.6) mi, treadmill
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: 5.6 mi, treadmill
Friday: 8.1 mi, treadmill
Saturday: rest
Sunday: 2.5 mi, treadmill
Total: 32.4 mi

This last week ended up being an unintentional cutback week. I knew that due to snow, we’d have to make a weekend trip down to check on our new house and to shovel the sidewalks there, so I tried to front-load my week as much as I could. Wednesday I had dinner with friends, so I knew that would be a rest day. Thursday was brutal. I’d stayed up extremely late watching USA win the gold in women’s hockey, and couldn’t fall asleep after due to the adrenaline and excitement. I slept poorly and was a zombie at work all day, but I still managed to get in a workout. Hooray for me. Friday I stayed up even later watching USA win the gold in curling, and there was no chance for a workout the next morning. Saturday I drove down to shovel the sidewalks at our new house, and then got a few things done there. I stayed overnight due to the weather, shoveled again at the new house, did a few other things to prep for the move, then drove back to Duluth to shovel at our current place. I was glad to get any miles in at all on Sunday.

Other than shoveling, I haven’t been doing much strength. Maybe some push-ups or planks here and there. I need to get back into that, but at the same time, I’m in survival mode, so I’m trying not to wear myself down. Since I’m a master procrastinator, what I should do is start my strength routine while I’m in procrastination mode (specifically on the weekends), instead of waiting til after the workout is done, when it’s dinner time, or when I get home from a run and I’m chilly from wearing damp, sweaty clothes. I am dreaming of the balmy spring days just around the corner, when the temperature doesn’t sap my energy.

Now that the Olympics are over (I devoured as much Olympics content as I could, sometimes watching a TV feed of one event and a stream of another), I have a bit more flexibility with my running. And maybe I need to wax up my cross-country skis and get out on the trails in this fresh snow…

UMD women’s hockey is also done for the season, so that frees up a little more of my time. Trying to get a run in before an afternoon hockey game was kind of a pain in the butt. Ugh, the amount of time and mental energy I expend procrastinating my runs is really starting to add up. Sometimes I spend more time procrastinating than the actual run takes. It’s a vicious cycle that I need to find a way to escape. It’s extra vicious in winter, so I know it’ll resolve itself in a few weeks, but avoiding that entirely next winter would be nice. Maybe next winter I’ll be so much faster that my runs won’t seem so onerous. Hahahahahaha.

Great news, though: I signed up for FANS 24 hour again. Game on. Never mind that I’m in a mental mindset right now where I can’t imagine racing – that’ll pass. At least, it had better pass, as I have a race (Hot Dash 10 mi) in less than a month!

Chippewa Moraine 50K Training: Week 6

I finally chose a race! Since Zumbro 50 filled under my nose (the Ultrasignup notification didn’t work correctly, probably due to user error), I had to pick another race. I thought about doing Trail Mix, but the cutoff is 8 hours (and the 4th loop has to be started before 6 hours elapsed), which is faster than my current PR. Of course, I signed up for Chippewa Moraine last year knowing that the cutoff was faster than my 50K PR at the time, but I decided not to risk it 2 years in a row. Also, I like the out-and-back nature of CM50K better than 4 loops at Trail Mix, and I really enjoyed the Ice Age Trail. I’m looking forward to a big improvement in time this year – provided I can keep the sweat and sunscreen out of my eyes.

Monday: 7 mi, treadmill
Tuesday: 6 mi, treadmill hill workout
Wednesday: 6.5 mi, treadmill
Thursday: rest
Friday: 5.6 mi, treadmill speed workout (10 x 0.25 mi)
Saturday: 11.2 mi, treadmill (split into 8 mi and 3.2 mi)
Sunday: 13.8 mi, trail/road/treadmill (7.5 on the snowy Lakewalk & London Road, 6.3 treadmill)
Total: 50.1

Holy crap last week sucked. I am so bored of the treadmill. It’s really hard to get motivated to get on it after I get home from work… then I end up working out later than planned due to my procrastination, so then I have no time to do strength training before dinner… whoops. But that’s how January and February work. I endure, and no more.

I thought I was going to make this week a cutback week, and I didn’t! I’m glad of it. I didn’t do a long run, but instead did 2 medium-mileage days back to back on the weekend. It’s not quite the same when the runs are split up, but 1. the treadmill only runs for 99:59 at a time and 2. who cares? I still need to do some long runs, but those are going to have to wait until it’s warmer. I’ve got more time now that I’m doing a later race, and I am running a shorter ultra, so I won’t have to worry as much about not getting long enough long runs for a 50 miler.

I managed to get out on Sunday. I was planning to run outside on Saturday, too, but it was snowing and 10F so I decided against it. Sunday was even colder, but it wasn’t snowing, and I didn’t realize it was windy until it was too late. It was rough, running into the wind on the way back. My poor face. It was worth it just to mix things up, especially since this upcoming week doesn’t look any better.

I’m interested to see how a higher mileage training cycle will affect me at CM50K. Of course, I still have several weeks to go, so a lot could happen, but I decided not to cut back my mileage to the low 40s (what I typically strive for in a 50K training cycle) despite changing my goal race distance. I hope this leads to an improved time! Also, I want to celebrate making it through the entire month of January without an unplanned rest day and without illness! (Knock on wood!) The previous 2 years, I have spent several days out with illness in January and/or February, so now I just need to stay healthy through February!

Racing Update

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

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

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

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

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