2019 Running Goals

Another year, another chance to set myself up for three seasons of successful, enjoyable, purposeful running. I leave my more practical goals for the beginning of each season (Mar-May = spring, June-Aug = summer, Sep-Nov = fall, and I don’t set goals for winter) and instead let my year long goals be more holistic.

  1. 2019 mileage > 2018 mileage
    This is an obvious goal. One day I’ll stop setting this as a goal as I think I’ll reach a point where there are diminishing returns for additional mileage, but I know I’m nowhere near that point.
  2. Do 100 pushups/day
    I keep saying I need to do strength training and keep failing to do it. This is a good way to do something measurable and achievable to jump start that initiative. My friend Jeff had an amazing year of running last year, and he did at least 100 pushups a day, even during FANS when he was 3rd overall in the 24 hour race! So why wouldn’t it work for me, too? Look for me to be winning races left and right thanks to pushups.
  3. Run more new races/courses than old ones.
    I have been running a lot of the same races (Superior, Be the Match, Chippewa Moraine, FANS), and it’s time to branch out and try some new things. Be the Match 5K has ended, so that’s out, and I didn’t enter the lottery for either Superior Spring or Fall. I’ll still head up in September for the big party, but as a volunteer only. I’m still doing FANS and Twin Cities Marathon, so I’ll have some repeats. I’m doing Zumbro 50, so that counts as a new race even if it’s not a new course.
  4. My highest category of training mileage will not be treadmill mileage.
    Last year, 42% of my workouts were treadmill workouts! 34% of my mileage was treadmill mileage, so if I made it out the door, the run was probably longer. It’s cold sometimes. It rains sometimes. I travel to places that aren’t great for running. The treadmill is convenient. But as a trail runner, I can’t have nearly half of my workouts be indoors.
  5. Start taking a multivitamin.
    I am not a “clean” eater. I’m totally fine with that. I don’t want to be the type of person who refers to food by its macronutrient type. While I’m working on making incremental improvements to my food choices, I want to make sure I’m supplementing those efforts with the right micronutrients.
  6. Volunteer at a race that isn’t put on by Rocksteady Running.
    I love RSR, I love supporting their events, and I will continue to volunteer at them, but I need to support other events as well! There are so many races in the area that need volunteer support, and I want to spread that love around a little more.
  7. Go for a run in every county in MN.
    This is a multi-year goal I’m starting today (that is retroactive). It’s a bit of an homage to Gary “Lazarus Lake” Cantrell, except I’m not planning to run across every county.

Now that I have some direction, I can go out and start executing. Since my abs and chest muscles are killing me today, I can tell the push-ups challenge is going to be a good one… eventually.

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2018 Goals Revisited

I got my last run of 2018 in this afternoon. It was pretty miserable – 4.9 miles in stinging snow, but it was also kind of lovely. And I was proud of myself for getting out there even though it was already snowing when I left.

At the beginning of 2018, I laid out a couple of goals for the year:

I wanted to take more planned rest breaks. I took one planned rest break after FANS, but the rest were unplanned and due to either illness or my move. I have to stop getting sick, because I love planned rest breaks that are there for no reason but my own sanity!

I wanted to run more miles than I did in 2017. I ran 1689 miles this year, vs. 1706 in 2017. That’s 17 fewer miles, which is both frustrating and fine. I came so close! If not for my illnesses in December, I’d have made it. Just 3 or 4 more days of running! But at the same time, it’s not like I missed it by a lot and I took a huge step back in my running. So that makes it not a huge deal. It’s like a third of a mile per week, so it’s virtually the same outcome. I’m still not going to say I made my goal, but I’m not going to fret too much over it. I will note I took 24 fewer rest days in 2018, so my miles per run went down. That’s probably more concerning – I didn’t do nearly as many long runs as I should have in my various training cycles. Something to fix in ’19.

I wanted to reach the 1000 mile mark sooner than in 2017. I did this on July 20th, which was 11 days sooner than 2017. I achieved this on the treadmill, which is apropos for this year and will need to be addressed in next year’s goals.

I wanted to go outside every day with intention. I did this 284/365 days, for about 78% achievement. So a C+, which is about what I deserve. Some of the days were pretty simple, just stepping outside to look at the stars or let my cat run around on the porch for awhile. Other days were races, or hikes, or long days hanging out on the lake. But this also means that 81 days, I did absolutely nothing outside beyond walking to/from my car to get to work or wherever else I was going. And a few of those days, I likely did not even leave the house! That’s probably bad.

I wanted to turn strength training into a habit and track my spending. I didn’t do either.

I wanted to spend more time with other runners. I think I did ok at this, although I did no group runs. I volunteered a lot more so I made new friends that way, which was perfect. All my running friends are people I’ve met volunteering.

2018 was a pretty darn good year for me! I ran my fastest and slowest marathons. I set a distance personal best at FANS. I ran personal bests in the half marathon and 5K. I finally beat 4 hours in the Superior Spring 25K. I volunteered at both the spring and fall Superior races as well as 3/4 of the Endless Summer Trail Run Series. I made new friends and strengthened my existing friendships. I found a lot of neat new places to run in my new home of St. Paul. I ran in sweltering and frigid temps. I tried and failed at a run streak. I raced the fewest races since 2015, and DNS the most ever (Hot Dash, Women Rock Half, Surf the Murph, is that it?).

The actual running season in 2019 still feels so far off. It’s going to get cold soon (well, tomorrow is going to be awful, but then it’ll warm back up for a bit), just in time for me to start needing lots of mileage in preparation for a big spring season. I’m hoping for a real spring this time, not an extended, snowy winter, spring barely jammed in, and then a short but sweltering summer, leading into a cold autumn. I don’t even know if that’s really what the year was, but it is my perception of it right now.

Happy new year, and best of luck in reaching all of your big and small goals in the coming year!

Idle Feet

I’m really bored and unfocused with my running lately. The days are shortening, and the weather is getting colder. Over the weekend it was so cold! In the low 20s/high teens (F, of course. What I wouldn’t give for some 20 C weather…) I just got back from Duluth and instead of running on one of my favorite trails, I ran on the hotel treadmill. I guess I didn’t look at the weather closely enough, and packed clothes that might be acceptable for a run in near-freezing temps, but not 15 degrees colder and windy. Whoops.

In order to try to bring some excitement back into my running, I went out and spent a bunch of money on races. Ugh.

I’m probably going to race 2 more times in 2018, we’ll see. I signed up for the Mustache Run half marathon in 2 weeks. I’m not really training for it, just hoping to capitalize on my residual training from the Twin Cities Marathon (that was only a month ago??). I’m also well-rested from lower mileage and additional rest days. I think it’ll be fun, as long as the weather isn’t awful. I saw a very early forecast and it called for light rain in the morning. No thank you. Obviously anything would be a half marathon PR, as my current one (3:51:24) is from the Harder n Hell Half in 2015.

I hate road races – they’re so freaking expensive! Although I think I could have saved some money by signing up sooner. It was like $80 though! I had better get a gold-plated finisher’s medal.

I also signed up for Zumbro 50, which cost $90 – much better cost per mile than the Mustache Run. (Although I’ll also have travel and lodging costs so that is misleading.) Last year, I waited too long to sign up and it filled. I was somewhat bummed but also wasn’t sure I was ready to run it, and I’m also really glad I didn’t sign up because it ended up being terribly snowy, and I would not have been prepared for that. Now I know that I’m capable of it. I ran 42 miles in 13 hours at FANS, for crying out loud. I keep having to remind myself of that when I get scared of these 50 milers. Not only did I complete 42 miles in 13 hours, but a lot of that was walking/limping due to my poor foot.

Speaking of FANS, I also signed up for the 24 hour race again. I can’t help it – I love this race so much. I keep having disappointing results there, but I keep coming back for more. This coming year, I think things will be better. I’m planning to set up my tent with friends this time, so I’ll have a fun camp and that will mean my husband/my dad won’t be sitting by my tent alone while crewing me, bored out of their minds. FANS doesn’t fill and the price increase isn’t until April, but I signed up anyway. I guess that’s less money I have to worry about paying later?

The only downside right now is that Zumbro is the same weekend as the Frozen Four in Buffalo. Obviously I have no idea if I’ll be there or not, but the Bulldogs are having a great season! I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it, I guess.

Now all that’s left is to get back into the groove of winter running. I’m not really excited about it, and it feels like I barely had any decent running weather at all in 2018 (it seems like it went from cold to blazing hot and back to cold), but I also know that this current cold snap is making it feel a little more difficult. Once it’s back to more normal temps next week, of course my crappy attitude will magically dissipate!

DNS: Surf the Murph

Oh, look. Another race I didn’t start.

I decided at about 1 am, when I was still wide awake, that I would not start the race. I am so incredibly sick of running races on 1 or 2 hours of sleep, but I don’t know how to fix it. I went to bed at about 8:30 last night, and tried to relax. But that same anxiety gripped me and my heart rate was way too high and I could not get my mind to turn off. It doesn’t help that in addition to worrying about the race, I’ve had a lot to worry about at work as well. So, knowing that I had to get up at about 2 or 2:15 AM in order to get ready for the start, I decided at about 1:05 that I would not be running the race.

I feel pretty defeated that once again, I’m sidelined or slowed by a lack of sleep. It doesn’t seem to ever get any better.

The more I thought about it (because I couldn’t fall back asleep after I decided not to run — I probably didn’t fall asleep until 3:00), the more I realized that this was an overall stupid idea. I signed up for this race impulsively – I was thinking about doing it and then signed up for certain when I was in a funk after having a bad race at Superior. My mileage has been fairly low (below 40 miles/week) for this whole training cycle, and I’ve been sick off and on thanks to the changing weather. I haven’t done any long runs (besides Twin Cities Marathon), I haven’t done any night running (and I’d be starting and ending in the dark), I haven’t done any practice with trekking poles (which I planned to use), and I didn’t do nearly enough logistics planning (I was planning to drive myself home after the race – probably not safe). I wasn’t ready for this race and I really need to stop pretending I’m one of those Type Z runners who can sign up for a race on a whim and just waltz their way onto the course.

I feel pretty embarrassed that I’m not running this race, but embarrassment is not a reason to run a race I’m ill-prepared for in countless ways. I’m disappointed about the opportunity costs of entering this race – I missed out on a hockey weekend in Duluth, I missed out on options to run several shorter races like Wild Duluth, or the new Loppet Loppet race, or even a shorter distance at Surf the Murph. I feel guilty that I’m wasting money on races I don’t run.

I need to remind myself that I ran 2 marathons in a month’s time, and that’s kind of a lot for people who aren’t, like, Killian Jornet. And I am not him. I need to focus on enjoying running again, staying healthy, avoiding burnout, and celebrating the successes I’ve had. I’m going to head out for a shorter run today instead, and try to shake off any lingering feelings of frustration or disappointment in myself. I run for enjoyment, and I need to keep that in the forefront of my mind during setbacks or screw-ups. I run with a smile — even when I’m smiling to suppress my gag reflex.

Surf the Murph 50 Goals

Oh man this race. I am basically not ready for it. That’s all I’ve got to say. It’s 6 PM and the race starts at 4 AM. I’ve sort of gotten my stuff together but I just… I don’t know. I’ve gone the entire two weeks since the Twin Cities Marathon ignoring what’s coming. Of course this is of my own making but whatever.

I’m hoping to get a few hours of sleep, but I don’t know. This is probably completely crazy. I have no idea what I’m in for. Although that’s somewhat ridiculous to say, considering 4 months ago I ran 42 miles. This is only 8 more. I’m just scared, mostly scared that I don’t have the toughness to get it done. It’ll be fine.

A Standard: 14:00
B Standard: 15:00
C Standard: 15:45

Let’s see what happens.

Summer 2018 Running Goals Revisited

Summer is “over,” let’s see how it went for me.

  1. Distance personal best.
    I ran 42.3 miles at FANS, which I knew before I even wrote the original goals post.
  2. “Unofficial” marathon personal best.
    I calculated my unofficial marathon PR at 6:58:32, also achieved at FANS.
  3. “Unofficial” 50K personal best.
    Nope.
  4. Check out the Endless Summer Trail Races
    I volunteered for 3 of the 4 races, doing various fun things like checking IDs and putting wristbands on people who wanted to drink post-race, standing underneath the time clock so no one ran into it (success! though it was close a few times), marking pizza boxes, and directing people the correct way into the finishers’ chute (moderate success). I enjoyed volunteering, and considering how hot it was for 2 of the 3 races, I am glad I wasn’t running! Although there are great raffle prizes for runners…
  5. Legitimize my 5K PR.
    I didn’t end up doing this. I raced one 5K this summer and finished in 29:29, which was a best for that course, and it was after not running for 2 weeks, so I’ll take it.
  6. Race a new distance.
    I signed up for a half marathon (I counted this as a new distance because I have only run a trail half, and this was a road race) but ended up sick and DNS.

Yeesh. Only 50% of achievements unlocked, that’s not great. But that’s ok, those goals can live to fight another day, and I can enjoy the accomplishments I did have. I forgot to add on here that one of my goals was to run from home to the state capitol building, and I did that! It was kind of neat to run through downtown St. Paul. I found all kinds of cool buildings and nooks and crannies around town – I need to do more exploring! (I just went back and edited my fall running goals post!)

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!