Zumbro 17 Training: Week 8

Ok I’m running again, hooray.

Monday: rest
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: rest
Friday: 5.3 mi, road, 137 bpm
Saturday: 6.4 mi, trail (Hartley Root Canal & Guardrail), 139 bpm
Sunday: 9.4 mi, trail (SHT, Twin Ponds to Haines Road & back), 147 bpm
Total: 21.1 mi

Thursday I finally made a breakthrough in my cold/whatever was wrong with me. I was able to breathe deeply without feeling like coughing, and I no longer felt sluggish physically and mentally. I haven’t shaken this illness completely, but I felt on Friday like I was at a point where I could run again without setting my recovery back. It was warm enough to run without a boatload of layers, so I had to take the opportunity.

I had a few wonky heart rate issues while running on Friday, although some of them were periods where my heart rate was too low, and others where it was spiking while going slowly on a downhill, so I think there was a bit of an issue with the monitor. I’ve definitely lost some fitness.

Saturday was incredibly warm for March. It was 65F while I was out at Hartley, and I was running in a t-shirt and wishing I’d also worn shorts. Unfortunately, it wasn’t warm enough in the shaded areas of the trail, and it was incredibly icy in some areas of the Root Canal path. I was extremely cautious and managed to only fall once, and I was already hanging on to a tree, so I was able to prevent a crash. Both feet slid out from under me though, so I was clinging to the tree trunk for dear life for a moment. The Fisherman path was so icy that a guy who had passed me earlier decided to turn around rather than try to traverse it, and this guy was a pretty serious-looking runner. He was even carrying soup cans as hand weights. Fortunately, the Rhamnus trail also leads to the Guardrail trail, and that was snowy, but manageable, so I was able to get my mileage in. It was slow, again, but the soft snow was definitely a factor.

It didn’t get below freezing on Saturday night, so I decided to take a chance on running some of the city portion of the Superior Hiking Trail. I started at Twin Ponds and ran until I reached Haines Road. I turned around a little early because I didn’t want to take the steep climb on the other side of Haines Road, so I didn’t hit my planned 10 miles. I don’t care, it was worth it to skip that climb. The trail wasn’t icy, but it had some soft snow and a lot of mud, standing water, and running water. The trail itself had turned into a stream in a few points. I did my very best to be a responsible trail runner, sticking to the trail and just suffering with wet and muddy feet, rather than trying to get around muddier spots and widening the trail, causing further damage. I was pretty worn out on the climbs, and I think I only ended up with 2 of the 9 miles under 20 minute pace. I wish I knew how much of that could be attributed to my own conditioning and how much was due to the trail conditions. It would do a lot for my confidence, which is low right now. I completely gave up on trying to manage my heart rate after awhile. I guess another round of MAF training is in order, with more of a trail focus. I told myself it was more like a race effort! But really I was justifying cheating on my training. Let me tell you, it was incredibly depressing to see my heart rate spiking while going at incredibly slow paces.

I got into the Moose Mountain Marathon via the lottery, so I am pretty pumped about that, and I also got my volunteer assignment for Zumbro. I will be helping in the timing area on Friday night. I don’t know what that entails, because I don’t think anyone will be finishing during the time I’ll be assisting (course record is 18 hours, and I’ll be done 14 hours in), but the start/finish area is also an aid station since this is a looped course (6 loops for 100 milers, 3 for the 50s), so maybe we record in/out times at the aid station? I don’t know, I’m just glad to be of service.

Zumbro 17 Training: Weeks 6 and 7

I haven’t run in 15 days.

This stretches back to before my vacation. I ran Monday (2/22) and Tuesday (2/23) of that week, for about 10 miles total (Bagley on Monday night, treadmill on Tuesday), but on Tuesday I noticed my heart rate was more rapid at my normal paces, and I kept feeling like I needed to cough. Knowing I was going to be on a plane on Thursday, I rested Wednesday and felt ok.

Florida was amazing, although it wasn’t exceptionally warm. It was warm enough and sunny enough, but it wasn’t 80 degrees and tropical. I slept poorly and woke up early every day, so I didn’t want to tire myself out further with exercising. I maximized my family time. I suppose I did get some exercise in, in the form of an aggressive game of… I’m not sure what, basically bopping a beach ball around in the pool. It doesn’t have a name yet, the sport is too new.

I returned to Duluth on Monday (2/29), and woke up in the middle of the night because I couldn’t take a deep breath without my lungs trying to cough. I spent the next 2 days working my abs by coughing up a storm. I still haven’t been able to fully shake whatever is wrong with me. Basically just a lot of crap in my lungs. Of course, another plane trip to Calgary for work, with its already dry air exacerbated by the stuffiness of my (otherwise lovely) hotel room, ended up setting me back a lot in recovery.

I am not going to push myself to get back to running, but I really do hope that I can return to running either this weekend or next week. I’ve been very fortunate that I have had no other symptoms (other than tiredness, but that’s to be expected since I’ve been traveling and my lungs are full of crap, so my pulmonary system isn’t working efficiently), but until I can take true, cleansing, deep breaths without feeling like I need to cough, I won’t run.

Zumbro isn’t a goal race, although I did have high hopes for an improvement in overall pacing. The 17 mile race has a nice generous cutoff time, thanks to the 50 and 100 milers, so even if I’m not in perfect shape, I should be able to finish it, even with, say, 2.5 weeks off. I’m just disappointed by the length of this illness.

I may decide to make a new training calendar, focused on the Superior Spring 25K, in order to change my mindset a little. I wish I was running (especially after my friend, visiting last weekend and also training for Zumbro, had a great trail run on the SHT), but at the same time because I feel crappy, I also lack enthusiasm for running. I lack enthusiasm for most things, actually.

I did enter the lottery for the Moose Mountain Marathon in September, though! Because I do know that my ennui will fade as my health improves.

Zumbro 17 Training: Week 5

A step backward, but a small one.

Monday: rest (sick)
Tuesday: 5 mi, treadmill, 134 bpm
Wednesday: 4.5 mi, treadmill (including 15 min @ 15% incline), 135 bpm
Thursday: rest (sick)
Friday: 2.5 mi, treadmill, 133 bpm (quit early)
Saturday: 6.4 mi, trail (Hartley), 139 bpm
Sunday: 12.3 mi, road, 136 bpm
Total: 30.7 mi

I wanted to be at 33 miles this week, so I was three miles low, but considering I wasn’t feeling well half the week, I am surprised I still made 30 miles. I wasn’t really sick sick. I actually think most of my issues stemmed from dehydration/uneven hydration. I drink a decent amount of water, but I am not hydrating evenly throughout the day. I made some small changes in my diet, cutting down to one (12 oz) cup of coffee a day and eating a yogurt (full-fat Greek) every day. I still eat like crap, but now slightly less like crap. For now.

Friday I was hoping to do a much longer run, but my heart rate wasn’t cooperating. It was elevated even at lower paces than I normally run, and I was tired and had a headache, so I quit early. I was just running on the treadmill, so I didn’t feel badly about quitting.

Saturday I finally got outside again. It was probably warm enough to go out earlier in the week, but I had wanted to stick close to home, plus I didn’t feel the sidewalks were safe enough for road running at night. I did a Root Cellar > Fisherman > Guardrail lollipop loop at Hartley Saturday afternoon. It started out great, I was feeling fantastic and able to keep my heart rate under control. Then I hit the hills of Guardrail and started having trouble with my heart rate. All the treadmill training I’ve been doing lately has taken its toll. It didn’t help that the snow was soft, so every time I stepped even slightly off the narrow portion of the trail that was packed, I was crunching through the snow. It was jarring and also resulted in a loss of energy due to the inelastic collision between my foot and the snow, which made me have to work harder.

Saturday I also went home after running and bought a car. It has no power steering, is leaking radiator fluid, the heater recently took to intermittently working, and it takes several tries to get it started, but I finally reached my limit when my car nearly overheated in the three miles it took to drive from my house to Hartley, even after adding radiator fluid only a few days earlier. It’s not an expense I wanted to have, but there was no reason to throw more money at a ’99 Pontiac with a rusted-out chassis and large chunks of bumper missing. I ate a granola bar after running and showering, but I probably should have had something more substantial as I started to get a little desperate for food at the dealer.

Sunday I did 12 miles on the road. I haven’t replaced my shoe chains yet, and it was quite an adventure. I was concerned about pulling a muscle as the sidewalks were very icy and I slipped several times. I didn’t fall, but I did wrench myself into some awkward positions trying to stay upright. The camber of the sidewalks, especially as I ran over the ends of driveways, made it extremely dangerous, as a slip would have sent me into oncoming traffic. Exciting! I ate one energy bar during the run and finished almost an entire water bottle, thanks to my new attentiveness to hydration. It snowed the whole time, which was both nice (beautiful, I live in a snow globe, la la la) and crappy (slippery, soaking gloves made my hands cold).

This upcoming week is a cutback week, as I’m going on vacation and don’t want to do a long run. We are celebrating my grandma’s 90th birthday, and I don’t want to take 3-4 hours for a long run in the middle of a family reunion. We’ll be in Florida so I won’t be used to the heat/humidity (although it won’t be too warm, I really mean that relatively), so it’s best to just keep to some short/mid-length runs. And if I don’t run, I don’t run, although I really do want to take maximum advantage of the opportunity to run outdoors in just a t-shirt and shorts!


Now 33.33333% of the way there! With excessive significant figures.

Monday: 5 mi, treadmill, 137 bpm
Tuesday: rest (I went to a hockey game and pigged out on the world’s largest carrot cake serving from Bellisio’s, It’s more like 6-8 servings, and delicious.)
Wednesday: 4.5 mi, treadmill, 134 bpm
Thursday: 6.06 mi, treadmill, 137 bpm
Friday: rest
Saturday: 6.06 mi, treadmill, 139 bpm
Sunday: 11.1 mi, road/paved trail (Minnesota Point & lower Lakewalk), 138 bpm
Total: 32.7 mi

Hooray! Another great training week. I still managed an increase in mileage, despite taking two rest days. My workouts are really boring lately, because it’s been a lot of treadmill work, and they’re all done at MAF threshold, so there’s no variety. It’s warming up again, so that should change.

Thursday and Saturday I ran til the treadmill ran out of time, or as close to it as possible. Saturday’s HR was a little higher for some unknown reason.

Sunday’s long run was the first double-digit run of the year for me. It was ok. It wasn’t as warm as I would have liked, and it was icy in a lot of spots. My heart rate was all over the place due to the cold and wind. A week ago, I did 9.4 miles at 16:07 pace with an average HR of 135 bpm, and that included a very deliberate 2 mile warm-up and 2+ mile cool-down which involved walking. Sunday I did fewer than 2 miles additional distance, with less walking to warm up and basically zero cool-down, but at at 16:51 pace and a HR of 138 bpm. Granted, I did the 11 mile workout a day after a 6 mile workout, rather than after a rest day like the 9 miler, but it just goes to show how much of a factor the weather is when running by heart rate.

I smeared Vaseline (hey, free advertising for them!) all over my face in an attempt to stave off frostbite. I didn’t feel like it did all that much. Not running into the wind did more. My hands were really cold from carrying my water bottle. It’s not insulated, so the cold water was chilling my hands, and I had to keep switching back and forth. I ate an energy bar in increments at Mile 5, 6, and 7, and then I ditched my water bottle at my car at mile 7.5. I had to in order to keep from completely freezing my hands. I need some better gloves/mittens still, because once again they were red and puffy at the end of the run and I had to sit in my car for awhile with the heat going until I regained enough dexterity to drive.

It was a bit risky to toss the water bottle, not because I was thirsty, but because I didn’t bring along the other energy bar I’d stored in my car aid station. I suppose I could have grabbed just the bar, but I didn’t want to risk it falling out of my pocket. I took a big swig of vanilla Coke before I left the car, and that was all the food I had for the next hour. Because I am slow, I have to be really careful about eating on many of my runs. Most people wouldn’t have to worry about a bonk on an 11 mile run, but most people aren’t running as slowly as I am. It ended up being ok but I probably could have used a bite or two to eat. Once I got back to the car I didn’t feel like eating but drank some more pop. It’s not that much worse than sports drinks, right? Whatever, I like pop, IDGAF. I am going to make sure I have a bottle of vanilla Coke in my car for after Zumbro. I will drink it in my hotel sitting in the in-room whirlpool tub, trying to warm up.

I ran 17 miles between Saturday and Sunday. It took 4 hours, 47 minutes. I think that might bode well for me to race under 5 hours at Zumbro. First of all, it’s 16.7 miles, not actually 17. While it won’t be on a treadmill and won’t be on flat road, it will also (I hope) not be 18 degrees and windy, and I won’t be restricting myself to a heart rate of 142 bpm (though I won’t be going wild and letting it skyrocket, either), so I am kind of hoping I’m on the right track here. Plus there’s 8 more weeks of training coming (6 more that really matter, since it takes awhile for fitness to take hold, or so I hear).


25% of the way there! Holy crap.

Monday: 5.3 mi, road, 136 bpm
Tuesday: 4.5 mi, treadmill, UMTR hill challenge, 136 bpm
Wednesday: 6 mi, treadmill, 137 bpm
Thursday: 3 mi, treadmill, 134 bpm
Friday: rest
Saturday: 9.4 mi, road, MAF test, 135 bpm
Sunday: 3.4 mi, paved trail (lower Lakewalk), 134 bpm
Total: 31.5 mi

Another great week. I literally cannot remember anything about Monday’s run, so it must have been boring.

Tuesday I ran the UMTR hill challenge, which I’m not officially registered for, but I’ve already run twice now (first time in week 1). There are two separate treadmill challenges: the first is 15 minutes at 15% incline, which official participants are doing 3 times, so I will also. The second is a “Leadville Hill” challenge, which is 3 miles at 15% incline. That’ll be the final one, I guess. The first time, I did 0.71 miles in 15 minutes, and this past week, I did 0.65 miles in 15 minutes, both while doing my best to stay under my goal heart rate of 142 bpm. I was disappointed to cover a shorter “distance” in my second challenge, but it’s not that big of a deal.

Wednesday and Thursday were general treadmill runs of no consequence. Friday I enjoyed my rest day and went to a men’s hockey game. Saturday was the MAF test as previously discussed.

Sunday was not good. I was planning on doing 4.6 miles, but I felt off the whole time I was running. My heart rate was kinda funky, and I felt strange. I thought I was dizzy or light-headed, but then wasn’t having and vision or equilibrium problems. I also thought maybe I was nauseated, but I wasn’t. I maybe had a little bit of heartburn, I guess, but my stomach wasn’t upset. I felt so strange that I ended up abruptly turning around at 1.71 miles (I was looking down at my watch so I know this for certain) and walking most of the way back. It was cold and windy, and I felt a bit under-dressed even though I was wearing the same stuff I normally wear.

This upcoming week is going to be COLD, so I guess I’ll be hitting the treadmill for most of my workouts. That is so depressing.

Zumbro 17 Training: Week 2

Back on track!

Monday: 5.6 mi, paved trail (lower Lakewalk), 135 bpm
Tuesday: 4.4 mi, 4x Bagley hill, 139 bpm
Wednesday: kind of a rest day
Thursday: 5.3 mi, paved trail (upper Lakewalk), unknown bpm
Friday: rest
Saturday: 6.6 mi, trail (Jay Cooke), 140 bpm
Sunday: 8.4 mi, trail (Munger Trail from Jay Cooke), 138 bpm
Total: 30.3 mi

This week was a heck of a lot better than last week. I mean, obviously. I ran almost twice as much. It still had its ups and downs.

Tuesday I did my first night trail run. It hardly counts because it was at Bagley, but it was a start. I did a warmup of the non-hilly loop of Bagley, then went up the hill, back down the way I came, up again, and then down the other side. I looped around and repeated the same up-down-up-and-over exercise, and then cooled down with the non-hilly loop. My heart rate sucked on the hills. Whoops.

Wednesday I did actually run a little bit. However, my heart rate was way out of whack. It was spiking at what is normally a warm-up speed, and wouldn’t settle down. I gave up after like a mile and a half.

Thursday I was stupid and didn’t quite get how cold it was. My hands were unbelievably cold throughout most of the run, to the point where they were swollen and clumsy when I got back to the car. The rest of me felt fairly warm, so I’m not sure why my hands were so cold, but it was awful and I was glad I didn’t push to go farther. I need some better gloves.

Saturday and Sunday were above freezing! It was glorious. I know it’s going to get cold again, but I don’t mind quite as much when there are a few days of respite here and there. Sunday it was even sunny. On most winter days, if I see that it’s sunny, that means it’s bitterly cold. Sunny and warm is typically too much to ask.

I went to Jay Cooke State Park both days. I wanted to get out somewhere I don’t normally get to, rather than the same old trails around town. The first day, I headed across the swinging bridge and along the Silver Creek trail. The trail was only semi-packed, so it was slow going. Even the downhills were slow, since the snow was kind of soft and would give way without warning, so I never knew if my foot was going to sink in or not.

Silver Creek (I think)


The Saint Louis River, as seen from the swinging bridge

Sunday I followed the Superior Hiking Trail the other way, along the Munger trail. It’s a snowmobile trail, so it was much flatter than the Silver Creek trail, and it was… kind of groomed, I guess. The snow was really soft, so I was expending a lot more energy than I normally would have on such flat terrain. That was kind of frustrating, since it was my “long run” day. I felt pretty good for most of the run, and didn’t see too many snowmobiles, so it wasn’t all bad. I do need to get some prescription sunglasses. I wasn’t doing Future Donna’s vision any favors.

Sunday’s run was my longest run since the Harder ‘n Hell Half, which surprised me when I just now looked it up in my training log. It also took me 2 1/2 hours. That was kind of depressing, but at the same time, it’s what I’ve gotta do in these kind of conditions, with this kind of training. Once it’s milder and the trails are clear of snow and the mud’s dried up, I’ll be moving along at a much better clip. I hope.

Zumbro 17 Training: Week 1

Not the best training week, probably not worth even logging, but here it is.

Monday: 5 mi, treadmill, 131 bpm
Tuesday: 4.5 mi, treadmill, UMTR hill challenge, 132 bpm
Wednesday: rest (traveling, hotel treadmill out of commission)
Thursday: rest (sick)
Friday: rest (sick)
Saturday: rest (sick)
Sunday: 6.8 mi, trails (Hartley), 137 bpm
Total: 16.3 mi

Not at all where I wanted to be. Wednesday I had a bad headache off and on throughout the day, which I attributed to a lack of coffee. Thursday I had plenty of time to work out, since I was traveling and then worked from home, but I hadn’t slept well at the hotel, so I thought I’d take another rest day. Friday I was still feeling run down, with a slightly stuffy head and chills, so I rested and skipped the hockey game I was planning to attend. Saturday I probably could have gone for a run, but decided to be lazy and also play it safe.

I realize that this is contrary to how most runners behave when not feeling well. Most runners seem to suck it up and get out there unless they physically collapse and cannot run. I’m not very good at sucking it up. However, I also know that Friday afternoon I was sitting in my office, cold, unable to concentrate, and that’s a sign I should be resting. I wasn’t 100% back to normal on Sunday, and had some trouble keeping my heart rate down, which was another sign that I had done the right thing.

I am a bit bummed I didn’t have a nice 30-mile week to start off the training cycle, but I also feel better physically and mentally. A few days off my feet allowed some of the tiny little aches to go away, and overall I feel a lot stronger, and ready to tackle what should probably end up being more than 30 miles for week 2. Knock on wood.