Spring 2019 Running Goals

It IS actually spring, according to the rules here at CoM (spring = Mar-May, summer = Jun-Aug, fall = Sep-Nov, for goal setting purposes), so I need to step it up and get my spring running goals together, even if running is making me miserable right now.

I don’t have a whole lot planned for the spring, so I had a hard time coming up with too many short-term goals. I managed to come up with four distinct goals:

  1. Distance personal best. It’s mine as long as I finish Zumbro.
  2. 50K personal best. I was gunning for that last spring at Chippewa Moraine and didn’t make it, so I’ll give it another shot at Ice Age in May.
  3. Set up a corporate team for Twin Cities Marathon. Several of my colleagues have expressed interest in running TCM this year, and I thought it would be fun to get some of the perks that come with being a corporate team. I’m in the beginning stages of setting up the team (and setting myself up as team captain!)
  4. Run in three new counties. I set a multi-year goal to run at least a mile in every county in MN, and I am ready to start exploring! With upcoming races and the current poor trail conditions, it’s going to be hard to get too many new counties in, so I am setting the bar kind of low.
  5. Throw away all socks that have holes in them. (I added this 3/11/19). I realize this makes me seem like a pathetic hoarder, but I wear clothing into the ground. A hem coming out? A hole in a seam? Faded/dingy whites? Small stain? I’m still wearing it. But holey socks are just going to lead to foot discomfort. Time to jettison those socks and replace them (hopefully with more durable pairs).

I know once the weather improves, I am going to get excited about running again, so it’s just a matter of buckling down for these last few weeks of winter weather (I’m being optimistic here, of course there could be 6 more weeks, but I can’t think about that now.)

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Frustrated, Inc.

I hate running right now.

That’s pretty much where I’m at. I ran 17 miles last week, all indoors. I have cracked 50 miles ONCE in this training cycle, which is a training cycle for a 50 mile race. Can’t get 50 miles in a week, but definitely will be able to do 50 miles in (less than) one day.

This is normal and seems to happen every winter. The sun goes down early. The weather is cold. The sidewalks are iffy. The trails are unpacked. The wind is brutal. The gear is cumbersome. The water freezes. The gels freeze. Snot freezes. Sweat freezes. Tears freeze.

It’ll all be fine eventually. I’ll make it out of this funk (I ran 7.5 miles today, for example), but it sucks when I’m down in it. I’m bored of the treadmill. I dislike most of the running routes that are still available to me. I’m tired of encountering snow/ice/poor conditions halfway through a run. I’m tired of layering up and laundering my clothes constantly. I will find pretty much any excuse to put off a run, then get frustrated that I have left myself with little daylight to get it done.

I’ve kind of accepted that I’m going to go into Zumbro 50 undertrained, and I’m just going to have to deal with it. (Unless I’m in Buffalo for the men’s Frozen Four. Which I said I wasn’t going to. But I’m sure I’ll waver if UMD makes it.) I have almost no runs completed that one would call a “long run.” I’ve tried to balance motivation and self-preservation, frostbite and sweat, treadmill and trail. I’m failing at most of my year-long goals, but I can always make more progress later, once I’m back in a running groove.

I guess maybe signing up for a race would be a good idea. The Hot Dash is coming up soon, and while I don’t always love grinding out a run on that hilly course, it would be a nice medium-ish run that could give me back some of my running mojo. Of course that is over a month away, so I’m going to have to find a better solution. A beautiful day in the woods will probably do wonders.

If you’re a cold weather runner and you’re going through the same doldrums as I am, hang in there. Eventually it’ll be spring, and until then, we’ll just have to find that invincible summer inside ourselves.

The Discontent of My Winter

I am at that point in winter where I’m thinking “What business do I have running a 50 mile race in April?” Unlike the last two years this has happened, I’m actually signed up for Zumbro 50 this year.

The first 5 weeks of my Zumbro training have been 22 mi, 40 mi, 42 mi, 45 mi, and 50 mi. Somehow I expect to run 50 miles in 17 hours despite averaging less than that in one week, with my longest run being my half marathon in early January.

These unremarkable weeks of training are all I’ve got to give right now. I’m figuring out survival techniques for eking the most mileage out of my days as I can. Last weekend the temps were in the single digits Fahrenheit, so I ended up splitting my runs into an outdoor and an indoor portion. I ran as much as I could stand outside, then went home, changed, ate something, and ran the remainder on the treadmill. No, I don’t count those as long runs, but the miles are better than nothing.

It’s too cold and the footing is too iffy for me to feel comfortable running outside during the week after work. I don’t want to ruin my whole evening by being cold, and I don’t want to risk an injury that might leave me exposed to the elements longer than planned. Once the sun is gone and the wind kicks up, the nights are pretty brutal. And obviously the -30F weather we’re having this past week has turned evening running into a nonstarter.

But January is almost over. The days are getting longer, the weather isn’t going to be brutal forever, and maybe the trails won’t be so icy in February and March. It certainly will be a lot more fun once the weather’s back in the 20s and 30s and I can do some long runs outside. I’m doing pretty terribly on all my goals so far – I’m not consistently doing push-ups, the lion’s share of my runs have been on the treadmill, and I totally forgot I was going to take a multivitamin.

The next 11 months can only be an improvement over January, or at least I hope so.

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!