June & Motivation

June has been yuck.

My office was getting remodeled so I had to work from home a lot in the beginning of the month. Plus it was the end of school for both boys, their first week at summer camp, schedules being different, Hayden has track & field on T/Th and both boys have t-ball M/W. A busy schedule plus the Minnesota summer humidity has made me super lazy and not motivated.

I was home with Declan a few days by myself at the beginning of the month and I took a few vacation days to be home with the boys to celebrate summer break. This essentially meant I could not find ANY time to work out. Props to those stay at home mama’s with young kiddos that figure out how to fit it all in! I’m also feeling burnt out, lethargic, and lazy. I think it’s the hot weather and just wanting to be at the pool everyday!

I wish I was the kind of person who could workout consistently without having a goal. I mean, why do I need to pay upwards of $100 for an event just to get my lazy ass to run a couple times a week? Why do I need to sign up for something just to train and work towards a PR? Or even keep my body healthy and in the best shape I can? I’m not sure, but I can tell you with nothing on the near horizon, June was a month filled with laziness, eating out, excuses, and a lot of guilt.

So, after realizing I need something to motivate me, I signed up for the Minneapolis Triathlon. It’s in 17 days. Is the fitness I’ve worked hard for since January still there? Are all the miles still in my legs? What about my endurance?

Anyone who knows me knows that I could care less about my time, and all about having fun and enjoying myself every step along the way. Each person is different, and if you are one that cares about your time and getting faster, then thats GREAT! Whatever motivates you and gives you the inspiration to get off your couch and get out there! But for me, the time is just a number and a silly way to compare yourself to others which doesn’t mean anything. It’s all about racing your own race!

That being said, I do like to compete with myself a little bit. I did the Minneapolis Triathlon last year, but the International Distance. This year I signed up for the sprint, considering that I haven’t really been specifically tri training. Here are my times/paces for the Minneapolis International distance, and the Maple Grove Sprint Distance. Wouldn’t it be great if I raced a little faster this year?

2016 International Distance: (Super hot & humid)
Swim 2:19/100 m
T1 3:34
Bike 13:23 mph
T2 1:59
Run 13:16/mile

2016 Sprint Distance: (Cold, rainy & hail)
Swim 2:32/100m
T1 2:58
Bike 14.27 mph
T2 3:10
Run 11:29/mile

My only goal/hope is that while racing this year, I feel stronger. Thats really my main goal for anything right now. If my time is slower, but I feel stronger, then I will be happy!

So, here’s to turning this lazy attitude around and getting ready to race in 17 days!

[Workout]: May 29th- June 4th

Monday: Rest, feeling under the weather
Tuesday: Feeling sick, rest
Wednesday: Swim, 1900 yds
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Bike 16 miles total, Walk 3.6 miles around Weaver Lake

  • 5.6 miles biking to drop Hayden at school then to Nicole’s house
  • 4 miles biking from Nicole’s to my house
  • 6.7 miles biking to/from picking Hayden up from school

Saturday: Rest & Family fun day- park with friends, swimming at the lake, grilling out, and the boys played outside until 9pm in their swimsuits!
Sunday: Bike 31 miles

  • Trailhead Cycling leads rides around the larger metro area, and this one started at The Depot, went around the Lakes, and west over along Minnehaha Creek to the Falls. On our way back, we went north along the river, and caught the Greenway back to Hopkins. My friends Kelly and Jen were there too.

[Workout]: May 22nd- May 28th

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 1 mile WU, Arms & Abs with Amber at work

Wednesday: Swim, 800 yds (was cut short because of low blood sugar)

Thursday: Fly Feet Tread & Shred

  • WU/Incline sprints for 30 min total
  • 2 sets/22 reps
    • Weighted Lunges
    • Weighted Overhead press
    • Lifted plank with TRX bands

Friday: Mountain Bike Skills Clinic at Trailhead Cycling

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 10 mile run, 1 mile walk with Finn

MDRA Mississippi 10 Miler

The day after the Lake Minnetonka Half, I was on such a high that I signed up for the MDRA Mississippi 10 miler, thanks to a tip from my friend Jen that the registration fee was only $20. I just wanted to keep my momentum going and not lose sight of a goal to train for.

However, during the month of May I found myself wanting a little break in the structured training and wanting to just workout because the weather was finally beautiful, or wanting a hard workout at FlyFeet and not wanting to worry about being so sore I would need to miss a run. So I went into this race thinking of it as a nice little Sunday morning run, and not a race. I definitely did not “train” for this and was ok with that.

It was exactly that- only about 150 runners, small, quaint, quiet, and exactly what I was looking for. It started at Crosby Park in South St. Paul and was incredibly beautiful. I felt like I was in a different state on vacation! We ran up the bluff to river road, and followed the trail along the Mississippi for about 4 miles, out and back.

One of my favorite things about this race was how personable everyone was. Being a back of the pack runner, I can easily get intimidated and feel like I’m not a real “runner” – especially at small run clubs like the MDRA. However, it was totally the opposite. Everyone was talkative, friendly, and during the out and back all the runners who were passing me already heading back to the finish line said things like “great job!” and “keep it up!”

The other surprising thing I noticed was that everyone actually threw their water cups INTO the garbage cans at the water stops- not just on the road. It was just a nice gesture by the runners that made me appreciate the tone that the MDRA sets at their events.

It was a beautiful, sunny, 60 degree morning. I didn’t feel as excited as I did for my half (even though this was shorter). My feet felt heavy by mile 2 and I was nervous about how I would even finish. However, must like every other run, I hit my stride by mile 4 and had all negative splits!

Mile 1 11:18
Mile 2 11:40
Mile 3 11:33
Mile 4 11:34
Mile 5 11:07
Mile 6 10:48
Mile 7 10:57
Mile 8 10:50
Mile 9 11:16
Mile 10 11:04
Mile 10.2 7:53

I’m excited about doing more MDRA races and found that I really liked the smaller event, making it not feel like a big deal. This 10 mile time will be a good benchmark for me to compare to the TC 10 mile which I will run in Oct.

Here are a few pictures from the run:


Looking out over Crosby Park before the race. You can’t really tell, but the Cottonwood was insane this morning- flying all over in the sunlight.

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Game face on!

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Aubree, Jen, and myself at the finish. Jen is so speedy (avg 8:45/mile!) that she already had time to change her shoes and take off her bib. 🙂

[Workout] May 15th- May 21st

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Walk 5 miles (with Finnegan and Declan on his bike)

Wednesday: Swim, 35 50’s in honor of me turning 35!

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Thursday: Fly Feet Express Class, 30 min

  • 1 min sprints at 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 % incline
  • Between sets of squats, kettle bell swings (as many as you could do in 1 min)

Friday/Saturday: Rest

Sunday: City Trail Loppet, 6.2 miles

Race Recap: Solomon City Trail Loppet

The mind is an interesting thing.

Two days ago, I got an email saying that there were still spots open in the Solomon Trail 10k/10m this weekend. I figured “why not!” I have to run anyways as part of my training for the MDRA Mississippi Run next weekend. Plus, the Loppet Foundation always puts on a great event.

Enter race morning- I had such crazy anxiety I was regretting signing up. I originally thought going to a race by myself and navigating the entire thing without a sherpa (Joe) would be fun, and that I would enjoy that quiet “me” time. But I didn’t know what to wear, I didn’t know how the logistics of parking and taking the shuttle would work, and what exactly I should take with me in my bag to the start line. Would I even finish? Should I bail? How long would I be able to run until I would need to walk?

How weird, right? Why did I feel so good at my half, and now I was a mess for a little 6.2 miles? I’ve done this a million times. I couldn’t convince myself that I could even finish. All morning I was thinking about how I wish I could pin point what triggers my anxiety. Why was I worried about all these things that I’ve done so many times before?

I arrived SO EARLY (a symptom of my race anxiety) at 8am. The parking lot was at finish line which was at the Paradise Stadium by the Walker. They had school buses to drive you to the start line at downtown Robbinsdale. My wave didn’t start until 10:10am! Ha. I relaxed in my car a little bit, used the porta potty, paid for my parking, and then grabbed my bag and got on the shuttle.


The start line was at a cute little square/open area in downtown Robbinsdale. The race was small, something I was excited about. Everyone looked so rugged- their gear was dirty and used. I loved it. At many road races, you can tell people show up in brand new Lululemon garb with brand new race shoes. But this was a small group of serious trail runners. The atmosphere was comfortable, but intimidating. It reminded me of being in the Smokeys- everyone with rugged outdoor gear. I threw my bag in the gear check van about 9:30, and went to watch the start of each wave. Their loud horn they were going to use for the start gun broke, so they used some guy’s car horn. It was pretty funny. 9:30 was the start of the 10 mile waves, each starting 5 min apart. The waves were small – maybe 30 people in each. There were only 3 waves for the 10k. Finally my wave left about 10:10am.

Mile 1: mostly on the street navigating to the trail- a few fields here and there that were wet and muddy. (10:53/mi avg pace).

Mile 2 & 3: All single track. I was stuck in a line of about 6 women. These were my slowest miles, but I didn’t mind it. Being in the long train of women was pretty cool just to keep pace with them and kind of feel like we were all doing this together. Some areas you had to pull yourself up by branches to navigate the mud slides on hills. There was one big sign that said “DANGEROUS STAIRS” that reminded me of hiking to Mt LeConte where you had to hold onto a big wire screwed into the mountain. These miles were very rugged. (13:06 & 14:07 mi/avg paces).

Mile 4: I felt strong and passed about a dozen people. A lot of this was in and out of single track and along the railroad track which was hard to run on- either big rocks along the side or trying to skip every other railroad tie. (11:24/mi avg pace).


Mile 5 & 6: Back on paved trail, mainly up and down cross bridges trying to cross the highway and through city parks to get back to the Walker. It was funny to spend 45 minutes being transported to the woods, and then suddenly be back in urban city trails, with view of downtown Minneapolis and highway construction. (11:55 & 11:44 /mi avg paces).

 


Finish time: 1:15:04
Avg. Pace: 12:05/mile

For how rugged and hilly this course was, not to mention being on a single track and getting “stuck” behind people, I’ll take that time! It also says I passed 15 people from the start and was only passed by 1.

We got a sweet tank at the finish, and a pint glass. It was raining at the finish, so I got my bag from gear check and just went straight to my car. The Loppet series always has a great beer selection after their races (Surly!) and fun live music, but since I was alone, cold and wet I just left.


I loved the race and am kicking myself for being so nervous at the beginning. I am definitely doing this again next year!

[Workout] May 8th- May 14th

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Bike, 10 miles

  • The boys and I went out during a beautiful evening. It was a slow easy bike, but got my legs moving and felt really good to stretch them and move them after Sunday.

Wednesday: Swim, 2000 yds

  • Swimming is THE BEST recovery. I got tired mid way through my swim, which rarely happens, but it was so good for my sore muscles. After the swim, I had no more tightness in my legs and was back to feeling “normal.”

Thursday: 3 miles total

  • 2 mile run/walk warm up
  • TC 1 mile Race (9:20 min/mile)

Friday: Solicore MSP

  • Solidcore is insane! It’s a combination of resistance strength training with Pilates. If you want more info, watch this video. The workout was HARD, I was dying, and I needed it to be over. But of course, the minute it was over I couldn’t wait to get back for more. So intense!

Saturday: Bike, 27.5 miles

Sunday: Rest, Happy Mother’s Day!

Race Recap: Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon

Night before

6pm: Dinner at Olive Garden. I indulged in breadsticks with alfredo sauce, and a small portion of pesto rigattoni. Only water to drink this week!

8pm: Got all my race gear together, I felt calm and not stressed. I’m used to packing up SO much gear for triathlons that I couldn’t believe how little I needed. It was amazing! Clothes, headphones, blood glucose meter, GU’s and glucose tabs, all in my trusty Solomon Trail gear belt. (50% off at TC Running in MG!)

9pm: Joe went to the get the boys from the Gym Parent’s Night Out, while I laid in bed and watched A Day in the Life: Western States 100 mile endurance raceNothing like a little motivation from some bad ass women.

Race morning

5:15 am: Alarm set. Strangely enough, I woke up right away and got out of bed. WHAT? My clothes were laid out, and I wore sweats and a long sleeved shirt over and planned to throw them in the bag check. I went downstairs and got a travel mug of coffee, a banana, a pb&j, a nalgene of water and my lemonade UCAN packet.

5:40 am: Left for Wayzata Middle School to catch the bus

6:00 am: Arrived at the school parking lot. I was surprised at how many cars were on the roads leading to the bus that early. When I arrived the parking lot was almost full! I made my UCAN, and left everything in the car to hit up the porta potty. I went back to my car, drank some UCAN and ate my banana. My blood sugar was 220, which might seem a little high to some, but for me that is perfect knowing I’m going to exercising 2 1/2 hours.

6:15 am: Jumped on the bus to head to the start line

6:20 am: Arrived at downtown Wayzata and started walking down the street towards the start line and pre-race hang out area. I wanted to find the bag check first, and on my way there I ran into my friend Linda who paced the 11:00 mile. It was so refreshing to see her and start chatting.

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The race didn’t start until 7:30, so I decided to walk around a little bit through downtown Wayzata to stay warm. I was starting to shiver while standing in one place. I ran into my co-worker AJ who was running with Joe’s race bib since Joe injured his knee. This was AJ’s first half as well. We walked together for a while and found a little hallway to keep warm. I ate about half my pb&j, forcing it down.

7:15 am: I walked back up the hill to the back check. I took off my sweats and long sleeved shirt and dropped my bag off. Said good luck to AJ as he went to find the 10 min/mile pacer.

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7:25 am: I found Linda in Wave 4. She introduced me to her friend Aubree who would be running 11:30 min/mile. I wanted to stay around an 11:30 for the first 4 miles as warm up. We slowly made our way down the corner to the start line as each wave ahead of us took off.

with linda and aubree

7:45 am: We’re off! The start seems like such a blur. I really don’t remember it.

Miles 1-3: I tried to just talk to Aubree for the first 5k. She was great and kept asking how I was feeling or how the speed was. I was happy to have someone to talk to. This was her 38th half, and she runs one almost weekly during the summer! She said her plan was to walk through all water stops, and the first one was quickly approaching at mile 3. We were at 34 min when I saw the water stop, which was 10 minutes earlier than my planned first GU (I take one every 45 min to maintain my blood sugar). I didn’t need water, but I like my GU’s better with water so I figured it was time. I ate about 3/4 of it, and just carried in my hand thinking I might finish it.

Mile 4: I saw my friend Amy who came out with her 2 kids (19 months and 2 months!) What a rockstar friend she is! It was so fun to see her and take a mid-race selfie! Ha!

Miles 4-9: At 4.25 I felt my kick. I turned to Aubree and the rest of the group we had kind of created along the way and I told them it was time for some tunes. As soon as I put in my headphones I took off and ran my own race. At mile 5 was another water stop, which was perfect for me to finish that GU I was still carrying. These miles flew by. I felt amazing- like I wasn’t even trying. My watch kept saying 10:40-10:50 pace which is amazing for me! I enjoyed every minute of these 5 miles!

Mile 10: I didn’t hit “the wall,” but I wasn’t flying anymore. My legs/hips started to feel tight. My friend Linda had told me earlier to celebrate hitting 10 miles, and cheer for myself. I couldn’t do that though, all I could think of is how I was going to finish 3 more miles, and how to run them strong. I did not want to walk, especially after such a great first 9 miles. I decided it was time for my 2nd GU, which meant I had to use my own water which is a bit trick to get out of my belt. As soon as I finished my GU and water, I saw the mile 11 water stop. Of course 🙂

Miles 11-13.1: Tough. It’s so strange how 2 miles can feel like eternity! I kept telling myself that this is all MENTAL, which is the exact reason I’m running. To remind myself how mentally strong I am. This was the test right here- these last 2 miles. This is where I can prove to myself what I set out to prove. I kept my mind occupied with doing the math to see if I could actually finish in under 2 hours. It was making me laugh about why basic math was so confusing to me 12 miles into a race.

Finish: I turned the corner in downtown Excelsior and saw the crowds lined up on both sides of the corral. I immediately saw Joe and the boys. I went to the side to give them high fives and went on to cross the finish line. 2:29:42! Blood sugar after finish was 180. Only 40 point drop is an accomplishment in itself.

  • The funniest part: Seeing random people jump out from the woods/bushes after having to go to the bathroom
  • The most unexpected part: How badly my 2nd toenails would hurt afterwards.
  • My favorite part: No race anxiety the day before or the morning of!
  • My biggest take-a-way: I’ve long heard people say the phrase “trust your training.” I never understood that until this race. For triathlon, every race has been so different than any of my training. How can I swim a 1:40/100 yds in training, but a 2:15/100 yds in a race? Today, my race was exactly like every other training run I did. I knew my body, I knew my paces. Aside from the last 3 miles, I was finally able to trust my training.
  • Something I’m glad I did: I’m glad I left my long sleeve shirt at bag check. It was a hard decision since I was a tad chilly, but 1 mile in I felt great temp wise.
  • Something I would do differently: I wouldn’t have walked through the water stops. I think I did that only because thats what Aubree said she was going to do. It was 50 and full shade, so it’s not like I needed the hydration. Not to mention I had my own water for my GUs. It was frustrating to see my Garmin pace charts and have two huge gaps in pace for the 3 and 5 mile water stops I walked through.

Week 12: Taper

My main focus this past week was getting the inflammation down in my legs. On Wednesday I talked to my trainer at the gym and she was convinced that it was the new compression socks, not a legitimate injury.

I put the new socks on Friday at 3pm, ran 4 miles at 4pm, wore them all evening, slept in them, wore them all Saturday morning and then took off on the infamous 10 mile failure at noon. That was the point that my legs were in so much pain I literally couldn’t run. I guess I’m such a newbie that I didn’t know you shouldn’t wear them that long or sleep in them!

My week was slow and I barely did much. The weather started to get beautiful and a few times I caught myself having the itch to run. I figured this was a good sign!

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Joe had knee surgery

Wednesday: 2000 yd swim

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 2 miles

Saturday: Rest

The 2 mile run on Friday was a test to see how my legs felt. It was kind of a dumb test because two miles isn’t even long enough for me to feel good or warmed up, so I knew I would have a little pain/tightness regardless.

The 2 miles felt ok- good enough to make me think last weekend was a fluke, but bad enough to make me think the pain had potential to increase and I would have to quit.

I decided I would go on Sunday, and if I had to quit then I quit. No big deal. My health is more important that doing more harm to my body. I also reminded myself that with the 12 weeks of training I have done, that a lot of how Sunday plays out is mental.

Pain.

Last Friday’s 4.5 mile were hard. I had to stop a few times to stretch my anterior shin splints. But, I got it done and figured I was just wearing down mentally. I had just run a strong 9 miles 6 days prior, so what was my deal?

I had got a new pair of compression socks Friday afternoon, and knowing that I had a 10 miler to do the next day, I wore them for the run, after the run, all night to sleep and in the morning during the Heart walk.

Come Saturday, I set out about noon for my 10 miler. With my hot pink compression socks on 🙂 Mentally, I was ready. The sun was shining, it was a perfect 50 degrees, and I was excited to test out fueling for a 2 hr+ run.

Physically, I was a mess. I had to stop at 1 mile and stretch my legs. 10 steps later I had to walk. 10 more steps, I was wincing in pain. Should I go home? No, I figured the pain would go away shortly. At 1.5 miles I decided to ditch my planned route and turn left towards the Maple Grove HS track. Maybe hills weren’t the best idea for my shins and the flat track would be better. When I got there the Lacrosse Team was practicing so I didn’t want to go in.

I sat down in the grass to stretch, and realized my blood sugar was pretty low. The combination of shin pain plus low blood sugar was the perfect storm. I did have GU’s for my blood sugar, but it was a good excuse to quit. I called Joe to come pick me up. I’ve never done that before! I was SO defeated.

I spent Saturday researching shin splints. The first article mentioned that if the pain is in the anterior muscle, and not in/behind the bone, then you might actually have Exertional Compartment Syndrome, which can be much more serious.

I asked advice from my Mom’s running group and everyone said to NOT run this up coming week before the race. I iced my legs, did an ice massage, kept my feet up, took some ibuprofen and did some foam rolling.

I also took my compression socks off and realized they might be doing a lot more harm that good. When you exercise and blood goes into your muscles, they expand. Even more so with ECS, the blood gets stuck in these “compartments” which is the cause of the swelling and extreme pain. If you have compression socks on, or any KT tape around your calf, it constricts your muscles and causes pain, since the muscle can’t expand. At least thats what the interwebs said, and you know everything on the interwebs is truth. 🙂

I biked on Sunday, and got a lower leg massage today. Other plans this week include:

  • Foam Rolling multiple times a day
  • Epsom Salt bath
  • Swim on Wed
  • Ibuprofen to proactively prevent inflammation

I’m going to do a short 2 mile run on Th/F to see how my legs feel. If I’m still in pain, I might not run on Sunday.