Best (or Worst) of My Racing HIstory

Thanks to The Right Fits for this topic.

Best Finisher's Shirt: The 2013 Flying Pig 10K and 5K shirts.  They are made out of this magically soft material that words cannot describe.  All of the Flying Pig finisher shirts have pig tails on the back so they are cute.

Worst Finisher's Shirt: TCM 2014 10 Mile because they ran out before I got one. 

Best Finish Line: Bolder Dash.  Because watching kids finish a 5K and cheering them on is fantastic. For all that I love about the Flying Pig, I hate what happens in the finishers corral. Mostly because everyone stops moving, it's impossible to get through, and my legs cramp up every time. And according to my parents it's hell to try and spectate on the course and then find a way to the finish line on foot.  They get screwed up every year by barricades and impassible streets.

Best Overall SWAG/Gear: I agree with The Right Fits.  It has to be be the Flying Pig.  I have a backpack (that I've since beaten to death), duffel bag and cooler from them.  Are those really the only years I ran?

Best Crowd Support: Twin Cities Marathon.  Hands down.  Flying Pig Half Marathon is next.  The first few miles are easy for spectators to navigate on foot, but there are gaps in the crowds when we run through some more industrial/business areas.

Hottest Race: 2012 Brew to Brew, with honorable mentions going to 2011 Brew to Brew and several years of Ragnar Relays.

Coldest Race:  2013 Dreidel Dash.  Dreidel Dash being the correct answer to that question.  The first one that came to mind was the 2010 Monster Half Marathon becuase I was absolutely shivering the back half of that race.  Honorable mention goes to this insanity.

Most Beautiful Course:  TCM is the Most Beautiful Urban Marathon, truly.  But Trail Mix was nice just for running on grass through a park for so long.

Race That Took the Most Mental Strength: My first marathon.  Because I was alone on the course for so freaking long looking at one side of the Amstel River and then the other. 

Most Disappointing Finish: 2014 TCM 10 Mile.  I wasn't disappointed in myself so much.  But I thought I'd reached my goal and then found out that TCM shorted the course.  And they ran out of finisher's shirts.  For a race we had to register and pay for months in advance. 

Best Start Line: Trail Mix.  Trail races are so low key. Honorable Mention goes to Ragnar Relay because the start line is like a party, and to Brew to Brew because the start line is a party and beer is officially part of the party!

Most Organized: Flying Pig.  For local races, anything put on by Final Stretch or Mary Anderson Races.

Flattest Course: The old Bolder Dash course around Lake Nokomis.  I had to rack my brain for that one.  For living in Minnesota, I sure can find a lot of hilly courses.

Best Finish Line Food: Have you run a trail race?  Otherwise, I'm going to go with Flying Pig because one year they had a tent with free Goetta.  The food at TCM is generally pretty run of the mill, but they do have chicken broth which tastes good on cold race days.

Coolest Medal: The 2011 TCM Medal is my favorite.  In general the best medals come from TCM and Flying Pig.  Gopher to Badger is also a funny medal. 

Most Emotional Finish: 2009 - Amsterdam Marathon because it was my first marathon.


Wordless: Sunset

Sunset before Zumba. #sunset #powderhorn #powderhornpark #minneapolis #reflections


Happy Two Years! - I am so lucky because I get to run everywhere!

Today, the running streak hit two years.  (Started October 14, 2012.)  Here's how I was feeling after one year.

This morning, I had the worst headache I've had in living memory.  So at 6am I took some really strong medicines and went to sleep for a few more hours.  I left the house around 1030 for a short run that ended at my local coffee shop.  I got myself a latte and a cookie to celebrate two years of running without missing a day!

I got a little misty when my phone informed me I'd run my mile this morning.  Here's what I was thinking about:
  • Running every day helps keep me even.  I mostly mean emotionally, but there are days it literally drags me off the couch as well.
  • Running every day helps me from feeling bad about myself for missing a workout.  A 15 minute run is not nothing.
  • Running every day helps keep my appetite in control.  Even days I eat more, it's not like it used to be.
  • Running every day helps keep pain under control when I get my period.  This one is amazing to me.  The worse I hurt the sooner I get out and run.

I agree with two of my points from last year's post as well: I've never been ashamed to call a one-mile run my workout for the day. More importantly, I am so lucky becuase I get to run everywhere.


Short Runs around Big Lakes

Friday I found myself in Buffalo, MN at the end of the day.  I'm a bit over the Buffalo to Montrose trail at the moment, and wasn't wanting to go that far anyways.  Instead I went around Buffalo Lake.  In theory this lake has a running trail around it, and some nice scenery.  It practice is has a sidewalk part of the way and then a wide shoulder on the road with the word "RUN" and an arrow painted in it.  I found it almost safe feeling and opted for the grass track off to the side of the road when it was available.

Saturday I ran just over a mile on the treadmill.  Just enough to keep the streak alive.  The big deal then was Zumba.  I've really missed Saturday morning Zumba.  An unfortunate combination of laziness, scheduling, and training for the Loony Bin made me miss Saturday Zumba for almost a month straight.  It felt good to be back, dancing with all my friends and having a good time.

Sunday I both wanted to work out and wanted to be lazy.  I opted to run 2 miles around the back side of Lake Nokomis, and then walk back, totally just over 4 miles.  I used the walking time to take lots of pictures.  I was at no loss for subjects.  The maple trees look like they're on fire with sunshine and fall colors.  The planes' flight paths had them going over the lake in droves.  It was nearing sunset so the light was amazing.  And there were lots of people enjoying it with me.


4.5 Miles on Luce Line Trail

I finished the day with about eight million trails to choose from.  I'd thought about Minnesota River Bluffs, but a fresh stretch of Luce Line grabbed my attention instead.  I'd been on a small part of this trail already, the day I ran around Medicine Lake.  Remember how hot that day was?

Trails: Luce Line apparently offers many different surface types. See here for details.  I was on the paved portion of the trail.  Paved except for the bridges, which are out of this world.  The bridges feel a mile long, but in the best way possible.  (They're not really a mile long.)  I saw tons and tons of bikers and a couple other runners along the way.  The part of the trail I was runs next to the train tracks, which I mostly liked, and crosses over the tracks in some places, which I did not like.  I imagine I'd like it even less on a bike.

Weather: It's getting colder.  In the sun, I felt warm.  In the forested part of the trail, I felt a bit chilled.  It was a phenomenally gorgeous day.

The Run: I kept my heart rate very low.  Except for that one obvious hill.  Even then I kept it really under control for something that steep.  I wanted something lazy and slow so that I could enjoy the weather and the fall colors.  Mission accomplished I say.  I liked this trail and would like the chance to go a bit farther and explore more of it.

Post Race Issues: What the hell did all that racing do to my abs?  I guess I should Pilates more.  Right now I'm trying to focus on keeping all my runs aerobic and fun.  My fitness goal for October is to get back to Zumba.  I went tonight for my first Thursday class in what feels like a month. 

Bonus: Roughly the same picture: Summer to Fall.


TCM - Loony Challenge

Registration: Loony Challenge Registration is at a weird time.  After marathon registration opens but way before the 10-mile Lottery.  I'm friends with TCM on Facebook and there were plenty of notices about it. Online registration was super smooth.

Packet Pick Up and Expo: I took the unusual step of also volunteering at the expo this year.  I volunteered with my friend whose blog name shall henceforth be Olive.  Olive and I hung out in the official merchandise store.  It seemed to help that we had out of town racers who weren't expecting it to be 35*, so they bought some nice thick TCM jackets to keep warm.  The rest of the expo was a typical expo.  I didn't buy anything from any of the vendors, nor sign up for any raffles.  I missed the Bolder Options table but I find it hard to believe they weren't there at all.  Olive's favorite part was looking at all the posters from the past years.
Goal: Volunteer.
Outcome: Done.

TCM 10K: The 10K is an out and back along Summit Ave, also the final 3 miles of the marathon course.  I felt odd running a race near a Jewish Synagogue on Yom Kippur.  There were signs up asking spectators not to stand in front of the Synagogue so I guess it was mildly respectful.  I ran this race evenly, and passed a bunch of people especially towards the end.  I remembered the phenomena of starting off slow and even and then staying even and passing people from the 3-Way Challenge in Cincinnati.
Goal: Be back in time for the 5K.
Outcome: 15 minutes to spare.

TCM 5K: The 5K is a shorter out and back.  This time I got to hang out with Olive.  Thank goodness because I was not looking forward to running up that hill a second time.  Olive has a nice habit of not letting me do stupid things when I run so she kept me nice and even.  Past the half way mark Olive wanted to walk and sent me on my way.  I accidentally ran a 10:35 final mile.  Oops.
Goal: Stay with Olive up the hill.  Save something for tomorrow.
Outcome: Yes.  Though the last mile had me a bit nervous.

TCM 10 Mile: This race was a wild card.  I knew the course was really challenging.  I wanted to work hard, but not hurt.  I wanted to work hard enough to see the pain train up ahead in the distance.  My plan was to ease back on the up hills in the first 3 miles of the race because they are nuts.
Goal: Finish in under 2 hours.
Outcome: Undecided.  My GPS has me running a 1:57:xx 10 mile split.  My official time is 1:59:xx.  But the course was officially 0.14 miles short.  TCM's Facebook page blames it on the lead car taking a wrong turn.  My official position is the lead car probably wouldn't have turned down a street that had been properly barricaded.  But I digress.  Had the course been the correct distance, I don't know if I'd have made the course in under 2 hours.  I was flying at the end so it would have been close.  And then they ran out of finisher shirts.   So I didn't get one.

Loony Challenge: I really liked these distances.  It felt so much more sane than running a marathon, even if it involved two days of racing.   From what I can tell the Challenge was way better organized than its inaugural year. 

What I Liked:
  • I got my Loony Challenge Sweat Shirt in April, although I superstitiously wouldn't wear it until I'd actually completed the challenge
  • One race bib for both the 10K and the 5K on Saturday.  That was really slick.
  • Racing both days made me feel more involved in the events overall and the whole weekend.
  • The Back Tags so everyone knew who was running Loony Challenge and TC Summit Challenge.
  • The Obvious 'Loony Challenge' Tent inside the finisher area so I knew where to get my medal.
  • Free Beer at the Finish Line!  I didn't even care that I needed photo ID.

What Could've Been Better:
  • Two days of sweat drop offs means two bags. The sweats check bag ripped on day 1, leaving me some creative problem solving to check my sweats for the 10 Miler.  When I was volunteering at the expo, I saw several people whose bags had ripped between packet pick up and the merchandise store.
  • I can't find my 5K results online. This seems to be true for all Loony Challenge participants.  Sort of confirmed by the fact that I got emails for my 10K results and 10 Mile results but radio silence on this race.
  • Running out of finisher shirts.  I was actually more shocked at this than the course screw up.  Not having enough shirts or medals for finishers ALWAYS impacts back of the pack runners.  It's generally a lousy way to treat participants.  I was shocked because this is actually a pretty big screw up and TCM is usually so organized.
  • The 10 Mile Course being short. 'Nuff said.

Overall: All the things that I could control went really well.  There were a couple of big let downs after all the racing was done that took away some of my excitement.  I feel like I want to come back next year and try the 10 Mile Course when its done correctly and let them work out some of the other kinks too.


September 2014 Monthly Totals

What Worked Well: I've been challenging myself with the distances of my mid-week runs.  I ran 9 miles after work at the Lake Minnetonka LRT trail.  Not a distance I was confident I could manage but I wound up having a blast.  I followed that up the next week with 7 miles in Montrose. 

What Worked Well Part Two: Having a strong plan about when finishers need to happen was also helpful.  I did 'finishers' after every long run and at least one other time of the week, usually on Sunday.  And I have a lot more 'finisher' minutes than any month previous. 

What Worked Well Part Three: I found these Pilates videos on YouTube and used those as finishers several times.  I've missed Pilates and it appears I will never get a class to fit back in with my schedule so these have been nice.

What Could Go Better: Fit in more Zumba.  I stopped going to Zumba on Saturdays this month because of fitting in long runs for the Loony Bin Loony Challenge.  I missed a few Thursdays too, because dirt trails were flirting with me.

What Could Go Better Part Two: I kind of gave up stretching at some point.  The foam roller just lost its appeal and the couch seemed too comfortable to get up. 

 Biggest Surprise: Only three Zumba classes all month?!?

Plan for Next Month: Go back to Zumba.  For running, focus on heart rate training.  Run at least a mile per day.  September was all about getting ready for Loony.  October is about relaxing and enjoying myself.