Weekend Workouts: Trail Runs for All

This week was my last normal mileage week before race week.  I started the week off feeling pretty run down, not believing I'd get in all of my workouts.  Weather was also a participating factor in making it hard to be outside most of the time.

Sunday: I was inside, running laps around the track.  Slowly.  I walked a mile cool down and talked to Dad on the phone.

Monday: I ran a couple miles on the track and then had a nice foam roll afterwards.  Monday was my day off and most of the time was taken up by a mattress delivery and then figuring out where to donate an old mattress frame.  (Tip: Most places do not accept mattress frames but Bridging does and they will love you forever if you bring them your stuff.)  I also found my new pharmacy, one of about six locations in the entire Twin Cities that I'm allowed to use.  I was feeling fairly run down by the end of the day so I convinced Nathan to have Indian food with me.  That turned out to be the best decision ever and it made my whole week better.

Tuesday: I was re-energized from all the Indian food the night before (still full too), and had a nice longer run on the track.  Six miles running, a mile walking cool down and a nice long stretch afterwards.

Wednesday: I had a 3 mile run outside at the end of my work day.  "Run" may be too strong a word for what happened because the last third of the workout was at my 'don't poop your pants' pace.  Success! It was windy and fairly miserable.  I picked that spot to run because it was either go for a run or sit in rush hour traffic.  I had a 20 minute stretch when I got home.

Thursday: I had a loooong workout.  I ran 2 miles on the track and then walked 1 mile.  All the time I got to see the Minneapolis kids having a track meet.  Inside.  Because Minnesota.  Next up I went to Body Pump and lifted weights for an hour.  And then it was time to Zumba.  I'd been missing Zumba because it's not fitting into my new work and life schedule.  I had a blast.

Friday: I woke up early in the morning and ran my mile outside.  It was icy.  And dark.  I wore my headlamp and reflective vest.  After the run, I spent some time with my foam roller.  I had a dinner date with a friend and wound up riding my bike there and back.  I'm not going to lie, I love the beer at this place and didn't really know what kind of night it was going to be.  Answer: three beer night.

Saturday: I wasn't really sure if I was going to have a run after all the beer the night before.  I had a lazy morning and a nice breakfast and did ultimately have the energy for a run.  I set off for a 13 mile run on a dirt trail and had a blast.  At the end of the run I stretch out a bit.  (And was made totally self conscious when some cyclist was all 'downward dog - yeah, way to go!)  In the evening I had another long stretch out session and then a hot bath with epsom salts.  Thanks here to Chris for the suggestion when I said I wished I had a muscle relaxer.

Totals for the week:
Run: 32.55 miles
Walk: 3.5 miles
Elliptical: 0 miles
Stretch: 81 minutes (wahoo!)
Lift weights: 60 minutes
Bike: 3 miles (to the bar and back on Friday)


Long Run Saturday: 13 Trail Miles

I have this race coming up in two weeks, my first trail race ever.  I decided it would be good to have at least one long run on a trail, or any surface other than pavement. I headed back out to my new boyfriend my new favorite trail, the River Bluffs Trail.  It's probably in better shape than the trails I'll run on at the race, but it's still different than running on the road.

Plan for the run: I've liked the ascending workouts I've done on long runs so far, so I thought I'd try out another one this week.  I started off with running .5 miles and built up to running 2 miles.  Plan was to mirror what it will be like race day, with more running and harder running at the end.

Route: The River Bluffs Trail is easy to follow.  It's crushed limestone gravel in most places, with a few places paved for short distances, mostly leading up to and over bridges and overpasses.  I went from the trail head and planned to use US 212 as my turn around point.  I wound up using a massive puddle just before US 212 as the turn around point, but that didn't really change the game plan.

Weather: It was 36* when I started running and maybe slightly warmer than that when I stopped.  It was super sunny.  I had my sunglasses on for the first seven or eight miles while there was a breeze.  Once the wind stopped, the glasses started to fog up so I took them off.  It was cooler than my last long run and significantly less humid as well.  I was fine while I was running but the moment I stopped, I got really cold.

Execution: This run went really nicely.  I stuck to the plan, focused more on my perceived effort than my real life pace, and had a blast.  The trail was crowded but not quite as packed as I was expecting.  It was a really nice day and we haven't had many of those lately.  There were some bikers, most of whom had dirt and puddle splatter all the way up their backs.  There were a few runners and walkers and a couple families out enjoying the day.

Nutrition: I carried by CamelBak.  Yes, the one from here.  I sipped small amounts all through the run which is my preferred method for water intake.  Also, I'm gross and I spit a lot more when I do this.  That's fine in a trail run.  Right?  I had a pack of gu chomps and I'd planned to eat it at miles 4 and 5 and again at 8 and 9.  The intervals sort of made that impossible, so I just had one or two every time I stopped.  I'd had a fairly large (for me before a run) breakfast so I didn't get nearly as hungry as I otherwise would've.  After the run I stopped at the Depot Coffee House and tried to have a Mocha but it came out tasting like someone poured Hershey's chocolate syrup in milk, forgot the coffee, and added sugar.  Boo.  I threw it out. When I got home I had bacon and eggs.

What I learned for race day: This was a great run and taught me a lot about what to expect for the race.  Every minute or two I'd be all "Oh, I should remember that too".  For example:
  • Phone carrying strategy: I started with my phone in my pocket but immediately wished I'd taken my wrist carrier with me becuase it's easier to feel the phone vibrate when it's on my wrist/arm.  (Phone vibrates and makes a noise when I'm supposed to start running.)  I'll do that differently on race day.
  • Pacing: Calm down! Shortly into the run I realized that pacing will be different on trails than on the road.  Apparently they weren't joking about that.  I thought I was going along at a good clip but the pace my phone said didn't match my expectations.  Instead of running faster I decided to gauge my effort and how I felt and not worry about the pace of things.  Wise decision. 
  • Hyrdration: We'll see how I feel on race day.  I carried my CamelBak with me today and I'm not sure if I will on race day or not.  Even though it's ridiculous, I still like carrying it better than a hand held.  But there are a lot of aid stations on this course.  Will I even need a pack?
  • Race day plan: By the end of the run, it was also clear to me that I need an actual plan for race day.  Up to this point, I hadn't had one.  I'd been all "oh, let's just see how this goes". In todays run I liked the longer intervals better than the shorter distances.  I wound up running them faster and felt more comfortable than the little intervals at the beginning of today's run.  For race day I will focus my intervals on minutes versus mileage.  I will have a few short intervals to begin with and warm up, and then have most of the intervals be 8 or 12 minutes with some 16s and 20s at the end.


Sunday Run: Inside. Again.

I am ready for spring so I can run outside.  Why?  Because I'm sick of all the music on my iPod.  I don't need music to run outside.  I just listen to the sound of my own awesomeness.  See here for more details.  Basically I'm just ready to run outside again.  I think we're to a point where I could survive the remaining snow and ice.  The wind the past few days has been no joke and that alone drove me back inside.

Today, my goal was a slow run.  Mission accomplished I'd say.  I drug myself out of the house with the promise of 3 or 4 easy miles but once I got to the gym, 5 miles felt reasonable so that's what I wound up going for.  And I really took it slow and steady.  After the run, I walked a mile and talked to Dad on the phone.

For the rest of the week, technically I need to run a 13-miler.  Looking at the weather, I'm unclear on when I'll be fitting that in.  I may do another long gym workout like last week.  I miss spring.


Weekend Workouts: Spring is Cancelled

I'm starting to remember what is was like to have Mondays be my day off.  I think I was just having a hard week because I wanted to sleep Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  And by Monday I both wanted to sleep and felt guilty for such a desire.  Sigh.  Back to the three day weekends I guess.

Sunday I'm sure I had planned to do some crazy long run.  Whatever I had planned, did not work out.  Instead, I ran 2 miles, up and down the street in front of my house.  I am so over snow and ice.  After the run I spent a solid 20 minutes stretching out.  Whatever I'd done at the gym the day before really caught up to me.

Monday I really had the best of intentions to do a long run.  I failed miserably here.  Instead I slept most of the morning, went to the dentist at 2:30 and bought a new bed during the evening. I remember managing to run a mile and not being too happy about it.  I was so 'blah' I didn't even take a picture.  Sorry.

Tuesday I had come back to myself somewhat.  I got up early and ran 6 miles.  Goal of the workout was a slow and steady run.  Mission Accomplished I'd say.  Afterwards I had a nice foam roll before going to work.

Wednesday I had a long workout.  I did a six mile run on the track.  I think my iPhone was drunk the first 30 minutes or so.  Otherwise I have no explanation for this graph.  After running a full six miles (no matter what the graph says), I had an hour workout on the elliptical, and a cool down walk on the track.  After the workout I did 12 minutes of stretching and later that night I did 20 more.  So this was my "long run" of the week.  I'm so over the cold weather.

Thursday was a wild day.  I went to 6am Body Pump.  There's like no one in that class.  I even had time for a long foam roll afterwards.  At the end of the day I went for a run on the Greenway. I didn't have any intention of doing a 'tempo run' (I use that term loosely here), but once I got into it, I just kept moving and feeling good so I went with it.  I had a long cool down after the run, then tried to do Zumba.  Zumba just wasn't the right move for me after the harder running workout.  I started to get sick about half way through so I left. 

Friday I didn't want to get up early, and wasn't feeling a run anyways, so I waited until after work.  I ran my mile and walked a block or two and called it good.  Yes.  My hair is in a pony tail, because it was a hot mess when I woke up.  Later that day I got my hair cut with a new stylist and when I let the pony down she was all "Wow!  You have a lot of hair tucked in there."  I was all "no freaking kidding".

Saturday I badly wanted to go to Zumba but I just wasn't feeling it.  Instead I turned off my alarm, slept in all morning, and went to the gym towards the end of the day.  I ran my descending ladder workout and actually kept track of my pace this time.  I have dreams of having a 10:00 pace for a 10K so that was the goal pace for the workout (other than the mile warm up).  Interestingly, it got a bit challenging to hold the pace in the middle sets.  In the last couple sets, I seemed to find my natural stride and pace and feel good again.  Note the new shoes.   Yet another pair with a long breaking in period and needing several attempts at proper lacing so they don't attack my feet.  It's getting better.  One or two more adjustments should have it.


Weekend Workouts: Mostly a warm week (finally)

Sunday I did my long run for the week, because the weather was that good.  I spent some quality time on the Greenway with melting snow and massive puddles.

Monday I also made it outside for a workout that was probably too fast to actually be a recovery run.  And I took some pictures of a still mostly frozen Lake Nokomis.

Tuesday I had a true 'recovery' day, just running my mile and heading back inside.  I ran up and down the middle of the road, back and forth on my block because there were no dry sidewalks and everything was generally gross.

Wednesday I had a date with the track at the gym testing out a new pair of shoes.  Something is not right with the shoes, but the run was nice.  I purposefully kept it slow and easy and was happy with the results.

Thursday I'd planned to run on the Greenway and then Zumba, but instead I made friends with a new trail, one of the happier discoveries of my week.

Friday I had a run after work.  I decided I'd make a little more effort than some of the easier runs I'd taken this week.  It was crazy-windy out, and I was running into the wind for the back half of the run.  It was not awesome, but I was surprised to see my paces when I got done, and happy I'd put in a bit of effort.

Saturday I had a 'naked' run, meaning no electronics devices, on the track followed by Body Pump and Zumba.  I'm clear on one thing: I hate tricep dips.  After working out, I took a 4-hour nap which was equally awesome.

Summary for the week:
Running: 31.38 miles
Walking: 1.17 miles
Stretching: 70 minutes, including foam rolling
Weight lifting: 1 hr