5-ish miles in Anoka

I'd been to the Anoka Nature Preserve one time before and had a blast.  My goal today was to explore some more of it, hoping that the trails would be mud-free, and more of it would be open.  Verdict: Mud-free.  Great Success.

Distance: I learned today, in my exploration that the preserve isn't really super big.  I'd originally targeted six miles as my goal distance, but after exploring and still managing to make two complete circuits of the place, my head wasn't in it for the last mile.  I just couldn't work out a collection of paths that would be a mile but not land me in someplace ridiculous to finish the run.  I stopped at mile 5 and then walked about half mile back to my car.  I think in the future, this is a good place for a 3-4 mile run, but nothing more.

Trails: I also learned today that I love to explore.  I sort of knew this already.  But I got off the main trail in some places and played in the woods.  I found a swimming hole, a beaver dam, a snorkel kit (serious) and some downed trees.  I wound up heading back to the main trails because the bugs were fairly out of control in the back woods.  And yes, I did a tick-check or two.  As a bonus today, I wore my true trail shoes.  I haven't had these out to play for a while.  I had an utter failure when I packed white socks on trail running day.  Those socks are now brown.  Shaking my head.

Pictures: The best part of the run today was all the photos I took.  I told you I run with a camera right?


10 Fitness Things I Couldn't Live Without

Thanks to Hungry Runner Girl for her post and for letting me copy you!

1.  Endomondo on my iPhone (works on Android and Blackberry too though!  Yes.  I track all of my runs.  I'm kind of a nut.  I love this app because it lets me track a billion other sports too, including cycling and Zumba.

2. Minimus shoes.  The thing with life lately is I don't always know where I'll be running at the end of the day.  Will it be paved?  Grass trails?  Dirt?  Maybe I'll go to Elm Creek and get all three.  These shoes handle whatever I throw at them really well.  It's nice to feel comfortable and have confidence in my footing on every surface I see. 

3. My iPhone (or any phone with a GPS function on it).  As I mentioned, I've been running all over the freaking place.  I am so lucky!  I do love to explore, but trails in Minnesota don't always make sense.  Here for more info.  In most of my recent runs in new places, I've had to stop and consult the map to figure out which route to take, even with studying a trail map ahead of time.  I'm cool with it because I didn't get lost and had a great time.

4.  A good sports bra.  'Nuff said.

5.  A heart rate monitor.  This thing was sort of torture when I started using it.  It kept me running so freaking slow.  I'm liking it more and more now, except in the heat when it still keeps me very slow.  Even then I sort of like it because I've had much better luck actually running in the heat this year than ever before.

6. A good pair of ear buds.  This is more for working out indoors in the winter, since I rarely use them outside.  But seriously, inside, they are always in my ears.  I appreciate not hearing the person on the treadmill next to me pounding away, or the dude behind me grunting while he lifts weights.  And I appreciate the hours of entertainment while running in circles on the track.  

7. A camera.  It's not directly a piece of workout equipment.  I take bazillions of pictures on my runs.  Seriously.  If you see 4, assume 40 were taken.  Sometimes the promise of taking pictures someplace fun is the only thing that will get me to put on my sneakers, so I think it's legit.

8. A foam roller, or more accurately two foam rollers.  Two is way better than one.  

9.  Five Finger Shoes.  These are the only things I wear in Zumba.  I will run indoors on the track in them, and also did Circuit and weight lifting in them. In the summer, I wear them to all manner of places.

10. Nike Filament Capris. I have like five pairs of them.  In multiple colors.  I was also thinking about 2xu Active Tri Shorts, but I have more pairs of the Nikes and have driven further to purchase them.  It's a problem.  I've never been a super fun of Nike shoes, but their clothes have been indestructible and crazy comfortable so far.  Enjoy!


8 Miles to the Sculpture Garden

Backstory: One of my favorite blogs is DC Rainmaker.  I'm always reading where he does these runs out of Paris, and then just jumps on a train or bus back into town.  That always sounds like so much fun!  I didn't need a super long run today, but knew I could see more places if I ran one direction and took the bus back.

Route:  I jumped on the Greenway from my neighborhood, and went all the way out to Kenilworth TrailI better enjoy it while I can.  From there I headed back into the city and finished at The Sculpture Garden.  I was totally slow, and still had a higher than desirable heart rate.  Phil Maffetone would not approve.  At the end of the run, I walked around a bit and took some pictures and then jumped on a bus or two to get home.  The transit feature on Google Maps is utterly useful.

Weather: It was in the high 70s and very sunny.  I think that explains most of why my heart rate was so high.  It's not like I was moving that fast.  There was a breeze most of the way.  That didn't help my heart rate either because it was a headwind.  Sigh.

Nutrition: This was an 8-mile run.  I took one gel around mile 7 because I was hungry from not having eaten much during the day.  I also carried a hand held water bottle.  I had a bit to drink on the run and then had the rest on the bus ride home. 

Pictures: It was a weird day and hard to find any motivation to run at all. Ultimately the promise of some photo ops was enough to draw me off the couch.  The route did not disappoint. And yes, I was totally thinking of what I now refer to as the Holly Spoon day.


Medicine Lake - too many miles

Today was just one of those runs that would not end.  How hilarious is it that the crazy hot and humid run on Tuesday was my best one of the week so far.

Trails: I knew I'd end the day near Medicine Lake so I'd planned to run the 7.5 mile loop around the lake.  Most of the time I was on Medicine Lake Trail but I spent about a mile on Luce Line Trail as well.  I didn't like either one.  Luce Line had these fantastic wooden bridges, and then all these spaces where the trail was super narrow.  Medicine Lake was usually wide enough but the pavement is so old that I actually noticed.  It was lopsided in places, and places so worn out that rocks were poking into my shoes.  A disappointing amount of this run was on a 'protected' trail next to a main road.  Separated may be a more accurate word.  I was really sick of all the cars driving by watching me run slow.

The Run: I just couldn't focus on running.  My heart rate was crazy high the entire time.  I had to stop in the middle for a potty break.  I walked a lot.  I walked up most of the hills.  I got a work-related call in the middle of the run, so I walked then.  And so on.  It was one of those rare days I wished I'd brought my ear buds because the music would've helped me focus much better.   It just wasn't my day for a good run.

Post-falls issues: My leg was a bit stiff today, after yesterdays two dramatic falls.  I don't feel my leg collapsing or doing weird things, just a stiff clumsy muscle.  I really don't want to foam roll the muscle.  I don't know why, but it feels like it would be a bad thing to do.  Tonight before bed I plan on taking some ibuprofen instead.


Six miles on the creek - in which I fall down

It's been a while since I've fallen down.  I had a nasty spat of it last year in the spring and then seemed to be free for a while.  Today I fell twice. In the first 1.5 miles.  It was not my favorite run ever.

Fall #1 occurred on Cedar Ave, where I didn't even realize it was possible to trip.  It was nasty.  I went down on my hands and knees before I could get myself into a safer falling position.  Luckily I didn't realize I'd scraped my leg up for 3 or 4 more miles.  Fall #2 occurred on 43rd street.  It was much more spectacular because I rolled completely head over heels.  My preferred method of falling.  While visually awesome, it was much less significant. I just popped up, got my heart rate under control and kept running.  See why I like to fall that way?

I have no idea if I have any lasting injuries.  My legs feel fine, other than the scrape on my knee.  Sometimes my wrist or shoulder feels weird but for now I'm deciding to ignore it. 


Tuesday: 4 Miles in the crazy humid heat

Weather: I checked my phone at 5:45am and Siri told me the heat index was 88* and the actual temp was around 81*.  Well, this should be hilarious.  It was one of those days that started out so boggy and humid that it got slightly better when the sun came up and a breeze came along.  Still it was hot and humid and I did not have high expectations for the workout.

Run: I hit up my usual 4-mile route.  Notably, I was able to run on the bike path the entire way around Lake Hiawatha.  That had been underwater since some time in June or so.  The pedestrian path is still swamped.  Literally.  I decided today that I will be most happy when the pedestrian sidewalk under the Cedar Ave bridge re-opens.  I'm thinking there's a good shot it'll be ready by December.

Cool down: Instead of doing any cross training, I just walked around the block to cool down.  I was hot and starting to feel miserable, so I thought bringing the heart rate down in a healthy manner should be the priority.


Monday Miles - all over the place

This workout was in several stages.  The 90* heat with a heat index around 107* really took it out of me though.

Walking: A walk from the bus to the gym, 0.8 miles, was my warm up.  And 'walking' (I was going fast) back to the bus stop was my cool down, 0.5 miles.

Running: I did get a 'run' in; 1.25 miles on the dreadmill at the downtown gym.  Normally I would've found one of the greenways to go for a run, but it was way too hot and way too humid.

Elliptical: I did the bulk of my workout on the elliptical because I can monitor my heart rate easiest on this machine.  I tried to keep my heart rate below 150, or pegged at 150, and wound up going 3.6 miles in 40 minutes.  That's faster than I could've run it.  I think the heart rate monitors are a bit wonky on that machine, but I'll take it.

Spin: The whole point of going to the downtown gym at all was to take Spin class.  This workout was hard.  It started with some sprints, then went into a 6:00 increasing climb, then more sprints then a 'hard muddy climb' then we repeated that a few times.  Blergh.  (And remember, then I had to 'walk' back to the bus.)


6 Miles on the Greenway

Running: The Greenway was busy this morning when I got out for my run.  It was a surprisingly good run.  My heart rate basically stayed where I wanted it, and I am getting faster at an aerobic rate.  At least when it's cool.  It was such a good run I didn't even feel like stopping to take a picture!

Other workouts: Saturday is Zumba day.  I also celebrated the weekend by riding my bike to and from the gym.  I was thrilled that it didn't rain on me.


6 miles: Elm Creek Park Preserve

I found myself very close to Elm Creek Park Reserve at the end of the day.  That means I should run here right?  I'd only been to Elm Creek one other time and I loved it so I was super happy to get back. 

Trails: Today I was on a mix of paved trails and grass/dirt trails, and what may have been horse trails.  The horse trails were pleasantly free of poo if that's indeed what they were.  Sadly, many of the non-paved trailed were still utterly compromised by puddles, which meant I kept having to find my way back to the pavement.  This place is so huge.  I've been here twice and still barely seen any of what's here.  I can't wait for the dirt trails to dry up so I can get into the middle of the park more.

Run: Slow, hot, and gorgeous are the adjectives for this run.  Slow because I was not super speedy.  The paved parts of the trail were easier, but still involved rolling hills.  The non-paved parts of the trail were and utter adventure.  I'm sure not knowing my way around and having to stop to look at the map all the time didn't help.  Hot because it was in the low 80s.  I found it fantastic.  Seriously, what is wrong with me?  And gorgeous because duh! 

Zumba: I totally went to Zumba after running.  And danced my heart out because the teacher played the Boom Boom song for me.  And then we had tacos after because I was so hungry from all the running and the dancing.