October Monthly Totals

What Worked Well: ZumbaMy fitness goal for October was a triumphant return to Zumba.  And I did in a big way.  I went to all the Thursday and Saturday classes after race weekend, and I threw in a couple Wednesday classes as well.

What Could Go Better: Stretching.  Sometimes I am grumpy and lazy and don't want to get off the couch.  And I'm sick of listening to the same youtube videos telling me how to foam roll.  Apparently I need a hug.

Biggest Surprise: Spin.  This was my biggest month for spin ever.  I had a blast and may try to go every Monday from now on, instead of the every other I've been doing.  I started wearing my heart rate monitor in class, which helps me force myself to work to the right intensity.

Plan for Next Month: Average 28-30 miles per week.  Run at least one mile per day. Run in the woods at Julie's place at least once. Run 8-10 miles on Thanksgiving Day. Start the Kettlebell/TRX class at the gym. 


Aparently it's *that time* of the year

Not that time of the month.  Calm down.

It's the time of the year when I run more as a habit, and so I don't lose myself, than for any other reason.  As such, I rarely feel motivated to write about it.  This week's running didn't even lend itself to photography really.  Sunday and Tuesday I did my normal Lake Hiawatha route, Monday was the Greenway, Wednesday was just a mile around my house and today was inside on the track. 

What else am I doing?  Zumba.
I declared October to be the month of Zumba, since I missed so much of it in September.  I've gone on Thursdays and Saturdays and even gone to a few Wednesday classes as a special bonus.

In the meantime, I had a photo-repost on Instagram, which felt kind of cool.
A photo posted by Midtown Greenway Coalition (@midtowngreenway) on


8.5 Miles on Cedar Lake Trail

I had actually two workouts tonight.  I took the unusual step of driving to the downtown gym so I could take longer at the end of the night without rushing.

Workout 1 - Run 8.5 miles, interval workout.  As I've mentioned before, I'm not training for a single thing right now, and I'm really taking steps to enjoy that.  I still wanted a longer workout today, so I did run/walk intervals along a new-to-me section of the Cedar Lake Trail.  I had a nice time.  The intervals let me run harder than normal, but for short enough bursts that my heart rate didn't get out of control.

Workout 2 - Spin.  With the Dungeon Master.  She earned that nickname herself.  We did the long hill workout, which was my favorite from before.  Except I didn't remember coming out of my seat so many times in the last workout.  I am terribly lazy on bike, and hate coming out of the saddle.  The only thing I hate worse is jumps. 

After the workout, I leisurely got cleaned up, dried my hair, etc.  Then I stopped by a Chinese Restaurant (it's been too long) and grabbed some takeout for dinner.


Sunday - today I am grateful for:

I headed out for a Run/Walk around 4:00 on Sunday afternoon.  I ended it feeling pretty good, several moments of gratitude sparkled through the time.

1. I am grateful not to be running a race right now.  So when I want to run lazily up the hill and then back down the other side, I don't have to worry about strengthening my legs or improving my times.  I can just run for the joy of it.

2. I am grateful for this fall that seems to be lasting forever.  I feel like it came on really early, but then the leaves have held on forever.

3. I am grateful for the motivation to actually leave the house.  It took all day to find. The 'get the run in and then we'll walk and take pictures' seemed to be the right compromise.


Gym Bag Neccessities

Thanks to Shut up and Run for this topic.  What's in your gym bag?

Small plastic sandwich baggies.  When I drive to a run, I need a way to carry my car keys with me.  My 'key' at the moment is a remote.  If it gets sweaty and shorts out, my car will not start.  So I put the remote in a little sandwich bag in my pocket, to keep it sweat free. Remember the old fashioned days when you could just tie something to your shoe?

Ear buds.  I tend to run sans music outside.  Running around the track for an hour, or bobbing up and down on an elliptical, I really appreciate my tunes.  I remember the moment I discovered noise blocking headphones for the gym, as I was looking at a guy pounding away on the treadmill but couldn't hear the offending sounds.  My life was forever changed in that moment.

Elastic Headbands.  Because my hair is a hot mess and needs to be contained.  I have a rotating stash that live in my gym bag.

Plastic dirty clothes bag.  Nothing fancy.  Right now I'm using an old Gap shopping bag.  It just has to be plastic so it keeps the smell and the funk contained.

Lock.  It sounds stupid but the moment you forget it, you'll really miss it.

My Gym ID card.  It just stays in the gym bag with my lock.  Because I am lazy.

Race belt, arm band, or similar.  To carry my portable music device. And possibly my keys.

Spare clean underwear and clean socks.  Because we all forget things from time to time.

Emergency fruit snacks.  Sometimes I just get hungry.


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.