10 Miles of Suck

Sometimes runs are excellent. Sometimes, they suck rocks.  Today was one of those days.  My heart rate went up to 140 walking up the hill in my warm up, and I pretty much knew I was screwed.

Goals for the run: 10 miles.  This was a particularly weird workout because I did not eat.  I had food with me, I just wasn't hungry.  I have no explanation.

Route: This is a new one.  I'd run the first 8 miles of this route, when I'd do a long run and wind up at the gym.  The last two miles wind through the neighborhood and are somewhat downhill.  I'm surprised I liked this route as much as I did.  Possibly the only thing I didn't hate about today. 

Execution: So full of suck.  My heart rate was all over the place.  It was high warming up which always spells trouble.  And then my watch wasn't charged so it started giving me a low battery signal around mile two (still worked for 6 more miles).  Around mile 3 I stopped looking at the watch and just ran.  It was mildly less frustrating but it still sucked.  As seen by the heart rate graphs below.

Bonus: I think I found a new running route.


Valentines Day TC 5K

This year instead of Loony, I signed up for the TC Summit Challenge, which is a year-round race series.  First race was today, the Valentines Day TC 5KI hate 5Ks. 

Registration: Registration is online and simple.  It's one registration for the series.  About a week before hand, I had an email with my bib number for this race.  (I assume it will change in each race.)  There's also an online bib number lookup.

Pre-Race Communication: We had a couple emails and web page updates from the race organizers.  Race day packet pick up was shortened by 1/2 hour to save the volunteers, pre race packet pick up was encouraged, and one email confirming the race would take place as planned despite the temperatures. I appreciated the extra communication and found the messages on point. 

Packet Pick Up: This is a 2,200 person race.  There is no expo.  I did race day packet pick up.  I had a surprise when I knew the volunteer who handed me my big.  I was very happy to see a friendly face.

Weather and Wardrobe: It was freezing ass cold today.  Air temps were -5* for the race, winds around 3mph.
Base layers: Polypro long johns, polypro socks, smart wool shirt
Top: Ativa cold weather shirt, purple hoodie with zipper
Bottoms: Brooks cold weather sweat pants
Other: Two pairs gloves, gaiter (which I took off for the race), ear band (which I took off for the race), smart wool hat.
Shoes: Altra Lone Peaks.  This is a road race, but there was enough ice and snow to justify trail shoes.

Start line: The start didn't have official corrals, but did have pace signs so people could line up in order.  The pace signs stopped at 10+ minute mile.  They should've had signs for 10:00, 11:00, 12:00 and even 13:00 miles, especially given that the average finishing time was 35:00.  It would've helped the back end of the race quite a bit.

Race/course: This is run on the road (not the path) around Lake Harriet. The road is generally crazy narrow, one lane and sometimes parking.   Things were badly crowded for the first two miles.  I was thinking that being able to see the finish line for the entire race would drive me nuts, but it really turned out not to matter.  I was spending so much concentration on dodging runners, ice and pot holes that I didn't really look for the finish until I knew it was fairly close.  And yes, there are hills on this course.  They are short but steep.

Finish: I got a medal quite quickly.  The line for food and water was crazy long and not moving.  I chose to forgo my post race banana (though I really lamented the bottle of water I missed) because I needed to get to another event to support a friend.  Seriously, this line was not moving. I'd parked about a mile away in the neighborhood, so I ran/walked/cooled down on the way back to my car.

Race Recommended For: Most importantly, people who like the 5K distance. This is a fun supportive race for first timers.  It's got good SWAG and a fun atmosphere.  For the crazy fast people, it's also a good race because it is chip timed and well supported.  As a middle of the pack runner, it was frustrating because it was so crowded.  I wouldn't have done this race if it hadn't been part of the series.

Goals and outcomes: Before the race, I'd been thinking about goal times and strategies.  My most recent 5K was the TC 5K in October.  My pace was 11:19 and that race has a wicked hill in the beginning.  Thinking about this race I first thought "11:00/mile would be a good goal".  Then I thought about the cold and how crowded the race would be, and other factors that could influence things, and I had no idea how to plan.
Ultimately, I stuck with my usual race strategy which is to go hard and go by feel.  I just let myself find a rythym that felt good but hard and went with it.  An added strategy was to push the pace on the hills, something I almost never do.  I wound up 33:46 or a 10:52/mile. I was shocked and pleased.
I had to smile when I looked at my heart rate data.  I've never hit 181 before.  No wonder I hurt so bad.


Sunday Long Run: Watching the Loppet

Winter running: Weather today was 40* and 20mph winds.  The wind was no joke.  I ran in light pants and a wind breaker.  Wind breaker and sunglasses turned out to be the most crucial pieces of equipment I had.  We've hit the part of the year were 20mph winds are no problem becuase it's 40* which is so freaking warm.

Goals for the run: Keep my heart rate under 153.  Keep my heart rate managed for a while, then just run even and have fun.  Jumping over snow banks utterly effed my heart rate.  Plus I was a bit of a piss pot for the beginning of the run and that didn't do me any favors either.

Route: I went down the 40th Street Greenway Road was mostly plowed.  Sidewalks: not so much.  I was grumpy.  Then around parts of Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun, then took the Greenway east and headed south around Park Ave.  I've done this run before, mostly in the summer when sidewalk shoveling is irrelevant.

Execution: As mentioned, the sidewalk situation totally blew up my heart rate.  Jumping over snow banks and massive puddles is a bigger deal than you'd think.  I tried to keep calm and was telling myself "this will get better the minute you get out of the wind".  The 20+ mph winds were straight out of the west and in my face for the first 4 miles.  The minute I turned north on Lake Calhoun, the wind stopped howling around me and mood improved immensely.  My heart rate got a bit higher than I would've liked.  Once I saw it in the 160s, I decided to just run by feel and enjoy myself.  Ignoring the heart rate.

Post workout: I did a foam roller video after the run.  I do not do the crazy foam rolling of the lats and arms that he does at the end.  But the "turn your toes in" and "turn your toes out" business for the calves and quads is legit.  And slightly painful in a good way.

Bonus: I caught the tail end of the 2016 Loppet.  There were skiers all over Lake Calhoun.  I was happy for the skiers but could've done without all the spectators and other people because the path was packed.


Before and After - 2

I liked my first Before and After so I'm doing it again.  One picture is from today and the other is from the fall.