Thursday, December 31, 2009

From NR: Happy 2010

I have to share my Christmas Day running story! I was in Wisconsin that day and it was raining/sleeting most of the day and about 10:00 I finally head out the door to do a quick 4 miles. It's raining, the roads are crappy - slush and snow and wet and slippery - and I'm running into a fairly stiff head wind and what I'm thinking is: "Man, this is awesome!"

Clearly something is wrong with me . . . I have always loved running in the rain, though. This also marks the first run (I think) where I've been offered a ride from someone driving by because clearly no-one would be out running in that weather by choice. I just grinned and said I was just fine.

So Happy New Year, everyone! Here's hoping 2010 is a good year for all. I didn't do so well with my goals for last year but the most important one, keeping running fun and not stressing if/when things go wrong, I was able to stick to. January 1st is an important date for another reason - many marathon fees went up yesterday. So I finally decided on running the Eau Claire Marathon on May 2 and registered while I could still get the early rate. Who else is coming with? It looks like a beautiful course and I'm excited for another new race! There's also a Half Marathon and a 2 mile.

I have lots of races that I want to do this year, of course. Last year, I only made it to 10 races, not counting the NMTC series! I started using Google calendar from my email to write down every race that I have any interest in, just to see when everything is. Hopefully that will help me remember when things are and plan ahead to make it to races better.

Here are my 2010 goals that I'm ready to share (yes, this means there are some that I'm not ready to share yet):
- make it strong through the February blahs
- consistantly log my runs ALL YEAR even if it's just jotting down the mileage and nothing else
- break 3:30 in a marathon, hopefully Eau Claire
- keep my mileage up all year
- run my first ultra (probably the Wild Duluth 50K)
- stay injury free
and, of course
- keep running fun for myself and those running with me

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mostly From NR: Marathon decisions!

The problem with writing entries over time is that so much changes! I've revamped this entry three of four times as I slowly make up my mind!

Many spring marathon prices go up at the start of the new year so my goal is to decide on a race in the next week and a half. Trying to stay in the area, I took a look at all the spring marathons in Minnesota and Wisconsin and I've pretty much narrowed it down to two - the Eau Claire Marathon and the Green Bay Marathon - both in May.

I'm torn between the two of them so I've been making a spreadsheet of all the comparisons, pros/cons and whatnot.

Let's start with Eau Claire since it's the first one. May 2, making an 18 week training plan start December 27. It's a second time marathon but last year got great reviews on marathonguide.
Pros: It's close (3 1/2 hours away), cheap ($55) and has a pretty looking course that's not too hilly. There seem to be plenty of cheap but nice hotels that are close to the start or on the actual course. The half marathon is on the same course for the first 5 miles and I love having them around in a smaller race. I could also place in my age group depending on how it grows the second year.
Cons: It was tiny last year - about 200 marathoners and it would be good to have enough people to have runners going my pace when I'm going for a big goal, it's the same weekend as the Moose Lake 10K (but really, I think the marathon trumps it this year)

Green Bay is May 16 so an 18 week training plan would start on January 10. I ran Green Bay in 2008 and loved it.
Pros: I've been there so knowing the territory and having a positive experience there are big pluses. There's shuttles to the start, plenty of bathrooms and a warm place to hang out in at the start. It's a nice course - pretty spots and not too hilly, a small possibility of placing in my age group. Plus - running around Lambeau!
Cons: it's a bit further away, a little more expensive ($75) and the hotels are more expensive since it starts/finishes at Lambeau Field. It was a bit of a pain figuring out getting back to the car - luckily Kyle walked the 1+ back and met me halfway.

So looking at the rundown there, it sure seems like Eau Claire should beat out Green Bay. However, I don't like the idea of suddenly being in a training plan when I was thinking I had some time to base it up more. Early May means tough times trying to get speed workouts in but really, Green Bay is only 2 weeks later so it's not that big of a difference.

Also . . . I think I'll be doing Grandma's again! I know, I know, this is probably a horrible idea! But! I'm on the Austin-Jarrow Northwoods Minnesota team now and we're actually looking at competing at races together and I know Jarrow is super excited to have a full women's team. With Grandma's being a big scoring event, it's probably pretty important for me to be there. Plus, I'd like my parents (and my sister but I'm pretty sure she'll never come see me race a marathon again) to be able to see me happy and functioning at the end of a marathon. If I made Grandma's my secondary race, then I don't have to stress about nasty weather and I can back off a bit if the hot/humid shit comes upon us again. Really, we're way past due for some normal June Duluth weather. Way past due. I just like the Grandma's course, too - it's beautiful and peaceful for the first 20 miles with enough people to not be on your own and then you come into Duluth and have awesome cheering crowds for the last 6 miles.

So, anyway. Eau Claire gives me 7 weeks between races and Green Bay gives me 5. Probably another positive for Eau Claire. So I'm leaning pretty heavily toward Eau Claire. Anyone who's been there - now's your time to tell me all about what you think!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


It's an entry that's different from my Northland Runner entry!

Earlier this fall, I finally got myself a RoadID. I was out running a normal road route when suddenly I thought out of the blue "What if a semi truck hit me right now?" Very random, I know. So, forgetting that if a semi hit me then there probably wouldn't be much left, it was an important question. I never used to carry any sort of ID with me - my driver's license doesn't fit well into my running shorts and I don't carry a cell phone with me so what would happen if a car hit me? Or if I fell and cracked my head open? Noone would know who I was, who to contact or if I had any medical issues.

I went home and ordered a RoadID.

I went for the kind that velcros right onto your shoe since something around my neck would drive me crazy and anything that's not my watch drives me crazy around my wrist. I really do think everyone should have some sort of ID with them - be it a license or a RoadID or something similar. You want people to know your emergency contact and if you're allergic to anything major. So if you don't have anything - go make one! Right now! Or buy something that lets you easily carry that information.

So now that I'm on the RoadID mailing list, they sent me a Christmas coupon to share for 10% off any RoadID order through December 18th, just use the coupon code: pcHoliday294. They're $20-$30 and well worth it.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

From NR - Bridge to Peace 5K race report

It was a beautiful day for a Lakewalk race on Saturday! I had been waffling a bit about the race (Bridge to Peace 5K) - which is why I was making sure to tell as many people as possible that I was going. That way it's harder to back out :) I didn't feel in good shape for a 5K. It was going to be cold. I wanted to sleep in. I wanted to go climbing the night before. Lots of excuses waiting to be used. But I knew this was a cause I really wanted to give some money to (they raised over $5000 last year) and I did want to do a 'last race' for the year so I made sure to be ready the night before.

I woke up a little worried about the cold, seeing that it would be a balmy 10 degrees and I couldn't decide what to wear. I threw on tights and then pants over that so that I'd have the option of either one. I've been running in 20 degree weather with two long sleeves and I usually have to push one of the sleeves up, so I decided on two long sleeves under my racing jersey. A hat and gloves most definitely. I've been enjoying having warm hands this year, so far - I've headed out the door with gloves several times in weather when I would have just left them behind last year. It's nice to have warm hands!

When I got down to the lakewalk - it was lovely. A little warmer than my house, no wind and quite a comfortable temperature once you got moving. We showed up much too early - I was hoping to get there right at registration opening in the hopes of getting a shirt. Well, turns out anyone who registered after November 27 didn't get a shirt on race day so there was no luck for me on race morning. But they're doing a second printing, which I think is great so I'll get my shirt next week. Then I'll do what I was planning on doing last year and do a picture of all my race shirts for the year!

I decided during the warmup with Leslie to keep my pants on for the race. There was just enough wind to seem to cut through layers and I wanted my legs to be warm so it seemed smart to keep them on. Until the starting line, anyway. Then I started realizing that I was rather warm just standing around with my race clothes on and the extra layer sure felt heavy so I decided at the last minute (about the time the starter said 30 seconds to start) to take off my pants and just do tights. A great decision! I would have been much too hot in both.

It was a pretty good race overall despite not feeling like I was in decent 5K shape. My mental game should be the same regardless of the pace I'm running so I tried to focus on being positive and staying even/not relaxing the pace. I ran almost exact even 7 minute splits so that must have worked! I figured I couldn't hope to be faster then in the 21:00s somewhere and I was on the upper end of that, so all was good. I had some people around to keep me going - I was 4th female for a while in the middle of the race and was able to keep my eye on gaining on #3 and catching her with a little under a mile to go. There were a couple of out and back spots on the course, too, which is always fun for seeing and cheering on everyone else and getting some extra encouragement!

I find myself often frustrated by staying the same distance behind someone in front of me - in this case the #2 woman. She started out faster than me and then we settled into our paces and she didn't gain any ground. I started gaining some on her the second mile and then she gained it back at the end of the 3rd mile so I wish I had just been with her and we would have been able to push each other. Not that I was really wanting a hard race but it's always annoying to see someone right up there the whole time and so you wonder if you should just kick it up for a minute to catch up since you're going the same pace. So - is this an indicator that I should start out harder? Sometimes I feel as though I start out too hard already - there's no point in jumping in front of everyone just to have them needing to get around you in the next 200 meters anyway. So maybe I just need to hold that starting pace for a little longer before settling in. Or maybe one of these races, I need to give a surge a try and see what it does to me. Clearly something I'll need to work on as I tackle my 5K goal this coming year.

So overall, I definitely recommend this race for next year! Lots of happy volunteers made this go off great. There was someone at the railroad crossing, sweeping off the snow and making sure to tell everyone that the rubber was slippery! Mile markers were great, especially with the turnarounds - it was nice to know right where you were. The finishing treats were especially yummy, too - lots of homemade bars and cookies as well as some cheese and oranges for more healthy snacking. Sadly, I wasn't able to stick around for awards, though - I had to get home and showered before work. Hopefully I'll be back for next year.