Friday, December 31, 2010

From NR: Happy 2011!

Okay. Take three. Two times I've had this post half written and both times, the internet ate it. I've finally learned and am typing it where it won't get lost! Ha!

So, step one is to go over the goals I shared for 2010:
1) Make it strong through the February blahs. - Well, I wasn't actually able to run at that point so that goal is sort of an undetermined result, huh?
2) Consistently log my runs ALL YEAR even if it's just jotting down the mileage and nothing else. - Oh, man. Fail with a capital 'F'! I just don't understand why this is so difficult for me. It doesn't take that long just to jot down mileage. I did make it all the way to July this year, though, which is better than I have done recently.
3) Break 3:30 in a marathon, hopefully Eau Claire. Eau Claire didn't happen because of my knee and the Grandma's curse continued. For Whistlestop, I didn't even try for 3:30 and I didn't make my revised 3:35 goal. In my defense, though, that was due to my knee.
4) Keep my mileage up all year. - I feel as though I succeeded with this. At least, when I was ABLE to run . . . I'm doing long runs on the weekend as opposed to my usual winter routine of not doing much at all.
5) Run my first ultra (probably the Wild Duluth 50K). - Success!!
6) Stay injury free. - Boy, I didn't even last a week on this goal! And then the stupid injury came back in the fall. I've decided that my job was a lot to blame with this, though since I can really notice it when I go back even for my short night shitfts.
7) Keep running fun for myself and those running with me . I definitely succeed on this. At least, for me. I hope I was fun for those around me, too :)

Okay, so overall, not a good percentage looking at that list . . . A 3 in 7 success rate. Well, something to improve upon, right? I still feel as though I had a pretty great running year:
~ Getting injured got me back into lifting regularly. I've fallen out a bit since Wild Duluth and trying to work out my new job schedule but I'm working that back out.
~ It also forced me to learn to swim much better and makes me want to do it more.
~ While the Grandma's curse continued, it got better. So Grandma's 2011 will be even better!
~ I ran my faster times ever on many of the NMTC series races.
~ I ran my first ultra and finished strong and happy.
~ I three-peated at Boulderdash!
~ I still ran 3 marathons and one ultra when the most I've ever done is 2 marathons. And technically, a 'year' is still going so I might have another ultra under my belt before that year comes back around with Grandma's.
~ I've discovered trail running even more, come to love it even more and also ran my first trail marathon.
~ I had lots of fun times out on runs with my friends!
~ I did 11 total races with 4 at marathon distance or longer! Plus the spring and fall NMTC races, so I guess that adds 16 (well, 15 since Rough Rider didn't really count) for a total of 26! I'll add up race mileage soon and let you know.

So! It is now 2011! A whole new year is spread before us, etc, etc . . . I've been thinking a lot about what I want my running year this year to look like and while I don't have a full plan yet, I have a good start on it. First off is the biggie that I seem ready to announce: I'm planning on breaking my tradition of thinking about racing something but then waiting a year before actually doing it - I want to run my first 50 mile! And I think I've decided on Voyageur. The potential for nasty weather is still pretty scary, though. (Hell, the whole idea is pretty scary if I think about it too much.) Nasty weather, as in hot. And humid. And other similar conditions that my body is not a big fan of. But. It's super close, it's trail I know and love, there'll be tons of friends on the course or volunteering and it'll be easier to get someone to crew for me then for the fall 50 Mile. It's the end of July so I'll have time to acclimate to heat/humidity/grossness. And it's the 30th anniversary! So right now, that's my big goal for the year. But! It's something I need to make sure I'm training for from here on out. If my training derails in a major way for any reason, then it's something that I shouldn't be doing. So it's a goal but a "make sure I'm fully prepared first' goal.

This means I really feel as though I should be doing another ultra before I do a 50 mile. Or at least a spring marathon. So I could look into Eau Claire again in early May. Or Green Bay in mid-May. But right now I'm taking a look at the Chippewa Moraine 50K. It's April 23 and only a couple hours away. I really need to get more used to eating and would feel more comfortable doing Voyageur if I did another 50K doing better with the stomach. So - if you've run Chippewa Moraine, tell me about it! What did you like? What did you not like? What kind of trails are they? The other option is the Superior Trail 50K which I think I'd rather do instead of Chippewa simply because I love the SHT and the Spring races have been on my list for a while. The weekend has been moved off of fishing opener which would be fabulous for me any other year but this year, of course, it causes another conflict! This shouldn't surprised me as it's how my life tends to work. I'm heading out to Wyoming to see my cousin graduate high school. However, I'm not sure I'll be able to afford the time off from my job as I'm unsure of what my vacation is going to look like. It's not something I'm okay with skipping unless I absolutely can't get the vacation time but if it comes to that, then I'd like to do the Superior 50K.

And then there's Grandma's . . . I have yet to register and really should. I'd like to do one more go at it and then maybe leave it alone for a little while. It's so hard to not want to do it, though. It's my first one, I still want revenge on it, it's right in town, it's pretty and it's the 35th year. Plus, I feel as though I should do a normal road marathon this year and with Wild Duluth and Whistlestop on the same day, that's not looking promising otherwise. But a friend of mine has scheduled her wedding that day! Again, am I really surprised by a conflict? The problem here is definitely not that I'm racing too much :) Provided it's the right time of day, though, I'm thinking I should be able to make both so I'm making that my plan right now :)

The big thing it looks like I won't be able to do is the Brewhouse Triathlon. I've been the running part of a team the last two years and we all decided to do it on our own for the first time this year. But it's the weekend after Voyageur and this just doesn't strike me as a very good idea. Happily, it turns out that one of the other two has an awesome climbing trip scheduled for then and the other teammie is in grad school so I was thinking she might have to bail anyway. So perhaps another triathlon. But that's not super high on my list right now.

So that's my plan for the year as it stands now. I think I'll write out some specific goals, too, like I did last year, just so I have something to go back over since that's kind of fun. Also - I can't believe I didn't do a single road 5K all year, so I'll have to remedy that this year, too.

May everyone's 2011 be filled with many happy miles and no injuries!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

From NR: A normal schedule? What?

Wow, it's been a while, hasn't it? I've had a lot going on but none of that has been racing and much of this time has been take it easy in running time so there's not too much to report on. I found a new job (huzzah!!) and am now working two jobs plus my computer is on the fritz so I'm generally only online using Kyle's computer. All of which adds up to very little time for blog writing.

So the big thing I'm working on right now is figuring out how to fit running and lifting and swimming into a 'normal' schedule. I've been so spoiled in some ways with a retail schedule - it's nice to be able to get things done during the day if I don't start until later or to get off early if I start early and be able to run well before dinnertime. Now I'm going to have to be waking up early to do my things before work or run after work and before dinner. So I've also been working on making healthy snacks to bring with me to work so I CAN run after work without being starving before I even head out the door. My current favorite Wasa Crip 'n Light crackers with cheese. Mmmmmmmmmmmm.

So after Wild Duluth, I took it easy for a while. Instead of taking a couple of weeks completely off, though, I took a few weeks easy. I only ran on Wednesday with friends and raced Sundays for the rest of the NMTC series. My body recovered from the 50K pretty quickly, I think, so that was great. Although, having to race a 5K for the last NMTC race was sure a shock to the system! The most exciting news since Wild Duluth, though - I won the NMTC fall trail series! It's super exciting, even if it feels like I only won because faster people didn't consistently show up. But hey, like my coach told me back in high school when I won the mile in track and said it was only because a couple of my teammates ran different events - you can only race who shows up. So I won a free pair of shoes from Austin-Jarrow, which is pretty awesome. I decided on a neutral Saucony on the idea of stepping down the amount of stability that I "need" my shoe to provide but not jumping into training in racing flats. So we'll see how those go when it's time to change my shoes.

So now I'm done with the easy time and it's time to start looking ahead to next year. Whatever it is that next year holds :) My problem right now is deciding on what it is I want to focus on (what? My problem rests on decisions? What a shock!) and what I want my race schedule for next year to look like. Regardless, it's time to start working on bringing my mileage back up and getting a good winter base down. It's also time to get back to lifting regularity since part of my down time was also a break from lifting. Luckily, I love winter running! Most of the time.

Racing is done for the year. I was going to be on a team doing the Key West Ragnar, but then I got an extremely expensive vet bill so that plan got nixed. I'm bummed to miss it because I LOVE Ragnars but I also had this weird sense of doom about the race (in terms of my knee exploding) so I'm also a tiny bit relieved. It'll be nice to be able to take the winter to base build rather than worry about a 30-36 mile (divided into three legs, but still) race in January. Hopefully I'll be able to do a Ragnar later in 2011, then.

I was also going to do the Bridge to Peace 5K but it got moved from it's December time to the beginning of November on the same day as the High School State Cross Country meet and that takes precedence! I've been working the meet the last few years and love it - especially when I get to help out at the finish line. This year marked 10 years since my team won (I can't believe it's been that long!! My ten year high school reunion is this coming summer!) and I STILL get nervous once I make the turn from the highway towards St. Olaf on my way there. State was such a big part of my life for so many years, that it's nice to be able to go back and help out. Though, I'm always interested in the vast gap in numbers of boys who collapse at the finish vs girls who collapse. It's always more girls by a large number. Even now that it's chip timed and you aren't forced to stand in a chute in finishing order until someone ripped the tag from your race number. I don't think I ever collapsed at the end of a cross country race (someone can correct me if I'm wrong) though I did almost black out after my last cross country race ever (in college). Anyway, there was one girl who looked so devastated when she crossed the finish line that I had to go and give her a hug and help her through the finish area. I was happy to see an Esko girl when her race and a Grand Rapids girl raced and finished well, though not as well as she wanted. Luckily, she's not a senior so she has more State in her future.

I might head to the Cities for a winter race this year, but I'm not sure which one. Any thoughts? The Yukon Days races get an awesome hooded sweatshirt! And then there's the St Paul Winter Carnival Half Marathon. Or I should head to the Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run since I've always wanted to do that. It's super excited to have weekends free now, let me tell you!