Monday, April 30, 2012

New Friends

So a story I haven't shared yet . . . Earlier this spring, when there was still snow, I made a couple of new friends. I was planning on running 21ish miles with Ron and Lisa was to hook up with us for the end. Unfortunately, I wasn't entirely clear in my emails about my intent to join the fun and Ron took off without me. I pulled in to the Fond du Lac parking to see Ron about two blocks up the trail. I honked my horn to no avail so I took my time changing my top layers since it was a little warmer than I thought and called Lisa to let her know I'd be behind Ron and then I headed up the trail. I more or less knew the route - up Mission Creek, up Skyline, along Skyline until dropping down to Cody Street, where we would meet Lisa and hit the DWP trail. So I headed up Mission Creek only to find some surprisingly dastardly amounts of snow. It wasn't too bad at first, I was punching through ankle deep snow and that's where I met up with my new friends. See, I kept running past where the Superior Hiking Trail crosses the Mission Creek trail when I realized no one else had been post-holing through it in front of me. I turned back and first encountered my new friends, leading the way up the Hiking Trail. Well, that's a strange way to go up Mission Creek, but okay. The snow got progressively worse as we went - knee deep and sharp on my bare ankles and legs. We were moving slow and I was sure that Ron was getting way ahead as I cursed his name for making me run through this but we kept plugging along. My new friends are twins - practically identical, though you can tell them apart if you're paying attention. They stick out in a crowd, too, with a unique look. They were great running partners - there almost any time I got lonely, showing me the way if I was unsure, and even playing a couple of tricks on me. They warned me where there was deep water under deep snow so I kept my feet more dry. Though, every once and a while, they floated on top of the snow and I followed exactly only to punch through up to my knees. They ran in a very straight line at times and bounded at others. It was downright fun on my way up Skyline (where it was closed and used as a snowmobile trail) to watch my new friends in the snow and see them take the same route through the iced spots that I took or plunge through the same mud puddle that I decided to run through. I lost my friends somewhere on Skyline after crossing Highway 2. I was worrying at this point - still no sign of Ron and I was WAY behind his predicted time to meet up with Lisa. I hoped they waited up for me since Lisa knew I was coming but I was far enough behind according to my watch that I worried they wouldn't want to wait that long. I headed down the hill only to not see my friends on the snowmobile trail. I decided they must have kept going and taken the SHT down the hill instead and I almost turned around to follow them but decided to keep going and figured we'd cross paths where the SHT goes back onto the trail I was on. But then I got to that crossing and my friends weren't there either! I was quite confused and a little sad. I spit out onto Cody Street and there was Lisa and Ron waiting for me! Turns out he was slowed down a ton by the grossness up Mission Creek, as well, and wasn't any further in front of me than he started. And on Ron's feet - my new good friends! After following Ron's footprints for so long, marveling at how we would choose the same paths through things, and seeing how they would stand out among the many footprints in the mud on Skyline, it was strange to not have them in front of me anymore. I enjoyed following along - it was almost a scavenger hunt at times to pick his prints out, especially as prints got thick close to the Magney trail head. I'll be sad when Ron gets a new pair of shoes and I make sure to say hi to my friends whenever he wears them.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Getting excited!

So just under 5 weeks to Fargo and I'm finally excited! Actually, that's a bit of a lie since I've been getting excited for the last couple of weeks - I just haven't been writing to tell you about it :) It's been fabulous to have Kelly to run with - someone training for the same race and looking to run the same speed. Means you never really have to worry that you're slowing your training buddy down or pushing them more than they should be pushed. I've tried to stay around on more weekends than I normally would (or wait to leave until Saturday morning) simply so I can get up crazy early on Saturdays since that's when she does her long runs.

So a couple of weeks ago, we did a nice 20 miler. The first hour was slower since we were running with other people but then we ran at or below goal pace (not on purpose) for the rest! I was gabbing Kelly's poor ear off and running comfortable and was super surprised when she kept telling me the pace. And then the next day I ran a 5K in 20:58. Granted, it was an indoor (and thus flat) loop course but I had essentially no warm up, it was gross concrete, there was a bunch of weaving going on to get around people, AND it didn't feel hard at all - I was trying to keep fairly comfortable and just let my legs stretch out and work a bit. Awesome.

So that was exciting. The next weekend was a solo 21 miles that felt tougher than it should have been but this weekend was a nice 21.5 with a speed up at the end and involved some pushing through weird pain.

I'm very happy to report that the Kinvaras have been working great for me. I didn't really expect them to but I just bought my second pair - pretty overdue, I think, since my legs have been feeling flat, despite my happy reports up there - and am planning to stick with them for a bit. I'm glad they work because they're SO LIGHT that going back to 'normal' shoes would be super hard. I brought out my racing flats for the Human Race 8K only to realize that they are now just a bit heavier than my training shoes!

I also bought my first ever pair (!) of strictly trail shoes this winter and have finally gotten to test them out. New Balance 110s, I believe. They look like space shoes they're so shiny and silver. Tony over at Duluth Running Company had raved about them on his blog so I checked them out. I've only done a couple of runs in them but like them so far. They fit really nice and were comfortable right away. I might have to be careful as I don't think they have any heel to toe drop so I should probably check out the Saucony Peregrines which I've heard are the trail equivalent to Kinvara. Research to do!

I found out some interesting news tonight . . . Looks like the Fargo Marathon has switched up their pace team times, most likely due to Boston dropping their qualifying times. Though, you would think they'd change their times back when the new times were announced well over a year ago. Urgh. So now the choices for running with a pace group are 3:25 and 3:35 when my goal is 3:30. Now, I have paced myself pretty awesomely before (see towards the bottom of the link where my splits are), if I may say so myself but I was rather looking forward to shutting the brain off and just hanging on a shoulder for the race. Now, my plan was starting to be to hang with the 3:30 pace group and see if things felt good enough to pick it up later in the race. This makes me very much not want to even start with the 3:35 group. And then I worry that those 11 seconds/mile faster for the 3:25 group will be too much. My mantra for a while has been "Don't fuck up Fargo" and so it seems like a big risk to drop my goal pace by 5 minutes less than 5 weeks out . . . So there's some thinking to do, I guess.