Sunday, October 27, 2013

A nice fall run.

A scene from my run this morning:

Such a perfect fall morning! I've said it before and I'll say it again: fall running is the best.

Since the 10 mile, I haven't been running much more than I was before (not like that was a lot to begin with...). But I signed up to run a 10k on Thanksgiving and I'd like to have a good race, so I am going to try to get a long run in on the weekend. You know, like most runners do. Today I planned a route of about 8.5 miles, but during my run I needed to take a .5 mile detour to use the restroom, so the run ended up being 9 miles even in 1 hour 4 minutes (7:05 pace).

I made a rookie mistake and overdressed for my run. It was about 35 when I left, and I knew the day was only going to get warmer, but I still was a wuss and wore two long sleeves plus a fleece headband. About 4 miles in, I was really regretting that second layer. 

My hip felt pretty good the whole run, but afterwards it tightened up. I have an evening of icing & stretching planned...along with watching the Packers game!

Cutest Packers fan ever. 
Running plans for this week:

Monday: 5 miles
Tuesday: 5 miles
Wednesday: Workout (6x800 m @ 2:50-3:00)
Thursday: 4 miles
Friday: 6 miles

Plus hip stretching/strengthening exercises each day (AM & PM).

The mileage seems low,  but since I haven't been the queen of consistency I think it's better than nothing.We'll see!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

TC 10 Mile Recap

So today I ran the TC 10 mile for the 5th year in a row. The race is billed as the "shortcut to the capitol"and is held in conjunction with the Twin Cities Marathon. The course is truly beautiful- it starts in downtown Minneapolis and runs along the Mississippi into St. Paul, and then on Summit Avenue before finishing by the state capitol.

The crowd support for this race is absolutely incredible. There are very few places along the course without people cheering runners along, and there is a great feeling of support the whole way. 

Earlier this week, the weather forecast did not look promising. I think I saw rain, wind, and cold (35 degrees) on tap for Sunday. Fortunately, that was not the case, and it was perfect running weather. Cool (45 degrees at the start), no wind, no rain, in fact, there was hardly a cloud in the sky!

Like most major races with a point to point course, there are shuttles to take runners to the start line. Last year I took the shuttle and remember that it was a pretty quick and painless ordeal. This year my company offered a shuttle for employees, plus free parking near the finish line. I signed up for the 5:15 shuttle and pretty much had the whole bus to myself!
The loneliness of the long distance runner....not sure what that spot is!
The bus dropped me off at the metrodome, which is open for runners to hang out in before the race. There weren't many people there at 5:30 so I found a nice spot near a women's bathroom. And then, the most backwards thing ever happened. Race officials TURNED IT INTO A MEN'S ROOM. They covered up the "wo" and put up big "men" signs. So that meant there were three mens restrooms in a row. I lost track of how many poor women headed towards the bathroom only to realize it was not what they expected.  Of course the women's rooms on the main level had insanely long lines, but something to keep in mind is that there are bathrooms on the second level! So that is my tip of the day- go upstairs. There might be a little line but nothing compared to the ones on the main level.

Wow that was a long paragraph about bathrooms. But, as you might have noticed, the bathroom situation at races is an important factor to me (and probably to most runners).

Anyway. I headed towards the start with about twenty minutes to go. I had a long sleeve on over my tshirt, and I had planned to take it off and give it to Meg to hang onto for me at about mile three. I also had a cheap pair of gloves on, and my white "Dave Wottle" hat. I have to admit, my outfit choice was pretty spot on for the temperature. I saw some people in sport bras and shorts and others in spandex pants and winter hats! Only in MN, right?

So. The race. Here is a link to the course map:

Miles 1-5 (7:22, 7:03, 7:13, 6:40, 6:57)
As I mentioned in my last post I have not been doing great training this summer so I wanted to go out a little modestly. The first mile is always pretty crowded and there are a couple sharp-ish turns. But it is also downhill! So that is nice and makes it easy to run easy. The second mile continues on the river road, and isn't too exciting. Mile three is kind of annoying, including up a pretty long climb up to Franklin Street, where you cross the river. There is always a huge crowd of spectators on the top of the hill and on the other side of the river. Once you cross the river you hit mile four, which is pretty uneventful. I honestly can't remember much of this part of the race. While mile four is uneventful, mile five is kind of a pain in the ass. There are two pretty long steady hills during this mile, one right after the other. Once you are at the top of the second hill you are at St. Thomas.

Miles 6-10 (6:52, 6:49, 6:37, 6:33, 6:11)

Mile six starts pretty close to St. Thomas, and at this time the course turns right and then left onto Summit. Again, such great crowd support here to the end of the race, which is great. Summit does not seem to be a hill when you are driving it or doing an easy run, but at this point in the race you can definitely feel the incline, especially as you approach Snelling Avenue. If you look at the course elevation chart, you are basically running uphill from miles 5-7. Mile 8 starts right around Hamline Avenue (Mr. B was out cheering here! Yay!) and is another slight uphill to Lexington.There is a little hill by Dale but it is worth it because the last mile is the best- Summit turns left and starts going downhill to the finish. Once you pass the St. Paul Cathedral you can see the finish line and all the crowds lining the streets. That sight, plus the downhill, plus the adrenaline of being almost done, is enough to get you to the finish!

Total: 1:08:21, 6:51 pace (my mile splits only add up to 1:08:17 so I must have hit the start button too late or the stop button too early).

I am actually really surprised by my time. I felt pretty relaxed the whole time until miles 9 & 10. There was a guy running exactly my pace the whole race, and I always find it is easier to run with someone. We briefly chatted after the race and he had run the 5k and 10k the day a pretty lazy weekend for that guy. When I got to mile 9 I could not believe how quickly the race had gone by! It was so much fun- I really think this is a great event and would highly recommend it. From the volunteers to the spectators to the challenging yet fun course, it is just wonderful.

Organized Chaos- heading to the bag check & shirts. Shiny space blankets galore!
This picture is included to prove that the weather was perfect, and because PUPPY!! Races should randomly award puppies to runners.

 My leg/butt/hip didn't bother me at all while running, and I came home & stretched/iced/rolled like crazy.  Despite this, it is still aching pretty bad right now, to the point where I am leaning towards a little pain medicine just to ease it a bit. Then of course tonight I'll stretch/ice/roll/drink beer/watch football, and be cured, right?!

2011 vs 2013
The race medal for the Twin Cities 10 mile has always been nice & simple. I usually throw the ribbon part away and glue a magnet to the medal so I can actually use it. This year's is nice and light, compared the behemoth medal from 2011 (it needs two magnets to stay on the fridge and can maybe hold up a small receipt).

Have you ever run any of the Twin Cities weekend events? 
Would you rather....get a race medal or a beer after a race? I like race medals but have a lot. They should hand out beer in commemorative mugs.
Do you take those shiny heat blankets after races? I don't...they freak me out. I think it is the crinkly texture.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Smells like cross country....and poor preparation

Do you ever associate smells with a specific season? To me, fall smells crisp, cool, and fresh (if that is even possible....). The summer humidity is *finally* gone, the mornings are slightly chilly, and running feels so GOOD!! I love love love running in the fall.

Hello St. Paul Fall Scenery..
 I loved running cross country, and still get nervous flutters in my stomach if I go running on certain routes in the fall. The smell of the season plus being on a route where I used to do workouts just brings me back to my more competitive days. Weird? Probably..but also pretty motivating!

Too bad the fall motivation didn't kick in earlier this summer for me- maybe then I would feel more ready for the TC 10 Mile this weekend! About six weeks ago I thought, oh six weeks left, no big deal I'll kick it into high gear and be fine...and then last weekend I thought, SHIT. Next weekend is the race. My preliminary goal was 70:00 but at this point...I'm not sure that is going to happen.

Running since September 10:

13 miles the week of the 8th
14.6 miles the week of the 15th
10 (!wtf) miles the week of the 22nd
10 miles so far this week.

Is that a recipe for disaster? Yes, probably, yes. Most of my runs are at around 6:55 pace so at least I have that going for me? I guess?! Yikes. I think this is my lowest mileage...ever. Or at least since 7th grade. Oh, and did I mention that a good friend's birthday party is Saturday night? Yeah this might not be my best race.

At least I have fancy new shoes to get me going! I went to Run N Fun to see if they had any of my beloved Ravenna 3s in stock...of course not, but I found a new shoe!
Conveniently advertising for Run N Fun on my socks.

These are the New Balance 870s (last year's model, I believe). I have worn them twice and really like them! They aren't as light as the Mizuno Inspires and are definitely more "shoe" than the Ravennas. But I think they'll do just fine, though I think I might still wear my Nike racing shoes for the 10 mile (I need every advantage I can get).

Non running related:

Rodgy and I went to a local self-serve dog "spa" (Bubbly Paws on Grand Avenue) and clearly he loved it:

Look at that face. So betrayed.

I actually did love it- I got a clean dog and my bathroom didn't look like a disaster. And since I'm clearly obsessed with dogs, this past Saturday I volunteered at the Great Minnesota Pet Together, which is an annual adoption bonanza with the Animal Humane Society and a ton of other shelter and rescue groups, at the State Fairgrounds. And I was thisclose to adopting this lover:
Gah those eyes...that tail....that scruffy little guy

Fortunately, I didn't get a chance to adopt him, because the sweetest little boy took him home as a gift from his grandma. So, it was still a happy ending! The event was a huge success despite the weather, and I was glad to be a part of it!

* If you are ill-prepared for a race, what do you do? Drop out? Suck it up and run?
* What is your favorite season & why?