February 2016 Recap

Monday, February 29, 2016

Runs: 14
Walks: 15
Miles: 51.23
Races: 1 (Valentine’s Day 5K)
Outdoors: 20
Indoors: 9
Longest: 5.5 miles
Average Running Pace: 12:46
Bike: 14 miles
Swim: 2.7 miles

Motivation was a problem in February. I even wrote about it in my “Running Blues” blog post on February 6th. The weather for the most part was great. The only really cold day was the day of the Valentine’s Day 5K…of course! I had some really good runs and then I had some really crappy runs. Hopefully March will bring more good runs. I have some long distance races coming up including a 14K in March and 15K in April. So a 5.5 mile run isn’t going to cut it for training the longer races.

I had a good month of swimming. I’m training for a triathlon in May so I try to hit the pool on Wednesday and Fridays and occasionally Saturday. I didn’t do so hot on the bike. I have a hard time on the trainer. It is like running on a treadmill, I hate treadmill. The bike trainer is the same sort of deal. Yes I can watch TV while riding but I’d rather be outside and actually moving. Oh well, I got to get used to it.

Leap Day

Well here we are, Leap Day 2016. I realized I haven’t been very active on the blog this month. My life hasn’t been that interesting. My running goes in phases of sucking and awesomeness. This weekend I had both on back-to-back days. Overall, right now I’m feeling terrible about my running. Eric thinks I have a mental problem not a physical problem. All I know is I want to run like I used to.

My swimming is improving. I’ve been going pretty religious to swimming. My 200 yard sprint is getting faster. I was able to do it 13 seconds faster on Friday compared to January. That is a win for me as I’m slow in the pool. I love swimming; I just wish I was faster. My bike is there as a constant reminder but I haven’t felt motivated to ride it. I’ve only been on it 5 days this month and those were all very short rides. I need to get out of this funk!

Eric had the flu all last week and was out of work for three days. Yes, three days!  It was bad. Fortunately, I got my flu shot so I didn’t catch it.  I took Friday off from work. I was looking forward to a nice day home alone but Eric was still sick so I got take care of him instead. I managed to get a great 4 mile run in at a great pace and swam 950 yards. I also watched 13 episodes of the new Netflix series Fuller House (a refresh of the old series Full House) and made a Special K bar. So delicious! I got zero housework down. Ha!

Saturday was supposed to be a great day. The weather was in the 50s with plenty of sunshine. I was looking forward to a great long run all week but my expectations were crushed. Firstly, I woke up with a massive back ache. I’m not sure if it was the swimming or the speed workout that did it but I was in pain. I fell asleep on the couch watch TV. I finally woke up around 10:30 and thought I better go for my long run. I got my running clothes on, my hydration belt and my beans and was out the door. I was so excited but I was in a lot of pain too. I started running and my legs wouldn’t move. I could walk just fine but running was almost impossible. I ran a quarter mile and thought to myself I should just go home and go back to bed. It was awful. I struggled for another 2.75 miles before I finally called it quits. My 7 mile run turned into 3 and a long mile walk home. I was so deflated while I was walking home. How am I going to run over 8 miles in two weeks? My back was hurting, my leg was hurting. I was just one big hot mess. Eric is right I have a mental problem. But also physical. I guess I need to rest.

Saturday night I went snow tubing with Greg, Celeste and Evelyn. Eric was still sick so he stayed home. It was so much fun. You really get some speed going down the hill. The weather was perfect (remember it was 59 degrees during the day). It was in the mid-40s by the time we were tubing. I actually had too many layers on and was getting a bit hot! Imagine that…in February!? We tube for about 2 hours. It was a blast!

Yesterday we met my mom, Mike, Linda and Alec in Menomonie for lunch and bike shopping for Alec. What a difference a day makes! Remember it was almost 60 degrees Saturday, well on the drive to Menomonie we drove in a snow globe…huge snowflakes and much colder weather. Our fun in the sun lasted one day.

Well my goal today is to run 2.29 miles for Leap Day (2/29). Hopefully I can manage that, but based on Saturday I will have trouble.

Valentine's Day 5K

Saturday, February 13, 2016

This winter has been very mild and we have been really lucky. But of course my running curse is alive and well. The last two weekends were in the 40s. Next weekend is supposed to be in the 40s but of course today was -2 degrees. Seriously?

We are getting smarter when it comes to these cold weather races. We got the race just as the national anthem was being sung which means we didn’t have to stand around in the cold weather. This race was at Lake Harriet. We have run many races at Lake Harriet. All of them go counterclockwise around the lake except this one. I hate running clockwise around this lake because the only hills happen near the end of second mile. When you run the counterclockwise way, you get the hills out the way in the first mile so the last two you can cruise. If this race went the other way, I would have had a much better time. I’ll get to the reason later.

The event was sold at 2,000 people only 1,476 showed up.  That is only 74%!  That means 26% of the registered racers wimped out. If you live in Minnesota, you must  embrace the cold. Yes it was cold but you  know what I wore too many layers and was roasting! Yes it was -2 but I was HOT! The first mile went well. I got my pace under 12 again which makes me happy. I’d like to get back under 11s again but I’m working on it. Nothing too exciting with the first mile other than warming up too quick and wanting to strip layers. But I pressed one.

Mile two brought us to the south side of the lake. Last year this was where the 16 mph winds blasted us off the lake. This year there was no wind. That was a blessing! I was happy that I was able to run most of the first two miles. The only reason I actually walked was a women pushed me to the outside of the road where there was ice. I wasn’t about to fall so I walked gingerly over the ice and blasted past her. I was very annoyed with here. Near the end of mile two were the two sort of long, steep hills. I was running up the first hill and was doing great. But half way up I hit a road block of people who were walking. I couldn’t get around them and once you stop running up a hill it is so hard to start again. I got to the top and sprinted down the hill and started up the next hill where again I ran into a road block. If we ran this race the other way, most of these people would probably be running these hills and I wouldn’t have hit the road block. By running the other way, all the people who haven’t trained properly are tired when they get to the hills and walk.  Oh well. My pace before the hills for this lap was under 11 but with the walking my pace jumped to 12:22. Darn!

I tried my best to run most of the last mile. I finally got too hot and took off my stocking cap. My head was soaked!  The band shell was in my sights so I knew that the finish was around the bend. I was weaving around walkers at this point. I saw the finish line and thought I had a chance to break into the 36s again so I sprinted the last quarter of mile, topping out at an 8:00 pace to the finish…my time was 37:00.07. Damn, I was so close!

I stood in a long line for water and chips and hot chocolate. We didn’t hang around as I was starting to get cold. Like I said before my hair was soaking wet and the cold was starting to affect me. As we walked to the car, we walked up some steps there were not shoveled and of course I fell and spilled my hot HOT chocolate all over my hands, bib and sweatshirt. I didn’t hurt myself except for the hand I caught myself with. Eric took all the stuff from my hands so I could get my gloves back on. I was so glad to get back the car and warm up again.

I made a critical cold weather running mistake. I dressed too warm, got too sweaty and eventually the sweat froze and I was freezing.

Running Blues

Saturday, February 6, 2016

I hate January and February. I don’t think that is the first time I started a post with that sentence. I think it is a yearly occurrence. It gets dark early, the weather is cold, work is crazy and I can’t escape like my friends and family who share pictures of their warm vacations on Facebook. So those four things lead to two months of depression. And this year, thanks to leap year, February is an extra day long. Ha!

As I mentioned in my January Recap post, I somehow managed to get 50 miles in January. I think the unusually warm weather helped. My pace the last week of January was really good. I was starting to feel like I was getting some of my “speed” back.

Well I came crashing back to reality this week. My legs felt like lead. I can’t seem to run fast at all. My pace last week was in the 12 minute range. It made be very happy and optimistic. This week I struggled to get under 14. Yes I said 14. I haven’t run this slow since I started running 30 months ago. You can understand my frustration. I have a bad run every now and then but this was three straight “bad” runs. Sunday’s long speed run was a disaster, Monday’s moderate run was marginally better and Thursday’s short run was the worst. Eric’s solution is “Just run faster.” Yes he is still alive and no he doesn’t have a black eye! It must be nice to just be able to run faster. Sometimes I hate him. Well not hate, just jealous. He doesn’t really train and can go out and run a half marathon like its nothing. Maybe I do hate him? Lol!

Eric has Grandma’s Marathon coming up in June and he needs to seriously start training soon. There is no way he can go run a marathon on very little training. Yes, I know his brother Chris did it in 2001. For his long runs, he wants me to bike alongside him so I can provide him water and whatever else he needs. I’m not against doing that but I don’t want to miss out on my long runs for my Grandma’s half marathon. I have a feeling I’ll be doing a lot of biking in April and May.

Last night we watched a documentary called Spirit of the Marathon. “It follows six runners from vastly different backgrounds as they train for the Chicago Marathon. It also went into the history of marathons and the appeal of such an arduous challenge.” It made me very eager to get out and run again. 

The weather is sort of cold today and it is windy. Normally I’d run outside, but we got a foot of snow on Tuesday and the icy paths are still somewhat snow covered. I’m not ready to fall and break a leg or arm. So today I’m taking my long run inside (at the high school track). I’m hoping that it will be better than all the bad runs I had this week!

Our Swirl

He is too cute not to take pictures of him. Could you imagine if I had kids how many pictures I'd have of them? Haha!