April 2016 Recap

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Runs: 15
Walks: 18
Miles: 82
Races: 2 (Goldy's 5K, Hot Chocolate 15K)
Outdoors: 31
Indoors: 2
Longest: 9.42 miles
Average Running Pace: 12:40
Bike: 59.2 miles
Swim: 1,200 yards

April was full of highs and lows. The weather was WINDY! Rarely was there a day that didn’t have at least a 10+ mph wind. Most days it was more like 15-30 mph. The last day of the month I did a 5 mile run and the wind was strong from the ENE so I made Eric drive me to Wal-Mart so I could run with the wind to my back the whole way. I was sick of running into the wind, I wanted my last run of the month to be “easy.”

My pace improved slightly which is amazing since the Hot Chocolate 15K was a complete disaster and my overall pace was 13:28.  I was hoping for an awesome time. And the first 6 miles were great but it got really hot (78 degrees) and I wasn’t prepared for that. Oh and I pulled something in my calf around mile 4.5. I mostly walked the last two miles of the race. It was a huge disappointment but I understand it just wasn’t my day.

A week early it was my day. I had my best 5K in almost a year at Goldy’s Run. I had an incredible time, my overall time was 34:35 for an 11:03 pace. I still don’t believe I did that. Where did that come from? It was only 21 degrees at start time which probably helped. Did you get that? Just one week later the Hot Chocolate 15K was over 50 degree warmer. No wonder I struggled at that race!

I’m looking forward to May. There are four races, Eau Claire 5K, Run & Ride 5K, Run & Ride 10K and the Esprit de She Triathlon. I have start seriously training for the bike portion of the triathlon. I didn’t swim much in April. The pool was closed for spring break and I did a lot more biking. The swim doesn’t scare me, the biking does…13 miles of hills. Eric and I drove the course earlier this month. Yikes…Hills!! I biked almost 60 miles in April. Some of those were slow rides, supporting Eric while he trains for the full marathon. Others were solid training rides. A couple weeks ago I did 16.5 hard miles of hills. Some of the climbs were 100 feet. I felt good on that ride, hopefully that carries over into the triathlon.


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Painting Tulips

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Last night, Celeste and I attended a painting class. I really like my tulips! It was a ton of fun. I want to do the Monarch Butterfly next month. 

Alec's First Communion

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

After our 15K race on Saturday (and a brief stop at home to ice my leg, shower and pack) we had to drive down to Rochester for the weekend. It was Mike’s girlfriend, Linda’s son, Alec’s First Communion. Lots of possessives in that sentence. LOL!

We had dinner Saturday night at this Chinese buffet. Afterwards, I should have picked pizza. Oh well. We spent some time in the Hotel’s hot tub and I eventually braved the frigid pool. After I got used to it, it actually felt pretty good. My leg didn’t hurt much by this point so I was very happy. I had a restless night, walking up every hour. I’m not sure why. I didn’t have any pain and the bed was very comfy. It must be a different bed? I meet mom downstairs for breakfast. Of course she was up at 5:30am and got dress and hung out on the couches in the lobby.

The Mass was very long. The priest was very boring. Alec is easy to see as he is the only kid wearing a peach pink shirt. Lol. He definitely stood out. After Mass, we went to Pannekoeken for lunch. Mom and I shared a very thick burger. It was very good and the waffle fries were great. There was some cake after that. It was a good time.

Eric and I made our way home, taking a detour to Lakeville to check out my biking course for my triathlon in May (I’m in trouble!). We picked up some groceries (mostly fruits and vegetables!) and got home and crashed on the couch.

Hot Chocolate 15K - Minneapolis

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The sun melted me as much as the melted chocolate at the finish. I started out strong but it ended in disappointment. That is my short recap of my 2016 Minneapolis Hot Chocolate 15K Run.

I know that I shouldn’t be too disappointed in my performance considering I have not trained in heat yet this year. I mean for crying out loud it was only 20 degrees just a week ago for my amazingly fast Goldy’s 5k run. All my runs leading up to this race (including one a few days before the race) were in 30-40 degree weather. So yes, when your first run in the heat for the year is a long race and the starting temp is 65 degrees, warming up to 78 degrees by the time you finished, then yes, you will probably have a crappy run. Ok…on to my report.

The Start
This race description says, “The Hot Chocolate 15k/5k Minneapolis course highlights the city’s biggest attractions.” Puulleeeze. The first 6 miles is in NE/N Minneapolis which is heavily industrialized. The map makes it look like you are running along the Mississippi river but there are big dilapidated buildings in your way. We get to run past such awesome places like the: Packaging Corporation of America, Siwek Lumber and Millworks, Marshal Concrete Products, Xcel Power Station, U-Hual and my personal favorite the Minneapolis Oxygen Company. You better believe all runners joke about that place. There are SO many nicer places to run in this great city….NE Minneapolis is not one of them.  They only excitement the first 6 miles is the Ferris Wheel around mile 1.5.

Anyways, the first 3 miles went really well. I had some issues at the first water stop and walked a bit more than I’d like. I was already overheating and dumped a couple waters over my head. I still managed to knockout miles 1 and 2 with a 12:08 pace. It was great. I was passing a bunch of walkers and got ahead of the 13 minute pacer (she started in the wave before mine!) Mile 3 was a slower at 12:34. But that included a nice long, slow run up a hill, I mean bridge, over the Mississippi River and I-94. I took a few Honey stingers during the third mile which I later regretted.

The Middle
The 5K marker is on the bridge described above and after the bridge is water stop 2. This was just over a mile from the first stop so again I drank some water and poured some over my head. It was so hot. I grabbed some M&Ms…I really shouldn’t have…they didn’t go well with the Honey Stingers I ate 10 minutes earlier. I got an upset stomach right away and it never went away. So running 6 miles in the heat with an upset stomach isn’t my idea of fun. I tried to drink some Tailwind (electrolyte drink) but that made matter worse. So I stuck to water the rest of the way. Around 4.5 miles I got a piercing paining in my calf.

Great, I’m hot, I have an upset stomach and now my leg hurts. This wasn’t my day.

My pace was getting worse and I wasn’t sure I could run much longer so I slowed down…way down. Mile 4 was still under 13 at 12:47. I’m actually surprised I did as well on miles 5 and 6 (13:20 and 13:29) considering all that was going on with me. I was determined to finish even if I had to walk the whole way! Another annoying thing about this course is there are plenty of water stops early but after mile 3 you are lucky to have one every 2 miles. Thank GOD I had my hydration belt. I’m pretty sure I was dehydrated most of the race but it would have been worse if I didn’t have my belt! The 13:00 pacer caught up to me and I decided I’d run with her for a bit. She was doing intervals of 2 minutes run, 1 minute walking. I didn’t stick around her very long because the one minute of walking was too much. I wanted to get going. My 10K time was a bit slow at 1:20 but not bad considering the crap I was dealing with.

The End
During mile 7 the 13:00 pacer finally passed me for good. I was mostly walking by this point. Or I should say limping/running. My time was 13:54 which means I did some running. Mostly it was 15 seconds here, 30 seconds there. I ran until my leg hurt and then walk until my leg hurt and then ran again because when I would start doing the opposite of what I was currently doing my leg would temporary stop hurting. Ha!

I got to the last water stop at 7.5 and took 4 glasses. 2 for my head and 2 on my walk over the Stone Arch Bridge. I caught up to some of the girls that were part of the 13:00 pacer group but fell off. It was Susan from Dallas, TX (she was struggling with the heat too!) and Cindy, who works at the U of M. We would run for a bit, like run to the end of the bridge, run to the stop sign, run to the shade under the bridge, etc. LOL! We chatted and walked pretty fast. I still kept a 15:30 pace for the last two miles. I had done this course before so I knew about the horrible hill just after mile 9. We walked up the hill and sprinted down to the finish. The three of us stuck together the entire way. It was kind of nice. My finish time was 2:06.47. That is over 10 minutes slower than last year (which was 20 degrees cooler!).

My upset stomach really didn’t subside. I ate my banana dunked in melted chocolate and a few pretzels but I was overheated, exhausted and in pain. I was so upset at my performance. I was expecting this race to be awesome. I had such great training runs leading up to it including that awesome 8 mile run a few weeks ago. I thought for sure I would crush last year’s time but in the end the weather, my leg and my stomach got me. :(

Goldy’s 5K

Sunday, April 10, 2016

I’m back under 35! I can’t believe it!

It was a bright cold day on Saturday for our Goldy’s 5K Run. We have done this race 3 years in a row and the weather has always been different. Three years ago, rain; last year, sunny and warm; this year sunny, breezy and cold. This year we had some spectators, Mike and Linda.
The Start
The start was like normal, we run down University Ave. and turn down towards East River Parkway.  The start was kind of slow with all the people running the race and now starting corrals. It was a free-for-all so walkers and strollers were all around us. I managed to keep my pace at around 12 for the first crowded half of mile but once I hit the slight downhill to East River Parway, I kicked up the pace a bit an was running well under 10:30 which is good because it averaged out to an 11:36 mile 1. Not bad, not great.

The Middle
After the first mile, things go a bit interesting. Well not interesting but different. Instead of running circles around campus like years past, we ran across the Mississippi River on the top level (pedestrian level) of the Washington Ave. Bridge (the U of M Bridge). We got to the end of the bridge and ran back. It was different but it was kind of nice. You get a great view of the Mississippi river and it wasn’t shaded which is nice considering it was cold. The bridge was a bit breezy but this bridge is weird because there is an enclosure running down the center of the pedestrian area so it helped to block the windy. My pace stayed consistent and I did really well on the bridge. After the bridge we ran past Coffman Memorial Union and turned to run across another pedestrian bridge. This one was narrow and as a result I had to walk a bit as there was nowhere to go as people walking it were blocking the whole bridge. I know you are walking with your 4 other friends but don’t walk 5 abreast on a narrow bridge!!! ARGH! But it didn’t hurt me too bad as mile 2 came in at 11:49. A bit slower than I’d like but it is still under 12.

The Finish
The last mile was the same as previous years, it loops around campus, down Scholar’s Walk, through Lily Plaza, the half-moon green space by the Engineering Building, past the Field House and Aquatics Center and eventually you pop back on to University Ave. for a short bit before you running around TCF Bank Stadium. This year we ran counterclockwise around. That was different. My watch was acting a bit goofy with all the buildings, I think it got off a bit. But nonetheless I hit mile 3 with a time of 10:21. Say way?  That is what my watch says. I can’t believe it. I mean I picked up my pace once I saw the stadium but did I pick it up by that much? I highly doubt it. I ran across the 50 yard line with a time of 34:34. Unbelievable. That was over 2 minutes faster than last month. My watch said that it was 3.13 miles and my overall pace was 11:03. I still don’t believe it. But I’ve mapped the course on two other “mapping” sites and came up with roughly the same distance of 3.1. Amazing!

My April Fools' Joke

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Well I had an interesting April Fools Day…

I did a bit of research at work on the Nissan Altima. My coworker has one and loves it. I rented one a few years ago and it handled the mountain climb to Pahrump really well so I thought what the heck, let’s check them out. The Altima was on my short list of potential new cars. Also on the list were the Chrysler 200 (looks awesome but doesn’t drive awesome), the Ford Fusion….the car I almost bought 5 years ago and the Ford Taurus (because it has a V6).

I test drove the Ford Fusion at the Twin Cities Auto Show. It is a nice car and I still like the looks. It was number one on my list for a long time. Among the nicest features is the keypad entry. I love that feature on our Escape. I had done a ton of research on the car and all the options and I thought for sure I was going to get one. But I waited.

A couple weeks ago, on a whim we test drove the Chrysler 200. Even though I like the look of the car and the interior is nice, it made me feel very claustrophobic. It was almost like I was sitting in a cramped cockpit. It failed my test.

Fast forward to April Fool’s Day. I had some down time at work and decided to do a quick search of the Nissan Altima. I found that you can go 700 miles on a tank of gas. We drive a lot and seem to fill up the tank twice a week so the thought that we could go a couple weeks without filling up was very intriguing. I actually sent an email to the internet sales person. After work, Eric picked me up like normal and asked what I wanted to do and I said lets go to Eden Prairie Nissan. Here is the April Fool's Joke...I told Eric I wasn't going to buy...ha!

We got to the lot and I saw this very nice silver Altima with a sunroof by the front door. I took a quick look and jokingly told Eric, “I want this one.” I was also confused because I searched all the silver cars on their website and didn’t find a single one with a sunroof so I was confused and thought for sure this car was way out of my price range.

We walked in and met Kirk. Like a good salesperson, he asked what I had to have and what I wanted. Well in this cold tundra, I said I had to have remote start. That was really my only “had to have.” Well that options meant I had to get the SV trim level, the middle of the road trim. As far as the “wants” of course it was sunroof, heated leather seats and a back-up camera. So Kirk went to get the keys for an SV model...well he sat down and said that is the key to a 2016 Altima SV. But he said, I want you to check out this car first. So he took me over to a car in the show room that had everything I wanted. It was an Altima SL...the best trim level. He told me that it was one of two identical 2015 models left and the price was slashed and was cheaper than a 2016 Altima SV. Wouldn't you know it, the other 2015 was the one I looked at outside!! I knew then, I was buying a car...I was buying the car I told Eric I wanted when we got there.

We took it on a test drive where we tried a mixture of city streets and highway. I was so impressed. The interior is well laid out, I don’t feel cramped. The car also was pretty zippy for 4 cylinder. Coming from my Grand Prix GT with the big 3.8 L V6 engine, I’m very picky about my pick up and go. This car passed that test. We got back to the dealer and Kirk said, is this your car and I said I think so. My credit was good enough they offered me 0% for 72 months. And so it goes...I’m a proud owner of a 2015 Nissan Altima SL. I have wanted a silver car for 20 years and I finally got one...I’m in love!