Minnesota State Fair

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Record setting day!

After work yesterday we took the bus to the Minnesota State Fair. We were one of 145,000 people, a record for the first Monday of the fair!

Our first stop was the Hamline Church Dining Hall. We had some delicious Baked Chicken and Roasted Potatoes. Yum!  After that we walked through the Creative Arts Building and Education Building. We reminisced with the SMU people.

We ventured up to the Big Wheel, the new temporary attraction. The line moved fast and the ride didn't take too long. We only made one revolution and then got off.

We swung by the Lumberjack show and saw the typical logging sports, axes, chain saws, climbing up a pole and log rolling. Walked through the Pet Building to check out the dogs, walked past very old tractors

And took the Skyglider back down to the main area.  As usual, the bras were on the building. I'll never understand this tradition...

We breezed through the Grand Stand booths and headed to Sweat Martha's Cookies. Yum! Yum! and took our cookies to the all you can drink milk. My favorite thing at the fair. We took a quick swing through all the cattle barns. We saw some day old piglets. So Cute!

And that was it. Another fun day at the Minnesota State Fair!

Women’s Rock Starlet Challenge

DJ and I participated in the Women’s Rock Starlet Challenge and needless to say my performance was terrible. You would think with the cool rain it would have been awesome but sadly no. All the races were on Shepard Road so that may have something to do with it. I hate that damn road. Also the number of participants this year was way down. It was so bad that two years ago there were over 2,000 people in the 10k alone, this year there were only 200. Yep, you read that right, 200! 

My slowest 10K. :(
The day started off with the 10K. After my last 10K race and the first 10K of my last half marathon were so awesome, I thought this one would be too. I’ve done more speed workouts and did some hill repeats, but that didn’t seem to help. DJ and I ran together for the entire race. We did a run/walk interval of 1:00/0:30. That seemed to work well for us in the beginning but we slowed down a lot after Mile 1. It was a pretty hill course, and at the big hills we walked a lot more than usually. We had some good miles and them so crappy miles. Overall it wasn’t a great race for me. Overall time: 1:23:56

5K disaster
After inhaling at granola bar and a whole banana, we got in the start of the 5K. That was a big mistake. The banana didn’t sit right in my stomach and I suffered most of the race. On top of that some old lady was wearing some nasty, strong smelling cologne which made my stomach even more uneasy. We couldn’t get past her so we finally just walked to get her as far away from us as possible. We ran basically the same course as the 10K except we turned around sooner (duh!). It was not as hilly as the 10K since we turned around before the big hills. We switched our intervals to 30 seconds each. Mile 1 was ok, mile 2 was a disaster and mile 3 we bounced back a bit, close to the mile 1 time. I must remind myself this isn’t a normal 5K race. This was like miles 7-9 of a half marathon. And even though mile 2 was terrible, Miles 1 and 3 are about on par for my middle miles’ times of a half marathon. DJ and I ran together and had a finish time of 44:14. Big thumbs down.

2.5K Finish
Again, we had a brief stoppage between the 5K and 2.5K. This race was such a joke. I seriously think that there were only about 100 people in it. I was literally dead when we started the race. I don’t like having breaks between races, I would have preferred to run them with no break…or in other words, a half marathon. LOL! For this race, I told DJ to just go as I was pretty much done running. And boy did she go! She keeps saying that she wouldn’t have made it through the first two races if I didn’t push her but she ran the last race by herself and finished with a 12:33 pace. What the heck?  I struggled to keep a pace under 15:00!  She totally beat me. 

I really have no desire to run Women Rock again. Team Ortho, the organizer of the race, is a complete disaster of an organization. And it is showing how much they have fallen when their races are 90% smaller. There was a major SNAFU with the medals and a lot of women left the race very pissed off. I would say Team Ortho races won’t be around much longer. Very sad.

These races represent #27, #28 and #29 for my #40for40 goal!  Yay, only 11 more to go!

Gopher to Badger Half Marathon

Monday, August 14, 2017

Started strong, fizzled at the end. Race number 26 for 2017 and half marathon number 12 is completed.

It was an early morning wake-up call for this one. I was up around 4:40. We had to leave our house by 5:30 to get to Hudson by 6:30 to catch a bus to the starting line. Our shuttle bus driver got lost and the 10 minute ride to the starting line took 30 minutes. But it was a bit chilly in the morning so it was ok. The start is in the Washington County Fairgrounds. It wasn’t that exciting of a place. There were 1,058 finishers so it was relatively small. I started at the back with DJ and Brenda. There were only a handful of people that crossed the starting line behind me.

The start of this race was fairly flat. The first half mile was in the fairgrounds before we head out to the roads. This was not a closed course so we shared the road with traffic. Not my favorite thing in the world, especially when we ran on the highway. The first 3 miles were mostly residential so the traffic wasn’t bad at all. DJ and Brenda stayed with me for the first 2 miles before I left them. I stayed pretty consistent with my minute running and 30 seconds walking. That interval really works well for me. This course shows a predominately downhill nature but it seemed like we had a lot of long gradual uphills which would trick you into thinking you would have a nice downhill but it never really worked out that way.

Miles 1-4 went well. I was feeling great and my pace shows it. Mile 3 was a bit slower because we had a water stop that I walked through. My times were 12:36, 12:56, 13:34 and 12:54. Before every half, I create a pace chart where I predict where I will be at the end of each mile. Well I did way better that I expected, I was a 1:30 ahead of my goal after 4 miles! That made me happy. But I could tell from that point on could be a struggle. We were getting out of the shade and into open roads and it was starting to warm up.

I struggled through mile 5. It isn’t surprising as it had the longest climb to the highest point of the course. And the hill came right at the end of the mile so I was pretty shot. But my time was still faster than I predicted and I was almost 2 minutes ahead of my goal time. Mile 6 was entirely downhill, it was one of the few times that I immediately ran downhill after hitting the peak of a hill. I was back under 13 with 12:53. Mile 7 was one second faster than I predicted at 13:29. After 7 miles I was 2:30 ahead of my goal. For a brief moment, I thought I could break 3 hours again.

But then miles 8 and 9 came. I knew I was going to struggle with these miles. These miles were a constant gradual uphill and they were on a major road. I have run this road before with the Lift Bridge Races so I knew what I was getting into. What makes it worse is we were running on the shoulder with traffic. So, I had no clue what was coming behind me and there are a lot of large trucks on this road so it was somewhat scary. Also, there is no shade and it was really getting warm. My legs were had a hard time moving during these miles but I predicted that both miles would be 14:30. And I was close, they came in 14:39 and 14:42 respectively. I was still 2:10 ahead of my goal and was still under the 3-hour marathon pace.

Mile 10 was a lot slower than expected. I knew that mile 10 had a nice downhill and I thought I’d be able to recover with the shade but that wasn’t the case. Mile 10 was consistent with the two previous miles at 14:41. Mile 11 was also shaded and I managed a 14:39. My legs were done at this point. My face was on fire, I was so hot and my legs felt like Jell-O. My two and half minute cushion had eroded to just over a minute. I knew under 3 hours was out of the question.
I was so happy that the water stop at the end of mile 11 had ice. I took handfuls and filled my water bottles and put some in my bra for later (to rub on my face, not to drink, LOL!). I was struggling to fill my bottles but thankfully the guy with the pitcher saw this and came over and filled them up for me. That was awesome! That is part of the reason why mile 12 was so slow. I started it out spending 30 seconds or more trying to get my bottles filled. And then immediately after that was the last major uphill climb to the I-94 bridge. I contemplating walking it in at this point. The hill was about 1/3 of a mile and I didn’t run a lick of it. When I final got on the bridge and could see the cool water of the St. Croix River below, I was relieved that the finish was near. I didn’t dread this bridge as much as the last time I ran across it.  I switched my 1 minute running/30 seconds walking to 30/30. And eventually 30 running and 1 minute walking.

At this point in the race there were very few people in front of me and nobody behind me. I kept running/walking towards the girl in the red and white stripped socks. I could never catch her but she was also there, just in front of me. And every time I looked behind me I couldn’t see anybody. I find that interesting because there over 30 people who finished behind me. Mile 12 was the worst at 16:39. I anticipated this would be the worse mile and if you take into consideration the time I wasted getting my bottles filed I would have been right on. Surprisingly, I was still about 40 seconds ahead of my goal!

Mile 13 was along Hwy 35 and into the park in Hudson. I continued to do some running and walking but at very random intervals. There was a water stop just after 12 and the guy poured 3 cups of water over my head, that was refreshing! I had to stop at the boat launch for a group trying to put their boat in the water. I said “Are you fucking kidding me?” And the bitchy lady on the boat said “sorry” in a very snotty voice. I dodged around them in a fit of rage and flipped them off and said “you aren’t fucking my time” and I heard them say, “wow, she’s a bitch.” In the process, I tweaked my Achilles so now that hurts. Dammit! This is not how I wanted to finish this race…angry and in pain... I was PISSED!

The course was bit long, when my watch hit the half marathon mark I was 40 seconds faster than my goal time but with the extra tenth of mile, my time was 59 seconds too slow. Overall it was a good race. I may have started too fast which hurt me during miles 8 and 9. Overall, it was about what I expected. I’m happy with my result.

Minnesota 5 Mile

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Another solid performance!
This weekend we ran the Minnesota 5 Miler. I was so happy to see they added this distance to this race. Last year we ran the half marathon. It was horrible. It was hot, they ran out of water and the so-called ice never appeared. I honestly have no desire to ever run that half again or any half that runs on Shepard Road again. I’m sure you have heard my hatred of Shepard Road. The sad realization I just came to is I get to run a 10K, 5K and 2.5K on this awful road in just 19 days. NO!

So back to the race…It was very small at 161 people. By comparison, the Half had over a 1,000 people, and the 5K had 561. We started 30 minutes after the half and 15 minutes before the 5K. This turned out to be an awful thing for me. The course was a double out-and-back. And you know how much I love out-and-backs…I don’t! The first out and back was 1.31 miles out and then back to the start area. After that we went out another 1.38 miles and turned around and ran to the finish. 

The start was great, I started in the back and did not really pass anybody and nobody in the 5 mile race passed me either. The nice thing about the smaller race is I could break into my run/walk intervals early on and not worry about other runners. My goal for today was to finish most miles under 13, if not all of them. I know the Lift Bridge 10K a couple weeks ago was anomaly, and it was all downhill which helped my pace. This race was hilly. Long hills.  

Mile 1 was ok. I ran the first 3 minutes before I started a walk. I tried to only walk for 20 seconds and run a 1:10. My watch will only do run/walk intervals in the 15 second so I can’t set it for 40 seconds/20 seconds or any other combination. So I stick with 1:00 and :30 and adjust as need, usually shortening my walk break as 30 seconds seems like a long walk, especially in the beginning of a race. My time was 12:53. So my first mile was under 13. This was a good start. We get to the turnaround and the usual two St. Paul police officers are there. I love these guys. The one is very obnoxious but a great cheerleader. I even told him as I slapped his hand at the turned around that he was the only good thing about a Shepard Road race. 

The nice thing about this turnaround is it downhill for a while. So not surprisingly mile 2 was faster at 12:48. The horrible thing about Mile 2 is the 5K runners. So near the end of mile 2 is the 5K turnaround. Like I said, they started 15 minutes after us so when I reached their turnaround point all the super fast 5K runners were already there. So here I am plodding along and I’m getting passed by these super fast runners. It is bit demoralizing. But to make matters worse, the really fast half marathons caught up to me at this point too. I had people passing me on both sides and I didn’t know where to go. I felt like I couldn’t do my usually intervals because of all the fast runners around me but at the same time my running would slow down so much that I was basically walking anyways. I tried to stay to the far outside and when I walked I jumped on the grass to get out of their way. It really was horrible for about 2 miles. 

Mile 3 was plagued by what I described above, the only good thing is it made me run a bit faster and I had 12:47 mile.  Shortly after Mile 3 the 5Kers had another turnaround so I was left with the just the fast half marathoners and 10 milers. Soon after that the 10 milers turnaround and it was just me and the half marathoners. Finally we to got our final turnaround and hit mile 4. It was up a hill and there was a disorganized water stop during the mile so I think that hurt my goal of hitting under 13 minutes for every mile. I got a 13:23. But I didn’t give up hope. I knew most of mile 5 was downhill so I got back into the groove. By this point, I was surrounded by the very slow 5K walkers and the faster half marathoners. It was a weird combination. I came in with a 12:41 final mile and the course and my watch agreed. My watch had exactly 5 miles. 

Overall, I had a 12:54 pace. That mile 4 really messed me up. But I’m happy with my result and can’t wait to see how this weekend’s half will go. I know I can’t maintain under 13s for that long but maybe I can get a few in and maybe break the 3-hour mark again. It has been a long time.