Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spring Forward

Until learning the "Spring forward, Fall back" mnemonic, I would always need to think for a minute, or ten, about which way the clocks go every March and October. "Spring forward, Autumn back" just doesn't work the same...


And of course I just like the analogy of springing forward - into the year, into spring training, into the nice weather, into the racing season!

This post will be a mix of all sorts but before I get started... when googling for an image to go with my very imaginative post title I came across this
one - I thought it was so beautiful. I had never heard of the artist, Joe Tatarnic, before but was very drawn to some of his work. Don't you just love how the Internet opens up all sorts of interesting doors.

Work has been a bit hectic of late. If you know who I work for you will know why! Not exactly fun times around the office but no end of work that's for sure. Which is fine with me until the point that it threatens to interfere with my training... I mean, really, that is just so annoying. I had to work the Sunday before last but got done in time to head out to Afton for a loop - it was a beautiful evening and very quiet at that time I don't think I saw another soul along the trail. I ran the 25K loop in about 2:23 which I was happy with - after bombing along the river trail I was practically crawling up the Meatgrinder - I don't recommend that approach for the race! Mind you, it was a snails pace compared to
Matt this past Saturday. It's really time he came up with a new set of "Matt" acronyms...

That Sunday run, following a Hyland run on Saturday set me up nicely for last week. Early on, it was looking like we would have to work through the weekend so I was trying to get in the miles where I could. However, my first 2-a-day in a long time was totally unplanned - I'd been working late on Wednesday and was then treated to a very relaxing leg massage (Thanks Nancy!) - driving home around 8:30PM and get a text from Sonya... sure, why not go for 10 around the lakes. I was happy my legs felt great after 12 that morning.

Thursday I made it down to Lebanon Hills for a loop - adding on a bit towards Dodd Rd - the soft trails through the woods were lovely. I had not run here until this winter so this was my first time sans snow - it really is a lovely park and so close to the cities. It was muddy around Jensen Lake but not bad overall. I'll have to check out the hillier trails across the road next time.

Friday morning there was a great turnout for the Hyland loop - I think 14 in total. It was great to catch up with everyone. I was dragging by the end - I should know that I can't keep up with this gang if I've run the evening before. But good training. Tempted to shoot for the early bird loop this week but we'll see how the sleep ratio is by then.

Saturday morning there was a big group at Afton - thanks to
Zach for rounding up the troops. There were so many runners out there we got asked if there was an event on. Matt had already headed out on his PR loop. Everyone else took off while Karen and I hung out for Kami - we headed off on a loop, meeting up with Nancy, Tom and Alicia along the way and several others on the back end. Alicia is getting ready to run the Croom Fools 50K in Florida next weekend - looks like a lot of nice singletrack trail through forest. Steve's fudge was yum. Perfect mid-run food. I apologize for the suggestion that you might have been trying to poison me.

Karen and I headed out again for a short loop to end with 22. I'm looking forward to crewing/pacing for Karen at Kettle Moraine 100 in June. And very honored - I knew this lady had some fast road marathons under her belt but wasn't aware that she'd run the Olympic Trials until we got chatting on Saturday. Wow! That is some achievement. And judging by her training so far this season, she will be well ready to tackle the hundred. Afterwards we hung out at the visitor center for a while - nice warm fire and coffee courtesy of Tom & Nancy. And a lovely surprise - Nancy had made this for me in her, ahem, spare time...


Thank You!

Great to catch up with everyone - I was especially excited to chat with Jim about
3 Days of Syllamo. This is a race I would really like to try next year. And hopefully no one goes missing. Kudos to all the runners for giving up Day 3 to search for (and find) the wandering soul.

And then it was off to spend some cash at
Twin Cities Running Company. Easy to do when they have a great selection of gear and lots of new trail shoes (yes, I am promoting here)... I wasn't really looking for new shoes but of course I ended up trying on every pair in the store (Thanks Kurt!) and as it turned out the very last pair - Vasque Mindbenders - were a perfect fit and felt very nice on. I figured it would be great to have an alternate to the Montrail Masochists, especially running consecutive days (which I seem to be doing more and more of) - and my bunions are bothering me quite a bit these days so anything that gives them relief is welcome. But at least my feet are in relatively good shape - I have not lost a toenail in over a year. Hopefully they never look like this...


Yeah, that is pretty gross.

Sunday morning I decided on Afton again. There was a group running at Elm Creek but I knew I needed to do hill repeats and sort of wanted to run by myself so I spent a few hours touring the lovely St. Croix bluffs...

I think 22 climbs in total including 8 times up the gravel hill which as anyone who runs at Afton with me knows I absolutely hate! I know, none of them are much compared to what I'll be doing at Miwok but the smaller, shorter repeats worked fine for Hellgate so I'll just have to hope it's enough. I've decided to abandon plans for running a 50 miler in Virginia in two weeks time. I had wanted to do that distance ahead of the 100K (Miwok is May 1) but just don't want to travel as I'll be heading to Ireland a few days later. The good news is they give a refund less $15 up until April 1. Better send that email. There are no local 50M races that weekend (or next weekend) - so it's off to Chippewa I go! I even looked up flights to Austin after seeing that Hells Hills is rated 4/4 by UR mag - and the fact that it would be very cool to see
Olga and Tracy who are both running the 50M and Rasmus in the 50K - but really, I don't need that punishment. I am still signed up for a race in Connemara (IRE) Apr 10 which I must defer until next year. Though it's unlikely I'll want to do it then either. 39.3 miles on the road. What was I thinking? I am also going to skip Ron Daws 25K this weekend. It was a fun race last year - I think I ran a PR for the first 10 miles - helped by Pam pacing me! But instead a few of us are thinking of a trip up to the SHT - and Lisa has kindly offered the use of her sauna afterwards :) The only downside is the weather ain't looking so hot for the weekend - typical, mid-week it hits 70 and then cool and rainy for Saturday. Still, I guess it may well be like that at Chippewa and indeed Miwok. So probably another big week and maybe then take it easy next week ahead of Chippewa but I don't know that it will be much of a taper. Nic, you most definitely will be waiting for me at the finish line - but this year you'll probably be cleaned up and on your 3rd beer!

So spring training is rolling along pretty well. Though I almost passed out in hot yoga last night. I guess I pushed it a bit hard in spin class yesterday morning after a big weekend, and did not hydrate enough throughout the day. Easy run this morning which felt ok but not great. I think my body is reacting badly to no sugar - trying hard to avoid the candy jar! I am still working on that post about hot yoga and running - had a great class Saturday evening after the long run in the morning - it felt so good to stretch out and I was pleasantly surprised by how fresh my legs felt Sunday morning. I hadn't started the week with the intention of my highest ever training mileage (92) but I guess that's what happens when you run almost every day and long on the weekend. I just need to not overdo it now and listen to those 'minor' aches and pains. So far, so good though. I honestly think Way Too Cool 50K got rid of a few nagging issues!

Did my first speed work of 2010 this evening. I was just saying at the weekend that it's hard to fit in quality speed work along with high miles so mostly I just throw in a few intervals during longer runs. But I do like the track and want to try to do something fairly specific once a week. Or even once every two weeks. So after the easy run around the lakes this morning I figured I'd give it a shot. I didn't get to a track but hit the Luce Line instead - it's probably a better surface for me anyway and I like having the 0.1M posts along the way. I didn't do anything too mad - ran about 3 miles easy, 4 x 0.5M with 0.5M easy in between, cool down 3 miles. The 1/2 mile bursts were 3:11, 3:10, 3:06 and 3:00. Yeah I was sprinting at the end of the last one. The first one was the hardest and I wanted to immediately cut it to 1/4 mile. I though of Dee's new slogan from our emailing earlier in the day about speed work... JFDI. Indeed! Felt pretty good overall though my right foot keeps going numb when I run fast. I don't think it affects my gait but it's annoying. And on the few miles back to the car it was quite sore. Feels okay again now. Hyland tomorrow evening so that'll be a nice soft surface for the most part.

Sunday afternoon, on the way back from Afton I stopped off at the
Human Race 8K in St. Paul - got there just in time to see the winner crossing the finish line. It was very cool to watch those guys coming in around 5:00 pace. Chris Lundstrom finished 5th in 24:47 and Wynn Davis 19th place with 25:57. Saw several others I know from the trails out there also - Kurt & Sonya, Paul and a big contingent on Duluth runners. It was a perfect day for it, cool, sunny, light cross-winds. Great competition between the Run'N'Fun and TCRC teams. Jenna Boren was the first female, taking 48th overall in this very competitive race, in 27:35 (~5:33 pace). What a beautiful stride as she glides towards the finish line...


Several spring cleaning images also came up when googling for the image up top. I guess that means it's time I took the Christmas wreath off the front door, eh? I have a screen door so you don't actually notice it. Really. And the holly from the mantelpiece. Though I do think it looks quite nice against the white painted wood. Really. I did almost get around to cleaning my car this past weekend - or should I say - having my car cleaned, but that didn't quite happen either. Soon.

But I did get around to some emotional spring cleaning. Along the lines of deleting a couple hundred emails that I have been hanging onto for too long now with the sole outcome of making me miserable every time I read through them. Ah, you sometimes have to wallow a little before moving on. It did feel good to hit the "delete all" button. Springing forward and all that...


A few pictures from Afton

The trails were in great condition...


Hardly seems like a hill at all...


But looks can be deceiving...


Happy to be done...


Legs felt good considering the high mileage week - could it be the magic tights? Or the new shoes...


Or just the lovely scenery...


With some strange looking machinery along the way...


Yes, there were many picture breaks during this run...



11 comments:

Marie-Aline said...

Ah, new shoes... hard to resist, hey?! I can relate, and for me, the Mountain Masochist were the newest addition to my already impressive collection: http://mapp-running-around.blogspot.com/2010/03/mountain-masochist.html

Now, as it seems you are running in them too, can I ask if you are racing in them? Mine have only done training runs so far, and will never do ultras, but I am wondering about doing trail races in them. I find them quite responsive so can imagine that they would be fun to race in, on the other hand, they are quite low, and I am a bit concerned about my ankles, racing on mountain single tracks in those...

And, by the way (and since I have never commented before on your blog): great blog!

Mapp

Londell said...

Nice pictures (Although I could have avoided the foot picture). Sounds like good training. Hope things improve at work. Take care.

Chris Swenke said...

Thanks for the pictures of Afton! I need to take some shots when I'm out there. It's strange that I recognize every shot - maybe I need to explore another park? But maybe not - I love Afton.

I saw the large crew out there this past Saturday and I thought a race was on as well. The group I was on went out another way and barely crossed paths with anyone else.

Gonna follow your lead and get on those hill repeats as well. Do you recommend one over the other out at Afton?

Enjoy the Journey
Chris

Thomas said...

Thanks for that foot picture. Just what I needed straight after lunch!

39 miles in Connemara aren't half as bad if you keep looking at the stunning scenery. Roads are what road shoes were invented for, after all. I don't see the problem.

olga said...

Hells Hill is rated 4/4??? WTH? I mean, I haven't been there yet, but locals claim it's an easy one course-wise...we shall see, I guess:)
Your training is going great, I can feel you're bouncing up with excitement and power. Isn't it an awesome feeling? Good post. Very good.

nwgdc said...

Wait...you'll be at Chippewa?!
Oh great. I haven't had a beer in a couple weeks. Now I need to get training. Thanks for nothing.

No Bull Run Run?

SteveQ said...

No, I wouldn't poison you - but getting you addicted to my cooking in the hopes an added pound or two slows you just enough that I can beat you at Superior - THAT's a possibility!

I'll be at the Daws 25K Saturday. I may bring pie.

sea legs girl said...

Helen,

It's not too late to buy tickets to Austin! They're usually pretty cheap through Southwest. I second Olga's suprise at the 4/4.

Oh and I was happy to learn from your comment on my blog that you ARE running Voyageur... I hope it's true!

Julie said...

Hi Helen,
Wow, what a awesome blog that you have!! You are a wonderful writer and I love the stories, information and lovely pictures:) Thanks for posting updates on Matt's 100 mile race!! I will make sure to check in!! I hope that you have a wonderful day Helen!

SteveQ said...

I just noticed: this seems like the first time you ran by yourself (and blogged about it). Have you burned out everyone else already?

Beth said...

Love the new shoes and all of the beautiful pictures. I'm so glad that your training is going well and that you are feeling good.

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