Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota’

Get Lucky!

Or as I like to call it:  finish a race without having to use the port-a-potty.

Tomorrow is St Patrick’s Day, and here in the Twin Cities there is no shortage of places to go that manage to incorporate beer into whatever activity is happening.  And race day is no different!  Saturday at 9am, I will be lining up at 2nd St and Portland Ave in Minneapolis to start the 7k Get Lucky race, my second one in the Monster Series I signed up for with Team Ortho.   As I am still working on increasing my mileage for the half in June, I thought it would be a better choice to run the manageable 7k as opposed to the Triple 7, and the course should be pretty great tomorrow: the temp is supposed to be 62 degrees at 9am!  It’s going to be kind of amazing to run in a t-shirt and capris as opposed to the base layer, cotton layer, and fleece I was wearing for the polar Dash.  I may even celebrate by wearing a festive silly hat, but we’ll see about that one 🙂

You can't go wrong with a course that includes not one, but TWO stations for Irish dancers.

Remember my excitement over the medals?  Well, tomorrow around 9:50 a cute little shamrock number will be coming home with me – my son will be so happy, it’s been driving him nuts that there is only one in the case and it’s all lopsided and sitting funny because it doesn’t have anything to lean on.  Lopsided no longer!

A non-lopsided view of them all together. The Polar Dash one I have will be happy to have a friend to lean on!

A non-lopsided view of them all together. The Polar Dash one I have will be happy to have a friend to lean on!

Along with my new green accessory, I will get the real prize of the day: a free beer pass at Kieran’s Irish Pub.  Yes, it will be 10 am.  Yes, I will be sweaty and in need of a shower.  But there will be beer, by god, there will be beer!

Race day is always kind of wonky for me (I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this, but since I don’t have a symbiotic brain meld with any other runners, my race day is all I know about).  My husband works nights, which leaves me a little puzzle to figure out each time a race morning comes around: what am I supposed to do with these kids?  My kids, I mean, not the kids of the world (although that is a good question, too.  Maybe a bit too much to be solved today, but I’ll let you know what I come up with).  Luckily, my parents have been really helpful the last few races by letting the boys stay over the night before to avoid an ungodly early morning race day free-for-all.  As they are 7 and 4, they are vastly more interested in watching an episode of Spongebob than standing in a crowd of people waiting for their mom to come panting down the road towards the finish line.  I have a feeling that when they first heard that they would get to see me cross a finish line, there were certain expectations of what that would mean formed in their imaginations.  Probably confetti, a close race where I magically finish #1 – possibly ending in a very large trophy coming home with us, and, most of all, an actual finish line that someone would break through.  Okay, I may be projecting my own dreams of race day onto them a little bit.  But I can tell you that the reality of race day for a kid is not nearly as fun as it sounds, and for that reason they are happy to know that this time they get to have an easy, late breakfast with grandma and grandpa and they aren’t required to make an appearance.

All of this is to say I will be kid-free for the Get Lucky, and this ensures that I will be enjoying my complimentary beer.  At 10 am.

Juggling momhood and running can be a bit tricky, but it has paid off in one unexpected way: my minivan is hella helpful when 7 people need to be hauled to a race with limited parking options.  This may be the only time since my uneasy purchase of the van – my self-image took a bit of a beating that day – that I’ve been proud to offer it up.  Hey!  We can all meet and ride together!  I have a VAN.  Tomorrow the van will be parked across the street from the pub, waiting to take us all home after the race has been run, the medals have been received, and the beer has been drunk.

It may kill sex appeal, but by god, it carries a lot of people.

I may do everyone a favor and bring a change of clothes for the post-race (got to love those bag check areas!).  Tonight I will be home alone with my pre-race thoughts, no kids, no husband.  I may go out for a couple mile walk just to escape the thought-swirl. 

Do I have my bib?  Should I wear my hydration belt? No, not for 4.5 miles.  But it has bib hooks!  And a place for my phone!  Maybe I could somehow take off the water canister so I don’t look like an over-prepared nutjob and then I could still use the belt.  I can’t forget to bring my ID or there will be no free beer for me.  I’m going to need that pocket for my ID!  I should probably shave my legs tonight.  Do I have my bib?…

Yeah, I think a walk would be a good plan.  Tomorrow I’ll just get up at the crack of dawn, have a little brekkie, and deal with any nitpicky stuff that pops up.  My plan for the race is to enjoy the weather, enjoy the people, and not let the pace of others freak me out.  If I finish under my normal pace, that’s great, and if I don’t…well, I get the beer either way.  My pace at my very first 5k was 13:30 a mile.  My average now is around 10:50 a mile.  So it really doesn’t matter what tomorrow brings, pace-wise.  I know that I’m improving, so I’m ready for a fun day tomorrow in beautiful Minneapolis!

 

 

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6 Realizations made about Running in the Winter

So a few weeks ago, I committed myself to running in 5 races over the next 10  months.  Needless to say, I’ve been running.  And, since I have small children and a maxed-out income, I’ve also opted for the free version of race-day training: skipping the gym membership and choosing to get my miles in outside.  Exercising this way also helps me deal with my boredom issues.  If I feel un-challenged, un-alert, un-thinking, there’s no way in hell I’m going to make it through 6 miles.  I need the constant thought ramblings that come with suburban terrain:

“Jump over the goose poop”
“Don’t trip on that wonky mound of pavement, no need to look like a jackass right now”
“Why the hell is that car veering towards me?”
“Halfway home, just keep running and let’s wrap this sucker up”
“Ice patch – move over, dry pavement.  Ice patch – move over, dry pavement.  Ice patch…”

Our weather this year has been incredible for exercising outside.  I mean, it’s still Minnesota, so when the temp gets into the 30’s we all rejoice and break out the shorts.  But as of today, we still don’t have any long-term snowpack to speak of.  It’s certainly snowed a few times, but the temp always seems to creep back up there and melt it off within a few days.  Anyway, suffice it to say it’s cold, but not impassable.

After a couple of months of cold-weather sweating, here’s some things I’ve learned:

1.  If you screw up your layering, you are going to feel like shit after your run.  Really.  One day I made a poor jacket decision, the sweat never got wicked away from my other layers, and it took me half a day to warm up from that one.  My holy trifecta: long sleeve wicking shirt, long sleeve cotton shirt, long sleeve lightweight jacket/fleece.  I haven’t found an ideal jacket yet, I can get away with fleece when it’s not snowing or raining, but it still doesn’t get the sweat off me the way I need it to.  Still looking for a solution to this one…

2.  God help you if you forget to bring more than one Kleenex. 

3.  The public works department has bigger things to deal with than getting those sidewalks plowed right away for your run.  Do yourself a favor, pick a route made up of sidestreets with little or no traffic so you aren’t dodging sale-crazed drivers on a busy road.

4.  Eventually, your face and thighs will chill to a level that you can’t feel them.  Go with this.  There’s a really nice moment for me around mile 4 where I just give up on worrying about my legs and kind of separate my body into a head and then everything else under my head.  Having numb legs makes this happen a little faster, the legs keep moving, I get home sooner, and a hot shower ensues.

5.  When you start getting obsessed about every part of your body that doesn’t feel right and you want to just give up and walk, look up.  One day, I looked up and saw there was a huge flock of crows doing crazy group maneuvers.  Another day, I looked up and away from the long path ahead of me – it was starting to psych me out – and saw the way the dark jagged tree lines looked against the blue sky as I ran past them.  I don’t know what it is, maybe I just have ADHD, but taking my brain and focusing it on things that are up can put me in that good place we talked about in #4.  Just make sure you aren’t going to fall into a hole.

 6.  Don’t be a wimp.  Give it two miles, and if you aren’t warmed up by then, pack it in and move south.

I know it sounds like I don’t like being outside in the cold, but I actually really enjoy it.  And I know my family has been enjoying a wife and mother who isn’t ready to choke hold someone because she’s been cooped up for too long.

I know what I’ll be doing for the next 10 months…

I had a realization of magnitude today at approximately 4:30 am.  In the dark early morning quiet of my bedroom, the cat sleeping by my head and the humidifier gently whirring, my eyes were thrown open and I was seized with a combination of panic and fear that only comes from reality slapping you directly across the face. 

I’m going to be running a 10k race in four weeks.

This morning was the morning that I lay in bed and made the connection that the race I had signed up for was no longer a floaty non-specific goal. Oh, it’s called a Polar Dash…isn’t that charming?  What a great thing to do sometime this winter!  It will get me some nice fresh air when I get bored of being inside, I had thought. 

But now the 10k was very present, very holy-shit-this-just-got-real.   I have four weeks to get it together for the race.  In January.  In Minnesota.  How had this all happened?  What was I thinking?  Had someone slipped me a drug at the exact moment that I was wandering around Facebook and saw my cousin’s announcement of  “Just signed up for the Monster Dash Series for 2012!”  and though Yeah!  That’s it!   Her posting had intrigued me, and I did some more digging on the  Team Ortho Monster Series website. I was blown away by the idea of signing up for a series of races that would take me through almost an entire year of goals to reach and training to keep me occupied.  I thought Whoa, what is this? A race series?  With tons of swag?  And medals

As a person who's never gotten any kind of sporting medals, these are my catnip.

I’m all over this, this is my wintertime thing.  Sign me up. 

And they did.  Or rather, I did, right after I gave them my credit card number. 

Now, before this whole thing starts to spiral out of control into a regret tailspin, let me just say:  I would have wanted to run in these races anyway when they came up on the calendar.  I would have seen the announcements in my email, and gone and registered for them at $35-$40 a pop like everyone else.  So it really didn’t cost me any more to sign up for all of them at once (and let’s not forget there are medals!  The lucite case only comes with the race series!  And the gear!  Don’t forget the gear!), it was just kind of a serious hit up front.

I’m not really sure what possessed me to do it.  It could be that it  happened right around Black Friday and I was itching to spend.  It could be because I had finished my second 5k with a slight improvement in time and I was feeling kind of like Yeah, things are just getting better and better…I should just keep giving myself big goals to reach, because obviously I can do anything I set my mind to.  Which, in theory, seems like a healthy thing to tell yourself – until you realize that your goals are fast approaching, the pay-up or shut-up phase has arrived, and you had better get your ass in gear. 

I mean, look at the swag they’re giving out!  Can you blame me?

So What do you Get? Well besides the bragging rights of finishing a fantastic race, Team Ortho Foundation prides itself on having great gear that we give to our participants. Some items you will receive early, but most you will get at the specific event (see Series SWAG Schedule below).2012 Event Gear for all race participants:
Polar Dash – polar fleece (unisex), medal, chip-timed for 10K and Half Marathon
Get Lucky — full zip hoodie (men’s & women’s sizing), medal, chip-timed
Minneapolis Marathon—performance shirt (men’s and women’s cut)
Minneapolis Duathlon — Bike Jersey
Monster Dash— Unisex Monster Dash shirt for 5K & medal ; Male/Female-cut 1/2 zip jacket for the Half Marathon and 10 MIle, plus a finisher’s medal.Plus Exclusive Series SWAG! People who sign up for the series get an added bonus:  the choice of a race series jacket or a Lucite display for your your 2012 medals.

I ended up signing up the next 10 months of my fitness life to:

10k Polar Dash, Jan 1st

7k Get Lucky!, March 17th

Minneapolis Half Marathon (Yep.  13.1 miles.), June 3rd

Minneapolis Duathlon, August 26th (run 5k, bike 18 miles, run 5k.  I’m looking for relay team members for this one…I haven’t quite reached this level of self-delusion yet)

10 mile Twin Cities Monster Dash, October 29th (The promo trailer for this one is pretty cool, it may have been one of those things that directed my mouse to the Register Here tab)

Alright, so I spent a little time in denial earlier today.  But now I’ve flown through the other phases and gotten right to Acceptance!  I have four weeks to get myself in decent condition to run 6.2 miles without hurting or embarrassing myself.  It’s not completely far-fetched, I have done a couple 5k’s, and I have done a handful of five mile runs around the neighborhood.  But I’ve been pretty negligent on the cross-training front, and the losing-weight-eating-healthy front. 

So. 

It’s time to get serious now.  No more Yep, I’m totally going to eat all that pizza on my plate, I’m running, it’s fine! 

No more  Hey. I’m running.  I don’t want to wear myself out by weight lifting, too!  And adding yoga?  What am I, a machine?

I spent money on this race series, more than I really should have (right before Christmas), and it would be a disgusting waste to half-ass my way through all of them just because it’s easier to sit, and eat, and let myself be happy with only achieving as much as I’ve already done.   I’m pretty sure I can do more, I can be stronger, I can run with fewer walk-breaks, I can finish these races in a way that I know I’ve done the best I can do at this point in my fitness life.

I think I might need to make a training calendar.

Still running! Loving it.

It’s been a while since I posted here, I’ve been trying to divide my time up between too many things!

Fall is my favorite time of year, and this one has been great for me to practice my running.  In Minnesota, we can have really short fall seasons, where cool dry weather is in and out so fast you’d swear it went from being 85 degrees to snowing in one week.  But this year, we’ve been blessed with a really mild fall, full of sunny 60 degree days.  I am also feeling really thankful that I am able to have a couple of days each week where each of my kids is in school at the same time so I can get some runs in without having to jockey around babysitters or deal with my husband’s crazy work schedule.

Yes, Monday and Wednesday mornings are my favorite times this year…I get the kids off to school and preschool, and I have two and a half hours to myself to run, shower, and have a quick snack.  Love it!  Right now I’m averaging about 3.5 to 4 miles per run, and it takes me between 40 and 55 minutes.  A lot of it depends on where I run.  Here in the south of MN, there are a TON of hills.  When I run near my home, I spend a half mile just getting up a huge hill so I can run back down the next half mile; it goes on like that the whole run.  I kind of love it though!

One of the things I have learned about myself is that I’m going to be more motivated and energized to do something if it seems hard or there is a real physical challenge involved.  That’s one of the reasons I can’t deal with treadmills.  I mean, treadmills can be a great workout tool, I know you can really work the crap out of yourself.  But the fact is…you are in control of how hard it is.  If it gets to be too much, you can lower the incline or slow down the pace.  If I’m outside running, and I’ve only gone halfway and I’m feeling tired, that’s just too bad – I’m going to have to get back somehow!  Today for example, it was really chilly and windy.  I haven’t gotten any running pants yet, so I’m still wearing my thin wicking capris.  I had a couple of long shirts on, a hat, and some gloves, but MAN I was chilly.  I would get to the top of a hill, the wind would be blowing right through my hat into my ears, and I thought “Well, the only way to get out of this is to run faster.  This is an endurance run!”, and it was one of my best running times.  I even added a couple of blocks since I was feeling pretty strong!  But I know that soon I’m going to have to invest in some warmer pants – I’m planning on running outside all winter.  I love finding things to do in the winter, I get really antsy and pent-up if I just stay in all the time and try to deal with bored kids.  So this year I’m really excited, this will be my first running winter!  I need to do some research and figure out what to buy.  I know I need a better hat, and some wool socks, and lined pants.  I think I’m going to be spending some dough at our local Sports store very soon!

I’m planning on doing more 5k’s this winter, we have one in the Twin Cities on Thanksgiving and one on Valentine’s, and I’m doing both of those.  I’m excited!

My weight lifting has fallen behind a little bit…I need to get back on the plan.  I was doing weights three days a week and running three days a week with a rest day thrown in, but lately it’s been just the running and resting.  I guess I needed a break!