Training Widget

Monday, August 30, 2010


of that thing I said in the previous post about Anne and Chris having a mutual understanding.

The Somewhat Condensed History...

As a general rule, I feel very blessed that pretty much my entire running career has taken place with my better half by my side. It's a blessing for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that I'm certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is no other running partner who would've put up with all the crap that I can dish out. Quite simply, I'm just not all that nice. And when adversity rears it's ugly head, I'm downright horrid (especially to those I'm closest to).
But, this guy of mine is a trooper. He's resilient beyond belief (in running as well as in real life), and we've got this matrimonial bond going. Honestly, I think he just feels obligated to put up with me.
It has historically worked amazingly well, at least in my mind. While running buddies of different genders can present some challenges in terms of pace (boys really are faster... it's just science), we've historically been able to offset this particular challenge because, honestly, back in the day when we started running, Chris was fat. Thankfully I'm pretty sure he never reads this blog, I guess we'll find out now. But, we've covered a lot of miles over the years. As a result, he's not fat anymore. He's faster than me... all's right in the universe.
Despite our pace difference, we still run together. A lot. And I enjoy it (most of the time), and Chris at least acts like he likes it (most of the time). If you could see the number of dollars we've paid to babysitters over the last four or five years or the amount of time spent on the road between Edina and Lakeville toting the kids between our house and Grandma and Grandpa's, it would be painfully apparent that it's a priority. It's ludicrous, really.

Fast forward to marathon training 2010...

Friends, this is getting serious. We ran 17 miles on Saturday. SEVENTEEN *insert loud and obnoxious expletive here* MILES!!!! Prior to this endeavor, I had never run a single inch farther than 13.1 miles. It's a whole new world, and the best word I can come up with right now is doldrums (which is going to be a whole other post, maybe tomorrow).
I've already discussed the Madeline Island 16 miler. It was gross. On Saturday, things were poised to go much better. Being at home, there were far more factors that were within my control, which is a big deal for me.
As earlier stated, this run went pretty well for me and I'm happy with it. Also earlier stated was the fact that I lost Chris just before mile 16. Highly unusual, but not unheard of. Not long before that point in the run, he'd told me to take the Garmin and go on. I wasn't exactly feeling a surge of energy, so I hung with him for a bit. I gave him a little pep talk (as much as I'm capable of, rose colored glasses have never been a defining accessory of mine).
Once we were back to Nokomis, I was itching to be done. I pulled ahead ever so slightly, looked back and decided I needed to forge ahead and get done. A little bit down the road I stopped at a water fountain and he caught up with me. Honestly, the details of this are fuzzy (apparently a nearly three hour run decreases my mental clarity). But, I ended up going ahead. I finished the run, exchanged some pleasantries with my fellow run club members, then set out to fill the water bottle so I could go be with him at the finish. It ended up taking me so long to find the stinking water fountain that he was done by the time I got back. Long story short, the two of us finished this run in two different mental places. That's a fairly unusual occurrence in this particular running relationship.
While I knew he wasn't real happy with the way the run had gone, I was apparently too wrapped up in myself to realize that he was pretty damn frustrated with me. We gathered with some neighbors later in the evening, and he proceeded to vent all his frustrations. I was a bit taken aback. Then, he started griping about my behavior on the Wednesday evening sprint and hill workouts. "I don't understand why you have a need to run 10 yards in front of me. What's the point?"
WHOA THERE. Problem numero uno: When I do the God awful, way out of my comfort zone workouts on Wednesdays, my only goal is to get through them. I'm not racing or trying to beat anyone. I'm just doing my workout and trying to get done. So, my good buddy, don't flatter yourself by thinking my performance has anything to do with you. Because, it simply does not. Problem numero dos: If you've been frustrated with my behavior, why the heck haven't you said anything? Bad mouthing me in front of the neighbors ain't gonna help, I can assure you.
So, more new territory for the running Holts of Edina. He has since told me that his frustrations were really just with the way his run went, and not a function of anything I did or didn't do. Can you say backpedaling? My understanding is that we will continue to run together. What we have here is an opportunity for growth, on both of our parts. Growth is, um, hard; and I don't really care for it. But, such is life. By the time October fourth rolls around, we will quite possibly be giants from all this damn growth.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Thank Gawwwd

Seventeen miles... in the books.
My husband informed me last night that I had pre-run nervous quietness, and he was right. I wasn't as worked up as I could have been (thankfully!), but I was definitely a bit on the edgy side. Thankfully I was able to fall asleep quickly. I had the alarm set for 5am (sitter was coming at 6:00 and we were aiming to be at Nokomis by 6:30). When I woke up, the clock said 6:15. Yikes!! Turned out it was just on the wrong display... it was actually a few minutes before 5.
I felt really good for a long time. Chris and I set off with PJ and Chris R, which was a little worrisome because they're zippy. We hung with them for awhile, enjoyed some good Ragnar flashbacks and laughs, then sent them on their merry way. Splits were as follows:

I felt really good until about mile 14. Even then, I wasn't feeling particularly bad. I was just really ready to be done. This is a drastic improvement from the Madeline Island 16 miler, where I was wishing for death by about mile eight. At miles 5 and 10 I downed a Gu. Hate that stuff going down, but I do feel it makes a pretty big difference in how I feel. Just after mile 14 I had some Gu chomps.
I lost Chris a little before mile 16. I suppose a good wife would've walked with him, but at that point I couldn't stand the thought of the run taking any longer... I wanted to run and be done. Thankfully we have a mutual understanding about such occasions (at least I think we do).
All in all, a good day. Now if I could just find some food that would actually fill me up. I've been starving all day (despite constant food input)! Eighteen on schedule for next week. Lord help me!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Holy Crap

I have reached a new phase of this journey. I call it the 'Holy Crap, What Have I Done??!!" phase. I'm dealing with a lot of fear and doubt today. We're scheduled to run 17 miles tomorrow, and I'm totally worked up about it. As best I can tell, the real cause of my alarm is that when we ran 16 miles two weeks ago, it was horrible. I do not care for horrible, I do not care for fear, I do not care for doubt.

My goal for today is to find some calm. If I maintain my current state of mind, I'm going to be in big trouble tomorrow.

Monday, August 23, 2010

My Ragnar Tale

Five years ago I received a postcard in the mail for this crazy sounding running relay where you join a team, spend lots of hours in a van with sweaty runners, get next to no sleep, and cover nearly 200 miles. My reaction at the time was thanks, but no thanks.

Fast forward to spring of 2010. My husband and I were convinced we had to do this race. The series of events that led to such an about face in my attitude is a long story. I won't cover that here. We started trying to find people we knew who'd be crazy enough to join us in this ludicrous endeavor. We found lots of people who would initially show some interest, then kind of back off the more they thought about it, then pretty much fade away completely when it was time to commit and put down the money. I decided 2010 was not our year, it was time to give up and maybe try again next year. My husband, on the other hand, began searching Ragnar's website for teams looking for runners.

Enter Jeni and Cristy. They had posted that they were interested in putting together a team, and for some reason their post caught Chris' eye. I cannot begin to tell you how uncertain I was about this. Committing to doing something like this with strangers just seemed to have bad idea written all over it. Long story short, lots of emails were exchanged, Chris and I both joined Dailymile; and within a few days we had a team put together and were actually registered for Ragnar 2010. Chris and I paid the registration fee for the team, strangers sent us checks for $85 a piece (i.e. committed), and we had ourselves a team.

The initial team consisted of four knowns: Chris, me, Joe K. (co-worker of Chris'), and PJ E. (who we knew through the YMCA). Filling out the roster were the the relatively unknowns: Jeni H., Cristy D., Emily B., Anna T., Zach J., Don F., Kelli R., and Eric H. Those of us that were able to gathered on our back patio on May 16th for an initial meet-up. I think it's safe to say that at this point we were simultaneously excited and terrified.

In early July Joe had to back out due to injury. While we were sad to see Joe go, we were beyond excited to have Chris R. join the team. The primary reason for excitement surrounding this change was that Chris had two years of Ragnar experience. I am sure that we would've survived without Chris, but I kind of wonder how. His knowledge, his pace charts, and his calm and steady demeanor were an incredible addition to this team.

Our second team meeting was July 26th. This mainly consisted of a little more getting to know one another, and a lot of words of wisdom from our Obi-Wan, young Ragnar Jedi Chris (I stole that description off of his dailymile page). Again, I think we all left the meeting with a lot of excitement and a moderate amount of terror.

Between that meeting and August 19th, we exchanged a lot more emails, we made plans for T-shirts, transportation, lodging, food, and we ran. Oh, and we found a driver for van 1. Jeni put the request out on dailymile and Joel G. stepped up to the plate to be our chauffeur. I cannot lie. I again had some apprehension. Are we really going to let this complete stranger drive us all over rural Minnesota and Wisconsin? What if he's a freak? What if he's an ax murderer? What if he's a horrible driver? What if he's annoying? Turns out there was no need for concern. We could not have had a better driver. To use Jeni's words, "special thanks to Joel G for driving for us even though I'm sure you would have rather been running, and for your steady good nature and patience even when you got no break despite your equal lack of sleep as the runners."

As for the race itself, it's hard for me to find words. It was a truly incredible experience. Chris and I spent some time last night trying to figure out why exactly we thought it was so very incredible. Ultimately we couldn't come up with a concise answer. I guess it was just a good escape. For the first time in a long time, we left reality behind (for the most part, anyway). For 28+ hours, all we had to worry about was running, refueling, hanging with our teammates, and making sure we made it to our next exchange at the appropriate time.

I'd like to give a small shout out to everyone who made this possible. Chris Holt for taking the initiative to find a team, Jeni and Cristy for their hard work and enthusiasm, the entire team for being nuts enough to jump on this crazy train, our volunteers, and those at home who held down the fort so that we could go pursue this insanity. To my van 1 teammates, thanks for a great time. I have not laughed so much in a long, long time. To my van 2 teammates, I wish we'd have had more time to spend together. I hope you all enjoyed your ride!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ragnar 2010

More details to come, but here's a few photos from one of my favorite running events ever!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Urban Wildland and a New Distance PR

The routine hasn't changed much. The Urban Wildland Half Marathon was definitely the highlight of these two weeks. Here's the DM report:
  • 13miles
  • 01:55time
  • 08:46pace
  • 1283calories
greatUrban Wildland HM 13.1 mi 01:55 08:46 pace

Since Dailymile's going to round up, I want you all to know that my finish time was 1:54:59... exactly one second less than my goal of 1:55:00 :)

I had visions of a PR dancing somewhere in the back of my mind, but today was not the day for that. Considering I could barely walk yesterday (pulled something, perhaps carrying my five year old to bed, there will be no more of that action in this house!), I am very happy!

While I do not approve of the biodegradable race bibs (they were a bit too degradable once they got sweaty and rainy), I love this race. I love that they don't send you home with a bag full of paper and coupons and other crap that you're never going to use!

It was great to see Dave and Renee, as well as have Oneal (from Biggest Loser) to send us on our merry racing way.

I will now be going to partake of my celebratory huevos rancheros and bloody mary. Today is a good day. Actually, every day is a good day, even the bad days. I like running, I like it a lot. (For those of you who follow Greg P., yes, I stole that because I like it, I like it a lot).

In addition to that, Chris and I ran 15+ miles last Saturday. It was HARD! We were away for the weekend and ran on Madeline Island. Running on Madeline Island was very cool, but we were just totally off our game. I didn't eat an appropriate meal the night before (steak sandwich with a salad... simply not enough fuel for that kind of mileage), and apparently I didn't eat enough before we took off. I had a banana and half a clif bar. I made it through with the help of Gu, but it was not fun. And, we ran out of water. Major bummer. We did manage to find this place and the owner filled our bottle for us. I could have kissed him!

Other than that, I've been running five or six miles on Mondays, and three to five miles of sprints and hills on Wednesdays with the Y club. I hate those Wednesday workouts, but feel my half marathon time is proof that they're worth the trouble.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Week Seven

Here's the blow by blow. Number one challenge of the week was HUMIDITY. Thankfully it lifted for Wednesday night's sprints and hills, but Monday and Tuesday's runs were rough. As one who doesn't exactly take the Minnesota winter in stride, I hate to complain about heat and humidity, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit to some misery last week.
Highlight of the week was definitely having 11/12 of our Ragnar team together on Monday evening. I am super excited for the moving event!

  • 5mi tracked
  • 00:39logged
  • 08:45pace
  • 439calories
alrightMidday sun 4.5 mi 00:39 08:45 pace

After 10 years of living here, I guess I'm getting to be a real Minnesotan. I found myself cursing the heat today.

  • 4mi tracked
  • 00:39logged
  • 09:43pace
  • 427calories
alrightMore Midday Madness 4 mi 00:39 09:43 pace

I knew this run was going to be underwhelming, but wanted to log a few miles after falling slightly short of my goal yesterday. Despite the heat and humidity, I felt pretty good for three miles. Could have covered a little more distance, but opted to call it quits after four in an attempt to save a little gas in the tank for tomorrow's sprints and hills. The frozen yogurt smoothie pops that my daughter created and named made for a nice post-run treat :)

Enjoyed meeting the Ragnar crew yesterday evening. Thanks to everyone for coming... I know the time and location created some challenges, but it was great to have almost everyone together.

  • 4mi tracked
  • 0:00logged
  • 0:00pace
  • 398calories
alrightI do not care for Wednesdays 4.16 mi

More sprints and hills. I was certainly lacking in mental toughness tonight. Though I'm seeing benefits, I am weary of this routine. Enjoyed the company and the post run frosty, though :)

  • 5mi tracked
  • 00:45logged
  • 08:59pace
  • 495calories
goodCalm before the storm 5 mi 00:45 08:59 pace

This is a scheduled step back week, so this was my 'long run.' Half marathon a week from tomorrow, then a whole new running world for me (I've never run more than 13.1 miles).
Now, to go load the car for the weekend camping excursion. Love the camping, hate the packing! Happy weekend, all :)