Life, Running

Stillwater Log Run vs. TC 10 Mile

My goal this year for the Stillwater Log Run 10-miler, which was nearly a month ago already, was to beat last year’s time. This year’s race, on September 22 (my son’s 25th birthday!), was supposed to be better than last year. I felt better. I felt stronger. I felt more prepared. I was ready.

Or so I thought.

Once again, I decided to run with a pacer, someone who keeps you on track and most often, on an even pace for the whole race. Because I felt SO good – I really did – I decided to line up with the 1:50 pacer, meaning we would finish the race in one hour and 50 minutes. I knew this was somewhat of a lofty goal, considering last year’s Log Run I finished in two hours. But I thought what the heck, might as well give it a try.

Here are my stats from the 2017 Stillwater Log Run 10-mile race:

I was not happy with last year’s run. At all. I had to walk a good chunk of it and that, to put it bluntly, pissed me off. So this year, I trained more and truly felt ready for it. I felt ready, despite the extra 10 pounds I can’t seem to get rid of. Damn menopause. Yes, I am using that as an excuse. Lol. Anyway, I ran a nine-miler a couple weeks before this year’s run and ran the whole thing – no walking. I ran it in 1:43:33, which resulted in an overall average pace of 11:30 min/mile. I was happy with that.

Race morning, I remember feeling great. Again, I felt ready. Which is why I decided to go with the 1:50 pacer. Yes, again, a little lofty, but in my head, was actually doable. And it was, for the first five miles. So, what went wrong? A couple of things. One, I typically DO NOT talk when I run. It takes too much out of me. Especially with my asthma. Second, pushing it up a hill and going at a faster pace up the hill. So, why did I talk? Because after mile one, it was just me and the pacer, which I feel really bad, but I can’t remember his name. Justin? Maybe. Anyway, because it was just the two of us, it seemed awkward not talking. We didn’t talk a lot, but I knew it was too much and there were a couple of times where I did tell him I needed not to talk because I knew it was taking too much out of me. But then, we would start talking again. Stupid, I know.

At mile five, after the pretty big hill on mile three, I knew I couldn’t keep up and told him I was going to slow down, which I did. My pace dropped from 11:09 to 12:22. I was mad. I was frustrated. And it reminded me of the year before, where I also struggled and actually gave up. Mile seven came and went and I had to do a bit of walking – up a hill. Mile eight was okay. I sent a text to Al, my husband, who I knew had already finished, which read, “Struggling hard. 1.4 left.” He replied back, “You can do it! There is a nice downhill.” Mile nine had a bit more walking and then on mile 10, which is where there was a nice downhill and when I knew I could actually beat my time from last year, I put on my big girl panties and sucked it up, quit feeling sorry for myself and dug deep. My pace went from 13:39 in mile nine to 11:31 in mile 10. I did end up beating my time. Not by much. But I did it!

Here are my stats from this year:

And this is what I looked like after the race:

Al thought it would be funny to put that sign by me. And it was. After I rested a bit, Al and I did get a good photo and then, I saw a couple of paramedics and asked if they would be kind enough to do a funny photo with me. They did and thought it was hilarious!

And even though I struggled, I have to admit, I was happy to have beat my time from last year, even though I barely did. The photographer, who works for the Stillwater Gazette, captured a decent photo of me coming into the finish line.

Yes, I truly was that happy to be done. He also got a great shot of Al, too, who looks fierce and determined! Al, by the way, finished in 1:29:33.

Two weeks after the Stillwater Log Run, on Sunday, October 7, Al and I ran the Medtronics (Twin Cities in Motion) TC 10-Mile Race in the Twin Cities. This race, which we planned out to be, was our 200th race since we started running eight years ago. Together we’ve run 92 5Ks, six 7Ks, 65 10Ks, 12 10-milers, nine half-marathons (13.1 miles), three half-marathon relays, four quarter-marathons (6.55 miles), one 2.5 miler, one 12-mile relay (we each only ran three miles of), and one 1-mile sprint.

We have also done several races where one of us ran and the other didn’t. Total mileage for all the races we’ve ran, including those not together, is 2,120.5, which is roughly the distance from Alexandria, MN to Key West, FL.

We were both pretty pumped and super stoked for the TC 10-mile race. Me, being me, made shirts for the both of us to wear. Not only to celebrate our 200th race, but also our 10th wedding anniversary, which happened to be the day after the race. The picture is from after the race once we were back in our room. We had planned to celebrate close to the finish line, but it was way too cold! We celebrated in our nice, warm, cozy room instead!

And once again, I felt great. I felt ready. I had a feeling it was going to be better than Stillwater and I was right. It was. A couple of things I did differently – I didn’t run with a pacer, I didn’t talk and I just ran according to how I felt. If I felt good, I pushed myself a bit; if I felt like I needed to slow down, then I slowed down. I walked one time and that was only to send a quick text to Al letting him know I only had two miles left. His response, “Wow! I am just about done.” Five minutes later he texted back, “I just finished.”

A couple of other differences with this race, which is why I think it went better, was the amount of race spectators and the number of participants. There were people along most of the route for the Twin Cities race and in Stillwater, there were only 255 runners, whereas the TC 10 Mile, there were 10,904. Just a wee bit different. Lol.

The number of runners and the number of spectators can make a huge difference. I feed off the energy when it is a bigger run. It just seems to give me more energy, plus, with this being the 200th race for us, that in and of itself made me feel more energized.

Here’s a look at my stats from the TC 10-mile race:

Yes, I shaved nearly six minutes off of my time. And my average pace was even better than the nine-miler I ran. Seriously, I was so super excited after the race. I felt so good the entire time, even when a squirrel ran across my foot. Yes, you read that right. A squirrel ran across my foot, along with a couple of other people I was running next to. It was crazy and it gave us all quite a chuckle and we were all just a wee bit shocked and surprised as could be heard by all of our gasps and then laughs. In 200 races, I can say that has never happened before.

It was a fantastic race for me. Al didn’t quite do as good as he wanted, but he finished and that’s all that matters. Our next race is the Fargo Mini Marathon, which takes place this coming Saturday, October 20. Al will be running the 10K and I am going for the half-marathon. YIKES! I don’t necessarily have a goal in mind, although I would love to do better than last year’s time, but I will be happy if I just finish.

Both Al and I are looking forward to the next 100 0r even 200 races. We both love it and will keep doing it as long as our bodies and my lungs allow me to.

Stay tuned for a couple more blogs coming up this week (or hopefully this week). I have one for all the ladies out there. You will want – and NEED – to read it. I promise.

And then I will be blogging about our 10-year anniversary trip we took to Duluth. We left after the race on Sunday, October 7 and came home late Friday, October 12. It was a magnificent trip and I can’t wait to share some of the photos.

Until then, here’s a couple of finish line photos from the TC 10-miler. Yes, I truly was that excited!

Life, Running

Not every run can be good

I am not sure if it was an average of the five-plus hours of sleep in the last three days or maybe the humidity or even poor nutrition (although I have been eating pretty decent lately!), but I really wanted to give up and quit running when I hit mile three of my five-mile planned run this morning. It was just not a good run.

I was tired and sluggish, that is definitely a fact. And my body just felt heavy and off and I had what I like to call either cement legs or elephant legs. They just didn’t want to move or just wanted to move super slow. I had to will them with everything I had to keep moving forward. It wasn’t painful. I wasn’t in pain, I just felt blah.

Sleep, truly, is something elusive to me lately. Menopause – yes, I said menopause! – has hit me hard and almost every single night I wake up anywhere between 2 and 3 a.m. with the hottest of hot flash night sweats. This whole menopause thing with its hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and everything else it comes with it is for the birds. I welcome any suggestions for handling menopause. And yes, I do take stuff for it. Currently, I am on Paxil and I was taking black cohosh (for several months), but it wasn’t doing anything. I quit taking it. Instead, I started taking Estroven, the sleep cool and calm one. And to help me sleep, I have been using lavender oil in my diffuser.

The picture below is from this week. But most weeks look the same. Most often, I have been actually going to bed, as in our actual bedroom instead of falling asleep on the couch. But sometimes, I fall asleep easier to the noise of the television instead of the hundreds of thoughts running through my brain.

As I was chugging along this morning, as I hit mile three, I thought about quitting. I wanted to just stop. I wanted to be back in my bed sleeping to be real truthful. I was still two miles from home and knew that I couldn’t call the hubby because he was still sleeping. I knew I had to get home whether running or walking. I told myself just to run to mile four and then I could stop and walk the last mile in.

I will admit, I did take a break and just stood still for a minute when I reached that four-mile mark. I took a drink of my Scratch hydration drink I had with me, tried to catch my breath (the air was SOOOO thick), had another talk with myself, (not out loud!) and then decided to run to four and a half miles. Thinking I could walk the last half mile.

I was struggling hard with myself at this point. I really wanted to keep running – in both my heart and head – but my body just didn’t want to cooperate. As I was getting closer to home, my body felt like it was in slow motion. I did take another break, this time, walking for about a block. I had just a half mile left and that is when I dug in, told myself to buck up and just finish. Just do it and get it over with.

When I hit that five mile mark, I was so happy to be done. I was feeling pretty crappy because of how crappy the run went. My stomach was even a little wonky. My last few runs have been pretty good – for me, that is. I am not a track star by any means, but my runs have felt so much better lately. I felt like I was getting my stride back and getting back into the groove. And then today happen.

I wasn’t completely disappointed with my time, just more disappointed with how I felt – slow, hot, tired and sluggish.

I expected my splits to be horrible, meaning I expected my last mile to be much, much slower than the first. It was slower, but not I expected it to be worse. It honestly felt like I was doing a 13:00-14:00/mi pace but I actually kept it under 12:00/mi.

While I was walking back – I had less than five blocks before I reached home – I was really kind of pissy about my run. But, as the day wore on and I had time to think about it. I realized that it wasn’t as bad as I thought, AND…I didn’t give up. As much as I wanted to throw in the towel at mile three, I didn’t. Yes, I took a couple of breaks, but I did run the five-miler like I had originally planned.

I know I am not going to have great runs all the time and that is okay. We can build off of the not-so-good ones and learn from them. I love running and hopefully always will. And, I guess I will take the good with the bad AND the great.

If you care to read more about my running journey, check out the column I wrote in today’s Echo Press. I wrote about how I started running and the milestone we are about to hit. Take a look and let me know your thoughts. Click HERE to read the story.