Friday, July 19, 2019

Race report: Harrisburg Mile, 40-49 mixed heat; July 17, 2019

I ran the mixed 40-49 heat of the Harrisburg Mile on Wednesday, running 5:48, which was good enough for top female in the heat, and the female 45-49 age group win.

The logistics for this race are actually fairly easy.  I take a mid-day "work break" and drive up to Harrisburg (thus hopefully missing most traffic).  Once there, I buy a day pass to the YMCA, which is located very close to the finish line.

The day pass lets me take advantage of the YMCA's rock star parking for the race.  It also means that I have access to a locker, a shower, a stretching area, and a lounge with wi-fi.  So...I just set up shop there for the afternoon - doing some work before grabbing my bib (registration/packet pick-up are also at the Y), eating my pre-race "breakfast" and stretching, and then heading out to race.

It's very convenient.  And the Y is also just a really cool building.
It's so pretty.


While I stretched in the cavernous Y gym, I noted heavy rain rolling through.  Hopefully that would be done by the time I headed outside, and perhaps it would cool things off as well.

The answer ended up being yes and no - the rain passed quickly, but did little to lower the heat or ease the humidity. Oh well - this was a mile, so the weather wouldn't be the same factor it would be in a longer race.

As I warmed up, I noted that the wind was coming from the south - meaning a moderate headwind for this point-to-point race.  That was unfortunate.   Since the race runs from north to south, I would expect a tailwind coming off of the Susquehanna River, as we had last year.  But this year, the tatters of Tropical Storm/Hurricane/whatever Barry were screwing things up.

It's also worth noting that, since it runs north to south, this road mile is a bit unusual in that it's a slight net elevation climb, gaining 20 feet over the course of the race from the start to the finish.   I suspect they run it this way, instead of the reverse, because this way they have ample space at the finish for a mini-festival, including a beer garden, moon bounce, funnel cakes, etc.  Additionally, if the wind is usually from the north, then you get a tailwind most years that balances out the elevation gain.

The elevation gain itself isn't much of a factor.  The first 1400m or so are basically flat; the elevation gain comes primarily in the last 200m, and isn't that much.  The final slight uphill does hurt a bit, but when does the last 200m of a mile race not hurt?  Despite the net uphill, this is a fast course.


For this race, I decided to try something new for my warm-up, based on something I had read on Letsrun.

Usually, I warm-up for a mile with a few miles of easy jogging, followed by two very hard 400s with long recovery.  Since I never feel good during the early reps of a workout, I like to get those bad sluggish reps out of the way before the rep that counts - the mile race itself.

This time, I went with:
1) 2 miles easy jog;
2) 3 minutes at tempo effort, followed by 90 seconds jogging;
3) 4x30 seconds at 5K effort with 30 seconds jogging between each, then 90 seconds jogging after the set;
4) 4x10 seconds at mile effort with 20 seconds jogging between each.

I finished this about 10 minutes before the race start.  Then jogging and some strides.   I felt fresh and ready to run - indicating that the warm-up did its job.

Of course, with all of this focus on the new warm-up I forgot to do any drills.  I belatedly did a few drills right before the start (a bit sheepishly), and then lined up for the start.


This race runs its heats like clockwork - counting each minute down to the start until one minute to go, when they give warnings down to "10 seconds to go."  There is no "ready set go" - just the 10 second warning and then the horn.

When the horn sounded, I tried to conservatively explode (if there is such a thing), letting a pack of men pull ahead.  Despite my conservative start, no women went with me - it looked like I would be racing men this time.

I noted the moderate headwind, but having about 15 men ahead of me gave me plenty of people to use.  For the first two quarters, I tucked behind one runner and then another, as those who had started too aggressively fizzled out like shooting stars.  Then I was on my own, just chasing those ahead, and reminding myself that the wind was slowing others more than me.

Things started getting very uncomfortable at the halfway mark, which told me I was doing this right.  As I started hurting more and more, I found myself mentally shifting from racing to surviving - if that makes sense.  Trying to hang on, rather than chasing down.

I've raced the mile enough to know that's not a productive thought pattern, so I gritted my teeth (metaphorically) and refocused.  There was a man not too far ahead of me as I approached the 3/4 marker, so I dug deep to reel him in, and then even deeper to pass him.

Of course, as soon as I passed him, he found another gear and passed me back.  I fought to stay with him, but just didn't have the leg speed.  By this time, we had only 200m to go, up the very-slight-but-seemed-much-worse-than-it-actually-is incline to the finish.    I focused on squeezing every last bit of power out of my legs, and then I was across the finish and done.  And satisfied with what felt like a solid, competitive race.


My official time ended up being 5:48, with quarter mile splits of 86/88/89/86  (taken via Garmin Autolap, so not necessarily perfect).

This was significantly slower than my Loudoun Street Mile time from earlier this year (5:37), way off of my PR (5:25), and even slower than what I ran at this race last year.  Being so much slower than my Loudoun Street time was a bit surprising, since I didn't think I ran very well there, and I felt lousy during that one, and much better here.  And I think the two courses are equivalently fast.  But I think a lot of the difference can be attributed to different weather and different fitness.

Despite the slower time, I feel like this was a pretty good race - much better than Loudoun Street.  I competed well, and placed in the top 10 runners of the heat (7 men ahead of me), which was better than last year.  I do think the weather slowed times some - the humidity might have had some effect, and this year's 9 mph headwind (as compared to last year's 7 mph tailwind) had to have affected times.  When I look at it that way, I think my 5:48 this year was probably a better performance than my 5:44 from last year in the 40-49 heat.

Additionally, as much as I hate to admit it, hill workouts aren't the best training for racing.  They're wonderful - they build a foundation of strength and power, and are good for long term development - that's why I've been focusing on them now. I've seen before, to run fast (not just strong, but fast) one needs track work.  Which is fine - I'll be turning back to that in the next week or so.

Other notes:

  •  I have two options for getting to Harrisburg from Arlington, VA, neither of which is a direct line.  The easterly route is to take the BW Parkway up to Baltimore, and then take I-83 to Harrisburg; the westerly route is to take I-270 up to Frederick, and then take US 15 to Harrisburg.  I made the mistake of taking the easterly route up this time (listening to my car's navigation suggestion, which I usually ignore).  Nope - bad idea.  Too much traffic.  Next time I'll stick to the westerly route.
  • Last year I did two heats of this race, with 20 minutes in between.  It was too tight a turnaround.  So this year I stuck to the first heat I was eligible for - the mixed 40-49.  I feel slightly bad that I didn't support their masters elite heat, but running the 40-49 heat gave me people my speed to compete against, and also meant that I was done earlier - important, since I had a 2 hour drive home.  It was the right choice.
  • The weather for this race ended up being less than perfect - temp of 81, dew point of 75, and the aforementioned headwind (which was at least cooling).  But...when you run a race in mid-July, that's to be expected.  At least I missed the storms that apparently pummeled the DC area while I was in Pennsylvania.
  • They didn't have an awards ceremony for the age group awards this year - if you won something, you just swung by the table and picked it up.  Which I didn't object to at all - I just wish I had known so I could have left a bit earlier.
  • As mentioned before, the finish line had beer, funnel cakes, and a moon bounce.  I don't do beer or funnel cakes, but I would have loved to have done the moon bounce.  Unfortunately, I think it was kids only.
  • I really liked how I felt after my experimental warm-up before this race.  I'm going to test it a few more times, but I'm thinking it's a keeper.
  • This is a really fun race, and one I think I'll make an annual tradition.
  • When you run a race on a weekday night, it's awfully hard to turn around the race report promptly.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Training log - Week ending 7/14/19

This week was 57 miles of running, 16 "miles" of pool-running and 3000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.

More hills and more aerobic running. If the metaphoric goal of a training cycle is to mold a sculpture, then I'm in the clay gathering stage. Which is kinda fun since I enjoy strengthwork and dislike track workouts.

I'm feeling pretty darn strong right now, and also finally starting to miss the track, so I think I'm ready to transition out of this phase into regular training again.

This coming week I'm planning on hopping into at least one road mile, possibly two. One race is on Wednesday night, the other on Saturday night. I don't have terribly high expectations for either, since I'm not really racing sharp right now. But it will be fun to get back out there.

The week after, I'll get back on the track. Which I'm looking forward to as well.

In other news, about two weeks ago I started tapering off of the drug I'd been taking since mid-May to manage my mild ulcerative colitis (Rowasa). My symptoms are cleared up, and the drug gave me continual light nausea and also some insomnia, so it made sense to try to stop it.

The taper schedule has me taking the medication every other evening. And I've noted that when I lift in the morning after taking the Rowasa, I am notably less strong than the mornings after not taking it. It's the difference between pressing 30 or 35 pound dumbbells. And in how hard it is to hold my planks. Which makes me wonder if my not-so-stellar late spring performances can be attributed at least partially to the Rowasa.

There's no way to know for sure, and I'm told that this is not a known side effect. But I'm hoping I'll be able to stay off of the Rowasa in the future and avoid this issue, if it is an issue.


Monday: Yoga and 5 "miles" pool-running in the morning, another 3 "miles" pool-running in the afternoon, foam rolling at night.

Tuesday: 12 miles, including 2x2.5 miles in 13:09 (6:28 pace) and 13:33 (6:37 pace) with half mile jog between the two. Full recovery and then did 2 hill repeats of 60-70 seconds with 2:30 jogging recovery between the two. Followed with injury prevention work and 1000 yards easy swimming. Foam rolling at night.

Wednesday: 8 miles very easy (8:56), drills and strides, yoga, and then another 4 miles very easy (8:49). Sports massage in afternoon.

Thursday: Upper body weights, core, and 8 "miles" of pool-running. Foam rolling at night.

Friday: 12 miles, including 8 hill repeats (about 2 minutes up, then ~1:30 jog, then ~30 second stride, and ~60 second jog down to base of hill). Followed with injury prevention work and 1000 yards easy swimming. Foam rolling at night.

Saturday: 10 miles very easy (8:54), drills and strides, followed by upper body weights, core, and DIY yoga. Foam rolling at night.

Sunday: 12 miles, including an alternating workout of 2 hill repeats of 60-70 seconds, then 10 minutes at tempo (6:26); then 2 hill repeats of 60-70 seconds, then 10 minutes at tempo (6:25), then 2 hill repeats of 60-70 seconds. [2:30 recovery between hill repeats; 3:00 recovery between hills and tempo and 1:30 recovery between tempo and hills]. Followed with injury prevention work and 1000 yards easy swimming. Foam rolling at night.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Training log - Week ending 7/7/2019

This week was 56 miles of running, 18 "miles" of pool-running and 3000 yards of swimming -- training log is here

This week I focused on hills and some aerobic running. Nothing anaerobic, no long runs, and no track workouts. Just fun stuff that promotes power and good form. It's a nice break from the intensity of track workouts and racing, and it's also nice to be able to sleep in and do a workout on my own schedule, rather than show up at the track at the appointed time. 

I've found that spending a period like this once or twice a year really rejuvenates me mentally. I do lose something in that I don't race as well off of this type of training as I do off of the standard mix of track work and long runs. also can't race your best year round, and taking a few weeks of playing around now will hopefully set me up for a good fall, just like it did last year. I'm going to spend 1-3 more weeks like this, with the possible exception of a road mile race for fun, and then go back into more serious training. 


In other news, recently I decided to go ahead and spend some money on one of those sports-related genetic test services. You know the deal: you spit in a tube and send it to them (or alternately provide them with your data from another service) and then they give you a report. 

Those who know me and my opposition to facial recognition technology are probably surprised that I spat into a tube and mailed it off. But...the risks of genetic profiling are different from those of facial recognition technology. 

I object to the use of facial recognition or fingerprints as authentication methods - if your text password gets exposed you can always change it, but you are stuck with your face and fingerprints for life. 

In contrast, I'm not using my genetic information as an authentication method, and don't anticipate ever being placed in a situation where I would do so. Rather, the risks from this sort of genetic testing are a) later being discriminated against due to a pre-existing genetic condition or b) having a family member identified as a potential criminal after my genetic profile is reviewed. Since I've already got umpteen pre-existing health conditions and I also want anyone in my family who commits a crime prosecuted to the full extent of the law, I'm fine with these risks. 

Which doesn't mean I wasn't picky about which service I went with. My DNA is sensitive stuff. 

My suggestion to anyone considering playing with one or more of these services is that they first look for a company that is operating in Europe as well as the US - Europe is far more robust in terms of privacy regulation. 

Second - review the company's privacy statement and also any statements on data protection/data security that they have (these documents will usually be found at the bottom of the web-page - if the company doesn't have a privacy statement, that is a gigantic smoking red flag). 

Ideally, you want to see a reference to either ISO 27001 certification or HIPAA compliance when they describe how they protect your data. Those qualifications are neither essential nor perfect guarantees of safety, but they do make me sleep better. 

So....after going through all that, I picked a site, paid the fee, did the deed, got my results. 

At this point I should note that I've got really mixed feelings about the value of consumer DNA profiling. On the one hand, I really do believe that DNA analysis is the future of modern medicine. Not all humans respond to the same medications/treatments the same way, and treating the individual patient requires trial and error to work out the ideal combo. The hope is that cautious and correct use of DNA profiles can eliminate some of that initial guesswork, and spare certain patients from awful side effects. 

Just as not all patients respond to a specific medication the same way, not all athletes respond to a certain training structure the same way. And I keep thinking that 20-30 years from now, we may know enough to be able to individually structure training based not just on how the athlete responds in the past, but on their genetic profile. 

That being said, we're not there yet. And I'm sure that the technology being used to process my saliva is not the same technology used at NIH. And even the most advanced DNA technology is still in its infancy. 

Personally I place contemporary consumer DNA testing/analysis in the same bucket as the daily horoscope (maybe a bit better, but not much). When you read the text you will ALWAYS find something that makes sense and validates the report. And you'll see other things that don't make sense and you'll find a way to rationalize them away. 

But...horoscopes are fun, and so was this. And perhaps it will be more reliable in the future. 

As for me, my results did make a lot of sense to me (just like my Taurus horoscope that always says that I am stubborn). 

According to my results, I'm more of an endurance athlete than a power athlete (agreed), I need more recovery time than others (agreed) and I'm more likely than others to have soft-tissue injuries (definitely agreed). I can also strength train a lot without building any muscle mass (yup). 

Interestingly, I supposedly also have a genetic variant that is common to top sprinters - so either that's wrong, I've wasted it, or I've converted that fasttwitch to slowtwitch with the long runs that I love. 

Diet-wise, I do better on a lower carb diet than other athletes (that's a heck yeah), and I'm very sensitive to both caffeine and alcohol (yup). However, supposedly I'm genetically unlikely to be lactose intolerant - my real life experience directly conflicts with that report. 

Overall, it was fun to read the results, and I got my money's worth in entertainment value. Will this affect my training? Honestly no. But who knows, in another generation genetic testing may be as ubiquitous as GPS watches are now. 


Monday: Yoga and 8.5 "miles" pool-running in the morning, foam rolling at night. 

Tuesday: 10 miles, including 6 hill repeats (about 2 minutes up, then ~1:30 jog, then ~30 second stride, and ~60 second jog down to base of hill). Followed with injury prevention work and 1000 yards easy swimming. Foam rolling at night. 

Wednesday: 8 miles very easy (9:00), drills and strides, yoga, and then another 4 miles very easy (8:58). Foam rolling at night. 

Thursday: Upper body weights, core, and 9.5 "miles" of pool-running. Foam rolling at night. 

Friday: 12 miles, including an alternating workout of 2 hill repeats of 60-70 seconds, then 10 minutes at tempo (6:44); then 2 hill repeats of 60-70 seconds, then 10 minutes at tempo (6:42), then 2 hill repeats of 60-70 seconds. [2:30 recovery between hill repeats; 3:00 recovery between hills and tempo and 1:30 recovery between tempo and hills]. Followed with injury prevention work and 1000 yards easy swimming. Foam rolling at night. 

Saturday: 10 miles very easy (9:08), drills and strides, followed by upper body weights, core, and DIY yoga. Foam rolling at night. 

Sunday: 12 miles, including 7 hill repeats (about 2 minutes up, then ~1:30 jog, then ~30 second stride, and ~60 second jog down to base of hill). Followed with injury prevention work and 1000 yards easy swimming. Foam rolling at night.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Training log - Week ending 6/30/2019

This week was 28 miles of running, 28 "miles" of pool-running and 2000 yards of swimming -- training log is here

This was an off week, as I rebooted after the Garry Bjorklund Half.  

My post-marathon breaks have a distinct pattern - 5-10 days of no running, then a return to running, but with a focus on hills and fartlek-type stuff, and avoidance of the track and racing for a few weeks.  

I'm doing something similar here, but abbreviating slightly, since my last race was a half-marathon. I took 5 days off of running, with a focus on yoga and social pool-running.  Then I shifted back to easy running, plus a "fun" workout of short hill repeats.  

I like the short hill repeats as a transition workout.  The fast running is relatively brief, and the recoveries long, so the workout is pretty easy - it's more about encouraging good running form and power than building or maintaining fitness.  It works well for ensuring that I don't regress into shuffling habits, while still allowing me to recover and refresh.

The next weeks are going to be much of the same - just hills and fartleks.  It's a nice physical change, and also a mental break.


Monday: 8 "miles" pool-running in the morning, followed by a sports massage.

Tuesday: Yoga, 2 "miles" pool-running and 1500 yards of swimming.  Foam rolling at night.

Wednesday:  Yoga and 9 "miles" pool-running. Foam rolling at night.

Thursday: Upper body weights, core, and 9 "miles" of pool-running.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday: 8 miles very easy (9:05) followed by some running drills.  Foam rolling at night.

Saturday:  10 miles, including 8 short hill strides- 60-70 seconds up, and then ~2:30 jogging recovery down to the bottom.  Follow with injury prevention work and 500 yards recovery swimming.   Foam rolling at night.

Sunday: 10 miles easy (8:59), drills, strides, and  upper body weights/core.  Foam rolling at night.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Training log - Week ending 6/23/2019

This week was 34.5 miles of running, 8 "miles" of pool-running and 1000 yards of swimming -- training log is here

Just a place holder for the past week - highlights were covered in the race report.  Next week will be boring as well, since I'm taking a training break.  I had planned on taking that break at the end of July, but based on Saturday's race, I'm thinking it's best to move it up to now.  


Monday: Yoga and 8 "miles" pool-running in the morning.  Foam rolling at night.

Tuesday: 10 miles, including 1600, 2x1200, 2x200 in 6:20, 4:41, 4:39, 45, and 43.  Also 1000 yards recovery swimming.  Sports massage in afternoon.

Wednesday:  7 miles very easy (8:4) plus drills and 2 hill strides, light upper body lifting and core, and DIY yoga.  Foam rolling at night.

Thursday: Travel and DIY yoga.

Friday: 2 miles very easy (8:54) plus DIY yoga.

Saturday:  2.5 mile warm-up, and then the Garry Bjorklund Half in 1:25:11

Sunday: Just travel and a bit of foam rolling.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Race Report: Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon, June 22, 2019

I ran the Garry Bjorklund Half yesterday, finishing in a time of 1:25:11.  Good enough for the age group win, but far off of what I had hoped to run on a great weather day.


Getting to Duluth from DC is always a journey - 8:30 hours door to door. The flight from the DC area to Minneapolis is about three hours, and then the drive from Minneapolis to Duluth is another 2:30.  Factor in transit time to the airport from home, security, and car rental time, and you have a long day.  Which is why I always travel two days before.

The trip went relatively seamlessly - the only hitches being a) my salt shaker of all things needing to be inspected by TSA and b) frustrations with the satellite radio in my rental car.  For long drives, I like to have satellite radio so I can listen to either electronic music or NPR.  Unfortunately, my car wasn't offering NPR as one of the channels, so I went with Howard Stern as the next closest option.

Once in Duluth, I swung by the UPS store to pick up the box I had shipped to myself, and then over to the expo to grab my bib, where I was excited to see that, as a member of the elite field, my bib had my name on it, rather than a number.  Pretty darn cool.


I like to keep stuff very quiet before a goal race, and this one was no different.  Just stretching, a quick drive around to see a few sights, and a shake out jog of two miles - the first into a massive headwind, the second with amassive tailwind.  The forecast was to have that same tailwind on race morning, plus perfect temperatures (49-51).  Fantastic.


Race morning dawned very early.  The half-marathon started at 6:15 am local time, which meant a 3 am wake-up.  I took my asthma meds, ate, stretched, and then made a point of leaving my dorm room at 4:30 to get on one of the very first buses leaving for the start.  For the half, the buses drop one a fair distance from the race start (about 10 minutes walk), and I wanted enough time to get situated and warm-up without feeling rushed.  As it turns out, getting there on the first bus was just the perfect amount of time.

I warmed up with 2 miles, plus two 400s at half-marathon effort.  Things felt good with that, so I didn't think I needed anything more.  I like to ease into half-marathons anyway - if I'm too warmed up, I go out too fast.  

I noted as I warmed up that the temperature was perfect - cool and dry.  There was very little wind, which was surprising, but I suspected it would pick up as the morning went on.

I lined up, and then with very little fanfare other than a “ten seconds to go” warning we were off.


Pursuant to my plan, I eased into the race with a slow build over the first two miles - after that I'd hold a hard effort, with the intention of trying to find a higher gear in the last 4 miles after Lemon Drop Hill.  I let people pass me for the first 2 miles while I focused on running the tangents (the road winds, so you can rack up a lot of extra distance if you don't pay attention).  Then I hit a hard cruise and started passing people, which would continue for the rest of the race.

As I ran, I noted that the wind was picking up - it felt like a crosswind, rather than a tailwind (of course, one never appreciates or recognizes a tailwind when one has one).  It was light at first, and then stronger.

The miles felt like they were passing by quickly.  I was working hard, right on the edge, but also in control, and I kept reeling in others.  Around mile 7-8, things started getting hard, which I expected.  What was unexpected was that my quads were starting to stiffen and get sore similar to how they feel in a marathon.  I had noted this once before, at Broad Street earlier this year - and it struck me as odd then.   But I had promptly forgotten about it, since I was so happy with the race as a whole.

At mile 9, we hit Lemon Drop Hill, which felt harder than I remembered it from last year.  Which in a way made sense, since I was running up it faster than I did last year.  I worked my way up Lemon Drop conservatively and then opened up my stride on the back side, coaxing what I could out of my legs.  I was starting to feel gusts of tailwind as the wind picked up, and it helped.

I used a similar strategy on the second hill about a mile later (I’m told this one is the “Super One” hill, after the nearby supermarket) - conservative up, and then open up on the backside to roll into downtown Duluth.  My legs were stiffer yet, and starting to limit things, but I was able to lock into a rhythm and keep on pace, reeling in another two guys.

The final mile + of this course involves a left turn onto a bridge, and then a drop onto the waterfront, before doing an S-curve back to the finish line.  As we twisted and turned, the ever-increasing wind shifted - sometimes a headwind, sometimes a cross wind, sometimes a tailwind.  I know this course well enough now to be able to count down the turns and estimate how far I am from the finish, so I visualized a hard 1600 on the track and counted down the laps.  A younger guy briefly passed me, and then I reeled him back in, and had just open road ahead of me.

Finally, I saw the marker for mile 26 of the marathon.  I have a solid kick of about a quarter-mile at the end of longer races, so I had told myself that I was going to kick at that point, rather than wait until Mile 13.  So, I lapped my watch, narrowed my eyes, and emptied the tank. Which didn't have much left in it.

I couldn’t read the time clock above the finish until I was just a few steps away.  At which point I realized it read 1:25:xx, and was shocked.  I had been certain the whole time that I was running a big PR between the great weather, the people I was passing, and how hard the effort felt.  However, for the second week in a row, I saw a time on the clock far slower than what I expected to run.  And this time, I knew the course was accurate.


Manual splits were:
Mile 1: 6:40
Mile 2: 6:34
Mile 3: 6:26
Mile 4: 6:33
Mile 5: 6:36
Mile 6: 6:20
Mile 7: 6:34
Mile 8: 6:31
Mile 9: 6:28
Mile 10: 6:25
Mile 11: 6:32
Mile 12: 6:24
Mile 12-12.9: 5:49 (6:26 pace)
Last .21: 1:19 - 6:16 pace

So… a well paced race, just slow.  Put another way, I ran the best race I had in me - it’s just that I didn’t have within me the race I wanted that day.

Picture by Karen Dunn
- thanks!
The silver lining was that my time was still fast enough to win my age group.  It was a nice flip side to Broad Street, where I was really happy with my time but missed out on a nice glass trophy.  This time, I got the glass trophy and the awards ceremony but missed the time.  Such is life.
I bought the bear, they gave me the trophy

As for why the race didn’t go better? Plenty of food for thought there.  It could have just been a random bad day - sometimes that happens.  The pollen was higher than normal for June in Duluth and my eyes, sinuses, and throat were itchy/burning the whole time I was there, so that might have something to do with it. On the other hand my breathing was totally fine, which isn’t normally the case when my allergies are bothering me.

But...the most obvious and likely suspect is my training between Broad Street and Garry Bjorklund - instead of maintaining my fitness and extending it, it seems I took a step or two backwards.  So...I need to make sure I understand the mistakes I made so I don’t repeat them. The theme for this spring has been: some good races and some good lessons learned.

All of that will help in my next training cycle. The lessons learned from disappointing races fuel the great ones. But for now, I think this race is a signal that it’s time to take a training break and reboot. Other notes: - Temps were in the high 40s, with low humidity. Basically, the best weather this race has ever had. - I stayed in the dorms at UMD for the fifth year in a row - highly recommend. - I normally find "Minnesota nice" endearing, but it is remarkably frustrating when trying to navigate a four way stop sign intersection.