Back at it

I decided to start running again, hoping that I was just feeling tired because of the added stress in my life, not enough sleep, and generally not training well. Hope I made the right decision.

I skied for the majority of the week (3 days!! That might be a record for me) and started to run on Friday. On Friday I did 6 miles (easy) and Saturday I did 4 miles. Sunday I ran in the Musky Fest 5K race, doing more warm up and cool down to try to get in miles like my usual Sunday long runs. WU: 2.75 miles. Race 3.1 miles (18:41, 1st woman). CD: 5.5 miles. Total for the day: 11.5. The race went OK. My legs didn't feel like they had that extra gear at all -- just that general feeling of being a little tired and heavy. I'm fairly happy with the time, though: 18:41 isn't bad considering how little hard running I've done in the last 2 months.

I called my college coach over the weekend, and it sounds like he's pretty interested in working with me more 1-1 for this training cycle. I'm so excited! We work really well together, and I could use someone to bounce ideas off of (for example: last week when I didn't know whether to start running again or take more time off). More on this to come! :)

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Not sure what to do

I took Sunday and Monday completely off. Yesterday (Tuesday) I went out for a short (45 min) classic ski. I woke up today and my legs still feel a little tired. Ug!

I'm torn: I think I have 3 options. First, I could take the rest of the week completely off. No running, no rollerskiing. (I hate taking time off -- I realized these last few weeks how much I like to run/ski/workout, and how much I like to see what my limits are, how far I can go, etc!)

Second: I could ski the rest of the week. Give my "running" muscles a rest, but this would also give me much needed time on rollerskis. I feel very behind in my training on skis.

Third: I could ramp my training back up starting today (Wednesday) or tomorrow (Thursday). Maybe the tiredness in my legs is due to just not doing enough. I haven't done much in the last month (a couple weeks of 40-50 miles), and when you're just starting to run/ski again, your legs will always be tired.

Anyone's thoughts???

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Gary Bjorklund 1/2 Marathon: 1:24.34

I knew this wasn't going to be my best race. Despite how my legs felt and how inconsistent my training has been, though, it went OK. I finished 16th, which was 3 spots higher than I was seeded to finish (they post the personal bests for the elite runners). Two of those three happened to be two of my Run N Fun teammates. I passed one of them at the 5 mile mark and one at the 9 mile mark. Both looked like they were really struggling.

The heat affected a lot of people, including me. I've never been a good racer in the heat. I don't sweat very much, so I tend to overheat easily. Luckily there were ample water stops where I'd take a cup and dump it over my head, but it was still pretty miserable out there. I watched the men's marathon winners after the race, and even some of the most seasoned/elite marathoners were walking/swaying toward the end of the race. That's not a good sign :(. I'm just glad I didn't run the full marathon!

All in all, it wasn't a bad race for me. It's nice to know that even on a day that I'm not feeling great I can still place in the top 20 and only 50 seconds behind what I did last year. I've always been pretty consistent like that; my bad days are never too far back. The first 2-3 miles of the race I could tell my legs just weren't ready for the race. They were still a little tired and groggy. I'm not sure why; I tapered pretty hard for this, so I'm not sure why they didn't turn around. After 3 miles, I found a little bit of a rhythm.

I ran pretty consistently through 10 miles. I wasn't as worried about pacing for this race -- I wore my Garmin, but when I'd look down and see that I ran a 6:33 mile, I wasn't like "oops, better correct that" -- instead I just ran with it. With 5K to go, I decided that I needed to push it in. I ran a 6:18, 6:20, 6:08, and then the last .1 miles was in a 5:58 pace. I didn't collapse or need medical attention after the race, which is always nice. It also tells me that I didn't race to my potential, though :).

Now -- I need to really focus on my training. Time to get out of this rut!! I miss the days before Fargo where I felt really fit and fast (and races and workouts were easier... there's just an "easy" feel to hard workouts when you're in shape). I think I'm going to take the majority of this week off, starting to run this Friday. I don't know if I haven't felt good because I didn't fully recover from the marathon (because I've been training hard since October last year), becuase of the stress of the job switch, moving, etc. Who knows. I'm going to revisit the training plan this week and change it to include a little slower build up (start with 40 miles/week rather than 50 like I did last month). Seeing those top marathoners finishing defintiely motivated me to train hard for TCM!! I just need to get my body ready, so I can train hard!!! :)

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Pre-race

I just picked up my packet for the race tomorrow. That's always fun to do. Even walking around I could tell that my legs were TIRED. Bummer. I guess you never know how you'll feel on race day, but I'm pretty sure I'm not going to feel great... I'm just exhausted (both physically and mentally).
So,it's off to bed soon! Race starts at 6:30 -- which means I'll be up at 4:15. Eek!

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Legs are tired

My legs are really tired! I guess I didn't realize how much I was doing last week. I took 1 day completely off, and one day only skied (Vakava on Thursday). My mileage was at 50 for the week for the 5 days I ran, and I added in another easy ski (just 20 minutes) as a second workout one of the days. I never know how to "count" my ski time, so I typically don't... and then I wonder why my legs feel like this after just a 50 mile week. Anyone have any good ideas? Skiers just count hours, but I feel like that isn't adequate since marathon training is largely about putting a lot of miles on your legs.

Anyway, that volume is pretty high for my 2nd week back. It's especially high considering I'm running a 1/2 marathon this weekend. Hope my legs will turn around by Saturday!

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Back in Shape 5K - 18:30 (5th)

Oh, 5Ks :). They're so short (and painful!)

This was a great race. It was very well organized, a great course (right on for distance!), and really good competition. I wasn't ready for a race yet, since I've only been training for about 2 weeks (and haven't done a VO2 max workout since mid-May), but looked at it as a way to get out there and get a good, hard, fast workout in.

I finished 5th in 18:30. Not a great time for me (Last month I ran a 17:57 at the GAC Alumni meet), but it's a decent time. That's about what I ran all of my 5Ks in last year. And considering how little I've done in the last month, I was happy. We did a 7 mile cool down after the race so I could get in 12 miles for the day.

Now -- the challenge will be to get the legs rested up so I can race well in the 1/2 marathon at Grandma's this weekend! !

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1st week!

It's been a great first week. Incredibly busy, but great.

I started with Red Wing Shoe Company on Monday. I love it! It's such a great fit for me, personally and professionally. Everyone here is SOO welcoming. It honestly felt like home! The job will be challenging, but in a good way. I'll be looking at basically every aspect of a small company -- supply chain, brand management, products, strategy -- and trying to find ways to help it grow. Should it have a distributor model, subsidiary model, or an independent rep model? Should the model we employ be different country to country? What product lines should we branch out into, and how much can we afford to invest in them (and what amount?)? How much are we making off of each of our customers (big box vs. small mom & pop stores), and which of our marketing or sales promotions are the most effective at each of these stores? A lot of challenging questions -- all of which I'll be analyzing and providing recommendations for. I'm a little nervous about that, just because... well, I don't think I know THAT much :). I just hope I'm a quick learner!

The only downside to the job is the commute. It's actually not bad, I don't hate doing it every day, but it makes the day SOO short. Take Wednesday, for example. I got out of work at 5:00 (which I don't expect to be able to do too often). I made the drive up, stopping at the grocery store on the way (it's double coupon Wednesday!!!). By the time I was done there, drove home, and packed everything away, it was close to 7:30. I quickly grabbed something out of the fridge, changed into my running clothes, and set out on a run. Wednesdays are typically my medium long run -- luckily I'm early enough in the cycle where they aren't super long, but they're still time consuming, nonetheless. Today's schedule called for 10 miles. By the time I finished with that, it was 10:00. Sad! Where did the day go???? If I added any overtime at work to that equation... well, I can't even imagine how crunched the day would be.

But, I'm confident that I can make it work, at least in the short term. We're starting the process of selling our home, and once I'm down in Red Wing, it won't be a problem at all. So, I know the short weeks are only a short term problem. Plus, it sounds like RWSC (Red Wing Shoe Company) is really flexible with your time and will not have a problem with me running during the lunch hour.

What else is new? I did my first time trial with Vakava last night. 3:59. It went OK, but made me realize how much I have to work on. I don't feel like I should be working that hard to go that slowly! :) We then worked on double pole kick, which requires BALANCE... something I have next to nothing of. :) I was just glad a fellow teammate was there in the back with me. Otherwise I would have been WAAAY behind.

This weekend I'll lace up the racing shoes for the Back in Shape 5K. Should be interesting. I haven't done a VO2 max workout since before the marathon. I have no idea how I'll do. Should be interesting!!

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First classic practice with Vakava

I survived my first classic practice with Vakava last night! Whew, what a relief. I was incredibly nervous, not going to lie.

We skied for an entire hour an a half, with very few breaks. Very unlike any other classic workout I've done! With Sisu skiers, we tended to rest fairly often. When I've skied on my own (which isn't very often), I only usually go about 45 minutes or so. So, to go HARD for 1.5 hours almost continually was a major shock to my body. :) My entire body shut down a little after about an 1:10 worth of skiing. I wasn't able to control my movements much, and I wasn't able to push it hard then. Guess that's a sign of a good, hard classic workout.

I was able to keep up decently well -- it was a good thing we only did double pole (where you're decently stable because you're on two skis). I still have a lot to work on, but felt good that I wasn't miles behind everyone. I think I was working a lot harder than most of the women out there, though. They were probably actually going level 3 (like we were told) vs. I was going as hard and fast as I could, just to keep up :).

I stayed on top of my skis until the very end, when I crashed going down a fast downhill with a very rough surface. I hadn't been down anything like it before and didn't know what to do. Pretty soon I was going way too fast and I couldn't feel my feet because of the rough surface -- next thing you know, I'm on the ground. Bummer. I landed on my backside, of course, the only place I didn't have protective gear on :).

Next week is a double pole time trial. I've never done anything like that before... hmm, should be interesting!

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Life changes...

Wow, what a whirlwind of a two week period. I applied and interviewed for a postion with Red Wing Shoe Company mid-May. I wasn't really looking for a position, I just came across it one day. The posting was for a "business unit controller" -- they were looking for someone to provide analysis and recommendations for their shoe line investments (how much, when, when to write things off), where to manufacture their shoes (abroad vs. domestically), analyze their competitor's moves (what are they doing, where are they moving to, what are their margins, etc). It was exactly what I've been looking to do -- I just didn't think I'd ever be considered for it -- at least for another 10 years, anyway :).

I was offered the position 2 weeks ago :). Unbelievable! The only downside to the position: it's in Red Wing (which is a great thing, I love that part of the state) and I live in Eagan. The commute is 1 hour, each way, without traffic. I'm not exaggerating. For me, that's a big deal. I commute just 5 minutes each way now, which allows me to be as active as I am in so many other things. I thought about all aspects of the offer for a while, though, and finally decided to take it. How often does a positon like this come along? And how often will they offer it to a 25 year old with just 4 years of business experience?? Plus, I just think it'll be a great long-term fit for me and my husband.

I'll just have to change a few aspects of my life. I'm sad to do it, but I know what I've been doing isn't sustainable long-term. I'd work 40 hours at my full time job (trying to minimize any overtime!), another 20-25 at Finn Sisu ordering, designing, pricing, and marketing their softgoods and custom clothing. I also did most of the web updates (along with a LOT of help from Nate, who is WAY more creative than I am). In the fall, I also added coaching to that mix, coaching 3-4 days a week. Add on top of this: my own personal training, which I'm trying to put more emphasis on. And learning to XC ski. Problem is, what do I give up?? :) I love all that I do... and the one part I didn't enjoy I needed to do to pay the bills.

What will I change? I will have to give up coaching, but I am incredibly sad to say this. It is SO rewarding to watch these individuals develop -- both as runners and also as strong individuals. I am very close to many of the team members (I've coached for 4 years), especially the women's team. Many of them continue to run today, which I pride myself on encouraging - too many HS females drop out after HS becuase they're burned out. Alumni write to say "hi", and current runners discuss college options, college majors, etc. with me. That's the most rewarding part of coaching :). I'm honestly tearing up as I write this, thinking about telling them I won't be there next year. I'm going to have to scale back on my work at Finn Sisu. Take out some of the web work and the trail running expansion, and concentrate just on soft goods. I don't want to give it up completely (I truly love it! It doesn't seem like "work" to me -- talking with, helping sell to endurance athletes? It doesn't get any better!!). We'll see if it's do-able to do both F/S and Red Wing -- but I'm going to give it a try.

As for my own running, I really hope I can continue to train at the level I have. I'm concerened that the commute, along with the added stress of the change, a potential move, etc. will really affect me. I already have a training plan outlined for TCM :). I guess we'll have to see... (it'll probably be the subject of many future blogs!!)

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