Wednesday, October 27, 2010


My goals for October were pretty low key - recover and have fun. And while I have enjoyed not having to run any specific distance or workout, I find myself struggling to stay in the moment. I keep looking ahead, to my next marathon, to the next triathlon season . . . This week's obsession has been marathon training plans. Note to self: the next marathon training cycle doesn't start until February, calm the hell down.

I'm trying to remind myself that I have lots of good things happening right now that I can focus on. Like Saturday's double header - the Monster Dash Half Marathon at 8:30 and the Anoka Gray Ghost 5K at 12:50. That will be fun and challenging. And shouldn't be glossed over by me trying to figure out how I'll do speedwork in February.

How do you keep it in the here and now?

Monday, October 25, 2010

At Least It's Not Snowing . . .

Every beautiful day we have had this month (and we have had A LOT of them), I have thought, "oh, is this the last one?" I have been loving the weather but live in the constant impending doom of another Minnesota winter (overly dramatic? no, never). This morning when the alarm went off for my early morning run, I opened one eye and glanced at the window. Dark. And is that rain I hear? I pulled the down comforter, recently rescued from its summer home in the bottom of the cedar chest, over my head and went back to sleep. I did manage to run after work - in the wind and rain - so it wasn't a total loss.

Anyhow . . . the weekly training recap from last week:

Monday: 3 miles easy (am), 4 miles hills (pm)
Tuesday: 3 miles easy (am), 1 hour kettlebells (pm)
Wednesday: 800 m. swim (am)
Thursday: rest day
Friday: 2 mile walk
Saturday: 5 mile race
Sunday: Jillian's No More Trouble Zones DVD

I came down with a nasty cold/sore throat/crap on Wednesday that kind of killed the week. It is still lingering . . . maybe something to do with the stress of spending my workdays with a boss who refuses to talk to me since I put my notice in two weeks ago? Yeck. Thank goodness for sweat therapy!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Race Report - Run for the Apples 5 Miler

This morning I ran the Run for the Apples 5 miler in White Bear Lake. My running partner Jim and I have run this race almost every year for the last five (or 6?) years. It is on the hilly trails through an apple orchard - most of the course is either dirt or grass. Some soft sand, and a small section about halfway through on pavement. My mom and Sophie came along to cheer us on (and enjoy the apple treats).

The start of this race is always very crowded, as lots and lots of runners attempt to all get onto a narrow dirt road at the start. But I wasn't worried about time today and just went with the flow, passing people when I could. I also wanted to conserve energy for the BAH (Big Ass Hill) just after the first mile marker. Seriously, that thing kills me every time. So I did my thing, gasping for breath when the massive hills started kicking my butt. I took a couple of walk breaks when I felt like I needed to get my heart rate down a little.

At one point I stripped off my long sleeve shirt, and ended up taking my bondi band off with it. Although I hate to lose my favorite ("Run" with a heart), there was no way I could go back to get it. Too many people. A few seconds later, I felt a tap - a lady had grabbed my headband and gave it back to me. Thanks lady in the lime green!

After what seemed like more hills than last year, we were finally within a mile to the finish time. I kept pushing and flew as fast as I could down the final downhill. I ran through the finish, spotting Sophie and my mom just before I crossed the line. I forgot to stop my watch, and didn't even look at the clock - so I had no clue what time I finished in. I just checked the race results and my time was 47:44. Quite a bit slower than my 43:17 course PR from 2008, but that's okay. I had a great time, and it was a perfect morning for a run.

When we finished buying apple treats, kids were lining up for a half mile kids race. Sophie insisted on joining in. I ran with her and we did a loop on the trails that included a big uphill and the nice downhill to the 5 miler finish line. She made it the whole way! As we got closer to the finish, I kept telling her to run to the finish line. She was running her little legs off and pumping her arms in the air - it was so freaking cute. She got to cross the big finish line, and got an apple and a medal.

The timing for the race ended up being perfect. As soon the race finished, a cold front came through and the temps dropped. It has been raining off and on since, and right now it is pouring rain and thundering. Perfect weather for two racing girls to cuddle up and recover (while watching Curious George, of course).

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Shaking Things Up

First, I am so looking forward to reading how all the Long Beach and Grand Rapids runners did today . . . love the race reports.

Second, a weekly training recap. I've sort of fallen off posting these, but want to get back on track.

Monday: 5 miles hills
Tuesday: 1 hour kettlebells
Wednesday: 1000 m. swim
Thursday: 2 mile walk
Friday: 12 mile bike
Saturday: dancing??? That counts, right?
Sunday: rest (maybe some yoga later)

I need to get my run back on! It has been a rough week, getting to the title of this post - I put in my notice at work on Wednesday. My last day will be the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I will be working on opening my own law firm. It made for a stressful week, but I am excited and looking forward to what the future holds.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Backwards Forwards

Looking back . . . a couple more things on the marathon before it becomes ancient history:
  • You might not be able to tell in the pictures I posted, but I wore my lightening socks for the race. Knee high, black and white stripes, with hot pink lightening bolts. Totally hot. I actually got tons of comments during the race, which helped propel me forward. Even after the race at Chipotle someone commented that they saw me on the course and remembered my socks.
  • The marathon results website shows how many people you passed in the last 6.2 miles (and how many people passed you). I passed 264 people, and 104 people passed me. Not too shabby.
  • Triathlons make for good marathon training. It wasn't a real secret that I sacrificed my long runs to the tri god over the summer. From June 1st until the marathon, I did 7 runs over 10 miles - 2 10 milers, an 11 miler, a 12 miler, a 16 miler, and a 20 miler. Plus one half marathon. About half of what I've done my last two marathon training cycles. I also sacrificed my speed work for after-work open water swims most of the summer. And although I wasn't in PR shape for the marathon, I felt strong throughout the race. No regrets about my summer training.

And looking forward:

  • October is about recovery and fun. I nailed the recovery last week - a couple of walks, one swim, and a 15 mile bike. Plus some yoga here and there. Now for the fun - I have three more races this month, including a Halloween double header on the 30th - the Monster Half Marathon in the morning and then the Anoka 5K in the afternoon.
  • November, December, and the worst months of the Season-Which-Shall-Not-Be-Named will be about base building for my next marathon . . . Fargo 2011!
  • As a continuing offering up to the afore-mentioned tri god, my cross training goal for the Season-Which-Shall-Not-Be-Named is to improve my swim. I thought hard about shooting for a half-ironman next year, but I seriously need to get my act together in the water before I do that.

I enjoyed my first post-marathon run this afternoon - perfect weather, my legs felt great - yep, still love to run!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Sophie turned three today! I can't believe how fast the last three years have gone. In honor of her third birthday, here's three reasons why I think this girl is destined to become an athlete:

1) She has three kinds of shoes: fancy shoes, cowboy boots and running shoes. Call the running shoe "tennis shoes" and the girl will bring all her toddler wrath down on your head.

2) Tonight she hopped up on one of her step stools and started stretching to touch her toes. Her grandma asked her what she was doing. In her best three-going-on-thirteen voice, she said, "I'm stretching because my legs are sore." Why? "From my race."

3) When I told her we would be staying in a hotel this weekend and we could go swimming, she said, "Good. I need to practice for my triathlon."

LOVE this kid.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Race Report - Twin Cities Marathon

My #1 fan!

This morning my mom dropped me off at the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis a little over an hour before the start of the marathon. It was a brisk morning - 39 degrees - and I was actually worried I might be chilly in the race. I went inside the dome to use the restroom and to stay warm while waiting for the start. Right away I ran into Julie and it was great to wait out the start of the race with a familiar face.

Before long, we headed outside to drop off our sweat bags and line up in the corral. As we packed in like sardines with 11,000 of our closest running friends, I quickly realized I would not have a problem feeling cold during the race. I warmed up fast! National anthem, first corral start, and then we were off.

In my last post, I said that one of my main goals was to enjoy the race. I really fulfilled this goal, especially the first 10 or so miles. There were so many spectators out on the course, the weather was beautiful, all the people running around me were in high spirits - it was easy to get carried along with all the excitement. I kept ticking off the lakes as we passed them, and the first part of the race felt like it went very quickly.

Miles 11ish through 16 were the most difficult of the race for me. For a couple mile stretch in there things seemed to quiet down a little. Less spectators, runners working hard meant less chatting and cheering, and the scenery wasn't as exciting. I had expected to see my brother and Sophie near the halfway point, but they didn't make it in time. I missed out on the nice boost seeing them would have brought. About mile 13, my legs started cramping up. I stopped to stretch a couple of times, but it didn't really help.

At mile 16, my running partner Jim was on the side with his wife. He jumped in and ran to nearly the finish with me. This was a HUGE help. He also had my handheld filled with kona kola nuun, which was a welcome change from the powerade and water on the course. Running with Jim gave me and new strength and I kept going strong.

My leg cramping never went away, but I just kept ticking off the miles. Once we were at the 22 mile mark and onto Summit Ave., I was in my home stretch! I just kept my eyes peeled for the St. Paul Cathedral (soooo close to the finish). Just before the cathedral, Jim's wife was on the sidelines again, and she said Sophie was waiting for me at the finish. This, along with the nice downhill past the cathedral and into mile 26, was the push I needed.

I ran down the hill strong, saw Sophie and my mom and brother cheering for me, and kicked it to the finish. Final time - 4:44:54. My second fastest marathon time, and a course PR for me by about 11 minutes.

Although this wasn't a marathon PR for me, I still feel that this was the strongest I have ever run a marathon. I have never experienced leg cramping like I did today, and yet I totally ran through it, just stopping at the water stops. In the past I would have walked MUCH more - in fact, in prior marathons, I have walked more for less painful problems. I am very proud of how I ran the race, and just had an awesome day.

Thank you all for your supportive comments and good vibes - I thought of you many times out on the course today!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Ready to Run

I've got my packet, I've picked out my race outfit (almost) and I'm ready to go! I am really looking forward to this race. When I was in St. Paul today to pick up my packet, I drove down the last few miles of the course and I could just picture myself running stong down the route on Sunday.

My goals for Twin Cities are simple:
1) Enjoy the race. Don't take any moment (of pain or of joy) for granted.

2) Finish, with a smile on my face.

3) Do my best.

No time goal. I really want to focus on just running strong and happy.

Catch ya in a couple of days and 26.2 miles!