Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Super Exciting Running News

I am doing Ragnar Key West in January!

I somehow managed to get in with a team of complete strangers (it pays to blab to your doctor about your love for running) and I will be headed to Miami on January 5th for the relay.

In further "destination races" news, I'm headed to Denver tomorrow and planning to run a 5K there Thanksgiving morning with my brother.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Casual Speed

I've been a little "off" of my usual workout routines the past few weeks. Normal for me this time of year - with hunting season, I am basically a single mother (my husband is a DNR officer) - and it gets hard to fit the workouts in. Today, I snuck away at lunch for a quick 3 miler. Instead of my usual run from the office to the golf course and back, I ran to the high school track. The original plan was to run a mile around the track and run back. To mix it up, I ran a lap hard, then jogged easy, then a hard lap, then jogged easy for a lap. Then ran easy the mile back to my office. Speed work? Not really. But a little casual speed that got my heart rate up and reminded my legs that they can move.

I may have been a little stinky at court this afternoon, but it was totally worth it to get out in the sunshine and get my sweat on.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Race Report - Twin Cities Marathon

Race weekend started on Saturday - Sophie, my running partner Jim, my Mom, and I headed to St. Paul for the kid's events and to pick up our race packets. Sophie ran the toddler trot, which was very fun. It was a beautiful, warm fall day.

After the kid's race, we headed to the River Center for the expo. It was pretty crowded, so we did a quick loop through and were out. I did manage to pick up a TCM hooded sweatshirt (the one I bought in 2006 was pretty worn out!).

Sunday morning, I was up bright and early and ready to run. My mom and Sophie dropped me off at the Metrodome right before the 10 mile race started.

I had plenty of time to use the restroom and then to sit around and wait. I felt good - relaxed, ready to run my third marathon of 2011. My expectations weren't very high for the race - I thought I could finish under 5 hours, and really just wanted to enjoy the day.

Finally it was time to head outside and line up. I must have picked the wrong door to leave the dome, because I got stuck in a weird space lining up for the start - WAY back. No biggie. I think I crossed the start line about 8 minutes after the start of the race.

The first 11 miles of the race felt good. I kept a nice steady pace, right around 10:30 miles, and felt good. At mile 11, my stomch started to bother me. I started to feel like I was going to lose my cookies. Anytime I pushed (up a hill, or picking up the pace), I could feel the urge to puke in the back of my throat. To deal with nauesea, I stopped taking gels/drinking at the water stops. Smart, right?

By mile 16, my stomach was feeling worse. And, because I was dehydrated, my legs started cramping up. The cramping gradually spread and soon my lower back was cramping pretty significantly. All I could think about was laying down. Somewhere around mile 19/20, I did lay down. Just in the grass on the side of the road, and just for a little bit. It didn't really help.

So I got up and kept going. I consider the last 6 mile stretch of Twin Cities down Summit Avenue my "home" stretch - I love running down Summit, past William Mitchell (my law school) and feeling so close to the finish. But this time? I was so miserable and dejected. I would try to run, and then be on the verge of puking, and stop to walk. Repeat.

Less than a mile from the finish, I was walking, barely aware of my surroundings, and all of a sudden I heard my mom and Sophie yelling for me. I looked over, and they were there. I was so relieved to see them, sad that they saw me walking, and ready to start crying just from seeing them. I told them I would be done soon and started to run/shuffle on.

FINALLY, I finished. 5:21 and change. Nowhere near the sub-5 I had planned on. And certainly not the fun day I wanted. I crossed the finish line and was completely out of it. I had planned on meeting my family by the "W" meeting area, but it seemed so far away. I just kept staring at the W - bypassing food, drink, everything - telling myself that I could lay down when I got there. I finally got close enough and fell down on the ground in the shade of a big tree. When my mom, Sophie and my sister finally found me, I struggled to keep from crying again. When I finally got myself together, I pulled my sorry butt off the ground and we walked to the car. My mom snapped this pic of me and Sophie on the way.

I had some lingering nausea for several days after the marathon - not sure if I had some sort of bug or what was going on.

Back in the "old" days, a race like this would have devastated me. I would have been embarassed by my finishing time, down on myself for not living up to my own expectations, and generally negative about the experience. I think I have changed as a runner. Although I am disappointed about having a rough day and not enjoying the race like I wanted to, I don't feel bad about it. I know the difference between training for a PR and training just finish - and for this race, I definitely trained just to finish. I feel blessed to have the health and the opportunity to run races when I want - I feel proud of running three marathons in 2011. And, after a year of running just to finish, I am ready to train hard and see how I can improve on my marathon PR. :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Two Faced

Yesterday when I dropped Sophie off at daycare, one of the teacher's told me, "You are the only person I know who has two totally different faces. One I'm going to work face and one I'm not going anywhere face." I think what she meant to say is that I either look completely stunning (obviously) or am a sweaty post-run disaster. Which would be true.

Of course, then I got in my car, looked in the rearview mirror and saw a big clump of mascara under my eye. So "completely stunning" may be better read as "Halloween horror."

Once I wash this damn mascara off my face, I might actually get my act together and post my Twin Cities Marathon race report. At this point I'll probably wait until after my race on Saturday and make it a two-fer.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Book Club Run

Last night was the first night of book club for the year. I started the book club with some of my friends last year - we meet on the third Wednesday of the month at on of our houses. When book club is at your house, you pick the book. I decided this year, I want to run to each book club meeting (and then force my friends to drive me home afterwards, of course).

Book club was at Jenny's house last night. Jenny lives 5.2 miles from me. Perfect. The book? David Baldacci's One Summer. It pretty much sucked. How's that for a book review?

Even with an el-crapo book, a night that involves a 5 mile run, Papa Murphy's pizza, and hanging out with some great girls is not a waste. Next month's book is The Help, which I have already read and loved. I am looking forward to reading it again now after seeing the movie. What are you reading now?

Friday, September 9, 2011


Three words to describe today's 21 miler:




Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I think I'll just eat a cupcake . . .

Here's some things I've learned that might be helpful to you:

1) Nothing good comes in a conversion van. If you see one pulling up (say, out of your office window), it's probably best to lock your door, crawl under your desk, and hide.

2) Half of zero is zero. Seriously. If you are getting divorced and you had nothing when you were married, you should expect to have nothing upon your divorce. Deal with it. (And no, I'm not divorced or getting divorced. Just getting other people divorced . . . )

3) When your first inclination is to punch someone or start screaming, it's best to take a deep breath. And eat a cupcake.

Dear little coffee shop around the corner,
Thank you. You and your delicious little carrot cake cupcake with cream cheese frosting saved my life. And probably someone elses.
Love, Heather

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Weekend Workouts

I love long weekends. Friday morning I took Sophie for a run in the running stroller. She really wanted to go -- even though Dad was home and she could have stayed with him and watched Phineas and Ferb -- and then about a mile in was ready to turn around a go home. So only a short two mile run for Friday. I spent the rest of the day cleaning, doing my monthly billing for the office, and getting some work done.

Saturday morning my running partner Jim and I went for a 41 mile bike ride. Do you ever drive on certain roads and think gee I really would like to ride my bike on this smooth road? There is a road around my house that I have thought that about all summer, so we finally decided to take that route. It was a beautiful morning and we had a great ride. I spent the rest of Saturday helping my mom shampoo her carpets. Between the bike ride and the carpet cleaning, I was wiped out and was in bed by about 9:30.

Sunday, I got a 10 mile run in before our annual Labor Day weekend golf tournament. I was cursing the wind (and farm tractors) during the run, but overall it was good. It ended up being a chilly day, so I rocked the compression socks under the jeans for golf all day. They kept me warm AND made my muscles feel good! Eighteen holes of golf later and I was ready for bed by 9:30 again.

Yesterday, my mom, sister, mother-in-law, Sophie and I went to the State Fair. Maneuvering a stroller through the throngs of fairgoers was enough of a workout for me. Luckily I refueled with a giant pretzel, some funnel cake fries, cheese curds, and ice cream.

It was torture getting out the door of work/daycare this morning, but I'm looking forward to a lunch time bike ride and kettlebells tonight.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Modern Morning Runner

A long, long time ago, my running partner Jim and I were devout morning runners. And then after I had Sophie we kind of fell out of the routine. We have tried to revive it many times, but have failed. I would shut off my alarm and snooze obliviously while Jim sat in his car in my driveway. Or I would get up and get ready, only to have Jim over sleep (which often would mean I would get my pajamas on and go back to bed. Lame, I know.).

But now we are trying to get back into the morning routine and using modern technology to assist us. At 6:00 yesterday and today, I got a text from Jim: "On my way." That's enough to get my lazy ass out of bed. And in the 10 minutes it takes me to get ready, Jim is at my house and ready to run.

We're two for two so far this week . . . hopefully we can keep it up. The benefits of getting up and running in the morning far outweigh the extra hour of sleep I get by skipping it.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Race Report - Lake Country Trialthlon

This morning I raced the Lake Country Triathlon in Baxter for the second year in a row. Last year, I signed up with two of my friends after we caughter the tri bug and had such a blast at the Chisago Tri. We loved this race so much last year, we decided to do it again. This year, we made a weekend of it and brought the kids - had a great time hanging at the waterpark.

Our hotel was pretty close to the race site, so I was able to sleep in until 6:30, which felt late for a race morning! Once we got to the lake I quickly set up my transition area. It is amazing to me what people drag into transition - a guy near me actually brought a chair! At the Chisago tri, you rack in transition according to race number and I swear everybody has about 3 inches of space. Of course, this forces you to use only your 3 inches and respect everybody's space. At this tri, not so much. People are all over the place, taking up several feet for their transition area. Oh well.

After getting set up, we snapped a quick pic in transition.

We then ventured down to the water to check out the swim course. Yep, looked longer than I remembered.

After a quick pre-race meeting, we were off. Or rather, the 20 to 29 year old men were off. I waited around for about 15 minutes until my wave (wave 6) went off.

Swim - 1/2 mile
Last year, the water was very choppy and the swim nearly killed me. The water today was very calm, so I really wanted to improve on my 27:ish swim time from last year. (I know, slow - I am a very slow swimmer!) I stuck close to the buoys and after the second buoy, was with the "slow" people in my wave. By the third buoy, the fast ladies from the wave behind mine were on me. By the time I reached the fifth buoy (and started turning back to shore), it was just me and the slow pokes. I just kept swimming. Swimming is so weird to me - I feel like I am in a complete time warp and have no clue as to how much time has passed. Could be five minutes, could be six days. Finally I was back on shore and running up to transition. 24:46 - still slow, but an improvement from last year so I am happy!

T1 - 3:21
I am so slow in T1. I should have borrowed that guy's chair and sat down to get my socks and bike shoes on. My post-swim dizziness combined with my usual clutziness makes putting on socks and shoes very difficult. I managed without any head injuries, so I'll call it a success.

Bike - 17.3 miles
Last year, I did this bike in 1:00:40. So my main goal for today was to break an hour in the bike. I started out and felt strong right away. I quickly reeled in some ladies from my age group and from the wave the started before and after me. From about the 6-7 mile mark until mile 12 or so there are some pretty decent hills on the bike course and I picked people off on the hills. During the whole bike, I was only passed twice - once by a guy (who started two waves before me, not sure what that was about) and once by a gal in my age group, who I passed back two miles from the end). I took a Gu Roctane at about mile 13 and really felt a boost. Pretty sure there were flames shooting out of the back of my bike the last couple of miles. :) Finished the bike in 58:08 and met my goal!

T2 - 1:56
Apparently I am not much better changing shoes after biking than I am putting shoes on after swimming. I wonder if I can improve this by spinning around in circles in my driveway and then trying to change shoes?

Run - 3.9 miles
Last year, I sort of died on the run. I remember taking walk breaks. My goal this year was to finish the run without any walking. As I was running out, I saw both of my friends and was able to cheer them on. I stuck my headphones in, listened to music and just focused on putting one foot in front of the other. I had a very steady (if not very speedy) run - never quit running. I picked up the pace as I came around the corner to the finish and was done in 36:51. An improvement of about a minute from last year's time.

My overall time was 2:05:01 - more than five minutes faster than last year. After kind of a strange summer training-wise, I am very happy with those results. Better yet, I definitely remembered why I fell in love with triathlon. Today left me excited for the last tri I am signed up for this year - the One Last Tri on September 19th.

Thanks for reading, hope you all had a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tuesday Treats

I love my Tuesday workouts. Usually I run in the morning (skipped this morning because my husband is in the Boundary Waters and apparently three years old is a little young to stay home alone). But my favorite part of Tuesday is my evening workout - kettlebells class followed by a 10 mile easy bike ride. Kettlebells completely wipes me out, so much so that my arms have a hard time holding myself up on the bike. The bike ride is a great way to cool down from kettlebells, plus we are enjoying some beautiful late summer evening weather and it is so nice to soak it up.

See? I don't always bitch about the weather. Just November through May.

Speaking of November, I just booked tickets to Denver to visit my brother over Thanksgiving. That will give me something to look forward to as we enter the season which shall not be named.

Monday, August 22, 2011

It's All About the Silver Lining

Last Thursday I dropped my car (a 2007 Ford Escape) off at the shop for an oil change and to check a problem I have been having. Not even half an hour later, the shop called and said I needed a new transmission. My response? "You better call my husband. I'm not dealing with this." So grown up, I know. The silver lining? I got a new car. :) My 2012 Ford Edge should be here this week . . .

With the car trouble, I nixed my trip to Madison. I was bummed about missing the half marathon scheduled for Saturday. I have run this race the last two years and was really looking forward to it. The silver lining? I came down with an awful cold and couldn't run more than a mile on Saturday without falling on the ground gasping for breath. It would have sucked to be at a race and discover that little problem.

I'm still struggling to find the silver lining with this nasty cold. Maybe a sexier voice? Finally using the mega pack of Kleenex's I bought for the office at Costco? I'll figure something out.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Signs of the Times

A sure sign that the end (of summer) is near is our ladies' golf league tournament. Tonight. Sob. This season has flown by. And with my blogging absence, I haven't been able to regale you with the usual tails of falling out of golf carts, cavorting about the golf course, and such.

It's been a pretty tame golf season. My golf partner is pregnant, so she's been drinking water all season. Since she hasn't been drinking, I haven't been either. A few weeks ago, she and I headed over to Siren National in Wisconsin to golf on a Saturday. The course was pretty busy and we ended up waiting several times behind a group of four younger guys in front of us.

On the 14th green, we pulled the flag to find a ball in the cup. And the ball said "Cougar" on it. We joked that the college guys in front of us left it there on purposes. Sure enough, one of the guys passed us looking for a club and asked if we found the ball his buddy left for us.

Seriously? Erin chose to take it as a compliment, but I was mystified. Don't I look like I am in college? Don't you have to be OLD to be a cougar? And creepy?

A summer full of self-realization . . .

Monday, August 15, 2011


So I guess it's been a while . . .

I had basically given up on blog but found I really miss the creative outlet. Also, writing about working out seems to make me better about actually working out. And actually working out makes me happy and healthy.

What have I been up to for the last two months?

In July, I DNF'd at my very first half ironman. Started in the last wave of swimmer's and swam super slow (which I expected, because I am a super slow swimmer). Actually missed the cut off time for the swim, but did the bike. Then was so far behind the cut off time, didn't even start the run. I will do a half ironman someday, but I think I need to wait until I get a bit faster in the water and until I am at a better place in my life to devote more time to training. Live and learn.

We spent the first week of August relaxing on vacation at the lake. I got in a couple of fun runs and a long bike ride with my father-in-law.

Lots of stuff going on in the next few weeks - the Madison 1/2 Marathon this weekend, the Baxter Tri next weekend, some camping, a baby shower for my sister, a tri in White Bear Lake . . . and before I know, it will be Twin Cities Marathon weekend.

The long and the short of it is (1) I need to get my ass in gear and (2) hello consistency. Working out for three hours one day is great. Following it up by three days of lazing around on the couch eating ice cream? Not so great. Hence the revival of the blog.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Race Report - Freedom Fest Mini Triathlon

Saturday I participated in our a little triathlon in my own town. $10 to leave my house at 8:30 for a triathlon? Yes please. My mom came up to help out with Sophie, so I was excited to have some race fans.

The swim is at the local beach - a place I swore I would never swim in until last summer when I started doing triathlons. Go figure. I swam here a couple of weeks ago after work and it was cold. And then we had crappy weather and rain for about two weeks, so I was expecting the water to be freezing. And it was. Brr. You could swim out to the freeway and back for a 1/4 mile or out to the swimming raft and back for 1/8 mile. I told myself that I should do the longer swim for open water swim practice. And then I got in the water and the coldness sucked the will to live right out of me and all I could think about was getting out of that damn water as soon as possible. So I did the short swim.

Sophie helped with out with the first transition. And by help, I mean she was all excited to see me and cheering until she realized the race wasn't over and I was leaving again and started screaming bloody murder.

The bike is a 10 mile loop around some country roads. I told myself since I did the short swim I had to make up for it by really working hard on the bike. And I did. I pushed consistently the whole way and had a really great bike. Unfortunately, my bike computer had a minor malfunction and I don't know how wonderful it really was. But I passed everyone I saw in front of me (which actually wasn't that many people) and only had two people pass me. My mom told me I was the 3rd or 4th person off the bike, and the 2nd woman.

Sophie was there to help me at the second transition too. No screaming this time, thankfully. They changed the course this year, so instead of the bike ending back at the beach, we ended near our county fairgrounds basically on the side of the road. Bad course change. There was no real place to leave your bike - I leaned mine up against a tree, glad my mom was there to provide security. And there was a car show going on at the fairgrounds at the same time, so there was a ton of traffic on the road while we were getting off the bike. Scary.

The run was two one-mile loops around the fairgrounds. Or you could do one lap if you wanted. Don't worry, I went around twice! I could feel that I had pushed hard on the bike because I was tired on the run. But I kept pushing and really feel like I left it all out there.

No times (this is REALLY low key event and I didn't wear my garmin) but I finished in either just under or just over 1 hour. Lots and lots of fun. When I woke up Sunday morning I thought "what is wrong with my legs?" Oh, yeah, they're SORE! I wasn't expecting to be sore, but I guess that's a sign that I worked hard. A great workout on what was finally a nice summer day!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Race Report - Grandma's Marathon

Last Friday, Jim (my running partner), Sophie and I left Pine City around 11:30 to try to beat the marathon/weekend traffic into Duluth. I'm glad we left when we did, because traffic was already slow with construction. By shortly after 1:00 we were in Duluth. After a quick lunch, we hit the expo. The expo was a zoo. It seemed that they maybe had more booths this year but in the same amount of space . . . I found it difficult to really look around because there were just so many people. I did end up running into an old friend who my husband and I worked with back in 1998 when we were all working at a state park together. He was running his first marathon (and ended up running a 3:40!).

Sophie decorated a nice Run Mommy Run sign for me for Saturday . . .

After wrapping up at the expo (and a quick trip to the Duluth Running Co. store to use some coupons), we kept driving north to our hotel in Silver Bay. Silver Bay is about 25 miles north of the Two Harbors, where the race starts. While it made for a little more driving, it was nice to be out of the chaos of Duluth.

Friday night we relaxed - hung out in the pool, ordered dinner in, and waited for my mom and sister to show up.

After a kind of late night Friday (my mom and sister had a LONG drive from the cities), I was up at 4:45 and ready to go. The weather forecast was for cool weather and rain. Cool weather? Lovely. Rain? Please not too much. Although it poured on the folks running the half marathon (which started at 6:30), the rain had pretty much died off by the time the full started.

After a quick breakfast of an English Muffin with peanut butter and a banana in the hotel, we took a hotel shuttle to a grocery store parking lot in Two Harbors, and then a big yellow school bus to the start line. My stomach was grumbling a little, so as soon as we got to the starting area, I got in the ridiculously long lines for the porta potties. Lots of people were abandoning the line to get to the start, but I wasn't giving up. I wanted to go before the race started.

I made it through the line and into the porta potty, and to the starting line just before the race started. Of course, this meant starting at the very back of the pack. The clock was at about 8 minutes when I finally crossed the start line.

I didn't really have any time goals for this race. I wasn't sure how my body would handle two marathons in less than 30 days. And with the back issues I have been having, I hadn't run more than 4 miles since Fargo. All I knew was that I really wanted to beat my Fargo time (5:24) and I would be ecstatic if I made it under 5 hours.

The first few miles went by really quickly. I had some stomach pain but just kept telling myself to ignore it and it would go away. Around my 7-8, the stomach pain was at its worst. A girl came up behind me and started talking to me - she complimented me on my outfit, and then we started talking about all sorts of things. Turns out we graduated from the same college (me about 100 years before her, of course). This was just the distraction I needed. We ran together chatting until the mile 9 water stop.

At mile 11 I was feeling better stomach wise but still anxious about the miles left to go. I had been plugging along well - running and stopping to walk only for a little bit at the water stops. I stuck my headphones in and listened to music, which was a nice distraction. I love thinking "only two more songs to the next mile marker."

By this time we had caught up with and passed the 5:30 pacers and the 5:00 pacers. I wasn't sure if they had 4:45 pacers and was hoping we would maybe catch them. I was very conscious of not wanting those 5:00 pacers to catch me.

Around mile 19 we saw the sign welcoming us into Duluth. What a welcome sight! I felt a huge energy boost knowing we were coming into a more populated area and getting that much closer to the finish.

Miles 20 through 26.2 were awesome. That's right, I said awesome. I have never felt so strong at the end of a marathon before. I was still taking my short walk breaks at the water stops, but felt so strong running between them. There were more groups of spectators in this area, and music playing, and just the extra energy of knowing the finish line was close. I felt like a train. Not a train wreck, just a train, chugging towards the finish line. I took my headphones out around mile 22 so I could enjoy the crowds and the finish.

There was a clock at the mile 25 marker and, although I don't remember what it read now, when I saw it I knew I would finish under 5 hours. I was so happy! I couldn't wait to round the corner and look for my mom, sister, and Sophie. I kept running strong towards the finish, searching the spectators for my family. I crossed the line, with the clock time reading 4:58:ish. As soon as I crossed the line, I saw my mom just past the finish line. I actually started running again to run over to her - and ran right past the folks handing out medals. Dork! My mom told me to turn around and get my medal, and snapped a great picture of me getting my race bling.

I was so excited to have run such a strong race. It was perfect running weather (not so perfect for the 3 mile walk back to the car after the race, though - brr!). A great experience at Grandma's. Although I was very stiff Sunday and Monday, I am recovering well - went to Kettlebells Tuesday night, ran 3 miles yesterday, and had a good swim this morning. Tomorrow is my first triathlon of the year. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mini Race Report - Grandma's Marathon

On Saturday I finished my sixth marathon - Grandma's. Finished in 4:51:28. SO happy to see a "4" at the beginning of my time after my craptastic time at Fargo last month. I'll be back with a better report (and pictures) after I find my camera . . .

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Catch Up

Well it's been a couple of weeks. I seem to be stuck in some sort of time warp. I can't believe it is June and a week from Saturday is Grandma's and then it will be the 4th of July and then summer will be over. I hate how fast summer seems to go (especially because winter just drags and drags).

A nice (oxygen deprived) trail run in Colorado.

End of the year golf outing with my book club girls. The Book Club Invitational or the Nerd Fest, depending on who you talk to.

Sophie and I ran races in Grantsburg last weekend - I ran the 5K, Sophie ran the kid's race.

FINALLY got the garden in.

I am off to golf league. Happy training!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Marathon Recovery & Weekend Getaway

I have recovered very well frm Fargo on Saturday and have managed a half decent week of bike and swim training. Monday I rode 16 miles (in the wind). Tuesday I swam 1300 yards. Wednesday I rode 14 miles (in the wind). And this morning I swam 1000 yards. My legs feel great and ready to start running again. My back is still a little twitchy but getting much better. Mentally, I feel recovered and super motivated to train hard over the next few weeks leading up to Grandma's and then the half ironman in July.

This weekend, I'll be getting some altitude training in! Sophie, my mom and I are headed to Denver to visit my brother. He moved out there in January and has really got into mountain biking. I have my bike shoes packed and he has a ride planned for us. He also has a trail he wants to take me running on. Sophie is very excited for her first plan ride and to her beloved Uncle Nik and I am looking forward to a fun weekend away. Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Race Report - Fargo Marathon

It took a lot of work for me to squat down for this picture right after finishing the marathon! :)

Friday morning I had a quick court hearing and then picked up Sophie and my running partner Jim and we headed to Fargo. My back was still quite sore - no more pinching or pulling, but a steady pain. Driving seemed to aggravate it, so Jim took over and I chilled in the back seat with Sophie.

Four and a half hours later we arrived in Fargo and met up with Jim's wife (who was in Fargo for work) at our hotel. We hit the expo right away, and were able to park close to the Fargo Dome and did not hit any terrible traffic. This was obviously the perfect timing, because as we were leaving we drove past lines and lines of cars trying to get in for packet pick up (and the Friday evening race events). We picked up Olive Garden to go and went back to the hotel. After a relaxing evening stuffing our faces with pasta and playing at the hotel pool with Sophie, we had the lights out and were in bed at 9:30.

The alarm went off at 5:45 and Sophie was wide awake asking to go to breakfast. Sidenote: Sophie loves staying in hotels. She thinks she is a big shot. She especially loves continental breakfasts. Anyhow, I had everything laid out so I was dressed and ready for the race quickly. Back? Sore. I was worried about the race. When we went downstairs for breakfast, I could see outside that it was windy and raining. Beautiful.

We caught a shuttle from the mall to the Fargo Dome and had plenty of time to get to the start line. At the start the rain had stopped but it was humid. This is probably a good time to note that at my last laser zapping session the chiropractor gave me some Biofreeze and told me to use it during the race. Right before heading to the start line, I rolled the Biofreeze all over my lower back and right hip. I put it in my check bag. And then decided to carry it during the race. I held onto that little roll on tube of Biofreeze like it was my baby all 26.2 miles.

So the race . . . have you seen those shirts about race strategy, starting slow and then slow down? Yep, that was pretty much me. Whenever I tried to push the pace, I could feel my lower back tightening. And I really wanted to finish. So I just ran slowly. And walked the water stops. I kept this up and felt strong (but slow) for most of the race. About mile 16 -17ish I felt like I was struggling more, but still was able to run between the water stops. By mile 21.5, the wheels pretty much fell off and I walked more between water stops. But I kept going.

Random notes from the run: My stomach was weird the whole race. I only ended up taking to Gu's - one at mile 7 and one at mile 15. By mile 19 I couldn't take the taste of Powerade any more and only drank water. I used my Biofreeze four times during the race - so thankful I rescued it from the check bag and carried it. Although it didn't completely mask the back pain, it made it more tolerable. Around mile 19, I ducked into a porta potty to pee (and to really pour on the Biofreeze). I realized too late that there was no toilet paper. I guess pee running down my leg isn't THAT disgusting. It was humid - and I think the first time I've run in any humidity since oh, September? I was a salty mess.

When it felt like I could run no more, I ran a couple of more miles and was finally at the finish. Sophie was there was Jim's wife and I stopped to give her a hug and a kiss before crossing the line. My clock time was 5:26:something. I didn't wear a Garmin (it drives me crazy in rain/humidity with its crazy screen switching). My slowest marathon yet. But I was so happy that I finished.

After grabbing a quick bite to eat, Sophie and I were on the road back home. Four and half hours in the car without a shower? I swear almost harder than the marathon. By the time I got home, I was a shivering, achy mess. I took a shower, some Advil, and went to bed. Today I engaged in some "active" recovery cleaning the house - all the chores I avoided last week to try to heal my back. I am still quite sore but planning a swim and bike for tomorrow.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Beam Me Up

I mentioned in my last post that I wrenched my back Sunday while working in the garden. Just what you want to happen the week before a marathon, right? So Monday I went to my chiropractor. When I told her what was going on her first question was, "And when is your next big run?" This woman knows me well. And to my answer - Saturday - her reply was, "Well I guess I better wave my magic wand."

Beside her usual adjustments, she recommended that I get zapped with the laser. Of course she used medical terminology, but basically, it was laser zapping. So yesterday I went in a got zapped with the laser. Between the adjustment and the zapping, I am feeling substantially better. I have another zapping appointment scheduled for tomorrow morning.

I am so thankful that her response was to figure out how to get me to the starting line without pain, as opposed to rolling her eyes, calling me crazy, and suggesting that I shouldn't run. Of course my mom and my husband? They are more on the calling me crazy, suggesting that I don't run bandwagon. Party poopers.

Right now I am cautiously optimistic. I swam this morning and it felt really good. I will try to run a couple of miles tomorrow and, provided I don't feel any tightening while running, will run Fargo on Saturday. I'm NOT crazy - if I feel like running is causing tightening and the potential to wrench everything out of whack again, I will not run. I have Grandma's coming up, and of course the half ironman in July so the most important thing is to be able to get through this little hiccup without too much more time off. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Weekend Fun

My hubby and I celebrated our fourth anniversary on Thursday. We have been wanting to take Sophie to a waterpark all winter and it never worked with our schedules, so finally Thursday we headed to Duluth for one night at the waterpark there.

We had lots of fun. AND being in Duluth got me super excited for Grandma's - only a month away! Of course, one little race between now and then - Fargo is less than a week away. Yikes! I have felt really low key about Fargo. I feel like it is more of a training run for a couple of reasons. I've never ran two marathons close together like I will be doing with Fargo and Grandmas and my goal is really just to finish both and have fun.

If I hadn't alreay been feeling low key about Fargo, coming down with a massive cold this weekend and hurting my back today while working in the garden would have brought me right down. Thankfully the cold is already improving and my back injuries are usually pretty responsive to the chiropractor, so I'll be on the phone scheduling an appointment right away tomorrow. My back problems got me my big DNF last spring at Madison and it is NOT going to happen again.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The (Near) Perfect Week

My fellow How I Met Your Mother fans might be thinking The Perfect Week is about a whole lotta loving . . . but I'm talking about a different kind of perfect week. This is a running (slash triathlon) blog.

My workouts last week really did make it a near perfect week - the perfect balance between running, biking, and swimming. Behold:

Monday: Ran 3 miles (at lunch), 30 min. yoga (at night)
Tuesday: swam 1000 yds. (am), ran 3 miles (at lunch), biked 13 miles (after work)
Wednesday: ran 3 miles (at lunch), biked 16 miles (after work), 30 min. pilates (at night)
Thursday: swam 1500 yds. (am), ran 3 miles (after work)
Friday: rest day
Saturday: 15 mile canoe race (in my kayak)
Sunday: 13 mile bike

To make it a truly perfect week, the canoe race would have been replaced by a long run. And the Sunday bike ride would have been longer. But you get the picture. Overall a great start to the month of May.

Monday, May 2, 2011

October Recap

Oh wait, yesterday was May 1st. Well it sure as hell felt like November 1st. Maybe it was the wind, maybe the snowflakes, or maybe the 28 degree temps, I'm just not sure . . .

I didn't end up running the half marathon in Minnetonka. As the week went on (and the gas prices kept going up), I actually made a financial based decision. This doesn't happen to me very often - usually I do what I want to do (or buy what I want to buy) and suffer guilt (and my husband's wrath) later. But I decided it wasn't a good financial decision to drive 90 some miles to a race with gas prices being so high. And I've got a big traveling month ahead - driving to Fargo for the marathon in a few weeks and then flying to Colorado for Memorial Day weekend to hang out with my brother.

So I skipped the race and decided to run my 20 miler by home instead. And then, when I started running and the wind was blasting me from every direction, I said screw it. While I need a 20 mile run, I also need to stay in love with running. And running for four hours into the (freezing cold) wind three weeks before a marathon is not the recipe for warm fuzzy runner feelings. But I ran 5 miles. And we took Sophie to see the movie Hop. And I went to bed at 8:00.

Hopefully November will be better. Oh wait, I mean May. Stupid stupid stupid weather.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

On My Mind

  • There is a half marathon on Sunday - the Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon - that I think I want to run. I would need to tack on an extra 7 miles to get 20 in (you know, marathon training and all). Should I?

  • It's snowing. I hate snow. Snow + having to look at my ex-boss in court this afternoon = me wanting to punch somebody in the face. I should consider anger management classes.

  • Starburst jelly beans are freaking delicious. I thought their season was over, but when I stopped by the grocery store to pick up (healthy) food for lunch, they were on the special sale table. Now they are in my belly. I eat them in order by color - yellow, green, pink, orange, red, then purple.

  • I picked up my bike from the bike shop last night. I am so excited to ride. Once it stops snowing. And once the wind stops blowing. So, like, you know, maybe in July???

  • I have had a productive day so far. I should really stop making this completely meaningless list and get back to work.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Track Baby

Not to be confused with crack baby.

The snow finally melted off the track. To avoid having to run with the high school kids after work, I decided a lunch time track workout was in order. My plan was to do an easy warm up and then a ladder -- 400, 800, 1200, 800, 400. Easy peasy.

Except. Running slowly through snow and ice for 8 months (yes, 8 months, that's how long winter was) does not prepare you for running quickly at the track. During the first 400 I thought my lung might just explode out of my chest. New plan: let's do four 400's and call it good. Apparently I need to warm up to track season.

So I'm back from my lunch time quicky. Debating about whether to just stay in my running clothes for the rest of the day. I don't have any appointments scheduled for the afternoon and I'm planning on running again after work anyways . . . disgusting I know, but much more comfortable than changing back into a suit.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Big Girl Pants

Somebody better get me some big girl undies, because I am going all grown up on the bike this year. I took my bike in on Friday for a tune up and decided to change over to clip in pedals. Gulp. For anyone keeping track of my list of things I said I would never do but am now doing, let's add physically restrain my feet from moving off a bike pedal to the list.

At the bike shop, they had my bike on the trainer because they were also doing a whole fitting thing. So I got to practice clipping in and out a couple of times. And then they told me to take it out on the road. So I did. And I didn't fall. Or die. And even though I was being super cautious and biking slowly (not just because of the new pedal situation but also because it was gale-force winds and I was wearing dress clothes) I could tell that I am going to love the extra oomph I get from having my feet stuck to my pedals.

Besides the pedal/shoe change, I also got a new seat. This was after a conversation that went like this. Me: "So, my seat is pretty uncomfortable. I feel a lot of pressure in my girl parts." Bike Man: "Yes, see how your seat is at the highest point in the middle? This is the worst bike seat ever made." Ah, that clears things up. They also adjusted the fit (except they used fancier words that I don't remember).

My bike is still at the bike shop getting all the little tune ups done, but I am super excited to pick it up and get out on the road. I figure with all the changes it will be like having a brand new bike. Now if only the weather would actually improve . . .

Monday, April 18, 2011

Just Call Me Well Rested

Last Tuesday, after Good Heather prevailed and I got my swim on, I also ran 3 miles at lunch and then went to kettlebells class at night. And then Wednesday I proceeded to get my puke on. For FIVE days. Yep, five days of the stomach flu. Which was super fun. So no Earth Day 1/2 Marathon for me. I was supposed to leave at 6:30 Saturday morning to head over to St. Cloud. Instead, I puked at 6:30.

After sleeping basically all day yesterday, I am finally feeling better. Although dragging myself to court in three different counties wore me out today. But tomorrow? It's Tuesday again, so Good Heather will be back at the pool dark and early.

Congrats to all the Boston runners - you all are amazing and inspire me!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Stood Up

This morning my swimming friend failed to show up at dark o'thirty at our designated meeting spot in the McDonald's parking lot. And so began the battle of the Heathers. Bad Heather said, "Go home. If you drive fast, you can have your contacts out, your pj's on and be back in bed for another hour and a half." Good Heather said, "Dude. You just signed up a for a half ironman. Get your ass to the pool."

This really was a battle because I hate to swim alone. You would think the only indoor pool in at least a 30 mile radius would be a hot spot, and I wouldn't need to worry about being all by my lonesome. But unfortunately I live in an area where the primary forms of entertainment are drinking beer, smoking cigarettes, and shopping at Walmart. So often I (and my swimming friend, when she is not being lazy) are the only two hardcore souls at the pool. And while I am a little bit afraid of drowning, I am a lot afraid of a serial killer sneaking in the pool and murdering me while I'm gasping for breath at the end of a lap. Yes, I know, therapy may be beneficial. That's beside the point.

So after about ten minutes of Good Heather and Bad Heather yapping at each other in the McDonald's parking lot, Good Heather won and I drove to the pool. And I didn't drown. Or get murdered by a serial killer. But I was there completely by myself. Of course, now Bad Heather thinks she needs a little victory. So I'll probably take a nap under my desk later. Or eat a Reese's peanut butter cup.

Friday, April 8, 2011


After months of wavering, I finally hit the registration button. I am now officially registered for the Chisago Lakes Half Ironman. Deep, calming breaths. I can handle this. I am ready to focus on the training. But for now, it's time to get to sleep. I have a long run to do tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


So what could be fascinating enough to drag me out of my month-plus long silence? How about the fact that I wore shorts on my run this evening? Yes, I may have caused a few (minor) traffic accidents with the glare from my super bright white legs. But who cares? It was sunny! And warm! And I was wearing shorts!

The last month or so I have been constantly reminded of how important running (and my other favorite forms of exercise) are to my mental health. I can be having the worst, most brain-draining day, and getting out in the fresh air for a run or sweating my booty off on a hard trainer ride can completely turn my attitude around. I have been very busy with work and my caseload is higher than it has ever been. While I feel extremely blessed to be so busy with my new office and in this craptastic economy, the higher caseload (of mostly not so nice divorce and custody cases) has taken it's toll on me. Running (and swimming, biking, and kettlebells) is what keeps me sane.

Anyhow . . . other than work and working out I have squeezed in some fun over the last month . . .

Took Sophie (and my 8 year old niece) bowling.

Ran the Human Race 8K in St. Paul with my sister and running partner - and Sophie ran the kid's race.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that the weather stays warm and sunny. I am hoping to get my bike off the trainer and outside for the first time this year tomorrow after work. Happy spring!

Monday, February 28, 2011

12 Hours

For the last two weeks I have been in a winter-induced fog o' gloom. And I am sick of it. So I've put a time limit on it - 12 more hours. When the clock strikes 12:01 a.m. on March 1, 2011, I am going to turn my frown upside down and get all Pollyanna on winter's ass. So there.

My running has been a victim of the gloom (and the craptastic weather, and my 3 year old getting sick). But instead of focusing on all the things that completely sucked about February, let's practice Pollyannaing (not a word? oh well) and look at the good:

I biked 56 miles on the trainer (up from a big fat 0 in November, December, and January).

I swam 3 miles in the pool (up from 1.5 in January).

I worked out practically every day (only took 4 rest days, significant improvement over December and January).

Also, let's not forget the Packer's winning the Super Bowl.

See, there were some good things that happened this month. Sort of (just a little bit) takes the sting out of the measly 25 miles I ran.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Single Layer Slushfest

Just when you all thought you couldn't take one more second of my bitching about the cold weather . . . my complaining is on hiatus. I won't call it gone for good because who knows when the cold could return. But for today, I am happy to say that it was a balmy 36 degrees when I went for my after work run. So I *gasp* did not wear my Under Armour tights under my Nike winter pants. And I *double gasp* did not wear my base layer turtle neck under my zip up top. And, wait for it, I didn't wear a hat.

I felt sort of exposed. And my Nike pants scratching against my leg hairs (What? Don't tell me I'm the only one who doesn't shave every day in the winter) felt a bit odd. Wonderful odd.

We ran my favorite 4.5 mile route from my office - out to the golf course, around a little loop, and back. It is pavement (which was clear!) all the way to the golf course, and then dirt. The dirt was a melty, mucky mess. My running partner's son ran with us and he runs in Vibram Five Fingers (sidenote: I almost just typed Four Fingers. You know, for all the four-toed folks.). Of course because he is young, he runs like a speedy little gazelle. So it was like following in the footsteps of a Yeti through the slushy snow.

Yeti, leg hair . . . yep, this post got a little weird. Sorry. Time to get to bed (so I can get up early and swim!).

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Marriage 101

Here's some free advice for you: communication is important in relationships (including marriage). Behold an exchange from my house ("E" is my husband, "H" is yours truly):

E: Are you going to bowl in the tournament Sunday?
H: Well what time is at? I need to do my long run sometime.
E: Long run? What are your talking about.
H: You know, running, for a long time. For training.
E: What the hell marathon are you training for now.
H; Fargo . . . and Grandma's.
E: Thanks for sharing.
H: Don't you read my blog???

Move over Dr. Phil, I've got this ALL figured out.

Friday, February 11, 2011

I Win, You Win, We All Win

Okay, not we all. One of you. And me. First, congrats to Rose. You are the winner of my CafePress giveaway. E-mail mee at hmwynn at gmail dot com to claim your valuable prize. And thanks again to CafePress for sponsoring the giveaway!

Now, onto me. I was lucky enough to win B.o.B's Arctic Ease giveaway. I am so excited about this because, as you may have heard me mention once or twice, I live in the freaking Arctic. So I am assuming that a product called "Arctic Ease" will help ease the pain of nearly freezing to death for three months and counting. I have already been checking my mailbox 20 times a day for my little gift to arrive.

It's supposed to get all steamy (like up to the 30's) this weekend, so I may be able to live without my Arctic Ease for a few more days. I haven't run since last Friday (good marathon training, right?), so I am eager to hit the (snow covered) road. Have a great weekend.

Monday, February 7, 2011

2011 Firsts

The last week or so has been full of "firsts" for the year. Last Saturday Sophie and I both ran our first race of the year at the Chisago Lakes 5K (and kid's race for Sophie, of course).

And then Monday I ran my first speed workout of the year. Or tried. It was snow/sleeting - let's just call it sneeting - and freaking cold. At one point I screamed "this makes me want to murder someone!" Public service announcement: do not cross me during winter hard workouts. Apparently I get violent.

Friday I ran my first double digit run of the year - a 10 miler as my first long run for Fargo training. Although the run was much better than Monday's speed work, it was still cold and windy. The side of my face exposed to the wind for four straight miles was completely numb. I had trouble forming words.

Friday night and Saturday I warmed up with a fun girls' weekend away - so much fun! I did fit in some exercise (laps in a hotel pool counts, right?). Tonight was supposed to be speed work again but, wait for it, it was freaking cold and windy. So I opted for 45 minutes on the bike trainer and 20 minutes of pilates. Which is sort of like 800 repeats. Or not.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Cafe Press Review and Giveaway

A while back I was contacted by CafePress to see if I would like to try something from their site (and of course offer something to my readers). I was so excited because I have been wanting a SIGG water bottle FOREVER and of course would want a free one.

For those of your who aren't familiar,
"CafePress is the online destination for custom water bottles, personalized hoodies, and funny t-shirts!"

When I started my water bottle search, I got a little distracted by all the great t-shirts. But I settled on a white SIGG bottle with swim, bike run on it. I love it. I've been using it for kettlebells classes and in the water bottle holder of my bike on my trainer rides.

Now YOU can have a chance to select a gift from CafePress. Just leave a comment. I'll draw a winner on Tuesday. Thanks to Chris from CafePress for being so great to work with, and for the water bottle!

(Even though I received the SIGG water bottle for free, my opinions are all my own.)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snatch Queen

For those of you who aren't indoctrinated into the wonderful world of kettlebells, the snatch is an integral kettlebell move during which you basically fling the bell up above your head and then back down again. Don't try this at home, without supervision anyway.

So last night at kettlebells class I was doing my thing, snatching away, and the instructor said "If you have any problems, just look how Heather is doing it - perfect."

So there you have it. I am the queen. Of snatch. They really should figure out a better name for some of these damn exercises.

In other news, I registered for Twin Cities today. So yep, I'm going for three marathons in 2011 - Fargo, Grandma's and Twin Cities. At my monthly visit to the chiropractor today I told her of my grand plans for the spring, summer, and fall. Her response: Do you have some sort of mental problem? Excellent question.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Dear Marathon Training

I'm about to make you my bitch. Hope you're ready.

Love, Heather

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Three Questions

One of the things I love about the running/triathlon blog community is all the great advice right at my fingertips. So I've decided to take advantage of all my expert readers and pick your brains . . . hope you don't mind!

Question #1: Seeing as how I am now the last person in the world to finally get an iPhone, what are your favorite running/triathlon/nutrition apps? I'm a teensy bit addicted to the new phone and would love to hear what might be more productive than my suduko game.

Question #2: This one's for the triathletes - How do I bit the bullet and sign up for a half ironman? I really want to. I know I can do the bike and the run. The swim scares the crap out of me. I swam 1+ miles several times last summer, but I am seriously slow in the water. Can I do it?

Question #3: How many days of winter are left? Okay, maybe I already know the answer to that questions. But seriously. Perhaps if I keep whining and complaining winter will get over with faster . . .

Thanks for your input!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Excuse me while I crawl out from the hole I have been hiding out in for the last week . . . It has been ridiculously cold here. One of those weeks that makes me remember why I hate winter in Minnesota. I ran last Sunday (when it was a balmy 5 degrees) and then watched the temps steadily drop all week. Finally I thought today would be warmer (with a predicted high of 10) and planned to run this morning. And woke up to -22 degree temps. Lovely. The only thing that has kept me from rocking back and forth on the floor and crying is swimming and kettlebells. But I need a run. Hopefully tomorrow after work.

Of course, watching the Packers take the NFC Championship and having the Super Bowl to look forward to helps relieve some of the pain!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Still Here

Wow, I am a terrible blogger. 2011 is starting off to be a crazy busy year. So here's a little catch-up, bullet style:
  • I am gradually ramping up my miles and getting back into my "regular" workout routine.
  • The office is ridiculously busy. Thank goodness. Should be able to feed the kidlet this month.
  • My little brother is moving to Colorado. Anyone have any race suggestions for near Denver? May need to plan a well-timed trip to visit him in his new home . . .
  • I registered for Grandma's Marathon yesterday. So Fargo on May 21st and Grandma's on June 18th - guess I better get running!

I am looking forward to catching up with your blogs. Oh, and come back tomorrow (or Friday), because I'm having a little giveaway. :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 Goals

Happy New Year! I had a great New Years' Eve ushering in the new year with some fun friends, and then spent a relaxing first day of the new year with my family. Today I managed to get the Christmas decorations down and the house all put back together, so I feel like I am starting the year with a clean house, and clean slate.

Running goals for 2011:
1) Run a sub-4:30 marathon. My PR is 4:31:ish, so this should be doable.
2) Run a sub-2:00 half-marathon. My PR is 2:02:08, so again, doable.
3) Run at least 75 miles every month. I thought about setting this at 100, but my miles have been low the last few months and I didn't want to set myself up for failure right away.

Triathlon goals for 2011:
1) Do at least three triathlons this summer (hopefully at least one Olympic distance).
2) Swim twice per week starting this week!

That about covers it.

I have been ramping up my training, trying to get a good base for the start of Fargo training at the end of the month. This week:

Monday: Pilates
Tuesday: 1 hour kettlebells class
Wednesday: 4.5 mile run (hills)
Thursday: 3 mile run (easy)
Friday: rest
Saturday: 3 miles (1st run of 2011!)
Sunday: 3 miles

I had planned on running at least 6 miles today, but it was below zero out and my face was just frozen. Gotta love January in Minnesota.