Monday, April 27, 2015

Snow & a Tri in the same week, it must be the end of April!

Marathon Training Week 12 Recap

I'm not going to lie, coming up with exciting recaps for each week of marathon training is not easy. I mean, I started doing this blog as a way to archive the road to my first marathon for myself. I didn't actually expect anyone to read it. But if you have stuck with me this far, I feel I owe it to you to at least try to keep it here goes!

Monday I had ZERO motivation to do ANYTHING! Last weekend was exhausting, and Logan has been sick and therefore not sleeping particularly well. As much as I try to use the "I'm training for a marathon" excuse to make Bill get up with him (I need my sleep don't you know), he doesn't fall for it. So we take turns, and Logan sometimes insists that he wants "only Mommy" or "only Daddy" to help him get to sleep, which means that more often than not, he ends up in our bed since we just don't have the energy to figure it out. Well, Sunday night was brutal. He was up three times, each time for over a half an hour, and then finally at about 3 am, Bill just brought him into our bed, where he decided to sleep between us, perpendicular to our bodies. Bill got the short end of that stick, considering Logan's feet were in his back the rest of the night, I just had to deal with his snotty head poking me between the shoulder blades. Either way, I was a zombie all day. I made it to yoga class, which should have been great, a nice relaxing hour to myself, time to shut off my brain and just stretch and focus on my breathing...but all I kept thinking was, "I wonder if anyone will notice if I just take a nap here on my mat?" I managed it though, barely staying awake through Shivasana!

I woke up Tuesday morning and it was January. Okay, it was still April, but for crying out loud it was snowing! It would be my luck that the year I decide to train for an early summer marathon that winter decides to last until the end of April! I'm not a stranger to running in the snow, but it was actually blowing sideways today, so I did my "Threeasy" on the TM. This turned out to be fine since I also wanted to try out the new cadence with the metronome my PT recommended. She said it might be easier to do on the treadmill. I did 2 minute intervals at 172 steps per minute (5 minutes at my regular 165 steps per minute rate). This forced me to run on my forefoot, which takes a lot of pressure off my hamstrings and my knee. It doesn't feel bad, just a little strange. I can see incorporating this cadence into longer runs as a recovery when my thighs are aching, but not sure that I am going to recondition myself to run like this all the time.

Wednesday I planned for 7 miles on West River Parkway again. A little different from my fabulously sunny mid-week run last week, I needed tights and a jacket today. I got a little dehydrated during this mileage last week, so I decided to wear my hydration belt this time. I went out easy, trying to stay just under 10 minute miles. At the half way point I took a potty break and had some energy gel. I was feeling really strong and managed negative splits on the way back.  Thursday I was up early to do my four-miler from home since I had to work at Logan's preschool that day, and had a full afternoon of work meetings. I don't mind running in the morning, but at 6 am it was 28-degrees! If it's possible, I was cold AND sweating the whole time. Sweat was turning to ice in my elbow-pits, and freezing in trickles down my face. I had to take an emergency potty break at mile 2 since I didn't get up early enough to get my system in order (sorry for the TMI). All in all, not my finest hour...but it was done. I got home and took a blissfully long, hot shower and finally got feeling back in my fingers just in time to dish out applesauce to 15 hungry four year-olds. 

Finally it was Friday. Of course on the day that I have a swim scheduled the weather decides it is going to embrace spring. This has been the weather's MO ever since I started training back in February. It never's freezing all week while I have to run, then as soon as I put "swim day" on my calendar the heavens open up and beam sunshine and rainbows all over everything! Oh well, I didn't really care, I planned a short and sweet workout since I had a busy weekend planned. 500 yard warm up, 5 X 100 kick/pull/kick, 5 X 100 on 1:45, 50 cool down at the Y during Kayley's swim practice. She tried to race me a couple times since I had to use the lane right next to her group. Not sure when that girl is going to learn that her mom takes no prisoners when it comes to competition. I smoked her on every lap ;)

Saturday I was up early again for a solo long run. 15 miles on the plan. I mapped out a 7.5 mile loop that I figured I'd do twice, thinking it would be nice to make a quick stop at home at the half way point to refill water and get some fuel (and take a potty break). I felt awesome for the first half, really strong, and happy with my pace. I made it home to find Kayley up, but everyone else asleep. She greeted me with a big smile and asked if I would make her breakfast, I told her "sorry, sweetie, I'm only half way done". I poured her a quick bowl of cereal, hit the toilet, filled my water bottle, crammed down a half a PBJ and headed back out. (Side note, I discovered that a PB & J is like wonder fuel! I only wish they were easier to carry on a run!) I started down our road to begin the second loop, but decided instead of going the same way, I'd do the loop around Turtle Lake for a change of scenery. I wasn't sure exactly how far it was, only that it was at least 7 miles. I felt great starting out, thanks to my little break, and held negative splits for the next four miles. I took an energy gel and a short walk break a little after mile 11. I had just started thinking, "wow, I feel really awesome" when a I hit a big giant wall. Not really sure what prompted it, but miles 12-13 were a struggle. I walked a bit, ran a bit, and kept making deals with myself..."okay, run to that street sign, then you can walk across the street".  Finally, I could see the stoplight that marks one mile from home and I had a bit of a surge, knowing I was so close to my Personal Distance Record. I put my head down and plowed forward. I didn't break any land speed records, but I finished it. The loop around Turtle Lake is exactly 7.5 miles...making my goal mileage perfectly! I was tired and sore, but I also felt for the first time like running 26.2 miles is really a possibility. I walked in the door to find Bill and the kids busy making breakfast...pancakes, eggs, bacon, and fresh strawberries! I hoovered down more than my fair share, but they all gave me a pass. Afterwards, I asked the kids for a half hour of quiet time to soak in an Epsom salt bath....which I sort of got. About 10 minutes into the bath Kayley wanted to come in and read some Harry Potter to with tired eyes and sore muscles, I lounged in the tub hearing about the latest tales of the Tri Wizard Tournament!

Normally Sunday is rest day, but thanks to my "race-enabler" BRF Brandi, I was signed up to do the Lifetime Indoor Triathlon today. I was awoken at 5:30 am by the sound of our dog Sully, throwing up in the living room. Great. I had a whole half hour more of sleep due me, but there I was cleaning dog barf out of the carpet! Since he and I were up, we went out on a short walk, where I realized how stiff my right ankle and knee were. My quads and hamstrings actually felt okay, a little sore, but not unmanageable. I took some ibuprofen and wolfed down a peanut butter toast and banana and was ready to go. I got to Lifetime with a half an hour to spare and met up with Brandi, Molly and Melissa to knock this bad boy out. We "warmed up" in the hot tub, sharing our strategy for the race (finish in one piece and get to brunch!) The swim felt great, and really got me loosened up. I took it out hard and after about 300 yards I thought I was going to have to stop and take a breather, but I reminded myself that I was doing this for fun, so I backed off my pace a bit and finished strong. We had 10 minutes to transition to the bike studio. I decided to swim in my sports bra so as to avoid having to put it on over my wet body (the last time I did an indoor tri I didn't do this and it took me almost the entire transition time to wriggle my way into that thing!) This proved to be a good move as I got to the biking area with only 90 seconds to spare. I took the bike pretty easy, which felt good. I hardly put any resistance on it...I might have been able to eek out another mile or so if I had, but I really wanted to have something left for the run, as I still wasn't sure how my legs were going to feel with the lingering remnants of my 15-miler on them. We transitioned up to the treadmills and I decided to start slow, 5.7 mph. To my surprise, that pace felt way to easy, so I ramped it up a bit and held 6.3 mph for about the next 15 minutes. At that point, I figured I only had 3 minutes left, so it put it up to 7.0 mph and it felt good! I don't know if it was adrenaline, ibuprofen, or just my own super-competitive nature, but I started to think "hey, maybe I could WIN this thing". When the race coordinator called out "one minute left" I pushed that little "+" button until I was running 7.5 miles per hour, which for me, is like lightening! I knew I could manage that for a minute and finished feeling really accomplished. Overall it was awesome...and really encouraging to my psyche that I could feel so good the day after a long run. While the official results haven't been posted yet, I honestly don't really care if I "won" or not, this was a victory no matter how I slice it. Here are my official stats from the race:

10 minute swim: 600 yards
30 minute bike: 8.5 miles
20 minute run: 2.25 miles

After taking advantage of the amazing "Eucalyptus Steam" in the Lifetime locker room, Brandi, Molly and I met our friend Renee for brunch at the Mason Jar, a cute little restaurant run by the owners of Cupcake. While our server was a little surly, the food was awesome. I had "Breakfast Hot Dish" which was basically all my favorite breakfast things mixed together and topped with Hollandaise sauce.  We parted ways with talk of naps and relaxing, but the day turned out to be too beautiful to spend inside. The sun was out, it had really warmed up and I got to hang with two of the coolest kids on the planet at the park that afternoon. What an incredible end to an encouraging Week 12!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Running my mouth

Marathon Training Week 11 Recap

For most runners, talking about running with other runners is almost just as satisfying as actually going for a run with other runners. This week I got to do a lot of both. 

A month or so ago, I joined a local Moms Run This Town group. If you aren't familiar MRTT, is a national organization that sponsors free women's running groups to help promote the sport and connect women with other runners in their area. The group I joined is out of Maple Grove, which isn't far away, but also not super convenient. Then I noticed a few weeks ago that there was a "North Metro" chapter as well, so I asked to join their Facebook page, but never received an answer. Thankfully the leader of the Maple Grove group is pretty well connected and found out the group was leaderless, but was able to get me in to the page. Anyway, long story short, I ended up becoming the unofficial leader of the North Metro group ("officialness" is pending approval of the national office). There are about 6-7 women in that group who were still active, and excited to have renewed interest in getting together for group runs. We gathered Monday evening at Bunker Hills park in Coon Rapids for our first run together. It was short, only 3 miles, but the trails there are hilly and provided a good challenge. It was nice to get to talk to everyone and hear about their running goals. We were quite a diverse group in terms of the pace and mileage we want to run, but having running and parenting in common made us fast friends. I am looking forward to really growing this group and getting together for a lot more miles in the future.

Me and the rest of the North Metro MRTT!
Tuesday I was back on the spin bike for 10 miles with Kimmy Schmidt. I only have two episodes to go, I don't want it to end! I'm going to need to find another binge-worthy show for my biking if this weather keeps up! I finished up with my PT exercises and some core work. I can actually see a bit of a difference in my stomach since I've been incorporating core each week....I don't think it's ever going to be "bikini ready", but it's nice to see a little definition going on!

Wednesday was glorious! Sunny, mid 60's and blissfully free from work meetings! I had 7 on the plan and decided an out and back along West River Parkway would do nicely. There were a ton of people out on the trails; bikers, runners, walkers, roller bladers, even a guy on a unicycle! I wore shorts and short sleeves, but even then, I was sweating up a storm by my turn around point. I could have used my hydration belt today! I stopped for a potty break at mile 4 and my knee felt a little tweaky as I started back up, but it quickly calmed down and I was back into a nice rhythm. Kept all my miles under 10 minutes and felt really strong the whole way. It was awesome to see campus starting to bloom to life, and I even got buzzed by two eagles on the way back! Wednesday night I got to talk running some more with my friend Carole, an awesome triathlete and the coach of Kayley's new swim team! The fact that I can gab with Carole about running AND swimming is dangerous...I have to remember that she is there to coach the kids and not have me talk her ear off about my training!

Thursday I was back at my Physical Therapist's office for a gait analysis. I was supposed to run 4 today, but I since I knew I was going to be doing a little running for the PT, I decided to skip it. Catherine had me run at an easy pace for about 10 minutes, every once in awhile video taping me from different angles. We then watched the videos back, and she pointed out how my weak glutes affect my stride. I drop my knees together when I strike, and my right foot whips out a bit instead of going straight back. She also mentioned that I am striking mid-foot, which puts a lot more pressure on my knees. She calculated my cadence to be 165 steps per minute. While this is pretty normal for a non-elite runner, she had me try to speed it up to 172. This felt strange, but not bad. So for the next two weeks I am to do some intervals during my runs where I put on a metronome set to 172 steps per minute and see how I feel. She gave me a few new strengthening exercises for my glutes and quads and sent me on my way.

Friday was swim day. I waited to do my laps until the evening so I could get in while Kayley had swim practice. It was a short one since the pool was crowded. Did  1700 yards, 600 Warm Up, 2 sets of 5 X 100, set one on 1:45, set two on 1:40, then 100 cool down. After, Logan and I played around in the shallow pool waiting for Kayley, who was excited to come over and show me the new flip turn she learned at practice.  I am so glad my kids love to swim...I was sure that karma was going to bite me and make my children terrified of water. Thankfully, they are both fish...I guess we are destined to a life of green hair and smelling like chlorine!

Saturday, I met up with some women from the Maple Grove chapter of Moms Run This Town for 12 miles at Elm Creek Park Reserve. It was a perfect morning. Upper 40's and sunny. Started out with arm warmers on, but shed them after about 2 miles. We held about 10 minute miles and made easy conversation. The trails have some rolling hills that were definitely challenging for me, but the pull of the group made them seem a little easier. It really is amazing how quickly the first 9 miles flew by. Talking about families, husbands, running, and what ever else those topics lead to is really the best way to take your mind off the fact that your body is working so hard. We had looped back around to the parking area and the group broke up since some of the ladies were only doing nine. I had 10 miles on my training plan, but one of the other women wanted to do 12, so I tagged along for her final 3. We ran a bit slower, but it felt good. Overall pace was faster than last weekend's race strength continues to build!

All in all, not a super exciting week, but all my runs felt strong, and I loved connecting with so many women who share my passion. I am continually inspired and motivated by their commitment to their families and their fitness!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday Fun Run: Mother Runners

I am continually inspired and awed by the running moms I get to interact with everyday either in person or online. I love being a member of such an amazing group of motivated women, all of whom understand the language of being "Another Mother Runner". Here is my short list of things that only this group of women can really understand.

You might be a mother runner if the fanciest things you ever wear around your neck are made out of either macaroni or medal

You might be a mother runner if getting woken up at 4:30am because someone had a nightmare is brutal, but waking up at 4:30 to get ready for a race fills you with excitement!

You might be a mother runner if you've accidentally grabbed a bag of fruit snacks on your way out the door thinking they were energy chews, and ate them during your run anyway

You might be a mother runner if your kid has fallen off your foam roller and your first reaction was not "is he okay?" but rather "did he put a dent in it?"

You might be a mother runner if you know the precise speed at which your kid can ride her bike since you make her pace you on your short runs

And, you might be a mother runner if if this is your idea of nap time

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Midweek Motivation: We're all Runners!

I came across this on my Facebook news feed this morning:

It was a timely coincidence since this morning, I was complaining to my husband about the blister I have developed underneath one of my toenails, and he replied "well, suck it up, you're a runner". And for a split second I thought "I'm not a REAL runner". I mean my husband ran Cross Country in high school, he's done a marathon, certainly I'm not a runner like he is a runner. But just as quickly as that thought came into my head, I pushed it back out. Because I am a runner, a REAL runner, and I have the blisters, chafing, and sore hamstrings to prove it. I put just as much effort into my running as someone who does a 6-minute mile, or someone who considers 15 miles an "easy run". I may not run as fast or as far, but I run, that is all that matters.

I've had the good fortune to be inspired by a lot of other real runners this week. Like Christina, a woman in an Internet running group I belong to, whom I've never met before, but who also ran a 10-mile race this weekend. Several weeks ago Christina posted about her doubts that she would be ready to run a 10-mile race after competing in some shorter distances. After some virtual encouragement from our group, she ran her race on Sunday and killed it, holding under a 9:30/mile pace! Then there is Kara, the 6-year old daughter of a friend who ran the SECOND 5K of her short life on Saturday. Kara has an amazing support network in her parents and extended family who did the run with her, but she finished in 37:06, holding under 12-minute miles, Kara may only be 6, but she is a real runner for sure! Finally, I was lucky enough to run with a fun group of  women from my local Moms Run this Town chapter on Monday. There was Stefanie, just returning to running after having a baby, Belinda who is coming back from injury, Karen who smoked all of us while telling stories about her grand kids, Alisa who started the night saying "I hate running" but smiled the whole three miles, and Christa, who was quiet the whole run, but came alive after we were done, talking about the next meet up. While we may all have different running goals and paces, not one of us ever said "I'm not a REAL runner".

So don't ever doubt your status. If you put on your shoes one foot at time and get out on that road or trail, it doesn't matter your pace, it doesn't matter your distance, it doesn't matter why you are doing it, you are a runner, don't let anyone tell you different!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Race week fun!

Marathon Training Week 10 Recap

Well, I'm officially over half way through my training plan. It really is hard to believe that in less than 10 weeks I will be running a marathon! When I started, I 'm not sure I realistically believed that I would even make this far into training before I gave up...then when I was a quarter of the way through and I almost DID give up, I didn't know that I would ever feel strong again. Well, this was a good week all around for making me feel like I made the right decision by not throwing in the towel!

Monday was the last day my in laws were in town and we had a very exciting activity on the agenda, lunch with Kayley at school! I'm not sure how many of you have attended an elementary school lunch hour as an adult, but I'm telling you, it's not for the faint of heart. Anyway, because of this outing, I got to the Y early to get my workout in, so no yoga this week for me. I decided I needed to give my biking legs some attention, so I pounded out 10 miles on the stationary bike (while watching Kimmy Schmidt of course, if you've been watching, the "fight" between Logan and Dong at Kimmy's birthday party had me cracking up to the point I had to slow down to breathe!) I was pretty happy to have done 10 miles in a little over 24 minutes, maybe the odometer on the bike was off, but I felt really strong to have held such a quick speed. After the bike I did a little ab work and finished off with some yoga-like stretching. I say "yoga-like" since I am not super good at remembering any of the postures from class, so I just do a lot of down dogs and child's pose and other general stuff that feels like I am stretching in some sort of way.

Tuesday was supposed to be a run day, but I had an appointment with my Physical Therapist that day to talk about my ankle, knee and hamstrings issues. I wasn't sure what she was going to have me do, so I didn't want to run before the meeting. After telling her what has been going on she had me do a bunch of different strength tests and as it turns out, I'm a lazy ass! Okay, not technically,  but I do have weak Gluteus Medius muscles on both sides of my butt, more predominantly on my right side. Because of this my other muscles have been overcompensating and are now causing me pain. I have lots of new exercises to incorporate into my daily routine to start the strengthening process. I see her again next week for a gait analysis. She was pretty happy with the changes I made to my training plan to help avoid injury, so YAY for additional confirmation that I'm on the right track. I supposed I could have run after my appointment that day, but I was too excited to get home and get Kayley to her first night of swim team practice. Man, that little girl inspires me big time. I'm so glad to be able to continue to set a good example for her and Logan to follow when it comes to exercising and sticking with it!

Wednesday was awesome! Why you ask? Because after almost three long months I finally got to run with my BRF again! We have both been so busy that it has been impossible to do more than text or chat over email, so I couldn't wait to get outside with her again.  We started out easy, like we had never missed a day running together, heading down our familiar path on East River Parkway. Then, in true Brandi fashion, she suggested we detour through some neighborhoods. This is one of my favorite things about running with her, she is always up for a new route and exploring new places.....something I don't always have the confidence for on my own. We headed back towards our offices, and for the first time in a long time, I had no idea how many miles I had run. I was just so happy to be running with her again and having the time fly like it was nothing. She asked if I wanted to keep going, but I was good. Never underestimate the power of a running buddy!

Thursday I was going to hit the treadmill since it was a little windy and cool, but the lure of the campus trails is strong and I decided to brave it and bundle up for an outside run. My plan called for 4 miles, but I felt like I just wanted to run until I didn't want to run anymore. I ended up with 5 and a half, and ran the fastest pace I've done for a long time, holding each mile under 10 minutes. Now, I won't lie and tell you I didn't really care about my pace...I was ecstatic that I had run that fast. It was really energizing to feel like my legs could sustain that speed again without feeling like they were going to give out. I am being realistic though and understand that this doesn't mean I'm going to go out and run a 4:30 marathon now, but I was so glad I decided to get out on the trails today and to push myself just a little bit.

Friday was swim day...and I had a really great workout planned....which will have to wait until next week. I just got super busy at work and didn't manage to get away for a lunch time swim like I wanted. When I got home, the kids wanted to come to the Y with me, so I obliged. Logan recently passed his "blue wristband" test, which means he can go into the shallow pool without me in the water now. I made a deal with them that if they played in the shallow pool while I did my laps that we could stop and get a pizza on the way home. They of course agreed (pizza is a STRONG motivator in our house) and I managed to get 1800 yards done. I didn't really do any sets, I just kind of swam and rested, swam and rested. It was nice not to worry about intervals, and it felt good to get some longer yardage in. After that, the three of us played in the pool for another half hour and then went home and scarfed down some well-earned pizza!

I was so excited for Saturday to get first race of the season, Goldy's Run! For those who know me, you know of my deep adoration for Goldy Gopher and all things University of Minnesota, so a run around campus, hosted by the best college mascot in the country, and I am totally there! Last year the Goldy's Run marked my first ever running race. I did the 5K and I remember dropping my bag and starting to line up for the corrals and seeing all the 10-mile bibs. I thought to myself "Wow, 10-miles, I will never run that far!" What a difference a year makes. Here I was, getting ready to start the second 10-mile race of my running career, and thinking, "okay, 10-miles, piece of cake!" The morning was cool, about 38-degrees at start time. I really wanted to wear my shirt from last year's run along with my Minnesota Swimming shorts and my Goldy socks. I opted to put a long sleeve shirt under my t-shirt and to wear a beanie instead of a head band.

I have learned that this is called "Flat Linda" and that I am supposed to post a picture of my outfit the night before a race so folks know how to find me!

I was perfectly layered for the time being! I dropped my bag and checked in with Brandi, she is teaching a running class and her students were all competing in the 5K race that day. She introduced me to them and gave them my quick running history, I gave them some pearls of wisdom (okay, I really just told them all to have fun and hit the porta-potty line early), and then I headed out to try to connect with some women from the Moms Run This Town Facebook group I've been a part of for a few weeks. It was nearly impossible to try to find anyone in the crowd, let alone people I've never met in person before, so I gave up and decided just to head to the start corral. I was one of the first ones there, so I had an urge to get right up at the start line, but I quickly suppressed it, reminding myself that I was going to start the race with the 10:30/mile pace group. None of the pacers were at the start area yet, so I just started walking to the back of the corral. Slowly the pacers started making their way in, and I quickly connected with Hannah, the 10:30 pace sign holder. I told her that my plan was to stick with her for the first half and then hopefully finish just ahead of her. She asked if I was training for something and when I told her I was going to run Grandma's she said "I love that race, I do it every year!" When I told her it would be my first marathon, she told me it was her first too, and how now she feels like such a veteran when she's there. Now mind, you, she couldn't have been a day over 21, but it was fun to talk to her and pick up her sense of enthusiasm for the race. I then started talking to another woman named Gemma who said she was doing her first marathon this year too. She is doing the Twin Cities marathon and commended me on picking a marathon I had to train during winter for. After a little more chit chat, we heard the national anthem start and we were off!

The first few miles went off like most races, slow and stuttering since the crowd is so, well, crowded. Gemma and I made easy conversation with Hannah and some of the others in the 10:30 group and after about two miles the crowd started to thin a bit. It was also really starting to warm up and by mile three I was regretting my long sleeves and beanie choices. But, I wasn't in a position to chuck either of them, so I pushed up my sleeves, and turned up the ear flaps on the beanie and soldiered on. By about mile four, Gemma, who was wearing a Garmin, commented that our pace group was a little on the fast side, clocking in at about a 10:10 per mile pace. But, we both concurred that we felt pretty good and just kept on with them. I ate some gel right before mile five since I could see a water stop ahead. I didn't really feel like I needed it, but figured it was better to take it before I started to bonk. We hit the half way mark and noticed a bunch of buses and a large group of runners standing around. I had totally forgot that there was a 10-mile relay option. This was actually pretty awesome because there were so many runners and volunteers cheering for us, it really started the second half of the race out on a fun note. Now, we had encountered several hills, both big and small up until this point, but I'm telling you the next few hills seemed like small torture. I was so glad to be running with Gemma though, we both encouraged each other just when we needed it, and before we knew it, we passed the seven mile marker and were headed back to the stadium with just a 5K to go!

We hit another water station at about the seven and a half mile marker and walked quickly thorough it. I was really sweating with my long sleeves and knee high socks, so the water and Powerade were a godsend! We climbed one last massive hill right before mile nine, and at that point, I knew we were home free. The stadium was a nice, flat, crowd-lined mile away. As we approached the stadium I told Gemma that if she needed to pull away and get to the finish line, to go for it, but she said "no way, I'm sticking with you, you have really pushed me today". That was awesome to hear, as I felt the same way. We crossed University Avenue and headed into the stadium grounds, one lap around the outside, then through the tunnel to the finish on the 50-yard line. I was surprised how much of a jolt I felt when I got inside the tunnel and picked up my speed in the finish shoot. I heard "Go Linda" on my right and looked over to see Terry and Ryan, two of the Gopher swim coaches (they had run the 5K) cheering me on. It was a great way to finish such a fun race. After we got our medals, Gemma and I shared a high five and parted ways. She is running the Monster Dash half marathon in October too, so we planned to try to meet up with the 10:30 pace group there and recount our respective marathon stories to each other. Not sure if this will happen, but I hope it does. I finished with an official time of 1:41.50, three minutes ahead of Hannah and the 10:30 pace group. I negative split the race and felt really strong the whole way. After that, I met Bill and the kids who were finishing up breakfast at Applebee's and we all headed over for the Goldy's Gallup. Kayley jetted off to line up with the other 6-7 year olds, while Logan and I stood next to the "4 year olds" sign. Bill headed to the finish line to meet us there. I didn't get to see Kayley race, but Bill said she was a rocket. Last year, Logan made me carry him the entire way, until I practically forced him to walk across the finish line. This year, he said he wanted to run, so with his hand in mine the whole way, we ran the half mile around the stadium and down the finish shoot to the 50-yard line. He was smiling the whole way, and so was I. What a great day!

Happy post-race runners! Check out my enormous medal!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Slower IS better!

Marathon Training Week Nine Recap

This week was a bit routine, no major wins, no major bumps in the road. It was actually kind of nice to have a "normal" week of training!

Monday I did Yoga Flow, a class offered at work. It's supposed to be gentle, flowing yoga postures with focus on breathing. Now, don't get me wrong, I like yoga, and I think it's an important part of my overall health and well-being, but man, I have a lot of trouble getting into it. First of all, it's hard! Even though it is a "gentle" practice, some of those positions take a crazy amount of strength to pull off! I felt a little wimpy a few times when my arms or legs started shaking a few seconds into a pose. Secondly, I get bored kind of easily. I'm used to fast moving classes, or constantly moving while running, so slowing down and focusing on breathing does not come easy to me. I did feel refreshed afterwards, so I will stick with it for a few more weeks and see what happens!

Tuesday I had an easy three on the schedule and decided to run my regular route on campus. My weather app said 59, so I ran in capris and a short sleeve tee...I was ROASTING! The weather needs to make up it's mind already! At least with winter running I knew what I was in for. My hamstring and knee felt really strong the whole time. Listening to my body is getting easier day by day!

Wednesday I had four miles on tap.  My BRF and I had coffee that morning and she told me I needed to "get lost" on my runs every once and awhile. So I took her advice and tried a new route through downtown Minneapolis. While this wasn't a huge navigational departure for me, it was fun to see some new scenery. What was not fun about this run was the wind. It was seriously brutal! There was a point where I was stopped at a stoplight and I had to actually brace myself against a pole so I didn't blow backwards! I felt really good though and ended up with close to 5 miles when all was said and done.

Thursday was crazy at work, plus my in laws were headed into town, so I squeezed in a quick three on the TM. Not much to write home about!

Friday I needed to get my swim in early since we had a full day of activities planned with the Grandparents. I went to the Shoreview Y which only has five lanes...and they were packed! I am not a big fan of sharing, but I hopped in an outside lane that only had two people in it. I got a dirty look from one of them when I asked if we could circle, she said "I'm almost done" and kept swimming. So I waited. She got out pretty quickly and I then asked the other woman if I could split with her (she was swimming against the wall). She said, "sure, I'll swim here" and moved to the lane line side, leaving me to swim against the wall. It was pretty wavy in there and I kept gulping mouthfuls of water every time I breathed. But I told myself it was good practice for open water swimming and plugged on. I managed to get 2000 yards in. I did a 500 warm up, 5 X 100 on 1:45, 200 kick, 5 X 100 on 1:35 (ouch), 200 pull, 100 cool down, and I only bumped my head on the bottom of the three foot section on one flip turn, so...winning!

Saturday I was up early again, my husband said I had to be ready for the day's activities by 8:45 am sharp! I had 10 on the plan, but knew that timing-wise that wasn't going to work out, so I planned for 8. I started out really strong and was surprised to hear I did my first mile in 10:40. Now, the "old me" would have been mad at how "slow" that was, but I embraced it and kept going at that pace for the next 3 miles. I was feeling so good after mile 4 that I picked up the pace a little (10:25 per mile) and ran 5 more. Negative splits...I haven't done that for weeks and it felt great! I wasn't sure how running so early was going to go, as starting when the moon is still out and finishing in full sun is a bit of a wardrobe conundrum, but I managed and was energized and ready for my day! After the run we took Grampa and Oma roller skating...surprisingly, my legs felt great, and I tore up the rink like it was 1985 all over again :)

Me, Logan and Grampa rock down to Electric Avenue!
Next first race of the season...Goldy's Run 10-mile and the kids are doing Goldy's Gallup. I can't wait!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Midweek Motivation: Get Lost

It's been almost two months since my BRF and I have been on a run together. We both have crazy busy lives and even though we work across a sidewalk from each other, it can be impossible sometimes to make our schedules gel enough to get out of the office at the same time. So today, we decided we needed to meet up, no matter what that looked like. While we didn't run together, we had coffee together, which is sometimes WAY better. We got caught up on work gossip, kid gossip, husband gossip, and finally run gossip. She's been keeping up with my saga of bad runs and new plans, so it was nice to finally get her perspective on things. She knew what I needed to hear. She validated that I am insanely competitive and need to have an order to follow, she concurred that I need to do a better job of listening to my body and giving myself a break, and she told me to get lost.

She more than anyone knows my trepidation about running routes I am not intimately familiar with. In fact, the only time I veer from my well known paths is when I am running with her, because she is like a human road map when it comes to knowing every loop and trail around this place. But she had a good point, I'm supposed to enjoy running, and how can I do that when I am looking at the same piece of pavement day in and day out? She reminded me that I run with my phone, which is equipped with a GPS, so I'm never really going to be LOST and she pointed out how many amazing parks and trails and sidewalks and neighborhoods I'm missing out on exploring. So today, I took some baby steps. Instead of running my regular 4 mile loop around campus, I veered off the trail for awhile and ran around downtown Minneapolis, it wasn't much of a detour, but enough to make me a little nervous and also to feel a little invigorated. I made note of a couple cute little restaurants I passed by, I got to see the new Vikings stadium up close and personal, and I even got honked at :) So, my challenge for you this week is to get never know, you just might find something amazing!