Me at the finish line of Grandma's Marathon in 2015: "Oh man, I can't believe I just ran 26.2 miles! That was the most amazing thing I've ever done! I wonder which marathon I should do next!"
I started this blog a little over two years ago as a way to document training for my first (and at the time...only) marathon. While I haven't kept up posting here like I had hoped to, I am planning to start anew as I begin training for what I'm calling "26.2.0", the Twin Cities Marathon this October.
So, what have I been up to since I last posted (in...December...maybe?)? Well, there was buying a new house, fixing up said-house, a little travelling, a lot of mom-ing, and of course plenty of running. I ran all winter long with the help of my running group. Thank goodness for them...my motivation was at an all time low from January-March as we remodeled our new house...it felt like those projects were never going to end. The accountability of the group was the only thing that got me out of the door some days! These women have listened to me vent, offered sage advice, commiserated, understood, held my hand, laughed with me and allowed me to laugh with them. Running has done much to change my life, but none more so than introducing me to some of the most amazing women on the planet!
|Snow, rain, sun and sub-zero, these women are my rocks!|
April 9: Goldy's Run 10-Miler
This is traditionally my first race of the year. It was my first EVER race three years ago when I did the 5K and marveled at all the folks wearing 10-Mile bibs. I thought to myself, "I'm never going to be able to run 10 miles!" But, here I was at the start line of my third Goldy's 10-miler! I had no goal for the day other than to enjoy the run and the gorgeous weather we were blessed with (last year it was 27-degrees at the start). I had a meet up planned with my MRTT group before the start and we had a ton of ladies show up. It's so much fun to have that kind of energy surrounding you before the start of the race, I was really excited at the turn out!
|That's a bunch of good looking BAMRs!|
|Ready to rock and roll (and sweat, and climb lots of hills!)|
|Um...why am I the only one who looks a hot mess?|
I was excited to get to the start line for my first pacing gig of the season. However, when I woke up Saturday morning, that excitement turned to dread as I realized that we were in for some serious rain and possibly serious storms today. If I hadn't been pacing, I likely would have crawled back under my covers...but duty calls and I was up and as "at 'em" as I was going to get. We had a car pool planned, so I waited for Tom, Carla, and Aubree to join me at my house...we had to be at the pacer meet up at 7am (a full two hours before the start for some crazy reason) so we hit the road at 6:15. It was drizzly, but not too dark, so we tried to stay optimistic. When we arrived at the race site we found some street parking that we hoped was legal (the "helpful" police officer sitting in his dry car just shrugged when I asked him if it was okay to park there). We found the Pacer banner sticking out of the side of the bag drop tent, so we asked the volunteers if we could wait inside the tent to stay warm and they obliged. 7:00 came and went and we didn't see any other pacers coming our way. Finally Sara texted me asking where we were...I explained our location and she said we were supposed to meet at the Pavilion....why that made more sense than meeting at the PACER banner was beyond me, but we left our warm dry tent and ventured over to get our signs and shirts. After we checked in I told everyone I was headed back to the bag check tent....and soon it was a pacer party in there.
|Dark and cloudy...but we're ready!|
We reluctantly left the tent to head to the start corral. At this race there are two corrals, the "preferred", where I was pacing the 11:30 per mile group with folks who had included a predicted finish time when they registered, and the "open" corral, where everyone else was starting. In the past, the preferred corral started about 20 minutes before the open corral...the preferred pace groups start at 7:30 per mile and end with me at 11:30. The open pace groups start at 9:30 and go to 15:00 per mile. However, because of the weather, the race organizers decided that both corrals were going to start pretty much together, with just a couple minutes head start for the preferred corral. Which meant that within the first few minutes of the race, some pretty speedy runners were looking at my "11:30" sign with much confusion on their faces. One guy even said to me "Whoa, 11:30, you are WAY ahead of pace!" So, I spent the next 5-6 miles explaining to everyone who passed that I was supposed to be pacing the PREFERRED corral and in fact, they were not running an 11:30 pace. When I finally got passed by the 11:00 per mile pacer from the open corral, I decided to just tuck my sign down and run it out...being sure my finish time at least corresponded with what I was supposed to be doing. It had rained off and on most of the race, but by mile 8 the humidity came out in full force and I was really ready to be done. Unlike last year I didn't have anyone running with me, so I just started thinking about getting to my big bowl of chocolate. I will say, for as miserable as the conditions were, I still really love this race...it's well organized, a fun course, and unique swag. I hit the finish line a little ahead of my goal pace, but I figured with as messed up as the pacing was, I wasn't going to worry too much about it. The rain had let up, but had left a giant muddy mess at the after party site. No matter, at that point, I would have waded through quicksand to get my finishers mug :)
May 7: Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon
With a 10-miler and a 15K under my belt, I was pretty sure I would be fine pacing my first half marathon of the year, but just to be safe, I decided to do a 14-mile run the week after Hot Chocolate to be sure I had the distance in me. I was originally supposed to pace the 2:30 finish group, but the week before the race the organizers changed it to 11:00 per mile...which had me a little more nervous. Thankfully we held the fourteener at a 10:30 pace...so when I headed to the start line for Minnetonka, I felt ready to get the 11:00 minute milers to the finish line in a 2:24. We checked in and got our new (thankfully) smaller pace signs and directions on how the start corrals would work. I would be the middle of the last corral so Jenni, Beth and I headed out to find our areas. I had a great crowd around me and gave them all my "pacer pep talk" a few minutes before the national anthem (sung beautifully as always by race announcer, and my former neighbor, Kirk Poessehl). Soon we were off and were immediately greeted by a woman in a banana costume...I decided then and there this was going to be a great race! I was new to this course, but I had been forewarned about it's hilliness....and it didn't take long before we went straight up our first one. I set the tone with my group early that we were going to "kill the hills" and take it easy on the flats and downhills. This strategy worked great and before I knew it we were at the first water stop. I walked them through and we got right back to the business of climbing. The relay exchange came up quickly, it was at about mile 5 and a half, so I had to remind everyone that we were NOT half way done just yet. I had a couple first timers with me who asked a lot of questions, one of them wanted to know when she should "kick it in"...I told her for me, I usually wait until I can see the finish line, but that if she felt good with a mile to go, she should empty her tank. Small talk continued with my group through the next few miles, then we hit a portion of the course that was on a narrow shoulder of a fairly busy road, so we stayed single file for most of this time and I tried my best to convince my legs they were not tired (I am such a better pacer when I have people to talk to...I tend to forget that I am actually working kind of hard too!) We hit the last water stop at mile 11 and thankfully were able to group back up again for the last couple miles. I had lost a few of the women who were sticking with me, but I was confident they were going to get there. We came up on the 12 mile marker and I shouted "1 mile to go, it's time to empty your tank!" I saw the newbie who asked about kicking it in take off at that point and I felt like a proud mama. We rounded a corner and I saw the finish line and started circling my arm and yelling "You're there, finish strong" to anyone who was still listening to me. I crossed the finish and checked my watch. 2:23.40...30 seconds faster than my goal pace...not too shabby! After I collected my medal (yes, pacers deserve medals too). I headed back to the finish shoot to wait for my friend Lindsay, who was competing her first half marathon today. I saw my other friend Karen finish and chatted with a woman who ran with me last year at the Minnesota Half. She said she just did the relay today and stuck with me to the exchange. She told me I as a really good pacer and thanked me for being there....I really couldn't ask for a better prize than that! I saw Lindsay coming down the shoot with a big smile on her face and I held out my hand for a high five, she didn't leave me hanging and went on to finish under her goal time of 2:30...and that was just the cherry on top of a great morning!
|Nothing like getting by with a little help from your friends!|
Well, if patterns exist in the world, my "race weather luck" is holding true to form this year. I had a gorgeous, warm day for Goldy's, a gloomy, gray day for Hot Chocolate, and a crisp, clear day at Minnetonka...and Birdtown, well, let's just say, I might as well have been doing a water-jogging half marathon as the only time I was dry that morning was when I was in a car. I was pacing today, which again, was likely the only reason I showed up at the start line. Despite the depressing weather, I do love this race. It's a great showcase for the town of Robbinsdale, it's small, but super well organized and the course is really fun...some killer hills in the middle, but also lovely neighborhoods, park trails, and city streets. I carpooled with Lisa, which was awesome since we are still currently a one-car family (don't even get me started). We met up with the pace group and got our (very bright, very pink) pace shirts, which I secretly love. This is a "balloon" race, so our pace signs are actually just balloons tied to a stick, which is not my favorite, but it always looks festive. The rain was holding off at this point, so I was just "minimally" wet when we headed to the start line!
|Plastic bags make everything better!|
|My face says it all...somehow Sara looks downright giddy though!|
|PF sleeping boot...SEXXAY!|
So, that's pretty much what I've been up to...I've also had a running-related eye injury, and have been dealing with Plantar Fasciitis for the past two months...you know just normal middle-aged lady stuff. I'm looking forward to the next 18 weeks of training (mostly). I have a much better knowledge base than the first time I did this (as in...I know what NOT do to rather than necessarily knowing what TO do). I have another pacing gig coming up this weekend which should be fun (10 miles of unrelenting hills-style fun) and full summer of exhausting events at work (I love my job, I love my job, I love my job...) I'm excited to share the journey with you again...even if you will eventually get tired of listening to me talk about running (I mean, those of you who haven't already tuned me out that is...hello? Is this thing even on?) Thanks for the company, the advice and the miles of smiles you provide as fodder for this page. Happy Last Day of May!
|Sidewalks are dangerous|