"Winning has nothing to do with racing. Most days don't have races anyway. Winning is about struggle and effort and optimism, and never, ever, ever giving up."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Turkey Trot Adventures

Thanksgiving was something special this year. I have made it a tradition to run the Turkey Trot 5K every year-even last year-even in -12 degree windchill I might add. I had the privilege to run the Turkey Trot 5K this year with my mom! Not only was it her first time running the Turkey Trot 5K, but it was her first 5K race experience EVER!!! I have been begging her to run a race for years. She runs regularly, but had never done a race. I promised her that I would run every step of the way with her, if she committed to it. And sure enough, she signed up!

Prior to the start of the race, my running buddy, Aileen and I ran 9 miles around Minneapolis. We made it back to my apartment in time to change into dry running clothes, meet up with Austin, Meghan, and Jeremy, and run to the start line to meet my mom (another mile). Note that, 10 miles prior Turkey Trot 5k. It was a near perfect day on Thanksgiving, unusually warm, and not windy. I met up with my mom and we found our way into the start corral. There were more people running the race than I had ever seen in the past! It took us a couple minutes to even cross the start line once the race began. We crossed the start line, and started making our way towards the river. There were so many people, dogs, strollers, walkers, we had to zig zag in and out of clusters of people. But we stuck together. We made it to the river, passed the Guthrie Theatre, passed the Stone Arch Bridge, enjoyed the panoramic view, and made our way up the only hill in the race. I prepped my mom saying, "Okay, there's a hill coming up, and people will stop and walk it. But don't stop. Let's just get up the hill and it will be over." She agreed, and we made it up the hill. After the hill we made it back into downtown again. When we were about a quarter mile from the finish line, I called my Dad to tell him we were close, and to have his camera ready. We crossed the finish line, holding hands, celebrating our victory together! My mom's first 5k, and I got to run it with her! It was such a fun experience and I was so proud of her. After the race, I heard my mom talking about other races: 10Ks, 10 milers, half marathons. I knew it would only take one race and she'd be hooked!

I had another really good friend, Kristi, who ran the Turkey Trot, and it was her first 5K too! I was so thankful to be able to be a part of both Kristi and my mom's first 5k experiences. It is fun to celebrate with people, as they accomplish their goals! Both of them ran the whole way-NO WALKING!

I should also note that Jeremy decided to take this opportunity to beat me in this race. In his words, "this might be my only chance." I wouldn't trade my Turkey Trot 5K experience for the world! Next year we're hoping to rope my dad into it. Who knows, maybe we'll even get my brother, and make it a family tradition :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Reflections from TCM 2011

With weeks leading up to TCM, I had a plan in place. I had studied the map as if it was my job. I knew the inclines, I knew the turns, I knew I wanted to PR, and re-qualify for Boston. I had done months of training, post-stress fracture, and logged 60-65 mile weeks for two months straight! I was ready for my hard work to pay off. As I studied the map, I developed my strategy. I didn’t think it was possible to negative split TCM. The hills are at the end. Pair that with the fatigue that comes with running a marathon, and increasing temperatures, and it’s a recipe for disaster-for me, at least. I determined I could run between 7:30-7:45 for the first 16-18 miles. If I held that pace, I knew it would create a buffer of time, to struggle at the end. That is exactly what I did, and that is exactly what happened. I ran faster at the beginning, and I struggled at the end. A co-worker, training buddy, and truly, a friend, Jon Webster, decided the Thursday before the marathon to run and pace me! Jon is not your average runner. An average runner doesn’t jump into a marathon the Thursday before. He is an incredibly talented athlete, and I am truly honored that he chose to help me reach my goal. A longtime friend, Dan Bare, decided that since he was not in BQ-shape himself (due to an earlier injury), he would help me reach my goal. In the words of Dan, “I could run faster, miss Boston by a decent gap, and be by myself the whole race. Or, I could help you reach your goal, and run the race with a friend. The second option is more appealing.” And that is what he did. With the help of Jon and Dan, I reached my goal of another BQ, under the more stringent qualifying standards. For that, I am so grateful and still humbled by how they helped me. This document is a work in progress, and I will probably add to it as I continue to process. For those willing to read the entire thing, thank you. Here is my story.

Miles 1-3: Dan and I were waiting patiently in corral 1, ready to begin our race. It was a beautiful day. Cool temps, and not much wind. It truly couldn’t have gotten much better. Jon was in corral 2, as he ran in place of Jeremy, who bowed out due to injury. We hoped to find each other between miles 3-4. Where did these miles go? I felt my taper, and am so thankful I listened to the recipe for success. First mile was slow, due to so many people. Second and third miles were 7:15s-I was feeling good, but knew I needed to slow down so I didn’t burn out later. Seeing my XC runners after mile 2 definitely added a pep in my step! Maybe too much pep! I couldn’t help but move when I saw and heard them cheering! I started wondering where Jon was after we passed mile 3. I knew we had started faster than expected, but thought the first mile had slowed us down enough to compensate. I was concerned Jon was going to pass us without even realizing it!

Miles 4-7: Jon caught up with us and I was relieved to have Dan, Jon, and myself all together. Jon and Dan hit it off really well, discussing races, ability, and PRs. We found my new friend, Gary, from Lifetime Fitness during this time, but he passed us, and stayed ahead the entire course to eventually pull off an amazing PR of 3:25:19! Minus the little incline in between Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet, this portion of the race was flat. I had been concerned about the incline after mile 6 (between the lakes) because I remember what a beast it was climbing it multiple times during COL25K. The incline really didn’t even affect me at all. I didn’t feel psyched out, and I didn’t feel my heart rate elevate much. I used this stretch of miles to really pray for my fellow friends running TCM-many of them for the first time.

Miles 8-13: These miles also seemed to breeze by. I remember the incline on the Parkway around mile 8. The parkway is hillier than the running trail that runs by the creek. Even with that incline, I wasn’t concerned, and charged up the hill, to be greeted with flat terrain the next few miles. At some point during this stretch, I saw some of my XC team, and felt another surge of energy as we passed them. I knew my parents were going to be somewhere around Lake Nokomis and Cedar Ave, however, I wasn’t sure what mile I would actually see them at. The bridge at Lake Nokomis ended up being surprisingly windy! Nothing too scary but definitely noticeable. They ended up being at the end of the Cedar Ave bridge around Lake Nokomis. Up to this point, I was still feeling strong, and care-free. I was so excited to see my Dad, Mom, Grandma, and Mike! It gave me a burst of energy! The three of us yelled happy birthday at my Mom, and I was pleased we all had the energy/ambition to do so! My dad lifted up his shirt, to show me the St. John’s shirt that Jeff Winkleman won and gave to him while he was in the hospital. Soon enough we had passed the half marathon mark, and were closer to the finish line than the start line!

Miles 14-19: At this point, I was still feeling good, and was reminded to pray for my friends that were running. These miles felt relatively easy as well. I trained along this road all winter and summer. I knew the slight ups and downs of this curvy road. We tried to keep the tangents as best we could. There were some sunny patches along the road, but nothing that concerned me too much. The incline up to the Franklin Bridge was short, but I felt it. We got up the hill, and my heart didn’t feel too overwhelmed. After the bridge, I knew we were approaching the hills of the river parkway. At mile 18, my stellar personal training client Kent and his beautiful new bride, Sue, were waiting and cheering me on! I had trained for so long on these hills, and I knew they were coming. I was still feeling decent, and so I was trying to prepare mentally. And by decent, I mean, I felt like I had run 19 miles, but knew I could keep going. I know I saw more of my team, and more friends along the course, however, I can’t remember who all I saw, and at what point.

Miles 20-21: These miles were extremely challenging. My parents appeared around mile 20, and I was so encouraged to see their faces! Shortly after mile 20, I saw my co-worker, and girlfriend, Kara. She was on one of the hills along the river parkway, just as we had planned. Ready with a sign, loud cheering, and an encouraging smile. I made eye contact for only a moment, and I hope she saw how much she had encouraged me in my eyes, because I’m not sure I gave her much more. A spectator will never fully understand the importance of that brief moment, and how much encouragement it brings a runner. The effect of the moment outlives the moment itself. This is where the wheels started to fall off for me. We came to the first hill, under the Lake Street Bridge. I tried to stay calm and take on the hill. At this point, it felt like work, it felt hard, but I knew I had it in me. My quads were feeling the pain, but I knew this was only a baby hill compared to what was to come. The second hill is the hill right before the dreaded St. Thomas hill. I steadied myself, and kept trucking. I was hurting, but I wasn’t going to stop. Jon kept reminding me to think about my form, to stay light, and to stay loose. I remember at one point saying, “I’m so tired,” and Dan said, “We’re all tired at this point, we gotta keep going.” That was so encouraging! To hear that I wasn’t the only tired person at this pace helped me continue to put one foot in front of the other. And then we got to the St. Thomas hill….I had run this hill so many times, I knew it so well. I had climbed it so many times. Prior to the St. Thomas hill, I had not stopped to walk-not even at water/Powerade stations. I knew the pain of starting and stopping, and didn’t want to go there. Also, once you walk, it gets stuck in your head that “I’ve walked already, so….” But at mile 21.5, I cracked-and I walked. Looking back, I am disappointed that I stopped to walk at a place that was not a water/Powerade station. I wish I could have held out until the next station at mile 22. My quads felt as if they were going to bust out of my legs-right through my skin! Obviously this was not going to happen, but that was the pain I was experiencing. On this hill, the 3:30 pace group passed us. Up to this point, my understanding had been that we were on pace for 3:25, so seeing the 3:30 pacer caught me off guard-they were clearly ahead of their target, and Jon confirmed that! The pacer tried to encourage me to stick with him, get up the hill, and tough it out. But my legs needed reprieve! So I walked for a few seconds, and started back up again. Jon reminded me to start up slowly, and not jump back into the same pace. At the top of the hill, I saw my buddy Trey-he put his coaching hat on and encouraged me and reminded me of the work I had already done. Both Jon and Dan reminded me how little we had left. We turned onto Cretin Ave, and then onto Summit Ave. The first person I saw on Summit Ave was Meghan Smith, my girl, running and yelling “Go Bree! That’s my coach! That’s my coach!” That’s all I heard and all I remember. But I remember that it meant something, and I was filled with emotion. Then I saw my client, Pam, jumping up and down, cheering for me. I’ve cheered her on in her running journey, and her weight loss journey, and now she was cheering for me. I had to keep going. I had made it to St. Thomas! Another one of my clients, Brittany, was at St. Thomas with a sign, rooting for me, and so I kept going. This was also the first place I saw my best friend, biggest fan, and the love of my life, my husband. Jeremy is the person who puts up with the months of training leading up to the marathon. He is the one who reminds me what I’m capable of when I forget. At this point, I knew I had to keep going. But it the struggle wasn’t over…..

Miles 22-23: Summit Ave climbs. I knew I only had about another mile of climbing, and it would get better. I kept breaking the mile down in my head-Summit Ave to Prior Ave, and Prior Ave to Snelling Ave, and then I’m done with hills (for the most part). Jon kept saying, “Just take it one mile at a time, we’ll walk through the water stops, and then start back up again.” I needed that. Dan kept saying, “Just one foot in front of the other. Each step is putting you closer to the finish.” I needed to break the last few miles into small, incremental, yet attainable steps. So we climbed the hill, and made it to mile 23, walked, got some water/powerade, and we were off again. At this point, my body didn’t NEED the water and the Powerade, but I kept saying that I did because I needed the walking break-and truthfully, the mental break.

Miles 24-26: And so we continued. One water/Powerade station at a time. We’d run until we got to the station, we got fluids, and started back up again. At this point, the worst was over! We were truly on our way to the capital, and I was on my way to a PR. With all the stops, I knew I had lost my opportunity to run a 3:30 or better; however, I knew I was going to run a big fatty PR that I could be proud of! I was breathing heaving, I think I was groaning, and I was most certainly hurting. Most people forget there is a hill during mile 25, because they’re so close to being done, but I didn’t forget. I saw it, and I felt it, but I kept going. As we got to the top of the hill, I could see the down hill, and I could see the finish. And that was all I needed.

Mile 26-26.2: I was at the end, and I was going to finish strong. I wasn’t sure I had any kick left, as my quads felt shot, but according to my trusty Garmin, I pumped out a 6:45 sprint to the end! With the support and encouragement of my friends Jon and Dan, and all my friends and family along the course, I had done it! 3:31:30!!! (Prior to TCM, my PR was 3:39:07, held at the Chicago Marathon-which is a completely FLAT course-not one hill). I had shaved almost 8 minutes off my marathon time-ON A MORE DIFFICULT COURSE! That was something I could be proud of.

I am still reflecting on what this marathon meant to me. I don’t know that I have had enough time to process everything I learned through this race, but know that it’s coming. There are a few things I have processed: Running a marathon is not pretty, or easy-for anyone! People care deeply about me, and demonstrated that by supporting me in this process. I feel God’s presence as I run. I want my running to change me, and change others, and if I ever get to a point where it’s not doing that, I will retire. Until then, I want my running to reflect the beauty of Christ, and what He has done in my life, and I want others to realize that there is always more to life-and to pursue that lifestyle. “I RUN in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart FREE “ (Psalm 119:32)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

City of the Lakes 25K

This past Sunday was the 30th anniversary and my third run of the City of the Lakes 25K. I love doing this race because it is a part of the Twin Cities Marathon, it's put on by MDRA, and a great opportunity to test your fitness prior to TCM. Our MN weather has been interesting....the week leading up to the race was nice and cool; however, the temps warmed up just in time for the race. It wasn't horrible, but it was warmer than I'd prefer. The race started at about 66 degrees and was about 76 by the time I finished-again, not horrible, but warm enough to remind you of the work being done. Regardless, it was a great day for a race. It has been since January, that I have raced a longer distance, so I was excited for this race!

Paul Hurkman, Josh Iniguez, and Kevin Miles, all from Venture Expeditions (RunFree is a part of Venture Expeditions) came to cheer us on at the beginning of the race. I love that this organization encourages you to take a sport you already love, and positively impact the world through it. I still need to write a blog on Venture Expeditions and RunFree. It's coming soon-promise.

Trey and I toed the line, ready to see what we could leave out on the course. He had a great start. He looked strong and focused on the road ahead. For a good portion of the race, he was always a few yards in front of me. I kept trying to close the gap, but he was holding strong.
Trey running and representing Team World Vision

I ran in my new Brooks Launch, they were so much lighter! My legs still feel fatigued from all the mileage. I'm looking forward to this taper, and bringing some strength back to my legs. William Berry Parkway is the hill we had to run 3 times during this race. Normally, my parents are there, cheering me up the hill. They couldn't be here this year, but Jeremy was there on his bike, helping me climb.

My goal for this race was to beat my time from last year. I have made progress each year. In 2009, I ran 2:07:50. In 2010, I ran 2:00:22.
This year, 2011, I ran 1:57:45 (my half marathon split was 1:39:15). As long as I continue to improve, I will be pleased! I placed 5/61 in my age group.

It was also fun to know my friend Suzie was running this race. Although I didn't get to see her before the race started, I knew she was there, and I knew I'd see her at the finish. She is one of the strongest female athletes I know. She has such an incredibly hard working attitude, and knows how to bring her game face!
Suzie looking good, as always!

Post-race happiness:

And of course, my biggest fan/pacer/photographer, and love of my life:
Thanks for believing in me, Jeremy. I love you!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

New Beginnings

I'm less than a month out from the Twin Cities Marathon. It has been so long since I have actually raced a long race. My last race was a 4K in July (yep, 2.5 miles). My last half marathon was in January. My last marathon (due to bowing out of Boston), was Chicago, last October. I feel out of the swing of racing. I have a 25K (15.5 miles) next weekend, and I'm full of nervous energy, yet excitement. Too be honest, I'm not certain how much ZOOM I will have. I have been training hard-very hard, and my body feels pretty fatigued. I've been logging about 60 miles a week, for the past two months, my legs feel dead tired, but I know the work I've put in will pay off after my taper, as I toe the line for TCM. I'm treating next weekend's race as a part of my training. This will be my third time racing the City of the Lakes 25K, and I'm hoping to break my course PR (which is 2:00:06).

Few new updates to my training. I am going to run the marathon in a lighter (weight) pair of shoes, than my beloved blue/black/silver Brooks--they are just too heavy for the long runs. They are still the most beautiful pair I've ever owned, and they are not ready to be retired. Here are the new kicks--beware, not nearly as pretty or exciting as the Glycerins, but much lighter:

Brooks Defyance

New shoes always make runs a little more exciting, especially when you feel faster.

This weekend I lost my first toenail! It had been purple for quite some time. I felt it lifting from the nail bed. I noticed that it had completely lifted from nail bed, except for on the sides and bottom. I was concerned that bacteria would grow underneath, so I carefully clipped the nail off. Here's the new skin:

So with less than a month until Twin Cities Marathon, here's to new beginnings. New shoes. New toenail. So excited for TCM!


Friday, August 26, 2011

Let the Madness Begin!

I guess I have fallen off the blogging bandwagon. I realized I haven’t written anything since my trip to PA, which was well over a month and a half ago. Summer has somehow escaped me. I can’t believe it’s the end of August! We’ve had such odd weather. June was cool and perfect for running (but not for boating I might add). July was hot and humid, less than ideal for running. August has been a combination of the two, we’ve had some cooler days, but we’ve had a handful of hot and humid too. Nonetheless, I have been logging the miles, and getting my workouts in. I have been averaging about 55-60 miles a week, every week. I am blessed to report that I have been running pain free since I started running again. I am so thankful that I have not rebounded into any pain in my tibia. I have been running in the Brooks Glycerin, which is by far their heaviest shoe. I wanted a shoe that had a lot of cushion as I eased back into running again, to ensure my tibia didn’t have any problems adjusting to the pavement again. Now that I know I am not having any problems, I am looking forward to transitioning into a much lighter shoe! Hopefully it will give me some kick.

I had a big weekend, this past weekend. I ran my third 20 miler, and I kicked off pre-season for XC! I am so excited to have my runners back on campus again! Summer is nice, but when campus is full of life, it’s much better! We had our Athletic Retreat last weekend, and two-a-day practices all this week. I've had to be increasingly more disciplined with going to bed early in order to maintain my training. As if I wasn’t already disciplined before, this required some 3:45AM days of running, prior to XC practice at 5:15AM. It becomes increasingly difficult to balance coaching XC, my day job, personal training clients, my own marathon training, and marriage! But I wouldn’t trade any of them for anything. Each if these things breathe life into me. It’s just learning how to balance them all. I am incredibly thankful that my husband is so supportive of all of these activities. I couldn’t do it without him. Thanks Jeremy!

I have much to blog about in the latest community I’ve joined (Venture Expeditions Run:Free). But honestly, that deserves its own blog. So you’ll have to check back shortly for that one!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Running in PA

My training has been going exceedingly well in preparation for the Twin Cities Marathon. I started running/training on June 1st, after two months off after my stress fracture. I spent the past 8 days in State College, PA-visiting my in-laws, the Williamsons. It was a fabulous trip, filled with fun, laughter, adventures, meeting my first niece, new experiences, my birthday, and running-lots of hard running! I could write a long blog on all the fun things we did, but since I have kept this blog as a training blog, I will stick to the running.

We left on Saturday, July 2nd. I ended up doing my 15 mile run before leaving for PA. I was extremely discouraged by this run. It was so hard. I felt like I had to stop so many times. It was so hot, and so humid, and I felt like I couldn't keep enough water in my system. But I finished it, and was glad it was in the books. I took Sunday off because we got in late, and it was raining in the morning when we got up.

The running in PA is tough! I couldn't seem to get away from the hills, anywhere. There is always an up, a down, and an up again. Monday, the 4th of July was a fun day! Jason (Jeremy's brother), Jeremy, and I ran the Firecracker 4k, in State College. Lindsay and Saoirse were our fabulous cheerleaders! I knew I needed to get more mileage in, so I went for a 3.5 mile run before the race. I ran sub-17 (I'm guessing 16:55)-which would equate to a 6:48/mile average. It was chip timed, however, there wasn't a start mat, just a finish mat, so I had to guess when I crossed the start line. I had my splits on my garmin. The first mile was fast, I ran a 6:30. The second mile had some larger climbs, and I ran a 7:10, and finished the last half mile at a pace of 6:35-this also had some climbs. It was a nice challenging run. I placed 2nd in my age group! I'll take it. I found out later I missed out on getting an award, but that's okay. I had the satisfaction of a nice hard run, and that was enough! 6 miles in total for the day.

On Tuesday I got up and ran a 7 miler downtown State College. This was a tough run. It was hilly both ways. Here's a snapshot of the 3.5 out and back course:

After the 7 miler, Jeremy was about to go on his 3 mile run. So why not? I joined him. Finished it off as a nice 10 mile day.

To celebrate, that night, we got frozen yogurt, with our own toppings. I got heath and chocolate pareils on top of no sugar added vanilla yogurt. Here are the others:

Wednesday was a quality running day. I did 2 miles quickly (7:25/average per mile). Then went to the track with Jason to do some speed work. Those of you who know me, know that I would rather do hills any day, rather than intervals. So this was a nice kick in the pants. Jason and I did an 800 as a warm up. I followed that with 5x800 on the track. This is my first speed workout of the season, and post injury. My splits were:
3:15, 3:12, 3:12, 3:15, 3:11-There's work to be done, for sure.
Here's some documentation of the work that went down:

I think that last picture was to get me to the finish line faster! Again, when I got back from the track workout, Jeremy was about to venture on his 6 mile run-so why not spend more time with my favorite person. An 11 miler day in the books, with some serious speed thrown in there.

On Thursday, my birthday, I mostly wanted to get it over with, so I hammered out a slow 5 mile run. Nothing special.

On Friday, I ran a quick 4 mile run. It was hot and humid (100% humidity to be exact-but who's keeping track?!)

Saturday was my "long run day"; however, it was a recovery day. I only "needed" to do 10 miles. Jason went with my by bike, and showed me part of State College I had never seen before. There were many hills. My garmin tracked elavation between 800 feet and 1,250 ft. Talk about some work! The route he took me on was beautiful! I ran past a creek that was gorgeous. I couldn't escape God's presence in this run. I saw fields and flowers, trees and shrubs. Hardly any cars on this road. This was a part of the Nittany Half Marathon course. I enjoyed the scenery, minus the hills ;) Ended up with a solid 14 miles. It was extremely challenging, and I had to walk a few times, but I don't feel guilty about it, it was a tough run. And no, I did not go back out with Jeremy on his long run (he had left by the time I got home).

I ran Monday-Saturday, and took Sunday (today), as my rest day. I'm hoping this gives my legs some good recovery. I'm ready to hit the pavement tomorrow in my new Brooks for the first time :) Hoping the running feels easy after a week of mountainous running!

I feel stronger, mentally and physically, and my heart is full after a week with family.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

On the Road Again

I am blessed to be able to say I am back on the road again. After two months of biking, swimming, lifting, and learning, I have been given two thumbs up to start running again. After severely fracturing my left tibia bone, I went back to Tria Orthopedics for my follow up appointment. I was relieved to learn that I didn't need to have another MRI, and that x-rays would suffice. Apparently after an injury has been present for an extended period of time, it will show up in an x-ray. X-rays are much faster, and NOT noisy, like the MRI, and I got my results right away. I was able to review my MRI images from my first appointment, and saw the fracture spanning across the bone. I was then able to see my x-rays, and see the scar tissue that had built up like a cocoon (or band-aid) around my tibia bone. My doctor said that is exactly what was supposed to happen. My shin had started bruising a bit, and when I inquired what was going on, I learned that the scar tissue had forced the muscle in my leg to press against my skin, thus bruising my leg from the inside out. However, I was told not to be concerned, and that it would go away. Turns out, my doctor was right. I have been running without pain! Last weekend I was able to run a 13 miler, and a 12 miler the week before. I am not as fast as I would like to be. It still feels like a challenge; however, I am enjoying simply being able to run. The speed will come. But that is not my concern right now. It's so easy to take running for granted, and then when it's taken away from you, you realize what you've lost. Now to have it back, performing doesn't seem nearly as important. Would I like to be faster? Of course. But more than anything, I am thankful to be out on the road again.

Due to the healing process, and travel, I am doing very few races this season, which makes me a little disappointed. I normally like to do 5 or so half marathons a year, and a marathon or two. This year is looking to be only 2 half marathons, and 1 marathon, 1 25k, and a 4k (really, a 4k?!) Looking forward to making the most out of this season. I am more than blessed.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

It's in the Shoe

"First and foremost, you have to love training and even learn to enjoy hard workouts. It takes ears to reach your full potential, so if you don't enjoy the journey you simply won't get there."

There's no doubt that I love the training, I feel pride upon the completion of a tough workout, and I love the journey! The process is that much more rewarding with new shoes! Yes that's right. I have made the switch. Since I started running long distance in 2006 (it really hasn't been that long), I have been an Asics girl. Not because I thought they were superior, but simply because I got fitted in a pair at a running store, the worked well, and I never strayed. Since my sponsorship with Fitsok, I now get 40% Brooks shoes, so I figured I might as well give them a try. In the past, as I've browsed the Brooks section at Run n Fun, I've always been disappointed with the color schemes. I know running shoes are not about the colors, but about how they fit. Even still, I struggled to get passed purple and lime green on the same shoe-really?! However, I few months ago, I went to the corporate office for Fitsok, and got to see the new shoes coming out for summer, I saw the new Glycerin 9, and knew that was the shoe that was comparable to the Asics Nimbus I have been running it. The Brooks Glycerin 9 is the most beautiful running shoe I've ever owned! I'm not ready to break them in yet, as I still have some miles to put in on my Asics, but the Brooks are ready and waiting.

This weekend is a big decision weekend for me. Marathon training started for TCM (which I am signed up for) this week. I have kept my mileage low, to truly ease into the program. My first "long" run is 10 miles, which I will be running on Saturday morning. I am going to make a decision this weekend. I've still been having a great deal of pain in my leg. I am going to run the 10 miles on Saturday. If I am in a great deal of pain during the run, or immediately following the run, I am going to bow out of TCM early. I just can't go through the heartbreak of training and working hard, to have the race pulled out from me two weeks beforehand, as it was with the Boston Marathon. I don't want to go through the yo-yo feelings of "I feel fine", "oh that hurt", "but this felt good". I want to make that decision ahead of time. To be able to make a decision like this so early in the season is a big deal for me! Of course, if the 10 miler feels okay, and then it hurts down the road, I have no problem bowing out at a later date, if necessary. However, if I do feel pain this weekend, I am not going to ignore it.

This first week of training has probably been the easiest mileage week I've had in a long time:
Monday: 3 mile run
Tuesday: 5 mile run
Wednesday: 3 mile run
Thursday: 1 mile warm up, 3 miles of hills, 1 mile cool down

Tomorrow will be a 5 miler at marathon pace, Saturday will be the 10 miler, and Sunday will be a rest day as I cheer on Drea Gutierrez at the Minneapolis Marathon, and Meghan Smith and Ginger Montezon at the Minneapolis Half Marathon. Since this will be the first year in the existence of the Minneapolis Half Marathon, in which I am not running, I am going to be their biggest fan, cheering them on by bike. I can't wait!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

This is Why I Love the Process

I have found myself itching to write a blog over the past two months; however, each time I sat down to write, so much emotion flooded my heart that I simply couldn't put words to my emotions. It has taken some time to really digest all that I've been learning in this season, but I'm ready to share.

For those of you who know me well, this part will be redundant, but for those of you who don't know me well, part of why I love training for marathons is because of the process. I love the process of training. I love the struggle, the effort, the stubbornness, the fatigue, the confidence that is created. I love exceeding what I thought I was capable of. I love that when I run, I can't escape myself, my thoughts, my insecurities, my weaknesses, or the work it requires. I find myself as I run. I discover who I was created to be, and what I'm capable of accomplishing. I change every time I hit the payment. So naturally, I was concerned with what life would look like with the absence of running.

At the beginning, I experienced the mourning phase. Truly, it felt as though a part of my spirit died. I wasn't sure what to do with myself. I would burst into tear throughout the day. Even in my mourning, I committed to trying new activities. I dove (literally) into swimming, biking and strength training (upper body and core). I spent hours in the pool, with great friends. I went to various spin classes. I went to numerous races, and was a spectator (and a very loud cheer-er), and had a blast cheering those who could run!

I slowly realized I had been learning just as much about myself in the healing process, as I had been learning in the training process. "Training and racing have shown me sides of myself that I never knew existed. I've found perseverance, an ability to focus, stubbornness, compulsiveness, bravery, organization, a sense of humor, and a capacity for unbridled joy" (Gordon Bakoulis Bloch). This next statement will only make sense if you are a runner: It takes just as much perseverance, focus, stubbornness, compulsiveness, and bravery to wake up in the morning and NOT run. I had to wake up each morning, and choose healing. It takes perseverance and bravery to not run. Sometimes I was successful, sometimes I wasn't. Sometimes the urge to run overcame the desire to heal. Sometimes I listened to doctors orders, and sometimes I snuck in a run (and then suffered the consequences). My successful days were the ones I woke up and chose to not to run.

So, what have I learned in this season? I have learned there is always something to be learned :) I have learned that I am stubborn. I have learned that I am brave. I have learned that joy always comes with the morning and through the mourning.

"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and no grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31

Monday, April 4, 2011

From the Inside Out

I feel so broken. Moreso broken in spirit than physically speaking. Although I have a stress fracture, one could argue physical brokenness, yet my heart hurts more than my leg. I feel like a part of me has died, and I'm not sure what to do with myself. My boss told me today that he saw a blankness in my eyes today. I feel like I'm just wandering about hopelessly....

I am trying to find new activities to keep myself busy. I am trying a few different Spin classes at Lifetime, but I find myself getting bored. I have been swimming, and thoroughly enjoying my time in the pool. I can feel myself getting better with my breathing, and my form. Thanks to my good friend Suzie, I am becoming more confident in the pool. But it's still not the same.

This song is not new by any means. I can't seem to get it out of my mind, so I thought I would share it. It has been ministering to my soul-may it bless you too.

"A thousand times I've failed
Still Your mercy remains

And should I stumble again
Still I'm caught in your grace.

Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades, never ending,
Your glory goes beyond all fame. My heart and my soul, I give you control
Consume me from the inside out
Let justice and praise, become my embrace
To love You from the inside out.

Your will above all else, my purpose remains

The art of losing myself in bringing You praise.

Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades

Never ending, Your glory goes beyond all fame

And the cry of my heart is to bring You praise

From the inside out, O my soul cries out."

~From the Inside Out, Hillsong

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Update: For Lack of a Better Title

It seems odd to write a blog with information that negates my previous blog. After almost a month of pain in my leg, assuming it was shin splints or a calf strain, it finally got to the point where I could no longer point to where the pain was. The pain became my lower leg. I tried myofascial release, Biofreeze, wrapping, taping, icing, elevating, compressing, ibuprofen, everything I knew to do, and the pain refused to go away. It got to the point where I was waking up in the middle of the night with my leg pulsing in pain.

On Wednesday I finally went to Tria Orthopedic Specialists to review my symptoms with a doctor. We talked about my pain, and how it had been there since March 5th. We discussed Boston and my excitement. I shared that I needed confirmation that I was not going to further injure myself by running the marathon. I realize it will hurt, and I'll be slower than I wanted, but I needed the peace of mind from a doctor to know that I wouldn't create long term damage. His thoughts went like this: "Do I think you should run Boston? Probably not. Would I run Boston if I were in your shoes? Absoulutely, without a doubt." He understood me, and I appreciated that. He understood the importance of Boston, and my dream. He decided we should do an MRI to inspect the pain. On Thursday I got the call from him. Even before his call, I burst into tears listening to his voicemail on my work phone, as he said, "Please call me, we need to have a conversation about your results." I called him to find out that I had a severe stress fracture spanning over half way across my tibia bone. And running over the past few weeks, while in pain, had only increased the trauma.

I struggled to swallow as he told me I was to stop running immediately. My eyes filled to their rims with tears as he told me Boston was out of the picture, and even walking much was out of the picture. He suggested a hard cast, to keep me off it, thus allowing it to heal faster. I asked if the cast was necessary for healing-that's hard to get around downtown Minneapolis, it's hard to shower, and then I really can't do anything! He said the cast would keep me from doing too much, but he'd be fine with a boot if I promised to stay off it as much as possible. I sat in the skyway (during work), and just sobbed. All my hardwork, since November, wasn't going to be put into execution. The 4:15 mornings, the hill workouts, the long runs on the weekends in the freezing cold weather, all the snow, the races to test fitness, all to put me in shape for nothing.

On Friday, I waited for an April Fool's Day call from my doctor, it never came. It's now Sunday, and I still wake up thinking, "maybe I'll wear this boot for two weeks, and not run (just swim and bike), and then be able to run Boston-that's not happening either. Yesterday I had a breakdown as I was about to start vacuuming, and Jeremy offered to do it for me, I burst into tears and said, "I don't want to feel worthless, I can do something." I have my good moments though. I get really excited when Jeremy comes back from a run and he tells me how good it went! We might be able to run together soon!! That makes me smile.

Tears pool even as a type, but I have to cling to this: I know that God cares deeply for me. I know that He knows how much Boston means to me. I have to trust that He has my best in mind. I learn things through the process of training, and I know that I will learn things through the process of healing.

"Training and racing have shown me sides of myself that I never knew existed. I've found perseverance, an ability to focus, stubbornness, compulsiveness, bravery, organization, a sense of humor, and a capacity for unbridled joy." Gordon Bakoulis Bloch

I found the above quote, and it couldn't have fit me more. I have replaced "training and racing" with "rest and healing" and have made it my prayer.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pink is the New Black

I'm in the final countdown to the Boston Marathon. I have put in the mileage. Balancing hills, interval runs, long mileage days, and rest days. My body has been physically exhausted, but I am in the best shape of my life. For the first time, about a month ago, I admitted that I have a chance at a career PR at Boston-which is a very challenging course. I was excited. Things have changed since then. It may no longer be about a PR but about simply finishing. Sometimes that's all you can do. But I know that my God heals, and so I hold on to hope.

I made a large error. I know better. I have been running in a pair of shoes since October (average 50-60 miles per week, you do the math). Too many miles on a pair of shoes. The Asics Gel Nimbus received the abuse. It's a heavier shoe, but boy is it comfortable. I finally decided to migrate to a lighter shoe (only about an ounce difference), thinking I might feel faster ;). I went to Run n Fun, and they suggested the Asics Gel Cumulus. It is basically the same shoe, with a little less cush. I ran one run in them, and decided I didn't like them as much as my other pair. Rather than going back to Run n Fun and getting a new pair of the Gel Nimbus, I decided to go back to running in my old pair of Gel Nimbus. For a short run, I may have gotten away with it, but not for a 22 miler. I have been struggling with pain in my shin for about two weeks now.

I have been doing everything I know to do for what I thought was shin splints (with the exception of not running) which will happen after the marathon. I have been icing, compressing, elevating, foam rolling, using The Stick, and using a golf ball for more direct self-myofascial release. Nothing was working. I have been numbing the pain with ibuprofen to get through runs. I took Saturday and Sunday off completely to run. I did my last long run (16 miles) on Monday morning. Everything felt difficult. My stride felt off (from over compensating), my breathing felt heavy (the mechanics of my running were off, thus tiring other muscles that aren't used to working as hard), and my calves started tightening up. Physically, my body felt beat up after the run. Mentally, I felt defeated and disappointed after all the work I've put in.

I got up and went to Lifetime to run today. I ended up simply showering and getting ready for work--completely skipping the workout. Yep, that much pain. When you go to the gym, simply to shower and get ready, you know you've reached the end of your rope. Today I finally went in to the chiropractor to see if their was anything that could be done. Whether chiropractic care or progressive rehab massage. After assessing the situation, he said he doesn't think it's actually shin splints as much as it is calf strain, wrapping around to the front. I think that's good news, as that can heal faster than shin splints. He adjusted my ankle, did some excruciatingly painful myofascial release with a fancy doctor tool, and taped my calf with hot pink ROCK tape (http://rocktape.com/). For any nerdy readers of mine that care to know what it does, it lifts and supports the muscle, and encourages increased blood flow to the injured area. I go in for another appointment on Friday. I was excited because today was the first day I was able to walk around and not feel the pain while walking!!!

Here's a picture of the tape job. The Rock website actually has instruction on how to properly tape, based on injury.

Tomorrow is a new day. Tomorrow I will take courage, face the option of failure, and try again. But I have hope.

"All our troubles and all our tears God our hope has overcome. All our failure and all our fear, God has overcome. All our heartache and all our pain. God our healer, He has overcome.

So take heart, let His love lead us through the night. Hold onto hope, and take courage again."

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Running in Shorts and a Tank?!

I had the amazing opportunity to spend this last week out in Scottsdale, AZ at the beautiful Four Seasons Troon North Resort. I was looking forward to the relaxation, the sun, running amidst the mountains, reading my book, catching up with my good friend Stephanie, hanging out with Jim and Grace, and celebrating a great year in 2010. By night I was awestruck by the brilliant constellations that so often I miss living downtown Minneapolis. By morning I watched the sun work itself over the mountain peaks. As I woke up to run each morning I was speechless in light of the scenery that wrapped around me.

"God, brilliant Lord, yours is a household name. I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous, your handmade sky-jewelry, moon and stars mounted in their settings. Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, why do you bother with us? Why take a second look our way? Yet we've so narrowly missed being gods, bright with Eden's dawn light. God, brilliant Lord, your name echoes around the world." Psalm 8

On Wednesday morning, Jeremy got up early to take Steph and I to the airport. So we decided to run on the treadmills in Scottsdale. 5 miles and I had enough....I needed to get out of the gym and enjoy my surroundings!

Thursday morning I got up to run, hoping to run a little bit further. To my surprise, I struggled through this run, having to stop every half mile. At first I thought it was the elevation change, however, I was notified it wasn't that much of a difference. As I struggled to find a new hypothesis, I decided to blame it on the dry air. Although it was warm, it was dry. In Minnesota, it's chilly, but there's some moisture in our air. So Thursday's run was beautiful, but challenging. I worked my way to a park reserve and fought the dusty but groomed trail. I made it back to the hotel to have mustered out a 5 mile run. I have also been fighting shin splints in my left leg. I'll get to the shin splints later. I had to get back to the hotel because I had a 9:00AM appointment to get a Swedish massage! I will say, I have had NUMEROUS massages, but that was by far, the best massage I have EVER had! Peppermint oil, soothing music, deep tissue self-myfascial release massaging. One word: unbelievable. After the massage, I decided I should rest some more, so Steph and I headed to the pool for the rest of the afternoon. We went to to fitness center before getting ready for our evening event and I did a 3 mile tempo run. For the day, I logged 8 miles.

On Friday, I had to be to our business meeting early, so I only had time to run a quick 4 miler. This run felt much better (cardiovascularly), but my shin was still bothering me. I began getting a little concerned. We had signed up for a 10K the next day, but more importantly, the Boston Marathon is about a month away! I've worked too hard to be in pain.

On Saturday, Steph and I woke up at 5:30AM to meet Jim and Grace, to travel to Tempe, AZ for our 10k, called The Nun Run! Jim, Grace, and I ran the race; Steph was our fabulous cheerleader. Jim, Grace, Steph, and me, see below. All three of us ran in Fitsok socks :) I am so thankful to be sponsored by such a fabulous company. Thank you thank you thank you FITSOK!!!!

I took three ibuprofen to numb the pain in my shin. I decided that it wouldn't be wise to "race" the race. Boston is more important than injuring myself further. I decided to run, and to work hard, but not push too hard. The course was a 5k loop that we did twice. It had quite a few rolling hills. The ibuprofen did it's magic, and my shin didn't bother me at all. The only thing getting to me was the heat and the sun. The first loop wasn't so bad, but I really started to cook on the second loop. My body wasn't accustomed to the warm weather, after running in the tundra for months on end. During the first loop, I had two guys I was running with, but on the second loop I passed them and suddenly felt very alone. I had nobody to chase, and nobody chasing me, that I could hear. And so I prayed. I prayed for Jim and Grace, I prayed for the nuns and their building project, I prayed for Japan, I prayed for healing for Steph.

There was the 10k race, a 5k run/walk, and a 1 mile walk. It was difficult to run the second loop because we were dodging and weaving in and out of the walkers. There were walkers, strollers, dogs on leashes, and clumps of people to work through. I weaved in and out, and continued to make my way through the second loop. I finished the race in 44:57 (average 7:15 pace/mile). Ended up place as the 3rd female finisher, and 9th overall. I was pleased given the course, the weather conditions, and my conserved effort. I worked hard, but didn't feel like I had overdone it. Immediately upon finishing I wanted to get back to the course to cheer on Jim and Grace. Steph suggested water first, and I'm glad she did. We cheered on Jim and Grace as they finished the course.

Theme from the race: "Run like a nun; it's a good habit!" ;)

I'm so grateful God has given me the ability to run. I feel His presence as I run. I can't escape how big He is as I run. Sometimes it's the little things, like running, that reminds me how much God loves me, by allowing me to participate in little things that bring such great joy!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Miles Make Champions

I've taken a break from blogging. Not because I haven't been running. Not because I haven't had any thoughts, or any reports. This past week seemed a lot lower in miles compared to weeks past. Due to snow fall, icy patches, and the need for sleep my mileage decreased.

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 8 miles
Wednesday: 8 miles
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: 6 miles
Saturday: 22 miles
Sunday: 4 miles

There was no hill workout on Tuesday, and there was no 12 mile UofM loop due to work. But there was consistency, and there was a 22 miler. And for that, I celebrate. It was a windy day, but sunny. I always wake up with anxiety before a long run. I question my training and my capabilities. But as I met the group, I knew it was just another Saturday. Another day, to show what I was made of. And that is what we did.

During my 22 mile run, I had a lot of time to think. Naturally, my thoughts drifted to a book I had been reading, Unbroken. A story of resilience. A story of perseverance. A story of a man, and his will to live. Not only did I align myself with Louie Zamperini, as a runner. But I found myself in the story with him, struggling along side him. In his pursuit of the 4 minute mile, I felt his sweat, his pain, his determination. As he ran, I was running alongside him. When his plane crashed, and drifted endlessly in the ocean, I feared the sharks, right along with him. When he got to the POW camps, my heart ached as I experienced his pain. The crimes committed against Zamperini weren't just against him, but against all of humanity. He was stripped of his dignity, he was demoralized, he was devalued. When one loses their dignity, you have to ask if they still remain a person? Dignity is what separates humanity from every other living thing. I chewed on this thought for a while during my run. I got to thinking about other human issues that are taking place. Human trafficking. When one's dignity is stolen, life itself seems to be extrapolated. A little heavy, but helped pass the time.

Going in to this next week is going to be interesting. I am heading out to Scottsdale, AZ. I will be going from the chilly tundra to the sunny desert. My mileage will be low, but it will be nice to run in shorts and a tank top. I plan on running a 10k on Saturday. Not trying to race it, given I've been running longer, but it'll feel good to run on flat, smooth terrain. Here's to warm weathered running!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

I have taken a break from blogging lately, due to the fact that not much has been happening on the running front. I have been battling Strep Throat, and therefore, my running has been little to none. The most challenging part of having Strep, was that I developed a rash around my neck, that caused my throat to swell, making it hard to swallow, and even breathe. So I took the time I needed to recover, and am happy I listened to my body.

Saturday was my first real run since being sick. I had planned to do a 21 mile run. I was also signed up to run the Valentine's Day 5K around Lake Harriet. Heather picked me up and we went to the St. Paul Lifetime, and ran a 6 mile loop. We then met up with Jim and KG to run our normal 18 mile loop. By the time we got to Lake Harriet, I was 16 miles into my morning run. I ran 1 more mile along Lake Harriet with the group, and then circled back to the Bandshell to get ready for my 5K. My 5K was slow. I was cold, hungry, tired, and ready to be done. When I finished the 5K I had run 21.1 miles, and it felt like it!

Fitsok gave me the opportunity to run this race for them! Not only did I get to enjoy a fun run with the running community. I got a sweet tech shirt, Twin Cities in Motion winter hat, and another great pair of Fitsok socks!!! Thanks Fitsok!

The best part of the day was getting to see former and current clients run their 5K's! Nothing blesses my heart more than seeing people I care deeply about, overcome challenges, and accomplish their goals!

Kent Wheelock (former rockstar client), Pam Wheelock (current rockstar client), Brittany Wheelock (current rockstar client). All three have seen tremendous success in their personal fitness goals, and I am simply thrilled to get to be a part of their journey!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

On the Sidelines

I find it odd for as healthy as I eat, as often as I exercise, as much as I supplement vitamins, and as well as I sleep every night, that once again, I find myself sick. But here I am, in the throws of another cold. I spent Saturday and Sunday on the couch. My biggest adventure on Saturday was taking a shower. I am blessed to have an incredible husband who took extremely good care of me--including cleaning, cooking, and just hanging out by my side.

Sunday morning, I got up to meet Heather, we were supposed to do a 24 mile run, ha! I often believe I am capable of more than I actually am, when I'm sick. So I met her at 7AM, ready to run, it was a beautiful morning. We decided to run the 18 mile loop instead. After a mile in, I realized that I felt sick and wasn't going to make. 1.14 miles, and I was ready to WALK back to the gym. Epic fail. I am happy that I listened to my body and did not try to push through.

I have taken Saturday, Sunday, and today off from running. It has made me sad that I haven't gotten to enjoy the nice weather we've had, but I know my body needs to fully recover before I jump back into it. As much as slowing down has been good for me, it sure is a bummer.

As I layed on the couch all of Saturday, I drifted in and out of sleep. While I was awake I just kept asking why I get so sick, when I take such good care of my body?! I did not get an answer, but I did find rest and relaxation. And that is exactly what my body is needing right now. I am still feeling crummy, but trust that this down time is good for me.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Securian Frozen Half Marathon Report: Exciting and Upsetting

Saturday, January 29th marked the date of many exciting things: The birth of my manager's baby (Derek Ryan Hale), my cousin Jen and Jeremy's wedding, and my first winter half marathon-The Securian Frozen Half Marathon.

I woke up Saturday morning with time to get my usual pre-race breakfast, a rice cake with peanut butter, honey, and banana slices. The temperature was about 25 degrees, with windchill it was about 18 degrees. Great temps for a winter race! It was nice to only have to wear two top layers for this race. Heather and I met up with Jim and Trey at the Securian building, and we hung out for a bit before heading to the start. It was chilly and windy, downtown St. Paul with the buildings creating a wind trap. We went to the start line with 4 minutes to spare.

The first half of the race has a lot of rolling hills along Shepherd Rd. Jim, Trey, Heather, and I ran the first few miles together. We were holding between a 7:20-7:40 pace/mile. Heather and I were trying to get ourselves to slow down to conserve energy so we could have negative splits on the way back. The race felt great! After running on snow-laden trails for months, it was nice to run on clean pavement, and actually stride out. I didn't do much of a taper. This past week was heavy on the miles, and intense in the workouts. But my legs felt fresh, my body felt strong, and I was content along the course. The turnaround was just after mile 6. We noticed after the turnaround in the course that it jumped to mile 8. Did we hit a time warp? Where did mile 7 go? I kept looking at my watch, wondering why the course said mile 8, but my watch said 6.6 miles? I kept thinking the course would work itself out, and it would all even out in the end. My second half of the race was great. I did exactly what I had hoped to do, run negative splits.

As got back to downtown St. Paul, I knew I had about 3 miles left. I was still conserving my energy. I knew I could pick it up a little but (and run sub-7). I charged up the quick, but steep hill, and was thankful for the hill workouts we've been doing. I turned and ran the less-steep, but gradual and longer hill downtown, and was pleased with my abilities. I knew I was working hard. I felt out of breath from the hills, but knew I had 2 miles to go. I turned a corner downtown, and saw Trey (he had just finished), he ran up to me and said, "the finish is right around this corner." WHAT?!?! I'm only at 11.5 miles. My plan was to pick up the last mile, and finish strong. So I dug in, turned the corner, saw the finish, and made a mad dash for it. I saw a guy a few seconds ahead of me, and decided he was going down. With a strong finish, I beat him, crossed the line, and stared at my watch in disbelief. 11.6 miles. My finishing time was 1:27:52 (average pace 7:35/mile). I was on track for a CAREER PR for my half marathon!

My half marathon PR is 1:41:07. Had this been a full half marathon distance (13.1 miles), I absolutely would have PR'd! So I am celebrating the fact that I now realize I'm in great shape! I also learned that the New York Marathon is a lottery; however, for my age bracket, if you run a 1:38:59 half marathon time, you receive an automatic entry into the New York Marathon! That would have been achieved yesterday, had it been a certified course. This was the first year they changed the course and this was the first year the course was not certified. That was upsetting. Even still, I accomplished everything I had set out to do. I wasn't looking for a career PR, I was looking for a fun race, running with friends, running on pavement, and feeling good about the work I put in. All of that was accomplished (the career PR for an 11.6 mile race was an added bonus)!!!

Trey, Heather, and Jim all had great races too! Trey likes to say he's not in shape, but he had a fantastic race! Heather dropped the hammer, and ran like a crazy lady! Jim had an awesome race too! We all felt satisfied with the work we had done.

I also had the privilege to see my client Pam, running another 5K. She has made exceptional progress in her training. Pam has accomplished more than any other client I have had. She is a beautiful and inspiring woman. I am honored to be her trainer :) She had a career PR in her 5K!

Here's my log for the week:
Monday: PM Treadmill run-5 miles
Tuesday: AM 6 hill repeats plus 6 mile loop-11.5 miles
Wednesday: AM Outside 5 mile river run; PM Treadmill tempo run 3.1 miles (8.1 miles for the day)
Thursday: AM Outside 9 mile loop.
Friday: AM Outside 4 mile run.
Saturday: Frozen Half Marathon (11.6 miles)
Sunday (today): Will be running 13 miles

Weekly total: 62.2 miles-->New high mileage week!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What Goes Around....Keeps Going Around

What goes around, keeps going around. At least that's the story I am sticking to in regards to yesterday. Knowing how cold the temperatures have been the past week, we decided it wasn't safe (or worth it for that matter) to take our long run outside. We have run in -10(windchill) before. But when it's -5 (airtemp), and the windchill hasn't been factored in yet-no thank you! As much as I love going outside, yesterday was a little too cold for me. So Heather and I went to TC Lifetime in an attempt to run 23 miles on the indoor track! I had had too many days on the dreadmill this past week, and knew I wouldn't be able to go for 23 miles on the dreadmill. so we decided to run the track. We broke it up into sections, run for an hour, stop for a minute to get drinks and nutrition, run for another hour, stop for a minute to refuel, run for 40 minutes, stop for a minute to refuel, and run the last 25 minutes. We ran for a total of 3 hours and 5 minutes (we stopped our watches on the refueling breaks). I estimated our time, and I am sure that we were running sub-8 minute miles, but I don't think we were holding 7:30s/mile the whole time. So based on that math, we feel confident saying we ran 23 miles. 7 1/2 times around the track is equivalent to one mile. That's 173 laps on the track, but who's counting?

The run was work, but a day after, I feel better than I have felt compared to any of our outdoor runs from weeks past. As proud as I am of getting this beast of a workout done, I am hoping to get outside more this week!

Next weekend is the Frozen Securian Half Marathon! I've never done an outdoor race longer than a 5k. I'm not hoping to be fast, just looking for a race experience, with community, and a good time! I am told it is an extremely hilly course. Results to follow.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Personal Achievement

5:00AM this morning: 12 mile treadmill run--without stopping. Enough said......

And that's all she wrote.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I Ain't Sayin It's Easy....

“The thing that most often determines success or failure is not skill but hard work and determination”

This week was another 56 mile week, tied with last week, I believe this is my highest mileage week. Monday I ended up sleeping in, which can be mentally defeating, to start a week off that way. Tuesday I met the group in St. Paul and we ran the two part hill 6 times. It had snowed on Monday night, so it was slick and tough to drudge through. It had not been plowed. My quads burned charging up that hill, but I felt accomplished to have completed the work I set out to do. It's just under 6 miles, doing the hill 6 times, so to the hill, 6 times up and down, back to the club, and around the block totaled a nice 7 miler workout. Brutal but beautiful. On Wednesday, Heather and I ran the Olie Run, plus the Stone Arch, and 10th St bridge for a nice 8 miler. Both of us felt like toast from the hill workout the day before. But we finished the 8 mile run, and were happy to have gotten the mileage. And to no avail, we ran the 12 mile U of M loop on Thursday. Again, not much time for recovery. Friday I set off to do a treadmill run, in hopes of running a little bit faster than I am able to do outside with the snow and ice. I ran 5 miles at the Target Center Lifetime, and a decent speed. It took me about 38 minutes to run 5 miles, which is a lot faster than I've been able to run outside lately.

On Saturday, we were supposed to do a 20 miler, but it snowed, and I was fearful that the sidewalks weren't going to be plowed early in the morning. So I decided to bail on the group, and sleep in. I was fortunate enough to have my friend Ginger come to Lifetime with me, and run next to me on the treadmill. As much as I dislike the treadmill, I was pleased with my workout. My longest run on a treadmill is only 8 miles. However, yesterday, I set a new record. I ran 12 miles on the treadmill. Lifetime got new treadmills with built in TV's. So I hooked up my ipod, and turned on the TV--talk about mental stimulation! Definitely helped pass the time. Neither Ginger or I could talk much while running; however, there is a comfort that can't be explained, simply by having a friend next to you. It creates a sort of comfort and peace, knowing there is someone next to you, who believes in you. So 12 miles. On the treadmill! I didn't run as far as the group who went outside, but I am so happy to have set a new personal record on the treadmill. I hope I don't have to do that again, but it's nice to know I've got it in me.

Today (Sunday), I met Heather at 7:00 (yeah, slept in), and we did the U of M loop again. So another 12 mile day. Two back to back days of 12 miles. And three 12 mile days this week.

Aristotle said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore,
is not an act but a habit.” My goal is to live a life of excellence, in everything that I do.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Tale of 22 Miles!

"My road calls me, lures me, West, East, South, and North; Most roads lead men homewards, My road leads me forth. To add more miles to the tally of grey miles left behind, In quest of that one beauty God put me here to find." ~Excerpt from Roadways by John Masefield.

One foot in front of the other, just one foot in front of the other. This snow is crunching so loudly under my feet. It's -8 below (windchill), my face is cold, but my body is warm. Too many layers. 22 miles in the winter? My sport beans are frozen. One foot in front of the other. Take it one step at a time. Why is the snow so loud today? All of the above are thoughts/statements/questions that crossed my mind as I ran 22 miles yesterday.

Heather needed to get 22 miles in, so I met her at 6:30AM to get 4 miles more than the rest of the group was doing. We ran our 4 miles and started running back to Lifetime, we then met KG, Karl, & Jim outside, and started our 18 mile loop. I know I am in good cardiovascular shape. I know my legs are in good shape. But it was so difficult! With five top layers on, two pairs of pants, three pairs of gloves, a hat and a facemask on, I felt so heavy! Every step felt like concerted effort just to move! After the run I weighed my wet clothing, and it added an extra 12 lbs. It was like wearing a weighted vest, but all over my body.

At mile 17, David met us with Gatorade and I couldn't have been more thankful and appreciative. I hadn't brought anything to drink, just frozen sport beans, and my body was cramping up. The sweet sugary Gatorade was exactly what my body needed.

We made it back to the club. 22 miles under my belt. Here's the total for the week:
Monday: 6 miles
Tuesday: 5 miles
Wednesday: 5.5 miles (6 800m speed intervals with a warm up and cool down); swam for 20 minutes.
Thursday: 12 miles
Friday: 5 miles
Saturday: 22 miles

I wish I kept better track of my lifetime miles, but this may be the highest mileage week I've ever run. I am very pleased with my successful training so far. I have added hills, speed, long runs, and swimming. I am thankful for good health (finally) and strength. I can't quite find to words to express how I feel when I'm working hard. I am reminded of God's faithfulness and love for me as I press on to do things I never imagined. I never want to take for granted the opportunity I have to get up and run or lift, or simply work hard.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Slow Start to the New Year Isn't Going to Stop Me

"We can not direct the wind, but we can adjust our sails."

Most people begin making New Years Resolutions, fair enough, I am also one of those people. However, more often than not, those resolutions revolve around gym memberships and being healthier. Since that is already a part of my lifestyle, I try to set resolutions revolving around bettering myself as an individual. I set spiritual resolutions, physical resolutions, and hobby resolutions. My spiritual resolutions involve praying with Jeremy every day (or as often as I can), reading through the Old Testament again, and being intentional about praying for people. My physical resolutions include being intentional about speed and hill workouts, completing P90X, and being prepared to run the Boston Marathon. My hobby resolutions include trying to make new recipes (I got a new cookbook for Christmas), reading more, and discovering a new hobby.

Unlike most people, who make a mad dash to the gym on New Year's Day, to start their year off right, I was home sick on the couch with Jeremy (who was also sick). I took Friday and Saturday off from running. My physical activity for Saturday (New Years Day) involved running stairs in my building for 20 minutes--only because I felt lazy and lethargic. Let me tell you, running stairs for 20 minutes is work when you're healthy, but when you're sick, it's a whole new beast! On Sunday I felt decent enough to try a run on the treadmill, so I met Heather, and ALL THE TREADMILLS WERE TAKEN! I could not believe it! New Years Resolutions in full effect! We had to wait a few minutes to find two treadmills next to each other to get our run in. I ran 5 miles, alternating between a 7.5-8.1 pace, going up and down, just to pass the time. It felt good to get it done, but the breathing piece was still tough. I'm still a bit congested, but my heart was pleased to be able to run.

On Monday I had the privilege of running with Trey, Jeff, and Dan! We ran 6 miles-the Ole Loop. It was decent out, cold but not windy. I was happy to be outside, and catching up with good friends! On Tuesday, I was supposed to run hills with the St. Paul crew; however, since I'm still recovering from being sick, and the windchill was -13, I thought it best to stay inside. So again, Heather and I decided to stick indoors. I ran 5 miles, and then walked another 1/2 mile at a level 6 incline. After the treadmill work, Heather, Shannon, and I ventured to Cari's Total Conditioning class. The class consisted of mostly stabilization exercises using the stability ball. It was a great class, and a nice challenge for my body. Good to switch up the work I've been doing. Today (Wednesday), Heather and I ran 6 800m repeats on the treadmill, with half recovery between each one. When all was said and done, we ran about 5.5 miles (that includes the warm up, recovery periods, and cool down). After our speed work we hopped in the pool and swam laps for a good 20 minutes. It's amazing how 20 minutes of pool work can be so tough! We used kickboards the whole time, so there was no arm work--only legs! I feel like my legs have taken a beating this week. But it's been nice to switch up the work I've been doing. We'll see how the 12 miler goes tomorrow!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Welcome 2011!

Well 2010 has come and gone. And what a year to celebrate as far as running goals go. In June, I set my new half marathon PR at the Gary Bjorkland Half Marathon in Duluth, with a 1:41:23. In September, I set a new 25K(15.5 miles) PR at the City of the Lakes 25K with a 2:00:22. (The year prior, I ran that same race is 2:07:50). That's something to celebrate! In October, I hit my goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon by running the Chicago Marathon. Chicago was my 5th marathon, and 3rd time finishing Chicago. With an 80-ish degree race day, I was happy to squeak in with a 3:39:06 finish time! Prior years I ran 3:49:47 (2008) and 3:43:42 (2009). A reminder that with every run I complete, I am getting stronger, I am getting faster, I am getting mentally tougher!

In November, my NCU Runnin Rams placed first in the NCCAA Division II Championship races! Sixth national banner for the ladies, and fourth banner for the guys! Our most talented team of XC runners in the history of NCU. It has been been such a privilege to be a part of this program. This was my third season as a coach. Every year there are challenges and obstacles, and every year we overcome. Looking forward to great seasons ahead!

I know 2011 is going to be a great year, for many reasons. But since this blog is dedicated to racing, I will speak of those reasons. As I sit here typing, it is January 1st, 2011. I will be running the Boston Marathon on April 18th. I am way ahead on my training. I've already run two 18 mile runs, that I feel good about. The first 18 miler I already wrote about. My last 18 miler was this past Thursday 12/30/10. Heather and I decided to do our long run on Thursday because we heard rain, sleet, and ice were coming. I am so glad we went for it. I have been battling a cold (so has Jeremy--he's got it worse). So Thursday morning, prior to the run I guzzled a glass of Theraflu mixed with Accelerade. Got a mix of cold medicine with some sugar and electrolytes. Call me crazy, but it got me through the run. We met at Lifetime at 4:30AM--Let me be clear, we started the run at 4:30AM! We had to get it in before going to work. But at 4:30, it was 36 degrees. It was gorgeous out! I fear we won't see those temps again until March! For most of the run we dodged puddles, sometimes we didn't dodge them, and ended up with soggy feet. The pavement was nice up until the last 4 or 5 miles along Minnehaha Parkway. We spent a lot of time dodging puddles, ice patches, and slick areas. We kept a decent pace for most of the run--until we hit those slippery areas, then we were done for. But regardless, we finished our 18 mile run in 2:29:01. I am pleased to be this far into my training.

This year I have set some training goals. I want to be more intentional with hills and speedwork. I think running with this crew in St. Paul will help with that. I also want to get back to lifting legs. I stayed away from legs last year due to my knee injury the year prior, but I think I'm ready to jump back in, slowly of course!

As it is a new year, I challenge you to think of something you want to accomplish, but never thought possible. Go after it. Your body can do far more than your mind tells you so!

Happy New Year!