Saturday, June 27, 2009


Here are two pictures that were taken of me 2 months after I had Brinley. These are the pictures that inspired me to start moving my body. I kept telling myself, "Oh well I just had a baby, that's why I look like this." But as the weeks went by, I didn't lose one pound. In fact, I gained. Then I saw these pictures and all I could think was, "Who is that girl? That can't be me." It wasn't me, I had to find myself. That's why I started running.

It's been almost a year now since Brinley was born. Sometimes I still don't recognize that girl in the mirror, probably because she's a lot more fit than I'm used to! It's weird being referred to as a runner or athletic, but I guess that's something I have transformed into. After the race the lady who gave me a massage said, "You're really fit, did you know that?" And the other day we were driving in the car and Teya saw a girl outside running who was tan, toned, and athletic looking. Teya said, "Look Mommy! That girl's just like you!"

I know my body is far from perfect, but it's been really neat to go from huffing and puffing after my kids to being able to run around with them. It's awesome being referred to as "skinny, or fit" and it's great that my 3 year old thinks I look like that buff girl running!
But the greatest transformation of all is just the way I have come to think. I feel like the little Engine that could. When faced with new challenges I don't say I can't, I say, " I think I can!" : )

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Resting and Recovery

It's been 5 days since the marathon and I'm really enjoying my week off of running to rest and recover. I'm not gonna lie, Sunday my legs, back, hips, and feet all hurt like the devil. I couldn't sit down or stand up without a pretty impressive effort. The stairs were a nightmare, and poor Taber ended up having to do a lot of kid and house duty on Father's day because I was useless.

Monday I felt greatly improved in all areas but my quads, which still really hurt. So I splurged and got a massage and asked the lady to mostly just focus on my lower back and legs. I am now a HUGE believer in the healing power of massage because the next day my legs felt 90% better! I only had a little bit of soreness but could actually climb the stairs without using the arm rail to pull myself up.

By Wednesday I was pretty much back to normal. Today all muscle soreness is gone but I'm just dealing with some knee pain and of course some pain in my IT bands which I expected. I did Pilates on Tuesday and today and have been stretching and doing a few strengthening exercises for my glutes because apparently that's supposed to help your IT bands. I have tentatively scheduled my return to running jog for Monday, but if I'm not feeling up to it I'll push it back to Wednesday. The nice thing is that my next race isn't for 2 months so I've got some time. And speaking of time, since I haven't run at all this week I've actually had time to watch a movie, go to playgroup, and mop my floors! (okay, running is no excuse for not mopping my floor, but that's the first movie I've watched in a long time! it was fun!)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Marathon insider info!

I did it! I finished! For all the overall details and pictures you can visit my family blog here: Marathon Mama.

For my running blog though I just wanted to put up some stats and some of the insider info that only runners probably care about.

My chip time at the finish was 4:37:54. Gun time was 4:41:54. So we started exactly 4 minutes after the gun. My pace was calculated according to the gun time, so it says it was 10:46 but my chip pace was 10:36. I can handle that!

I finished 537/1239 for my age division and 925/2264 for my gender.

My 10K time was 59:10
Half marathon time was 2:09:37
20 mile mark was 3:26:06
Mile 25 was 4:24:11( meaning that last 1.2 miles took me over 13 minutes to finish, it's amazing how much you slow down at the end!)
My last 10K was 1:11:48. 12 minutes slower than my first. Again, the law of diminishing returns hits you hard in the marathon!

Favorite or Funny Moments:
1) not even a mile into the race dozens of men run off to the side of the road to pee. Seriously, they couldn't hold it?
2) Every time a cool breeze came off the lake you could hear a collective sigh of relief from all the runners. It was hot out there!
3) At mile 21 a spectator shouts out, "You're gonna win!"
4) Seeing Taber at mile 24 was more refreshing than all the water, gel, fruit, and power drinks along the way.

Lessons learned:
1) Get there early. The bathroom lines are outrageous and you want to have time to stretch.
2) Don't pour water on your head with your earphones in, they might short out!
3) Take it easy! They say your marathon pace should be 3 minutes slower than your perfect mile. I tried for a 9:30 pace in beginning. I'm pretty sure my perfect mile isn't a 6:30 pace! Once I slowed down to 10:30-11 minute miles I was much happier.
4) Don't hunch over for the last 6 miles, your back will hurt like the very devil the next day if you do!
5) no matter how great your shoes are, your feet will hurt after mile 21.
6) If you wear a sweatband or a bandana on your forehead you're gonna get a funky tan line. (which is fine, just a heads up)
7) Having a running buddy (preferably one who is a better runner than you) is AWESOME! They can help you stay motivated, keep you company, push you when you need it and help you stay sane during that last grueling 6 miles.
8) When your done get your legs in cold water or iced up ASAP!
9) The next day stairs are going to become your nemesis!
10) Girl Scout cookies taste really awesome after you've run 26.2 miles

Friday, June 19, 2009

My bags are packed, I'm READY TO GO!! : )

I'm sitting in a quiet house. My 2 girls and my dog have been farmed out to friends who will be watching them for the weekend. My iPod is loaded up with some new tunes, I've got my running gear in order. Bought a big old cooler to fill with ice so I'll have PLENTY on hand after the race. I'm feeling GOOD. I'm feeling READY!!

After my freak-out moment the other day things have really come together. I had a great PT session on Thursday and my legs feel fresher than they have in 3 weeks. I got some great little blister band aids for my ankles and ibuprofen on hand for any other "needs" that may arise : )Thanks for all the positive words and motivation. I know I can do this, and I know it will be great! I've done everything I can do, I've put in the miles, I've prepared. Now it's time to reap the rewards of my hard work. I've heard that the marathon is a celebration of all your training. Well I'm ready to celebrate!!

Taber and I are leaving for Duluth in the next hour. I'm so happy he'll be there to cheer me on and support me in this. My sister will be there too (her husband is running it) So that will be great to have familiar faces at the finish line. My plan is to go nice and easy, listen to my body, and cross the finish line with enough left in my tank that I can enjoy the rest of the activities this weekend. Thanks again for all the support! Can't wait to tell you all about it!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A few concerns

As the marathon gets closer I'm feeling like a nervous wreck. I think I would be much calmer if my legs were 100 percent but they definitely are not. I'm still working through the ITB syndrome. After Saturday's run my IT bands were shot. Sunday I iced and stretched and on Monday I tried to run 3 miles. I finished it, but it hurt. The first mile and a half was especially painful. I went in for another ART treatment and more physical therapy today. The Dr. even brought out the ultrasound machine and did a treatment with that to loosen up the tissue around the IT bands that's keeping them so tight. I definitely feel an improvement after that intense little session but they still hurt. (the stairs are the worst, I have to go down them backwards)

So yeah, I'm a little concerned about Saturday but the Doctor is confident that I can finish as long as I take it slow and steady. In the mean time I'm taking it EASY. Today I was supposed to do 4 miles but I think I'm just going to do it on the elliptical to give my legs a break. Tomorrow I will run 2 miles and then no more running until the race.

Also on the concerns list, (and sorry if this is TMI) but being a girl I have to deal with the "monthly visitor" which I'm pretty positive will make it's unwelcome appearance sometime within the next three days. awesome. I really don't want to run 26.2 miles with that going on, but what can you do?

And finally, while I'm having my little freak out moment, I noticed today that the back of my heels are looking a little raw and now I'm worried I'm going to get blisters during the race. Hopefully I can prevent them but still, a cause for concern.

So now you know what's keeping me up at night. I'm excited for the race but boy will I be relieved when it's OVER!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Yesterday was our last long run before the marathon. Because of tapering down it was only 8 miles. Taber's physical therapy has been going well and he wanted to try running it with me to see if the marathon was still a possibility. We left our kids with some friends from our Ragnar team and hopped on a trail by their house that went through some marshes and around a lake and conveniently looped back to be exactly 8.5 miles. Perfect!

The Dr. told Taber not to worry about speed but just to try for distance. He also told him no hills which unfortunately we couldn't avoid as there were quite a few on the trail. We took it nice and easy, jogging at a 10:30 pace. After 2.5 miles we stopped and stretched then continued at our easy pace. Taber seemed to be doing great for the first 4 miles but then his knee started hurting. We hit a patch of hills and that didn't help at all. We stopped at mile 5 again and tried to stretch it out. At that point Taber knew he wasn't going to be able to do the marathon. It was a low point for both of us. Still Taber got back up and started jogging again, trying to at least finish our run. We jogged for one more mile and then he had to stop. He told me to ahead because he didn't want to ruin my run. I told him I'd stay with him but he really insisted I go.

I knew he would be out there for awhile just trying to walk back so I decided to run back to our friends house, borrow one of their bikes, bike back to Taber and have him ride back home while I ran. Once I had my mission in mind I kicked it into hard gear and really started to run. I was wearing Taber's new Garmin forerunner watch so I could track my speed and distance. I ran that last 2.5 miles back to the house at an 8:30 pace. I turned around quickly and biked hard to go back and find Taber. He was still about a mile and half out so he was glad to see me and happy I had the bike.

We were both a little bummed after the run but that evening we watched an AWESOME documentary called Spirit of the Marathon that chronicles 6 different runners as they train for the Chicago marathon. 2 are first timers, 2 are elite runners, 1 is a guy trying to qualify for Boston and one is a 70 year old running his 4th marathon. The movie was SO inspiring and amazing to watch. It was especially cool because the guy trying to qualify for Boston hurts his knee in a half marathon 2 months before the race (just like Taber) and has to drop out of the marathon. He still goes to support his wife who was running it, and a year later they both run Boston together. It was great for us to see that because we could relate so much. I know we'll still be able to run a marathon together, just not this one.

Taber has been amazingly supportive and upbeat through all of this. Even though I know he's very dissapointed, he hasn't wallowed in it. Instead he's switched gears to coach/support role and has really been pumping me up and trying to make sure I do everything right to have a good race. I hope if our roles are ever reversed I will be as positive as he is.

So less than a week to go now! If you are reading this and are thinking of or training to run a marathon I HIGHLY recommend watching Spirit of the Marathon for some inspiration. Here's a clip of the trailer to give you a little taste of it's awesomeness!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tapering down

This week I've been tapering down and thank goodness for that!!! My legs have been begging for a break and I'm happy to give it to them. On Monday I actually went into the Spine and Sports institute where Taber's been having his knee worked on and had them evaluate my legs. The Doctor said I had ITB friction syndrome, which long story short is that my IT bands are agitated because my glutes and quads aren't as strong as they should be to support the miles I've been putting on them. Yeah, guess I should've started cross training in the beginning like I was supposed to!

Anyway, the Dr. did a wonderful/horrible deep tissue massage on both of my legs and gave me some stretches to work on. He wants me to rub ice on my outer knee for 10 minutes a day (or take ice baths) and come in for 3 more massages before the race. He said right now he has 5 different people who are running Grandma's that are coming in for the same kind of thing. Glad to know I'm not the only one!

So far I've done two ice baths and I'm not gonna lie, they're pretty sucky. Once your legs go numb though they get better. And I will say that I feel a huge difference afterwards in reducing the pain in my legs, so that's good. Since my appt. on Monday I've gone for two runs and felt pretty good. I did 4 miles on Tuesday and 5 Miles today. My average pace on the 4 miler was 8:47 and my average today was 9:03. So nothing too fast but not too slow either. I'm aiming for around a 10 minute pace on the actual marathon so my short run pacing is still close to where it should be.

Anyway, here's a great article I found about Running Injury Free with a lot of great tips to prevent injury. I really like what they say about slowing down and taking walking breaks. I had my doubts about breaks but after taking them on our 20 miler and still finishing with a great time I'm a believer! I'll definitely be incorporating them into the actual marathon on race day.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Not so Long Run

In training for a marathon you have some long runs and some not so long runs. Saturday was a not so long run. I was planning on getting up at 6 and doing 12 miles. A couple of things got in my way though. One, my IT bands have really been bothering me. They are tight and painful every time I walk down the stairs and especially for about the first mile when I run. Two: when I woke up it was raining. Normally I don't think that would've stopped me but with my leg issues added to the rain I just couldn't do it.

Taber suggested we go to the gym and put the kids in childcare and run on the treadmills together. I knew I wasn't up for 12 miles on the treadmill but I figured I could at least do 10. Well being the chronically late person that I am we didn't end up getting to the gym till almost 12. Since Brinley is under 12 months she has to have a reservation for childcare and our reservation was from 11-1. The lady was like, um yeah, you're going to have to pick her up at 1. Doh! That only gave us 1 hour. So by the time I warmed up and got going I was only able to squeeze in 6 miles. I tried to run hard to compensate for not running long and after warming up I kicked it up to 7 miles per hour (8:34 minute pace) and then went to 7.5 (8 minute pace) I worked up a nice little sweat but was still bummed that I couldn't do more.

When I got home and was feeling all down on myself I picked up my marathon training book and read this great quote, " Don't be a slave to the program. I can't stress this enough when I speak to groups. You have your own personal rhythms and you also have to factor in what's going on in your life. Looking back I should have been more flexible. That's why I tell people that if they have a long run planned and they're overly tired, wait until they feel more rested. I should have listened to my body more that my guilt. If you need to take off, do it. Don't risk burning out. "

I was really glad I read that. The program is an outline, not a mandate. I can't beat myself up over a short run. I have to be flexible and remember that life happens. Kids need naps and sometimes you're late. Legs need rest and sometimes you have to scale back. In the end what matters is that I do my best and enjoy the journey.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Happy National Running Day!

It's national running day so I hope you laced up your shoes and got out there and ran! I did 4 miles this morning. I was supposed to do twice that but due to IT band issues and a time crunch that's all I got. At this point though I'm okay with that. I feel like I have a strong running base and my heart and lungs are great. I've asked a lot of these legs over the past few months and they've given me much more than I could've imagined. Still, I don't want to push it. Our Marathon is in 16 days and according to Grete Waitz, 9 time New York Marathon winner, "In the last two weeks, the training won't make you a better runner. In fact, too much running at that stage can undermine the effort." The miles are in the bank and that's what I'm going to draw from on race day. Right now it's just about maintenace really, so that's what I'm focusing on.

So yeah, 4 miles today and yesterday was my spin class. Man! That class is still kicking my trash! I'm amazed at how much I sweat and how bad my quads burn from doing that. I wish it was twice a week though instead of once so I could get used to it more. Oh well, still a fun way to cross train.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Today I veered from the schedule a little and decided to do a shorter run and my strength training routine. I got on the treadmill and did a warm up mile at a 10 minute pace and then did speed intervals every 1/4 of a mile. So I'd run one lap (0.25 miles)at 6.5 miles per hour (9:34 min pace) and then one lap at 7.5 (8:00 min pace) and kept rotating like that for 2 miles. On the last mile I kicked it up and ran my speed laps at 8.0 miles per hour (7:30 min pace) and that was fast for me! Thought I'd get shot off the back of the treadmill at one point. Anyway, I stopped after four miles but still felt like I got a great workout. Intervals really make you sweat!

Then I did my little strength training routine with squats, lunges, wall sits, planks, push ups sit ups, stuff like that. It was a good work out.

Also, on a random side note, I downloaded some new power songs for my iPod and they totally fueled my work out! So if you're looking for some good songs here are two I recommend:

Move Along: All American Rejects (thanks for the suggestion Darci!)
Umbrella (Travis Barker Re-mix) Rihanna (this remix is awesome!)