Twin Cities Marathon Recap

When I signed up for the the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, I believed that since it was my second marathon, it would be easier than my first. Though the race was an absolutely incredible experience — the crowds, the music, the signs, the weather, the sights were unbelievable — those 26.2 miles definitely tested me.


My well-tapered legs felt strong and ready to go as I started the race. My goal was to qualify for the Boston Marathon (sub 3:35 or 8:12 per mile). The crowd support was awesome as we looped through downtown Minneapolis, and the weather was perfect. I stayed aware of my pace, and noticed my watch kept telling me 7:35/7:45 — well ahead of my 8:00 plan.

I kept trying to slow down but my legs didn’t want to, so I just tried to hold steady. At Mile 5.5, I saw Mike and the whole Martin cheering squad, which was SO awesome! They were all wearing bright blue and yellow t-shirts that said “Team MK”!


I carried on through the next several miles, many of which were flat or downhill and they passed by quickly. I saw the cheer squad again just after the halfway mark, and still felt strong. I was beginning to realize, though, that this would not be race where I’d “turn on the gas” in the final miles.

No, this would be a “Hang on as long a you can” kind of race. I knew I had gone out too fast.



The real marathon begins after the halfway mark, when the exciting distraction of the crowds and music begin to fade, and your fatigue sets in. That’s when your training and tactical racing decisions catch up to you — for the better or worse.

For me, it was for the worse. I started feeling quite tired by mile 17 — more than I should have. I knew I had big hills awaiting me, and that didn’t help me mentally. By mile 19, when we started up one of the biggest inclines of the course, it became very clear my tank was empty.

My legs felt very heavy and I knew my pace was dropping — fast. I wiped my forehead and felt salt on my dry skin, rather than sweat. I took this as a bad sign.

This was the “wall.” And I hit it. Hard.

Summit Avenue stared me down. Do you have the will to finish this race?

As I climbed (yes, it felt like I was scaling a small mountain) toward the state Capitol, runner after runner after runner started passing me. My legs did not want to move anymore, and my arms offered little help. I knew my goal to qualify for the Boston Marathon was slipping from my grip.

But I could not go make my body go faster.

Just keep going. Doesn’t matter how slow. Do not give up.

At mile 23, I passed my family again, all of them cheering their hearts out. I only managed a glance in their direction, but their cheers motivated me so much.

My goal now was just to finish, because I wasn’t sure I could. I remembered my mom telling me the day before that I am a Timberwolf, and to think of my brave grandfather.

Hold steady. Hold steady.


When I finally reached downtown St. Paul, the giant FINISH sign came into view. I did my best to turn on the jets but I doubt I accelerated much at all. I looked at my watch and saw I had only a minute to cross the line and break 3:35. It wasn’t enough time.

I ran my heart out anyway, crossing in 3:36:01. Good enough for a 14-minute personal record. 1:02 short of a BQ.

Let me tell you, that finish felt awesome. Mike met me at the end of the chute and gave me the biggest, best hug ever. I was so relieved to have finished, so happy the hard part was over. There’s nothing better than knowing you just gave a marathon every last ounce of energy you had, and you’re still standing.

I watched football and laid on the couch that entire afternoon with Mike, telling him all about the race, reading lots of congratulations from friends and family, and enjoying the most comfortable exhaustion I’ll ever know.

What made the weekend so special, though, wasn’t the race or the finish. I felt so loved and supported by my family, near and far. I think I had the very best cheer squad on the entire course, reminding me what really matters.



Still, I have a score to settle with Summit Avenue…


Chi Town Half Marathon Recap

I think the mac and cheese did the trick for pre-race fuel — I set a new personal record at the Chi Town Half Marathon this morning of 1:38:11.


I was so nervous for this race, especially when the weather forecast looked so bleak. All day Saturday I was not myself, full of nerves over whether I could still beat 1 hour, 40 minutes in bad conditions.

Luckily, it never snowed and the wind was manageable.

But the magic ingredient that got me to my PR was the pacing teams. I positioned myself right behind Paul, a pacer who was running a 7:38 pace and finishing in 1:40. I knew if I could stay with him, I could pull away in the last mile and break 1:40.

But by mile 4, I had pulled ahead of Paul’s pacing group by about 30 feet, though apprehensively. I felt pretty strong, but worried I was picking up the pace too soon and I’d run out of gas in a few miles.

Then I saw my amazing fiancé and my sister cheering for me! Maggie even made a sign. I tried to look like I was having a grand old time.


Seeing them gave me a big confidence boost and I decided to keep trucking and trust I had enough endurance to stay ahead of the pacing group.

I remembered what Mike had told me last night. “You’ve done the training. You are capable, you know you can do this.”

We ran into the wind for the next 4 miles. It was the hardest part of the race. I held on, thanks to some Kelly Clarkson tunes and a fellow runner named Ron, who was “taking it easy” for the race and running at about my pace.

I kept him within eyesight and tucked behind him when the wind really picked up. I feared Paul’s pacing group would catch up and pass me, and I’d see my goal time slip away. So I kept pushing.

At Mile 9, we turned back south, running towards the finish with the wind at our back. That made a huge difference. I knew we were getting close.

When I hit mile 12, my time was 1:30, giving me 10 minutes to cover the last mile and still get under 1:40. I saw Mike and Maggie again and gave it everything I had, though it felt like I was moving in slow motion.

Feet across the finish.


And now, I rest.


Pass the Pasta

Looks like I might be running the Chi Town Half Marathon on Sunday in the snow and wind. Why oh why, Chicago?


But I can’t stay home. I spent a significant portion of my reporter paycheck on this race — $65.

Plus, I’ve been diligently carbo-loading. (My favorite part of race week.)

For example:


This is homemade mac-and-cheese I made for dinner tonight. I think I went a little overboard on the portion size.

I found the recipe on Let’s Dish, and it’s so easy and so delicious. The bread crumbs took it to a whole new level. Anyone who likes cheese and pasta and not always eating the healthiest foods must try this.

Here’s hoping it fuels me to that finish line…

Treadmill Brain

imageTonight I ran 10 miles on the treadmill (half-marathon is in three weeks!) They say running indoors requires “mental toughness,” but here’s how my brain handled it:

Mile 1: I’ll start nice and slow, no reason to make this harder than it needs to be. Maybe I’ll just do two miles instead of 10.

Mile 2: Legs feel OK. This isn’t so bad. Get in cruise control mode and find something to watch on TV.

Mile 3: But I never feel like I’m in cruise control and there’s nothing to watch on television. Why is that guy on the treadmill in front of me being such a show-off on level 11? #annoying

Mile 4: Time for water. Grab bottle. Spill all over myself trying to run and drink at the same time. I think I cut my lip on the lid, is it bleeding?

Mile 5: halfway there MK. Blast some Kesha and run like you’re going to die young.

Mile 6: Finally something decent to watch, Access Hollywood examining Justin Bieber’s birthday celebrations.

Mile 7: my feet hurt and I’m bored. At least Mr. Show-Off gave up on trying to qualify for the Olympics on his treadmill.

Mile 8: I wonder how many dumplings are left in the freezer. I think there’s a frozen pizza in there too. Dinner dinner dinner.

Mile 9: I hope Larry isn’t peeing in his crate right now because I’m taking forever to get home.

Mile 10: holy moly I made it to 10. Where’s the applause? And why on earth did I just do this?