Boston Marathon Training {Week 9}

A mountain of used tissues had sprung up on the night stand next to my side of the bed overnight. What started as a scratchy throat and a slight headache on Monday had turned into a full blown, very nasty cold by Thursday. The kind of cold that just knocks you out and leaves your nose raw and Rudolphesk.

Here it is, Sunday afternoon and I’m still blowing my nose every 10 minutes and downing Tylenol just to try to alleviate the pressure in my head. Needless to say this, my last week before training starts to peak, was not my best week. I knew I was getting sick when I ran my tempo run on Monday. Tuesday, I rested as usual, hoping that I’d be good to go. Wednesday, I forgot to cancel Orangetheory, so rather than throw away $15, I went. It was my worst performance ever. Thursday I was down. Friday, I tried to run again, nope. I made it a single mile before I said there is no way I can do this, my entire body ached. But it was 65 degrees and sunny, so I ate my chicken noodle soup at the park where the kids ran around for three hours. We all needed the sun and warmth.


After going to bed at 8:30 on Friday night, I was determined to at least get part of my long run done. I hate missing runs, especially two in a row which would include a long one. Saturday morning I took my trusty cold and flu medicine and went to meet my friends. I sounded freaking awful when we first started. I was questioning whether I would make it through three miles, let alone 16. Luckily I have very patient and understanding running partners. They slowed way down for me.


The weather was incredible for February in Minnesota. With temperatures in the upper 30s and low 40s, a blue sky with warm sunshine, it was a treat of a winter run. By the fourth mile, my cold medicine had kicked in and I was feeling much better. I still had to stop to blow my nose every few miles, but the fresh air and Vitamin D were doing wonders, at least for distracting me from my ills.

When we finished, I vowed to be lazy the rest of the day. Aside from a short walk with the kids and dog, and playing with them out in the 60 degree weather, I was. I took it easy, even catching a 30 minute nap while the kids watched some PBS kids show. Bless them for being at an age where I can lay on the couch with them and they let me sleep for a few minutes. They knew that mommy really needed it.

I just hope that this passes soon and I can get back on track. Next weekend is the first of my three 20+ milers. Wouldn’t you know it, we might have a blizzard on Friday night. Gah! We shall see what happens. I’m hoping that maybe it waits until Saturday night for me so I can get some miles in outside rather than having to run inside. Fingers crossed!

Week in Review:

Monday – 8 miles w/6 at Tempo
Tuesday – Rest
Wednesday – Orangetheory (3.14 miles)
Thursday – Sick
Friday – 1 mile/Sick
Saturday – 16 miles
Sunday – Rest

Boston Marathon Training {Week 8}

I felt like I might very well fly off the back of the treadmill. With 10 of my 12×400 intervals done, I grabbed the ‘oh shit’ bar and moved to my recovery speed. Drenched in sweat, I was seriously questioning if I was going to be able to manage my last two intervals plus the two cool down miles. Yet, I persisted because I’m stubborn and I hate being defeated by a run. I quickly jumped off the treadmill, grabbed a new sweat towel and went right back to it. When I was done, I felt so good. Exhausted and hungry, but good.

Speed work, I had no idea what that meant when I started running. I didn’t even think about needing to do it until my first marathon after I had Ella. It was then that I decided if I wanted to continue to improve I needed to add speed work to compliment the knowledge I gained on how to actually run a marathon after having a few under my fuel belt. It was at this same time that I decided running more than 3-4 days/week did not work for my body. I was injured all the time.

There are several speed workouts you can do from strides to fartleks to intervals and tempos. I do two primary speed workouts: intervals and tempo runs. My intervals range from 400m to 1600m repeats. Confession, I hate 400m intervals and try to only include them 2-3 times per marathon training cycle. They are fast and there are a lot of them. These intervals help me raise my VO2 Max, increase efficiency, build strength and help with overall form. The important thing to keep in mind when doing intervals of various distances, should be run at different paces. A useful tool for figuring out training paces is the McMillan Pace Calculator.

Tempo runs help me stimulate race pace or slightly faster. By doing these runs, I increase my anaerobic threshold which helps me run faster before I get tired. A side benefit, they have really helped me run at a steady pace during races.

While I, like many others have a love-hate relationship with speed work, it’s made a huge difference in my overall running. As I get faster, my form improves and my overall fitness continues to improve. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy a shiny new PR from time to time? It is important however to not overdue the speed work. Unless it is absolutely unavoidable, I never recommend doing back-to-back speed sessions or doing a speed session the day before or after a long run.

Last Week’s Training:

Monday – 7 miles with 5 at Tempo

Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday – 12×400 @ 6:07 min/mile with 2 mile warm up/cool down

Thursday – Orangetheory (3.08 miles)

Friday – Rest

Saturday – 18 mile run

Sunday – Unplanned rest with sick kiddos/getting sick myself…blah

Support the Girls

I’ve always had a desire to work in the nonprofit sector. While I’ve never officially worked for a nonprofit, I’ve worked with various groups to raise money for causes close to my heart. With so much negativity over the past year and a half, particularly in the past several months, I’ve been feeling the need to get back to my nonprofit involvement. This desire has lead me to figure out what I can do to make a difference. I can march (I did and it was an amazing experience!), I can make calls, send letters and emails to my representatives, which allows me to participate in our government, but what I was really searching for is something that can make a difference for someone right here at home. Something with an immediate impact. Enter my sorority sister Emy.

For months I’d been seeing her Facebook posts about an organization called Support the Girls. She’s been collecting bras, tampons, pads and underwear for women in homeless and domestic abuse shelters. Her goal this year is to collect 500 bras and she’s over half way to meeting that goal. To put in perspective why these are so important to donate/collect: The average woman will use 240 tampons/year and/or 200+ pads or liners/year. That cost adds up and when it’s choosing between a meal or hygiene products, likely, the meal will win. Not to mention how expensive bras are. I take for granted that I can just run to Target or Victoria’s Secret when I need a new bra. That is absolutely a luxury that many women do not have.

As I researched the organization, I saw that they did not have a Twin Cities affiliate. Our metro area has organizations that get women appropriate attire for job interviews and work, food shelves, toy and book drives, etc. I didn’t find one that focused on undergarments and hygiene products. It was like a light bulb turned on. I could be the Twin Cities affiliate.

So it started with a phone call with the outreach coordinator. With a Facebook post on my page and our city mom’s group page, my collections began. After finding a handful of shelters to accept my initial donations, I started thinking bigger. I contacted my Orangetheory and worked with them to get a drive going for the month of February. I posted on Nextdoor to get my neighbors involved and put a bin on my porch so people can drop off donations at their convenience. It’s gaining traction and I’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of others. It reminds me that society as a whole, has the best intentions. People care about other people and want to give when and what they can.

So far I have collected more than 130 bras, 800 tampons, 750 pads/liners and 50 pairs of underwear. That’s in just two and a half weeks! My community, family and friends have been so supportive and generous. I’m so excited to deliver donations to various shelters.

After this first donation drive, I’ll become an official affiliate of the program which means that all other Twin Cities inquiries will be sent my way. I’m already working on scheduling a drive at our church in the next few months and getting satellite drives going throughout the Twin Cities metro area so that we can provide these items for as many shelters as we can.

Interested in making a donation? There are a few ways you can help! First, you can visit the Support the Girls website to see if there is a local affiliate near you accepting donations. If there is not, you can start your own drive and ship the items to the headquarters. You can also donate money to their Crowdrise account. If you are interested in donating in the Twin Cities or just have some stuff you want to send my way, you can email me.


Boston Marathon Training {Weeks 6 & 7)

Some motivation came back over the past few weeks. You know what I think did it? Getting to run with my friends! Between frigid temperatures, snow/ice and schedules, I haven’t run with them in months. It’s been ridiculous. Getting to run outside in the cold with them to chat with made the miles fly by.


Two weeks in a row and we’re on a roll…until Josh is out of town this weekend. I’m trying to find a sitter to watch the kids so that I have company for 14 of my 18 miles. Having friends to do long runs with is the key to success for me. They push me, I push them and the company cannot be beat.

Week Six Rundown:

Monday – 10 miles with 8 at tempo
Tuesday – Rest
Wednesday – Orangetheory (3.32 miles)
Thursday – 7×800 @ 6:40 min/mile with 2 mile WU/CD (9 miles total)
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 17 mile long run
Sunday – 3.5 mile walk

Week Seven Rundown:

Monday -12 miles w/ 10 at tempo
Tuesday – Rest
Wednesday – 3×1600 @ 6:58 min/mile with 2 mile WU/CD (8 miles total)
Thursday – Orangetheory (2.62 miles)
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 13.1 mile long run
Sunday – 30 mins elliptical + 2 mile walk

Another thing I’m playing around with is how I fit Orangetheory in. This training cycle I’ve upped my mileage a bit. Typically I top out at about 40 miles, this time I’ll be around 43-45 miles. I’m already hovering around the 37-39 mpw mark. The increase in mileage, even slight, does make for some tired legs. When I can, I’m moving my Orangetheory workout to Thursday mornings and doing my two other scheduled runs on Mondays and Wednesdays. This makes Tuesdays and Fridays my rest days which works well because I got to school with Anderson on Tuesdays and Fridays, well, I just like to take them off to be fresh for my long runs.

Also, fun note, I ordered my Boston jacket! I’m not planning on wearing it until after the race obviously, but I had a 20% off coupon from the Adidas website that saved me $22. I couldn’t pass that up. It should be here on Thursday! Super excited to try it on, just to make sure it fits for its post-race debut.

Boston Marathon Training {Week Five}

There they were, my shorts and running shoes tucked into my gym bag waiting for me to put them on. With two hours until preschool pick-up, I had plenty of time for the tempo run my training plan called for. I looked down at my feet as I hung my coat in my locker, my retired running shoes slightly wet from the slush already on. With a sigh and a shrug, instead of changing, I put my bag into the locker and walked out onto the gym floor. I could not bring myself to run.

Motivation was a huge issue this week. I didn’t have None. I’m not sure if it’s a combination of lack of sleep and the gloom of winter or if I’m just burned out. I have a feeling it’s the latter with the lack of sleep just an added bonus. For a solid two years, I’ve been training hard. I’ve been working to continue to set new personal bests at every race I do. Working to get faster and stronger to run my way to a place in Boston.  Now that I’ve done it, I should be full of motivation to train hard for it. But I’m not. I’m tired.

Boston is my victory lap. It is my celebration race. While obviously I will not go in under-trained, I don’t really feel like working so hard to gain speed. Honestly, I’m ready to be done with marathon training for a while. I need a break. I’m looking forward to it. With 11 weeks to go, I need to get my shit together though. I’ve worked too hard to let myself down now. So tomorrow, I’m going to try to add a little more pep in my step. Try to remotivate (is that even a word? I don’t think so but I’m going with it.) myself to put in the miles so that when I make my way down Boylston I’m not upset that I didn’t work a little harder for the race I’ve been working towards for years.

What helps you when your motivation wains?

Monday – 3 mile walk
Tuesday – 5×1200 @ 6:53 min/mile (8.75 miles total)
Wednesday – Orangetheory (3.94 miles)
Thursday – 30 min elliptical + 15 min bike + strength
Friday – 9 miles w/ 7 at tempo
Saturday – 15 mile run + 4 mile walk
Sunday – Rest