Medtronic Twin Cities 10 Mile {Race Recap}

I was up at 3:30 am Sunday morning, starting my pre-race routine. Ashley was going to be picking me up at 5 to go to our friend Amanda’s house so we could all carpool together. After I ate my toast and foam rolled, I started to get nervous. I don’t know why. I run 10 miles regularly and this was supposed to be fun. I wasn’t sure if I was going to go for a goal time or just run the race as I felt comfortable. I figured I’d see how the first mile went.

By 6 am, we were downtown hoping that the rain wouldn’t start again. We met the rest of our Team OT Efers crew, snapped a few pictures and talked about the brunch that we were headed to after the race, before I went to my corral.

Once in the corral, I saw the 1:15 pacer. I heard him talking to another runner about the pacing strategy. I heard him say he was going to bank some time to make up for the two mile long hill that we’d hit around mile four.

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I knew that I did not want to even attempt to run with that strategy. Banking time never works out well for me. It was then I decided I was just going to do my thing. I’d run as fast or as slow as felt good.

Just as we were sent on our way, it started raining again. Not too hard, but enough to be a little irritating. The first mile I started slightly fast, but not so fast that I was going to regret it. It was really crowded but we were treated to a beautiful sunrise. As we approached mile three the rain really started coming down and a headwind picked up. It made me so happy that I was only running 10 miles and not the full marathon. We had to curve around a tight and narrow turn to cross the bridge over the river. That was my slowest mile at 7:52.

Once we were on the bridge, the congestion started to break up. This was the part of the course I really remembered from running the marathon three years ago and cheering for my friend Kirsten last year as she ran the 10 mile. I grabbed water at the first water stop I saw and unfortunately got more up my nose than in my mouth. The rain was letting up which was exciting, but it left large puddles all over the street. I tried to avoid as many as I could without weaving too much. I was still consistently a tenth of a mile ahead of every mile marker.

By mile four, the rain had stopped and I had run under the blow up wall. The steepest part of the long hill was starting. I began to slow my pace to compensate. When I ran through the five mile clock (38:33), I calculated I was going to have no problem beating my previous 10 mile time from Goldy’s Run two years ago. I distracted myself by gawking at the beautiful houses (mansions?) I was running by.

I continued to run at a steady, but slower pace as I gradually climbed the never ending hill. It’s so deceptive because it doesn’t look like I was going up hill, but my legs could feel it. After getting to the top I got a little downhill segment where I speed up. One more tiny hill and I was on the flat and downhill home stretch to the finish line. I picked it up some more as I started my final mile to the finish line. It was my fastest of the race, the downhill helped of course. I was still about a tenth of a mile ahead but I didn’t care. My watch was showing I had maintained a 7:34 min/mile pace. Woohoo.

I ran through the shoot with a big smile on my face. I had finally gotten a personal record. My first in any distance since Thanksgiving. I’d also negative split the race.

Official time: 1:16:28  Avg. Pace: 7:39 min/mile

My Goldy’s Race 10 mile time was bested by nearly six minutes. I expected to run it faster than two years ago, but that was a surprising chunk after my lackluster races lately.

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I made my way out of the finisher’s area and waited for the rest of the team to come through. Everyone did so well!

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We made our way back to Minneapolis and enjoyed brunch at Ike’s Food and Cocktail.

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It was a fun morning! Now we’re talking about a relay race next year some time. That would be really fun. I’ve been wanting to do a Ragnar or similar event.

 

Party with Another Mother Runner

Last week I had an evening with some fellow mother runners that did not involve spandex, gels, or Garmins. After enjoying a yummy dinner at Ginger Hop, we walked down to Mill City Running to meet Another Mother Runner. Yep, Dimity was in town to promote the newest Another Mother Runner book.  As soon as I walked in the door I was excited. We got there slightly early so we had the pick of the shirts. I saw this one and had to have it. Lucky me, the book was just $10 extra.

Purchase in hand, off we went to fetch glasses of wine and add our contributions to the badass wall.

They said if we stick it on there is has to come true. Fingers crossed.

With good juju coming our way for adding our dreams to the wall, we made our way over to meet Dimity. I knew she was tall, but I was amazed at how short I felt. We helped represent Sarah by holding her picture up for our group photo.

She was so friendly. All I wanted to do was gush about how much I miss Colorado, but how happy I was to have found such an amazing group of women to run with. I settled for telling her I was aiming to qualify for Boston in October as she signed my book. Maybe it will bring me extra luck?

Buy cute shirt and book. Check. Drink glass of wine. Check. Meet Dimity and have my book signed. Check. I was ready to listen to the speakers and some of the essays from the book.

As I was standing there listening, I kept looking at a woman next to me. I was thinking to myself she looks so familiar and definitely looks fast. I checked out her name tag and decided to Google her. Yeah, obviously I’m not from Minnesota or I would have known she was a local Minnesotan Olympian. Carrie Tollefson shared her own running tips, struggles and personal trials and triumphs. She kept it real about not always wanting to go running and sometimes having to motivate herself by sleeping in her running clothes.As I listened to the essays being read and the stories being told by women there, I found myself laughing, nodding in agreement, sighing with empathy and on the verge of tears. I was inspired by how much these women were putting out to the world, to their fellow mother runners. It made me proud to me a member of such an amazing tribe of women.

Walking to my car and driving home, I thought about how lucky I’ve been to having running to lean on. It’s gotten me through the stress and anxiety of moving to a new state with no family or group of friends.It helped me put myself out there to meet new people and push myself to accomplish more. Even a year ago I’d never have set a goal to qualify for Boston, not believing it was ever going to be possible. Now I know I can do it and I have a group of people (other than  my family of course) providing encouragement and cheering for me every step of the way. I don’t think I would have adjusted as well if I had not found my running group. It’s amazing what running can do.

At the end of the night we were sent home with a goodie bag full of awesomeness. Too bad it didn’t include a sports bra because when I got to the gym that night, I discovered my bras were on my bed, not in my bag. I made it four miles in my regular bra, tank with a built-in bra and my t-shirt before having enough. Ouch.

Goldy’s Run – Race Recap

A few weeks ago my running friend Andrea asked me if I wanted to do a 10 mile race. Never having done one, I was in. I will always take an automatic PR and it would be a good test for the half marathon I have in May. What I failed to notice is that it was the morning after a long planned girl’s movie night with some of our other friends. Ooops.

So naturally Friday night I did everything I know not to do before a race. I ate way too much queso, salsa, guacamole and chips. Plus a homemade margarita cupcake (A+ for Morgan!), a brownie and drank a few margaritas. Just to make sure I was tried I also didn’t leave Morgan’s house until oh, about 12:45 am. I knew full well that this would not lead to positive things come the race, but I was having fun.

I’m pretty sure my alarm went off as soon as I actually fell asleep. I got myself out of bed about 4:45 to start my pre-race routine as I was meeting Andrea at her house to carpool at 6:15. Everything was going smoothly and as planned which had my thinking my stomach would not revolt during the race. I was even in my car a few minutes early just in case I got lost on my way to Andrea’s.

was about oh, seven minutes from her house when I started thinking my feet were incredibly hot. I looked down to realize I was still wearing my slippers! Not only that, but my running shoes were sitting on the kitchen floor where I’d left them. I called her immediately and told her what an idiot I was and turned around. Luckily at that time of morning on a Saturday there is no traffic so I was only 15 minutes late. Good thing we’d planned extra travel time.

I felt better when it took us no time at all to get down to the race. We got a great parking spot and got right in line at the porta potties. By this time my stomach was grumbling with anger. Once that was taken care of, we lined up behind a pacer and waited a few minutes for the race to start.

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Right on time, off we went. It was really crowded in the beginning but that was ok. I wasn’t expecting much of a performance and after the race I had seven more miles to run. Slowly we picked up speed, especially on our first downhill. Of course after a downhill, always comes an up. We kept trucking, passing people and chatting a little bit. The first three miles flew by: 8:39, 8:16, 8:22. Around mile four (8:24) Andrea told me that she was going to slow down for the second half of the race and I should keep cruising if I was feeling it. I debated and decided to just let my body carry me at whatever pace I needed to go.  Apparently it needed to go faster.

The fifth mile came and went at 8:12. I was steadily passing people and trying not to look at my watch. After all, this wasn’t a race I was planning to go all out during. My stomach was still grumbling a bit and I thought about stopping every time I passed a porta potty. I decided I was running too well to stop. This would either be ok or end very badly. Luckily it was the former.

I was cruising those last five miles even up a big ass hill just during the eight mile. When I hit mile nine I figured I may as well see how fast I can run the final mile. I pushed a little harder but got annoyed when it felt like we were going to run around the entire stadium before we actually got to go into the finish line. We finished on the 50 yard line of TCF Bank Stadium which was fun. I guess those negative split runs I’ve been doing have really paid off. My last five miles: 8:19, 8:05, 8:01, 7:59 and 7:32.

Unofficial results:

Distance: 10.05 miles        Time: 1:22:12         Average Pace: 8:10 min/mile

Official results:

Distance: 10 miles             Time: 1:22:13        Average Pace: 8:14 min/mile

Andrea and I met in the end zone where I’d stretched and watched people come through the finish line on the big screen.

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We hung out in the end zone for a little while before heading back to the car. It was a fun race that I’d do again. Check out the HUGE medal.

Goldy's Run 2015 Medal

After I got home, Josh went for his run and I took a little nap with the kids. After naptime I went to the gym to finish up my last seven miles. My stomach was mad at me so I figured inside was probably a good plan. Unfortunately I did not note that I had less than an hour to get my run done because the childcare closed at 5. So much for a super easy run.

This race made me feel so much more confident that I’m not going to totally bomb the Fargo Marathon next month. Yep, I’m doing it!

MedTronic Twin Cities Marathon – Race Recap

I’m walking without pain and have gone for my first post-race run which means that this recap is overdue. I’ll try to keep it a reasonable length. Honestly it seems so surreal. I know I did it but it seems as if it was just a great, though muscle soreness inducing dream.

The night before the marathon I was having so much anxiety I could not get myself to go to sleep. This was the first marathon I got to sleep in my own bed before. That came with some relief but also anxiety that I’d oversleep. Combine that with Anderson waking around midnight, I slept for about four hours. When my alarm went off at 4:30 am, I sprung out of bed. I went downstairs, threw some bread in the toaster and triple checked that my Garmin actually had fully charged overnight.

I sat down to eat my toast while I watched the conclusion of Spirit of the Marathon: Rome. I was lucky, my body worked with me – one less thing to worry about once I got to the starting line. About 5:30 Anderson woke up. I nursed him, finished getting dressed and hopped in the car. My wonderful husband drove my friend Hazel and me to the starting line.

Starting Line

We checked Hazel’s bag, hit the porta-potties and eventually split up into our respective corrals. I talked to some nice people as we waited to start the race. Just before my corral was about to start, I found my running BFF Amy. I was so excited! We hugged each other and squealed with excitement. Squeals over, it was go time. My goal was to not go out too fast.

First 5k

The first two miles flew by. In fact when I saw the Mile 2 flags I commented that I thought we were only a mile in. I must have been so distracted by the beautiful church bells that I missed the first mile marker. After a relatively slow first mile, Amy and I hit our stride, still running side by side. We passed the 5k point at 27:06 (8:44 min/mile avg). At this point we were almost right with the 3:45 pacer.

Second 5k

Again, this portion of the race flew by. There were a ton of turns in the first 10k. By the mile six marker, I was about a tenth of a mile ahead of the mile markers. I was trying to work the tangents, but it was really hard. I was close enough to the 3:45 pacer that I could see him but unlike at Nike, I decided I was not going to push to stick with a pacer. I was going to run my race. I hit the 10k mark at 53:39 (8:38 min/mile avg). It was right around this point where I lost Amy in the crowd. We agreed that while it would be fun to run together, but we should run our own races. I was sad to lose her but was feeling so good!

Miles 7-13.1

Honestly it’s kind of a blur. There were tons of spectators. Some of the roads got so narrow that it was almost like running through a tunnel of people cheering. I was still feeling great and keeping my pace in the 8:30 range. I took a my first gel just past mile seven. Like with my training I was aiming to take a gel every seven miles. With my pace it was every hour.

I was approaching mile 12 when Josh and my mom called. They told me that they were going to be at the top of the little hill near mile 14. I think I got a little pep in my step knowing I was going to see them soon. Surprisingly, I was hitting negative splits, very slight negatives, but negatives nonetheless. Half marathon point 1:52:34 (8:35 min/mile avg).

Miles 14-18

I was just finishing my second gel when I turned a corner and spotted my family. I was so excited to see them. I started waving wildly with a huge grin on my face.

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I was tempted to stop to give them hugs and kisses, but decided I didn’t want to lose my momentum. The course flattened out with some slight downhills in this stretch. I was running comfortably but was trying to conserve some energy as I new the longest hill of the course was just around the corner, as was the dreaded wall – or so I thought. 30k time – 2:40:03 (8:35 mile/mile avg)

Miles 19-22

The start of the hill. The hill that wasn’t so bad on our training run but felt a bit more difficult during the race. A lot of people started to walk. People who live in the beautiful houses lining the street were out roasting marshmallows and blaring music. I was waiting for the wall to hit as I ran under a big blow up ‘wall’ and took my third gel. These miles have consistently been difficult for me during my previous marathons.

I started thinking about walking. I was debating with myself if I needed to walk or just wanted to. I just wanted to. I pushed past the desire because Josh called saying they were just past the water stop at mile 23. I also started calculating potential finish times. I hit Mile 21 at 3:01:24 (8:38 min/mile avg). I knew unless something terrible happened, I beat my 4:11:53 PR and that I was likely going to go sub-4. That was added motivation to keep it up.

Miles 23-25

Fourth and final gel down, I finished the water in my Fuel Belt. When I spotted my family, again, I had a goofy smile on my face.

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I undid my Fuel Belt and tossed it to them. Now empty, I just didn’t want to wear it any more. Somehow I still hadn’t hit the wall. I was thankful but still waiting to bonk. My IT bands did make their presence known. They really seized up. I decided that I’d walk through the rest of the water stops to loosen them. It worked well. It slowed my pace but I didn’t really care because I’d hit the 24th mile at 3:30:07 (8:45 min/mile avg) and calculated that if I slowed to a 10 min pace, I’d still finish around 3:53-3:55.

The Final 1.2 Miles

With just over a mile to go, I realized the wall wasn’t coming. I had done something right, because I never felt like crying. I never wanted to quit and never said that I would never run another marathon.

My IT bands were still yelling at me, but I couldn’t walk in the last mile. The bells of the Cathedral starting ringing as I spotted it’s dome. I knew once I turned the corner and approached the cathedral, it was downhill to the finish in front of the capital building. It was about the time I saw the finish line that I started getting emotional. I looked down at my watch and it said 3:48. I could not believe it. I decided to pick it up as much as I could. I thought I might just be able to hit 3:50.

I started moving my arms faster, willing my legs to move. I knew I was 8 minutes behind the clock time. The clock read 3:58:XX. I raised my arm, fist pumping as I crossed the finish line, ecstatic that I just ran an amazing race.

Jess Finishing TCM

Official Finish Time: 3:50:28      Avg. Pace: 8:48 min/mile

Detailed results

Of course, as soon as I stopped running, my body stiffened. I got my medal, space blanket, and took my finishers picture before calling Josh.

Finisher picture

I was all choked up as I spit out that I did it. I blew my old PR out of the water, I not only finished sub-4, I finished 9:35 minutes under four hours. I had cut 21:35 off of my previous personal record.

I kept walking to get my finisher’s shirt and found a spot on the grass to stretch. Getting up was ROUGH. It took me a good 10-15 minutes to get myself up and over to the family meetup area. I was greeted with big hugs and Ella telling me she was proud of me. That got me. Anderson was also excited to see me, mainly because he was ready to eat.

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Family post-race

Comfy shoes

With my warm sweatshirt and slippers on, I was ready to head home. Of course as soon as we got into the car Ella decided she had to pee. We stopped at the McDonalds we were passing where my mom picked me up a Coke and some fries. I needed some salt. It was very satisfying.

I was sore, but still feeling amazing. I think I had the ultimate runner’s high. When I got home I put fed Anderson again and got him down for his nap so that I could hobble to the hot tub.

Post-race relaxation

I tried to nap but could not fall asleep. I think all the caffeine from the gels and the Coke threw my body for a loop. Once the kids were up we went out for some Mexican food. My mom stopped at the store to pick up some ice cream. She went a bit overboard…

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We’re still enjoying it!

I’m already thinking about what marathon I want to do next. I really love fall marathons. Maybe in two more years I’ll be able to cut 15 more minutes off my time and qualify for Boston. A girl can dream.

Twin Cities Training Part I

In the midst of the craziness of moving, I decided that it was the perfect time to train for another marathon. I needed something to make me excited to be in Minnesota. I know I said I never wanted to do it again in the last few miles of my last marathon, but I haven’t met my sub-4 hour goal just yet. It’s like a carrot dangling just out of reach.

The runners I know told me how amazing the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon course and crowd support are, so I started to consider it. During my birthday weekend when I was talking to my friend Kirsten about it, she convinced me to stop talking about it and just register. So I did, right then.

That was a few months ago and here I am with 10 weeks until the race. Training is going well – for the most part. I am using the Less is More plan that I used for Nike Women’s. My body responds so much better to three runs a week. My plan includes a tempo, interval and long run every week. I’ve been killing my paces and getting in some hill workouts now that I live in a valley – there is no avoiding them though this chart makes me feel like a wimp. They don’t look so bad.

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Week day runs are easy to tackle. I try to do my tempo runs outside unless it’s too dark or raining. Intervals I typically do on the treadmill so that I can keep my paces where they should be. Unfortunately for me, when I’ve tried intervals the past few weeks, my knee has started pulling. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s uncomfortable enough that it stops me immediately. I think it’s due to super tight IT bands and the fact that I always carry Anderson on my right hip, leaving my hips a bit uneven. I’m taking a few weeks off of intervals and then slowly adding them back in. Luckily I have time to work on speed before the race and the pulling only happens on the treadmill during intervals.

One of the biggest things that I’ve had to get used to is humidity. It is amazing to me how hard a run can feel when it’s humid. It’s like running with a blanket around me. I’m prone to overheating anyway, but the humidity makes it worse. I think it if I didn’t have a group of ladies waiting for me on the weekends, I’d be running inside a lot more.

Speaking of the ladies, I joined a great running group Moms Run This Town. They have runs or walks just about every day of the week. I only make it to the weekend runs right now, but am looking forward to doing some week day runs once we move into our new house in Maple Grove. I look forward to my long runs knowing that I will have some company. A few other women are also training for Twin Cities at similar paces so I’m in good company, even on muggy Saturday mornings.

Mother Runners

A lot of the women live in or near our new neighborhood so that is really exciting. We’ve even had a few playdates for the kids with happy hours planned soon. I need some new friends too.

Long runs are going really well. At conversation pace, we’re still averaging 8:45-9 min/miles, the 9 min pace typically includes a few walk breaks. To get a sub-4 marathon, I need to average a 9:09 or faster pace. Right now I really think it is a possibility. I just need to make sure to take care of my knee so that I’m healthy.

On non-running days I’m cross-training. I finally joined a gym since we have another month before we move again. I went to my first Spinning class which I really liked and am going to try out a few strength classes this week. If I don’t make it to the gym, I’m busy pushing the kids up and down the hills in the stroller and climbing stairs in the building. It counts right?

This week will be my longest run since the marathon over a year and a half ago – 17 miles. I’m thinking about starting at 5:30 am to avoid some of the humidity, as 6:15 was just not early enough last weekend. It will be interesting to do my 18 mile run in Denver when we go home in a few weeks. I have a feeling the altitude is going to kick my butt.

Who else is training? How’s it going?