2015 Twin Cities Marathon Race Recap

I’m still in disbelief that I actually ran a marathon. In a way, it feels like a dream. My version of pinching myself has been looking at my medal or finisher shirt. I feel like I have to do it every now and then just to make sure it actually happened.


Well, it did happen. And it happened just as I expected and not at all as I expected (if that makes any sense). I’ll do my best to recap the day (and sorry for how long this is).

My alarm went off about 5 a.m. I got up, got dressed and ate some cereal and a banana. I also made sure to keep drinking some water. I headed to my planned parking spot near the finish line and got on the light rail about 6:40 a.m. to head to downtown Minneapolis. As soon as I got off the train I got in a bathroom line. The lines weren’t too bad, but I wanted to make sure I’d have plenty of time to find my corral, etc.

I found corral 2 and just wandered around a bit and waited for the race to start.


Pretty soon, they were playing the national anthem and then corral 1 was off. Corral 2 started walking forward and at 8:06 a.m. we were set free.

Miles 1-2 go through downtown Minneapolis. I tried to control the adrenaline and make sure I wasn’t starting out too fast.  I glanced at my Garmin several times and tried to settle in to no faster than a 10 minute mile. That was a little tough given my Garmin was acting up with some of the tall buildings, but I was running a comfortable pace.

Soon, we were out of downtown and headed towards the lakes. I did a lot of training runs around these lakes, so it felt like some familiar territory. I was looking forward to getting to Lake Harriet because my parents were planning to be around mile 7.5. I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t see them, but before long I spotted them on my left side.

My dad caught my excitement of spotting them :)
My dad caught my excitement of spotting them :)

I gave them high fives and handed them my arm warmers which I didn’t need anymore. With some added energy after seeing them I continued on. For a lot of the first part of the race I was feeling like I might have to go to the bathroom. Not bad, but it was a nagging feeling. I passed several bathrooms that had long lines and didn’t want to stop. But around mile 9 I spotted a porta potty with only a few people in line and decided I’d feel better if I just stopped. I did.

The first 10 miles flew by. That feels weird to say type, but they really did. As we made our way towards Lake Nokomis (miles 11-13), my excitement grew because I knew a big group of friends were going to be cheering around mile 12. I was so excited when I spotted them!


I gave more high fives and shouted thank you as they cheered. I didn’t stop when I saw them. I was still feeling really good, but wanted to keep my momentum.

I had lots of friend support in these “middle miles.” I spotted Lara around mile 14.


Hyedi and a few friends were waiting for me with big cheers around mile 15.

mile 14-15 mile14-15(2)

By mile 16, my legs were starting to feel fatigued, but nothing I hadn’t dealt with on long training runs. The course started heading up along the river and soon I was at miles 17-18. I was beginning to feel my legs get more tired by this point and then I heard Ashley, Jill and John cheering for me from the side and got a great boost of energy.

Even with that, miles 18-20 were where it started to get tough. My parents were planning to be at mile 20, so I continued to chug along to “the wall.” I saw them and my sister at mile 20 and made a short pit stop to grab a Gu they were holding for me in case I needed it in those last 6 miles. They gave me some words of encouragement and then I headed off — walking. My legs needed a slight break. I hadn’t really taken a break since mile 9 with the bathroom stop because I was doing a good job of running through water stops.


I only walked for about a minute. My pace was starting to slow down a little, but I was feeling determined to conquer this difficult part of the course. Miles 20-23 are mostly uphill. The “Summit Hill” is notorious for TC Marathon runners. I had been warned that this part of the course was the worst. I spotted my friend Katie around mile 21 cheering loudly and used that energy to fight my way up the hill and over to Summit Ave. It was a slow run, but I ran that whole damn hill! My legs were pretty dead and mad at the end, but I was feeling great about not walking on that hill.

As I made my way down Summit, I had a new game plan — run into water stops, grab a cup and then walk for a minute while you drink. My legs were so tired and I just needed the break. It was a little hard to do because I normally never intentionally walk during a race. This race was different. And that’s ok.

The last 4 miles of the course felt like they took FOREVER! This was my payback for the first 10 miles flying by. Finally, I spotted the top of the St. Paul Cathedral over the trees and I knew the finish line was ahead, and downhill! I felt my breath catch in my throat and thought I might start crying, but I pulled myself together because I needed to keep up some steady breathing to finish.

The street opens up and you can see a big American flag, the crowd of people, the state capitol, and the finish line. On my dead legs, I pushed my way over that finish line. I put my hands in the air as I crossed it and exhaled in relief that it was over.

To my surprise, tears didn’t come. Given how emotional I was when I finished my 20 mile long run, I totally expected that I’d break down at the finish. I didn’t. Honestly, I think I was simply too exhausted. I slowly walked down the shoot and volunteers put my medal around my neck, wrapped me in a thermal blanket, and handed me water and food. I had a banana and a bunch of other stuff in my arms when the banana fell to the ground. A guy almost stepped on it, but stopped just in time. I had to bend down and pick it up. OMG did my legs HATE that!

I stayed on my feet while I waited for my family and a friend to find me. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get back up if I sat down. I was tired and sore, but I still managed a smile and a photo opp with my medal!


My official time was 4:41:02. With an overall goal of just finishing, I’m very happy with that.

I dedicated 18 weeks of training and years of mental preparation to accomplish this goal and it paid off.

I’m a marathoner!


TC Marathon Training – Week 18

Well, spoiler alert: I’m a Marathoner!


I’ll have a race recap soon, but for now I’ll fill you in on the week leading up to the big day. It wasn’t full of a lot of running, but had some emotional ups and downs.

Monday – rest

This was the start of the emotional ups and downs of the week. If you live in the Twin Cities you probably heard about the protest drama, but if you don’t, let me fill you in. On Sunday night I heard that a group was planning a protest at the Twin Cities Marathon. They weren’t protesting anything having to do with the marathon, rather trying to bring attention to some alleged police brutality. Protesting at the marathon is one thing, but the group’s goal was to disrupt the marathon and stop runners from getting to the finish line.

We got word from race organizers that they knew about the planned protest and were working with city officials and police to make sure the course was safe for everyone. I had no doubt that they were doing all they could, under very difficult circumstances, to ensure a safe race, but the news still brought up a lot of questions and emotions. This was not the news I wanted to get the week before the race, but it meant there was still a week to (hopefully) get things figured out.

Tuesday – 4.02 miles (10:04/mile pace)

I got home from work and got in my 4 mile run. There were more stories about the protest throughout the day, but no solutions had been made. I was admittedly working through emotions of fear, anger and frustration at the idea of something stopping me from finishing my first marathon. But then I came to a realization that protest or no protest, it didn’t change my game plan for race day. I was going to show up to that start line with a smile on my face, butterflies in my stomach and my sheer love of running in my heart. I knew there were things I couldn’t control, but I could control what I did and I was going to run and enjoy the journey no matter what.

Wednesday – 3.1 miles (10:18/mile pace)

I got up early to run before work. I’ve come to like morning runs during training, but this one was different now that it’s fall in that it was still totally dark out when I needed to start. I don’t normally like running when it’s dark, but I wanted to get out in the cool air since it was similar to what they were forecasting for race day. I ventured out for 3 miles and took a couple of extra runner safety steps by wearing reflective clothing and leaving the headphones at home. I was treated to some pretty views on this run.

mile 1
mile 3

Thursday – 2 miles (10:10/mile pace)

I had to do one more morning run since I was hosting book club after work. I considered heading outside, but since it was such a short run and I wanted to save some time, I just hit the treadmill.

Around lunchtime, we got word that the mayor and the group planning the protest had met and came to a resolution where they would not disrupt the course! YAY! I could finally exhale and focus getting ready for Sunday.

Friday – rest

I met my sister and some friends to head to the expo on Friday night. They were picking up packets for races of their own.


I got my bib and picked up a few goodies for myself.

bib expogoodies

After the expo, I relaxed and headed to bed fairly early to get some rest.

Saturday – rest

I got up and headed to the finish line of the TC 5K to cheer on my sister and a couple of friends who were running races that morning. Then I ran to the grocery store and came back home to chill out for the afternoon.

I made sure I had all of my gear ready for the morning and prepped my race outfit.

marathon outfit

I met up with my parents and sister for a spaghetti dinner and to strategize where my parents would be spectating. I headed home to try and get some sleep, though I knew that would be tough with the pre-race nerves.

Sunday – 26.2 miles

More on that later!

TC Marathon Training – Week 17

As I type, we’re one week from Twin Cities Marathon! It’s actually kind of hard to believe — it felt so far away when I started this journey.

The past week has been more tapering to continue resting and recovering before the big day.

Monday – rest

Tuesday – 6.02 mile run (10:04/mile pace)

I wanted to get this 6 mile run in earlier in the week since I knew I had some evening plans later in the week.

Wednesday – rest

Had a lovely visit catching up with a couple of friends — even though we had to wait a really long time for our pizza to arrive. Luckily, we got free pizzas out of it to use another time.

Thursday – 35 minute elliptical

I made myself get up early to get in a workout before work. It was a gloomy morning and I was ok with swapping a run for cross-training during the week, so I opted for the elliptical.

Thursday evening I headed to the MN Twins game. I hadn’t been to a game since early in the summer so it was fun to go. Would’ve been better if they’d won, but oh well. :)


Friday – 3 mile run (10:08/mile pace)

I ran a quick errand after work and then headed out for a 3 mile run. It was a gorgeous evening to run along the river.

Saturday – 30 minute elliptical, 32 minute walk 

I did my cross-training in the morning so I could get some stuff done and prep for a costume/birthday party that night. Some friends through an annual Halloween party, but they moved it up a couple of weeks this year to coincide with celebrating a birthday. I had been Googling easy costume ideas because I didn’t want to just fall back on cowgirl — I’ve done that too many times. I landed on Rosie the Riveter and it turned out really well!


Since the weather was still nice, we were able to grill out, play some yard games and get a bonfire going.


Sunday – 8.05 mile run (10:02/mile pace)

I headed over to Lake Nokomis for my last long run before the marathon. I haven’t been able to get to Lake Nokomis at all this summer, so I was excited for a nice day to do this run.


I did 3 loops around the lake to get in 8 miles. Nothing too spectacular about this run. My calf started to get a bit tight around mile 6, which was a little uncomfortable, but finished strong.


I’ve already started laying out some of the gear I know I’ll need on race day. I’m keeping an eye on the forecast, though I know it’ll change about 100 times between now and next Sunday. The day is almost here, and I’m amazingly feeling pretty ready for this!

What are some things you do the week before a race?

TC Marathon Training – Week 16

I’m officially two weeks away from the Twin Cities Marathon. Eeek! I can’t believe it’s so close. It’s nerve-racking, but I’ll also be glad when the day is finally here.

Many of last week’s workouts and training runs were done while I was on vacation. I didn’t get to run on the beach as much as I would’ve liked to because high tide was falling right at the time of the morning that I wanted to run. Hitting the streets wasn’t too bad though, and I got to relax on the beach after!

Monday – 14.51 miles (10:14/mile avg pace)

The weather was fantastic at the beach with lots of days in the low to mid 80s. The first couple of days that I was there were hotter and more humid, but the temps got a bit cooler by Monday, so I felt good about heading out for a 14 mile run.

I got up early to get the run in so I had plenty of beach time and to avoid lots of sun while running. Running in the neighborhoods provided some nice shade for most of the run. It took me a little bit to get warmed up, but I’m kind of used to that by now. Finally my legs woke up and carried me even a little farther than 14 miles when all was said and done. I took a few minutes to dip my tired feet in the pool after my run. :)


Tuesday – 4.13 mile walk

Took a nice, long walk with my family in the morning before heading back to the beach for the afternoon.

Wednesday – rest

Thursday – 5.09 mile run (10:03/mile avg pace)

I made myself get up to do one more run while on vacation. We had a few hours in the early afternoon to sit on the beach before having to get packed up and head to the airport. Sad to have to leave my Happy Place, but it was the perfect way to wrap up the summer. I think I’m ready for fall now.


Friday – 8.09 mile run (10:05/mile avg pace)

I got back late Thursday night, but still had Friday off of work, so I was able to do a mid-day run as the temps were definitely feeling like fall in the 60s.

Saturday – 35 minute elliptical and 1.3 mile walk

Doing my 20 mile and 14 mile runs on Mondays was kind of throwing off my training schedule. Not too bad, but I wanted to get it back on track for the last couple of weeks. I opted for some good cross-training instead of a 4 mile run on Saturday morning.

In the afternoon I met up with my sister and some friends to check out Street Pub with Deschutes Brewery. They closed down a couple blocks in downtown Minneapolis for this pop-up street pub with beer, food, and music. All of the proceeds get donated to Second Harvest Heartland. It was a gorgeous afternoon to be outside sipping a beer for a good cause!


Sunday – 12.18 mile run (10:01/mile avg pace)

When my alarm went off at 6:30 a.m., I knew I was not ready to get up yet. I reset it for 7 a.m. and went back to sleep. Luckily, it was a nice, cool morning so starting my run at 8:30 wasn’t a big deal.

I ventured over to Summit Ave. for this 12 mile run. Summit Ave. is the road the covers the last 5 miles of the marathon course. I parked near where the finish line will be and ran West on Summit until I hit East River Rd. I ran on East River Rd. for about a mile and then turned around. I did this on purpose. There’s an infamous hill on East River Rd. that leads the marathon course onto Summit Ave. It’s not a huge hill, but when any hill comes at mile 21 of a marathon, it’s a bad hill. I wanted to run that hill and then make my way back up Summit towards the finish line just to get a taste of it before the actual day.

Summit is a beautiful street full of trees and old homes. You pass the beautiful St. Paul Cathedral just before the finish line.


Overall, a pretty nice run to get ready for TCM!


I spent most of the afternoon relaxing, but then ran a few errands, and embraced the fall weather by cooking up a hot meal. I made this Spinach and mushroom quinoa recipe that I found on Pinterest and roasted some sweet potato. Doesn’t get more fall than that!


Are you ready for fall?

TC Marathon Training – Weeks 14 & 15

Ok, trying to get caught up on the recaps! It’s been a busy couple of weeks with work which makes getting training done a bit tougher, but I’ve still managed to do a pretty good job of fitting it all in. I have still swapped a couple of runs for cross training to give the Achilles a break and continue to take care of it so it’s good on marathon day.

Week 14

Monday – rest

Tuesday – 4.03 miles (9:59/mile pace)

This was technically supposed to be a 5 mile run, but I started to feel my Achilles a little in mile 4 and it was just gross out. It was hot and humid. I got done running and it literally looked like I dumped a bucket of water on myself.


Wednesday – 4.01 miles (9:53/mile pace)

I met up with a friend for a run after work. The weather wasn’t as bad as the day before, but it was still pretty steamy. Despite that, we had a great time catching up on our run!

Thursday – 36 minute stationary bike

After a long work day, I decided to do cross training instead of a longer run.

Friday – 35 minute elliptical

I hopped on the elliptical for a quick workout after work.

Later that night, I headed out to meet some friends for a night of dancing at First Avenue. The theme of the music was “Forever Young” and they played all the classic 90s-2000s dance and hip hop songs. I’m talking NSYNC, Nelly, Beyonce and so many more.

Dancing could be counted as some cross training – right? ;)


Saturday – rest

Sunday – 3.07 miles (10:16/mile pace)

I had planned to do my 20 mile run on Sunday, but had been watching the weather because it kept changing and eventually said rain would be coming in early and it was supposed to be pretty hot and humid.

Sure enough, when I woke up before 6 a.m. it was storming. I waited it out and the rain finally let up, so I headed out (about an hour later than I wanted to) and drove to Lake Harriet. Of course it started raining again when I was halfway there. But, it had pretty much stopped when I arrived.

I decided to take a lap around Lake Harriet and see how it went. I could already feel the heat and humidity starting up and I wasn’t sure if 20 was going to happen, so I decided to keep it at 3 easy miles and postpone the 20 for the following day when the weather was supposed to be a lot better.

Week 15

Monday – 20.02 miles (10:06/mile pace)

Ah, the infamous 20 mile run. The longest training run in my plan. The game plan was to do 2 laps around each of the 3 lakes. I was feeling pretty good and confident as I got started at Lake Harriet. I made sure to start early to take advantage of the cooler morning temps. It was going to be warm that day but not as bad as the day before.


I did my usual loop around the lake and then made my way towards Lake Calhoun. I ran along Calhoin until I reached the path to Lake of the Isles and headed that way. As I made my first loop around this lake I could feel my Achilles a little, so I paid attention to make sure I wouldn’t need to head back early. By the time I got around once I wasn’t feeling it anymore and went into the second loop. This pic below is one of my favorite spots on Lake of the Isles since the path is right up by the water.


After 2 laps, I headed back to Calhoun to complete 2 laps there. At this point I was still doing pretty good. The end of the second lap was when I noticed that I was getting really tired. Of course, I still had about 5 miles to go. It was a little discouraging to be feeling like my legs were about done and knowing I had that far to go. When my legs have felt like that on other runs, I’ve usually only had like 2 miles left.


So now, it was a mental test. I had to do anything I could to keep myself distracted and just keep running.

I got back to Lake Harriet and was still struggling at mile 17.5 when I started chatting with a fellow runner who was doing the same pace as me. I came to refer to him as my running angel because of the boost our conversation had for me. The last mile I ran without him was still really tough, but I was determined to hit 20.

As soon as my watch beeped, exhaled, started to walk, and about broke into tears. I was surprised by how emotional I was. (Lord only knows what I’ll be like on marathon day!) I think it was a mix of pure relief to be done and sheer amazement that I actually conquered 20 miles.


I totally get what people mean when they talk about hitting the wall. I hope it’s not that bad on marathon day, but this was probably a good mental test.

Tuesday – rest 

Tuesday was all about rest, ice, compression, and elevation whenever I could to help my sore muscles!

Wednesday – 20 minute stationary bike and 25 minute elliptical

I needed to do a workout before work, so I opted for cross training to slowly ease back into running after the 20 mile run. I got in a solid 45 minutes to start the day.

Thursday – 35 minute walk

I had to get up really really early but it’s because I was going on vacation, so it was ok with me. I had a 2 hour layover and decided to use some of that time to get in a walk around the airport.

Friday – 8.16 miles (10:01/mile pace)

I got up early to beat the heat and was glad I did.


Saturday – 3 miles (10:00/mile pace)

It was a dreary, rainy day so I hit the workout room for a short run before we headed out to do some shopping.

Sunday – rest

It was a gorgeous day on the beach with the high around 80 degrees. We sat on the beach for awhile in the morning and the. Walked the couple blocked to an Irish Pub that had football on so we could watch the Packers and have lunch.


Then it was back to the beach for the rest of the day!

Running Angels

I know I’m behind a week on my recaps, so you’ll get a double recap soon. But in the meantime, I did want to share a unique experience I had during my big 20 mile run this past Monday.

I had a moment where I met what I’m calling a running angel. Around mile 15-16 of my 20 mile run, I was fading. I’m not gonna like–it was hard. I was already exhausted and my legs were about done, but I knew I still had 4-5 miles to go.

Around mile 17.5, I started running alongside a fellow runner. We were keeping the same pace, so naturally started talking. Turns out he was on mile 15 of his 20 mile run training for the Chicago Marathon. The last few miles were tough for him too, but as a 4-time marathoner he had some great words of advice and encouragement for a novice. He talked about good training advice he’s been given, how great the crowd support at the end of the TC Marathon is, and he said I seemed well prepared for my first marathon – he wished he had been as well prepared.

Given my recent aches and pains with my Achilles and having to skip a couple of runs, I’ve started to feel a little doubt creep in. That doubt started to get a bit louder as those last several miles were getting really hard. His words and encouragement couldn’t have come at a better time. We just ran about a mile together before our routes parted ways, but that mile provided a much-needed distraction. It also reminded me why I love runners. Amazing how a complete stranger can boost your confidence and help you push through a rough patch.

I’m grateful for each experience (good and bad) that I’ve had through this training process. They’ve made me stronger–physically and mentally–and taught me a lot about myself. It has been a blessing.

So, thank you to my running angel for showing up when I needed it most!


Do you believe in running angels?

TC Marathon Training – Week 13

Made it through another big run! Can check 18 miles off! Was a little nervous going into this run because my left Achilles has been bugging me on and off the last couple of weeks. I switched up a couple things last week because of it, but I think it paid off.

Not a ton to say (or show) about my workouts early in the week. Pretty standard and some great weather for running.

Monday – rest

Tuesday – 5.03 miles (9:58/mile pace)

It was a gorgeous day for a run – 72 degrees and not a could in the sky!

Wednesday – 4.03 miles (9:56/mile pace)

Thursday – 9 miles 38 minute elliptical and 21 minute walk

So 9 miles was on the training plan, but with my Achilles acting up, I decided to skip the run and do cross-training instead. This decision was also helped by the fact that I had about a 10 hour work day and running 9 miles did not sound fun at all.

This is the first training run I’ve missed. It was hard to skip it as I get into these peak weeks, but I figured this is really the time to skip that run if I need to. I still have 5 weeks before the marathon and I don’t want to make what could be a small injury a big one by overdoing it.

Friday – rest

I took advantage of the rest day by running a bunch of errands after work and then having dinner with a friend.

publickandb dinner

Saturday – MN State Fair walking

I’m counting walking around the MN State Fair all afternoon as my cross-training for the week. I wore my good tennis shoes to have extra support.

We ate lots of food and wandered into a bunch of different buildings.


While I did get to eat something on a stick…

pronto pup

…I didn’t do a ride. I had put that on my Summer Bucket List. Not sure I’ll be going back to the fair, so that may have to wait til next year. I had a lot of fun hanging with my sister and friends though, so it was definitely another good year at the fair!

Sunday – 18.1 miles (10:06/mile pace)

My allergies kicked in hard-core on Saturday night after being outside and around dust, animals, etc. It took me a long time to fall asleep with a stuffed up nose, so getting up on Sunday to run was a little tough, but I made it to the lakes about 8 a.m.

Doing cross-training on Thursday meant I’d had 3 days of no running. I had been stretching and icing in the previous days as well. I was hoping that rest would help my Achilles and that I’d be able to get through this 18 mile run, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. One other thing I tried was some kinesiology tape. I’ve never used it before, but I know some people swear by it and I had a sample pack. I watched a video for how to put it on and figured I could always take it off it if bugged me. (Luckily it didn’t.)

I mentally prepared myself to start out slow with a lap around Lake Harriet and see how I was feeling. If it got around and it was really bad, I was gonna stop. I felt a little soreness/tightness as I got started but it went away fairly quick. My legs were a bit tired from walking a lot the day before, so the slow pace to begin was good. I got around the lake and was feeling good, so I made my way to Lake Calhoun to continue on. After eating a couple chomps around mile 4.5, my pace started to pick up.

I got back to Lake Harriet to finish up the last 5 miles. I did a loop (about 3 miles) and needed to just do part of the lake to finish. Those last 2 miles felt like they took twice as long as they really did. My legs were tired, but I powered through to finish the just over 3 hour run. Can’t believe I made it 18 miles!


As I walked back to my car, I took note of any odd aches or pains. I had the usual soreness, but my Achilles was actually doing ok.

I don’t know if it was the rest, the icing, the tape, or a combination of everything that helped it feel better. My plan this week is to continue to take it easy if I need to. Not sure yet if I’ll swap a run for cross-training or take an extra rest day, but I will if I have to. I’m aiming to do my 20 mile run this weekend, which is a week earlier than on the training plan, but I’ll be out of town the following week and didn’t really want to do 20 while on vacation. I will if I need to postpone it though – kind of nice to have that cushion, actually.

Can’t believe I’m in these peak weeks and it’s almost time to taper!

Have you ever dealt with Achilles issues? What’s your favorite thing to do/eat/see at a state or county fair?