Don’t call it a comeback

No, I did not fall off the face of the earth.

Just took a break from blogging. Mostly because there hasn’t been much to say about my running/workouts for the last few months. Some life stuff got in the way and changed up my usual activity.

I felt good after the marathon–tired and sore, but good. It went surprisingly well given the derailed training I had near the end. I took a couple of weeks off of running after that, which I had planned to do. I was just starting to slowly get back into it at the end of October when I got a bad cold that knocked me out for about a week. I took 3 sick days at work, which I never have to do.

I finally got better a couple of weeks before my annual 5 mile Turkey Trot race and tried to get myself in (somewhat) decent shape. The weekend before the race I was doing a 4 mile run and my right hip flexor started to hurt while I was running. It remained really stiff and sore the rest of that day and even the next day. I made it through the Turkey Trot, but it hurt. Any time I ran after that caused the pain to flare up. That caused me to take some more rest days than I was originally hoping.

To top it off, since November I have been feeling more fatigued than usual. I’m not 100% sure why, but think it is related to my ulcerative colitis flaring up. A flare means there’s inflammation and one of many symptoms can be fatigue. The flare started sometime around September and, so far, hasn’t got away yet. I switched to a different medication a couple of months ago to see if that would help. I’m hopeful that things will get back on track soon with having my UC under control.

The illness, injury, and fatigue have really affected my running. I’ve been less motivated to go out and run or do any kind of workout.

It’s been hard.

Running hasn’t been the physical, mental, and emotional release that it used to be. It hasn’t been fun. That just affects my motivation even more and it turns into a bad downward spiral. This is the first really rough patch I’ve gone through with my running. A running slump, if you will.

Over the last two weeks I’ve been trying to get back into more of a regular workout routine. Trying to get out for even a short run after work and doing some other cross training workouts. I had a three-day weekend last weekend and did hot yoga, two runs, and a spin class in those three days.

Super sweaty hot yoga


Yea, it was cold
Killer spin class

I kept it going with a group run on Tuesday and a 3.5 mile run on Thursday night. It’s feeling better to be back in a more regular routine. Crossing my fingers this means things are looking up.

Don’t call it a comeback, cause I don’t know what it is yet, but I’m working on it. And that’s what matters.

Have you ever had a running slump? 


Twin Cities Marathon Race Recap

It’s been a week since marathon day. The soreness in my legs is gone, but the good feels about the day remain. I’m proud to say I finished my second marathon and that it went even better than I was expecting.

The day started off with a 5:30 a.m. alarm so I could eat breakfast and get ready before catching the light rail to the start line. In looking at the weather, I opted for a t-shirt, capris, and a hat. It was going to be cloudy, and there was a chance of rain in the afternoon, so I knew I could get a little wet near the end of the race.

I got to the start area about 7:15. I snapped a picture of the sunrise behind U.S. Bank Stadium.

As I started walking around, orienting myself with where I needed to go, it started to sprinkle. Then it started to lightly rain. I popped into an underground parking entrance to take cover and avoid getting too wet before the race. Of course I didn’t bring a poncho or trash bag cause I wasn’t expecting pre-race rain. The little bit of rain that did fall on me made me chilly. At that moment I really regretted leaving my arm warmers on my kitchen table. I realized that if it rained during the earlier miles of the race, I actually might want them. Luckily, my parents were still at my place, so I texted them to bring along while spectating.

I had to hop out into the light rain for a few minutes to hit the bathroom lines, but didn’t get too wet. The rain stopped by the time I headed to the corral. Before I knew it, corral 1 was off. I actually felt pretty calm. I think I was just ready to get running. I ditched my throw-away shirt as we made our way up to the line, and then I was off.

My legs felt good and fresh. I think not running for two days before the race was good. I did my best to find a comfortable pace without going out too fast.

At mile 2.5, I saw my parents and my sister. I was feeling good and holding on to about a 9:40 pace. As long as that felt good, I was going with it.

The miles continued to tick by fairly quickly as I tried to take in the sights of the spectators and fellow runners. We passed the 10K checkpoint and then were heading around the lakes. I saw my parents again around mile 8 and was still keeping my pace. My foot was doing just fine as well. No pain or soreness to get in my way.

That’s me in the white hat

I couldn’t believe it when I passed the halfway point! I was still feeling good and able to keep up a good pace. There were some sprinkles falling periodically around this point of the race, but nothing that lasted too long. I saw some friends on the south side of Lake Nokomis and gave them huge hugs, which gave me another burst of energy.

I could feel a bit of fatigue in my legs around mile 15, but was able to keep my pace. I saw my friend Kate just past mile 16. She brought me a dry hat and socks if I needed them, but I was doing ok, so gave her a hug and keep chugging along.

Getting to mile 17 was sort of a milestone in my head since that would mean the remaining miles would be in single digits. I kept pushing knowing I would see more friends around mile 18. I got much needed high fives from them as I continued on. I was certainly feeling the tiredness in my legs. When I saw my parents just before mile 19, I warned them that my pace would likely slow from then to the finish.

This face! Photo credit to my dad.

Mile 19 was the first time I had to do a little walking. I knew that would happen at some point. I was pleasantly surprised that I felt as good as I did up until that point. I made it closer to mile 20-21 before needing to walk in my first marathon, but given my altered training near the end, 19 miles was pretty darn good.

I used downhills and flat areas to run, and resolved to needing to walk a bit on some of the uphills.

As I made my way up the hill towards Summit Ave, I knew I was approaching the home stretch, but the rain was also starting to come down. It was going to be a long final 5 miles, but I told myself to just keep moving forward.

I kept my walk/run routine going. I was also keeping an eye on my left glute. I had a few steps where I felt some pain in it while running. It wasn’t constant and didn’t hurt when I walked, but wanted to make sure it didn’t get worse. I think it was an effect of my legs just getting really fatigued.

The rain sucked and I was getting chilly, but it motivated me to run as much as I could to get to mile 24 where Hyedi would be cheering. I didn’t want her standing in the rain any longer than she had to! I really appreciate that she braved the rain because it was certainly needed to get some words or encouragement as I pushed through the last two miles.

I did a little more walking in those last two miles than I wanted, but as I spotted the top of the cathedral, I knew I was almost to the end. Thank goodness the last part of this course is almost entirely downhill. I used that to propel me through the last .2 miles and pushed my legs as hard as I could.

As I approached the finish line, I felt a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.

I had to compose myself a little as I turned off my Garmin and approached a volunteer who put my medal around my neck.

I made a beeline for the volunteers with the heat sheets so I could warm up. Then I grabbed some food and my finishers shirt to make my way out and find my parents.

It’s amazing the range of emotions you go through at the end. From feeling exhausted and uncomfortable to elated and in disbelief that you just put your body through that kind of physical and mental challenge.

In looking at the TC Marathon app on the way home, I saw that my race time was 4:34:41. A new PR!!!

I really did not know what to expect with this race given the end of my training. Apparently, it was good that I did as much resting and cross training as I did because my foot held up just fine for the whole race. And the good training I put in all summer certainly paid off and pulled me through.

I can’t help but wonder what the race or my time would’ve been like if I had been able to complete my training as planned, but I cannot complain about the outcome. And I know there’s always next time. 😉

Twin Cities Marathon Training – Weeks 16-18

Well, I’m way behind on updates. Sorry. It’s been a busy month!

The foot is…ok. It’s not worse, but it’s not totally better either. The past three weeks of training were heavy on cross training with a few short runs thrown in. My hope is the low impact and extra rest will keep the foot in good enough shape to get me through 26.2 miles.

I won’t give a day-bay-day account of training since I’m so far behind. Let’s give some weekly recaps instead.

Week 16

I got in a couple of 10 mile bike rides and a 30 minute elliptical workout during the week. My sis and I also headed to a MN Lynx WNBA game. They are pretty phenomenal athletes and really fun to watch!

The big event of the week, ok year, was that I closed on a new home! Excited for new adventures in home ownership.

On Friday, I went for a 3.1 mile run to test out the foot. It felt fine on the run, and felt great the rest of the weekend! Over the weekend, I headed up north to a friend’s wedding. We had gorgeous views of the lake from our cabin.

And we stopped at the iron mines on our way home.

I was exhausted by the time I got home on Sunday. I had high hopes of getting in a 2 hour workout to keep up my fitness. I ended up getting in 90 minutes on the stationary bike and elliptical. Not bad, but wished I could’ve done a little more.

Week 17

I did a short run on Tuesday morning since my foot had done so well over the weekend, but then it was sore later in the day. So, obviously not totally healed. My other workouts for the week were cross training.

Bike ride views

Over the weekend, I moved into my new home. Moving is a workout all its own. We were going almost non-stop from about 10 a.m. until about 4 p.m. It was exhausting, but so glad we got everything done. And my foot did just fine all day.

Week 18

In this final week before the marathon, I was continuing to try to be smart with my workouts. I did a 3.3 mile run on Tuesday and felt good on the run and the day after. I did a bike ride on Wednesday just to be safe. On Thursday, I did another 3.1 mile run and then had to go clean my old apartment. I felt good on the run, but noticed my foot getting a little sore after bending, twisting, squatting as I cleaned. I iced when I got home and decided I needed to just take it easy for the next couple of days to be ready for Sunday.

On Friday evening, I headed to the Health & Fitness Expo to pick up my packet and check out some of the vendors.

I could feel the energy walking around. I could also feel the nerves. I’m ready for Sunday to get here so I can just do this thing and stop thinking/agonizing about it.

I’m as ready as I can be, and just want to get out there and enjoy the race and celebrate the end of a 4+ months of training.

TC Marathon, here I come!

Twin Cities Marathon Training – Weeks 14 & 15

I had a vacation that fell in the middle of these two weeks, so I’ll have to catch you up on everything that’s been going on. Unfortunately, it’s not all good.

Week 14

Monday – 2.69 mile walk

I woke up still on a bit of a high after completing my 20 mile run. My Achilles was a bit tight and sore in the morning. It loosened up as the day went on, and Hyedi and I were able to get in a nice walk in the evening. It felt good to move my legs a bit.

Tuesday – rest

Technically, I had flag football practice, so I did do a little running. I was taking it easy because the field was a bit uneven and my legs were still recovering. I was tired when we were done and needed to pack for vacation, so I didn’t do any more running that night.

Wednesday – 4.12 miles (9:48/mile)

I went out for a morning run before needing to head to the airport. I was planning to do 5-6 miles. When I started out, I felt ok. My legs did not want to move very fast, so I resolved that this would be a slightly slower pace. Then somewhere around mile 2-3, I started to have some pain in my left foot. I kept going to see if it would go away. It didn’t. As I made my way closer to home, I realized I needed to cut this run short. The pain was more than I’m used to dealing with and did not feel like something I should run through.

I headed in and iced my foot a little before leaving. Walking through the airports wasn’t a lot of fun as my foot still hurt. By the evening, I was at the beach and hoping that a good night sleep would make my foot better.

Thursday – rest

The foot was a little better, but not enough where I felt comfortable running on it. I decided to take a rest day to see if that would help. Sitting on the beach with family was also a good excuse to take it easy.

Friday – 7.37 mile bike ride (36 minutes)

The foot was still a little iffy, so my sister and I hit the workout room and I did some cross training on a stationary bike.

Saturday – 7.1 mile bike ride (30 minutes)

One more day of cross training to give the foot a break.

Sunday – rest

I was supposed to do a 12 mile long run as a step-back week, but with the foot I figured I’d better skip that and keep resting it until I felt more confident that it was better.

All of these foot issues were not fun to deal with, but at least I was still soaking up the sun and enjoying some time in my happy place.

Week 15

Monday – 3.03 miles (9:57/mile) and 6 mile bike ride (25 minutes)

I decided to test out the foot on a short run. I did an easy 3 miles. It felt just fine during the run. Yay! I hit the workout room right after to get in a little bit more of a workout.

I was really happy that my foot held up ok on the run. It did good the rest of the day as well. I was really crossing my fingers that the time off had solved the problem.

Tuesday – 7 mile bike ride (30 minutes)

I got up and got myself ready to run. I even went outside and started warming up. As I was doing my dynamic stretching, I felt a little soreness in my foot. I was super tempted to just run and see how it did, but I decided it would be smarter to go with a low impact workout that day.

Wednesday – 4.77 mile run (10:01/mile)

I felt ready to attempt another run. I had 5 miles on my training plan for the day, so I thought I’d aim for something around 4-5 miles as long as my foot was feeling ok. My foot was feeling good as I got going. My legs were tired–my calves were tight for some reason–so pace was a little slow, but I was so happy to get through the run ok.

Later that afternoon, it ended up being a cloudy, rainy day so we went shopping. As we were walking around the outlet mall, I noticed my foot hurting. *Crap* I had been thinking about going to a doctor if my foot still didn’t seem like it was getting better and this pushed me over the edge to wanting to do that.

Thursday – 7.79 mile bike ride (35 minutes)

I had to say good-bye to the beach and travel home, but I was back early enough to get in a short workout on the stationary bike. My foot was feeling ok, but I wanted to take it easy.

Friday – rest

I had a doctor appointment in the morning for my foot. They did X-rays which didn’t show a stress reaction or stress fracture. That was good, but the doc said it could still be early, so something just isn’t showing up. He said and MRI is an option to see more. I’m giving it another week of rest/cross training before I think about going that route.

I’m working on finding some cross training things that will still help me keep up my fitness. I’ll keep biking and might try to do some pool running and swimming.

Saturday – 12.88 mile bike ride (1:10:08)

This was supposed to be the day I did my second 20 mile run. I woke up and it was 55 and sunny. An absolute perfect day for running. But, I was not running. I had already decided that attempting a 20 mile run would not be a good idea. I set out for a bike ride instead. My foot did fine, but my butt and hamstrings were sore afterwards–not used to that much time on a bike seat.

I was super frustrated and bummed that I couldn’t run. I have one 20 miler under my belt, but I had a goal of getting in two for this training cycle to hopefully help me be even more prepared for marathon day. I’m a little anxious thinking staying in shape for the big day without Hanging out with a cute kiddo in the afternoon while babysitting for friends helped brighten my mood. 🙂

Sunday – Flag football tournament

Sunday was the Touch of Football event benefiting the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. The flag football tournament took place at U.S. Bank Stadium, where the MN Vikings play. I was taking it really easy with my foot, and luckily had a very understanding team. We did A LOT better than last year and had a lot of fun for a good cause!

I am hoping and praying that some more rest and cross training will help me get to the marathon start line healthy enough to still have a good race.

How have you dealt with a running injury close to a race?

Twin Cities Marathon Training – Week 13

I’m not going to lie to you, I’m short on time, but I didn’t want to miss doing a weekly update. So, this is going to be short and sweet. I hope you don’t mind. 🙂

Monday – 5.01 miles (9:36/mile)

Tuesday – rest

I spent a lovely evening on a patio with some friends for happy hour.

Wednesday – 6.04 miles (9:28/mile)

This was supposed to be a 5 mile run, but I had some extra time so I extended it a little so I could do a slightly shorter run the next day.

Thursday – 4 miles (9:37/mile)

I had a happy hour with coworkers right after work, but still squeezed in a 4 mile run when I got home. The evening was gorgeous with a setting sun behind downtown.

Friday – rest

Saturday – 35 minute elliptical

The forecast was calling for rain on and off all day. I still got up early prepared to do my long run, but sure enough it was raining and didn’t look like it was going to stop for a while. By mid morning, I called it and decided I’d do my long run on Sunday. Not ideal with other stuff I had to do that afternoon, but I really didn’t want to do a 20 mile run in rain.

I opted for a short, easy elliptical workout to get something in. Then did some shopping with my sister in the afternoon.

Sunday – 20 miles (9:53/mile)

I got up extra early so I could get to the lakes and start my long run by 7 a.m. As I got going, my legs were feeling a bit tight. I hoped that they’d loosen up after a few miles. They did a little, but not as much as I was hoping. My pace was a little slower than I had hoped, but not terrible.

The miles ticked by and I kept plugging along making loops around each lake. Around mile 14, I was really feeling the tiredness in my legs. My pace slowed even more and I was afraid the last 6 miles were going to be rough. I was hanging out a little above a 10 minute mile pace.

As I made my way back to Lake Harriet, my watch beeped that I was at 18 miles. Seeing that number and seeing the lake gave me a boost of adrenaline that I was almost done with my run. I was able to pick up my pace to around 9:40-9:45 for those last 2 miles. It was actually kind of a good mental boost knowing that I actually did have something left in the tank after feeling tired and sluggish before.

After my run, I rushed home to shower and change. Then I was off to the MN State Fair to work a shift at one of the booths. I managed to grab a snack on my way to the booth.

Triple Truffle Trotters

After my shift, I grabbed some more food. One of the new foods I wanted to try at the fair was out when I got there, so I settled for a classic corn dog because I was starving. Hey, I ran 20 miles that morning! I also grabbed a beer because, again, I ran 20 miles that morning.

I made one more food stop and was able to eat them before needing to take cover in a building during a downpour.

Duck Bacon Wontons – so good!

After that, I was so ready to go home and get to bed!

It’s a step-back week next week, as well as a vacation week, but then I get to try another 20 mile run before tapering starts. It’s getting so close!

Twin Cities Marathon Training – Weeks 11 & 12

Welp, I failed to do a recap last week. Things have been busy as the summer continues to fly by! But, I’m keeping up with training amongst the craziness.

Week 11

Monday – 5 miles (9:48/mile)

Tuesday – rest

I had a work happy hour, so took the day to rest and have a beer and some yummy food on a patio.

Wednesday – 4.7 miles (10:18/mile)

A friend and I planned to do this outdoor workout, but the weather had other plans. We changed our plan to do dinner instead. Before that I managed to get in a treadmill run, then I devoured this plate of food.

Thursday – 8.03 miles (9:37/mile)

I came home and squeezed in my 8 mile run for the week before meeting up with my sister and a couple friends for a patio night to enjoy some of the last days of summer. Though, I’m not going to complain about the coming of fall.

Friday – rest

Saturday – 18 miles (9:47/mile)

I headed to my usual long-run spot: the lakes. It was a decently cool morning, but as I got going I could tell it was pretty humid. I was sucking down the water faster than the previous week. It took me a few miles to get warmed up, but once I did the run was pretty uneventful. The miles didn’t tick by as fast as when I did 17, but I made it through!

After the run, I headed home to get showered because my family was coming over to celebrate my mom’s birthday. We took a sightseeing riverboat cruise of St. Paul! Heard some cool history about the city.

Sunday – 45 minute elliptical, 16 minute walk

It was a cloudy, rainy day, so I stuck with the workout room for most of my cross training. The rain stopped by the time I was off the elliptical, so I did my walk outside.

Week 12

Monday – rest

Tuesday – 5.12 miles (9:47/mile)

Flag football practice got done and I did not feel like running, but since I had taken a rest day on Monday I knew I needed to get it done.

Wednesday – 8.02 miles (9:35/mile)

I hit the path after work expecting to just do another 5 mile run because it was pretty humid, but I was feeling pretty good, so I just kept going to get the longer run done. Felt good to get it out of the way. Good thing too because a friend texted that night that they had Twins tickets for Thursday night that they couldn’t use. I jumped on them!

Thursday – 3.5 miles (9:40/mile)

A Twins game after work meant I had to get up early to get in my run. I did not do the full 5 miles I was supposed to, but I think it’s ok. My body was ok with the slightly shorter run.

Friday – rest

A friend and I grabbed dinner along the river and I headed to bed at a decent hour so I could get up early for my long run.

Saturday – 14 miles (9:50/mile)

It was an early alarm, but I dragged my butt out of bed on a foggy morning to get started because I had a packed day ahead.

It was a step-back week and I actually only had 13 miles on the plan, but I wanted to stretch it out just a tad, so did 14. My legs were feeling a bit tired on this run. My pace wasn’t as fast as it has been on other long runs, but I just told myself to keep going at whatever pace was comfortable.

As soon as I was done, I got cleaned up to meet a friend for “The Biggest Pop-Up Brunch in the World!” It was a fundraiser for Second Harvest Heartland. We sampled some drinks and snacks on what turned out to be a beautiful day.

After brunch, I headed to another fundraiser BBQ for my flag football team. Then hit the grocery and finally had time to go home and relax. Ok…a nap. I needed to rally because I had a bachelorette party to go to that night.

A fun-filled day, but I was exhausted when it was done!

Sunday – 2.5 mile walk

After getting to bed late, the early alarm wasn’t my friend, but at least it was because I got to catch up with a couple friends while we walked around Lake Nokomis. I used the walk as my cross training for the day.

In the afternoon, I had one more fundraising event to complete. My flag football team bagged groceries for donations. Being on my feet for 4 hours bagging groceries felt like a whole other workout. My legs were beyond tired when I got done, but it was worth it because we raised a lot of money!

I almost needed another day to recover from my weekend, but I can’t complain about getting to see a lot of friends I haven’t seen in awhile.

Looking forward to another good week of training. The really high mileage long runs are ahead of me. I kind of can’t believe the marathon is 6 weeks away!

Twin Cities Marathon Training – Week 10

Eight more weeks to go! As I type that it seems really far away and really close all at the same time.

The peak mileage weeks are in view, and I’m trying to make sure I stay healthy and injury free. I’ve been good with that so far, but I did notice the beginning of a black toenail after my long run this past week. It happened on the same toe the last time I trained for a marathon, so apparently I’m prone to it when my mileage gets up around 17 miles.

Monday – rest

Tuesday – 3.81 miles (9:11/mile)

I had flag football practice in the evening. We didn’t have a ton of people, but we were still able to run some plays. Practice ran a little longer than I had planned, but I still squeezed in a quick (literally) run. It was supposed to be 4 miles, but I figured I could cut it a tad short given the running I did at practice. 😉

Wednesday – 8.04 miles (9:34/mile)

My legs were feeling that football practice for this 8 miler. My legs were tired and heavy the whole way. My ankles were also really sore. At first I wasn’t sure why, but then I realized that all of the quick side to side running and uneven ground probably took a toll on my ankles.

Thursday – 4.05 miles (9:40/mile)

The ankles were still sore for this run, but got in a few easy miles. It was an unseasonably cool day. Basically a preview of fall running.

Afterwards, I met up with a friend to catch up over dinner and a cocktail.

Friday – rest

Saturday – 17.1 miles (9:43/mile)

I was up bright and early to get my long run started. I obviously wasn’t awake yet because I drove all the way to the lakes and realized I forgot my Garmin. Oh well. I had RunKeeper on my phone. I think the Garmin is just a little more accurate.

It was a gorgeous, cool morning for a run.

I feel like my long runs after a step-back week are sometimes less than stellar, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. My legs felt ok, but my pace wasn’t as fast as I’ve been doing. My early miles were hanging out around a 9:45/mile pace. Nothing to complain about, so I tried to just settle in.

The miles actually ticked by fairly fast. Before I knew it, I was heading back to Lake Harriet for one more loop around that lake to finish up my 17 miles. Somehow, my legs found a little extra energy and my average pace increased to about 9:30/mile for the last 3 miles.

I was exhausted after my run from getting up early and not getting a good night of sleep, so I definitely took a nap in the afternoon!

Sunday – 3.12 miles (16:34/mile)

My sister, a friend, and I did Fifteen’s 5K on Sunday morning. We took it easy and walked most of it. Was a fun way to get in my cross training for the week. You finish the race near home plate on Target Field, which was also pretty cool!

I cleaned up when I got home and headed to a birthday party for a friend’s kiddo. Then I headed back to Target Field for the Twins game. You get a ticket to the game with your race registration. The Texas Rangers went up by 5 runs in the first inning, so things didn’t start well. Around the third inning the rain came. It was a short rain delay and then the clouds parted and it turned out to be a lovely afternoon for baseball. Apparently the break was good for the Twins as well because they came back to win 6-5!

Bring on another week!