Link-Up: Best and Worst of Racing

Best (or Worst) of My Racing History

Linking up with Jessie over at The Right Fits today! I thought this was a fun idea. Can you believe I’ve posted three days in a row?!

Best finisher’s shirt?

I love the TCM race shirts and even though it’s too big on me, I loved the 2012 TCM shirt.


Worst finisher’s shirt?

2012 Chisago Tri (agree with Erin)


Best finish line

Twin Cities Marathon. Hands down. There’s something about coming over that last hill and seeing the capitol and all of the people. And as you get closer, it gets louder and louder. It’s amazing.

Best overall swag/gear

Point Bock Run – a beer mug and all you can drink beer. Does that count?


Best crowd support

Shamrock Shuffle in Chicago or TCM! I’m always amazed at how many people come out (even super early in the case of TCM) to cheer the runners on!

Hottest race

Torchlight 5K – It’s always mid-late July and HOT. It’s actually been canceled a couple of times because of excessive heat warnings.

Coldest race

Reindeer Run – I used to run this race every year and it was one of the first races I ever ran! It’s always the first weekend of December and the course is a 5k around Lake Harriet. Two years in a row, it was blizzard-ing out and snow froze to my face.

This was one of the more bearable years:


Most beautiful course

I know I haven’t experienced many different landscapes, but I think parts of Ragnar and TCM are quite beautiful.


Hilliest course

Ragnar Relay Great River – Oof, no matter how many hills I include in my training leading up to Ragnar, I’m never prepared quite enough.


Race that took the most mental strength

Chisago Triathlon 2012 – Although I was well-trained for my first ever triathlon, I had a panic attack in the water, the minute we started swimming. Note to self: make sure your training includes open-water swims. It took everything I had to finish the swim portion of the race, and although it took a looooong time, I did it. I went on to get through the bike and run to officially become a triathlete!

Most disappointing finish

Twin Cities Marathon 2013 – after a strong start, my hip started seizing up right around mile 16 and by mile 19, the pain had also spread to my knee. I had to alternate walking and running for the last six or so miles. I’m smiling in the photo, but I was not happy and was in a lot of pain. Then, a trip to the medical tent capped off a disappointing race.


Most organized

Shamrock Shuffle – For a race this big (33,000+ runners), the ease of packet pick up, gear drop off and pick up and getting into corrals amazes me. Also, it’s surprisingly not crowded, even right from the beginning!



Coolest medal

Big Ten 10K


Most emotional finish

Twin Cities Marathon 2012 – TCM 2012 was my first marathon ever and holy cow, I wasn’t prepared for the tears that came as I came over the last hill down to the finish line. Once I crossed, I completely broke down to the point that race volunteers were asking me if I was okay. I was crying out of pure happiness and amazement at what I had just accomplished.

What are your “bests” and “worsts?” 

Check out Erin’s best and worst of racing post here.


2012 Racing Recap

As of today I’m signed up for three 2013 races! Today I signed up for the Goldy’s Run 10 mile race. As much as I love looking forward to my favorite races each year, it’s always fun to run one for the first time. Last year, I cheered my husband on when he ran this race. It starts at the University of Minnesota (my alma mater) and ends right on the 50-yard-line in the stadium, with your finish projected on the Jumbotron! Looking ahead to 2013 made me start to think about all of the races I completed in 2012.


No races in January


Climb for a Cure: climbed 50 floors of stairs with friends!

Lifetime Fitness Indoor Tri


Point Bock Run: first road race of the season!

In yellow, crossing the finish line

In yellow, crossing the finish line


*Get in Gear 10K:

Work friends, post-race!

Work friends, post-race!


Lifetime Fitness Indoor Triathlon:

Official results:
Swim – 18 lengths
Bike – 24.2 mi
Run – 2.05 mi

I came in 9th place and was the 5th female overall!


Be the One Run 5K: our first Girls on the Run 5K. I started out as a running buddy and then my duties switched over to social media!

Live tweeting the entire way.

Live tweeting the entire way.


*Garry Bjorkland Half Marathon: One of the most amazing experiences ever. Half marathon PR and such a fun race.

IMG_2249  IMG_2267


Chisago Triathlon: my first triathlon! Didn’t go as well as I had hoped — but I finished!


With my dad!

With my dad!


No races in August


Get Ready to Rock 20 miler: 20 mile training race for the marathon.


*Cloquet River Run 5k: My first 5K PR of the year! My husband made it on the podium at the race.


South Metro Human Services 5K: fun race with our friends. Raised some money for a good cause.

With Erin!

With Erin!

photo (4)


Twin Cities Marathon: my first marathon — incredible experience!

photo (11)


*Monster Dash 10 mile: 10 mile PR just a few weeks after the marathon.

photo (26)


*Diva Dash: second 5K PR of 2012!


Girls on the Run 5K: our first very own 5K. Ran as a running buddy.

Turkey Day 5K: got some miles in before the big meal.

photo (51)


Race for Recovery 5K: awesome race for a great cause.

I came a long way as a runner in 2012 and there were some PRs and “firsts” (triathlon, marathon). Most importantly, in 2012 I learned to push myself to be uncomfortable during runs and races and to recognize the difference between discomfort and pain/injury.

Bring on 2013!

By the numbers and other randomness

Total number of races: 16

Total miles (so far, according to Dailymile): 801

* – denotes PR 🙂

Craving a run

So I didn’t mention this before, but I got into a car accident on Friday. I had decided to work from home Friday morning after a super late night in the office the night before and then was going to come into the office Friday afternoon. Well something of course came up and so I reluctantly packed up my car to head into the office around 9:30 a.m. I was almost there, turning off of the exit ramp to the street that my office is on, when a car came out of nowhere and hit me.

Long story short, it’s been a crappy few days trying to deal with her insurance company (she ran a red light and admitted this to both me and the cop but is now changing her story and the cop didn’t give her a ticket) and I don’t currently have a car to drive. After the accident and after the cops FINALLY showed up, I went into work for awhile. Since I needed transportation to get to my in-laws for the triathlon, I had to hurry to pick up the tri suit I was borrowing and then get home and pack everything for the tri, including my bike and then get my in-laws’ car from the Toyota dealership where it was being fixed.

It’s amazing that I didn’t forget anything and actually made it to my in-laws’ in one piece.

So since the triathlon, after I spent all day Sunday recovering, I’ve been trying to speed up the process with my and the women who hit me’s insurance companies, but still no luck. Also, there are two half-finished remodeling projects going on at home right now and work has me pulling my hair out. (end rant.) Basically, what I’m trying to say is that I DESPERATELY NEED A RUN!

So after my Girls on the Run board meeting tonight, I hope to get an easy 3 miles in. (Oh side note: if I haven’t mentioned it before, I was recently elected to the Girls on the Run Twin Cities Board of Directors as the new Marketing Chair!)

I have to say that i’s nice, but nerve wracking, to finally be able to shift my focus to marathon training only. And my “I’m never going to do another triathlon again” attitude has already changed. Looking at the Buffalo Tri 2013 😉


Chisago Lakes Sprint Triathlon: Race Recap

My alarm went off at 4:15 am after a pretty sound sleep. A huge improvement over the night before when super loud storms came through, keeping me awake.

I made myself three scrambled eggs and a coffee and drank a glass of water. I packed up the night before so I just threw myself in the car and was ready to go.

My mother-in-law drove us to Paradise Park and we scored some pretty sweet parking. I put air in my bike tires and then we headed over to the start. I found my spot in the transition area and set up:

Then, I got in line for body marking, fastened my timing chip around my ankle and went to scope out the course.

I felt surprisingly calm before the race started. Walking around, taking in everything I ended up running into Erin and Nick! and then I ran into a different Nick, a close college friend, who was also doing the sprint.

Before I knew it, the announcement came that the first wave of the half iron was about to start. I got a spot on the hill near the beach to watch and somehow I still managed to stay pretty calm. I heard Erin and Nick’s wave announced (wave 6) and then my friends Nick and Marie’s wave (wave 10) and I knew I needed to head down towards the water because my wave (wave 13) would be called shortly. I put on my swim cap and hugged my cheering squad (in-laws, my dad who came all the way from Wisconsin, and my husband and puppy) good-bye.

Swim (16:24 — yikes)

Pretty much everything I had planned to do during the swim based on all of my research went out the window when I tried to start swimming and instead had a panic attack and started to sink.

But it all started out according to plan. I stayed to the very back of the pack and to the left. I was surprised at how many of us went out cautiously. But as soon as I could no longer touch the bottom and attempted to swim, I started to panic. I can hardly describe the feeling other than I couldn’t breathe and I could barely move my arms or legs. This happened a few times (with “you’re going to drown” and “you should give up right now” going through my head. Totally unlike me to think these things) before I stopped trying to “swim” and just took a break and started to tread water for a minute. The women near me were taking it easy, just doggy paddling and chatting with one another. So I started concentrating on their conversation and just told myself to keep moving. I alternated between doggy paddling and the side stroke for awhile. As I neared the booey where we were to turn, I started feeling much, much better. So I began to do the backstroke and made up some lost ground. This worked really well until the leaders of the wave that started AFTER me caught up and everything I successfully avoided in the mass start of my wave became a reality. I was kicked/swam over/etc. After swallowing some water, I decided to take a real break and grabbed a noodle from one of the volunteers.

After this short break, I just wanted to get it all over with. As I neared the shore, I was able to do something that resembled “swimming” more than what I was doing for the rest of the time. I came out of the water and headed for the muddy, slippery hill they have you run up to the transition area and I was off, feeling much less confident than I was when I started.

T1 (3:10)

Besides being in a total daze, I think this transition went OK. I had everything laid out and ready to go — didn’t really fumble with putting socks on/etc. The only hiccup was that while I took Erin’s advice and turned on my Garmin right away, I forgot to reset it from my last run and then was trying to do that while biking. It didn’t start recording until almost a mile in.

Bike (1:20:22 – averaged 17.9 mph!)

The first third of this ride I was still replaying my terrifying swim over and over in my head. The second third I was repeating “just get to the run, just get to the run” over and over in my head. The last third of the ride I was passing people left and right just trying to get it over with.

Looking back, the bike was the best part of the tri for me. I think I was actually having fun (even if I didn’t realize it) and it felt so awesome to just fly down the road. I’m not used to that, biking where I normally do where you have so many other cyclists and pedestrians and traffic to worry about.

And bonus — I saw Erin! She looked awesome as she flew by me on her Madone, wearing her super cute SOAS racing kit!

T2 (2:28)

Pretty uneventful. Swapped my helmet and sunglasses for a hat and changed my shoes. Flipped my race belt around, racked my bike and was off!

Run (30:34)

Legs felt like they weighed a million pounds. I felt like I was just shuffling along. So I was pretty surprised when I looked down at my Garmin and saw that I was keeping a sub-10:00 min/mi pace.

I’ve decided that triathletes are super friendly. Or at least those who were towards the back of the pack like I was are friendly. Pretty much everyone who I passed shouted things like, “you go girl!” and “nice job — keep it up!” and they weren’t being sarcastic!

However, as I was nearing the finish I was frustrated because I saw there was one more hill to run up, my Garmin said the run course was actually longer than 3.1 and there was this girl that clearly did not want to be passed because she wouldn’t get out of my way, but also she refused to run any faster.

But then all of a sudden, I heard my friends cheering and yelling my name and that was all it took — I gave everything I had left and sprinted to the finish line. I’m not even sure what happened to that girl — I must have passed her.

(waving to my “fans.” Note the terrible form.)

(A hill right before the finish. Nice.)

Finish time: 2:13:04

The bottom line? This was a great experience. One I should’ve trained more for. Or at least had done an open water swim practice for. I’m not sure if another one is in my future, but who knows 😉 I’d sure like to finish closer to 2:00!

Holy $*&% I’m doing a triathlon tomorrow

I’m currently at my in-laws relaxing because they live closer to the race site than I do and I had packet pick-up today and an early start tomorrow.

Last night my friend Jen came up here with me and my mother-in-law, Jen and I got some Mexican food/daquiris and then enjoyed wine on the screen porch. Perfect relaxing evening.

Then today I started my day with this:

*breakfast of champions*

Today, my mother-in-law and I went shopping and headed down to packet pick up.

*Race expo*

*The swim start*

I won’t lie — I got really, really nervous being at packet pick up today and seeing just how many more elements there will be to deal with tomorrow than are necessary at non-triathlon races.

So naturally when we got home I started frantically Googling every question that was in my head. I realized I’m severely underprepared for this thing and that I hope no one ever looks at my Google search history.

I just started laying out my stuff and I’ve practiced my transitions a couple of times.

*Race gear*

My amazing mother-in-law also just started making her world famous mushroom stroganoff for dinner tonight, so I’m a pretty happy camper 🙂

I think I’m less nervous now. I’m excited to be able to call myself a triathlete tomorrow. I’m excited that my family and friends are coming to cheer me on. I’m excited to see some awesome people race tomorrow including Erin, Alyssa, Marie and Nick.  Most of all, I’m excited for it to be over with so I can just focus on this gosh darn marathon.

Triathlons: A Love-Hate Affair

Just in time for my pre-first triathlon freak out (and a busy week!) — a guest post about triathlons! Meet Katie:
I didn’t really understand what it meant for a sport to require more mental toughness than physical prowess until I did my first triathlon. At the time, I had only run 5Ks and cycled as a means of low-mileage transportation or recreation. I started a training plan which included swimming twice a week and several of the dreaded brick workouts (a brick workout is a workout in which you bike and then immediately run– it’s a quad killer). On an unseasonably cold June morning back in 2009, I was as physically prepared as I could be for the challenge set before me. This did not prevent me from being scared out of my mind.
I have now completed five triathlons, four of those being the Buffalo Triathlon as it was the host to my first race in 2009 so it has sort of a ‘soft spot’ in my heart. I am maybe less scared than I was in 2009, but the triathlon still challenges my mental toughness more than most other events. For me, part of that comes from this strange love-hate relationship I have with the triathlon.
If you asked me on any of the 364 and 1/2 days of the year that I am not running a triathlon how much I like them I would answer emphatically, “I love triathlons! I love them more than puppies or ice cream cones! They are so fun and I feel like I am in the best shape of my life when I am training for them! I should quit my job and become a professional middle-of-the-pack triathlete!”
If you were to ask me DURING the triathlon how much I like them, between a handful of colorful language I might reply with, “I hate this. This is dumb. There is an abnormal and unhealthy amount of Spandex in my environment. I am wet and cold from a choppy swim in which I was man-handled by a faster swimmer and kicked in the face by a struggling swimmer who zigged and zagged all over the lake. In transition I nearly fell over myself trying to get the dumb wetsuit off and my socks are wet. I have gone uphill on this bike course approximately 100 times, but there appear to only be 2 downhills. By the time I start running (my favorite part) I am too tired and too angry to enjoy it. I had to eat some sort of Gu or gel and I hate those, too. Just like I hate this dumb race.”
And then I cross the finish line, get a medal placed around my neck, a water put in one hand and a banana in the other and I am already thinking, “That. Was. AWESOME. I cannot wait to do the next one!”
I do not know what it is about that hour and a half of triathlon that makes me so angry and bitter. Perhaps that is the flavor of my ‘competitive edge’? I hope not. I think the triathlon is an experience that is greater than the sum of its parts. And it is so very easy to get caught up in the time– what was I doing for 10 minutes on a 0.25mi swim, knitting a sweater? Once I was able to let go of the timing and comparisons, I realized I enjoyed the event much more. Of course the run might be slower than a normal run at that distance, I had to swim and bike to the start line! Sure, I didn’t need to spend 4 minutes in transition, but a girl gets hungry and wanted a Clif Bar, not something sticky and goopy eaten out of a foil bag.
I never became a ‘triathlete.’ I still consider myself a runner, just with multisport tendencies, but I also know that each year I mark the Buffalo Triathlon on my calendar, I register within hours of opening, and I schedule and reschedule other events around that day. I am effectively, hoping to always be busy the morning of the first Sunday in June. That’s how I know, somewhere woven between the choppy swim, the uphill bike, and the seemingly grueling run, there is a shred of perfection or magic or… I don’t know what it is, but it has a tight hold on me. But I do still think there is too much Spandex.
Thanks, Katie! You can follow Katie’s blog here.

How I conquered the treadmill

I’m not sure when it happened – or how – but I’ve come to appreciate the treadmill. And embrace it.

I was dreading my last long run because of how poorly some of my recent runs have been outside in the heat. After a fantastic weekend of camping and relaxation, I decided that I’d get my ten miles in Monday afternoon and I’d do them on the treadmill. I think it was around mile eight that I thought to myself “holy s*** I’m going to do this!” I felt really great the entire time and watched the Ellen Show and the evening news to keep me entertained. I realized that I’ve also come to appreciate being able to pace myself so easily.

While camping this weekend, my husband and I explored the Root River Trail in Lanesboro by taking a ~16 mile bike ride. Although it was HOT out, it was such an awesome ride. The trail is 43 total miles and connects 4-5 towns and is paved the entire way. And EVERYONE that is out riding on the trail is like, super happy. Every single person we encountered said “hello” and had a smile on their face. So awesome.

*the lovely view on our bike ride*

*we stopped for some mini-golf*

*I build awesome fires.*

*Brought the pup along for his first camping trip!*

It’s officially triathlon week. And I’m feeling…..anxious about it. I still haven’t gotten an open water swim in, practiced my transitions, done enough biking (or bricks, for that matter) or anything really that I’m “supposed” to do in preparation for a tri.

I’m feeling pretty good about marathon training, however. The only things that really freak me out is the possibility of getting injured between now and race day and how I’m going to get my really long runs in with our busy schedules this summer and fall. I’m actually thinking of skipping our annual cabin trip with our friends because it falls on the weekend of the big 20 mile race that a lot of people do here.

In addition to the triathlon on Sunday, I’m racing the Torchlight Run 5K this Wednesday! (recognize anyone on the website?) I’ve run this for the past four years (except last year when it was canceled due to heat and then I had plans on the day it was rescheduled). I love this fun run, it’s part of the annual Aquatennial celebration and they shut down the streets in downtown Minneapolis for the race. There is lots of crowd support along the entire course and beer at the finish line!

Hope everyone is having a great week!