Life Updates from the Polar Vortex

Brr, it’s been cold here in MN! Schools have been cancelled that last 4 days. I can’t remember a time when we’ve had that many cancellations. Today reached a windchill of -59. Yikes. I hardly ever run inside, but I did today.

There has been a ton happening here , but so little time to write. Hopefully things will settle down significantly after mid-February when the high school Nordic Ski season ends. It’s super fun to coach another season, but the logistics are crazy time-consuming!

To catch you up! First, the biggest news: I have the opportunity to be coached by Meghan Peyton. I am SO excited. She is a professional runner for Team USA MN as well as the head cross country and track coach at Augsburg College. It was a difficult decision, but ultimately it came down to 1) having someone local – I may head up to do workouts with the Augsburg team, and 2) going back to workouts and mileage that were familiar to me.

-16F air temp. Ran from home to church. One of the most beautiful runs I have had in a while! It seemed like the whole world was just standing still.

I’ve learned a lot about myself, my strengths and weaknesses, and what works well for me under Gary in the last 9 months. I was fairly burned out when he took me on, reaching for workouts that were beyond my fitness level, running what was probably too many doubles to be productive mileage, etc, etc. He dialed things back, freshened up my legs, and taught me to reign in workouts when appropriate. I am really thankful!

In the last 9 months working with Gary my max mileage was ~70 MPW. Most weeks were in the low 60s. That was a change for me. I ran fewer miles in 2018 than I had in 2017, even though in 2017 I was coming off of pregnancy #2. Gary had me play around with workout frequency and recovery, going hard M&W and long on Fri. We timed the 2 days of recovery to come on Sat and Sun so I could maximize my time with the girls (weekends are also when Nate puts in his training volume so I like to stay away from my own long efforts then). At first this was a little tough for me, but I adapted over time. We only did two 20 mile runs before TCM, both easy mileage – different from Jerry and it will be different under Meghan – mainly because Gary wanted to bring me out of over-training before diving head first into marathon workouts again. Mission accomplished, I think!

Meal prepping because I should probably hop back on that train…

Interval work with Gary was much different than I had ever done before. Those sessions were so great, but MAN, I never did adapt to the fartlek-style recovery of his intervals! Remember my first interval session with him? He advised me afterwards that he was “coaching me to run, not walk”. HAHAHA. I still smile about his scoldings :). My huge lungs couldn’t keep up with paces and recovery like his! This isn’t knocking those workouts, it was just that I had never done anything like them in 20+ years of running so they were a shock to the system/lungs. The other workouts we did were steady state runs and tempo intervals, both controlled by HR range. I grew to love both of those, even though I would often push the envelope of those HR ranges ;).

I’m not even a week into working with Meghan, but something about it just feels right. There’s a sense of familiarity in the workouts and the mileage written around them. It’s a mileage-centric program with workouts similar to those I did in college and with Jerry. Mileage won’t be crazy high, but will be closer to 75-85 for a typical week with 90/low 90s for a max (depending on how my body recovers). Doubles will start to be introduced next week when mileage is above 70.

With Meghan, I will work on speed and explosiveness development first (um, yeah… those things are still there, right?!?). I have a plyometric circuit I’m supposed to do after a fast fartlek tomorrow. I’m hoping no one watches me try to do some of these bounds and split squat jumps! Ha! Then we will move into a marathon-specific training block. We will touch all systems throughout any training cycle we are in – again, something that is both familiar to me via previous coaching & a cornerstone of my own personal coaching. I’m targeting Grandma’s marathon in June. Let’s get after it!

Lifting just once a week, core multiple times, and plyos once/week


Here’s a blog post about a time when Meghan and I spoke to a class at the U of MN. I was 8.75 months pregnant at the time so it was mildly amusing to have each of us there, her super fit and fast, and me super pregnant ;).

I actually played around with the idea of being self-coached for a while. I am more aware of myself and my tendencies now (as in: I am *pretty sure* I could hold myself back from wanting to do everything under the sun! Maybe…) so was fairly confident I could handle myself. I feel like my knowledge base to draw from is about as comprehensive as one could ask for. I’ve spent more than a decade studying the marathon, have a ton of my own experiences to draw from, both positive and negative, as well as the experience that comes from coaching 200+ runners individually over the last 6 years. But, ultimately, I firmly believe that even coaches need coaches themselves. There is nothing better than having someone else steer the boat. It takes the energy out of planning so all of my energy can go into executing. Thank you to Jerry, Chris, and Gary for all the time you’ve put into teaching me – and thank you to Meghan for being willing to take me on. I am so excited to see what the two of us can do together.

As always, you can follow me on Strava! I upload all of my workouts there. I’ll also be blogging about more of the workouts/details here, I missed being able to do that.

Other fun news: I was renewed as a Brooks I.D. (inspire daily) Coach and by UCAN!!!! I consider myself the luckiest girl out there!

Here’s to a great training block – hope to be back writing here more often very soon 🙂 And of course, some pictures of the girls, just because! Greta just earned her “Reader” status at school (that’s crazy! She’s not even 4 1/2!), and Anna can count to 11 – and tell a killer knock-knock joke, lol for those who are connected to me on Facebook.

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