Ramping up for Twin Cities Marathon

There has been a lot of training going on around here!

Last week I capped off a 92.5 mile run with a 20 miler where I tried to speed up to tempo pace by the end. All I could muster was 6:35-6:45s. My hamstrings wouldn’t allow my feet to reach any farther out, my legs had no spring off the ground. Oh, marathon training, how I’ve missed you.


I can’t say I am super confident going into a fall marathon. I think I’m in sub-3 shape, but I don’t think I’m near sub 2:50 (my big goal post-pregnancies!) yet. Who knows, though, maybe that’s because my legs are in a constant state of fatigue? Some highlight workouts have been:

  • 1 hour of 4 mins at tempo, 2 mins of marathon pace alternating. I did this with Craig, and it was a bit of a bust. I went too fast for the first tempo segment and didn’t quite recover in the 2 mins of marathon pace (6:45 pace). I held on for the next couple of cycles but by the end was fading to 6:45/7 mins. Wow, this is a workout!

  • 3×2 miles at 6:30 pace: Austin helped me through this one. My legs were working for these paces – a good old fashioned tempo type workout (but not the guns-out tempo of the past!) 6:30.2 on the dot for the first one, HR 180. 6:25.1 for the 2nd set, HR 183. 6:35.0 on the second, HR 187. 2nd one was slightly more downhill, 3rd slightly more up. Love these kinds of workouts! 🙂
  • 13 miles with 1,2,3,4,5,5,4,3,2,1 mins on fartlek. This was so fun! Paces were between 6:15-6:30. With Craig for most of the way. It’s still humid out, stopped after the last 4 minuter to guzzle water. Felt great, just a little heavy (still working off all that I ate the last week… sigh…)
  • The Gustavus Alumni XC 5k! This is always a highlight. It’s a little different for me now as Dale Bahr is no longer coaching at GAC — and if there ever was a coach to fire me up, he was it! — but it’s still important for me to come back to support the team. I placed second in 19:35, behind Kourtney K who is hoping to make it to Nationals this fall. I guess that’s not too shabby for being a “Rusty Gustie”. Another highlight was convincing AD to come down to Gustavus for the Alumni XC race with me. She graduated in ’99, me in ’05. Gusties will shine!

Overall, I think my paces on workouts are just a little slower than they were last summer with Gary. I’m not exactly sure why – although maybe I would point to needing more VO2 work in the base phase before hitting my marathon specific training. One thing I know for sure is that this cycle is going so much better than Grandma’s did. I hadn’t really grasped how much I struggled with my hip and hamstring (and probably too much change in my training) until I graphed my weekly mileage leading into Grandma’s. Obviously I didn’t intend for it to be like that (and neither did Meghan, I just couldn’t sustain any real training volume. Yikes. So, maybe being sick was a part of that 3:07 at Grandma’s (race recap here), but I also think dealing with the hip/hamstring issue again while also getting used to a coaching change (which takes a while!) contributed to that time. So, here is looking upward from there!

Little better, eh?! The little dip is this week’s mid-70 mile week. I’ll then climb back up into the low 90s before beginning to taper down. Right now I’m planning to race TCM as I was accepted into their elite field. I can also race at Chicago in their American Development Program wave, but I really like racing locally. If I think that my training rounds out to where sub 2:50 is doable on a faster course, then I’ll travel. Guess we will see!

On the “little” big things: After a fun Labor day weekend at the cabin where I think I ate an entire half pan of chocolate caramel bars in 24 hours, I’ve doubled down on mindful eating. If I’m going to get the most out of myself in October I need to put the most into myself today and that doesn’t mean just putting in the miles. I started supplementing with iron again (fell off that wagon – and may have started to see signs of needing supplementation recently but haven’t gone in to confirm). I’ve also started snacking on veggies while at work (gasp!), planning meals, and having fun with our CSA veggies. We are particularly loving our new spiralizer. We make zucchini noodles with it nearly weekly, and last night steamed spiralized carrots. The girls are actually great with eating anything (as long as it isn’t spicy), we are so lucky!, but I think they ate more than their usual just because their carrots were curly & springy. And who can’t resist continuing to eat more bounce-able veggies?!

Speaking of the girls, I don’t even know where to start! I am thoroughly enjoying this phase of our lives. They are two bright, kind little girls who get along really well with each other (most of the time). There are frequent belly laughs that fill our house, too many adventures to count, and in general, I fall more in love with our little family by the day. If the only thing I can complain about is the fact that pushing them in a stroller is getting harder and harder – well, life is good :). A few recent highlights:

On a “girls night out” date looking for migrating Monarch butterflies in the Carleton arb. I’m not sure what was so funny here, but I absolutely adore this picture.

Anna feeding the goat at Wilderness Walk in Hayward, WI. That face! And then later, panning for “gold” with Greta:


Greta’s first day of Kindergarten at the Montessori school was this Tuesday (9/3/19). She said she wants to be a Ballerina when she grows up. That’s new. All of last year she answered with “Piggy Princess”. (if you know what that is, please tell me)

She will likely repeat Kindergarten in the public schools next fall as she has an October birthday. I can’t imagine all she will know by then. She already reads really well, has asked Dad to begin reading the Harry Potter book series before bed (and comprehends previous chapters!), and loves to do “math problems” in the car. The other day I threw out a multiplication problem in the form of a story and she immediately knew the answer (3 cows produced 2 glasses of milk today. How many glasses of milk did they produce in total?). She also will ask us complicated questions: Dad, can you tell me about how the microwave works? He will explain about moving molecules, how that creates heat, etc.

There are some pretty precious things that come out of her mouth, too. We watched a gymnastics video on You Tube recently and they must have mentioned the term “World Champion”. Right after that video Greta and Anna march down to the bar we have and began practicing. Greta says, “I’m practicing to the the World Champion! Practicing to be the Champion of All!” (yep, captured that on video). Later that night she wants yogurt for a bedtime snack. She opens the lid and then says, “World Champions can open anything”. Oh my gosh. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried!

Until next time, Run Happy, Friends!

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One Comment

  1. Hi, Speed read the last two years of your blog. Super well written. I’m going to run TCM first time this year then follow with CIM. I think CIM would be a very good choice for you, There is an OQT pace group for women. The course is faster than TCM by a couple of minutes. The weather is consistently good. Running in the Pace Group will shave 3-6 minutes off of your overall time. If you can run 2:50-2:52 at TCM you can run 2:44 at CIM.
    When training you need to go with what works for you. Looking back where did you achieve your best results? Training not only includes miles run, but also strength, cross training, and another one I call time on your feet. These all contribute to the “training effect”. You can include sleep and nutrition here as well.

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