A Dozen - Twin Cities Marathon Race Report

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I did this race for the first time in 2000. I was a sophomore in undergrad and had no idea what I was doing, but I was well-trained for it - posting the highest mileage I've ever put in for a marathon. I've done it every year since then - sometimes faster, and sometimes I've been much slower. It's become a yearly tradition for me, and for the last 5 years or so, it's become a tradition that my family joins in on. My mom, dad, and siblings all come up to cheer and sometimes run the 10 mile or marathon too. My birthday always falls sometime around the race (it was yesterday), so after the marathon, we all come back to Steve's and my house for a grill out, to share stories, and eat birthday cake before heading our separate ways again. This year, Steve and my brothers Matt and Mike were doing the 10 mile before changing into their crazy animal costumes and cheering like maniacs at mile 25.5.

Honestly, for the last 2 years I've wondered if it was really worth it to keep up the streak. I like having something to look forward to after tri season is over, but the feel of the race has changed. It's no secret that I'm anti iPod for races. I remember writing after last year's race that everyone around me seemed to be tuned out in their own little worlds. I'm a very social runner. I've only truly raced this marathon a couple of times. Mostly I just do it to celebrate what my body can do, soak in the scenery, and enjoy the camaraderie around me. This year's race restored my love for it.

I should back up to the days leading up to the race. Henry was up 5 times Thursday night and 6 times Friday night. By the end of that night, I was honestly ready to lock him in our basement with our cats for a couple of hours. Of course I'd never actually do that, but I have to admit that the thought went through my head at 4 AM. I had the day off of work Friday so Steve and I could get ready for Henry's Baptism on Saturday. We also had an appointment with the pediatric gastroenterologist that day. The doctor basically reaffirmed that it's likely an allergy to a food protein that I'm eating and recommended that I stay off all dairy, wheat, and soy since it does seem to be helping. The alternative is switching him to formula. I would rather keep breastfeeding if possible, so a restrictive diet it is. I'm not sure if it's a sheer coincidence or if it is the diet change, but his demeanor has been COMPLETELY different in the last 2 weeks. He's been a very happy guy who loves to smile, coo, and giggle, and the crying has nearly stopped. He's even been content to play with toys by himself for a few minutes here and there. The clinic and the race expo were just a few blocks from each other, so Steve and I picked up our race packets afterward.

Saturday was a flurry of excitement getting all of the food ready, putting a few last minute touches on cleaning our house, and welcoming our family. Steve's sister and my sisters were SO much help. We are blessed to have such great families. After being up those 6 times overnight, Henry didn't sleep all morning, and just when I thought he'd pass out, we put his baptismal gown on him, and he was wide awake taking the whole experience in. Here's a picture of the 3 of us. Henry's in a gown that my mom sewed for him out of pieces of her wedding dress:

Henry in the baptism gown my mom made him

Henry slept for a couple of hours in the afternoon, but not nearly as much as normal, so I thought he'd pass out at 7 and be good to go for the night. We made some pasta for my family who was staying the night (I had quinoa pasta. You know what? It's really pretty good!). Henry had plans of his own. We tried for hours to get him down, and every time we thought we'd been successful, he'd wake up again.

At 11:30 PM, after more than 4 hours of trying to get my baby to sleep. I was getting desperate. I thought about backing out of the race the next day. I was tired and frustrated from so many nights in a row with no sleep. I handed a crying Henry to my mom and collapsed as a blubbering pile into my dad's arms - asking how the heck I was supposed to continue doing this every night while working full time at a job that requires my brain to be in top-shape. My parents sent me to bed and promised to take care of Henry. I finally passed out. I woke up an hour and a half later to him crying, and for a moment, I panicked that he'd been crying the whole time. It turned out that he just thought it was his job to entertain the company, though. He'd been up laughing, talking, and playing with my parents the whole time. I fed him briefly, and he finally passed out at 1 AM. We then slept for 4 glorious uninterrupted hours until my 5 AM alarm went off.

I got dressed, pumped, and woke up the rest of the house. My mom took Steve, Matt, Mike and me to the start line. I saw them off for the 10 mile start and put the rest of me together. I smothered myself in body glide, ate a mint chocolate Gu, and got in line for Corral 3. When they sang the National Anthem, I said a quick prayer thanking God for the opportunity to be out there running, for my health, and for my VERY supportive family. They played "Everybody Looks Good at the Starting Line," and we were off! My plan was just to go at a comfortable pace, have fun, and hang out at the back of the pack.

At around mile 0.5, I complimented a woman on her shirt. It had the tracings of her 2 kids' feet and said something to the effect of, "We're behind you mom!" With that, I met Shelley. She was running her first marathon ever. We talked about our families. I told her some of the fun parts of the course to look forward to and where the hills would be. Sometimes we talked, sometimes we just ran together. We were very matched in pace, so we just stayed together. Around mile 12, John joined us. He had been running near us for most of the race. It was also his first marathon. His son was born on the exact same day as Henry but had had some initial complications, so his training wasn't what he'd hoped. Twelve miles was his longest run. I invited him to run with us, so he did. We ran along the river together telling stories and jokes and enjoying the gorgeous day. Normally, I would have thought it was much too hot, but this year I was glad it was a little warm so Henry wouldn't be cold while he was out cheering. I was so happy to be running, and though the typical aches and pains of a marathon snuck up on me earlier this year, I was having a lot of fun. I said in my last post that my goal would be to hang out with people at the back of the pack and to enjoy myself. If I could find a newbie to cheer on, that would be an added bonus.

John ran with us until mile 22 or so. He was stronger up the hill. I saw him look back a couple of times while he was ahead of us, but by that time, we were on Summit - the home stretch. I hoped he'd go on without us if he was feeling good, and he did. Shelley and I ran Summit together. We never had to stop and walk, though our pace was slowing down. I was just so happy to still be running and to still be feeling relatively OK. We looked for her family around mile 24 and then looked for mine at mile 25.5. I beamed when I spotted the farm animals! I high-fived my family and smooched my baby.

Spotting my family

Shelley and me at mile 25.5

High Fives for my family, running to smooch my baby

A high five for my bud Maddy. She was out there a couple of times to cheer!

I spotted the giant flag near the finish line as I crested the hill by the Cathedral. Shelly and I picked up the pace and ran to the finish line together. When we crossed, I congratulated her and asked if I could give her a hug. "I wish you would!" she exclaimed. We hugged twice, I congratulated her again, and I made my way up to find my family. Here are my splits just in case you're interested, but they weren't important. This was my second slowest marathon ever, but honestly, it was one of my most fun.

Miles 1&2: 22:50
Mile 3: 11:40
Mile 4: 11:26
Mile 5: 11:32
Mile 6: 11:53
Mile 7: 12:14
Mile 8: 11:16
Mile 9: 11:44
Mile 10: 11:48
Mile 11 & 12: 23:32
Mile 13: 12:07
Mile 14: 12:16
Mile 15: 11:25
Mile 16: 12:13
Mile 17: 12:03
Mile 18: 12:21
Mile 19: 12:32
Mile 20: 12:36
Mile 21: 13:14
Mile 22: 14:11
Mile 23: 13:45
Mile 24: 14:05
Mile 25 & 26: 27:25
Last 0.2: 2:46

Total time: 5:23:15

We all came back to Steve's and my place, grilled some delicious food, and said our goodbyes after a busy, fun-filled weekend. I snuggled my baby, and the two of us took a nap together.

Resting with Mama

That night, Henry slept through the night for the first time EVER. I'm not sure if the weekend wore him out or if running a marathon on an 80 degree day gave me a super concentrated milk supply - maybe a combination of both.

Final thoughts:

* We did end up making that sign for Henry's stroller:

* Running a marathon while nursing makes you HUNGRY!!! I normally eat around 400-500 calories over the course of a marathon, but this year, I ate over 800 and still had trouble keeping up. I had 4 gels, a pack of Powerbar chewies, a pack of Sharkies, and more than a full banana. I ran with a 6 oz bottle and managed to consume 10 bottles (5 tablets) of NUUN and another 5-10 bottles of water. I did a good job of keeping up with my hydration given the heat and was only down 2 pounds after the race.

* Speaking of nursing, everyone asks if I was OK going that long without, ahem, "relieving" myself. When I first signed up, I thought I'd have to spot a pump somewhere given my expected finish time, but I was fine. I can normally go 6-8 hours without too much trouble, and I think the dehydration factor worked in my favor.

* The NUUN and my slow pace made a HUGE difference in my cramping during and recovery after the race, which was good since I still had to safely carry a baby up and down our stairs.

* The sleeping through the night was a one-time deal. He woke up 5 times the next night but was only up 1-3 times the rest of the week, so I'm calling it progress.

* I wore my sacro-illiac support belt for all of my long runs and for the race. I still ended up with some SI pain, but I do think it helped. I'm hoping to be able to wean myself off of it now that runs of that distance are done for a few months.

* I don't have any races on the calendar yet but am definitely looking forward to being back next year. My focus this winter will be getting my speed back.

* Speaking of winter, I think I'm using my birthday money to buy the weather shield for the BOB. Obviously I'm not going to take Henry out in crazy temps, but he LOVES being outside, so on milder days, we can still get out for some fresh air.

And with that, I'll leave you with one last picture of Henry from this week:

Happy little guy wearing his "Born 2 Farm" onesie :)

Have a great week everybody!



Great job, Pharmie!!

You can go 6-8 hours, that is awesome! We're one year postpartum now, and I can still only go 5, except overnight.

And wow, gluten free, dairy free, soy free - that doesn't leave much. Have you discovered Bob's Red Mill gluten free mixes? Quinoa is definitely good! I really like this quinoa recipe: http://recipes.womenshealthmag.com/Recipe/quinoa-risotto-with-carrots--sugar-snaps.aspx, and it meets your requirements if you do it without the parmesan and butter, and it'd be fine without those. We do substitute more vegetable stock instead of the water for a stronger flavor, too.

I hope very much that Henry gives you more interrupted sleep soon. Congrats on your marathon finish, you are awesome!

Melissa C

Great job! Running a marathon while nursing is a tough task! I weaned my daughter about a month before (she was already 15m old), but did my big training while nursing, and it was hard, I was always super hungry and thirsty.

I have the BOB weathersheild for my single and double bobs. They are really great, even when the temps are mild, or if there is a light mist. It works great in a downpour too and you need to be outside. I have raced in a downpour with it once, and the kids were the only ones warm and dry! I think there is an upper temp limit of 50ish, maybe? My son wants it, though, whenever there is a bit of a chill to the air. He is 3, so he can ask for it. He used to not like, it though, when he was really little.


So glad you had such a wonderful experience! Sounds like a blast!


Glad that you enjoyed your marathon experience this year! Love all the photos!

I hope that when I run my first marathon, that I find someone as experienced as you to help me out, especially in the final miles.



Wait, it was your birthday? The day we were walking?! I feel negligent. Expect something in the mail... :)

And great job with the marathon. I'm sure your race buddies felt pretty fortunate to meet you out there! Henry was so cute in his monkey suit.


Congrats! So happy for you. You are such a good mommy and athlete!


Congratulations! And remember, it will never again be quite this hard, in quite this way.


I couldn't find your name in the results; so glad things went well. Even better to hear Henry's sleeping through the night (maybe the colic is over)!


awesome! Excellent race!


Thanks for the recipe idea, Amber! I was just thinking this weekend that I needed to find a way to use the quinoa I bought. One can only eat so much brown rice.

Abigailius - no worries. My birthday was on Friday. It takes me 2 days to type up a blog post these days :)

Steve - I'm guessing you forgot to use my hyphenated name. Hopefully I'll see you dome running in a couple of months!


Ok, this is going to sound ridiculously bizarre, but the Friday before the race, I dreamt that I ran the back half with you. Sadly, it wasn't my day for racing, but it made me laugh to read that you DID find a running friend and had a great time and hugged at the finish. (I promise, I am NOT a crazy stalker :) )

Congratulations on TCM # 12! What a beautiful course - I hope to run it again someday :)


Congratulations on the race! That is amazing! Such an inspiration.