On Saturday, June 16, I ran Grandma’s Marathon for the fifth time. Having run it several times before, I was comfortable with the course and knew the extremes of weather that can be experienced on the north shore this time of year. The race was forecast to be a washout, which was frustrating considering I was scheduled to run the Med-City marathon three weeks earlier until extreme heat forced race officials to shorten the distance to a half-marathon.
Race morning came, I got on the shuttle, and when I arrived at the starting area there was a cool breeze coming off Lake Superior. It was cloudy with some fog and to my surprise, no rain! After a brief pause acknowledge the better-than-expected conditions, I became intensely focused on my race. I had not achieved a personal best in this distance for 3 years. I was on track to run 3:20:00 in Chicago the previous October, but asthma issues and hot weather brought my pace to a screeching halt around the 20 mile mark. I finished in 3:38:00, missing a PR by 3 minutes. I was finding some success in shorter distances, but the marathon had become a source of fear and frustration. I would commit months of time and energy to train, only to be disappointed and wondering why I wanted to do this in the first place.
Last August I had my first experience with the Mile to Marathon team and coach Ron at Ragnar Great River. My good friend Brett had started training with Ron and asked if I wanted to be a part of the relay team. After having a great time and a great race, I began wondering if I shouldn’t start training with Ron and the team. After the rough race in Chicago I admitted to myself that I really didn’t know as much about running as I thought. After all, I never ran track or cross country in high school. I ran occasionally in college, but never consistently and always on my own. I’d never learned how to properly do speedwork, I had done some on my own, but nothing specific to the types of races I wanted to accel at. I finally realized that I needed help in order to reach my marathon goals of qualifying for Boston and running under 3 hours. I reached out to Ron in January 2018 and it wasn’t long before I starting seeing great results.
Back to Grandma’s Marathon. Ron and I had everything planned out from pre-race warm-up to crossing the finish line. I felt a kind of calm going into the race that I had never felt before. I followed the paces on my pace band, refueled as I had in training, and raced according to Ron’s plan of running negative splits. I was amazed at how fast the miles went by. Every 5 miles was a slightly faster pace and I found myself feeling strong each time I surged slightly ahead. Before I knew it, I was nearing mile 20, a distance that has been my demise for so many races. Instead of collapsing I remember thinking that I only had a 10k left. And then I thought about how far a 10k used to feel for me. And then I started to notice how many people I was passing. I saw runners who were hitting the wall hard and I couldn’t help but feel for them because I knew all too well what they were going through. I remember a man who saw me walking near the finish line in Chicago and said “follow me, we’re running this thing in.” With absolutely nothing left in the tank, I somehow ran through the finish. I began to do the same thing to struggling runners in the last few miles. I’m not sure how many followed me, but I remember being so grateful for that man’s encouragement. It felt great to be in a position to do that for others so late in the race and also to just be able to run hard the last few miles.
When I rounded the last corner and could see the finish line I looked to my right to find my dad and my wife cheering from the crowd. With that last boost of energy I looked ahead and saw that there was no one in front of me so I began to sprint. With the crowd cheering so loud and with no other runners around me I thought that this must be what it’s like to win one of these things. I crossed the finish line with a big smile on my face knowing I had just crushed that race. I heard my name come over the loudspeaker and I looked at my watch: a new personal best 3:15:48 (20 minutes faster than my previous best). It gave me new hope and new energy to pursue my marathon goals. I owe all of that to coach Ron who has coached me so well in just a few short months. I look forward to continuing to working with him to realize my full running potential!
This is why I coach! Thanks for the letter Melissa.
See you on the roads
It's not just about the destination, but finding the joy in the journey.
Tonight I wanted to thank you, my amazing support team, as I train for my 2:40 marathoner club card this fall and Olympic Trials qualifier by next year. Just did my first Ragnar event after being on winning/record setting Hood to Coast teams. I've never felt this good after any relay. This was a very humid hot weekend, ran well over 26 miles, and had some crazy hard technical, hilly and long legs and I'm totally a fair weather girl, so prob could have run much faster in temps of 45's/50's. Nevertheless, I want to thank all of you for your part in this. While I honestly suffered moments of the legs, I gained some valuable mental and physical training to really toughen me for the fall marathon, and also love the bring it at the end, ramp it up, find a new gear, go even harder and finish strong, beast mode.
1) Ron Byland: Intense, smart, proven coaching program from Mile to Marathon, has been mentally and physically tough, but paying off for being able to bounce back, can't wait to see what could happen in Oct with cooler temps and a taper. Always there to help, great advice, sounding board. Great, wise partner in this journey!
2) Luke Carlson/Discover Strength: Lifting at DS, working thru Project Discover, esp on tough workout days. After yucky injuries in my early years, you have been my healthy safety net for 2 Olympic Trials, 5 pregnancies and hundreds of races, thousands of miles. I might feel awful at failure during workouts esp after hard runs, but finding that extra gear to bring it pays off. And it helps me be a strong mom who can lift boat anchors, toddlers, baby joggers, groceries, whatever it takes.
3) CarboPro: Following protocol during race from Carbo Pro: Meta Salt, Recovery, VO2 Max, Stamina, carboPro mixed with HydraC5. Great products can't wait to try the new green stuff! Always using Interphase during training too, yummo. And sending product just in time before big event this week. TY!!!
4) Oiselle: I've raced (and train) wearing amazing performance apparel and finding beast mode during some dark moments! Plus I wear these clothes everywhere bc they are that beautiful. Oiselle to me is sisterhood, passion, fem fierce, girl power, helps my channel my purpose.
5) Feetures (socks): Going thru 7 pairs of socks for Ragnar and ending with no blisters, feet felt amazing/compression socks so helpful btwn legs. Love the fabric, ultra thin weight and technical design and amazing colors. Happy feet are very important.
6) Run n Fun. For always having the gear I need, and being so supportive for 2 decades! I have worn Dozens+ of Asics Gel Kayanos, Asics DS Racers, reflective vests, LD lights, Gels, GU's...I've counted on RNF since my college days for my shoes and have always had major success. Staff knows their stuff.
And last, Luke, you for the invite to Ragnar and Liz Martin for driving a huge majority and still running like a badass, keeping team stats, handling the details and totally spoiling me (us) so I (we) could focus on going as hard as I could.
Guess I need to start blogging cause I just can't say all this on FB or twitter....
Thank you and think it's so important that you know you are all loved and appreciated.
If you are looking to start a running/walking program and trying to figure out the how's and why's of where to start or if you are part of a corporation that is looking to start a run club for their employees, let me know as I work with 100's of individuals on their personal training programs and major corporate run programs for companies like, Allianz Corporation of MN, Cummin's Power Generation Corporation of MN, Accenture (333) Tower Fitness Center of MN, Children's Hospitals of MN, LuluLemon on MN, Advantage Health Corporation to name a few .
See you on the roads
For a little more than 2 months now I have had a very unique time experiencing Acupuncture for the 1st time in my life. Now for the disclaimers:
1. I am not afraid of needles
2. I have been skeptical about acupuncture
3. Most importantly, I was diagnosed with Asthma approx. 10 years ago and have been on various medications for it since then.
In early May my friend Kelly Brinkman had been going to Minnesota Community Acupuncture and invited me along to check it out. So off I went for my 1st visit.
The clinic is based on an Eastern treatment center, so it's communal meaning that there are lots of comfy "lazy boy" recliners to relax in during the treatment. After my initial consultation with Rob on my issues he proceeded to apply the needles in the appropriate areas. He then asked me how long I wanted to relax (sleep) and if I'd like a blanket...this is going to rock! In goes my earphones and within minutes I'm sound asleep and approx. 45:00 later my session is done.
As I mentioned above, I was diagnosed with Asthma over 10 years ago and honestly I have NEVER bought into that diagnosis. At the time I do remember have issues with my breathing, so I'm sure my airways were constricted...asthma, I doubt, but I was prescribed a steroid based inhaler and used it (not exactly as prescribed) morning and night. I've never had an asthma attack in my life or at least in my opinion, I haven't. I have however had sinus issues for what seems like forever. I would always take some sort of over the counter decongestant to be able to breathe. Constantly blowing my nose....and of course being a runner...the farmers blow! I have been tested for allergies and nothing ever came back positive.
So when Rob and later when working with Kerri and the rest of her staff, told me that acupuncture would/could greatly help with these 2 issues I decided to keep going back to get it a shot. They suggested that I come in twice a week for approx. 4 weeks and then down to once a week for maintenance...which is what I'm currently doing.
Now, for the good part after about the 2 or 3 visit:
1. I have not taken any over the counter meds for my sinus' and blowing my nose has been reduced by 90%
2. I am breathing better than I have in years!
3. Most impressive to me is that I am now down to taking my steroid inhaler once every other day now with the goal of being off of it in another month or so.
As I've gotten more into the treatments I've been reading more about Acupuncture and the benefits of it. And while I'm the 1st to say I don't understand it, I'm smart enough to say that in my case, it works. Besides the above issues I'm dealing with, being a runner I have the normal aches and pains and fatigue, and I can say that after a treatment my legs will recover faster due to the increase in blood flow to the areas.
I asked Kerri from Minnesota Community Acupuncture if she would write a brief article on the benefits to runners and you can read that below. For those of you in the Twin Cities area I highly recommend Kerri and her staff to help you out with any of your issue that might be holding you back from a great run or from achieving your new PR's.
Have a great weekend and I’ll…
See you on the roads
Acupuncture for runners
Kerri Casey, L.Ac of MN Community Acupuncture
Runners at all levels will benefit from adding acupuncture to their running program. Acupuncture stimulates the immune function for maintaining general health, it is very effective in relaxing the muscles and tendons in the body reducing pain and stiffness, and aids in reducing inflammation in the nervous system and joints. This is useful in keeping you running, but it is also necessary when you experience an injury.
Many runners look to acupuncture after they’ve sustained an injury, however, acupuncture should be part of your regular training routine to avoid injuries. Acupuncture has been shown to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. Most of us are more familiar with the sympathetic nervous system often referred to as the “flight or fight” response stimulating the adrenals and other stress hormones. The parasympathetic nervous system is the “rest and digest” response of the body. This system is the “off” switch to the other’s “on” switch. Therefore acupuncture helps to reset the body to a more balanced state to maintain good health.
If an injury does occur it is best to receive acupuncture as quickly as possible so we can interrupt the body’s injury response and stop the over production of lactic acid, and inflammation and swelling, thereby getting you back running with fewer residual issues.
Acupuncture works well on soft tissue; muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves which are most of the issues that plague runners. We treat back injuries, hips, knees and leg issues such as plantar fasciitis, pulled hamstrings, shin splints and ankle pain.
Consider adding acupuncture to your running program in order to maintain the good health that you’ve worked so hard to get, when starting a running program to avoid injuries, or before your event to get you ready and after to re-balance your system. Usually it is best to have acupuncture two times a month as regular maintenance, and once to twice a week when training for an event or just beginning a program. If you are injured you will need treatments two to three times a week until your pain decreases and then move to once a week until gone.
Acupuncture should be a part of your regular routine. Just as you need to perform regular maintenance on your car, you can get the most out of your body if you are taking care of it.
So here we are, it's hard to believe that the 1st 6 months of the year are over and July is right around the corner, my how time fly's...and so do our Mile To Marathon runners.
For the 1st 6 months of the year, 1/1/14 - 5/31/14 our runners have competed in a total of 67 different races around the country. Here is a recap of our VERY successful race results:
We've had a total of 248 runners compete in these races.
We've had a total of 7 overall wins
We've had 33 age group wins
We've had 61 age group place winners
We've had a total of 84 Pr's
I have worked with beginning runners who have just completed my "Couch to 5K" program to those with Olympic aspirations to high school runners looking to prepare for their upcoming competitive season to 75 year old "youngsters" looking to compete in the Senior Games to everyone in between.
If you have been looking to take your running to a new level and achieve those 2014 running goals, I invite you to contact me and we'll put a training program together that will help you reach those goals.
Here's to the next 6 months...
See you on the roads
Dehydration and its effects on performance
With warmer weather finally here and for most runners/triathletes our racing season is kicking into high gear. This warmer weather will increase the chance of losing that PR due to improper dehydration. Following is a couple of brief paragraphs relating to the performance loss due to hydration written by Asker Jeukendrupp and Micheal Gleeson. So as we head out door for our longest runs/rides and races, think about what and when you going to replace your fluids to ensure you are going to performance at your PR capabilities.
Fatigue toward the end of a prolonged sporting event may result as much from dehydration as from fuel substrate depletion. Exercise performance is impaired when an individual is dehydrated by as little as 2% of body weight. Losses in excess of 5% of body weight can decrease the capacity for work by about 30% (Armstrong et al. 1985; Craig and Cummings 1966; Maughan 1991; Sawka and Pandolf 1990).
Even in cool laboratory conditions, maximal aerobic power ( .VO2max) decreases by about 5% when persons experience fluid losses equivalent to 3% of body mass or more, as is shown in figure 8.6 (Pinchan et al. 1988). In hot conditions, similar water deficits can cause a larger decrease in .VO2max. The endurance capacity during incremental exercise is decreased by marginal dehydration (fluid loss of 1% to 2% of body weight), even if water deficits do not actually result in a decrease in .VO2max. Endurance capacity is impaired much more in hot environments than in cool conditions, which implies that impaired thermoregulation is an important causal factor in the reduced exercise performance associated with a body-water deficit. Dehydration also impairs endurance exercise performance. Fluid loss equivalent to 2% of body mass induced by a diuretic drug (furosemide) caused running performance at 1,500, 5,000, and 10,000 m distances to be impaired (Armstrong et al. 1985). Running performance was impaired more at the longer distances (by approximately 5% at 5,000 and 10,000 m) compared with the shortest distance (approximately 3% at 1,500 m).
The main reasons dehydration has an adverse effect on exercise performance can be summarized as follows:
• Reduction in blood volume
• Decreased skin blood flow
• Decreased sweat rate
• Decreased heat dissipation
• Increased core temperature
• Increased rate of muscle glycogen
Here is the link to read the full study. http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/dehydration-and-its-effects-on-performanceuse
See you on the roads
It's Finally Here....The Mile To Marathon Apparel Store!
Our Mile to Marathon online store is now open! Custom decorated items, great pricing and fast delivery. The store is open 24/7 and accessible from anywhere you get internet access.
The convenient online payment processing is highly secure, allowing Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover payment and feature a wide selection of our custom decorated apparel at great prices. Items can be personalized and come in a variety of colors and sizes. There’s something for everyone in our new online store.
Check it out now by visiting:
Want to know how to get your hands on some of the best products around to help keep you feeling your best, day in and day out? You know....that 1 product every runner has a love hate relationship with? Yes, I'm talking about the coveted FOAM ROLLER! Now, you have access to all of the products available from Perform Better Sports on our Resources Page. 5-10 minutes on the foam roller is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It's like giving yourself a deep tissue massage just by using your own body weight. Buy one now and find out what that love hate relationship is really like. Your body will actually thank you!
I hope you're hungry! Great burgers, and food in general along with an incredible beer and wine selection are in store for you! What a perfect way to reward your hard efforts after a workout or race then to head over to Red Cow, show them your new Mile To Marathon DISCOUNT CARD and sit back and enjoy! We are so excited to have Red Cow be a sponsor.
Now, go follow them on Facebook (Red Cow) and Twitter (@redcowmn)
Mile To Marathon athletes will be pleased to know they will be well taken care of, not only with the help of Dr. Steven Moe of Accelerated Performance Clinic in Eden Prairie, MN but also with generous discounted pricing! I have worked with and have sent numerous athletes to Dr. Moe for several years and have had tremendous results working with him. Dr. Moe has worked with Jim Thome of the Minnesota Twins, Dick Beardsley - record holder of Grandmas Marathon, Craig Waryan - PGA Master Professional along with countless other athletes.
Have a pain in your ankle? There's a good chance it's not actually your ankle that is causing that pain. Applied Kinesiology gets to the root of the issue. Call to make an appointment today!
Accelerated Performance Clinic6805 Flying Cloud Dr, Eden Prairie, MNPHONE NUMBER: (952) 833-3038
After you see him and you go run your next big race and you feel the best you ever have, you may just want to bring him a new race poster for his office walls!
Lifelong runner. Professional and passionate coach helping to make running goals a reality for 30+ years. Let's get started making your running dreams come true!