Saturday, October 25, 2008

Monster Dash Half Marathon

I wanted a 1:40, well, that was my basic goal...depending on conditions. I felt good all week. Ran some good times. Thursday I had a lot of energy in me and a really good 6 miler. Wasn't sure how that would affect today.

Weather was cooler than I liked, but it's end of October. I had tights a long sleeved skin shirt and a long sleeved tech shirt. Also had gloves and an ear band. I wore my devil horns for a "costume"...this was a costumed race.

Course followed parts of Twin Cities. Was nice not running in a downpour however there were some nasty hills on the turn around so it's not an easy course. I definitely went out too fast, running mostly 7:30s and some a bit faster. On the turnaround I slowed down a bit on some of the hills and it was a struggle for sure through the last 5K and even a little beyond that. I came up the last hill, was around the corner and made a dash for the finish line. Unfortunately the 3 other races going on that day were also coming around that curve and one of them was a "fun run" so yes, much slower runners to dodge around which sucked, but I did pass a girl who had passed me earlier in the race and that was kind of fun...and I crossed in 1:41:33 on my Garmin. No posted official time yet. My former PR was 1:44:12. So while not the 1:40 I wanted it was good and for being a tougher course and just 3 weeks after Twin Cities.

Nice race except for that finish. Oh, and that they had a great food table, but the water was on it as well and the 5K (2 of them fun run and timed) and 10 miler all finished around the same time and were trying to get to that food table, with the water in the middle of it, as well. Oh, and the spectators were also holding things just a couple things I would change about the race. Overall a decent experience though.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

This One's for Me

I’m writing this so I don’t forget the little details, and as a reminder, or maybe to any who might read, an inspiration? Dreams can come true. No matter how far out they might seem.

May 16th. It was officially announced. NKOTB was on the Today show and announced they are coming back, new album out in the fall and a tour…I checked the early dates and they were as near as Chicago, but it was THE DAY BEFORE TWIN CITIES! Talk about disappointing…till the day it came out they’d be in Minneapolis. And I had friends willing to spend a bit…we decided if we were going, we were going all out and we bought the VIP package. Backstage meet and greet…and seats in the first 10 rows.

Fast forward to Tuesday, October 21, 2008. Remember, back in the day, they were my favorites. I was obsessed. Posters on the walls, t-shirts, sheets…the works. Last time I saw them I was 17…half my life ago…OK, yeah I’m old. But man, I so wanted to meet them. I would’ve done about anything for that opportunity. My biggest dream. How often do dreams come true? I mean this one we’re talking not a super attainable thing. Had someone told me 17 years ago to be patient, my day would come, I don’t think I would’ve believed it.

We got through the line, cameras checked, drink tickets in hand, backstage pass around neck, escorted to the VIP area after being given our tickets, 1st row (first 10 were guaranteed, we must’ve been the first to get in seriously), and our gift, a coffee mug and blanket. A room full of fans. Beer. Food. We were told the rules. We’d go into the room, talk a bit, pictures, then out. We were called to line up by the letter on the back of our passes…we were F. Suddenly they were coming into the room and led back to a special room off the one we were in. Within 2 beers of getting there (no idea of time!) we were in line and suddenly we were being sent into the room and there they were. Donnie was solo, so I went right over gave him a hug and said I’ve been waiting so long for this. Talked to him a little bit and then others were moving in and Joe was alone! He was my favorite. I fell for them when I saw the video for Please Don’t Go Girl, and there was a cute boy, with beautiful blue eyes…And there he was. I walked over, gave him a hug and told him that my first memory of them was that video, and the pretty blue eyes (which, by the way, for those that were fans, and liked him, his eyes are even bluer, pictures don’t do him justice!) and he smiled and batted them for me. My friends then made their way over and a story was told to him about how one of my friends used to sing one of their songs, that he was lead vocals on, sang in her sleep…then it was time for the group pic…we were lining up, I was still next to him, and he said “someone has to be in the front” and crouched down, so I crouched next to him and he held my hand and 2 pics were snapped and we were being sent out. I told him quick that I had just earned myself an opportunity to go to Boston and run…he looked impressed (OK, they have to deal with tons of fans on a daily basis, I appreciated that he actually listened and looked interested) I hadn’t had a chance to say anything to Jon, Danny or Jordan, but I had to go over to Jordan and get a hug and tell him we shared a birthday. He walked with me to the door and then it was done…So surreal…I have the memories. I looked at them. I talked to them. In a few days I’m going to have that picture to prove it, but I still can’t believe it. After I had to talk to someone. I called home and my dad answered. He knew…and I could hear in his voice even how happy he was for me. He knew what I was like then. Knew how much I loved them, and to have my dream come true…well…and he’s going to be there in Boston too. We talked about that too. I was high on life at that moment (I’d only had two beers by then, that wasn’t enough to send me over the edge!!)

We had a couple more drinks in the VIP area and then it was time to go to our seats…way, way up…we walked, and walked, and got up there…and not only were we front row, we were front row, CENTER! I had my camera…I was set.

Opening acts were OK, actually realized I recognized some of the music of the second singer (can’t think of her name ), and we headed out to get another beer and on the way out I ran into a friend (out of 13,000 people in there what were the odds of that?).

Opening finished and finally it was time. The show was over 2 hours long and they danced, they flirted, they talked to the crowd, they changed costumes…they did like they did back in the day, only a little older now, and actually, a little hotter! They played new stuff, they played old stuff, they played stuff that was part of solo projects…they were out in the middle of the crowd and they were back on stage. It was AMAZING! While I’m not so young and innocent anymore, not like I was then, but it took me back. I was there with good friends, I had something in common (5 things in common) with 13,000 people in that stadium, and it was good….If only it could’ve gone on forever. Who knew…Oh, and if only my camera battery hadn't died (it was fully charged going in, new memory card and I didn't even manage to think to record any video clips...had I known the battery might die, I would've bought a spare!!)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


When I can compose my thoughts, there will be more...and pics. I'll just say I spent a lot for it, and I don't regret one dime. Even though it would've bought a few running shoes. And if I could get the same deal for tomorrow in Milwaukee I so would!

NKOTB Baby...


Yeah, those of you guessing that would be the show. Come on it's the reunion tour of the century...yes, we are only in 2008 but for those of us women, now in our 20s and 30s, these were the boys that we grew up for nostagial's sake, tonight I'm 17...with a good fake ID!! (nothing like being able to now drink at a concert where last time you saw them the idea of drinking wasn't even in your mind!!


Monday, October 20, 2008

24 Hours

OK, a non-running related thing...I'm in a weird state right now as in just under 24 hours I'm going to once again be in St Paul (I NEVER cross the river and this is twice in a month!) this time for a concert...and I get to go backstage and meet a band that I used to idolize...I mean seriously, they were all over my's weird to think that half my life ago, I was still in that room, with those posters and now, tomorrow, I'm going to be in their real life...backstage...and then in the 10th row or better to

Friday, October 17, 2008


Mile 1 - 8:24
Mile 2 - 8:02
Mile 3 - 8:01
Mile 4 - 7:28
Mile 5 - 7:25
Mile 6 - 7:31
Mile 7 - 7:17
Mile 8 - 8:05

That was my run last night…around my neighborhood…over the typical hills that I run…I’d say I must be recovered from the marathon…

So I registered for a half next weekend. Originally was going to run it just to have something on the calendar for post-marathon blues (but then with Boston to look forward to I don’t have that) and then was going to just run it to run with a friend who is doing her first half, but with those splits, I might shoot for a PR…it was a thought in my head depending on how recovery was going (but it’s also dependent on weather, this is MN and if it’s cold I don’t run as fast or well although sometimes maybe I do since it’s cold and you want to get done and into warm stuff!). The race is an Ortho race and is the Monster half…people are encouraged to come in costume, I might actually do a little something…maybe some devil horns and a tail since that would be easy…if I was only doing the 5K and/or not shooting for a PR I’d go a better costume, but since it’s the half and trying to run well, well, you know how that goes.

Anyway, starting to get back to normal things, catching up on homework, etc after the wild weekends the last couple. First the marathon, then last weekend was wild and crazy celebration time with a friend (her new job, my BQ, some of the night might not be recalled quite so easily!!), a 10 mile run with a friend and then lazing the rest of the day recovering from the night before. This weekend will be more subdued (have options tonight but think I’m staying in and cleaning and watching some movies) but I like that idea…I have so many things I need to get taken care of and I’ve been putting off. Now is the time to do that. Fall cleaning and all…suppose need to get my fall clothes out and rearrange and clean out my closet…ughh…

Friday, October 10, 2008

Finish Stats

OK, one more before I finish on the marathon...these are the stats of my finishing position:

Top 16% of Finishers, 1276 out of 7969
Top 9% of Division 30-34, 52 out of 572
Top 7% of Gender, 228 out of 3192

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Part Two – Twin Cities Marathon, October 5, 2008

I registered for this marathon in April, I had decided it was the race last fall, maybe…so this has been a long, long time in coming! (flowers from my dad and mom to celebrate)

I was at the expo on Friday to allow rest on Saturday, skipped Salazar even though I really wanted to see him…but rest was more important. Bought a necklace that says 26.2 on it and am kicking myself for not getting back and getting the shirt from One More Mile that said “Some Girls Chase Boys, I Pass Them” on it. Saturday took my mom around the course to find spots for me to watch for them (my dad, mom, sister and brother) and then went to dinner at my favorite restaurant with a lot of friends (17 of us total I think).
Got home, got my stuff together after dinner and I actually slept fairly well on Saturday night (in fact I didn’t want to get out of bed Sunday morning). I had slept well on Friday too. My stuff was mostly together, I got out of bed, had a breakfast of a scrambled egg, 2 slices of toast and a banana. Took some Gatorade and headed to my sister’s where I was meeting my parents. Got there and realized I had forgotten my recovery drink and champagne but oh well. Forecast had chance for showers (and it had in fact already rained) but it was 51 degrees. I was in shorts, a short sleeved top and tube socks for sleeves, and a long sleeved top to throw away. Met my parents and we drove and parked downtown, got on the train and took it to the Dome. I was there about 7:20, a bit later than planned but oh well. Got there and found my training group and another friend that I had talked to. Went to the bathroom and then it was time to head out to the start. I was in Corral I, got into the start area just as the wheelers took off then 10 more minutes and off we went…I saw mom and dad right after the start but they didn’t see me and then I got focused on running slower to start (that didn’t happen unfortunately and I probably partly paid for that in the end, there was one 7:40 mile in there, yikes) and running the tangents and telling myself all kinds of good pep talk advice. At the first water stop, about 2.5 miles, I saw my academic advisor (heard her actually) yelling for me. Considering I’ve met her twice I was shocked she spotted me. I saw Alan Page (former Viking and current MN Supreme court justice) playing his tuba just past the water stop and then just on and focused. A light rain started then, but it was fine, nothing too bad and the crowds were out anyway and cheering great.

Mile 7.5 or so, just coming around Lake Harriet and heading up to the parkway and a few miles before I was set to see my parents and a good friend, it opened up and poured…climbing the hills you had water streaming over your shoes and no way to keep the feet dry. My gloves were soaked but I’m glad I had kept them and kept them on. I kept moving and by maybe 11.5 it was slowing down. I unfortunately didn’t see my friend or parents (later found out my parents had been delayed and hadn’t made it to that spot, but my friend did see me I just didn’t see or hear her).
By around mile 11-12 my legs were feeling “off”. I wasn’t sure what was wrong so took more sport beans and sharkies thinking I might be low on fuel. Running around Lake Nokomis was cold, even with the rain now died down, but there was some wind factor. Hit the half and then another few miles and noticed that my left quad was feeling very tight. I tried some more beans etc as I went on but just was focused on moving. Mile 17 it was definitely a problem, but what do you do? I just kept moving…made it over the bridge to St Paul and looked for my parents at the next spot between 20 and 21 but didn’t see them there either. This is where it was getting mentally tough. I started looking, thinking I could do 10 minute miles and still make it, thought about why I was doing this, and talking myself out of it...I reminded myself though, my dad was there, I told him I was going to get it for him, and I didn't want to HAVE to train that hard again unless I wanted I Climbed the hill to St Thomas and that hurt…by the time I got to the top I wasn’t sure what I had left and I knew there was a gradual climb up Summit. It hadn’t hurt before, but it did then…Luckily I got a boost as my friend called out my name and I heard her this time and waved and went on…I had run this entire time but decided in the interest of getting more in me, I should walk through the next water stops, so mile 22, 23, and 24 I walked through, along with just a little walk up part of one other hill…mile 24 I also took a gel and I don’t know if it was that or the fact that there was somewhat of a downhill, but my legs came back somewhat and I was able to pick my pace back up from the 9 minute miles I was at to the sub 8:30 I had been at. I saw a girl from my training group and caught her just before mile 26, on the downhill, and I said “hey Jennie, we’re going to Boston” and she couldn’t believe it (she hadn’t worn a watch). I heard one of our coaches yell out “Boston” and smiled at him and the coast downhill was great. Just before the bleachers I heard massive screaming of “You can do it Dani, you’re almost there, you have it” and I recognized my sister’s voice, turned my head and looked then looked back at the finish and it clicked on which one in the crowd she was…I crossed the finish and for some reason the official clock wasn’t going but I knew it hadn’t taken me more than a few seconds to cross the start and my watch said 3:37 and some odd seconds so I knew it was good. I got my medal, told the woman I had qualified for Boston and she said that deserved a hug and gave me one. Wandered down and got a banana, space blanket, finishers shirt, water powerade and chip removed…all with Jennie, Pete and Kevin who were all in our training group and finished right around the same time as us. I got a quick finisher’s picture and then headed out of the secure area. I was waiting for the tears to fall, but I think I was too dehydrated to cry. I walked toward the family meet area and my brother and sister were there and both gave me hugs (even though I was wet and gross) and my parents walked up just after that and gave me a hug, dad apologizing that they hadn’t seen me finish, they had had trouble getting parked and just hadn’t gotten there…had they followed my brother and sister it might have worked out (they were in separate cars to, which hadn’t been part of the original plan but I found out later there was some hassle with getting around, should’ve made mom drive so she knew better!!). Talked to MNFirefly and FullMetalLunchBox and got my official finish time of 3:37:52 from them and then headed to the post party tent. Talked to the friend that had been cheering me on and gave her my official finish time….sent texts to a few people and checked on a few others and we were off.
My brother had done some landscaping in the area so we went and looked at that then I called my grandma’s and we headed back to the truck…a long, long walk, back up the hill, but oh well. Dad and I just walked really slowly behind my mom and sister. It was a challenge to cross the marathon course, but did it and off to home…where I had mom stop along the way at my place so I could get a bottle of champagne, well, Fragalino, a great Italian sweet, sparkling wine that tastes like strawberries…I’d been saving it for a special occasion and thought this was special. Took a warm shower and then sat in my sister’s hot tub for a bit before going and grabbing food. I wanted to meet up with some of the friends in town, but by the time I could’ve gotten there it was just getting late, so I headed home, stopped by the party my training group was having, had cake, talked to others and found that all 4 girls I had been running with all summer had qualified for Boston so that was very cool.

Now it’s recovery time. I took the day off work yesterday and didn’t run. I’m going to attempt 3-4 tonight (even though it’s raining!) and clean and study tonight…I’ll recover this week, maybe do a half in a couple of weeks but then I’m working on getting my Boston plans together. I’m just so excited at the fact that I can go to Boston’s website and actually register…and they will let me because I have a time that they can verify lets me in…I’m just floored on this one still!!
Thanks to all for the support through the training too. I had some low times, I had some tough times and I had good things happen…you’ve all been there and it’s awesome to have the support all over. Thank you!!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Part One – The Road to Boston

I had started a bit last night, but decided I need to really get back and post more on this than I originally maybe started. After all, this is the culmination (although seriously, I know I have a faster marathon in me, you’ll hear about things behind this in the report, but I might have to do another fast one one day in better conditions), the pinnacle, I made my goal to run the World Series/Super Bowl of Marathons…and those of you out there that do them, I know you know what I mean!!

This blog started after my marathon career started…so let’s go back 4 years…or, better yet 6 years. I had started running again (ran in high school and then just very sporadically after, in fact a friend in college used to run 5-7 miles a day and I thought she was nuts!!) and told some friends, well, I might do a 5K someday, but no way I’m going to do a marathon…that was the year I ran my first 5K, 10K and half (that 10K is still my only 10K race so my current PR is 59:30, so guess I’ll have a 15 minute or so PR on that when I run another!). I even ran 10 miles of the Twin Cities course with a friend as my last long run. My half was a 2:14:30, it hurt and no way I could see doing twice that, but it was in my mind by that point to do one. That was all when I was 28…so the year I turned 30, 2004, I decided OK, time for a full. To celebrate my 30th birthday I semi-trained for Grandma’s marathon, my parents came for it, it was Father’s day weekend and I ran a 4:48. Knowing that my training wasn’t great, I thought, well, I’ll probably do another one. It had been a fun weekend and my dad was very proud, he’s always been a supporter of any goal I set. Of course by this time I knew more about the sport and about Boston, but having run over 10 minute miles for the marathon, 8:22 I believe would get me to Boston, no way I can run that, fast for me then was 9 minute miles, maybe a couple under 9…

Fast forward and in 2005 I ran Mad-city in Madison with a 3:42 or something like that, and then Chicago (last really nice weather year for it I think too, as then it was cold and then hot), which I honestly thought would be my last race in 4:20. I had done 3 by then and thought well, that’s enough. Why would I do more?? But shortly after Chicago I thought well, maybe, I’d like to go under 4 hours. So 2006 I started training much harder, changed what I had been doing and followed a really good program. I was shooting for under 4, and as the training went on, a part of me started thinking hmmm…Boston MIGHT not be out of reach. I thought maybe I could go under 4 at one in the spring and hit BQ at one in the fall. I ran Marathon to Marathon in Iowa and had my PR of 3:42:54. I was on Boston pace there for 20 miles…I really hadn’t known that was possible even at that point. Anyway, I had already registered for Marine Corp as well, so I started in right away training and that was probably a mistake. I was tired and sore and went to Marine Corp not trained for the 3:40. Well, I was, but I spent a lot of time trying to catch the 3:40 pace group and burned out at the half…so it was a death trudge for the second half. Not fun, but still finished with my second best time to that point in a 3:56 or so.
2007 I took off. I ran a 5K and PR’d on that, but I was having hip/back issues and I did run a 25K (and technically PR’d but the prior one was terrible so it was a given). I had registered for Grandma’s, thinking to use it to qualify but I didn’t end up running because of the issues…I wasn’t running another one if I didn’t have a shot to BQ at it was my frame of mind at that point.

So see, for those of you that don’t think it’s possible, I’m telling you it is. You just have to get out there and run more. That’s what it takes apparently. It’s what I had been told, I hadn’t fully believed it, but as I’ve run more, my times have gotten faster. I know I still have a lot of PRs in me, including marathon…I haven’t fully reached my potential, so next year might be a focus on shorter races to see what I have!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Boston Bound

So title probably tells it all!! A longer report to follow, probably tomorrow, but my chip time was 2:37:53, technically got me in with 4 minutes to spare. Weather wasn't the best, cooler temps but a downpour miles 7.5-10.5 made it chillier!!

Important thing is the end result. I PR'd by 5:01 too.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Day Before

I want to thank everyone for the well wishes!! Thankfully, even though I'm awake early, I got a good nights sleep last night. This is a good thing since tonight might not fair as well.

Hopefully I'll be able to properly thank all of you for the well wishes with a really great report, sometime either tomorrow or for sure by Monday (and I promise I'll try to at least get a little blurb about it tomorrow even if I get no report till Monday).

Now, hopefully I can get this homework done.

Friday, October 03, 2008

TCM 2 Days...

OK, I have my packet picked up...and bought a few fun things at the expo. Will probably be at the expo for a time tomorrow. Still debating if I'll see Salazar or's during time that I'd like to be resting so we'll see. Weather is hovering at 50/55 for low/high, slight chance for rain, about 20-30% but that's mostly later in the day. If it's not overly cool humid the weather could be great. At least for the runners. I hope the 40s we have had for the past couple of days is gone because that's cooler than I like!!

Anyway, will post more maybe later, going to meet some friends in town to run the marathon at a happy hour/dinner. Then home to do homework...hopefully get it done tonight so I don't have to think about it tomorrow or Monday!

I have to remember, I'm trained. I'm ready. I'm going to kick butt....

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

TCM - 4 Days and Counting

Wow…a week since I wrote…and tapering continues…

The week has flown, I had a post I was going to make and didn’t remember. This class two nights a week, running group one night and something seeming to be on every Friday, and coming up on Thursday it’s keeping me busy.

Last weekend I spent most of the weekend doing homework. I was in tears of frustration over Excel. The stupid program does not work well, at least not for the things that I was trying to do. Thank God for facebook and a friend from class on there that was able to help me after some things she had found. Her and I were both trying different things and it was a horror…6 hours of my life that should’ve only taken 1-2 at most…ughh…at least, so far, my answers seem to be decent, and he’s guiding toward better answers. Just want this class to go well, and looking forward to it being over. I haven’t had a chance to really work on homework yet for this week, but I have a problem assignment, a computer assignment (but honestly both use computer so not sure what he uses to determine the difference!!) and a reading/writing assignment. Seriously. If I had homework in the other class beyond reading (and there is a test coming up) I’d be totally screwed. Once Sunday is done my focus will be 100% on it though.

So Sunday…of course the question comes…are you ready? Am I? I don’t know. Really…I don’t. I mean I should be, I should fill myself with confidence, but there is some doubt, even with that good run at the 25K. I think that’s causing me problems because what if that was my good race this year and what if it’s not like that on Sunday? I know, that’s beyond my control. As is the weather (which is changing daily, only thing I don’t like is the wind, temps are OK, even a little rain won’t be too bad, but wind I don’t want!). I can focus on sleep, eating right, carbo loading and keeping myself healthy till Sunday.

I got an adjustment on Monday. That was nice. I felt good last night on our group run. This mornings was OK. Tomorrow is off, I’ll do 2-3 on Friday and that will be it. Rest on Saturday, although I’m torn there. Alberto Salazar is speaking at the expo. He’s there from 2-3 and then signing autographs. At that time I’d like to be napping and/or have my feet up. I can’t walk all day Saturday. I know that. I need to rest myself up for Sunday and my big task…but think how cool to see him, have him sign my bib (I had Dick Beardsley sign my first bib from my first marathon, and they are the two that ran the most famous Boston Marathon, so how cool would it be to have Salazar sign?), but I think I’m going to the expo early instead and then resting. I could nap at my sister’s with my fuzzy brothers…and do homework…

Also am hoping one day to get caught up on other people's lives!