10 Bucket List Marathons

Came across this article today of 10 Bucket List Marathons – and the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon is on it!!


Here’s my own running bucket list:
1. Twin Cities Marathon
2. Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco
3. Grandma’s Marathon
4. A triathlon!

(Disclosure: this is a brief and realistic edition of my list – anyone who has raced with me knows that I obsessively look for races and make lists twice this long daily.)

On Sunday I went to cheer on Rachel at the YWCA Women’s Triathalon by Lake Nokomis – she did awesome!! I was so proud of her. I got so inspired and hopefully I’ll sign up for it next year. What a great event!

Later that day, Kale and I went for our own bike ride around some of the great trails around Minneapolis. We made a stop for a rest and ice cream at Minnehaha Falls. We actually biked a good portion of the Twin Cities Marathon course – gorgeous!


I love this city.


Gopher to Badger Half Marathon

A week ago today, my dear friend Rachel and I ran the Gopher to Badger Half Marathon starting in Stillwater, MN and finishing across the St. Croix River in Hudson, WI.  If you are not familiar with this area, it is beautiful, trust me.

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Our swag bags were pretty basic – shirt and bib, some anti-chafing samples, and a couple ads for other races.  I really like the shirt – it fits nicely and I like the V-neck.  IMG_2900

The race was pretty well organized with plenty of water/gatorade stations.  There were quite a few groups of people cheering throughout the course, and I even saw some old friends that were cheering on their sister who was running her first half marathon! It was fun to catch up with them afterwards.

I didn’t have my best race ever, but we all have those days.  I am kind of hard on myself when I don’t do as well as I would have liked, but mostly I just wished that I had felt better during the race.  Not sure exactly what was going on with me.  I’m sure I could analyze and come up with all kinds of reasons (It was hot. I didn’t stretch well enough. I donated blood recently. The relative position of celestial bodies in the zodiac – HA), but the truth is, some days are like that.  Even in Australia.  (Did anyone else love the book “Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day” as a kid?? Classic.)  tumblr_m57t3gEvas1qz882eo1_500

I ended up with a time of 1:54:46, average pace 8’44″/mile, my slowest since my first half back in 2003.  This is really not a big deal to me (although it’s always a thrill to PR!) but like I said, I wished that I had felt better and been able to enjoy it.

The part I REALLY ENJOYED about this race is that one of my besties (friends going on like 23 years…) ran it with me!! We haven’t done any races together since high school so this was a treat! IMG_2917


When I got home, my wonderful hubby had prepared the BEST SALAD EVER with a side of my biggest weakness, Reduced Fat Cheez-Its.  He is the best.  IMG_2925

I started my new job this week!  So far, so good.  I also had to get some head shots taken. Kale kept calling them glamour shots – I WISH! Brooke_Smars_1048_WEBSIZE

Seriously, if you need a good photographer in the Twin Cities, check out Sarah Pierce Photography (she does family/senior portraits as well) or her headshot specific site Minneapolis Headshots.  She was really great, and reasonable.

Workouts this week:

Sat: 13.1 Gopher to Badger Half Marathon
Sun: Rest
Mon: Rest
Tue: 5 miles
Wed: 7 miles
Thurs: Easy 3 miles walk/run with Kale and Buckley
Fri: Rest
Today: 18 miles

I felt great today for my long run! I took it kind of easy, and wouldn’t let myself look at my watch until towards the end of the run so that I would just listen to my body and go with that pace.  I even ran into my friend Matt and we ran together for awhile – bonus!!

Have a great weekend!

Last Week of “Summer Vacation”

Happy Thursday! I am having a relaxing last week before my new job starts. August is flying by!

This morning I made a fruit smoothie with Pomegranate kefir, frozen berries, and a splash of orange juice. Yum!


Over the weekend, I ran my longest distance yet – 17 miles (you may recall I’m training for my very first 26.2 miler – The Twin Cities Marathon – in October). I didn’t leave the house as early as I had hoped so it was getting kind of warm/humid and I had a hard time keeping hydrated. I brought a water bottle and have been trying out the Nuun Hydration Tablets for longer runs, which I think helps. The last few miles were a struggle but I finally made it! I definitely have my work cut out for me the last month and a half or so until race day but I’m getting excited for the challenge.

I regularly run around Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun, and Lake of the Isles in combination or by themselves, and decided to add on Cedar Lake for my long run. It was great, except then somehow I found myself in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden which I was not expecting, but pleasant nonetheless.


Source: artsconnected.org

The route:

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From my nikeplus.com account

The rest of the week has been a little lighter since I am running the Gopher to Badger Half Marathon this weekend! I’m getting excited.

Workouts this week: Saturday – 17 miles, Sunday – long walk, Monday – rest, Tuesday – 4 miles, Wednesday – 7 miles. I am resting today and tomorrow before the race but will take some walks.

Yesterday I went to REI and picked up some new supplies for long runs. I’m excited to try the Cherry Limeade flavor of Nuun hydration tablets. I’ve been using watermelon which is pretty good. I like that it doesn’t add any sugar but adds nice flavor and is packed with electrolytes.


Other fun things this week:

I got to babysit this cutie for a few hours the other day. Love him!


My hubby and I took a lovely walk to the Tin Fish last night for dinner – what a gorgeous evening!



Have a great day!

Nike+ Sport Watch

If you’ve been reading Come Run or Shine for awhile, you may have seen me mention my love for my Nike+ Sportwatch GPS . It’s a great running watch with lots of cool features. It keeps track of stats such as distance, time elapsed, pace, calories, time of day and scrolls through during your run. In the band is a USB so you can connect to your Nike Plus account. It’ll show you a map of your run, complete with elevation, keeps track of personal record, gives encouragement, and other cool features. You can even journal about how you felt each run, keep track of milage on each pair of shoes, and provide information about the weather and terrain. I’ve recommended this watch to several friends since I got mine since I like it so much.

You can imagine how devastating disappointing it was for me this weekend when it died. The last month or so it’s had a few issues with the screen – a weird black area began forming and then this weekend, the screen went completely blank despite being fully charged. I got the watch less than a year ago, so I thought it was pretty crappy that it already pooped out.


I decided to call Nike Plus Support yesterday and figure out what could be done. The guy that I spoke with was so helpful and friendly – I was really impressed. We did some troubleshooting, but determined there was nothing to be done but that the watch was still under warranty. He gave me a couple options for getting a replacement, and he even called the closest Nike Store to me to see if they’d be able to do an exchange for me. The Nike Support guy got it all set up so all I had to do was go to the store (about 20 minutes away at the Mall of America) today and exchange my watch for a shiny new one. The people at the store were super nice about it too. They didn’t have the same color combination anymore, but they gave me this cool black and red one that I think I even like better.


Just in time for a nice late afternoon jog with my puppy.

(Disclaimer: that’s not how many miles I ran tonight – I have a weird habit of always using 24-hour time. Everyone always gives me weird looks about this.)

Workouts so far this week:
Sunday – bike ride with the hubby (not sure how far)
Monday – rest
Tuesday – 4.4 miles with this lovely lady and the Buckmeister doggy
Wednesday – 8 miles
Thursday (today) – 4 miles

Total July miles: 108

Run For Blood Quarter Marathon and 5K

This morning I ran the Run For Blood Quarter Marathon put on by the Red Cross. I’ve never really heard of a quarter marathon before, probably because it’s just slightly longer than a 10K (it was 6.55 miles/10.54K).

I picked up my race packet yesterday at The Running Room in Uptown Minneapolis.


It was a bit chilly this morning, especially with the wind coming over the lake but it was beautiful. It felt a little like fall, my favorite season.


The race wasn’t far from home, so I jogged about a mile to the start as a warm-up. The race was pretty well organized and got started right on time. The quarter marathon started slightly before the 5K and we went twice around Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis, and the 5K ran once around. I haven’t raced in a couple months (and now I’m in a new age category!) so it felt good! My Nikeplus running watch gave me a time of 50:40 for the 6.55 mile, which was about what the timer at the finish line said too, putting me at an average of 7’44″/mile.

I got my metal (Jack Sparrow was there passing them out – random) and met up with Kale and Buckley (they came to watch) and got a few snacks.

I didn’t stick around too long because A) It was cold and B) the marathon training plan I’m using called for a long run of 15 miles today, so I headed off to do another 7.5 miles before heading home (combined with the 6.5 and the mile warm-up for a total of 15).

After a shower and change (and hydration and snacks), I headed back down there to donate some blood at the blood mobile.


The rest of the day has been a little cold and rainy, so it’s been a cozy little afternoon napping and watching a little TV. It’s time to rally, however, as I won tickets to a St. Paul Saints game tonight by being caller 10 on my favorite radio station The Current!


Last week, Kale and I (typically fairly careful planners) decided to throw caution to the wind and head for the hills.  How spontaneous and fun of us 🙂  Every summer, my dad packs up a horse trailer with horses, saddles, and camping equipment and heads west for a week of riding and being one with nature.  Since childhood, I have usually joined him on such adventures but have been unable to join the last few summers as I was either out of the country or moving.  This year, I figured, would be the same story, since we had just moved from California to Minnesota the week before and were anticipating starting our jobs soon.  When I found out that my start date for work would be set back a few weeks due to slow paperwork processing, it was just in time to throw some clothes in a pack, put our camping equipment together and head to my dad’s for an early start the next morning.

This year’s trip was planned for the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming, a favorite spot of mine. It’s a LONG drive, but the scenery is absolutely spectacular. It’s pretty remote and rustic, which means no phones, internet, or TV which suits me just fine. It’s nice to get away from all of that once in awhile.



Matching cowboy hats

The weather was absolutely perfect all week.  We had some wonderful trail rides through the mountain trails and up to mountain lakes.  Kale hasn’t ridden horses that many times, but you would have never guessed! He was a regular cowboy.  We slept in a tent, ate outside, had a fire every night, hiked, sat in the hammock and read/napped after rides, and took in the peaceful and beautiful scenery.


Our tent and guard dog

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Buckley got to go too.  He loves these trips.  IMG_1096 IMG_0088

I did some running during our time out there, although it wasn’t too pretty.  The first full day we were there, I ran an easy 4 miles, and by easy I just mean SLOW.  It wasn’t actually easy at all.  Turns out running in the mountains, up and down hills at high altitude is grueling! It was good for me though.  I ran two other times, one 7 mile run and another 4.  I ran my long run (14 miles) on Sunday night when we returned to Minneapolis.  I couldn’t beat the scenery though in Wyoming.  There was no traffic, no other people, lots of wildlife, and it’s really such a magnificent area.

I just read this article about the effects of high altitude training.  It describes (briefly) what happens physiologically and gives tips on high altitude running.  Check it out if you’re heading to the mountains this summer!

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A friend sent me this link from theOatmeal.com, have you seen it? The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances.  Loved it.

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The last several weeks have been silent here on Come Run or Shine as I’ve been on sabbatical on hiatus on a leave of absence lazy pretty caray-zee busy as we moved 2,025 miles from Los Angeles to Minneapolis at the end of June, began settling in to our new home, preparing for our new jobs, going on a rather spontaneous vacation last week (more on that in a later), and of course, running.

A few highlights:
1. 30th Birthday!! (Last couple days in LA)



Yep, that’s birthday cake for breakfast!

2. Moving expedition. Many many miles across 9 states, many many boxes.  My in-laws flew out to LA and helped us move – bless them!


Buckley was the best little traveler! Not one “are we there yet?” Me, on the other hand…

3. We live here now! We were pretty excited when we finally saw this sign.IMG_2791

4. Land of 10,000+ lakes! LOVE.  Running around, jumping in, hanging out by…all activities around a lake. Yep.

5. Running in the RAIN!! I really don’t think I saw rain more than 5 minutes in LA.  I know I know, I sound like a crazy person but I really did miss the rain.  If I said I missed the snow would you lock me away? Ok, I’ll wait on that statement…


6.  First Twins game in the new(ish) stadium! 4th of July with some good friends. And ice cream out of tiny Twins hats.


7.  Vacation! (More on that later this week, pinky swear.)

And of course, I’ve been running. I won’t include every run during the last few weeks since you’d stop reading (if you’ve made it this far anyway).

July 1-7: 20 miles

July 8-14: 22 miles

Last week: 15 miles (while on vacation) then got back to Minneapolis and ran my long run (14 miles) last evening.

A friend of mine sent me this cool interview with the Katherine Switzer, marathon hero, that I’ll leave you with: