Grandma’s Marathon 2016 Recap

On February 14th 2016 I ran the LA Marathon in unfavorable conditions. It was 70+ degrees and sunny the entire course. I had to adjust my goals, and I finished with a time of 3:23:23. 9 minuets slower than my personal best.

Two months later, on April 18th, I ran the Boston Marathon in 70+ degrees with lots of sun. Again, I adjusted my goals and finished with a 3:26:08.

After two marathons in two months, I was ready for a break. However, I had one last marathon on the agenda for this spring- Grandma’s Marathon.

Grandma’s is special to me because I ran my first official half marathon there in 2013. I also set my current marathon PR of 3:14:12 there last year. I love Grandmas. Even though I was feeling very burnt out leading up to the race, I didn’t have the heart to skip it.

We picked up our packets on Friday at the Expo and checked into the UMD dorms. I think Jason, Adrian, & I got about 3 hours of sleep that night LOL.

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Saturday July 18th 2016

7:45am start time

65 degrees and 90% humidity at the start

76 degrees and 90% humidity at the finish

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My running buddy Adrain & I had planned to start at 8:00-7:50 pace and just “see how we felt”. That plan was thrown out the window around 800 meters into the race lol.

Mile 1- 7:22

Way too fast. But decided it felt like a cool enough day to maintain my PR pace and “see what happens”.

Mile 2- 7:12

Mile 3- 7:12

Mile 4- 7:10

Mile 5- 7:13

Obviously I was feeling good and confident (who doesn’t during the first few miles of a marathon..). I caught the 3:15 pace group, and I decided to run with them for awhile. In my mind, I thought I would have a chance to maybe PR.

Mile 6- 7:15 * Cliff gel

Mile 7 – 7:07

Mile 8- 7:15

I was feeling good here, and I passed the 3:15 pacer. The breeze from the lake felt good, but I could tell it was heating up A LOT. At this point, I stopped looking at my garmin and changed the setting to HR to make sure I was not over-doing it at this point in the race.

Mile 9- 7:15

Mile 10- 7:08

I still felt good, but I could tell it was getting really hot outside. I began to get worried when I saw the “high danger” flags getting raised. I continued to only measure my performance from my HR. It was tough because I knew I went out to fast and the next 16 miles were going to be tougher than usual.

Mile 11- 7:39

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RunLongRun was the first person I saw on the course, and it was super uplifting seeing him here!

Mile 12- 7:41

Mile 13- 7:36

Half Marathon- 1:36:26

This was about 1-2 min slower than I came in the half last year. I was now kicking myself for even attempting to go after a PR. I knew this second half would be very painful.

Mile 14- 7:46

Mile 15- 7:55


I was feeling a bit weird here. I thought I would be a good idea to eat my GU that I bought at the expo.

When I ate it, my gag reflex immediately caused me to throw up on the course. I was gagging and coughing while running.

Something like this has NEVER happened to me while running (let alone during a race). I began panicking. I didn’t know if I needed medical attention or what to do. I continued to run.  However, I felt sick to my stomach. The nausea was VERY extreme. I was racking my brain trying to figure out what I should do.

Mile 16- 8:00

It was here that I saw my friend WAY up ahead. My friend Josh has been training SUPER hard, and he was ready to destroy grandmas. With a 3:08 PR (down from his first 4:00 marathon), he was more than ready & capable of a sub 3. When I saw him, I realized it wasn’t going to be a pretty day out here for anyone.

Mile 17- 8:43

Words can’t even describe how happy I was to see Josh on the course. I had almost made the decision to drop out before I saw him. I told him about my nausea, and he told me he felt sick too. We started chanting things like “let’s just finish! It’s a rough day, but we will finish”.

Mile 18- 8:38

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I posted a picture to facebook saying how hot it was at mile 18.5. I was just in survival mode.

Mile 19- 8:32

Nausea was coming and going in waves. My rationalization was that even if I stopped running, I was still going to be nauseated. If I ran at a slow enough effort, I would not get sick. I knew I could walk to the finish.

I was going to get there even if I needed to crawl.

The thought of DNF brought me to tears. I was going to finish this thing. I had to.

Mile 20- 8:55

Mile 21- 8:55

Mile 22- 8:55

It was SCORCHING outside.

I have no idea how on earth I was passing people at my 9:00 pace . It was slightly reassuring to know I was not the only person feeling like crap.

Mile 23-8:50

It was hot. 

I saw the “High Danger” flags being taken down and the “black flags” getting raised up.

Mile 24- 8:53

At this point, I had not been nauseous for almost an hour. Slowing down had helped a lot. Despite the temps, I had some gas left in the tank.

I looked at my watch for the first time in 5 miles, and I realized a sub 3:30 was in sight, and I went for it.

Mile 25- 8:20


Thanks to Jason for cheering me on and telling me to go for it at mile 25.

It was about 76 degrees, sunny & 90% humidity right here at mile 25

Mile 26- 8:22

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My mom was pouring water on me at mile 26. It made me laugh & it felt great 🙂 My parents don’t go to many of my marathons, and I don’t think they have ever seen me at mile 25-26 before, so it was fun 🙂

last .29 @ 8:08 pace

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I ran 14 min slower than my time last year, but my placement was better this year. I think this is a telling sign that it effected everyone.

Every marathon teaches a lesson. I was humbled by the marathon yesterday. Yesterday was my 15th marathon & 10th Boston Qualifying time.

I am more thankful to have finished than I ever have been because I didn’t know what my body was going to allow me to do in those hot conditions after getting sick.

Moral of the story: 

Marathons are hard. Add hot temps , humidity & sun, they are even harder. 2000 of the 9000 people who started the marathon did not finish. Every finish is something to be thankful for!

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What type of shoes should you run in?

This questions is usually tough to answer on a large scale. Everyone has different needs. There are so many options out there it can be confusing for new runners. However, the endless options are actually working in your favor because it allows you to find the perfect option for you 🙂


Everyone’s shoe preferences will be different. There is not  a “magical shoe” that will make you faster or better. (although I wish there was lol). 

Here are my tips for buying shoes:

1- Do a google search for a running store

Find a running store in your area. The people who work at these running stores are the biggest running shoe geeks out there. They know almost too much knowledge on running shoes. Most running stores will help you select a pair of running shoes. They will watch your stride/gait as you run and recommend shoes based on if you pronate or not. I would recommend even chatting with these people about what you are training for (ie marathon or a 5k). These people KNOW their stuff! Just go into the store and try on whatever they recommend.

IT IS SO IMPORTANT: remember the brand & the model of the shoe.

Brand– nike, Adidas, sauconey, Brooks, Hookas, Asics, New Balance  (etc)

Model– lunar tempos, kinvara, launch, cliftons, etc.

Please don’t walk into a store and ask for a pair of Asics. You need to know the model. Everyone I hear someone say “I got a new pair of running shoes- I think they were Brooks or Asics or something?” I face palm myself. Every brand has like 1089238 shoe models.

2- Tips to save money

Option1:  Ask the running store if they have any older models on sale/Clarence usually older models get knocked down 30-50% off as they want to get rid of that old inventory (do this only if it is a shoe you like. (Don’t buy sale shoes just because they are on sale. It’s important to get a shoe that works for you)

Option2: Call the store in advance and ask the running store if they give discounts to USATF members or any running clubs. It might be worth joining USATF or a local running club to get their discount. Most locally running stores in Minneapolis (aka any store EXCEPT running room) give about a 20% discount to anyone who is a USATF member. USATF is like $40 to join. If you buy running shoes more than 2x per year, it will pay for itself.

Option3: After you find a good pair that work for you, you could try going to DSW or other known shoes stores that sell the older models of your shoes. I’ve seen shoes for about 20-30% off at these stores. The model will be an older model, but still works. (do this only if it is a shoe you like. Don’t buy sale shoes just because they are on sale. It’s important to get a shoe that works for you)

3- Considering Rotating 

If you run more than 3 times a week, it might be a good idea to consider having more than 1 pair of running shoes. Deciding to add a new shoe to the rotation can be almost as confusing as shopping for your first pair. Why do you need two pairs?

Essentially, you switch shoes by day depending on the type of run you are doing. Speed work you might use a lighter shoe. Long run a more supportive therefore heavier shoe.

-Anyone at a running store can help you pick your “second pair” based on what your first pair is. They can make really good recommendations for you actually!

My rule of thumb

1-speed work shoe (ask for lighter weight, little lower to the ground, more flexible)

2- a easy run/long run shoe (something with more support & maybe cushion & a can be a little heavier)

3- a recovery shoe (something with more a lot cushion & a can be a little heavier)

4- How Often to get new shoes?

It depends on the model. The sale’s person in the shoe store should be able to give you a good estimate for each shoe.

If you look at the bottom of your shoe & the tread is worn down, it is time for a new pair of shoes. I, personally, usually get a new pair every 300-500 miles depending on the pair. I know a lot of people who will do closer to 150-300 miles. 

Chances are if you have had the same shoes for 4+ months, you need a new pair.

If you walk in your shoes AND run in them, you probably need a new pair.

Note: I find that beginner runners are the people who aren’t buying running shoes often enough.

5- What do I personally run in?

I have a very neutal stride, and I rotate between

Nike Lunar Tempos

Brooks launch

Hooka Cliftons