Tag Archives: madison

A Decade of Marathons 


I have wanted to do this post for sometime, but haven’t found time to sit down and do it. So now I am finally sitting down and doing it! While Vancouver Marathon has come and gone, I can’t stop thinking about that race. The more I think about that race, the more I think about the races I did before it. And then I realize how long I have been actively running long distance races.  

I ran my first full marathon in May 2005. 10 years ago! It was the Madison Marathon in Madison, Wisconsin. I trained with a plan my friend Matt had put together and was able to finish in a respectable time. I was sore and felt like junk afterwards though! My body wasn’t used to the beating it was put through. I honestly couldn’t lift my leg over the tub to get into the shower a few hours after the race! But, even with all that pain, I was hooked. It felt great to do something not everyone can do! I did my second marathon the following year in 2006, when I repeated that very event. The heat index was out of control and they actually closed the course after 5 hours and 15 minutes. Thankfully I had finished.  

I did marathon number 3 that same year in October-The Chicago Marathon! It was my first BIG event! 40,000 runners…through the streets of a big city…amazing crowds….I broke 4 hours in this event and felt unstoppable! The next year I did Madison again, and I dropped a few more minutes off my Chicago time. Wow…maybe I can keep dropping time? Maybe in the future I could qualify for Boston? Well, reality hit when I ran the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon in October 2007. I ran my second worse race, hadn’t really properly trained (I had been working at Badgerette during the summer running Pom Pon camps and not really taking training seriously in between). When I did Madison Marathon the following May 2008, I only dropped half a minute off my Lakefront time. Maybe I wasn’t meant to get any faster??



Madison Marathon 2005—4 hours 27 minutes 38 seconds

Madison Marathon 2006—4 hours 47 minutes 48 seconds

Chicago Marathon 2006—3 hours 59 minutes 25 seconds

Madison Marathon 2007—3 hours 56 minutes 37 seconds

Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon 2007—4 hours 42 minutes 18 seconds

Madison Marathon 2008—4 hours 41 minutes 50 seconds


Then I moved to Canada. And I trained in Lethbridge for my first marathon in Canada. While the training seemed to go well, my body wasn’t well adjusted to the elevation and I bonked. I did awful. This was the Calgary Marathon in 2009. And after this race I took a hiatus from full marathons until January 2014. This was when I ran the Walt Disney World Marathon to cap off my Dopey Challenge four race adventure! Now, I had trained extensively for this event, doing many 10km and half marathons in preparation. And during that time I had dropped down all my shorter race times and had gotten faster! And all that hard work paid off because I didn’t just break 4 hours, but I ran my fastest race yet! This got me thinking about the elusive Boston Marathon again. If I focused on training for full marathons again and took my training up a notch, maybe, just maybe I could drop enough time to make it there! I trained for the May 2014 Calgary Marathon. I ran in, running way better than I had in 2009. But it wasn’t good enough. I was frustrated. I quickly registered for the Edmonton Marathon in August 2014, hoping to shave enough time off. I faltered. And it hurt. Maybe it was time to retire after running 10 marathons…


Calgary Marathon 2009—5 hours 3 minutes 37 seconds

Walt Disney World Marathon 2014—3 hours 50 minutes 52 seconds

Calgary Marathon 2014—3 hours 46 minutes 22 seconds

Edmonton Marathon 2014—3 hours 44 minutes 59 seconds


I decided to give my Boston Qualifying attempt one last shot. I trained my ass off for my 11th marathon, the Vancouver Marathon held this past May 2015. I had a training plan made specifically for me, and took things more serious than I ever had before. It was all or nothing. And that attitude paid off. I not only made the 3:35.00 qualifying standard for Boston, but I smashed it by just over 10 minutes! After 10 years of running marathons, I had finally achieved what every runner wants-to qualify for the prestigious Boston Marathon. And while one would think that marathon 12 would be Boston in 2016, it actually was when I went back up to Calgary in the end of May 2015 for a little redemption. I ran the 50km Ultra during Marathon weekend in a time of 4:39.37….I ran 50km in Calgary faster than I ran 42.2 km in Calgary 2009! I even managed to podium in my age group! 


Vancouver Marathon 2015—3 hours 24 minutes 56 seconds

Calgary Marathon 50km Ultra 2015, Marathon Split—3 hours 56 minutes 37 seconds


So now what? Well, marathon #13 will in fact be Boston 2016. I register for that during the second day of rolling registrations, on September 16th, 2015. Running my qualifying time by over 10 minutes paid off! I am all but set to be running the 120th Boston Marathon. I cannot wait for marathon #13, as it will be so sweet. Spending over a decade of my life…my 30 years life….so 1/3 of my existence….running marathons has paid off. Yes, it is a hobby, but it is an important one. Running all these races have taught me determination, focus, resilience and mental toughness. I faced triumphs…and frustrations. But I never gave up. Never, ever give up.

…It is Time for a New Age Group…



I am a 29 year old female runner. But, on Wednesday, I jump an age group. I turn 30 years old on October 1st. In the running world, this is a big deal. Age groups at races are usually 10 year groupings. I have been in two major age groups during my time running road races. The first was when I was in my teens, and my first official event I ever participated in (that can be found still online for all to see) was the 2002 Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis. I was 18. I jumped up into the 20-29 age group when I ran in the Madison Full Marathon 2005. Other than larger events that have age groups every 5 years (20-24, 25) I have been sitting comfortably for the last 10 years.


I am not someone who is “dreading” turning 30. Actually, I think the fact that running has taken over a large part of my life the last two years helps the aging shock. Yes, it is an age group jump, and as someone who runs events regularly I will constantly be reminded that I am now 30. When I register for any event now, my “age on race day” will be 30. But it is exciting as for some events, it will present new challenges. I will be against different competitors in the local races I run regularly. I may place higher than I would have in the 20-29…and sometimes I may place lower. I am looking forward to the new age bracket, and will be running two races this month where my age on race day is in fact 30. We will have to wait and see if I am this positive about the aging process come the next age bracket….

Chicago 2006 vs Calgary 2014


All of you reading my blog know I have my big race this Sunday in Calgary. It’s the Calgary Full Marathon, all 26.2 glorious miles of it, and my goal is a sub 3:35:00—a Boston qualifying time for my division.

Flashback now to October 2006, when I ran my third full marathon. It was my first marathon other than the now-extinct May-time running of the Madison Marathon. During those previous races, I had ran a 4:27:38 and a 4:48:03. My goal this particular race was to break four hours.

It’s funny to now look back at this race and see how my goals and ability has evolved. It also makes me feel hella old, because it’s now been 7.5 years since that race! I was still fairly inexperienced when it came to long distance road races, but I had caught the bug.

My good friend Matt and I drove down from our college town of La Crosse, Wisconsin, to Chicago on the day before the race. The expo in Chicago was unlike anything we had ever experienced. It was insane and a sensory overload.

The lead up to the race was equally as amazing. Close to 40,000 runners that year if I remember correctly. This was also back in the time when they didn’t have a corral system to start. I just positioned myself in the masses and after the gun went off, it took me about ten minutes to get to the timing mat.

The weather was overcast, a bit chilly, and rainy. I think I was wearing a long sleeved cotton shirt, which now I realize is a huge rookie mistake. Come on—I was a poor college kid. Why would I pay lots of money for a fancy tech shirt?!? Along with that, why would I pay lots of money for a decent watch? (Photo to follow)

The support from the friends, family members and volunteers throughout the boroughs of Chicago was amazing. I got in such a running trance that the race felt effortless. Before I knew it, I was approaching the finish. After a final push, I crossed, with my official time as 3:59:25. I broke my four hours! (even with a crappy $5 Wal-Mart watch too!)

Matt finished his race in 3:00:17. A ridiculous time! He was upset he didn’t break 3 hours, but he qualified for that elusive race held every April in the springtime—-The Boston Marathon. He went out there the following year and experienced every runner’s dream.

This Sunday, I hope to cross the finish in Calgary with the same combined end result as what Matt and it had in Fall 2006—a new personal best, and a Boston Qualifying time.


Race Reflection-Mad City Marathon 2006


Last year, when I started my page, I had all these plans to do race reflections on marathon races of my past. I have only written two! So I am on my third, which I will touch on today. And my goal will be to finish the other few before the Calgary Full this June. It should be achievable, because I don’t have tons of full marathons to reflect on, and my last one before Dopey was the 2009 Calgary Full…which was a disaster. So that will be a good one to end on!


May 28, 2006, marked my second full marathon. I drove to Madison, Wisconsin, the night before, knowing it was going to be a hot one. There were weather advisories galore and even at 7 am as I walked to the Capitol for the start you could almost cut the humidity with a knife.

I remember having it in my head to beat my time from the year prior, which was 4:27:38. And when I started the race, I totally thought
I could! At mile 2, as seen below, I felt like a million bucks!


Well. There came a point where the heat just got out of control. Looking back, I can’t remember what the humidity index ended up being, but I know it was insanity. I kid you not that I believe the temperature did reach 100. And they did in fact shut the course down completely at 5 hours and 15 minutes. Word was that they had ran out of medics for all the people needing attention during the race.

I did finish before the cut off. I didn’t beat my time from the year before, but finished with a 4:47:48. Not bad considering the weather!


Race Reflections-My first full marathon…what was I thinking?


Mad City Marathon
May 29th, 2005
Madison, Wisconsin
Time-4 hours 27 minutes 38 seconds

My first full marathon. I can’t clearly remember the moment I decided I would train for a full, though, I know it was sometime halfway into my sophomore year at UW-La Crosse. My roommate Katie and I became best friends with Matt and Nick up on the second floor of Angell Hall. The four of us, and a circulating group of others, would always hang out-play video games, drink, and the like. Matt was a former high school track athlete at neighboring Whitnall High School, and we most likely saw each other at track meets during high school. We grew up ten minutes away from each other and didn’t know we’d become friends during University. Matt got the idea in my head that I could do a full marathon-he made us a training calendar, I signed up for the Mad City Marathon, and there was no turning back.

Training for a marathon obviously requires more mileage than a half. Matt and I would occasionally go on runs together, but we never stuck together, as he was always blocks ahead. We got really good at winding our way through the beautiful city of La Crosse….university trails, the bluffs, down by the Mississippi…I’d even run to Minnesota! (Because I could!) Training for marathons in university worked well because of the class schedules. I remember during this second semester I had three classes on Tuesday and Thursday, all in a row, starting at 1:00 pm. I had more than enough time to get up in the morning and do my running. One thing to note is that I didn’t have any fancy running gear. Probably the same Nike shorts I had in high school. A crappy sports watch from Wal-Mart. Socks with holes in the toes. Crappy cotton tank tops and white beaters. And shoes that I thought were good running shoes, but were really just labelled as running shoes in Kohls Department store.

The race weekend came. My ex-boyfriend Mike and I headed up to Madison the night before and stayed with a friend. I remember not being able to fall asleep that night. I probably slept four hours and got up at sunrise. I met Matt and his dad Steve down by the Capitol in the morning-this was the starting line. I didn’t know what the hell I was getting myself into!
The Mad City marathon course changes slightly year to year, but the basics are always there. You start at the Capitol, run through downtown, out down through some very nice neighborhoods….but the real bitch part occurs when you enter the nature reserve. You can hear crickets. Not just because you are in a nature park, but because there are no people there cheering you on. It is empty. You just wanna scream and be done! This particular year, they also had the nerve to make you run up a swirly cement incline after exiting the nature reserve. You know. One of those cement slides the goes up to an overpass….then we ran over it, to just go down the slide again. Pain. You circle part of the circumference of Lake Mendota and also run by some people having more fun than you trying to hand out beer as a water station.

The race was so quintessential Wisconsin that you ended at Brat Fest. I have now done this race 4 times and never have I ever gotten a bratwurst after, though I always think I will.  I finished with a time of 4:27. Really respectable considering that while I trained, I was clueless. I remember walking around feeling like a rock star after. But then, on the way to the car, I became a drama queen and crashed. I sat on the sidewalk and made mike go get the car to pick me up because I couldn’t walk anymore…..when I took a shower later, I could barely lift my legs over the tub to get in. I felt 100 years old.
Two days ago, my husband Dan and I went on a 4 mile run. He’s starting to get into running, but just shorter distances. 4 miles is his max right now. Anyways, when we were running I made a comment to him that when we were done today, he would have completed the distance he will be doing at the Moonlight Run in Lethbridge on March 9th. His response-“And I’m paying to do that, why?!?”

I bring this up because after he said that, I thought of all the races I’ve paid to do. All the money I’ve paid to run these crazy distances. I paid to run that 26.2 miles in Madison. I felt like glorious garbage after. And I have kept on paying to run more and to feel like even more garbage after. But feeling like garbage after these races can never feel better.