IMT Des Moines Marathon

IMT Des Moines Marathon
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Friday, December 4, 2015

The Winter Running Blues

Winter is here. Although we have yet see much snow in the Midwest, the cold temperatures and frosty ground are upon us. I am not sure about you but this is the time of year when I struggle to get out of bed in the morning to run, knowing that the temperature outside is going to be sub 30 degrees. 

But winter running doesn't have to mean a cut in your miles. There are some tips and tricks that can help you overcome those cold days.

1. Dress appropriately. Although you want to dress with more warm layers due to the chilly air, don't overdress. After a mile or two your heart rate will increase, you will start to sweat, and you will get too warm too quickly if you have too many layers on. You really don't need more than one layer of long sleeves until the temperature is lower than 40 degrees. I add a layer of long sleeves every 10 degrees after that. At freezing (32 degrees) you will want gloves for your fingers and a hat to cover your ears.
2. Try running later in the day. This is tricky if your work or family schedule isn't flexible, but it is usually a good 10 or more degrees warmer later in the day. If you can, try running in the early afternoon or early evening.
3. Stay hydrated. Even though you are out in the cold, you will still sweat. You will need to replenish your fluids just like you would on a warm day.
4. Be mindful of your steps. Choose shoes that have grips; you can even buy not so attractive grippers that you can adhere to your running shoes if you like. The grass, road and sidewalks are much more slippery so a fall will be more apt to happen and if it does, the ground is now frozen so the landing will hurt more.
5. Stay positive. When you do get out there to run, appreciate the little things. Look for the gleaming reflection of the sun on icicles, try to admire a gorgeous sunset or sunrise, or even take a few moments to simply count the bird nests that are now visible with the disappearance of leaves from the trees. It may be cold outside, but it is still beautiful out there.

So there you have it. If you do slack on a few runs due to the colder weather, don't be too hard on yourself. Winter season is a downtime for most runners and there aren't as many races to register for anyway. Don't give up; just get back out there as soon as you can.

What do you do to stay motivated in the winter to run? What tips or tricks do you have? Comment below, I'd love to read your ideas!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Did Someone Say Two Half Marathons In One Weekend? Yes Please!

Double the bibs and double the hardware.

I'm the kind of person who likes to set running goals in order to keep herself motivated and focused. I register for races early, tell the world my plans so that I have to hold myself accountable, and then I start training (posting on social media every step of the way). When that race is over, I set a new goal and repeat the process.

Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy running, a lot, but a runner is lying if they tell you that they have never been in a running rut. To keep things fresh, I like to set what I call a "big" race goal for myself each year. A few years ago I decided to run a half marathon. Last year I decided to run my first full marathon. This year I went "half" crazy and decided to run two half marathons- in ONE weekend! Yes, I accepted and completed the I-35 Challenge by running two races that are literally located in cities along Interstate 35, during the same weekend. It was a few days ago and it was just as amazing as it sounds.

For the last four months I have been training for this challenge the best I could. I searched and searched online, talked to some runners I know, but couldn't find a true "Two Halfs In One Weekend" training plan anywhere. After thinking about how I run and what it would take for me to be prepared to run back-to-back halfs, I came up with a training plan. I am proud to say that I came close to following it almost exactly, and it worked well in helping me to be prepared physically and mentally for the challenge. I felt totally ready.

Basically I ran about 25-35 miles per week varying the length of the runs from 5 to 8 miles most of the time. For the last several months (prior to this last month) I also ran two back-to-back longer-ish runs every other weekend, like two 8s, 9s, 10s or 11s. And then this last month I ran a few 8s and 10s, but focused more on shorter, much faster runs, as I really wanted to PR my first of the two races. I wasn't sure how sore I would be after running my heart out trying to PR, so my goal for the second half marathon was to just finish respectably.

The smile of a new PR!

The first of the two races was the Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon, half marathon option.  My husband ran with me, it was his very first race ever- let alone his first half marathon! He is naturally faster than me so I knew he would push me and help me PR. We figured that we had to get about 8:45 average pace for me to PR. We actually blew that out of the water with an 8:35 pace, and finished in 1:52.22. My previous best was 1:55.49 back in the 2014; so I ended up shaving almost 3 1/2 minutes off my previous best. I was stoked!

After the dust settled we showered, we picked up the kiddos from my sister's house, drove along I-35 to Des Moines, picked up my IMT DMM race packet at the Iowa Events Center, checked into the hotel and got ready for round two the next morning.

As the day wound down and the evening rolled in, several factors started to make me second guess my decision to run another half the next day. I started to get a horrendous cold and sore throat with a fever, aches and chills. I couldn't sleep because I was nervous my alarm wouldn't go off and I was sharing a bed with several kiddos- one of which was a 3-year-old that insisted on kicking me in the head all night. My cortisone shot from my torn rotator cuff (surgery planned for this December, yuck) still hadn't kicked in, and after running as fast as I could earlier in the day, my shoulder hurt- a lot. And to top it all off, I weirdly locked us out of our hotel room with my race gear inside earlier in the day and it took several hotel staff and a bent hanger to get us back in the room. Oh and how could I forget that it was only 30 degrees outside on the morning of the race? Icing on the cake was how sore my body was when I woke up from after the Kansas City marathon the day before. My legs literally felt like tree trunks.

It never crossed my mind NOT to do the challenge, but I definitely dreaded getting up that morning. This was the very first time I had ever woken up race morning not super pumped to run. Before the race started, standing out in the freezing temps with aches and chills, legs and feet screaming with soreness, I definitely didn't feel much excitement. But that did change, as my inspiration to stay on course was my little brother. He had agreed to run the IMT DMM leg of the I-35 Challenge with me, even though he had never run a race of any distance before.

When I looked over at my brother at the starting line, standing beside me, chatting with complete strangers, laughing, cracking jokes, jumping around to keep warm, things started to change for me. He was just the most excited I had seen him in, well, maybe ever. THAT changed something in my mind. I decided not to worry about my pace, the distance, my aches... I decided to just run with him. He was so very excited just to be running his very first race, ever, and I remember that wonderful feeling.

After a few miles I no longer noticed the aches and pains or the freezing cold; I only noticed how awesome it was to run and cheer my brother on along the route. Honestly, I lost track of the miles most of the time and just ran. I didn't worry about anything- I just ran.

I ended up having so much fun and getting so much enjoyment out of it.

Both races complete!

Eventually, we got to the end. And I DID IT! I ran TWO HALF MARATHONS IN ONE WEEKEND! It was incredible. I am so glad I did it. What an accomplishment!

You know what? We did pretty good too. I still finished in the top 25% of all women with our 2:06 time. Not too shabby for the girl always picked last in gym class.

Since training, Tweeting and blogging for the IMT DMM blog, I have met many runners online that were doing the I-35 Challenge too. Some ran one full and one half, some ran two halfs like me, and some "full" crazy ones even ran two fulls in one weekend.

I have to say that I am inspired.

I think.. I think... that I could challenge myself to run even more next year. I mean, I ran my two halfs this weekend with a torn rotator cuff and a really awful cold, sore throat and cough- among other obstacles... just think of what else I can do?!

I am sensing a new goal for 2016 coming on... :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

IMT DMM Recap: A Chilly Start to an Incredible Finish

My lil brother and I before the chilly start Sunday.

This past weekend my hard work over the last several months came to fruition when I crossed the finish line of the IMT DMM half marathon. Last year I completed the full marathon in Des Moines and immediately knew that I wanted to come back again. This year, however, the IMT DMM half marathon was my goal, as it was the second half marathon I ran this weekend. Yep, that's right: two halfs in one weekend. Finishing the IMT DMM half meant that I completed the I-35 Challenge by running the Waddell & Reed Kansas City half marathon on Saturday and the IMT DMM half marathon on Sunday.

Around mile 9.

This year I took a different approach to the race. Since I had planned to PR on Saturday in Kansas City during that half (which I did, 1:52:22, IN THE TOP 8% OF ALL WOMEN! Yay!), I decided that I just wanted to more leisurely run on Sunday and serve as a support system for my brother who ran with me, to complete his very first half marathon. I am so glad I kept with my plan because it felt absolutely amazing to cheer my brother on, push him forward and support him as he ran his first half.

I will admit that this was difficult initially. I had never run a half without the goal of running my fastest and pushing myself as hard as I could, so the first few miles I kept finding myself running too fast too early on for our collective pace, and I was automatically setting my brain to competition mode. Around mile 4 or 5 my lil bro started to need some pacing adjustments and moral support so I quickly switched gears and put on my cheerleading shoes. After I let him set our pace I started to actually enjoy myself more than I thought possible (while running a distance race, that is!).

This was only my second time at the event, but once again the IMT DMM did not disappoint. The route for the half quickly split from the full marathoners and took us to what would be the end of the full marathon route. I absolutely loved this because I could reminisce over memories I had had at different mile markers from last year. I remembered the place around mile 19 that I saw my family and children cheering me on. In fact, my brother came to cheer me on last year and that is what had inspired him to run this year.

I saw the spot, near mile 22, when I hit a serious wall but then had seen my favorite sign, "For all the girls picked last in gym class" and I recalled how those words got me through the slump. I remember that long bridge around mile 23 or 24 and how I cried like a little baby while on it, thinking about how I had almost finished a marathon, something I trained so hard for last year. I saw mile 25 where my husband had been standing while he had cheered his loudest to help me push through that last difficult mile...

I have chills and tears of nostalgia just thinking about it.

I love the IMT DMM for so many reasons (and it's not only because they always have the coolest participant shirts!). First and foremost, Iowa has the best people. Just like last year, the spectators and volunteers were once again amazing. I love the route because you are closer to the spectators than in other races I've done so they can give you high fives, tissues, power poster punches, and can read your name on your bib and cheer you on personally. This is definitely the most supportive group of strangers I have ever experienced in a race.

Oh and I love the race route; you travel through both urban and rural areas and other than a few small hills early on, it is a pretty flat route (I know, I know, it's Iowa, right?). I joked above, but I do love the shirts too. If you are a runner, you probably have several race shirts sitting around your house that don't get much use. The IMT DMM tech long-sleeved shirt will not be one of those. I LOVED my shirt last year and was so pumped to get the same style in a different color this year. As far as participant shirts go, they are really, really nice.

I also wanted to say how wonderful the expo at the Iowa Events Center is and how plentiful the race packets are. So many races don't actually put anything in your race packets anymore- but not the IMT DMM! Mine was overflowing with goodies and samples of lotions, vitamins, snacks, discounts, and more... and that's just the actual race packet. There was a virtual race packet, full of great deals and discounts, emailed out to us too.

The medals are just fine. Heavy and solid with large colorful neck straps, but they probably aren't the reason you run this race. But EVERYTHING else is. Even the food after the race is awesome. In addition to all the free food and drinks for the athletes, Jimmy Johns was walking around giving out free subs to spectators! As a mom with three young kiddos there cheering her on, free food was a nice distraction for them.

Just before the finish line.

So if you are wondering how we did... Not bad! My brother and I finished at the exact same time and it felt amazing to cross the finish line with him, knowing just how hard he had pushed himself those last 3 miles to get there. We finished in 2:06.14 (9:39 pace) which was very respectable for my brother's very first half marathon. Our overall place was 2067 of 5380 all half marathoners. Even though I wasn't concerned about placing or my finish results this time, I did place 183/487, or still in the top 25% for my division (age 30-34). All in all we did a great job!

MapMyRun Splits

We did it!

So the big question is... Will I run it again next year? I'd definitely like too! I am even, and I might regret typing this out loud, considering accepting the I-35 challenge again next year... but possibly running both full marathons???? Yikes, I don't know. That is a lot of training and a lot of dedication, so I will have to get back to you on that one. I was just so surprised by how much fun running two halfs in one weekend was... Not sure if I'd feel that way after two fulls though...

Our amazing support team!

There are a few Thank You's that need to go out. My husband, who not only ran the Waddell and Reed Half with me and is the reason I PR's on Saturday, but who then hauled our kids to Iowa that same afternoon (when he probably would have preferred an ice bath) and helped me get ready for my race the next day. My sister and her family, my parents and my brother and his girlfriend too. It is truly incredible to look at these pictures and see how many people came to cheer us on.

I also have some pretty supportive fans on Facebook and friends in my life that inspire and motivate me to run, and to write about my running on Mamagottarun.

A final thank you to the IMT DMM blog for allowing me to post training updates these last three months, and for helping me to connect with so many fellow Iowa, Kansas, KC and I-35 Challenge runners on Twitter. It was awesome talking with some of you in person and even more of you online these last few months!

What a fun weekend. I'm a little sad it's over, but that only means that it's time to start planning for my next running adventure.

Here's to next year- who's with me? Comment below!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The I-35 Challenge Is Just a Few Days Away!

I am getting so pumped for this weekend! It's finally here! This Saturday and Sunday I am completing the I-35 Challenge, by running one half marathon (13.1 miles) on both days (26.2) total. I have run a marathon before, but I think it will be a different experience running two significant distances on back-to-back days.

I was so lucky to have the support of friends and family as I worked to accomplish this goal. Not only has my husband, Josh, watched the kids while I trained, but I have watched the kids for him as he trained too... Yes that's right! He will be running the Kansas City half marathon leg of the I-35 Challenge on Saturday morning with me. I am so proud of him- this is his first half marathon and he has worked so hard to get his practice runs in. He has improved his pace, his endurance, and he is ready to go.

I am also proud of my brother, Nick, who will be running the Des Moines leg of the I-35 Challenge with me the following day, on Sunday. This is his first half marathon. He has been battling injury and has a busy travel/work schedule but has continued to push through and train and he feels ready and is confident he will finish. 

It is exciting to think that I will be running alongside family when I run these races. Normally I run alone in races. Other than the few times when my husband and I have been kid-free for a day or two and run a few casual miles around the neighborhood I have never run with him. And I have never run with my brother before at all. I am excited to feel the encouragement from them and the accomplishment of doing this together. I am a little nervous because I feel like both of these guys are faster than me and I hope it doesn't throw off my pacing. Hopefully it will be a motivator to keep pushing so I can PR on Saturday. My goal is to average 8:40s on Saturday and 9:00 is fine for Sunday.

Well, wish me luck! If you want to follow me while I run (or anyone else you know who is running in either of these races) you can do so at: 

I can't speak for the KC marathon/half marathon, but when I ran the IMT DMM last year it was incredible. The beautiful route, the amazingly supportive spectators, the energy... I knew immediately afterward the IMT DMM event would be something I would run again. This time I am running the half, but I anticipate just as much enjoyment.

Wish me luck! Connect with me on Twitter @mamagottarun so we can say hello!

I'd love to hear what you loved most about your previous half and full marathons. The spectators? A memorable sign? A route? A race packet goodie? Comment below.

Crossing the IMT DMM
finish line last year.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Less Than Two Weeks To Go!

How's your last few weeks of training going? Tapering your longer runs? Working on quickening your pace during shorter runs? Those two techniques have been my main focal points this last week and my plan for the last few.

From when I started training nine weeks ago I have knocked about a full minute off of my pace during 4-5 miles runs. I am running in the low to mid 8:00s right now (even hitting the upper 7:00s a few times!), but started in the low to mid 9:00s in June.

My goal is to PR one of the I-35 Challenge halfs, which would mean I need to keep my splits at about 8:40-:44 minute average each. I really feel like I am on track to beat my current fastest half time of about 1:55. I guess only time will tell.

I am glad the weather has gotten a little cooler in Kansas City this week and it should stay that way for the next few weeks here. I imagine Iowa weather is cooling off as well. I remember feeling quite chilled at the start of the IMT DMM last year and running in the cold these last few weeks before should help that not be an issue again this year. You Iowa folks have weather that is just a shade cooler than us in KC, even though we are only three hours to the south of you.

What are your race goals for the IMT DMM or the I-35 Challenge? How are your last few weeks of training going? I'd love to hear about it. Comment below! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @mamagottarun so we can connect and say hello in Des Moines in a few weeks!

Happy training!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Preview of the IMT Des Moines Marathon

Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor Mediacom for including the IMT Des Moines Marathon in their Newsleaders segment.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Preparing for Race Day

There is more to preparing to run in a half or full marathon than, well, running. So much additional work goes into preparing yourself for the event than the running itself.

Of course you will have followed some sort of training regimen, and should be confident with the miles you've pounded into the pavement in preparation for the big day. This is important not only for your body, but also to get your mind strong enough to push you through the difficult later miles. You might have even done strength training to get your body ready, and that's great! Both of those will prove helpful.

But you can't forget the checklist: the valuable list of tasks to complete before, or items to bring with you on, event weekend.

 Logistics are crucial. Make sure your hotel is booked and confirmed well before race weekend. Keep an eye on the weather a week before. Know how you are getting to the event on the morning of the race. Are you driving yourself? With a friend? Being dropped off?
 Know packet pick-up location, times and rules. Will there be parking costs and where are parking lots located (this is good to know both for packet pick-up and for race day)?
 Study the race route. Write bathroom, water and food stops in permanent marker on your arm the night before, on your water bottle, or on a laminated scrap of paper you can carry with you in your running gear.
 Make sure your cheering section is prepared with items they will need, like race routes with your estimated arrival times for every spectator spot, road maps or GPS, any signs or cowbells they will be displaying, and snacks and distractions for the younger spectators. Make sure your cheering section also knows what you will need from them during the race, like energy gel packets or water refills at certain mile markers. Make a plan of where you will meet at the finish line.
 Plan your meals for at least three days before the race. Research good foods for pre-race preparation and listen to your body. Avoid too many sugars, fiber and anything else that has the potential to increase your chances of gastrointestinal issues during the race.
Drink a lot of water every single day for the entire week before the event. A good daily intake rule is for every pound you weigh, drink an ounce of water- so if you weigh 142 pounds, try to drink 142 ounces of pure water daily. Don't worry about planning for food or beverages after the race, there will be a ton of free food and drink for you to devour at the finish line.
 Make sure the running clothes, socks and shoes you plan to wear on race day have been worn before. This is the absolute worst time to wear brand new running clothes, even if they are adorable. Run in what you know works for you. The last thing you need is chafing nipples and thighs, or new blisters at mile 5 of your event.
 Know what you will be carrying with you while you run. Water? Energy gels? Baby wipes? Kleenexes? Vaseline? Headphones or arm band? Phone? Headband or hat? RoadID tag? KT tape? How will you carry these things? If you can, do a long practice run carrying and/or using these items.
 Buy a new audiobook, update your playlist, or get your podcasts downloaded the night before the event. Race morning will be busy enough- you don't want to worry about getting your music ready just before the the gun goes off.
 Lay out everything you will need the night before, from what you will eat for breakfast, to every item of clothing you will be wearing. You will be anxious, excited and nervous the morning of the event and being prepared will help calm your adrenaline rush.

This list covers most of everything you will need to remember, but be sure to tailor it to your own specific needs. There is much to consider when preparing for the race, but you want the big day to go perfectly. You have literally run hundreds and hundreds of miles during training to get to the point of being able to prepare your body and mind to run a half or full marathon and you don't want a little forgotten detail to get in the way of your success.

Good luck!

Miles are great, but getting the logistics
figured out are just as important.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Jon Dunham to Appear at MidAmerican Energy Speaker Series

Spirit of the Marathon filmmaker to preview new movie
at IMT Des Moines Marathon

Des Moines, Iowa—Jon Dunham, the award-winning director of Spirit of the Marathon and Spirit of the Marathon II,  will preview his new documentary Boston at this year’s IMT Des Moines Marathon.

Even before Spirit of the Marathon was released in 2007, Dunham was hoping to make a movie about the Boston Marathon. “Then the 2013 Boston race turned out completely different from anything we ever imagined,” he says. “My personal reaction after the bombing was to put the project on hold, to give the race time to heal and normalize. But then I began to realize what an important race 2014 would be, how important a race it would be to document.” Organizers agreed and endorsed the project as the official film of the race.

Both of Dunham’s earlier films will be screened at the Scheels Sports & Fitness Expo on October 17 at the Iowa Hall of Pride in the Iowa Events Center. Spirt of the Marathon will be shown at 11 a.m. followed by Spirit of the Marathon ll at 2 p.m. Jon will introduce each film and provide a unique opportunity for audience question and answer following the films. In addition, Dunham will offer previews of Boston, which is nearing the end of filming, as part of the MidAmerican Energy Speaker Series on October 16 and 17.

“We’re excited to welcome Jon back to our event and to show our community a first look at Boston,” IMT Des Moines Marathon race director Chris Burch said. “He’s an accomplished filmmaker who captures our sport in a way no one else can. It is a true privilege to host him in Des Moines for our running community.”

The Scheels Sports & Fitness Expo and the MidAmerican Energy Speaker Series at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines are free and open to the public. For details and a complete race weekend schedule, or to register, go to

Friday, September 11, 2015

Are You Getting Excited for the IMT DMM!?!?

I'm getting excited to earn my new IMT DMM swag this year. 
I love my pullover from last year and as the 2015 race approaches 
I find myself reaching to pull this shirt out from my closet more and more often.

It's hard to believe we are running the IMT DMM next month! I registered so long ago and started training for this race so early this summer that I feel like it has been a long time coming. Finally, race day is getting closer and closer.

I am so excited to participate in the events again. I have even recruited my younger brother to run the half with me this year. This is particularly special because he attended the IMT DMM last year as a spectator, enlisted to cheer me on as I completed my first full marathon. He was so inspired by the strength he saw in runners and the sense of accomplishment he saw in me as I finished that he will be running his first half marathon when he runs it with me this year. He has never run a race of any distance before- ever- so this is kind of a big deal!

How is your training going? Mine is still on track overall and this past weekend I ran another round of back-to-back practice runs in preparation for the I-35 Challenge next month. Last week I posted about my Runner's Toe problems, and after taking it easier than I wanted these past few weeks, my feet feel much better. I ran 10.14 miles last Saturday and then 10.00 more miles on Sunday. Overall, I was happy with my performances and mostly had negative splits. This is a good sign because it means that I had a little gas left even as my miles accrued. I have scheduled one more practice weekend before the I-35 Challenge where I will run two 11 milers in two days to help me build physical and mental endurance.

Although it makes me a little sad that I'm only running the half this year, the one thing that I am enjoying about not training for the full marathon is the long runs I had to do every other week last year around this time. I use MapMyRun and the app developers like to email users little "memories" of impressive runs they had "crushed" a year ago on certain dates. Lately several runs in the low 20s have made it to my inbox and I must say that I don't really miss how hard it was to carve out time for those 3-4 hour practice runs. I do, however, have to admit that I miss the sense of personal accomplishment and mental encouragement I felt after completing those longer runs, and I look forward to running them again when I train for a couple full marathons that I'd like to complete next year. It's fun to say to myself "Good job on that 10-miler Traci!" but it was even more fun to be able to say "Good job on that 22-miler Traci" last year.

My respectable splits from the two 10-milers I ran last Saturday and Sunday.

My goal is to PR on the Saturday of the I-35 Challenge during the Waddell & Reed KC Marathon, and then finish under or near 2 hours in the IMT DMM on the next day, Sunday. I will need to run 15 seconds or less faster per mile than I did during my 2nd 10 mile practice run to do this, but I am not too concerned. Race adrenaline always kicks in before race events and I always seem to run faster in half marathons than training and leisure runs.

How is your training going? I'd love to hear about it. Comment below!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Who Needs Pretty Toes Anyway?

I remember it like it was yesterday, with the same nostalgia of recollecting when my child lost his first tooth. It was the day I lost my first toenail. 

The first toenail I lost to running was a little over a year ago when I was training for the IMT DMM and I felt like it was a rite of passage; like I had reached some running milestone that officially made me part of the culture. I have since lost three toenails and it looks like I will soon lose another. Who needs pretty toes anyway? My toes are always too sore to get pedicures so as long as I'm running, my feet must endure a little loss of pride.

I know some runners who don't really have toenail issues, and for me, I am only bothered when I run more than 15 miles per week. I have researched it some and since my second toe is just slightly longer than my big toe when fully extended, my poor second toe has to take the brunt of my body weight with each step I take. This is actually called Morton's Toe which causes Runner's Toe and thank goodness I only have a mild case because some of the pictures of this condition look quite irregular. I am somewhat concerned because this the 3rd time I will lose the nail from this specific toe, and I just keep wondering if there is a point where it won't grow back. 

Part of the reason my toes have been tested is because not only have I been running over 30 miles per week this summer, but I have been trying hard to work on pace. I really want to PR in the KC Half, and then just finish respectfully in the IMT DMM. Notice my beautiful negative splits above!

Although I am still working on those longer-ish runs with quicker splits, my sore toes have interrupted my completing all of the longer runs from my training plan this past week. In fact, just walking around the house recently has been hard; if one of my children accidentally step on my unprotected toes, tears immediately come to my eyes and it takes everything in me to hold back a yelp of pain. I did take a few extra rest days this week and finally woke up these last few days with less pain, less swelling and more bruising (which means healing). This is a very good sign that I can get back on track with those long runs very soon. Even taking off a few days this week, I still ran 110 miles this month, so I was content with that.

How is your training going? Do your toes ever trip you up, or have they prevented you from running when you wanted to? What tips do you have for runners with toe problems? Comment below!

Monday, August 17, 2015

And Training Continues

Training is still going strong. We are about 8 weeks out from the big day (or days if you are doing the I-35 Challenge like me) and it is important to buckle down and keep moving forward with longer practice runs blended with shorter, faster paced runs. Both types are important when training for a half or full marathon.

I have stayed steadily on my training plan, and any runs I planned, I have completed. I have had to adjust a few days, trading a training day for a rest day here or there, but I am happy to say that I have been able to get every planned run in so far. In fact, I am nearing 70 miles this month and August is only half over.

I was able to run in Iowa again a few weeks ago, at McIntosh Woods in Ventura, IA. 

Sisters Prairie Trail in Ventura, IA never disappoints. I found a new running buddy
that same day. 

I'm averaging about 30 miles a week these past few months.

How is your training going? Tips for overcoming the boredom of long runs? Ideas for getting up early and staying motivated to get in workouts? I'd love to hear how things are going for you. Comment below!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Why Runners are Nice People

1. We pour drips of water on earthworms unknowingly trying to cross a burning sidewalk on a hot day.
2. We close open mailboxes as we run by them.
3. We greet each other as we pass, say hello to people mowing their lawns, and wave at bikers.
4. We move sticks and small branches out of the way for those coming up behind us.
5. We love making friends with and connecting with other runners.
6. Rather than argue, we just shrug and nod when non-runners say we are crazy for running half and full marathons.
7. We try our hardest to run when it doesn't disrupt the pattern of everyone else in our family, ie, early in the morning or late at night.
8. We yield to cars even when we have the right of way (okay this one might be more of a lifesaving technique than a form of kindness).
9. No matter how tired we are, we find the energy to smile at babies and puppies as we meet or pass them.
10. We encourage each other whether we are faster or slower than one another, because we truly just love the sport.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Holy Humidity Batman

Met my training plan goals for Week 1.

Week 1 of training is complete, and I stayed right on track with my training plan. Eleven more weeks to go and I am focused, even though the weather has not been cooperating with my plans. I have to say that the last few weeks have been difficult for outdoor athletes, as I am sure many of you Midwestern runners out there can attest too. We had had a really mild summer which was awesome for running, allowing runners to sleep in a little more in May and June meaning we did not have to run at 5 or 6 am in order to beat the heat. 

Mother Nature has returned summer to us here in Kansas City, and she is not holding back. The last two weeks have been SO HOT AND HUMID. My lazy summer mornings have had to adjust to getting my runs in before 7 or 8 am or risk crippling heat and humidity. In addition to running earlier, I have been drinking 12-16 ounces of water during every one of my runs this month, no matter if it is a 3 miler or an 8 miler, and that has helped. With the humidity and heat has also come some rain, so many consecutive days that sometimes it becomes impossible to wait for a morning without rain. So, I've also had no choice a few days but to run in the wet, rainy weather. 

How are you beating the heat? What are you doing to combat the humidity? Do you enjoy running in the rain? I'd love to find out! Comment below.

Water is my new best friend.

Rain, rain and more rain means wet running shoes, drenched clothes and wearing caps to block out the droplets.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

First Back2Back Practice Run Complete

Let the training begin!

Twelve weeks until race time and the training has begun! I have been working hard on increasing my miles at a reasonable rate so that I do not cause any injuries to myself. I learned this lesson the hard way this past January when I stress fractured my tibia. I was training for a spring half marathon and was so excited for a few weeks of mild winter weather and to start training that I didn't follow the basic running rules or listen to my body when I first started having pain. It took about 7 weeks off of running, x-rays, and an air cast for me to learn that you must slowly increase your mileage and definitely take rest days in between running days while doing so. 

This past weekend I ran my first practice run of back-to-back races. I ran 8 miles on Saturday and another 8 miles on Sunday. I was really surprised that the opposite of what I expected to feel happened. Saturday's run was really hard, likely due to the high temperatures, mid-day timing, and near choking humidity. I had many mental conversations with myself on Saturday and had to really push my mind and body to keep going. Sunday, although I thought it would be the harder of the two runs, actually felt great. My pace was really similar to Saturday's (at about 9 minutes exactly per mile) but I made sure to run earlier in the morning so I enjoyed less crippling temperatures and humidity. I do need to keep working on getting my pace down a little more, but with 12 weeks still to go, I should be able to shave off a little time still.

All in all I am really happy with my first practice run. It is nice to have a comparison level established as most of the time when I have run 8 miles, I usually have taken the day after off. As I train for the I-35 Challenge I will need to keep working on getting my mind and body ready to run a farther the next day. Every three weeks from here on out I have scheduled practice back-to-back runs, increasing my mileage by one mile per day per weekend, reaching a final practice weekend of two 11 milers.

Last week's mileage; this included 7 miles of walking.

Are you running in the IMT Des Moines half or or full marathons? Are you attempting the I-35 Challenge? Have you come up with a training plan for yet? Have you started training? 

I'd love to read your comments below.

About me: Although I am a Kansas Citian now, I was once a North Iowa girl, hailing from a little town called Rudd near Mason City. I am a runner of about three years, although I have always enjoyed being active through walking as well as participating in boot camp and other similar classes. Through running I have discovered a love that I did not know existed. Growing up I was never the most athletic person on the team and I always had to work hard to be average, but as an adult I have realized that I have skill in endurance running and I absolutely love it. I am not the fastest runner out there, but I am not the slowest either. In addition to being a runner, I am a college instructor, wife and mother to three children aged 3, 5, and 7 years. I have a personal blog at and can also be found on Twitter and Instagram @mamagottarun. This is my second year participating in the IMT DMM races

What's New in '15

Here's A Look at What is New This Year
1. TWO DAYS OF RACES The Principal Financial Group 5K Road Race has moved to Saturday, October 17 joining the Live Healthy Iowa Kids Run on the weekend schedule, while the IMT Des Moines Marathon, Half Marathon, and Bankers Trust Marathon Relay remain on Sunday, October 18.
2. 5K ROAD RACE DIVISIONS The Principal Financial Group 5K Road Race will feature 3 race divisions this year including an Open division for runners and walkers alike, a High School Division for participants between the ages of 14 and 19, and an Iowa National Guard Division to honor Iowa National Guard members and their families.
3. 5K COMBO Now, you can participate in two days of races by combining The Principal Financial Group 5K Road Race on Saturday with your race of choice in the IMT Des Moines Marathon, Half Marathon or Bankers Trust Marathon Relay on Sunday.
4. DOUBLE THE HARDWARE Your two day accomplishment in Des Moines will be rewarded with twice the hardware. A finisher medal on Saturday and another finisher medal on Sunday that will magnetically combine with one another to let everyone know you completed the 5K Combo.
5. 5K ROAD RACE STOCKING CAP Have a drawer of race shirts that you can’t keep up with? The Principal Financial Group 5K Road Race is offering participants a premium beanie stocking cap this year. Now you can start collecting stocking caps too.
6. FAMILY DISCOUNT Families can sign up for The Principal Financial Group 5K Road Race and Live Healthy Iowa Kids Run at the same time during online registration and save $5 on each Kids Run registration. The Live Healthy Iowa Kids Run will utilize the same start and finish line, as well as a portion of the 5K Road Race course.
7. JUSTIN ROBERTS Following the completion of the Live Healthy Iowa Kids Run on Saturday, Justin Roberts and The Not Ready For Naptime Players will perform a free concert for the public at the Simon Estes Amphitheater.
8. KATHRINE SWITZER An icon in the running world, Kathrine was the first woman to enter and complete the Boston Marathon. Hear her inspiring story of achievement Saturday evening at the return of the ABC5 Pasta Dinner in the recently renovated Community Choice Convention Center.    
9. EVEN HIGHER QUALITY SHIRTS Athletes registered in the IMT Des Moines Marathon & Half Marathon and Bankers Trust Marathon Relay will receive a similar design of the revered ¼ zip pullover only this year will receive an even higher quality premium fabric in the ¼ zip than in years past. With a new stocking cap and ¼ zip you will be one step ahead of the fall and winter running season.
10. COOL FEATURES Stay in touch with race officials and get the latest updates through IMT DMM PRO, the mobile app available for free download in the Apple and Google Play stores. Check out the new mapping feature that allows you to not only view the race course but location of services offered along the route. And, after the race purchase an official event course poster personalized with your name and finish time.
11. COWLES COMMONS Mile 26 offers a return to the newly renovated Cowles Commons in downtown Des Moines. A cheer zone, live entertainment, and final transition area for Bankers Trust Marathon Relay presented by Iowa Games participants can gather and await for their final team member before crossing the finish line together.
12. ENHANCED HYDRATION The IMT Des Moines Marathon course has additional hydration stations this year (25 total) along the course to offer more opportunities for Crystal Clear Bottled Water and Gatorade Endurance hydration as you run.
13. ENHANCED CELEBRATION The Race to the ULTRA post-race party has expanded nearly twice it’s size into a beer garden. Celebrate your accomplishment after the race with friends and family along The Principal Riverwalk with live entertainment and (for the first time) beer for purchase for both athletes and spectators alike.
14. SHOW OFF YOUR ACCMPLISHMENT In addition to finisher certificates, athletes can download and personalize their own post-race poster complete with race course, finish time , and name.

15. 15 YEARS OF RUNNING Can’t join us this year? Mark October 16 & 17, 2016 on your calendar as we celebrate 15 years of running the IMT Des Moines Marathon. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Training Plan for 2 Halfs in 2 Days

Let the training begin!

We are about 12 weeks out from the I-35 Challenge and I am really excited to start training. The problem is that it is hard to find a training plan designed for running two half marathons in one weekend. Most of the "back-to-back races" searches that I have done online these last few weeks have led me to training plans and advice for running to full or two half marathons on consecutive weekends, but not two races in one weekend. 

As I designed my plan, I had to consider (1) my running patterns and (2) my goals for these two races.

My Running Patterns.
I usually run 15 miles per week when I am not training for a race. To prepare for training, I have run around 20 miles the last few weeks so that I am ready to begin my plan by slowly increasing my mileage. I tend to run in the mornings and do have young children that can't be left alone so when I run, I have to consider getting back in time to get myself, them and my husband all to work by 8 am. Therefore I am planning on running most of my longer runs on the weekends when I have more flexibility. Also, I have decided to increase my number of medium runs and only max out to 11 miles, as this will tend to give me shorter overall time frames where I need to be out running but I will still get significant mileage in.

My Goals.
My previous half marathons have all ranged from 1:55 to 1:59 finishing times. I would like to beat my previous times when I run the first leg of the I-35 Challenge, the Waddell and Reed KC Half Marathon, and I'd like to keep my second race, the IMT Des Moines Marathon, time at sub 2 hours. I have never run either of these half marathon courses so I will need to study the routes closely to help me reach these goals.

My training plan.

Other Considerations.
I am fine with adjusting my training plan as needed as long as I roughly meet the total miles planned each week. I have decided to run four back-to-back weekends in my plan because I am usually sore, sometimes have GI issues after long runs, and am tired for a few days after I run halfs and fulls. With no rest day after the first half marathon, I will need to practice and teach my body to be able to work through those issues in order to be able to run the 2nd half of the I-35 Challenge while reaching my goal time.

So there you have it. I am currently in my last prep week on the plan I posted here, and officially begin my 12 week training plan this coming weekend.

My plan may be a good starting point for you to follow as you take the I-35 Challenge, but you will want to consider your own running patterns and goals as you create your own specific regimen.

Although we all have the same love for the sport, it's important to remember that every runner is different.

About me: Although I am a Kansas Citian now, I was once a North Iowa girl, hailing from a little town called Rudd near Mason City. I am a runner of about three years, although I have always enjoyed being active through walking as well as participating in boot camp and other similar classes. Through running I have discovered a love that I did not know existed. Growing up I was never the most athletic person on the team and I always had to work hard to be average, but as an adult I have realized that I have skill in endurance running and I absolutely love it. I am not the fastest runner out there, but I am not the slowest either. In addition to being a runner, I am a college instructor, wife and mother to three children aged 3, 5, and 7 years. I have a personal blog at and can also be found on Twitter and Instagram @mamagottarun. This is my second year participating in the IMT DMM races

Friday, July 10, 2015

Why I'm Running the I-35 Challenge

As I exhaustingly crossed the finish line of the IMT Des Moines Marathon last fall I excitedly slowed my run to a walk. Grinning ear-to-ear, I proudly stepped to face a volunteer who was handing out the coveted medals. She smiled at me, said great job, but motioned for me to keep moving on. I remember thinking, Are you kidding me? I just ran 26.2 miles and I am definitely going to get my hardware!

Then I quickly realized that my own medal was going to be coming from a different volunteer standing slightly behind the first. After I'd taken a few pictures with family and friends, devoured some peanut butter on a spoon, eaten a couple cookies, and inhaled a slice of pizza, I looked around to figure out what that first medal was for.

After a little investigation I discovered that that medal was for something called the I-35 Challenge, and those finishers that completed it received a separate medal aside from the one given after finishing the IMT DMM. I learned that the I-35 Challenge is a cooperation between the Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon and the IMT DMM where runners can separately register for it, along with both of the other marathons, which happen on different days of the same weekend.

Almost immediately I decided that I wanted to complete the I-35 Challenge in 2015. Although I loved running the marathon and have big marathon goals for 2016, I had had a hard time finding the time to train, with the demands of my family and work. I also loved that with the I-35 Challenge I had some options. You can run two halfs, two fulls or combinations of fulls or halfs. I decided that I would run the option of the two half marathons.

Now that it is July and we are less than 4 months away from the challenge, I have begun training to get my body strong and capable of running two halfs in one weekend. I am excited to share that journey on the official IMT DMM blog this summer and fall. Look for me to offer weekly recaps of my training, advice for registrants, and just overall information that relate to my favorite sport: running.

During the 2014 IMT DMM.

About me: Although I am a Kansas Citian now, I was once a North Iowa girl, hailing from a little town called Rudd near Mason City. I am a runner of about three years, although I have always enjoyed being active through walking as well as participating in boot camp and other similar classes. Through running I have discovered a love that I did not know existed. Growing up I was never the most athletic person on the team and I always had to work hard to be average, but as an adult I have realized that I have skill in endurance running and I absolutely love it. I am not the fastest runner out there, but I am not the slowest either. In addition to being a runner, I am a college instructor, wife and mother to three children aged 3, 5, and 7 years. I have a personal blog at and can also be found on Twitter and Instagram @mamagottarun. This is my second year participating in the IMT DMM races.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Beautiful Iowa Running

Along Sister Prairie Trail in Ventura, IA.

Over the Fourth of July holiday my family and I traveled to Clear Lake, IA to stay with and visit family and friends. We boated, watched a parade, went to a carnival, built sand castles on the beach and enjoyed a gorgeous fireworks display. All of these activities were full of memories in the making, but something else I enjoyed was being able to get in over 13 miles in 3 days of absolutely breathtaking running trails. During my time on these trails I saw rabbits, deer, turkeys, jumping carp, countless variation of birds, squirrels and a snake or two. Really, truly a breathtaking experience.

My daughter and I walking along the Sister Prairie Trail.

Running along McIntosh Beach.

My version of sand between my toes.

More gorgeous beach.

If you haven't already, you really should visit the various places to walk, run or ride around the towns of Clear lake and Ventura, IA, both of which surround the actual body of water known as Clear Lake. Doing so will renew your spirit, satisfy your hunger for natural beauty and help you feel more fit and healthy.

About me: Although I am a Kansas Citian now, I was once a North Iowa girl, hailing from a little town called Rudd near Mason City. I am a runner of about three years, although I have always enjoyed being active through walking as well as participating in boot camp and other similar classes. Through running I have discovered a love that I did not know existed. Growing up I was never the most athletic person on the team and I always had to work hard to be average, but as an adult I have realized that I have skill in endurance running and I absolutely love it. I am not the fastest runner out there, but I am not the slowest either. In addition to being a runner, I am a college instructor, wife and mother to three children aged 3, 5, and 7 years. I have a personal blog at and can also be found on Twitter and Instagram @mamagottarun. This is my second year participating in the IMT DMM races.
*Portions of this post first appeared on