Monday, September 28, 2009

My Mile 22 Bags Marathon Giveaway!

I am under one week until the big day. Hopefully this time next week I will be celebrating. At the very least, a PR, but maybe even a BQ.

My taper is going really well. I ran 13 yesterday and my legs felt very strong and rested. And I get one more week to improve all that. All I have left are a couple of recovery runs and a 7 miler with 2 miles at marathon pace. I love the 7 w/ 2 at GMP, because you feel so confident after that run.

At this point, I now have to trust my training as I can not change anything. I have put in my time watching my marathon movies and will continue reading to keep my mind distracted. I have even cleaned my entire house, so I can come home to a hopefully clean home, as long as the girls can keep it clean this week. I am a weather stalker and will probably pack about 4 different outfits for Sunday. I don't want to freeze, but I may need some warm weather running clothes, because you never know.

Obviously, I am driving myself crazy, so I decided to distract myself by hosting my first giveaway....I am so excited for you all!

I first heard of Mile 22 Bags last year when I was training for the Princess 1/2 Marathon. On a message board, someone mentioned Mile 22 Bags and I immediately checked it out because who doesn't love bags. What you do is send in your race memorabilia and they make a bag with your memorabilia in it. You can send in t-shirts, space blankets, race numbers, goodie bags, whatever you saved from your race. Mile 22 Bags is owned by Stefanie Fisher who is a runner and triathlete. I love supporting women business owners, which makes this company even more appealing.

Here is information about the company from their website:

Mile 22 Bags started when Stef made a bag for herself out of her Boston Marathon memorabilia. After making her own bag she started getting a lot of interest in her bag and other people wanting one out of their own stuff. At that point Stef realized that there might be lots of people out there that would want one of her bags so she went to the Las Vegas Marathon in December of 2008 to test the idea. The idea tested great and Mile 22 Bags has started its journey.

After visiting the Mile 22 Bags website, I knew I had to have a bag. My mom's birthday was coming up, so I ordered one for her. My mom is a big supporter of my running and has been at most of my marathons. I ordered her a bag, sent my memorabilia in, and had my bag, all within 2 weeks! Now whenever I go to the gym with my mom, I get to see my race bibs and space blanket for one of my marathons. The bag has held up well for the past 6 months and she gets so many compliments on it. And now they have so many more bags to choose from than they initially had.

Here are pictures of my mom's bag:

So now onto my giveaway...Mile 22 Bags has agreed to give a Finish Line bag in size small to one of my readers!

I promise you, the winner of this bag will be so excited to work with Stefanie in making a bag that will be a reminder of something you worked so hard to accomplish. I am going to give you many ways to enter my contest...Leave a comment for each entry please!
1) Visit Mile 22 Bags and tell me what you would order if you could order anything and what memorabilia you would put into your bag.
2) Become a follower of Westford Mommy and let me know that you a are a follower. If you are already a follower, please let me know.
3) Add my blog to your blogroll or let me know if I am already on your blogroll.
4) Link back to my contest on your blog and leave a link to your blog.
5) Since this is my marathon giveaway, please give me good luck for the marathon on Sunday.

The contest ends on Sunday, October 4th, the day of my marathon. I need the good luck wishes to roll in up until the moment I leave for the race, trust me, I will read my email just before I leave. I will randomly select a winner and will post the winner on Monday, October 5th, along with my results from the race.

Have a good week everyone!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Birthday Dinner

So yesterday was my husband's 30th birthday. This is the year of big events for us. It was our 5 year anniversary and we both turn 30 within a few months of each other. As you noticed from my prior post, I love birthdays and think of them as huge celebrations, so yesterday was no exception.

I bought Eric the new Dan Brown book for his birthday. His real 30th birthday present is his car he is going to buy within the next few months. He currently drives a little Jetta and he wants a bigger car. He was planning on a buying a car soon, so that was the perfect gift to himself. I am sure I will have pictures once the purchase is made, but if you know Eric, this may take a while. He will look until he finds the perfect deal. I told him, I am open to flying anywhere to pick it up for him if it means I get a few days of peace and quiet while I drive home.

Since I couldn't really get a fun gift, I really put some thought into his birthday dinner. Now, I would love to show you some pictures of my feast that I made for my hubby, but for some reason the camera is not letting me put the pictures on my computer. So the one day I felt like a food blogger, I can not show you my food. On a side note, I must say that I am terrible at taking pictures of my food....I don't know how all of you take such great pictures of your food, good thing this is a running blog.

So for dinner we had black bean burgers, a recipe I found on Johnstone's Vin Blanc's blog. Her blog is great as she puts out a weekly menu plan which really helped me when I first started menu planning. I have been making this recipe for a few months and even when I see new recipes pop up, I am hesitant to switch as we are so happy with this one.

As a side dish we had Garlic Rice Pilaf from Annie's Eats blog. That rice was SOOOO good. I seriously can not describe how good it was. Bridget started eating it and immediately said that this was her "Most favorite meal ever." and that "Mommy you are the best cooker ever." I love getting positive feedback from my kids so that really made my day. We also had steamed peas which was Gabbie's favorite part of the meal.

For dessert we had Zucchini Whoopie Pies another recipe from Johnstone's Vin Blanc. Now this recipe wasn't as healthy, it was replacing our cake, but they were yummy. I only used 1/4 cup of sugar and substituted Splenda until it tasted good. I know not everyone likes using Splenda, but I am not good at substituting more natural ingredients yet, and I didn't want to ruin my husband's "cake", so Splenda it was. These turned out perfect and my husband loved them more than he loved his cake that we had with my family last weekend. So, two thumbs up for these whoopie pies.

Overall, my hours in the kitchen paid off and we had a delicious fun evening of eating. I woke up this morning to run and I couldn't even eat half of a bowl of oatmeal because I was still full. I did run 8 miles with 3x1600 at 5k race pace. Oh, intervals, you kick my butt every time. The actual distance of the interval wasn't nearly as bad as I expected, so that was good. The worst part was probably my shoes. I am trying to save my newer shoes for the race so I am wearing old shoes right now. They stink and they hurt, but I would rather these ones get more worn out than buying a new pair before next week.

Taper time, taper time. I have too much energy.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

One last 20 MIler

So on Sunday, I set out for 17 miles and ended up doing 20. Yes, I know I was supposed to be tapering, but my husband was running 20 and I figured I would just finish out his run with him. I am so happy I did run with him as my confidence was brought back up from that run. We didn't run as fast as I normally do, but it was a very enjoyable and strong run. I have read a lot of people who argue for 3 week tapers vs. 2 week tapers, and so I figured it couldn't hurt to run one last 20 miler. My legs are still a little sore 2 days later, but I did run a 5k the day before the run.

Since we are now under 2 weeks until my goal marathon of the season, I have begun thinking about what is next. I am perfectly aware that I may not meet my goal of making it to Boston this year, so I wanted to find something that I could look forward to, so that my heart isn't broken too badly on October 4th if the stars don't align correctly. In December I turn 30, so I wanted to do something big. I looked around at a bunch of December marathons, especially California International Marathon as I know that is a great BQ race, but I still have hopes that I won't need to BQ at this race. I already did Honolulu and I can't talk my husband into returning to Hawaii this year, so that was out. I have done Disney the past 2 years and while I love the Disney Marathon, again, I wasn't sure if that was a big enough celebration for turning 30.

So the verdict is in, I am going to Go Goofy! I am so excited. The Goofy Challenge is the half marathon on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday at Walt Disney World. The Disney Marathon will always hold a special place in my heart as it was my first marathon and I feel this will be a good way to celebrate such a huge milestone in my life. Of course I decided about 2 weeks too late to do the Goofy Challenge as it filled at the end of August, so I had to sign up through a tour company. They say they still have spots available but they make you send in a check instead of paying online. So now I wait for my confirmation that I am actually in the race. Luckily the tour company is based out of Boston, so they will receive my check tomorrow and I was in contact with the company as of yesterday and let them know my check is in the mail.

I have no idea how I plan to train for this race or how I will run it. I am hoping that the Twin Cities Marathon goes well, so I won't be tempted to try and BQ at Disney the day after a half marathon. I will probably have a plan figured out to start November 1st, so look for that in the future.

So anyways, that is my future plans after October. Now I just have to sit and rest. So far my legs are really enjoying the break, but my mind isn't enjoying it as much. I did 7 this morning and only 4 tomorrow. 4 miles! I haven't had a 4 mile day in my training plan in so long. All I do is look up race weather, read the race packet, read race reports, and stare at the Twin Cities Marathon specific recommended pace chart for a 3:40 marathon. I really don't like the idea of starting out that much slower than my goal marathon pace and then have so many miles below it. I realize it is specific to the hills on the course, but this chart has been making me go back and forth as to my plan. I will probably just stick to my gut and run however my body takes me that day like I did in Vermont.

Have a great week and please check out Tall Mom on the Run for a giveaway.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

PR but not a PB

I recently listened to a podcast from Running with the Pack and it really is a good reflection of my thoughts for today's 5k.

The podcast focused on your personal record versus your personal best. The reason they talked about this was for people who may never reach a personal record ever again as they set a PR when they were younger and much faster. You may never get that PR but you may get a Personal Best (PB). Your personal best is your best performance you could have performed on that day alone. Obviously, you may describe these words differently, but I really thought it was a great description.

So anyways, onto my 5k. The good news is, I got a PR. The bad news is, this was definitely not a PB.

This was a race put on by a local family who's son had a wish granted by Make a Wish Foundation so now they give back to the foundation. I must say, this is one of my favorite charities that I have ran a race for, so I will be back next year. The race was described as being pretty much flat. Like I mentioned in a previous post, I knew the competition from last year wasn't the greatest, so I felt I had a good chance in winning an award.

So everything I just told you, really didn't work out quite as my pre-game planning had thought. First of all, the race was SO not flat. I would call this course a rolling hills course. I saw the elevation profile, but based on the description I didn't think it would be so bad. I didn't pace myself for rolling hills at all.

Second of all, everyone else must have came out today thinking they were going to get a medal as well, because the time that took first place for women would have only gotten you 6th today. This race had the fastest kids you ever did see. Today I got beat by two thirteen year old girls, one sixteen year old, one seventeen year old, and one ELEVEN year old! I was 8th overall for women but only 2 adult women beat me. Talk about a humbling experience.

But anyways, back to the race. I started off pretty strong and finished the first mile in just under a 7 minute mile pace. I have a hard time slowing down in that first mile and that is a bad downfall of mine. I burn out on that first mile and lose steam there after. Problem #2 of the day came at the turn around at about mile 1.5, but I didn't know it was a problem until the end of the race. My Garmin decided to drop signal for a bit and I was on the wrong screen and didn't see this. Because of this my distance was off by .2 making my average pace off by a lot. Stupid Robin, was on the wrong screen....I was only looking at my current lap and lap pace, not my total time. Because of the problems, mile 2 kept reading slow. I thought I was pushing the same pace but my pace was not showing that on my Garmin. Because of my pace reading slower, I let my mind take over. I kept telling myself that maybe I can't do 5k's, maybe I am not in the correct shape that I thought I was, and there is no way that I am going to get a PR so why push harder. So I kept running but not as hard as I could have gone as I thought my PR was out the window. So the last 2 miles I just pushed and pushed, very confused by the pace on my Garmin and very frustrated with myself. I came up the last hill and headed for the finish line, not in a sprint like I normally would for the last quarter of a mile. I rounded the corner and saw the clock a very short distance away. The clock was under 23 minutes, I was going to PR but it was too late to make it a good PR. I sprinted the last 7 seconds and finished in 22:52, a PR of 7 seconds.

So I should be happy I PR'd right? Well I am not. This was far from a Personal Best. I did not work as hard as I knew I could. I let my silly mind talk me into slowing down and not finishing out the race. Had I gone faster in the final stretch, who knows how much more time I could have taken off, but I won't know until after I attempt another 5k, and who knows when that will be, because I now know, I hate 5k's.

But I did get 1st in my Age Group. :) So I did take home a medal which my girls were pretty excited about. Bridget kept telling me that I didn't win, so she didn't understand why I got called up for a medal. I came back, proud of myself and she said "Mommy, you won?" with the most puzzled look on her face. Thank goodness I wasn't in that under 18 age group. :)

The lesson I will take from today is that I can't let my mind get me down. I keep telling my husband that, that is what the key to finishing the marathon is, don't listen to your mind. Here I listened to my mind and messed up my day. Overall, I am happy I had this experience, so that I can remind myself what I will go through at TCM.

The beginning of the race...Look at all the young speed demons.

This is moments before I realized that I was going to PR, look how lazy I was running.

Crossing the finish line.

My girls and I waiting for the award ceremony. Bridget probably ran a 5k running in the field.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Running Dreams

"If you dream of the desire to run but cannot get your feet to obey it shows a lack of self confidence and perseverance on your part. Try sticking to your guns and see how much your life will change."

I guess I need to stick to my guns, because my dreams are taking over....

Last night I had a dream that I was doing a half marathon on the same day as my 5k that I am doing tomorrow. I was really excited to do this half to test out my training and I knew that the competition wasn't too bad. (My 5k tomorrow has a similar competition field, so I am pretty excited.)

So I start out the half marathon at the front of the pack and it was on a track. Yes, this was going to be a fun half marathon of many laps around the track. My first couple laps were at a decent pace and then I slowed down. Big time. I couldn't get my feet to go any faster. I was taking breaks and talking to people and I kept seeing people I knew from high school passing me, people who don't run and could never beat me in my current physical condition. I kept going, even though I was continuing to slow down and there were hardly any people left. I was surprisingly positive even though my body was not cooperating, I kept thinking I should be OK for my 5k since I blew this race. Since we all do 5k's on the same day as a half marathon. At the end of the race I noticed that my feet were not touching the ground. I was happy to know that, that was why I wasn't going fast, but I could not figure out how to get my feet to touch the ground. They would not cooperate with me AT all. Then I woke up.

I woke up and told my husband about my dream and he told me of a very similar dream when he was young so we decided to look up the meaning and the quote at the top is what we found. It makes sense for both of our situations. I know at this time that I am very self conscious about my upcoming marathon but also that I am fully capable, I just need to not let my mind convince me otherwise.

Do you have marathon dreams? In the past I have had dreams where I show up late for the race and basically run the whole thing by myself. I love taper time, it brings on such fun things as crazy dreams and crazy phantom pains.

I am taking today off from running. Can you believe it? After my bad weekend, I planned for an extra rest day this week and here it is. Tomorrow I am running another local 5k. This is a pretty flat 5k, so I am hoping for a PR, we will soon see.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New Bergstrom Baby!

Thank you everyone for your encouragement after Sunday's post. No one wants to end your training with a bad run, but I was reminded by my husband that I had many quality runs throughout this cycle and that I am prepared to run this marathon.

Monday morning hit and my energy level picked up. I really think I had a bug because last week I had no energy and this week I was able to do things during the day like clean. :o) Yes, I am a stay-at-home mom and that is my job to keep my house clean, but I haven't been doing my job lately. I still have been cooking, but grocery shopping and cleaning kind of got put on the back burner. Monday, that was done. I spent the day cleaning, meal planning, and grocery shopping. Life is semi-back to normal in this house.

Yesterday was my first run of the taper and I had 7 miles scheduled. I was hopeful that my stomach issues would be resolved as my energy level was back to normal. The run started out great. I was holding a decent pace for the first 3.5 miles, and I felt great. I ran by my favorite farm where I got bit by their dog back in February and my friendly stomach issues appeared. I was so mad. Halfway through my run and no bathrooms in sight. Needless to say the second half of my run wasn't as fast nor as comfortable.

Today, I had 12 miles scheduled, and I was worried. I got up earlier than normal to make my breakfast and get my food digested. Well it worked!!!! I ran the best 12 miles I have ran in many weeks. My stomach felt great and I ran at a comfortable 9 minute pace for the entire run. I have a blister on my pinky toe, so that got annoying halfway through the run, but after adjusting my laces, I was able to pick up the pace and finish slightly faster than I began.

Since this week is my first week of taper it also marks the first few days of my crap-free eating. I am limiting my processed food intake and no caffeine. I kept up with the non-meat eating all summer, so that isn't a sacrifice this time. I pretty much gave up soda the whole summer with the exception of one every once in a while, so that also isn't too much of a problem. Now the processed food/junk food isn't a problem, but is a little bit more work. I am really working on reaching for fruit or veggies if I am hungry and not a bar or crackers. 2 days in and I feel great. I found some recipes on fellow blogger's websites, so we have had some good meals this week.

I also started thinking about what I am going to wear to the race. Obviously, we are too far out to know the weather, but last year's TCM was cold and rainy, so I am planning to dress warmer as I froze last year. I will probably fly into Minneapolis with 3 different outfits and will pick out my outfit on the morning of the marathon. Reminder to myself, don't forget your gloves!!!!

I was also thinking about putting my name on my shirt that I think I will wear. TCM is known for their crowd support and I am thinking that having someone cheering for me specifically may help. What do you think? I know some have already done that before, did you buy the letters somewhere or did you have it screen printed on?

Two weeks from tomorrow we leave for Minnesota, my girls are getting excited. My brother who we are staying with had a baby girl this morning. So congratulations to my brother, Chris and his wonderful wife, Kendra.

Welcome to the family, Kennedy Anne Bergstrom!!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Burn Out or I am Just Ready to Taper

I am TIRED. There is no other way to describe how I feel right now. Last week I was stupid and ran on my rest day, so I have ran for the past 13 days straight. I already have ran 126 miles for the month of September. Needless to say I am tired and my body is mad at me.

Today I ran my last 20 mile run and while it was faster than last week's 17 mile run, it wasn't pretty. I think I picked up a bug, because this week my stomach hasn't been feeling good on any runs. I literally leave my house and have to turn around within a mile to come home and go to the bathroom. I know, TMI, but I am getting frustrated. I was about 10 strong miles into my run before the stomach got upset, so I did get in half of a good run. The second half was not fun at all. I ran out of water and my legs were beat.

During those long 10 miles, I was trying to figure out what is wrong with me. Am I burned out? Will I actually be able to run a BQ in 3 weeks? Am I ever going to be able to run again without using the bathroom? I must admit, my mind is an evil thing. If anything is going to sabotage all this work, it will be my mind shutting down in Minneapolis on October 4th. At this point, I need to trust the training. I have hit every pace that the training plan called for. I ran nearly every single mile on the hardest plan I probably will ever run.

I told my husband that I want to just run with him and help him to get his sub-4 marathon, but he refuses. He wants me to try for Boston. He had more confidence in me when I was attempting Vermont and he has more confidence in me right now. I think it is a case of, we forget the bad stuff and only remember the good stuff. He claims, I had a similar attitude weeks before Vermont. I was tired and not sure if I could pull it off. Kind of like when you forget how hard it is to give birth and be pregnant, you only remember the good stuff. I obviously only remember crossing that finish line in 3:55, a number I never thought possible.

So yeah, tomorrow is a rest day and I will not run tomorrow, I promise. I am even contemplating doing the taper plan of the Pfitz program that maxed out at 55 instead of 70. I figure, we are 3 weeks out, there is no more fitness to gain, only fresh legs. I think an extra rest day each week will be a welcome change. I am sure the next few weeks will be a lot of me going back and forth on my plans for the marathon. Taper time is here!

Congrats to Allison on her awesome half marathon today! Speedy Mel did awesome on her 5k yesterday as well! Amazing job to a girl from my hometown, Jennifer who finished her half yesterday in 1:37, she is running Twin Cities Marathon with me and will probably kill it. And check out Brandon who is in the middle of his Ironman right now. Wow, amazing is all I can say! If you haven't listened to his podcast yet, I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Jogging Stroller Run

On Monday, Eric left for his 17 mile run as he was too busy to get it done on Sunday. The girls and I were bored so we thought we would go meet him on the trail and run the last few miles with him. I figured by the time we got there, I could run 3 miles and turn around with him and run another 3 miles. This would all be pushing the jogging stroller. My girls are 4 and 2 and weigh probably almost 80 pounds, so not a light load. I haven't ran with the stroller in a year. The last time I ran with the stroller, Eric and I split a 6 mile run so I had only pushed it for 3 miles up until that point.

To back up, Sunday's 17 miles were brutal. My legs were so tired from my 5k on Saturday, that my 17 mile run was the slowest I have done this training cycle. I didn't have to stop, but my pace was a very slow but still within my long run pace. I left with the girls and my legs were feeling pretty good. The first mile was pretty fast considering I was pushing the stroller, faster than the day before. Mile 2, again too fast for a recovery run. I was counting on the whole run to be a recovery as Monday's are my rest day. I got to mile 3, and I felt great and there was no Eric in sight. I decided to stop and have some water with hope that he would show up. We stopped for a bit and he was nowhere in sight. I figured, what was another half a mile so I kept on going. At 3.5 miles, still no Eric, so I stopped again. The girls got antsy waiting so I kept on going, knowing in the back of my head, that I had to turn around and push this all the way home.

Well we found him. at about mile 4.25. UGH! He was happy to see us, but obviously not in the mood to push a stroller, so I got to turn around and push that stroller for an even faster 4.25 miles as he was going at a decent pace and didn't want to slow down. So 8.5 miles with the jogging stroller, not quite a rest day.

Here is a picture of my munchkins out on the trail.

Yesterday was supposed to be my double recovery run day, but my legs and back were KILLING me. So needless to say, I didn't do a double. I did 4 in the morning with the intentions of doing another 4 after dinner, but opted for yoga instead. I did about an hour of yoga and foam rolling and my body was feeling a little bit better when I went to bed.

I woke up this morning, exhausted. I need to get through this training so that I can have some more energy. Luckily, my hubby let me sleep for an extra hour so I didn't get out for my 11 mile VO2 max run until 8:30. I hit the correct paces on my intervals, surprisingly as my back is still sore and I am still tired.

This is my last week of hard workouts before taper begins. Oh, how my body will be happy for some rest. I just hope that my hard work will pay off. If not with a BQ, at least a pretty good PR.

Finally here is a picture of my babies getting ready for ballet class yesterday. Gabbie has been so excited to be like her big sister and Bridget was excited to get back into a normal routine.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

My day in pictures

Today I did a 5k. I was shooting for a PR as is everyone when they do a race, but I knew from the elevation chart for the course that I wouldn't PR and I was right. I missed my best 5k time by 10 seconds which wasn't bad as I slowed down for the last .8 miles big time as there was a major hill. There was a total climb of 189 feet in the last mile and I lost about 45 seconds going up the hill. So in my head I PR'd by 30 seconds as I was cruising along great up until the end. I even had something left in the tank when I was done as I was conserving my energy for the hill. I placed 30th overall and about 7th out of females. I don't know the exact results as they aren't posted yet, but I think there were around 185 people.

I have been having shoe troubles this past week. While in Florida I bought a new pair of shoes and didn't even wear them until I got home. So basically I have been wearing them 2 weeks. Well, I feel like something is defective with them as my feet are rolling out while wearing them and I am getting major blisters as I am feeling weird bumps in the shoes. After the race I went to a running store to buy a new pair and the soles feel nothing like the ones that have been giving me problems. My hubby is thinking I had a defective pair. Defective pairs of shoes are so not cool when they cost $120 and you bought them in Florida.

Heading for the finish line...

Eric set a major PR as he hasn't ran a 5k in 2 years. He dropped about 3 minutes off his time, but I know he could have gone faster, he is a cautious runner. He placed 50th overall.

My sister kicking butt. She has lost over 50 pounds this year and will be running her first marathon in October with me. I think she PR'd by a few minutes as well placing 56th overall.

My sister and my favorite Munchkin, Kenny.

Eric and I after the race hanging out waiting for the awards ceremony. Eric won a door prize! I was sporting my No Meat Athlete shirt today, although it was a little too warm for it, I was excited to wear it.

My official race photographer and fans for the day.

And finally, this race got a ton of sponsors and not nearly enough people to eat all the samples, so they had a ton of food. They told us to take as much as we wanted so we kept going back and back and back. You all know how expensive Lara Bars are and how yummy they are so check out my stash.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My BQ Present

So I obsess about running. Big surprise huh? I read everything there is to read about running. New products, I jump right on the wagon and purchase what we can afford. Is there a cool destination race? I am totally there. Next month, I am hoping to qualify for Boston. This would be a huge thing for me as it was while watching the Boston Marathon over 2 years ago on TV that I decided I was going to run a marathon. I was obese at the time and hadn't run in years, but I knew I could run a marathon.

Living in the Boston area is a bonus for me in terms of motivation as I have been able to go to the Expo's for the past 2 years and just stare at all the amazing athletes. I want to be one of those amazing athletes. There are many spots offered to local runners if you know the right person. I have a feeling, if I looked hard enough, I could run Boston without qualifying, but I refuse to do Boston without earning my spot. I want to be at that starting line with other athletes who worked as hard as I have to get to Hopkinton. Would you run Boston if you were offered an entry?

So here I am, 96 pounds lighter and getting ready to run Twin Cities Marathon and hope to cross that finish line in under 3:40:59. On my run today, I imagined that moment and almost started crying. Crazy, yes I am, but so excited. I told my sister-in-law that she may be embarrassed to watch me cross, if I qualify for Boston. I will probably look like a fool because of all the bottled up excitement I will let loose.

Now, I realize, it may not be my day and I may not qualify. That is fine with me, as I know I will be signed up for another race within a few hours and I will get to Boston. Qualifying for Boston is my A goal, meaning, everything has to go perfect that day for me to finish in the correct time. I think I will actually be happy with my B goal, which is a 3:45. Yes, I won't be running Boston with that time, but it is a huge step towards Boston. I am not saying I won't be disappointed if I don't qualify, but I am well aware of how hard it is thus my other goals. Goal C, is to beat my Vermont time of 3:55. As long as I don't crash and have to walk, I know that I can handle that.

Since, I keep thinking about my future 3:40 marathon, I have picked out my present to myself for qualifying. (Note, I probably will still buy these for my birthday if I don't qualify. My birthday is in December, so I guess my punishment is 2 extra months of waiting.) Meet, Newton.

These beautiful shoes are Newton Running Shoes. These are not the exact pair I am getting for sure, as I plan on going to a retailer and trying them out, but I am for sure switching to Newton's. Newton Running really focuses on forefoot running which is how I learned to run. Forefoot running is a more natural way to run and Newton Running really focuses on healthy running. You can read A LOT about Newton's and forefoot running on Brandon's Marathon. Brandon is a huge fan of Newton's and talks about them all the time on his Podcast. I had thought about switching shoes long before I found his podcast, but now I am much more excited to try them out. The shoes are not cheap, but you can definitely look around online and find them for a smaller price tag.

So 3:40, please come my way, as I really want some new shoes. You can bet I will be thinking about those shoes when I am mentally talking myself out of slowing down.