We Interrupt this Program

You won’t find this training program in any marathon guides.  In fact, I don’t recommend it.  But for the second year in a row I am destined to follow it as I prepare for Grandma’s Marathon.

It goes something like this:

Snowy LakewalkFinish skiing the Birkie at the end of February, and trade cross-country skis for running shoes.  Brave the remainder of winter in Duluth, training hard and working in several 20-milers.  Feel good about increasing my pace and gaining distance endurance.


Halt!  Stop running for an entire month.  Pack up the bikes and fly Cycling in Scotlandover to Scotland with my husband, Rich, and cycle around the countryside for three weeks.  Plenty of hill work as we pedal through the Highlands.  Loads of endurance training as well chalk up several 50 mile days in a row.  Endless carbo loading as we endeavor to replace calories burned.  But not a single mile on my feet.

Running shoesRe-enter the Northland with exactly 2 weeks to go until race day.  Order new running shoes and cram in the miles.  Start with 8, work up to 13 and then 18 in just over a week.  Ignore the burning thighs.  With 5 days left before the marathon, begin the taper.  Whew, almost there!

It’s not like I didn’t plan for this race.  My son, Erik, and I hit the Grandma’s Marathon site the day registration opened and signed up.  We proudly wear our 40th Anniversary marathon jackets.  I was sure I could train for a good race this year.

Enter my creative husband, who dreams up cycling tours.  Marathons notwithstanding.  Who was I to turn down cycling through the Scottish countryside?  Life is full of interruptions.  This one was entirely worth it.  I’m back on the program now.  Bring on the marathon!



Running Grandma

Two years ago, I ran Grandma’s IMG_5966Marathon as a grandma for the first time.  I proudly emblazoned the fact on my running top, and enjoyed the resulting cheers along the way.  It was a great – no grand – variation on a race that was otherwise an annual affair for me.  And stopping to kiss the baby at mile 21 just before Lemon Drop Hill was definitely a timely energy boost.

Yesterday I was a running Grandma as well, only this time it was behind my second grandchild.  I wasn’t chasing her, I was pushing.  What a great invention these running IMG_7953strollers are!  They glide with ease, turn on a dime (not always where I intend, however), and absorb all the curbs and bumps I might find along the way.  Best of all, they turn drivers into the most polite and accommodating citizens I’ve ever seen. Perhaps it was the wiry but distinctly gray haired runner piloting the stroller that compelled them to stop and grant me priority to proceed at every intersection.  I was fortunate that at two months, the baby wasn’t much of a payload and we managed a good pace.  But I still managed to convince myself that I was getting more workout per mile.

This grandma has plenty of good reasons to keep on running.  And maybe one day it will be with those grandchildren at my side!