This weekend was Twin Cities Marathon weekend – the race I was training for this summer and was planning to run with my brother, Mike.

Life, as we know, intervened. So a few weeks ago I asked my rehab physiologist (aka boss-of-me) if she thought I could run the TC5K instead. I got permission from her, and my cardiologist, with a few provisios: I was not to let my heart rate exceed 150. I could run 10 consecutive minutes, if broken up by two-minute walk breaks. I was not to race it or try for time, and I could sprint for only the last 30 seconds. And be sure to cool down completely. Other than that, no problem! Sure! That’s a great idea!

So I registered for the 5K and my sweet husband rallied friends and family to dress in red and cheer me on. My boys were bright, bright red and even wearing their Red Dress pins without fuss. Aunts and uncles, parents, cousins, siblings, and friends traveled to see me. My cousin ran the 10K that morning, my boys and nieces and nephew ran in the kids’ races, and we all hung out in the beautiful sun all day. I was genuinely and honestly completely happy and I’m more proud of that 5K than any race of any distance I’ve ever done. (My time was not too shabby either – 31.12 with four minutes of mandatory walking!)

My brother and I started running in 2008. Our first race was a 5K and I remember how hard it was (it also remains, to this day, my best 5K time). A few 5Ks and 10Ks later we ran the Twin Cities Marathon in 2009. A couple more 10Ks and half-marathons later (and a full marathon for Mike, so now’s he’s got three medals and I only have one), we decided we wanted to run the Twin Cities again this year.

We went to packet pickup on Friday and among all the chaos of registering children and picking up about 6 packets, bibs, and t-shirts, I noticed Mike also had a 5K shirt. My sweet brother had surprised me by registering for the 5K, reasoning that while I couldn’t run with him, he could run with me. It was just the perfect thing to do, and yes, I started crying. I had way more fun running with him than I would have alone. Thanks Mikey. I love you!

We kept the fun going with a pasta party at our house Saturday (featuring tasty, heart-healthy sauces, find the recipes here), watching my brother run the marathon, and Sunday night celebrating. I volunteered at the finish line, which turned out to be a great way to be there for the marathon but simultaneously and completely distract myself. The whole weekend was fun and positive. My doctor had said I should be doing things that “feed my soul.” This weekend I was very well-fed.

My cardiologist says I have to wait three months post heart attack to train or race any harder, so I can’t quite make the Monster Dash, but racing is as fun as it ever was and I’ll be back at the start line just as soon as I can. But I’ll have to step up my game — I can’t ever get a worse time than what I got just six weeks after a heart attack!

Thank you to my husband, Scott, for all you did to make the weekend meaningful and easy for me, and to my boys for being sweet good sports. Thank you Mike and Beth and your wonderful kids Oliver, Natalie, Jenna, and Lauren for all the fun you bring. Thanks to my dad, stepmom Sherry, brother Dylan, my cousin Janna, Uncle Scott and Aunt Laurie, Aunt Deb, parents-in-law Jim and Carolyn, and friends Christine (and her girls Maddie and Nora) and Kelly for coming to see me run. You all made the race an amazing experience!



  1. You got me crying, too. How great of your brother to do that – and what a blessing to have so many of your family members come and support you.

  2. Thanks for everything you did Jen to make it a great weekend. We all had fun and it was an honor to run with you. Love ya.