run with heart polaroid collage

Now this is exciting. Running friends, get your GU and Body Glide ready, because it’s time to train for a marathon!

This year, for the first time, the American Heart Association of Minnesota will field a charity team for the Twin Cities Marathon. Yours truly is serving as the honorary chair. (Honorary for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that I’m not actually allowed to run the marathon; I’ll be doing the 10 mile.)

The Run with Heart team members will raise $1,500 each to support research, education, and outreach to prevent and treat heart disease. We’ll also have some fun over the training season — family events, fun runs, training tips from our team coach, and other team activities. Team members get a team shirt for running, a post-party, and other incentives for reaching fundraising goals. Plus you might hear me speak once or twice.

I’m super excited about this and it definitely is fun, but it’s also deadly serious. Running saved my life. I was in training for the 2011 marathon the year I had my heart attack. I’m convinced that the cardiovascular health running provided — along with miles of collateral arteries, the body’s natural bypasses — are the reason I have no scar tissue from my heart attack, even though it went untreated for at least 24 hours.

In 2012, training again for what I planned to be my victory lap marathon, symptoms while running my 20 mile training race were enough to send me back to my cardiologist. He discovered an 80 percent block in my LAD (that’s the one they call the widowmaker). If I hadn’t been a runner, I would not have known that second, much larger, heart attack was coming. I never felt a twinge except when I was out on the road.

run with heart collage horizontalThis has been a year of setbacks for me, and it hasn’t been easy. But through it all I’ve kept running. Not as much, not as far, and not as fast. But I’m doing it. Because I can. Because I didn’t die. Because I refuse to let heart disease dictate my life.

Please consider joining Scott and me on the Run with Heart team. Signing up is easy, hopefully fundraising will be too, and then there’s that little matter of 26. 2 miles. Piece of cake.

Register now online, then plan to join us on June 4 at the kickoff event in Minnehaha Park. There will be a little talking, some fundraising info and help setting up your fundraising page, a little eating, and a group fun run to follow. Plus, anyone who registers and raising $100 by June 30 has a chance to win a $50 Marathon Sports gift card.

See you on the course.

Love, Jen

P.S. If you have already registered for the Twin Cities Marathon with Twin Cities in Motion, your entrance fee will be applied to your fundraising goal. If you have not already registered for the marathon, the registration link above will get that process started, and the AHA staff will register you with Twin Cities in Motion through the charity teams process.

There is also a $50 fee for registering with the AHA team, but that is also applied to your fundraising total. If you need any help registering, contact Sara Shaw at the American Heart Association at