My Article from the Local paper ~ Overcoming back surgery, my training and my First Marathon

Half Marathon 2012, Big Band Bash, Baseball 076

So touched that she asked me to do this article!! ūüôā

6/13/2012 9:36:00 AM
There’s no stopping Harmony runner from reaching her dreams

Lindsay Barnes is shown shortly after she finished a half marathon in La Crosse this spring.

By Melissa Vander Plas

This weekend, Lindsay Barnes of Harmony will be realizing the completion of a dream. The many obstacles and challenges she has faced in the journey towards that dream may have caused some to give up, but Lindsay only worked harder and became more determined to run the race of her life.

Lindsay will be participating in her first marathon this Saturday, running Grandma’s Marathon from Two Harbors, Minn., to Duluth. The 26.2 miles no longer intimidates this runner and the adversities she has faced have only made her more confident that she will cross the finish line.

Becoming a runner

While Lindsay has always been an athlete and focused on fitness, owning The Work-it Circuit fitness center in Harmony, she only began running three and a half years ago. “I never really gave running a chance,” she said. “I tried it as a kid, but was never really comfortable doing it.”

Her younger sister, Abby, was a runner and she inspired Lindsay to pick it up – reminding her that successful runners are mindful runners and when your body may want to quit, your mind has to push it on.

“The first time I ran for 10 minutes straight, I called her and I was so excited,” Lindsay recalled. “I signed up for the Harmony Hustle right after that.”

The 5K, held annually during Harmony’s Fourth of July celebration, provided her with a successful first run experience and she knew she was up to the next challenge – and looked forward to finding a half-marathon.

She signed up for a half in La Crosse to be held the following May and she immediately began training. “It was tough when I first started,” she admitted, “but once I was signed up, I was in.”

She completed her race with a time of 2 hours and 8 minutes and was pleased with her time.

Challenges emerge

Shortly after she completed that half-marathon she was out of commission due to a herniated disc, which eventually required surgery in September of 2011.

“I was crushed,” she said about the back injury that forced this fitness fanatic to stop running and working out each day. “I tried to work out, but I was in too much pain.”

Her back was so bad that she had herniated discs that were bulging in three places. “There was no question I needed surgery,” she said.

She was unsure if she would ever be able to run again.

Today, however, after a lot of rehabilitative training and perseverance, she looks back at her recovery time and said she was always hopeful.

“I would lie in bed and plan,” she shared. “I knew I wanted to run a marathon.”

When she asked her doctor if it was possible, he put her on a schedule that would help her gradually regain her strength.

“When he told me I wasn’t going to screw it up (her back) I was so relieved I bawled,” Lindsay explained. “I was so fit before my surgery and after, I had gained a bit of weight. I knew I wanted to get back into my work-out routines as quickly as possible, but I also knew I couldn’t push it.”

She committed to daily exercise and has not missed a day since she got her doctor’s approval on Nov. 9.


Once she got her doctor’s approval, she immediately signed up for Grandma’s Marathon, which will be held this Saturday. Lindsay shared that she loves Duluth and it is where she and her friend, Heidi Buchholz, have completed inline skating marathons in the past. Grandma’s Marathon follows the same route, which will provide Lindsay with a familiar path on her journey to the finish line.

She also shared that another serendipitous aspect was the fact that this year is the 36th annual Grandma’s Marathon and Lindsay is 36 years old.

Plus, Lindsay, added, “It’s a happy place there on the lake.”

Buchholz has severed as an inspiration to Lindsay as well. She explained that Buchholz ran a marathon in the past as a tribute to their friend, Laura Tribon, who died while they were in high school. Tribon had been a great runner for Fillmore Central and Lindsay explained she calls her “My little runner angel.”

When fighting her body on a long run, Lindsay said that she gets into her own head and plays a little mind game. “For each mile I am running, I think of someone I’ve lost,” she said. “It really helps me focus.”

As part of her marathon training, Lindsay has run a variety of distances, recently completing a 23-mile run to Lanesboro. She not only completed the course on a warm, windy day, she also finished the last five miles without water. She admitted that she was VERY happy to see the Lanesboro dam and her father waiting for her with cool beverages.

She had run a 20-mile race previous to her run to Lanesboro, but was not happy with it and knew she could do better. “I pushed myself too much before that run and I ended up doing too much walking on the route. I gave into the pain,” Lindsay explained.

She completed her 23-mile run in 4 hours, 25 minutes, just four minutes longer than it had taken her to do her 20-mile run.

Lindsay does a lot of her training on Highway 44, west of Harmony, near where she and her husband, Brett, live with their children, Trevor and Tayah. However, because the terrain is so flat in that area, it can be a bit windy. That fact led her to start running on the Harmony-Preston Valley Trail, a stretch of which she calls her “happy spot.”

“My dad and I used to walk there with Woody (their dog). It’s not windy and it’s a peaceful, wonderful place,” she added.

When her daughter wanted to run a race with her, Lindsay took Tayah to this spot and ran the 5.5 miles into Preston.

“I do all my major runs from there,” she said. “But it does add time to my running schedule. It adds 15 minutes for the drive there and another 15 for the drive back.”

Lindsay noted that during her training, she averaged 40 miles each week, but put in 54 miles two weeks ago before tapering off before the marathon.


Nutrition and proper diet are also a big part of her training, Lindsay noted. “I eat lots of veggies and fruit and get a lot of protein in,” she explained. “I do smoothies and lots of chocolate milks after my runs.”

Snacks include nuts and fruit, especially peaches and apples.

She noted that giving up sweets has been a challenge, but she does allow herself some indulgences on weekends when she’s socializing with friends.


Friends, family and online runners have provided a great deal of support, encouragement and inspiration as Lindsay moves closer to her dream.

“My friends are so awesome,” she shared. “They listen to me and I know I’ve inspired some of them, which is so rewarding. I know how good I feel and so I use that to try and help others.”

Other friends, Maria Johnson and Kelly Hill, are also avid runners and have served as role models as Lindsay became involved in running.

Her family, of course, is Lindsay’s top motivating factor. “Brett is so supportive and he’s there for me at every race.”

She also laughed as she said he allows her to buy her running accessories and tools without complaint.

Her parents, as well as her husband and children, will be standing by to welcome her at the marathon’s finish line.

Looking ahead

While she is not signing up until she completes this first marathon, Lindsay is already looking ahead to running another marathon this fall. “If I’m in this good of shape, which is the best shape I’ve ever been in, I want to do at least one more. I’d be happier with two,” she added. “I don’t want to be done. I want to see if I can do better.”

Running long distances is hard on a body and she shared that towards the end of a marathon, everything hurts.

“I want to be able to do 8-miles or 13-miles or anything as long as it’s fun,” she added.

Lindsay also plans to do another inline marathon with Buchholz this fall.

“I haven’t done any rollerblading recently as I don’t want to get injured,” she shared.

An emotional high

“There is nothing like the feeling I get when I’m running,” Lindsay shared. “I am an emotional wreck sometimes out there!”

The fact that she has been able to come back from back surgery to being in the best shape of her life, ready to run a marathon, is an emotional realization for Lindsay.

“It’s an amazing feeling to know that I can do this,” she concluded. “It was taken away from me and now, nothing’s going to stop me.”


Tough Run ~

Well I had a 8 mile longer run planned and¬† woke up with a tummy ache. so I switched it to 6 miles.¬†I knew I had to get my run in this morning, because high winds and gust were coming.¬† So I laid around a little longer and got a little something to eat, because I knew I needed something in my stomach to run.¬† I called my mom, who is very good at picking me up on my way to town which is 8 miles and she said she would.¬† I got all my cold running gear on, which is not easy some days, so much tight compression. I knew today I hardly had the strength to get that on it, but I ¬†headed out, thinking in my head. This is not going to be good, I had no drive, not much energy, ugh.¬† The temps were really good 32 degrees, it was windy but not too bad yet and it was a cross wind. Of cousse they were good temps when I didn’t feel good. I pushed¬†all week in the cold and rain to get my miles in, in freezing cold winds.¬†¬†Maybe that’s why I didn’t feel good today.¬† So¬† I started out the run, nothing was feeling right, side ached and my head was now pounding.¬† The nice sunshine was starting to come out which helped me a little.¬† the sun always puts a smile on my face.¬†I had to take small walk breaks, which this was the first time since my half marathon in the cities that I took a walk break.¬† I usually don’t allow them cuz then i think I need a lot of walk breaks.¬† It is such a head game!!¬† I was thinking the whole time, why didn’t I bring my phone so I could call my mom to come and get me, but I did not. So I continued to run and far as I could.¬† I had one break down and cried and thought¬† I can I run a marathon I can hardly run this 6 miles, I have 20 more to go to run a marathon.¬† I was pretty down then!!¬† As I was coming to the end of the 6 miles, I see my moms car coming, the smile that lit¬†up my face was huge.¬† I was thinking as she pulled up, this is why I love running so much, it turns something not so good into something¬†great and happy.¬† I had to push so hard through discomfort and pain to reach a happy point!!¬† I was never so happy¬†to be done with my run and never so happy to see my mom.¬† In the life of a Runner, every day is different, some good runs, some great runs, and the bad ones too.¬† I am just putting one foot in front of the other¬†and ¬†happy to have the miles in very happy with my commitment ūüôā227431849902307190_hGqU2Wsw_b¬† There will be days I’m not sure if I can run a¬†Marathon, but there will be a life time knowing that I did ~ Impossible is Nothing

Glitter Girl on the Run ~ Lindsay

The training begins Fargo Marathon ~ 18 weeks

untitled Well here I am the girl who said she wanted to just run one marathon. Oh Boy, I love running so much, I was signing up for my 2nd marathon before I had even finished my 1st one. Call me crazy, Just doing something I never thought was even possible and I was doing it and Loving it!! She believed she can and she did!! I love how hard you have to push and how hard you have to work to commit if you want to do well and finish. I remember sitting in the Doctors office 3 months after my Back surgery and could not wait to hear the words you can run again. He said I hardly ever have people like you begging me to run or workout, like I was. Next question to him 3 months after back surgery can I run a marathon, he paused and said I don’t really think you should become a professional runner or anything and he laughed and I laughed, not about that at all. I just want to run, He said maybe not the best to do like 50 of them and he said Half would be great for you. Well I am not done with my marathon quest yet. I know he said you have to go with what feels good for you, which I have and I would not be doing all this if I were in pain, I think it has made my back stronger, So I will keep pushing mile after mile, as long as my back stays healthy and we’ll see after this year where I am at. Now here I am all signed up for my 3rd Marathon ~ Fargo Marathon, in North Dakota. I have a friend, Trisha that I work with, she has done the marathon there and is doing it again with her sisters this year. She said it is a great marathon and I have heard from others it is a well done marathon. I also have another friend Julia, I call her my Runner Angel Friend, we met on the Daily Mile, where I track all my workouts, so at first giving each other support and motivation for our runs. Come to find out she was moving to Rochester from Utah and going to live here for a year. She is Amazing, It has been great getting to know her and share our running and life stories!! We ran Womens Rock Marathon together, my 2nd marathon. I’m so glad I had her that day, a very tough race for me, dehydrated and pain in legs. You never know how each race is going to go. You never know where you will meet the most amazing people. I am so blessed to have met her. We are running Fargo together. She is a faster runner than me, so we’ll start off together and meet at the finish line. ūüôā She also has a friend Rachelle from Utah and I am friends with her on the Daily Mile and she is coming to run Fargo and be a Pacer. So that is cool too.
I have always followed Hal Higdon training for my half marathons and then my full marathons and they seemed to work pretty good, I have a few other that I have and I have been working on getting it all on paper and organized. I have 18 weeks to train hard and stay on track. It is amazing when you have goal and plans, and to finish a marathon you have to stick to them. I learned that with my 2nd Marathon. I did that one a little too soon after my 1st marathon, I should have had my time to heal in between them, but I am still happy I did it!! Thanks to the help of Julia. It is a major time commitment to train for a marathon and now that my kids are older I am able to do that. I know before it would have been very hard, but it is still possible if you want it bad enough. I try not to take any time away from my family and kids to train. That is just me, I am up early most days or I get it done after work before wrestling or a basketball game. On weekends the really long runs in the spring will come and I will be up early and home sometimes before they are even up! I love that!! I am trying to get in more strength training and Jillian workouts. Training for a marathon is a commitment that I love, I love to just run the miles I want like I have been the last few months, but I am ready to followa program and train harder!! I am so pumped. I have also decided to Run the Chicago Marathon In October 2013. Trisha my friend from work also asked me if I wanted to run that. I am so excited about this. A big race like that. WOW I was so nervous too. Registration for the 2013 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will open on Tuesday, February 19. They have 45,000 runners. Wow that is going to be crazy!!
My training along the way will be 13 Official Half Marathons, that will keep me in shape and going. You already read about my First one, the Polar Dash, my second is coming up in Rochester, MN on Feb.10th Lace up for Breast Cancer. Anyone that wants to join me on that let me know, I would love to run with you. Then I have Get Lucky in March. St Patty’s day Race. I have a few in April so I have to decide on that one yet. The May one is going to be Lacrosse which I love cuz that was my first Half marathon where all this started or Wisconsin, a great cheese medal. So there are a few, I di have a plan for the rest but have to set into stone. Anyone of you that are thinking of running starting off small, you can do it!! I never ever thought I could do this!! I started with a 5K and now I am training for my 3rd marathon!! You can do it!! Well as you read, I have never been so happy and ready to do this. Let the Training begin ~ Fargo Marathon 2013

Glitter Girl on the Run ~ Lindsay