Friday, December 11, 2015

mdi marathon

maybe it was a bad idea to think i could (or should) come back to blogging. maybe if i could design something to record my thoughts when im running or trying to fall asleep or sipping coffee and listening to christmas music during nap time and then those recordings could transfer to blogger and hit publish (while also gathering photos and screenshots and all sorts of other random things in the right spots)...

i feel like i am always thinking of good things to write- whether it be for here, or cards for friends, or henrys baby book (potentially updated last at 6 months old...)- and i always say "oh i dont need to write that down, ill remember it because it was so good how could i forget?!". you know what happens. as with this blog about this race... i should have carried a microphone with me that day (not only for ALL the awesome singing. but i did a lot of self talking, and it would have made a great post. but alas, almost two months later, heres what youre gonna get.

this race was super awesome. the end.
pretty much.

the two other times ive run mount desert island marathon i was not in great shape. the first year i had run the maine marathon two weeks prior (1st time becoming a marathon maniac, and it was awesome and i think everyone should run two marathons in two weeks because why not?! all that training for one day? why would you do that? what a waste of time! and after you finish a marathon dont you always wish there was another so soon?! perfect!). well, thats what i used to think when id run marathons leisurely and not busting my ass to try to qualify for boston and stop and have snacks and take pics and just have fun. well... i still have snacks and have fun and all that. but somewhere along the way i took marathons a bit more seriously (still fun). the 2nd time i ran mdi was again 2 weeks after a marathon (smuttynose, where i went sub 4 for the first time!)... and i was also pregnant. it was cold and rainy and i.... didnt do so well. kinda freaked out halfway through. id rather not relive it.

but the point here is that the two times i ran mdi, i had not trained specifically for mdi. i had trained for the race 2 weeks earlier. mdi was a bonus run. i love love love mdi... the course, the people, everything. but i had never really given it my all. and this year i was destined to do so, and see what i could do.

for years i have run marathons training with a slightly modified plan from pete pfitzinger. 12 week plans, 18 week plans, 55ish miles per week. long runs 20-22 miles, speed work, marathon pace runs. id been pretty dedicated to these plans and went from a 3:58 to a 3:35. these plans were pretty comfortable and worked for me. yet, i looked for something different for this race, knowing i didnt have to try to run it as super fast as i could, i certainly didnt think i would be anywhere close to qualifying for boston at mdi, and just needed/wanted a change.

enter hansons marathon method.

a method it surely is. im not going to go into huge detail, theres a book for that. but long story short- you run a lot. but your longest run is 16 miles. dont get me wrong, i worried about that. but that 16 sure feels like a 20 miler. your legs are tired. you have one rest day. i felt like i was always. running. but strangely, i was loving it (while cursing it simultaneously). id get through runs and feel amazing. weeks went by and i just kept pushing through. end result was going to be a great race at mdi, i thought (hoped). i was still kinda nervous what would happen after mile 16, but i let it go. many people had used this plan, swore by it, said it worked for them. id have to just trust the process and see.

i didnt do all 18 weeks of the plan, but the weeks that i did, i followed almost exactly. i didnt rearrange much like i usually do. i found a way to make this plan work with my life and work and everything kinda fell into place. speed work 10 seconds faster than marathon pace, marathon pace right around 8 minute miles (knowing i would probably be running about 820s at mdi with the course terrain, but those 820s would feel like 8s). recovering adequately at slower paces. ab work (who am i?!). i actually worked really hard for this arbitrary marathon just to keep in shape and not quit running for the year leading into boston training. (sarah and i originally decided to use hansons because we didnt want to run 20 milers. i think we ran a whole hell of a lot more for this training than with pfitz plans, but i was ok with it... after it was all over haha).

my last run before heading to mdi (dressed ridiculously) i really questioned what the hell i was thinking. was i really ready to try to run a 3:40 at mdi? (or close to). i wasnt trying to qualify there (knowing i would need about a 3:37) but i felt that a 3:40 was within reach if i could keep my head in the game. i remembered how calm i felt before and during chicago. i needed to do that again. let it all go. trust your training. whatever happens, happens.

dress ridiculously knowing no one you know would see you, then post to the internet. whatever.

when i got to the expo i saw this banner that was made for the race. this was meant to be my race this year. i would have bid a million dollars on this banner if i had it. this sealed it for me. go big or go home.

courage to start, strength to endure, resolve to finish.

i was on this years operation jack team and met up with some other teammates at the pasta dinner, then listened to michael westphal speak. truly an inpiration.

me and jasmine

no night before the race is complete without one of these

lets do this

my previous years of doing mdi (2 full marathons, 1 half, 1 relay) were nothing short of amazing experiences with great friends. this year was no different. and just as chilly (but not rainy!) actually one year was almost warm. but not this year. 30 degrees forecast for race am. brrrrr.

race am sarah and i giggled and sang around the hotel room before heading to the start line.

flat sarah. she'll probably kill me for posting this. xo


we were smart and bought all sorts of warm clothes from goodwill (which neither of us threw away and i actually love the sweatpants). we grabbed kevin before the race to get our pre race photo, then took pics with friends (also all bundled up!) and got ready to go.


mile 1 8:25
mile 2 8:22
mile 3 8:22
mile 4 8:01
mile 5 8:11
mile 6 8:20

i had run a lot of training runs on the treadmill (thank you ifit!) and i had obviously run the course before, so i knew what i had coming. i had done a significant amount of hill training, so i was able to just power through, recover, etc. i had talked to ty (pacing the 3:45) group about his plans, and got a bit frustrated when his group passed me during the first few miles of the race. i kept having to tell myself to run my own race, if i had 3:45 (or better) in me, then id pass him again (which i did).

mile 7 8:29
mile 8 8:32
mile 9 8:30
mile 10 8:30
mile 11 8:26
mile 12 8:26
mile 13 8:07

i was shocked to come into the half almost exactly where i wanted to be. this gave me a huge boost. i hadnt looked at my overall times throughout the first miles because i felt if i could keep my miles around low to mid 8s, i would be fine. which i had been doing, but my body just felt differently. i wasnt sure what was going to happen after mile 16 and that stuck with me. when i had gotten to mile 10 in the race, i knew that all i had left was my longest training run. no big deal, right? just keep running. i was also getting really hot, and took off my long sleeve which helped tremendously (should have done that earlier). the wind along the coast line was going to be chilly but i had arm sleeves. i wouldnt regret this decision.

mile 14 8:18
mile 15 8:26
mile 16 8:01
mile 17 8:24
mile 18 8:35

like i said, i had a huge boost going through the half marathon distance. but i knew i still had 13 miles to go. everything actually felt good, minus some weird achy feeling in my ankle. new pains during goal races are pretty awesome.

running along the coastline with the infamous tree, the wind was relentless. everyone had said it was a wind tunnel last year, and this year was no different. i thought about tucking in behind these two tall guys in front of me, but instead i just decided to power through it and get the damn stretch over with. fastest mile of the race, dont mind if i do. (i basically regretted it shortly after, but at least i was through the wind).


around mile 17 i saw sara up ahead of me. i wanted desperately to run with her, but refused to risk later miles trying to sprint to catch her (shes so speedy. and was still speedy on her millionth mile of the day). i was finally within yelling reach at about mile 18, and she slowed down to stay and run a few miles with me. this was fantastic, as i was also able to con her and eric into taking my handheld and filling it up for me. thanks bitches! jk. love ya.

somewhere along this stretch i also saw sarah up ahead cheering for us. this deflated me big time, as i couldnt stop and figure out why she was there cheering and not running. ugh. i had to keep going, but she never left my mind for the rest of the race.

mile 19 8:30

ok. just a 10k left. thats seriously nothing. unless youve already run 20 on a super hilly course with the worst hills yet to come. yay. i definitely slowed down. but was determined to kill it. i was still thinking i was pretty damn close to actually qualifying for boston, which so many times during the race i had decided i didnt care about and was ok with stopping and having a picnic on the side of the road and potentially hitchhiking. oh marathon, you bitch.

mile 20 8:33
mile 21 8:34
mile 22 8:44
mile 23 8:43
mile 24 8:58

i knew i was slowing down, but it was necessary so that i didnt walk or cry. or quit. in reality i was actually in a really good spot. i had 2 miles left to go and i knew the last bit was almost flat/had a good downhill. and then i would be done! i had made it thru the worst. i didnt blow up. this plan was going to work, regardless of my time. during mile 24 i had done some shady mid run math (which is always terrible and horribly wrong) and figured i needed to do run sub 8s to qualify for boston (this actually might have been true but i have no idea) so i just smiled and sang "great big storm" on repeat, with a huge smile. and huge tears building up.

mile 25 8:29
mile 26 8:12
 0.26mi 1:57 (7:27 pace)

finish: 3:40:47
cue all the emotions

initial finish line feelings (pre tears)
(volunteers came to my aid when, after crossing the finish line, i dropped down to my knees. bawling)

actual finish line feelings (post tears)

i still dont even know what was going through my mind when i crossed the finish line. sarahs mom put my medal around my neck and i just cried and cried asking if sarah was ok. i finally found her (she was ok)... and then i could celebrate.

hard to see, but i ran 26.26 miles. perfect tangents. boom.

sarah n, me, sarah e

overall i would say this was, hands down, the best executed marathon ive ever run. almost exact splits for 1st and 2nd half races. sure the last few miles were slower, and theres always some marathon negative self talk, but this was nothing like in the past. i felt ready and strong. no real wall. hansons, you have made me a believer with one race... which might be scary, but im going to try it again. real soon... dont let me down.

marathon #13
131st overall
26th female
8th age group

Friday, November 13, 2015

rhode island 6 hour

ok, i know i said i was back. and that was like 10 days ago. blogging is hard with a toddler you guys, seriously (truth is actually i didnt even try. i already KNOW its going to be hard to get blogs written... and thats IF i have things to blog about. which i DO! but it will take time). so deal with it (ahem, katie). but a blog post! a race! i actually have been running this year, im sure thats no surprise to anyone. actually, ive run quite a lot this year (also no surprise). current mileage: 1,895.41. apparently a direct flight from westbrook, maine to riverton, wyoming is that exact distance. cuz ya know, that airport weve got here in the brook (??). id love to update this blog about some of the runs/races ive done this year (oh maybe i just should have blogged?!)... and i will. because they were fantastic and i want them written down. and should have written it all down directly after they happened because now im gonna be all yeah i had a really cool race and it was super fun and awesome with great friends! but i forget most of everything that happened.


BUT this past weekend i ran a race ive never run (haha "race")... and it WAS super fun and awesome and i remember SO MUCH about it (mostly due to the fact that i can still feel the effects of it...achy achy snap pop)

earlier this year i DNF'd (did not finish) my first 50k at pineland. i likely wont write about it because it sucked (other than bff finishing her first 50 MILER! and jocelyn winning her age group. and lots of other bad ass friends doing bad ass things while i sulked and drank my feelings away). i basically felt like i was gonna puke and still had 7 miles left to go which i felt would be ridiculously painful puking and slow walking. so i packed up and walked back to the start area from the mile 24 ish aid station. i had a beer (or 3) and some food and felt awesome! go figure. but i needed some redemption, so i registered for this 6 hour race in rhode island in november thinking ok ill go get it done there (and lots of time to still back out and decide it was not a great idea and just not go). what actually happened instead was i went and ran 40 miles around a high school track in august (yes, 160 something laps). haha. i should write about THAT. it was amazing. 

but i still was so excited about the rhode island 6 hour, and maybe a week before the event, my friend katie decided to make terrible life decisions join in on the fun too. what are friends for if they wont come run ridiculous amounts of miles with you, right?! i have a lot of these friends. and we're all freaks awesome, clearly.

i decided it also takes a ridiculous amount of food to run for 6 hours, so i went shopping on friday. i wasnt planning on eating this during the race, it was mostly for after. fun fact: i barely ate any of it. go figure.

pre race: 2 pieces of bread and pb and nuun
during race: tailwind (naked & raspberry buzz), pretzels & pb
post race: waffle chips, banana, and coffee (not pictured)

i drove down to rhode island sat am, with a stop in newton to do some pre race miles on heartbreak hill (and stopped at heartbreak hill running company to get myself a oiselle bra. a necessity, obviously). i met up with monica at the rhode runner store in providence for another awesome rhode runners top before getting a salad at whole foods and heading to katies house. we ate chips and cookies, watched a movie (discussing many important life things), had some pizza and beer (healthy choices after the chips and cookies, of course), and worked out some stiffness with yoga, led by katies 2.5 year old. who, no surprise, does yoga way better than this old chick.

my yoga skills are yet to be perfected

not. flexible.

we went to bed fairly early, despite not having to get up all that early (race was at 8am, about a 20 min drive... and who am i kidding, i go to bed early every night). i slept well and woke up ready to go (home, not run. who really wants to run for 6 hours?!). actually, though, i was pretty excited. yay running! i am pretty sure katie felt the same way.

it was a chilly morning (40s), but was supposed to warm up to mid 50s throughout the day (which i felt would be warm). 40s felt great compared to the starting temps at mdi a few weeks before (33 i think). we bundled up pre race but were prepared to shed layers when we started.

we met up with maddy and sean and got our numbers & tshirts/bibs, set up camp (seans chair and a bag of food), and talked about how ridiculous this life decision was. per the norm.


we scoped out the competition (haha), took some pics, then lined up at the start to get ready to go.

k. i think im ready. maybe.

friends! neon! (katie, me and future race winner, maddy. no surprise)

so i guess if you had to say i had some "goals", they were mostly not to go out like an ass racing a 5k, run for 35 to 38 miles, try to get top 10 female. piece of cake, right? mmmmm cake. yeah, so one of those things happened. well i didnt really go out like a 5k, but we went out fast. way too fast. for 3 laps, maybe 4. oops. i told katie we had to start on the start line behind maddy, because why not. who cares. once youre out on the loops, no one knows where you are compared to everyone else. (oh yeah- course was a 2.7 mile loop. kinda awesome, kinda sucky. awesome because every 2.7 miles you could quit! and eat! and see friends! and poop. whatever). but, sucky because you could quit. and the hills that you knew were coming (after the first loop)... yeah they were still there. oof. loops. whhhyyyy. (remember when i did a loop marathon and i puked for 22 minutes? and ate bugs?! (not why i puked). yeah i remember. loops! ahhhhh)

ok so yeah. katie and i took off and were all like "weeeeee! this is fun! look at the scenery! this course is beautiful. we love running! this isnt bad at all! oh yeah ok we have a few turns here. these hills might not be great on lap 10. but weeeeee the course is kinda downhill towards the finish! one loop done! yay keep running! loops, we love loops! oh but we should slow down. but yaaaay running is fun and we are fast!" im pretty sure for the first 4 laps we discussed how we needed to slow down.

the race clock coming in thru the start/finish each time was fairly daunting. id basically count down the hours i had left whenever i saw it. oh, weve been out here for an eternity hour. only 5 left to go. youve been running 3 hours you freaks?! youre almost done with your long runs/silly marathons by now. oh wait, THREE MORE HOURS TO GO. hrumph. it was hard. im not sure when we actually hit the wall, but BAM. we ran (hobbled) straight into that damn thing. hard. we didnt talk much. i thought i might puke. when we did talk it was discussion about whether or not we'd even make it to the marathon distance (10 loops). BUT the race enticed us with these fantastic scarves! (mind you we hadnt even seen the scarves yet, but we wanted one. we needed them!) so we carried on, complaining a lot. we made it through 8 loops. took a little break and basically said ok, lets get this done and be done with it. 

once we were on the 10th lap (the marathon distance is about 2 miles into the loop) we walked a lot. and complained more. and took silly pics. and walked some more. and texted sarah (who told us to stop taking pics and run.... um hi, this is awful and we are in pain!) and planned our finish once this damn lap was thru.

were so stupid! and want to be done!

we did some run walk run walk series, and finally made it to the marathon distance, just under 4:10 i think. we had big plans for some fancy photo at the spot (by "we" i mean "i"), and i got these gems...

we took our running very seriously

were smiling because were almost done!

we made it through the loop, and katie said she was done (went to the car, changed her clothes, like really, done). i was certain i was done (had been feeling very bad stomach wise, as well as a lot of joints and random body aches not feeling great). but i really wanted to keep going and had over an hour and a half left til the 6 hours was up. i had pineland in the back of my head and felt if i got some food in me i might feel a little better (up until this point i had drank water and tailwind only).

i sat down (not a super great decision), and had some pretzels and peanut butter (super awesome decision). it felt glorious at the time. getting up was difficult, but i needed to get up and go if i was going to do any more loops (ugh, loops).

break time so i didnt puke

when i started running again (loop 11), i actually felt really great. im sure people thought i was part of the relay- i was just passing people left and right. the wind on the first mile was fairly rude and unnecessary. i passed the 50k mark on the road (i wasnt there in the mileage yet, but knew if i completed this loop it would only be one more mile after that) and i knew i wanted to get back to it. crossing the road i knew i was heading into a tough part of the course... what i coined dead mans curve, and then the hills. they really werent bad the first few loops, but they felt like mountains now. i was all alone running through the trees, up and down the hills, with "spirit cold" on repeat. it was actually quite peaceful, and i felt great.

i came in through the loop averaging low 9 min miles and decided i definitely had one more loop in me (despite knowing id probably have time for 2 more). my knees bothered me a lot on that 12th loop, but i was excited to get to the 50k mark and head across the road for the final stretch.

i kinda blend in with the orange cones. 32.4 miles, done.

i immediately found katie and said "ahhh your scarf! i need mine!" and then we needed a pic, obviously. and then i think i ate 10 cookies. no exaggeration.

all races should give out scarves! and soooo proud of this girl. xo

we cheered people in (and taunted people to go out for "one more lap!" thankfully no one did that for me... i mean, thanks guys, wheres the support?! jk) and then we saw maddy come in, rocking the female win (again). she had passed us on our 6th loop and the male winner passed us every 3 loops at a blistering 6 min pace. you crazy ultra people.

seriously, we love the scarves.

this "race" was super fun, despite me saying id never do it again (maybe. anyone want in on a relay team?). totally worth the drive (i found a great place to stay if anyone needs it), the weather was fabulous, the course was challenging but beautiful, good people and support (aid/food/water/cheers). definitely a different type of race than im used to, but id recommend it to those looking for something different than just your typical road race (keep in mind this is coming from a girl who ran 40 miles around a quarter mile track for FUN. but yes, do this race. i recommend). i headed home before the post race party because i wanted to get out of the area before the pats game let out (and i was tired. running 32 miles is not a day in the park! well, it was 6 hours in warwick city park... but you know what i mean). i stopped about 20 minutes in to the drive to get a coffee and some water... wow. walking. it hurt real bad.

oh shit. everything hurts.

recovery hasnt been terrible, but i didnt run until thursday. and by run i mean kinda hobble jog walk. i felt like i had blown out my ankle or something but that seems to be better now? (ibuprofen helps). i also went swimming on tuesday which loosened things up a bit. i should maybe do that more. (dont count on it).

see? max elevation 45 feet! not terrible.
but over and over and over... pretty terrible

haha... positive splits at its finest 
weeeeeeeee we love running so much! for half marathon distance...
the 8th and 11th lap takes into consideration my food and bathroom break
theres no excuse for laps 9, and 10. sloooooow.

rhode island 6 hour
32.4 miles 5:22:55
19/75 overall
9th female

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

a fitting restart

well, i guess im back.

i think.

knock knock. anyone there? dust off the cobwebs here...

ive read and re-read my chicago recap (the last entry here over a year ago) over and over... and i still feel, as i did at the time, that it was a very fitting end to a long journey that this blog had been on over the years. tuesday october 27th, 2009- "and it begins... so here i am... not sure exactly why right now, but maybe as we move along here ill figure something out. hows that?!" thats how this blog started, a big leap into the unknown.

(do people blog anymore?)

throughout the years of writing i went from running my first marathon, never believing that id ever be fast enough to qualify for the boston marathon, to finishing my 10th marathon and qualifying by 4 minutes and 57 seconds (and a whole lot of really random shit along the way as well. how exciting). i got married, bought a house, had a kid... lots can happen in 5 years i guess!

(and apparently a year... wow, the last pic i posted of hen on here from last august vs. now. hes a giant! as if there was ever any doubt how he'd turn out...)

awww little baby hen! still mama's baby for sure.

but looking back on it all now, i realized my "journey" really isnt over. although my blog was never some sort of "lets document the struggles and successes on my way to qualifying", thats kinda what it became. and this break for the last year was much needed.

ive got spreadsheets and lists and journal documentations of all the runs and times and races and sprint workouts and squats/crunches/planks i did this year (how boring! and obsessive...). i needed that break from documenting it all on here (and surely havent had the time to sit and write with a energetic toddler always up in my business!), but i felt that ill forever be mad at myself if i blogged for all the years leading up to qualifying for boston and then didnt give the actual race its fair share of documentation. be continued...