Sunday, April 24, 2016

boston marathon 2016- hopkinton to boston

after stepping across the start line, i looked around at the sea of runners. ahead of me, beside me, behind me. all with one ultimate goal in mind: get to that finish line. it finally hit me within just a few strides... i was running THE BOSTON MARATHON! (and i didnt cry) i had been told that my first mile would likely be fast (a mix of downhill and excitement/adrenaline), but i felt so crowded and couldnt break free. times for the first mile on my watch were reading mid 8:20s, but i didnt care. it was hot and i was already sweating. again, ultimate goal was to finish the race, not go out like a crazy person and try to run stupid fast just to blow up before it was over and be all miserable. i was able to find a little room off to the left side of the road, and ended up running on the sidewalk for a little while. (and was also able to see a friend of my mother in law who lives right on the course and had made me such a lovely sign! thank you christine!)

many times in the first mile i just thought to myself, wow. im really here. seriously, i had all the "first time" feelings. there aren't a lot of things in life that you get to experience for the first time (which sounds weird now that im writing that, but i think you, or at least runners, understand what i mean). my first marathon, ill never experience that again. my first BQ, ill never experience that again. the first time running the boston marathon... never again will i run boston for the first time, and the thoughts were just overtaking me (all good ones). i had met a bunch of runners before the race who were also running boston for the first time and we all seemed to have similar thoughts about it. i spent a lot of time in the first few miles just smiling and checking out all of my surroundings. it still almost didn't seem real.

my wave eventually settled in at a comfortable pace (i figured they seed us in similar paces? maybe? ive since learned a lot about the marathon since running it that i wish i had known before running). i felt like i was weaving a little more than i wanted to through the first 3 miles just to be able to have room to run (and not feel like i was going to step on the heels of the person in front of me). my breathing and stride felt comfortable, i had a few sips of my tailwind here and there, just doin my thing. lots of spectators were out in the front yards of their home, grilling and playing lawn games. a spring break drink fest was taking place at the mile 2 biker bar. the energy along the course was electric, theres no better way to describe it. and the first 3 miles did feel very fast (and very downhill), despite the fact that i was keeping it steady almost 10 seconds slower than i had wanted. i knew the heat was eventually gonna drag me down and i was leery of ruining my race in the early miles.

mile 1 7:59
mile 2 8:06
mile 3 7:55
5k- 24:53 (8:00) 

the first 5k went by relatively smoothly. i was able to run with jamie a little bit right after the 5k mat and she told me about a guy who had apparently tripped on the mat, kicking her right in the thigh and almost ending her race! both were ok, but quite irritating to have happen so early (or at all). i was feeling good, smiling, all was well. i don't think i even turned my music on (side note: i will not even wear headphones if i run boston again. all they did was annoy me and i barely turned them on, maybe listened to 3 songs).

i quite honestly remember nothing from the next few miles other than wonderful crowd support with so many posters that made me smile (not that i remember what they said... well i remember one- "if britney spears can survive 2007, you can survive this". just don't know where i saw it. and all the girls in wellesley had some form of kissing poster). i was pretty focused on running and hydrating and not tripping over railroad tracks or the person in front of me. also the water stops were nothing but a hassle in the first few miles. when i came upon the first one (which seemed to take awhile i felt) the people in front of me stopped like a big wall. wtf? so i moved a little around and ran through it, and then moved off to the left side of the road... to which there was another water/gatorade stop on the other side of the road. you couldn't escape the damn things, and people just up and stopped. as the day went on (and got hotter) there were slippery sticky cups evvvvverywhere. hrumph. but thanks for all the free water and gatorade, boston marathon! i started taking full advantage of the water stops eventually and took mini cold baths at each one. my handheld of tailwind was also disappearing quicker than it had for MDI (i refilled at mile 19 there... i was out of my first half packet before mile 8 here), so i started taking 2 cups of water at the stops- the first i threw down my head/neck, the 2nd i drank (repeat times all remaining water stops. and spoiler alert, yes. even mile 25). no gatorade though. barf (unless it was purple, but it wasn't. i likely would have thrown up purple too. ill stick to my tailwind).

mile 4 8:02
mile 5 8:08
mile 6 8:00
10k- 50:06 (8:03)

i had started to look for my dad, aunt, and step sister shortly before the 10k mark as this was where i had thought they would be. i knew my aunt had a bright neon green poster board so i kept my eye out for that (note: there were a lot of bright neon green posters). sadly i didn't see them, and spent the next two miles thinking i had somehow missed them (but figured they would get my 10k split and know they had missed me and drive to the next spot to spectate). but just after mile 8.5 i happened to look up and to the left and there they were! i screamed my aunts name and scooted into the middle of the road from the far right, flailing my arms like a crazy woman to make sure they saw me (they did)!

i refilled my handheld with water and the other half of my tailwind packet shortly after mile 8. i had brought 2 salted caramel gu with me as well knowing i would likely need a boost if it was hot towards the end of the race, and i had my first salt pill at the 10k mark. we were also graced with a lovely headwind around this time that i am not sure ever left us. i remember it around the 10k mark and i know it was there in the last 4 miles. so obviously, i came along for the ride with us throughout (or so ive convinced myself).

mile 7 8:04
mile 8 8:13
mile 9 8:07
15k- 1:15:29 (8:06)
mile 10 8:07

between miles 10 and 13 i made the decision to abandon any and all time goals i had arbitrarily set for this race. despite feeling very good at the pace i was running through 10 miles, i knew if i kept that pace up i would risk cramping, becoming dehydrated, and maybe not finishing the race. not finishing was not an option. nope, not today. also didn't feel like reliving any feelings like via or around the lake. puking and chest pain wasn't in my boston cards.

i had run the boston course in 2014 from mile 9 to the end. none of it looked the way it did during the race. the books i had read about the course talked about clock towers, and car dealerships... saw none of them. except the dairy queen, wendys, and a donut shop. rude. in hindsight i should have stopped for ice cream... that i would have remembered and would have been awesome. next time. maybe.

shortly after mile 12 i could hear what sounded like a freight train noise up ahead. i knew exactly what it was, but couldn't really even believe i was hearing it from this far away (and what it actually sounded like). i had heard about the "scream tunnel" from the women of wellesley. i turned to the woman running next to me and said "can you hear that? this is gonna be fun".

and it was (but no, i didn't kiss any girls). i wish i had a video camera through this section of the race because there is really no way to accurately describe it. so loud. so much energy. the posters were fantastic. the girls were... fun? i dunno, i was just entertained watching people run over and kiss them, or have the girls kiss their cheeks. some took pictures. there were a few guys stuck in there with posters looking to get kissed as well (don't worry, didn't kiss them either). apparently this stretch of the race is slightly uphill... you wouldn't know it.

coming through wellesley (i think? this whole race is a bit of a blur) i started seeing chalk marks on the ground... CAW! CROW ATHLETICS! hey that's my team!!! and then some names... (wrong order but...) MICHAEL! GARY! JEN! LEAH! MADDY! AARON! and DANIELLE! HEY THATS ME!!!! I KNOW THESE PEOPLE! right after i saw my name i looked up and to the right where i saw dave cheering. i screamed his name (and still to this day do not believe the picture below... i thought i had just screamed his name and waved) and apparently ran over and gave him a high five! going through wellesley and then seeing the crows really gave me a much needed boost at this part of the race.

mile 11 8:26
20k- 1:41:43 (8:11)
mile 12 8:26
mile 13 8:23
half 1:47:23 (8:11)
mile 14 8:36

my times stayed pretty consistent in the mid 8:30s range, but i was feeling really hot. i remember wiping my forehead just after the halfway mat... pure salt. no sweat. fuuuuuck. i grabbed another salt pill and decided to take one of my gu. i had done exactly one run two weeks before with one gu, and it hadn't affected my stomach. i knew i needed it today so i took it, regardless of the consequences i could face (luckily none. welcome back to my life, gu!)

(for those curious, after providence marathon last may, which i felt was a disaster but really actually taught me a lot, i started using tailwind nutrition for my runs. i loved the taste and didnt fall apart and die of dehydration and run to the bathroom after, or during, all of my runs. well, i did fall apart and die of dehydration and run to the bathroom during pineland while using it, but i don't think it was from the tailwind... i think it was from being dehydrated to begin with and then running the first loop without any hydration like an idiot. anyway... tailwind. love this stuff, and use it exclusively now. with the occasional gu now and then. and salt pills. ok so not exclusively, but almost).

oh hey white bib
(i also must say i was very happy with my shorts choice... which, bff will tell you, was quite
a dilemma right up until the day i left for boston. all the choices! meter shorts ftw!
dear oiselle...more colors pleeeeease)

i knew the hills were coming up (we had run a few already, but the hills were coming. ya know, the ones they talk about? heartbreak hill, maybe you've heard of it?) my race hadnt already been broken, but i knew id be super extra slow on them. theyre not bad... if you havent already run 18 miles before. there was quite a party at the newton fire station, which was where the course turns right and heads up. for a long, long way.

mile 15 8:41
25k- 2:08:25 (8:16)
mile 16 8:21
mile 17 9:15

again the energy was amazing from the crowd all throughout newton. lasell college was loud. parties and posters, lots of sticks with vaseline being handed out, popsicles, orange slices... these people had us covered. little kids to high five everywhere (omg i hope they all washed their hands after! spoken like a true mom/germophobe).

i didnt run the hills fast, but i ran. there were numerous times i discussed walking with my self but quickly decided walking wasnt not happening. i didnt come to boston to walk. there were signs all over the road saying "no stopping!" so i obliged. it did happen once when i was trying to get my necklace untangled from my stupid headphones, and for a short bit while screaming at my hamstring at the end of mile 21. after running over the 30k mark i knew my family would see from my updates that i was slowing down (and had lost my BQ pace), so i grabbed my phone and sent a quick text to ty and bff to let them know what was happening so they wouldnt worry. i also wasnt sure how long it was actually going to take me to get to them.

"gonna be a long last 10k but im totally fine. just hot. enjoying every step"

famous last words (this was before the hamstring fiasco) haha. jk, i went faster than i had thought i would for those last few miles, but not without some trouble.

mile 18 9:12
30k- 2:36:34 (8:24)
mile 19 8:39

in the book i had read where it described the race mile by mile, it had said that mile 22 was haunted. of course it was. my favorite number, mile, etc. i had purposely taken the pic of mile 22 sign last year so i didnt stop to do it this year... but i literally came up over a small hill and saw the sign... and my right hamstring decided it had had enough. seized. ugh... this was gonna be a looooonnnnng 4 miles. but i told my damn hamstring to man the F up and keep working. no quitting now!!

i took a salt pill and my 2nd gu (by now i had likely taken 5 or 6 salt pills. im fairly certain i took over 10 for the day. not sure if thats good for me or not). my tailwind was almost gone but i didnt want to keep drinking just water for the last 4 miles (was still taking baths at each water stop though). i have no idea where the photo mat was (30k ish? maybe?) but i had been looking for it since the half because i thought it would be earlier in the race when people were looking fresh and happy. apparently there were two places last year (and also at chicago), but there was just this one. and i made sure to put on a happy face for the camera! who am i kidding, i was stupid happy this whole race (despite some of my grumpy looking official pictures... i was just super focused!)

goal for next time- better stride over photo mat

after you get to the top of heartbreak hill the course is almost quite literally downhill to the finish (just a few small rollers). it can be fast if youve got it in you. which i absolutely didnt. i had run down some race day plans with sam prior to starting, which was basically me saying "im just gonna run and have fun and yay im in boston!" (all the open mouth thumbs up smiling emotions!) and him shooting all of that down with his coaching mumbling about working so hard and if you get to heartbreak and can run fast kick it into gear, 740s, dont miss the finish by 3 seconds..." etc etc etc... hrumph. yeah yeah. but i knew he was right. but this was also long before summer decided to show up at 10:50am in hopkinton and shoot all racing plans out the door. which i was ok with ("im just gonna run and have fun and yay im in boston!"). but i think back to the conversation with him and about how yes, i felt like i had practiced strong finishing kicks and that 5 miles of 7:50s or less wasnt impossible.

my race didnt quite turn out that way, however. at. all. my legs had zero turnover. my hamstring was crying. i wanted to get to the finish in one piece, so i knew i couldnt push it. i also had zero time goals anymore (and actually didnt even know where i was going to end up anyway... cannot do math when running) so i just enjoyed waving to the people on the green line and smiling as i passed spectators cheering for me by name and high fiving all the little ones with their abundance of energy.

mile 20 9:04
mile 21 10:27
35k- 3:05:53 (8:33)
mile 22 8:46
mile 23 9:17

soon i saw it. the citgo sign. i did choke up a little here, but no tears (likely dehydrated? maybe thats why i never cried!) i made it this far. i was upright and smiling. and my family was just up ahead. as much as i had wished at some points earlier in the race that i had seen them, i knew exactly where they were and was so excited to get to them. im not sure if the 40k mat was before or after the water stop (and i swore up and down that i wouldnt stop at the last water stop of the race) but i grabbed a cup and threw it down the back of my neck, grabbed another and took a sip knowing i was dropping off my (empty) handheld and just needed one last drink. (i did not, however, stop at the water stop... open my handheld... dump the cup in...walk through while closing the handheld... with one mile to go... things i have learned since chicago. stupid stupid stupid!)

my family!

i came up over the hill and could see the pink sign they had for me! our blue crow singlets were great for fans to find us, or so ive been told (makes sense). as i ran up i saw ty and my mom right next to each other. i hugged them both quickly before dropping my stuff and running off. they waited over 3 and a half hours (plus) to see me and i gave them all of 15 seconds. love ya!

here i come family!!

and when you hear your bff screaming your name after youve already run by...

you turn around and go back to give her a huge hug! obviously.
#ylmf #ymw

mile 24 9:10
40k- 3:34:40 (8:38)

after hugging my family and bff, i knew i had one mile to go. i looked at everything around me for the rest of the race. i did it. i was going to finish the boston marathon. there are two rudely placed small hills in the last mile, but i barely noticed. the crowds, as they had been thoughout the entire stretch of 26.2 miles, were amazing in this last mile, which is just what you need. i have spent many years spectating the race and now felt what that final stretch was like that i had seen so many times (from a distinctly different viewpoint). although my last few miles werent fast, i felt strong. and i didnt care about my time... i almost felt like i wanted to just stop for a bit and take it all in. i didnt want this all to really come to an end. but the reality is that it had to (who wants a boston marathon 50k?! i do! i do! "how long is this marathon?" "oh its 32 miles!"... dont mind me, i think im funny).

right on hereford, left on boylston

all smiles when you see that finish line

can you find a happier boylston runner? not likely.

i felt like i had such tunnel vision running down boylston, i just kept looking ahead towards the finish line. the ultimate finish line. in all the races ive done, i dont know that ive felt more pride, more excitement, than looking ahead (sooooo far down the road!) to that finish line. i had known that sarah (there are so many sarahs... try to keep track, i dare ya) would be at the race, but i hadnt known where. and all of a sudden, coming down the finishing stretch, i hear someone screaming my name. id heard my name cheered for throughout the whole race (im so happy i put my name on my bib! what fun! theyre all cheering for meeeeee!)... but when i looked to my left, i saw this screaming girl in blue hanging over the barricades with her arms outstretched. it was sarah! yay! i flew into her at a ridiculous force (sorry about that) giving her a huge hug before running off. sadly my tunnel vision was so great that i didnt see katie quite literally right next to her. katie sent me these two pics after the race which made me laugh... seriously, im so sorry i slighted you so hard. whoops. xo

love you both to pieces!

i ran off from sarahs hug (sorry i was so sweaty and gross!) and headed down the final steps of this long awaited journeys end. throughout my training i envisioned this finish in many different ways. i knew i would have seen my family and friends at the citgo sign (but figured i would be a hot crying mess). the infamous right on hereford, left on boylston. id practiced it on my treadmill (crying). i envisioned crossing the finish line (sobbing, crying fool). id known what song i was going to listen to (which ended up being no music at all)... the reality was that from the first time i saw the citgo sign last monday (wow its already been a week?!), right through to the finish line (and beyond), ive never felt so happy. so at peace. no tears. smiling like a darn fool.

mile 25 9:11
mile 26 8:38

this race, this feeling, was a long time coming. and it still doesnt even seem real (and goes by so fast!) chicago seems like a distant memory now. it was a lot of hard work just to get to a qualifying finish... then to registration day almost a year later... the waiting to see if i could even toe the starting line... the hard training, early morning alarms starting with 3s, multiple pairs of sneakers, speedwork, long runs, recovery, ice baths... i wouldnt change one single thing about any of this.

finish 3:46:14 (8:38)

crossing the finish line, hands held high, smiling. that was my dream. a dream realized.

Friday, April 22, 2016

boston marathon 2016- pre race, all the porta potties

if i thought my 2014 chicago/blog ending post was difficult to write... that one is nothing compared to this one (these... this blog will be coming in a few parts i think). i remember sitting on an airplane heading home after (a disasterous) race of a lifetime, trying to process qualifying for boston on the streets of the windy city. luckily it was dark on the plane so my row mate didnt see me crying. in a weird twist, throughout all the emotions ive felt over the last 18 months leading up to this race, i have yet to cry. youre likely as shocked as i am. (and im sure by the end of this post it will happen. lets bet on it, shall we?)

i wish i could remember everything from this past weekend. it all seems like such a blur now. and i dont care if this is a zillion paragraphs long, im gonna try to include everything i can. because when i look back in 10 years, i want to relive it. each moment, each step, id say each tear... but nope. each bud light? i had a few. (and canollis. mmmmm).

ok i had maybe 4 all weekend. beers and canollis.

i drove down to boston on friday to pick up my bib and get my two aunts from illinois at the airport. this was a fantastic idea because i was able to get in and out of the expo without having to face huge crowds, got to get clothes that actually fit me, and got to see friends! yay! i also got in a shake out run along the last few miles of the course... a little bit of time to myself to just think about what was actually coming for me on monday. a long awaited reality. (and i did shed a few tears on that run)

i didnt sleep well friday and saturday night. undesirable, but not all that unusual. my last shake out run at home sunday morning (at 5am, and a walk with sarah) was 32 degrees. i hadnt been obsessing over the weather planned for monday, but i had been checking it... luckily the high of 72 in boston was now down to a high of about 64 (with an overnight low in the high 40s. perfect for a marathon start!... at 7am. oof). what i hadnt been doing was checking morning/noontime temps in hopkinton, ashland, and framingham. whos idea was it to start the boston marathon so late?! i had approximately 6 belgian waffles before heading down to boston, no real nerves to speak of at all (just exhausted). ty and i walked around the finish line a little bit and i tried to take a little nap in the afternoon before dinner (didnt really fall asleep). i laid everything out for the next morning, took a shower and put in the race braids, had dinner and tried to get some sleep. success!

i got up about 5:15am, ate, paced, had some coffee, and we headed out for boylston street. bag drop off and bus loading was a breeze. i met up with a friends how helped make sure i got on bus #22 (obviously). i absolutely had boston marathon virgin written all over me... sans gallon bag of water (just all the open mouth thumbs up excited selfies). i must say the bus ride, although i know kinda a big part of the whole experience, was not comfortable for my legs and it felt like it took forever. when we unloaded the bus, the first thing i noticed were police on top of the buildings and helicopters flying overhead. ugh. needless to say i felt very safe, but it was a tough reality of the day/the world we live in. we walked towards the entrance and under the banner to athletes village... i was really here.

i walked through towards the back tent where apparently the party was (or so i was told) and it was there that i found ALL the friends. seriously, in a sea of 20,000 plus people, i found 7 that i know. crazy. (ok two meet ups were planned, but the others werent!) i went to get some of the free water they were handing out (yeah yeah i know ill never hear the end of this ridiculous story) and there was maddy and katie right on the ground! and we look to our right, wade and ward were dressed in their bathrobes in the porta potty line. and then along pranced sara! it quickly became a crow party for sure. 

we had to say goodbye to aaron super early because he was basically in the elite wave, and sara and i headed for the first of our many porta potty trips. we took all the selfies (both in line and inside the porta potties... totally not weird... and totally not in the same porta potty, just to clarify). we even got a professional pic in the first line!

porta potty (snapchat) pros

i felt like eating for this late start race was going to be a pain, but i basically just had two of what i normally have (2 pieces of peanut butter toast, a banana, and some coffee before leaving, then brought pretzels and a peanut butter sandwich with me for athletes village). i loaded up on the pretzels once i arrived because i felt like it was warmer than what i had expected and figured the extra salt might do me some good (i also had 40 salt pills in my handheld. just incase). from what people were saying and from what i have read since the race, it was almost 70 degrees before we even started the race. lovely. we were definitely hot in AV, and there was zero cloud coverage... i knew i was likely going to be adjusting my race plan, but figured id see what happened once the gun went off.

maddy and katie left us next, leslie soon met up with us, and again we lined up in a porta potty line (seriously, this was what we did all morning. and it was fantastic). we also lathered sunscreen on each other and body glide (on ourselves), stuffed more food in our mouths, and downed all the free water we could get our hands on (they had tons! super nice of them!). and just for the record... the ONLY race i can remember that had water at the start has been the beach to beacon. which, incase you were unaware, is directed by the same guy as the boston marathon. so im calling bluff on all you people telling me water is at every race start. cuz i havent seen it. even chicago i didnt see water! lots of porta potties though. anyway...

before we knew it we said our goodbyes to the porta potty lines and headed towards the athletes village exit for our long walk to the start line. sara and i sadly had to part ways with leslie (although not without questioning why she left us... only to find out she was actually supposed to leave us and go towards corral 2, not with us lonely people in corrals 3 and 4. i was also so confused as to where the different corrals went because the start line was in one spot... oh well)

you guys... someone ("the virgin") was a little excited (!!!!)

right before the corrals there is one last porta potty stop, so of course we got in line (the slowest one without toilet paper). a fellow crow, melissa, came and found us in line and we grumbled a lot about the heat. we then headed to our corrals, and heard the announcer say there was 2 minutes until wave 3 left. i tucked right into the back of corral 4 (and i wasnt alone! but i didnt know anyone and couldnt find the one girl from instagram that i was going to try to meet up with). apparently sara didnt even make it into her corral on time before the crowd started to move, so im not sure where she ended up. we slowly shuffled our way to the start line, and we were off. i was now literally running the freaking BOSTON MARATHON!

just. breathe.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


putting 18 months of anticipation, 15 weeks of hard training, and finally 3 hours 46 minutes and 14 seconds of pure happiness into words is quite a bit harder than i thought it might be (who am i kidding, the official boston marathon blog is going to take a long time to write, i know this. and likely a lot of bud light). the weeks of training are well documented. the actual race has yet to still even sink in...


i boarded a bus in boston common (bus #22 obviously). i hung out in tents and numerous porta potty lines in athletes village (and they had free water!). i sat and joked and acted silly (read: nervous) and ate food took so many selfies and lathered on sunscreen with friends. i walked (so far) to the start line and i got in a corral and i started the race with thousands of others.


i ran from hopkinton to ashland, framingham, and natick, thru the scream tunnel in wellesley, slowly through newton and its relentless hills, thru brookline, and into boston. right on hereford, left on boylston. smiling with each and every step.

it was over 70 degrees at the start of the race. i ran 10 miles on pace. i made necessary decisions between miles 10-13, and adjusted my game plan in order to get to the finish line, my ultimate AA goal:

goals for the BOSTON MARATHON: (is this real life?!)
AA (no more bud light? haha funny. jk. never happen. and not that kind of AA): 
get a medal with a unicorn on it! (you get that at the finish!)

AA goal: achieved.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

boston training: week 14

last friday night i had this text conversation a friend... "youre gonna have your bib in hand at this time next week" (holy shit) "youre gonna go to packet pickup at the boston marathon and theyre gonna have one for you" (crazy) "when you go to the expo, youre not gonna be a runner who thinks its the cool place to be and thinks 'someday'... youre gonna be one of those people who are actually running the race. there will be people there who have 3:45 PRs who will look at you and see you with your stuff and think 'that chick is fast and fit, she must work her ass off" (when in reality i drink bud light and eat donuts) "when in reality you have worked your ass off".

less. than. one. WEEK! im picking my bib up in less than 72 hours. freak. out.

honestly, (and this isnt a surprise), i have worked my ass off. runs i have wanted to skip- ive pushed through and crushed (or pushed through and completed marginally, complained a lot). earlier and earlier alarms. a lot of discipline. i have had to sacrifice things in order to train (no i didnt give up coffee or bud light, until yesterday), and to me it has been (will be) worth it (i hope). my family has sacrificed a lot for me to train this way, often watching henry for me while i run (bff has come to my aid for this too! thank you!) i feel as though henry has sacrificed, unknowingly... not having me around as much as i could be. and ty has certainly sacrificed the most, and for his (and everyones) support i am forever grateful. (hes likely hoping i dont want to race marathons for the rest of my life... lucky for him, i do not).

and the reality for this last week of training is that i actually have been feeling like i dont want to race marathons anymore. at all. as in next monday included.

the amount of time that i have spent running this training cycle add up to just over 100 hours. and until recently my feelings have been that i just dont want to put in the hard work for another 3 and a half hours. this quote (unknown origin), which i carried with me during mount desert island marathon last fall, fits pretty well here:

Here's the thing about training: when done right, fast = easy. 
When done wrong, slow = hard. 
So go the hard route and make it easy!

ive gotten to 6 days before the biggest race of my life. a race i never thought id even be able to register for with a qualifying time. a race for which i have trained like i had never trained before.

"A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for." 
-William G. T. Shedd

goodbye harbor... its time to set sail.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, dream, discover."
-Mark Twain

to say im excited is an understatement. to say my bank account is nervous is accurate. luckily thats the only thing that is nervous. ive learned through my past few races that the work is done and whatever happens, happens. theres no reason to allow feelings of doubt and apprehension seep their way in and try to negatively affect an experience of a lifetime. and theres also no reason for me to quit now. 3 and a half hours? thats nothing. just effing do it.

"The runner needs to know that the Boston Marathon isn't run in April, but instead in the winter months prior, when there are no cheering fans, cameras, or medals- only self-discipline."
-Michael Connelly, 26.2 Miles to Boston

ive thought a lot about my experiences at the boston marathon in past years. i have been a screaming spectator outside the barricades in 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2015....

2010 i rode the bus down with sarah and melissa, spectating in front of trader joes along boylston. my first time watching the boston marathon. i was hooked (seriously... if you have never spectated a marathon, you have no idea what an amazing experience youre missing out on!). i ran the BAA 5k and met some amazing people in 2011... had 10am beers, trader joes on boylston, getting lost on the T, garlic and oysters, a rooftop post race party, rode a sketchy 2 person elevator, and bought a sweatshirt i rarely take off and am still unsure if i can truly replace next week (recently said hoodie was named "stan"). i tracked friends from a pool in myrtle beach sipping pina coladas as they battled the extreme heat in 2012. i was in the bleachers at the red sox game on sunday april 14th, 2013, 4 weeks from my due date, and i didnt think that standing at trader joes on boylston for 8 hours was what my already swollen ankles wanted to do. i was instead treating a copd exacerbation in the emergency room at work, crying as i watched the days events unfold on tv in front of me, wondering where my friends all were down there (and spent hours worrying about them until i got an official text message at almost 5pm that all were safe). i spent 2014 traveling alongside the course from the 10k mark to the citgo sign with kristal, apprehensive about being at the finish line... just weeks before my first BQ attempt.

kara and ryan (2011)... amazing

meb, 2014

and lastly, 2015. bff and i spent the am running from our hotel to the finish line to mile 22 and back (i needed to get the pic of mile 22 last year because i am NOT stopping this year!). we cheered all day from mile 25, my very last time screaming at each and every runner, knowing the following year people would all be screaming for me.

and since no one knew we were running a secret marathon 2 weeks later, our run that am was our last long run before taper. and we not so secretly stopped at sonic and had what we coined "taper tots"

last year was quite a different experience than every other year, to say the very least, knowing i would be one of those runners next year. and i still have no idea how its really going to feel until next monday.

next. monday. MARATHON MONDAY! whoa.

runs this week were really no different than weeks prior. hansons doesnt really have that "yay this is my last whatever run and now im tapering weeeeeee all the excitement im in the homestretch!" like everyone else (well it does, but it doesnt come 2 or 3 weeks before the race... it came on sunday). this last real week of training has you running over 50 miles (but in reality i didnt do that, and im not mad about it). ive also adjusted next weeks runs due to work but also because i fear burnout. or injury. theres only one #alarmsthatstartwith3 left. seems so crazy. (im thinking i likely trained for one, maybe two weeks longer than i really should have).

wednesday, an easy 6.2 miles outside... im not sure i even broke a sweat. i definitely had zero desire to go for a run that day though...

before. please dont make me do it. how about i just go take a nap.

but ended up being a really good, easy, care free run.

after! yay i love running so much! double unicorns!

took a rest day thursday instead of friday because a) i had to work thursday (so a 3:40 alarm), b) i wanted to do the mile repeats outside and not on the treadmill, and c) ty was taking friday off and id be able to sleep in and still run outside. i wore compression and took the elevator and tried to really rest at work (not possible, so busy, likely walked 10 miles).

fridays 5 mile repeats turned out to feel great, slightly faster than should be, but overall a great run (cut them from 6 to 5 because i felt some weird something in my groin i had never felt before...)

10 days left!

we went north for the weekend so i headed into waterville and ran at colby college for another 6 easy recovery miles (less hilly than skowhegan, no groin pain, barely any sweat... mostly because it was 43 degrees). what a beautiful school!

i dont know that ive seen a track with 9 lanes before...
9 days!!

sunday was not all rainbows and sunshine like the other days.... until my run was over. i didnt sleep well saturday night. my legs had been a hot mess, sore everywhere, my back hurt, etc.

a lot of this. and complaining. what are these muscles inside my knee?
and why do i need them? go away now!

future long distance runner

i almost contemplated not going for my run at all on sunday. but when ty got home from the gym, i put on my big girl pants and walked out the door.

i finished this run with 11 miles, 8 @ mp. my legs just wanted to fly. im fairly certain i was running uphill into the wind the entire way, and i couldnt slow down. i knew mid 7:40s werent mp, but i went with it knowing the rest of my week was easy (TAPER!). i was so so happy with this run, and it was exactly what i needed heading into the final week before boston. (it was also a balmy 43 degrees... anything above this for the race is going to be a slow sweaty mess with all the complaining!)

yay! done!

5.2 easy miles monday, beat the rain. thought a lot about many different things, mainly boston, but you know. life. and 8 easy slightly faster rainy miles along back cove and the maine marathon course finished off week 14. 

week 14

yay all runs outside! see ya treadmill!

5x1mi strength- (goal 7:38-7:50)- 7:34, 7:37, 7:34, 7:34, 7:33. averaged 4 seconds faster per mile than when i did this run in week 8 (which was on the treadmill). felt great and running outside helped me have to push myself to keep hold of the pace, especially on hills. overall a really solid workout.
8 @MP-  7:50, 7:47, 7:44, 7:45, 7:46, 7:48, 7:37, 7:44. into the wind up hill both ways. but man, what an amazing run... last hard run before boston, it really showed me how far ive come this training cycle. i almost cant believe the numbers when i see them all on paper.

i dont know how else i can explain what my runs have felt like other than cruise control (i know ive said that phrase before in the last 14 weeks). although most of the times when i start out into some sort of speed mile im typically 30 seconds faster than i should be (thinking "i have to speed up so much from my warm up because certainly the pace i need is waaaaay faster than that!" and then im like whoooooa slooooooow down... and then huh, this pace doesnt really seem so fast...), once i get into the desired zone, i stay put. left right left right. like a metronome. dial in a speed, lock it in. im hoping that all of the work ive done can allow me to feel like the hard work isnt impossible next monday (obviously thats what all this work is for, right?). 

ive run 104 marathon pace miles... slowest of the miles: 8:04. average of the 26 slowest miles: 3:28:56. i went out aiming for 3:30 at providence marathon, with very different training. ive run parts of the boston course 3 separate times, once from mile 9 to the finish, once from the bottom of heartbreak hill to the finish, once solely on heartbreak hill. ive run the course from the start line to the finish line via ifit on the treadmill. ive read books and articles. ive studied the course, the turns, where to avoid the train tracks, where to move left or right so as not to trip over cement islands (and where to close my eyes when passing the ice cream and donut shops). ive run hills, both up and down. 

the fact remains: none of it matters. race day is race day, and anything goes. this isnt my first marathon. i worked hard to get here but the work isnt done until i cross the finish line.

total miles for boston training cycle
688.45 miles
(with 20 left to go before monday)

highest weekly mileage: 
61.45 miles

highest monthly mileage: 
246 miles (march)

officially tapering!

T- trust your training
A- adjust your intake
P- perfect your strategy
E- embrace the free time
R- rest and recover

awesome friends send really awesome gifts
thanks rebecca!!

during taper you dont care about anything 
and go to home depot looking like you live in westbrook

and since this is the last post before the race, i suppose i should jot down some goals or something. keep in mind the forecasted weather is likely to throw each and every one of these goals out the window on the bus ride to hopkinton, but im still hopeful that the current high of 60 something will change to a freak cold front bringing a high of 45 with a strong tailwind. (that being said, every goal i will set for myself will have "finish" at the end. which will still hold true no matter what the weather may be).

goals for the BOSTON MARATHON: (is this real life?!)

AA (no more bud light? haha funny. jk. never happen. and not that kind of AA): get a medal with a unicorn on it! (you get that at the finish!)
A: enjoy each and every second of the entire day, start to finish no matter what (and finish!)
B: sub 3:30 (finish!)
C: sub 3:35 (you guessed it... finish!)

despite writing the time goals as a B and C goal, they are my overall time goals. however, finishing the race trumps all. ALL. i didnt work this hard for this long to not cross that finish line. to not get a unicorn medal. to not experience the right turn left turn. heat, rain, whatever aches and pains and emotional shit may come my way, running, walking, crawling, crying (likely)... i will finish, sub 3:30 or 7+ hours. i have absolutely no choice but to finish what i started.

"So be sure when you step, step with great care and great tact. And remember that life's a great balancing act and you will succeed. Yes! You will indeed (98 and 3/4 guaranteed). 
Kid, you'll move mountains."
-Dr. Suess, Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

boston training: week 13

all of last weeks excitement "yay i survived peak week i rule lets go run the race NOW im so excited!!!" lead to a few extra rest days in week 13. in no way am i going to say anything about lucky number 13 due to the fact that the boston marathon will be my 13th marathon. well, actually, it will be my 14th marathon, but i have only crossed the finish line of 12. so the boston marathon will be my 13th completed marathon (because no matter what happens out there in 13 days i will be crossing that finish line. 3 hours and 30 minutes or 7 hours and 59 minutes, my feet wont stop until i get that unicorn medal).

but so yeah... there was quite a bit more rest this week, easier runs, ice and epsom salt baths, screaming at the foam roller and the stick... i just needed it, both physically and mentally. i still got in 40 plus miles of running and the 2 solid workouts. whatever work has needed to be done for april 18th over the past 13 weeks is already done, this week wasnt going to be what makes or breaks my race. but i also know that this plan is laid out the way it is for a reason, so i cant be one to say theyre (hansons) plan is wrong. but im also only human... and i bleed when i fall down... xo christina perri

as a side PSA... VILLANOVA!! HOLY SMOKES! sorry all you unc fans, this duke lover cheered for the underdogs (well, ok they were a no. 2 team, but still) and seeing the highlights this am... incredible (of course i didnt stay up, the game started approx 3 hours after my bedtime!). theres now bound to be jay wright interviews for days, my dream come true.

week 13 started off dark and early on wednesday morning with slow, lonely loops around the neighborhood.

i dont like leaving my neighborhood when its dark and im alone, so i just do loops. over and over. the joys of monotony and getting "my sharona" stuck in your head. anyway, easy miles, nice and slow.

thursday was another zero dark #alarmsthatstartwith3 morning, this time at the track. more loops! except my watch malfunctioned and i wasnt awake enough to figure out that i could have timed my laps with my phone and whatever, i just ran around and around with sarah for another 6 miles and pushed my strength workout to friday. no biggie.

quite happy the update install happened now and not april 18th

and with this run, march was over. highest month ive ever had, and i really didnt feel like i had run all that much. theres something wrong with me.

it must be a march thing

despite friday being a day off from work (and my one rest day for the week!), my alarm went off just after 4 and i met sarah at the track once again. i honestly enjoy the feeling of being out there while the rest of the world sleeps (yes im convinced im the only one awake at these dumb hours, obviously) and crushing a tough workout. my legs felt good during the warm up, and the 4x1.5mile repeats with 800m recoveries felt just as good. almost easy. i knew i had wanted this workout to be outside and i am so pleased with how the workout went. and then i cried, of course. this hasnt been as emotional of a cycle as i had envisioned at the start, but as the end is drawing near i find myself thinking more and more about what im gonna feel like actually finishing this race. the emotions this week have been tested and are pretty high, and im not sure theyre gonna go away. so ill be the girl in blue and yellow sobbing when i pass by. wave and hand me a tissue!

and if someone can also just meet me at the finish with this, and a fork... thanks...

since i pushed off my strength workout a day, that meant my rest day was now saturday. i had to work saturday, sunday, and monday, which didnt bode well for a 10, 10, 13. so i did what i felt was best for my body and took saturday and sunday off. i felt the sleep was more important with 2 weeks left to race day, and i am thankful i made this decision as im fairly certain i walked over 10 miles each day at work (we were so busy!). i did get up at 445am on sunday to get in an epsom salt bath (and i had taken an ice bath friday afternoon). my legs appreciated that for sure.

look ma, no socks! i think the 20lbs of ice gave me frost bite though

monday i just ran a basic 8.5 miles on the last miles of the boston course, obviously cried, chatted with other crazy running friends who also enjoy being awake at stupid hours of the early am, then stretched and worked on some strength exercises.

cue. all. the. emotions!

i chose to do my MP run on the last day of the week since i knew it needed to get done and there wasnt a specific long run this week. of course it freaking snowed yesterday and was blistery cold and windy this am, so i opted for the treadmill. i put off this run all morning and instead cleaned like a mad woman and did no short of 50 loads of laundry. when i looked at the clock before hopping on the tm i noticed it was shortly before 11am. perfect planning for my boston start... obviously i planned it this way! (no). but it is good to know that the cheerios, banana, coffee and toast helped fuel me pretty well and didnt make me have to poop. (im seriously nervous about this. running is stupid!). i also wore the socks, shorts, sports bra, and similar tank top to what im planning on for the race... everything felt great! good to go!

im actually torn between hat and headband... help?

i ran the first 13.1 miles of the boston course, with 10 at marathon pace. it took a few miles to loosen up and i felt like marathon pace was 5k pace. not a great sign. but as the miles ticked by i felt better and better, and eventually just felt like i was on cruise control. i had a dance party with some tunes, watched chicago marathon 2014 where this whole journey started, and of course cried on my cool down (i owe sarah a whole bunch of donuts at this point). also, ya know whats so bogus... the ice cream shop and donut shop at mile 3.5, and the dairy queen just after mile 4. why, boston, why?!

last MP run, done!

week 13

4x1.5mi strength- (goal 11:20-11:40)- 11:26, 11:29, 11:21, 11:23. didnt feel like i was pushing it, was very happy to be outside and making this pace on my own. felt i could go faster but knew i didnt need to, wanted to maintain within goal range. spot on.
10 @MP- (goal 7:48-8:01)- 7:49, 7:52, 7:48, 7:46, 7:50, 7:49, 7:53, 7:49, 7:45, 7:46. 

week 13 brought to you by crow athletics and bud light...
lets get this show on the road!

speaking of tunes... heres this weeks new music

ob. freaking. sessed.


a very sad song, but for some reason i like it

as i said before, its becoming more and more emotional as the day comes closer. i keep thinking back to chicago (and via marathon) and just how much work its been to get to where i am now. what an amazing journey. and of course i feel like everything happens for a reason... so my DNF at via (not qualifying me for boston 2015 with its cold windy rain) and a random entry and lottery acceptance to chicago... it all brought me here. and of course the jackets have hot pink this year, lets not forget that!

where i qualified
what i have to look forward to

little did i know at this moment that a DNF was coming, not a BQ

and remember this?! 
the loop marathon at night with all the bugs and all the puking and NOT my first sub 4?!

my first marathon was a 4:43:13. i smiled the entire time, right through to the finish line. other marathons have not proven to be as smiley, or as slow, but the only thing that matters now is the training i have done for the past 13 weeks to get me to the finish line in 13 days. i have now all but completed the absolute best training cycle i have ever done, hands down. the dedication i have put into this is unmatchable from any other training ive done. whether that proves on race day to bring me my fastest marathon time, we will soon see. but truly thats not what im looking for. this may or may not be my only chance to run the boston marathon. some people will never get that chance. but i have rightfully earned my spot inside the barricades for this year, and this year only. i know the work i have done to get me there, and i will respect this marathon as much as any other and work as hard as i can from start to finish. i dont know any other way to do it.