New kind of training plan…

So this blog has been radio silent for a while. Between a less than stellar Boston Marathon performance and a busy summer, this blog dropped to rock bottom of the priority list. However, lately I’ve been looking for ways to up the motivation and I remembered “Oh wait, when I wrote about training I had that mental push to actually get out the door and DO IT.” So here we are!

Oh yea, there is one more minor detail that derailed “training” for a while. I’m 24 weeks into the training plan of a lifetime– Baby-Born-to-Run is expected March 2015! We are beyond thrilled. I’m fully expecting a future marathoner. Ryan is thinking he’ll be a future rugger. Although I think the past couple weeks he’s been training to be a ninja instead.

BabyC2015

I can’t even begin to describe the physical and mental effects that have influenced running over the past 6 months. I would say the hardest parts have been the first trimester exhaustion, where days seemed to blend together of sleep, work, sleep, eat, sleep (pattern…), and the sudden and immediate disappearance of my endurance. Even after I got some energy back, stoplights were a blessing to find my breathe again and running more than 4-5 miles seemed impossible.

There has been a silver lining when it comes to running. After over two and a half years of marathon training and 5 marathons, some half marathons, etc I was forced to stop focusing on pace, splits, and weekend long runs and start focusing on “just getting out there and moving”. This is still a struggle even at 24 weeks, but I’ve actually welcomed the forced rest and less regimented schedule.

Hopefully the next 16 weeks will be full of “just getting out there and moving” activity– I’ve still been doing CrossFit and hoping to get a prenatal yoga routine in the mix. So while this “Born to Run” blog won’t be all hard core training stories and PR excitement, I expect it will show a new, different, and probably awkward side to the born-to-run lifestyle.

Still box jumping at 17 weeks :)

Still box jumping at 17 weeks🙂

Now I want to know….What are you currently training for? Ladies, if you worked out while preggo, what was your routine? 

New England Winter Running Gear– Ski Suit or Bikini?

I think 9 times out of 10 I dress inappropriately for a run. This morning was a prime example. I was excited for temps in the high 30’s (with the cold we’ve experienced in the past couple months, that’s basically tropical). I wore full length spandex pants, a tank top, and this running jacket/windbreaker thing I snagged on sale that I thought “maybe I’ll still be chilly with only a tank on underneath but we’ll see”. Also wore an ear-warmer headband but skipped the gloves after stepping out and thinking it was pretty mild.

While the run was awesome, within the first mile I knew everything I was wearing was wrong. I should’ve worn capris, I already took off my ear-warmer and was using it as a glove since my fingers were frozen, and that stupid jacket was like a tin foil insulator. But I looked on that beautiful bright side and was happy to be outside running before the rain/snow mess that supposed to arrive later and not on a treadmill. 6 miles later, I was sweating like it was July but in runners high land so I was OK with it.

Don't let its lightweight-ness fool you. This will keep you warm in Antarctica.

Don’t let its lightweight-ness fool you. This will keep you warm in Antarctica.

When it comes to running in New England, there are those days where the debate between wearing  fleece lined long underwear or a singlet/shorts combo is a real thing. Below is a rough guide I try to follow (and still adjust on a daily basis when elements like wind/rain/snow/solar eclipses/etc. come into play)

  • <15deg F: Shorts or capri’s and a tank….indoors. Days like this it’s 95% likely that I’m going to choose CrossFit, the treadmill, or the couch instead of breathing in that arctic, frozen air.
  • 15-30deg F: cold weather, full length spandex, drifit coldweather long sleeve, sweatshirt/winter vest/or jacket, winter hat or ear-warmer headband, gloves
  • 30-40deg F: full length or capri spandex, drifit coldweather long sleeve, running vest, ear-warmer headband, gloves
  • 40-60degF: capri spandex, light longsleeve or tank w/arm warmers
  • 60degF+: shorts, short sleeve or tank

Like I said, I’m constantly playing with what works and what doesn’t.

Today’s Lesson: For me, anything below 40deg F (yes that even includes 39deg) I need gloves since I swear blood stops flowing to my fingers in the cold. 

What are your running clothes go-to’s? I know it’s different for everybody (there are those who swear by shorts in anything above freezing!) but it’s always good to hear what others are wearing and when to help my eternal experimentation. 

Hyannis Half Marathon 2014. Was the rare occurrence where I dressed correctly for the weather.

Hyannis Half Marathon 2014. Was the rare occurrence where I dressed correctly for the weather.

Street Therapy

I knew it would happen eventually.

My long runs haven’t been as “OMG best day ever” as they used to (apparently my runners highs sound like 13yr old girls). I was really loving the temps in the 40’s and happy to take out the new kicks today but still felt a little blah and had to really give myself the mental pep talk to get out the door (ok, ok the out of the norm late night/late wake up call may have had something to do with my slow moving motivation).

Giving the Saucony Kinvaras a whirl

Giving the Saucony Kinvaras a whirl

I was at mile 10.25 and just turned onto Memorial Drive off Brattle Street heading towards Boston where there’s the perfect view of just the Prudential center in the distance since the trees are still bare. Out of nowhere a cop car that was pulled over up ahead put on its lights & sirens and sped up the street passed me. That was all it took for 4.15 Boylston Street flashback central. I felt like I was going to throw up and instantly started crying (thank goodness there was no one else around because I probably looked like a mental case).  So after a minute I pulled myself together and did the only logical thing possible; headed towards the Finish Line (yes that finish line is worthy of a capital F🙂 )

the site of my minor mental collapse. obviously there would be a sunset in the background. all that was needed was some good background music

the site of my minor mental collapse. obviously there would be a sunset in the background. all that was needed was some good background music

I'll never get sick of this view

I’ll never get sick of this view

Terrible photo. But I still love it. Faded but still beautiful :)

Terrible photo. But I still love it. Faded but still beautiful🙂

Back Bay running

Back Bay running

So after my visit to the finish line and 3+hours on my feet I was wiped out, but in a much better mood and back to that “OMG” running mode. With the exception of Ryan, my close friends/fam, and others who’ve had their own experiences from that day, I’ve never went to “Talk” to anyone about it. Except, you know, that confidential realm called the internet via this blog. I’ve found peace, sanity, and joy in running and will probably continue to use the roads as my therapy (how many therapists are available for free, 24/7??)

Mass Ave. Not a bad sign to run by during marathon training.

Mass Ave in Cambridge. Not a bad sign to run by during marathon training.

What’s your favorite way to destress/unwind/zone out?

Here We Go Again!

Hellooooo readers in blog land! It’s been quite a while since we’ve chatted. 7 months and 21 days to be exact. That sounds like a very long time when you write it out. Don’t worry, I’ve been running and crossfitting and a little bit of racing during that time and not become “Katie-born-to-lounge-around”. Some of it I probably should’ve blogged about it too. Not sure how you managed without seeing pics and commentary around the BAA 10k and the Tough Mudder at Gunstock mountain with CrossFit H2O peeps  in June, my first CrossFit competition with team Black and Yellow in August, the Electric Run in September, running stories from Ireland in October, and the cold and rainy Get your Rear in Gear 5k in November w/ some BBF girls. If you follow me on Twitter, you didn’t go completely uninformed. However, this whole time I really didn’t know how to start a blog post to follow my last one that covered such a personal, highly emotional, sensitive, tragic event. Until now.

It’s official people. I am going to be running the 2014 Boston Marathon. Not only do I get to run the Boston Marathon again this year, I get to run it with most of the same teammates from 2013 for the Boston Bruins Foundation. It really is such an honor, as the BBF received over 200 applicants for a select number of spots.

Team Boston Bruins Foundation 2013

Team Boston Bruins Foundation 2013

BBF Girls

BBF Girls

64474_10151348201596954_1102091439_n

bbf strong 2

Copley Square, made our mark

Copley Square, made our mark

Like I said in my last post, before April 15, 2013 I did not have any intention of running in 2014. Boston was a bucket list marathon and unless I qualified via a marathon time in the future, I didn’t plan on running it again anytime soon. However, with everything that happened on 4/15/13, I like many other runners and Bostonians felt some need to run again. For some people it’s an emotional healing, a way of getting back something we lost that day. For others, it’s a way of standing up for Boston, for everything we hold sacred as a country, for all the people who were affected by the terrible events of 4/15/13, and for a race we all put up on a pedestal. And for some select people, they actually enjoy running 26.2 miles for fun. I’m probably a combination of all of these reasons. Especially the fun part.

So let’s get this party started. I will most likely be hosting some really fun events in the near future to help reach the goal of raising $5,000 for the Boston Bruins Foundation. Remember meeting David Krejci last year? and Ray Bourque? And winning some really cool stuff like autographed Red Sox baseballs, Bruins gear, and tons of gift certificates to restaurants and shops around town? If yes, you know you want to continue the fun. If not, come join!!

If you’d like to give me an early Christmas gift, you can click HERE to donate.

Ray Bourque helping raise funds for the BBF

Ray Bourque helping raise funds for the BBF

Boston Bruins Player David Krejci signed autographs and hung out with everyone who came to support our cause.

Boston Bruins Player David Krejci signed autographs and hung out with everyone who came to support our cause.

Training “officially” starts 12/29/13 but expect a few running recaps and crossfit fun in the meantime.  Get ready for 4 months of running adventures that will all lead to Boylston street on 4/21/2013.

Finish Line 2013

Finish Line 2013

finishline1

finishline2

Now your turn! Are you running Boston in 2014? Or affected by what happened in 2013? Do you run to heal, sort out thoughts, or just zone out? I’d love to know!

The Marathon Post I Didn’t Plan to Write

This is not the post I dreamed about for 26.2 miles. The post I planned was along the lines of Once Upon a Time and Happily Ever After. Stereotypical in plot, with the main character overcoming the physical and mental challenges that go along with running a marathon but coming out on top, it would include all my unique experiences and observations, from running with the man dressed as a chicken to seeing Team Hoyt cruising along at mile 15. It would be the grand finale of everything that I’d trained for since December.

I wanted to tell you all about the ridiculous wake up time of 3:30am to meet at the Garden and be on the bus to Hopkinton at 5am. The bus ride out that was just as long and nerve racking as people say it is. That one of my favorite running partners, Chrissy, made sure to call me on her way to work to give me a pre-race pep talk. How fast the 4.5 hour wait time to head to the starting line flew by while the Bruins Foundation team bonded over drawing on each with permanent marker, rocking out to the DJ in our private heated tent shared with Team MGH (including private porta potties!), sharing training and life stories, and being fascinated with Shannon’s ability to consume so much caffeine and sport bean-like products in such a short period of time. How the walk to the start line with Brittany, Stephanie, and Shannon was just what I needed to get my confidence where it needed to be to start. And how for some reason, we were told by the lovely BAA volunteer to get in with Corral 4 even though we were supposed to start a couple thousand people back in corral 9.

I wanted to tell you how the first few miles is just as adrenaline pumping as it’s hyped up to be, with runners shoulder to shoulder as far ahead and behind as you can see. How I went out too fast, just like they warn you not to do. That people who say it’s pretty much a decline to Newton are nuts. Yes the elevation goes down, but the entire time it’s going down with rolling hills upon hills—People who say otherwise are lying. Trust me. I wanted to write how seeing my first cheerleaders, the Sharps, at mile 9 was perfectly timed as I needed a push. How the Wellesley College girls should get a medal for their scream tunnel and their signs that they make after taking requests via social media. That at mile 15 I was already hurting, the stupid heel of my shoe kept digging in my ankle and my calves were aching which was an annoying new development but knowing my parents were only a couple miles ahead was enough to keep me going.

I wanted to tell you that if you plan to run Boston, make sure you have a cheerleader at the Newton firehouse (between mile 17 and 18). Seeing my mom before the start of the Newton hills was a huge adrenaline boost (which I needed since you already know I’m terrible at race fueling and was running on mostly water and a couple sips of race provided Gatorade). How it didn’t dawn on me until about mile 19 how hot out and thirsty I really was.

I wanted to write about how despite my calves screaming and Heartbreak Hill truly owning me, I didn’t stop once. How my awesome brother, a student at BC, appeared at just the right time at mile 21 and leapt over the metal barrier and ran with me for almost two miles (and that he already worked it out with the cops that it was OK so he wouldn’t be tackled on the spot). That to my surprise my parents had sped from mile 17 to Cleveland Circle and I got to hug my Dad before taking off for the last 5k of the race. That seeing the Citgo sign really does give you that amazing feeling of “this is it”. That Anna and her insanely enthusiastic (and possibly intoxicated) boyfriend was another great surprise on Comm Ave that got me all smiles as I made my way downtown.

I wanted to share that even though you think the hills are over, the bridge over the highway by Fenway Park might as well have been Mount Everest. That it was at that point I felt a tight, ball like cramp form in my right calf making it almost impossible to move. That I paused for 5 seconds to kneed it out with my knuckles, almost started to cry, and that it was all the awesome Red Sox fans (of all things!) that started to cheer for this Yankees fan that made me say screw it and limp up that hill. That by some grace of God the cramp seemed to disappear on the downhill and it was almost smooth sailing.

I wanted to tell you how seeing Ryan, Meghan, and Raina at mile 25.8 cheering from the overpass right before I made it to Hereford Street made me pick up my pace about 30-45sec/mi. That the left hand turn onto Boylston Street felt like a kid walking thought the gates at Walt Disney World for the first time. That as I hit the 26 mile marker I could see the gun time was 4:05 and I knew I started a little back so the possibility of finishing Boston in under 4 was still within reach. That crossing that blue and yellow finish line is just as euphoric as I imagined, that it was even better than I dreamed. That the volunteers were so nice about not rushing me out and let me take my pics (and even took one of me under that glorious banner).  How I called my Dad, exclaiming “I FINISHED!” and he excitedly told me I hit it under 4. That walking through that threshold that only a small percentage of people ever will was amazing. How walking the 10-20 feet from that sacred line to get a water and taking that first sip of insanely refreshing H2O was when the whole “Wow I just ran Boston” really started to hit. And how turning around and watching more runners cross into the promise land just intensified my super-charged runners high.

Then I wanted to write about chatting with the other runners about their journeys. About how we all floated down Boylston St. on cloud 9 refueling with bananas, wrapping up in our space blankets, and being awarded “THE” medal. That I met up at Equinox fitness with our other speedier Bruins Foundation Runners, we high fived, showered up, and grabbed celebratory drinks. That Ryan and company all met up with me and we spent the next few hours cheering on other runners and drinking Sam Adams 26.2 beer. And that we all lived happily ever after.

Except that last paragraph never happened.

As I watched the other runners crossing the finish line of the Boston Marathon I heard a loud boom that shook the ground. Immediately a plume of brown and grey smoke rose up in the air and my runners high turned into a rock in my stomach. Ten seconds later there was another boom, more smoke. My first thought was that something exploded underground in the T. An accident. Some type of mechanical malfunction. I was picturing the worst things since I couldn’t see clearly and thinking oh my god I was just running right there, what is going on, should I run? At first people around me just stood there frozen. And then there was panic. Being herded by volunteers, I headed down Boylston with other runners away from the smoke. The marathon volunteers were amazing, calmly funneling us down the street, handing us our medals and space blankets. I just grabbed them from them and called Ryan. What if they had walked up Boylston to meet me? Are they OK? At this point I was just picturing blasts traveling down the street towards me. Thank god he answered the phone. The next 15 minutes seemed like the longest of my life. In a state of dehydration, fear, and confusion I finally turned off of Boylston and onto Berkley towards Newbury street. I asked a man with a marathon official lanyard who was on the phone what was going on, he looked nervous and said he thought there was a bomb and that someone was shot (looking back he must have been told by someone that because of the way the man in orange who is all over the news fell over). A second wave of people started running and I stood in front of a car on the corner in front of the Church of the Covenant so I wouldn’t get trampled. Finally Ryan, Meghan, and Raina appeared out of nowhere and I broke down. They all grabbed me, hugged me, and said we needed to get out of there and that they had been in touch with my parents already. My first thought then was to the Bruins Foundation people who I knew were expecting me at Equinox. I didn’t want them to think anything had happened to me. However at this point, no calls were going through. I finally was able to send a Facebook message to Erin letting her know that I was OK and to keep my things wherever they were. My next thought was Meghan and Raina as they phoned their parents (and miraculously were able to get through to them). They were New Yorkers. They lived 9/11. This wasn’t supposed to happen here. They shouldn’t have to experience this. And then to Sarah and Jen. They came just to watch me. They were at the finish. Were they OK? We found a police officer on the street corner further down Berkley who already had people gathering around him. He just told us that he didn’t know much except there had been two explosions by the finish line and that there were thought to be more live explosives and to just get out of there. Getting a cab was impossible so we just walked. I saw the Charles River, the place that I had spent so much of my training circling getting ready for this day, it was like a haven. We walked to the esplanade and then headed up to the Longfellow bridge and walked to Cambridge. The fact that I had just ran a marathon barely phased me. I would walk all the way home if I had to. I finally was able to get cell service and the voicemails, texts, and Facebook messages flooded in. My friend Sarah’s frantic voicemail was the most comforting thing to hear because it meant they were OK. I called her back and left her an equally emotional voicemail letting her know I was fine and was unbelievably relieved that her and Jen were alright. We finally got a cab home and the rest of the day that was supposed to be spent celebrating was spent emailing and calling family, friends, coworkers letting everyone know I was safe. It was also spent glued to the television as details of what happened filtered in. I was relieved to finally talk to Erin from the Bruins who said that she had been in touch with everyone from the team. I was happy and angry and sad when I got texts from Shannon and Stephanie, saying they were alright but were stopped only a short distance from the finish.

Now, a few days later and it still seems like a bad dream. A state holiday in Massachusetts that is about patriotism and pride. A day in a runner’s life that represents strength, dedication, commitment, hard work, happiness, camaraderie, and just a plain good time. A day for a runner’s support system (aka all their family and friends) and for people who don’t even know runners to come out and watch people from the elite to the average Joe-Schmo (aka me) run 26.2 miles for fun. All of this was stolen in an instant.

I am still struggling with countless feelings around what happened. Still running every “What If?” though my head. What if I realized I went out too fast and slowed down? What if my brother had stayed with me? What if that calf cramp at Fenway stuck? What MY people had lingered at the finish? Every “What If” that would have made me a possible 2-4minutes slower. Someone attacked one of the greatest breeds of people there are: Runners and their fans. And not just any runners and fans, but the ones who know that the city of Boston and its marathon is one of the greatest things around. I’ve found comfort in the running community (social media is AMAZING) and in my amazing friends and family. I’ve also found comfort in “my” city and in seeing the entire country and the world show up and support #BostonStrong.

If I am being honest, I will admit I wasn’t sure I would run Boston again. But last night I got to see and hug some of team Bruins Foundation at the Bruins game, people who I hadn’t seen since Hopkinton. I was sold in less than 5 seconds.

See you at Boston 2014.

Because I Still Can’t Write the Words…

Since I’m still struggling with putting down on paper my Boston Marathon post, one that was supposed to be one of celebration, happiness, triumph, and an overall runners high, I will simply update with pictures from the weekend, Monday, and this week. For now, they will have to be worth a thousand words…

Team Black and Gold

Team Black and Gold

Boston Marathon Expo. Attending this alone delivers a runners high

Boston Marathon Expo. Attending this alone delivers a runners high

Expo KJC

All In

All In

Boston's 26.2, the Holy Grail of marathons.

Boston’s 26.2, the Holy Grail of marathons.

With Olympian and legendary American marathoner Meb

With Olympian and legendary American marathoner Meb

Marathon Prep

Marathon Prep

Representing Boston Bruins Foundation

Representing Boston Bruins Foundation

Alarm Ready to go Monday

Alarm Ready to go Monday

Friends and family scattered along the course, Chrissy with me the whole way in heart

Friends and family scattered along the course, Chrissy with me the whole way in heart

Body Graffiti pre-race... "Katie" on left leg, "Boston You're My Home" on right. Means more now than ever before

Body Graffiti pre-race… “Katie” on left leg, “Boston You’re My Home” on right. Means more now than ever before

Team Boston Bruins Foundation

Team Boston Bruins Foundation

BBF Girls before heading to the Hopkinton starting line

BBF Girls before heading to the Hopkinton starting line

Runners ready in Hopkinton

Runners ready in Hopkinton

5 start

6 start

7 start

Stephanie and I getting ready to start the 26.2 journey to Boston

Stephanie and I getting ready to start the 26.2 journey to Boston

In awe of what I just did, taking it all in

In awe of what I just did, taking it all in

2:48pm at the Finish Line

2:48pm at the Finish Line

Sun setting on Marathon Monday

Sun setting on Marathon Monday

Boston marathon results
Boston marathon results

Boston marathon results

Tuesday sporting my blue and yellow.

Tuesday sporting my blue and yellow.

My heart is broken right now for my running community, for my city, for Monday’s marathoners, for the amazing family and friends who support runners every day and were there on Monday and are now scarred either physically or emotionally. Another post to follow, for now please keep Boston and all that were affected by Monday’s horrific events in your thoughts and prayers.

The Calm Before The Storm

I’ve said this a lot today, but I will say (ok, type) it again. I’m nervous that I’m not nervous yet. I mean, this is BOSTON we’re talking about. The oldest, most hyped up marathon in the world. And I’m walking around feeling pretty calm…nope, this is not normal. I think I would feel more confident about Monday if I WAS nervous!

The taper is always the hardest part I think because after months of racking up the mileage you are all of the sudden supposed to pull in the reins and take it down a notch. This week was especially hard mentally, as I forced myself to take TWO rest days (I know, I had trouble swallowing that one too).

Sunday was awesome, I ran in a 5k put on by Jess, who is running Boston on Monday too  for the Liver Foundation. I should have known that it would be hilly, it was in Newton for god’s sake (news flash, heartbreak hill town has hills!) I wasn’t totally prepared for it but I pushed pretty hard throughout the race. What really gave me the last .75-.5 mile surge was a woman, who as I came up on her left, said “No way am I letting another GIRL pass me!” I thanked her later for that. I don’t think she took it as a compliment. Either way, it helped me earn first place in my age group, and second female to cross the finish! First time that’s ever happened. I didn’t PR but it was still a great run.

Sun5K

Monday’s sunrise run was the last “Long”-ish run before the marathon. I add the -ish because when you’re long runs have been 16-20 miles, it seems silly to be calling 8 long. But it was a nice relief actually to only have to cover 8.

Favorite running route

Favorite running route– crazy how much a 3 hour difference can make between barren and overpopulated!

Love my river runs

Love my river runs

Tuesday was Rest day and Wednesday was CrossFit day. Wednesday night was the last Boston Bruins Foundation meet up and shopping fun at the South End Athletic Company where we got some pretty sweet  gear. They really take care of their team!

Bruins gear

Thursday I got in an easy 5 miles and today was a whole hour dedicated to mobility and foam rolling (went to CrossFit to do this since I really wanted to get this in and most attempts to do this in my living room result in Bailey thinking “YES playtime!”)

Then I got into work today to find that the best coworkers had done this!!

ptc1

And I got to practice winning too. Seriously Kara and Shalane, watch out, I’m in it to win it.

Might as well just award me the prize money now.

Might as well just award me the prize money now.

Now I’m off to the expo “quick” to grab my number and a jacket (I say quick– check back with me in 4 hours to make sure I’m not drowning in headbands and tshirts and free lara bar samples). Tomorrow I have an easy 3 miles planned with one of my favorite running partners before we go (again) to the expo to take in all things running and running gear and running energy (yes, runners have an “energy”. Sounds very zen).

Stay tuned this weekend for more updates from Boston Marathon land!

26.2Bs

As always, I want you to share! Are you following the Boston marathon this year? Are you running a spring race?? Give me some tips, I love advice!!

21 Great Things About This Weekend’s 21 Miler

Runners are analytical types when it comes to their sports. We track all the numbers; pace, miles, rank, temperatures, etc. I have excel spreadsheets that track training and race pace, weather, how I was feeling that day, what I ate before my run, and even if I ran without music.

So what better way to sum up the last long marathon training run than in list form?

  1. The best way to kick start a running morning is with the morning news and weather (what that’s not normal?) I’m usually a loyal 7news viewer, however they don’t start super early on Saturdays (which is silly, I mean what normal person ISN’T up at 5:30am on a weekend??) so Channel 5 it was. Well thank goodness for the Channel 5 weatherman, whose forecast I saw revolved around Boston Marathoners heading out for their last long run. His slight West North West wind report “with the wind at the backs of those running from Hopkinton to Boston today” was all I needed to hear to calm some of my nerves about what lay ahead.
  2. The Bruins Foundation for hooking up our small but mighty team with another charity team to trek out to Hopkinton with.
  3. The Spaulding Rehab volunteers for welcoming us with open arms at 7am on a Saturday and organizing a bus to get all of us crazies in training out to Hopkinton.
  4. Meeting a new teammate on the Bruins Foundation marathon team, Stephanie. It was nice to have someone to talk out our anxieties with on the ride out to the starting line! And having another person I’ll know during the few hours we’ll be waiting around Athletes Village for our 10am start on 4/15.
  5. My Tinkerbell key-chain  I needed to carry my car key with me since I wasn’t going to be getting back on the bus so I brought the key-chain that my dad bought my sister and I after we ran our first marathon as Tinkerbells. It definitely brought me luck (and I would be lying if said that I wasn’t hoping for some pixie dust to help me fly through that run).

    C'mon Tink, help me up those hills!

    C’mon Tink, help me up those hills!

  6. Arriving in Hopkinton and realizing how big this last long run really is. Driving towards the start and seeing cars lining the sides of the streets, masses of people unloading from buses, and police detail even closing some roadways all for a training run really put it into perspective how big a deal this run was to so many.
  7. The Easter crew. I’m not sure which charity they were running for but their entire team looked like Easter on steroids. There were men in pastel Under Armor with Easter baskets around their waists, women in tights, tutus and bunny ears, and plenty just sporting a cotton tail (well not JUST a cotton tail, they were in running clothes too).
  8. Neon. It was everywhere. Not sure if it’s because a lot of runs take place either before sunrise or after sunset, but runners tend to sport a lot of bright colors. I, of course, had my neon yellow shoes on, but some people’s ensembles looked like my winter jacket from the early 90’s. Saturday’s runway was long, but it was quite the fashion show.

    This is eerily similar to my winter jacket circa 1991

    This is eerily similar to my winter jacket circa 1991

  9. The weather. Despite it not feeling like we were a few days into spring, it was still dry and sunny which made for a fantastic 35 degrees. It was chilly in Hopkinton when we were standing around waiting to get going, but once we were out there with only a slight breeze at our backs (just like Mr. Channel 5 said!) the weather was close enough to perfect.
  10. The Irish Pub Rock Radio station on Pandora. Last weekend I had a not so great run and I was blaring Pandora’s “Workout Pop Hits Radio”. Every word that Pit Bull rhymed made me nauseous. The second I turned him off and switched to some Riverdance tunes the run was instantly better. So I kept with that momentum for this last long run and rocked out to Dropkicks and 12 different versions of “Finnegan’s wake”. It was great.
  11. The camaraderie. There is something special about the running community that only runners can understand. While many (including myself) were excited about the day’s run, I doubt anyone was thinking “21 mile run, BEST DAY EVER!!” In fact there were a lot of people who could’ve rambled off a million things they’d rather be doing. But once everyone started and was out on the course with hundreds of other runners, those complaints and stressors faded into the background. I normally am a solo runner however Saturday made me realize why so many people run in a pack. It mimicked race day in that I had my eye on someone and made it my goal to stick with them. Knowing there were so many out there doing the same thing helped me keep my pace relatively steady and my energy higher than usual. At mile 17 when the hills started to really hit, it helped to have people in front and behind me to give me that mental push. And in the last mile, seeing people make the final push (even though it was all uphill!) inspired me not to slow down.
  12. The Bruins Foundation interns. Kelsey, Julie, and Diane showed up in their Bruins gear and with their foam fingers bright and early to cheer us on and make sure we were all good. Now, I don’t know about you, but when I was in college I think the last thing I would’ve wanted to do at 7am on a Saturday was stand on the side of the road in March with a foam finger and a smile and cheer for people crazy enough to run 21 miles for fun. Seeing them at mile 9 and 17 (cheering as I approached) was a great mini pick me up to know there were people checking up on us, and you know, making sure we didn’t die.
  13. The police officers on duty Saturday morning. Not only were there cones out turning two lane roads into one, but the cops out directing traffic made sure that runners had the right of way, which really came in handy crossing some busy intersections and the 128 on-ramps. And all this for a training run! I made sure to say “thank you” to every police officer I passed, because not having to stop at every stoplight, on-ramp, and side street makes a big difference when you’re not sure your knees or calves will let you start back up again.
  14. The residents of Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, and Newton. There were two kinds of town residents out that day. The first were my favorite, the ones beeping and cheering and hanging out their car windows waving at all the runners. These were also the ones who set up water tables on their front lawns or brought their kids out on the steps to watch. The other kind were the slightly annoyed drivers who all they wanted to do was get from dance class to the grocery store to home in less than 6 hours and while us runners were trying their patience making this task difficult, none of them beeped in anger, flipped me off, or ran me over so for that I am grateful!
  15. All of the fuel table volunteers. The amount of non-runners that came out Saturday to help everyone as we cruised our way to Boston was incredible. Every charity had rounded up their troops to provide water, Gatorade, candy, Gu, pretzels, icepacks, and most importantly encouraging words. Even people not associated with the teams were offering aid. Lulu lemon had a team out with awesome signs, cowbells, and cheers and the Girl Scouts were offering water and jelly beans (although I felt a little jipped that they didn’t have any Thin Mints on hand to help get me through).
  16. Heartbreak Hill Running Company’s Gorilla . I’ve seen him in pictures with tons of different runners throughout this training season and was so excited to be able to finally get my pic with him! (Side note: I was wearing my “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” sweatshirt on Saturday and was forced to kiss the gorilla.)

    Mile 20!

    Mile 20!

  17. The feeling of “wow, I can actually do this”. That feeling came right about the time I was in an uphill battle (literally!) with either the 2nd or 3rd hill in the lovely Newton series.  I suddenly became aware that in a few weeks I would only have to go another 6 miles and I would have completed the Boston marathon. Just that thought quickened my pace about 15seconds/mi and pulled me right up that hill.
  18. The Church at Boston College. At the top of Heartbreak Hill on your right is the church at BC. It looks like a giant castle and on Saturday that castle was my finish line. It’s beautiful and was a great landmark to finish at. (I didn’t take a pic, I think I was slightly dehydrated and delusional at that point.)
  19. The finish (of 21). The Girl Scouts were back, and were full of cheers and signs of “WELCOME TO MILE 21!” It was so cool to look around at other people finishing and know that you all were officially in taper mode now!
  20. My brother with an enormous bottle of Smart Water. The benefit to my brother attending Boston College is that I was able to call him and mutter the words “water….water..” and he delivered. Well, not actually delivered, he made me walk to his dorm which was UPHILL (gahhh more hills!) but when I got there the 33oz of H2O never tasted so good.
  21. Getting my Boston Marathon Passport in the mail afterwards. I’ve already read every bit of collateral they’ve sent me, cover to cover. Twice.

marathon number

And now we taper…

 

I WANNA KNOW: What was your favorite part of your weekend? Did you run far too? Do you like reading things in list form?

Zumba-what?!?

Back in January I had the pleasure of meeting some of the wicked cool people (note the wicked—this is Boston people) who are crazy like me and also running the Boston marathon in support of the Boston Bruins Foundation. Erin, the manager of the foundation, was chatting with us about fundraising ideas and mentioned that if we were interested she knew of a few Zumba instructors who were willing to donate their time to host a Zumbathon. Ok—first two thoughts were:

  1. A Mara-thon implies running for a long time. So does this means we would be Zumba-ing (real word?) for a long time?
  2. Does this mean I need to find out what Zumba is?

So it was comforting to find out that Shannon, another Bruins foundation runner, had also never done Zumba but she was more than willing to make a fool out of herself with me if I was up for it. And so next Saturday, we are Zumba-ing…for a long time. Dare I say I’m actually pretty excited about it? I may or may not have googled zumba tips to prep (see some here http://www.livestrong.com/article/68322-beginning-zumba-tips/)

I imagine this being what I'm in for...

I imagine this being what I’m in for…

 

We are so lucky to have Boston’s own Ali Baldassare (you can check out her website here alibaldassare.com) helping us out. If you live in the Boston area and either A) Love Zumba, B) Would love to help out a terrific cause, and/or C)Would love to watch me make a spastic and uncoordinated attempt at Zumba,  tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. You can see all the details (time, place, etc.) and buy your ticket in advance by clicking HERE and choose your ticket next to the person you know (there are 3 of us hosting this great event—if you’re reading my blog I’m going to take a wild guess and say you know me somehow, even if just through the lovely world wide web). If you can’t make it or don’t live around here, you can still donate to support my goal for the Boston marathon by clicking HERE

I really hope you can make it. Even if I’m 17 steps behind everyone else or look like I’m doing the Carlton at least I’ll know I’m in good company (and supporting a great cause).

Thank you Emily, at least I know I won't be alone :)

Thank you Emily, at least I know I won’t be alone🙂

 

I WANT TO KNOW: Have you ever done Zumba? If so, is Neon required? If not, are you as confused by it as I seem to be?🙂

Finding Sidewalks after Finding Nemo

So Nemo happened. On Thursday night everyone and their brother seemed to be having a panic attack. Most of the world’s panic stemmed from figuring out how to ration their 17 loaves of bread to last until Sunday. Would 8 RedBox movies be enough (true story, I saw that happen)? How can they be out of Cheetos?!?

milk and bread outage

Mine was more DPW focused. How fast would the plows get out on the roads? Would local businesses adhere to the 6hr rule and shovel their sidewalks? Should I get a Boston Sports Club membership for a day just in case of a treadmill emergency?

To help ease some of this anxiety, I headed to CrossFit on Friday morning for the 6am party. At least if Nemo swallowed all the roads up over the next 36 hours I would have gotten some quality back squatting in. The plan was also to get in 4-6 miles around lunch time before the snow really started to come down, but after a good 1:1 with Coach B that morning, I decided not to beat up my body out of a fear of what if it snows and the roads disappear forever.

And so it begins...

And so it begins…

I had already planned on pushing out the usual Saturday long run to Sunday since my dependable weathermen from Channel 7 said that venturing outside was not a smart decision. So Saturday was spent sleeping in (til 8am!!), baking unhealthy things (just because I happened to have the ingredients), snow shoveling out our cars, and having a few beers to celebrate all our serious hard work..

So it snowed?

So it snowed?

Snow Forts! Memories! Can I play?

Snow Forts! Memories! Can I play?

Shoveling rewards nicely

Shoveling rewards nicely

From seeing what the roads looked like on the news (because during a snow storm there is news coverage ALL. Day. Long.) and from what I could see right around our apartment on Saturday, I knew Sunday’s planned mileage probably wasn’t going to happen.  I wanted to get in 17. I decided to just shoot for 10. Seeing as though I had no clue what the rest of the city really looked like I decided when I ventured out down my what seemed to be unplowed street, I would do at least 6 and see how it goes from there.

Well, I’m surprised I didn’t throw in the towel after the first mile. I headed up to Broadway and there were zero sidewalks. None. And the street was slush. Awesome.

At mile .5 I took a left and in an attempt to get onto the makeshift sidewalk, I slipped and fell. Nothing serious, I bounced right back up, but it was enough to mess with my head for a bit.

At around mile 3 there was a group of runners all finishing up at the Tufts gym and some had BAA jackets on. Head, thank you for returning to the game. Knowing there were other Boston bound or Boston been-theres out running in this mess was enough to help me make a mental comeback.

From there it was a decent run. Sidewalks were few and far between. However, anyone getting anywhere this morning was walking in the street and the cars that were out were going slowly due to the amount of foot traffic in the streets. A majority of the run felt like I was in a winter wonderland obstacle course, with most sidewalks being treated like an agility ladder to keep my footing and the leaps necessary to get over the slush oceans separating the crosswalk from the curb. But it was also fun to be able to see the aftermath of the storm in all different parts of the city.

Oh Mass Ave, you haven't met my friend The Plow? Awesome.

Oh Mass Ave, you haven’t met my friend The Plow? Awesome.

Davis Square looking nice and clear (and completely blocked off to any thru traffic which made my life a million times easier :)

Davis Square looking nice and clear (and completely blocked off to any thru traffic which made my life a million times easier🙂

Final mile down a side street that seemed to just be waking up to discover it snowed..

Final mile down a side street that seemed to just be waking up to discover it snowed..

In the end, I got in 10 up and down miles. They were by no means pretty but it felt good to be outside moving. It helped that the sun was shining and temps had increased about 15 degrees since the overnight 7 degrees we were holding down.

Now you go: What do you do when the weather interferes with your workout? Did you also have to deal with Nemo? Anyone break out the board games?