Becky Runs Boston

My adventures running in Boston, searching for that runner's chai.


1 Comment

The New Plan

One year ago today, I began my training for the Boston Marathon. Since running the marathon in April, I’ve been trying to figure out what’s next. I knew that running the Boston Marathon was not on my to-do-again list (at least, not right now) but I wanted something to work towards this winter. My friend Courtney and I have been saying for years that we want to run an ultra-marathon before we turn 30 in May 2016, but I’ve spent the last few months feeling like that wasn’t in the cards for me. So, what do I do?

On October 19th, I received an email from Race Cancer about a new half marathon – the Howling Wolf Half Marathon – taking place at the Stone Zoo (aka in my neighborhood, on my usual running routes). Price: $45. Date of Race: November 15. The location and price mattered more to me than the timing, so I signed up, even though it was LESS THAN A MONTH AWAY and I had not trained. That weekend I ran 8.5 miles. I did my usual strength training 2x a week and went for my usual short runs during the week… and didn’t do another long run in preparation for the half marathon. Whoops. Even still, I managed to get through the half marathon — even with the crazy Malden hills and a LOT of knee pain — in 2:20:16. That, my friends, is a pretty standard half-marathon time for me… when I’ve trained for it. It’s actually faster than 4 of my half marathons. Clearly, all that strength training is making a difference!

Goal: To take a decent picture during a race. 

This past Sunday, a friend was over watching football with Eric and he asked what my next race was… and for once I didn’t have a single race scheduled. Even though I’ve been taking it easy since April, I at least had 5Ks on my mind and on my calendar. His question was enough of a spark that I started looking into spring half marathons, and in the past 48 hours I’ve signed up for not just one, but two races.

Half at the Hamptons – March 6

This is my most favorite place to run, and where I’ve achieved my two fastest times. Granted, I usually run the Smuttynose Rockfest in Hampton in October, but I missed it this year. My goal is to get under 2 hours, which means cutting 5 minutes off my fastest time of 2:04:20.

Eastern States 20 Miler – March 26

Yes, you read that right – 20 miler! I’m not ready to sign myself up for a full marathon, but to give myself something to really work towards, I just signed up for this awesome race that starts in Maine and runs south through New Hampshire into Massachusetts – 3 states! AND it ends in Hampton, NH (see above how Hampton is my favorite place to run). While I’m not putting too much pressure on myself with a goal for this one, it would be awesome to finish in around 3:30.

I’m so excited to really train for these races. And, I’m excited to stay focused on the nutrition side of things, too. While training for the marathon last year, I let my nutrition slide into the backseat. This winter, I’m determined to stay on track and achieve my racing and nutrition goals.

Happy December 1st!

 

Advertisements


1 Comment

Secret Strength Training

I know you all probably don’t believe this, but the silence emanating from the blog isn’t because I’ve stopped running and have taken on a new hobby of being a lazy blob. I swear that’s not the case. Instead, I’ve been trying something new and I wanted to turn it into more of a habit before screaming it from the rooftops via Runners Chai Life. I’m finally ready.

I. AM. STRENGTH. TRAINING.

Yeah yeah yeah, I know. I did that whole trainer-thing while I was training for the Boston Marathon, but that was 30 minutes a week and I didn’t do it on my own for the most part and afterwards, I had learned nothing. This time, it’s more serious. I’m doing strength training 2x each week for 45-60 minutes. Sometimes 3x. And I’m LOVING it.

Do I feel stronger? Eh, not yet. But after 3 weeks of no running due to vacation and post-vacation, I went out on Monday for a 4.5 mile run and felt great… minus a weird knee thing that we’re going to pretend was just due to the time off. But, had there not been the weird knee thing, I could have kept going.

So what’s the secret to my new found interest? Two things:

0600 Conditioning – I stumbled on 0600 Conditioning randomly while out on a run. Turns out, this awesome bootcamp is just a block from my house. As I ran by, I noticed the lights and the women inside working out. A woman outside (Tara, the bootcamp leader) said hello and I decided to walk over and find out what was going on. I awkwardly peeked in the room and asked Tara a few questions and promised to check out the $20/2 Week beginners special. Since then, I’ve had a great time working out in a group. Tara is amazing – she is a petite, strong, ultramarathon runner… who lost 35lbs through Weight Watchers. Basically, I want to be her. Tuesday morning classes consist of lots of full-body strength workouts, and recently, we’ve been focusing on big lifts, too.

Exercise Pee Wee Herman animated GIF

This is pretty much where I’m at…

Staci Weber, Personal Trainer – Staci is a friend of my good friend Julia and she is AWESOME. Not only is she fun to work out with, but she’s affordable. Staci offers personal and group sessions around the Boston area. On Thursday mornings, I meet up with Staci for 1:1 sessions at a public park near Back Bay Station. Easy location for me since it’s on the Orange Line. Every week, she comes up with some new set of WODs (Workout of the Day) for me to complete. Today involved jumping rope, jump squats, burpees, and climbing a jungle gym.

Bands2

Modeling how to use a band during a 1:1 session with Staci. I have a feeling my modeling career will be short-lived.

Bands3

Another shot from my 1:1 session with Staci. Not only am I modeling the band, but I’m also clearly a rep for the Boston Marathon (note: hat and jacket).

So where does running fit in my Tuesday/Thursday strength training program? I’m still figuring that out. Wednesdays are rest days because I don’t get home from my Tuesday night class until 10:15pm (and then it takes almost an hour for my brain to wind down from the very long day!) so sleeping in on Wednesday is a must. Mondays and Fridays are good mornings for runs. The Marathon Sports in Melrose hosts Saturday morning runs, which have been fun but I’ve had a hard time getting to them in the last month due to vacation and work. The group usually tackles 3-5 miles on the roads and sometimes on the trails, and I usually run the 1 mile from my house to the store, totaling 5-7 mile runs for me! But, truth is, I need to do a better job of getting in that weekend long run. Now that it’s football season and we do a better job of being home and not making ourselves crazy with plans all weekend, I think it’ll get easier to get those long runs in.

I will end this post with a photo of my #OOTD (Outfit of the Day) – I randomly pulled these socks out of the drawer when I realized I hadn’t packed any in my gym bag and managed to pull off a nicely matching puppy-themed ensemble. Happy Thursday!

Puppy OOTD

#OOTD #AllThePuppies


5 Comments

Time Flies and ALL The Updates

It feels like I blinked my eyes and WHOOSH it’s July. How’d that happen?

Not gonna lie, things have been pretty busy. And I have LOTS of exciting updates.

Looks like my last post was May 6th, so let’s discuss things chronologically…

May 6th – Eric went to an Open House for a first floor condo in Malden that had awful pictures. I was unimpressed with the pictures. He came home and suggested I see it in person on Saturday.

May 7th – Ran a 5K with some coworkers and did decent (28:00)

May 9th – Ran the Playworks 5K Run for Recess (a 5K hosted by Sister’s previous employer and an organization she remains very involved in) and did ok considering it was my second 5K race in 3 days (My time of 27:06 might fool you to think that I’m super speedy. Instead, the course was just under 3 miles).

As soon as the 5K was over, Sister and I raced (/drove speedily) to the Open House in Malden for me to check it out. Eric was golfing and our Realtor could only see the house at the beginning of the Open House time slot, so the three of us saw it separately. I remained unimpressed. It had lots of space and was in an AWESOME location, but the interior was gross and I couldn’t look past the awful dark green paint job.

May 10th – Eric and I went to a few other Open Houses in Waltham and Roslindale. As we drove back to our apartment, it became abundantly clear that living that far West of Boston was not a viable option for my commute. We talked to our Realtor that night and he agreed with Eric that the Malden house had a lot of potential. Yes, the yard and the fact that it is basically INSIDE the Fells is awesome. Yes, the 0.3 mile commute to the T station is awesome. Yes, it’s a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo with a 700 sq ft unfinished basement that would give us SO much extra storage and living space. See where I’m going here? They swayed me.

May 11th – MY BIRTHDAY! Aka a crazy morning that involved us putting in an offer on the Malden house… and having it accepted! We bought a house for my birthday. No biggie!

The next 10 days were filled with signing papers, calling loan officers and lawyers, and trying to not lose our minds. Lots of negotiations, an appraisal that didn’t work out in our favor at first but then ended up working out great, and having to restrain myself from buying lots of new fun things for a house that we didn’t quite own yet.

May 22nd – WE GOT ENGAGED! ‘Nuff said, right? OK fine – Eric proposed via a painting he commissioned from an artist in the Boston area and the ring is absolutely gorgeous. He timed it perfectly – we were headed to the beach with his family for the weekend and my mom was scheduled to come to Boston the week after for Sister’s graduation. I’m so freaking head over heels for this guy and even though it’s felt official for years (we’re almost to the 5 year mark!), now it’s official-official.

IMG_4029

This is a painting of a picture we took in a JetBlue photo booth at Boston Calling (Memorial Weekend 2013). Eric didn’t realize it at the time, but he proposed exactly two years later (Memorial Weekend 2015).

IMG_4051

Enjoying Memorial Day Weekend with my FIANCE!

May 28th – 30th – Sister graduated from Harvard. She’s the smartest. Mom was in town and we celebrated all the things with lots of delicious food! And Eric’s Mama and my mom got to meet for the first time!

IMG_4060

Post-Celebratory Graduation Dinner

IMG_4065

The Family!

June 6th – 14th – We celebrated the wedding of our great friends Sal and Katie. My Aunt Jamie and Uncle George and his sister Mary came to Boston and we had a great visit with them. And I ran my worst half marathon (perhaps more on this later – for now, it was hot and super hilly and my body still hasn’t bounced back from the marathon).

IMG_4082 IMG_4100June 15th – WE CLOSED ON OUR HOUSE! We’re freaking homeowners. Engaged homeowners, no less. Could we *be* anymore adult? (Cue the Chandler from Friends accent) (I’ve been watching a lot of Friends lately)

IMG_4189

We own (half of) that house!!

Chandler Bing Could I Be - Could we *be* anymore adult?June 19th – 21st – The most epic weekend of house painting ever in the history of… house painting. We spent about 30 hours fixing up the horrendous paint job in the house. HUGE thanks to the friends and family who joined us for this epic party (and additional shout-outs to the “90s Summer Hits” Pandora station and Not Your Father’s Root Beer Ale). What’s funny is that although I hated the dark green, we ended up picking a lighter green for the kitchen/living space.

Before - oh so dark!

Before – oh so dark!

MUCH brighter - and no, we didn't paint the door that color. And no, it's not the same color as the wall - it's a way uglier green that will be fixed!

MUCH brighter – and no, we didn’t paint the door that color. And no, it’s not the same color as the wall – it’s a way uglier green that will be fixed!

June 27th – MOVING DAY! While I was sad to say goodbye to Somerville and its abundant restaurants and bars and Red Line access, I’m feeling pretty confident that in a few years Malden is going to be just as hip!

July 2nd – 5th – Friendcation 2015 in Asheville, North Carolina with some great friends. Even though it was much cooler and more overcast than expected, we still had a blast checking out the breweries, eating delicious biscuits and grits, and tubing down the French Broad River. We also did some antiquing (and acquired a fabulous vintage mirror to hang in the entryway of our NEW HOUSE!) and some hiking. All in all, a solid weekend getaway where we got to relax and not think about house stuff for a few days.

Thanks Whitney for letting me steal this Instagram photo!

And this one!

Now? Thankfully we’re home and without plans for the next two weekends which means we’ll have lots of free time to finish up some painting, unpack the rest of the boxes, begin to decorate, and enjoy our new home. On a random night last week, Eric and I went for a quick hike (did I mention that we live approximately 5 feet from a trail that leads to the Fells? Yes, this is why we bought the house). Within less than 10 minutes, we were out of our neighborhood, in the Fells, with beautiful views of the Boston skyline. Now that things are a little quieter, I’m so excited to begin to relax and enjoy what the summer holds for us – lots of grilling, sitting outside, hiking in our backyard, running the insane Malden hills, and reveling in our engagement and home ownership!

IMG_4125Any tips for this new homeowner? Tell me in the comments!


Leave a comment

28 While 28 – Year in Review

It’s my birthday!  When I turned 28, I made myself a hefty list of goals for the year. Now that the year is over, how much did I actually accomplish?

1. Get a Boston Marathon bib for the 2015 Boston Marathon. Yup!

2. Run my first marathon. Yup!

3. Run 6 half marathons. Check! I ran 5 official half marathons (June, July, August, October, March) and one unofficial half marathon in February.

4. PR in one of those half marathons New PR is 2:04:20. Next goal is to get under 2:00!

5. ACTUALLY begin doing yoga regularly again. Not quite – I was doing yoga regularly for a few months last summer/early fall, and haven’t gone back since spraining my ankle. Maybe I’ll go tomorrow morning?

6. Eat clean(er). I think I am a bit more conscious of the ingredients in the foods I buy.

7. Quit that coffee habit  True for the majority of the year, but I started drinking coffee regularly again a couple months ago. I ❤ coffee, but I’m going to try again to get back to not needing it on a regular basis.

8. Make our new house a home. I have officially lived somewhere for more than a year. It’s been 5 years since I’ve been able to say that. Of course, we’re now considering our next big move… but at least I finally broke the ‘move every year’ cycle!

9. Check out November Project on a Wednesday morning. Again, I was doing NP regularly for a few months last summer, but stopped when I sprained my ankle. It was a lot of fun, and I definitely plan on making it a part of my regular routine again. While I’m not quite ready to make a verbal for Wednesday, maybe I’ll go this week.

10. Get back to my goal weight… and stay there. Not quite, but I continue to work on it.

11. Officially apply to the Harvard Extension School’s Master of Liberal Arts program. Yup! I’m a grad student… again! And I’m even halfway through the coursework for my Masters in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Visual Arts.

12. Get 200 followers for my blog – I’m currently at 50! I have 86 followers via wordpress and email. My most recent post about the Boston Marathon had 187 views though!

13. Hike the Alps. Yup!

14. Run a sub-25 minute 5K (my PR is 26:17). Not yet! My sprained ankle took away some of my speed, but getting faster is one of my goals for the next year. I’m planning on running as many 5Ks as possible this year!

15. Plan my next Ragnar Relay. Not yet! Ragnar is so much fun, but it’s also a LOT of work to plan!! Anyone want to plan one for me?

16. Pay off those credit cards. Yup!

17. Check out Brooklyn Boulders in Somerville and (maybe) start rock-climbing again. Not yet! Maybe this summer?

18. Find a place to volunteer 1x a month. With all the time I spent fundraising for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society the last six months, there wasn’t much time for volunteering in other ways. Even though the Boston Marathon is over, I’m planning on staying involved and helping the organization in other ways – and am currently putting together a potential team of runners based at Harvard who are training this summer for races in the fall!

19. Spend more time with family Having my sister less than a half mile away this past year was AMAZING. Now that she’s moving to the other side of the city, and starting a job not in Harvard Square, I probably won’t get to see her as much (or stop in during her shifts at the library two blocks away to say hi). BUT at least she’s still in the Boston area! Mom is coming out to Boston in a few weeks for some fun celebrations, and then we’re taking another family trip to Chicago in September.

20. Talk to friends more often. I think I’ve been better at this? It may just be having  a random text conversation in the middle of a busy day, 48 hours of phone tag followed by a 30 minute catch up, or a few emails back and forth, but I think it’s improvement!

21. Blog at least once each week. Poor blog, I’ve been too busy for you. I’ll try to neglect you less.

22. Try acupuncture. Yes! My first acupuncturist was SUPER talkative and I did not enjoy her very much. However, I found another acupuncturist based at Harvard who is FANTASTIC. However, he’s also expensive. I did a few sessions with him the last month before the marathon and my ankle has been feeling really good (and less sore) since!

23. Keep a plant alive… without Eric’s help. My thumb is still black. Eric is the gardener of the family. I got a little flower as a Bridal Shower gift and it died while we were on a long-weekend-vacation. Eric magically brought it back to life, and it’s even got a new blooming flower. He’s in charge of the houseplants.

24. Cook 28 new foods/dishes. I wish I had kept better track of this, but we definitely cooked a lot more this past year than the year prior. I think that we ordered food in more often when we lived in Braintree because we didn’t have any markets close enough to stop in at on our way home. Living in Somerville, I can stop at the grocery store at Porter Square on my way home and pick up a few ingredients and then cook something quick and easy. Last night, I made some Tequila Lime Shrimp that were very tasty.

25. 28 days of running at least a mile every day. I actually tried this twice in the last year. During the summer, I got pretty close (missed just a few days). Then I did another challenge during the month of January where I had to run OR walk a mile every day – and I only really missed one day (I was very sick!). Luckily, I walk at least a mile just to get to work, so that aspect of the challenge made it a bit easier. AND I got a Winter Warrior shirt for completing the challenge, so that’s pretty cool.

26. Find a stranger in a bookstore and get a book recommendation. I get a big F- in the reading department. I’ve had no time, and by the time I realize I should go to bed, it’s too late to read before sleeping. If things work out with this possible new move, I’ll be spending  a little (not a lot) more time on the T – and maybe I’ll start reading again!

27. Plan the next big trip. We’re going to COSTA RICA! I just bought a travel book last week and I can’t wait to start planning the trip. We actually bought the plane tickets months ago – for the very reasonable price of $400 roundtrip (yay Jetblue! Yay rainy season!). Now it’s time to start planning!

28. Ok, let’s be honest. I don’t want to just run the Boston Marathon. I want to DOMINATE the Boston Marathon. I want to work and train hard for it so that when the big day comes, I feel good and positive and confident. I want to remember the day as one of my greatest accomplishments, one of the best days of my life. This one hurts a little, but it’s getting better. Just last week, someone asked how it went and without thinking, I said “It was good!” – even with a little bit of enthusiasm.

Overall, 28 was a good year. We moved back to Somerville; I got promoted; I traveled to Michigan, Switzerland, Italy, North Carolina, California, and the Cayman Islands; we celebrated weddings, baby showers, and births; and I ran the freaking Boston Marathon. How is 29 going to top this? Well… there’s already been some developments that indicate 29 is going to be GREAT! Later this week I’ll be posting my goals for this year! Stay tuned!


10 Comments

Race Recap: 2015 Boston Marathon

photo 1 (3) photo 5 (3)

This post took days/a week to write as I processed my feelings/emotions about the day. I hoped that as time passed, I’d feel better about my experience, but to be completely honest, I had a bad race. You can do everything right and everything in your power to feel good and do well, but sometimes there are just bad races, and unfortunately, mine happened to be the biggest race of my life. My boss’s boss said it the best: You train six months for 1 day, and there’s no way to know if it’s going to go as you’ve planned.

The week leading up to the Marathon was great. The forecast was looking ok, I got over my cold, and I was feeling pretty good. I was feeling ready. My friends arrived on Friday night, I got good amounts of sleep, ate well, relaxed, and had fun. The weather forecast began to look less great.

photo 2 (8)

My awesome spectators ❤ Just missing CC and Clara’s photos!

 

Before the Marathon:

photo 1

Part of the team at Boylston, waiting to get on the bus to Hopkinton.

I felt incredibly calm Monday morning. Slept pretty decently the night before, felt rested. Got dressed, ate some breakfast, and Eric drove me to Davis Sq where I got the T to Park Street. I found my team and as we chatted while waiting for the buses, my nerves began to wear off and I actually began to get excited. On the bus ride to Hopkinton, I snoozed a little bit (obviously). The Athlete’s Village was amazing – enormous, filled with runners wearing ridiculous throw-away outfits, garbage bags, and ponchos. We even wore baggies over our shoes to keep them dry. I found my team, sat around, took a trip to the Porta-Potty, and continued to feel calm and happy. When they called out Wave 4, we stripped off some layers, donated some of the throwaway clothing, and headed to our corrals. The rain held off until we were headed to the corrals, thank goodness, because sitting in the rain would have been much worse than walking to the start line in it. I knew it was going to be a wet run, so it wasn’t unexpected as we were getting ready to run. We got packed in like sardines, quickly threw off the last of my throwaway gear – a $3 Target sweatshirt and plastic poncho – and then we were running.

photo 2 photo 3

photo 4

Miles 1-6:

The first few miles were incredible. The rain didn’t bother me, I felt warm enough. My legs felt good. I was running a slow, comfortable pace around 11 minutes. I saw my teammates and let them pass me, knowing that I was staying slow and steady. I let myself take it all in, listen to the crowds, and was having a great time. I knew that my friends Kim and Erin would be around Mile 2, so I kept my eyes peeled for them. When I saw them, I yelled out and gave them hugs (sorry they were such wet hugs!!) and continued on my happy way. We ran through Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham…. I ran past the Framingham Train Depot and the 10K marker.

Miles 7-13.1:

The second quarter or so took me through the rest of Framingham and into Natick. We crossed Speen Street and hit the 15K mark. I still felt decent and excitedly ran under some photographers positioned over the 15K marker (this is the best photo of me from the day… more on this later…). Ran through Natick center and towards Wellesley College. This stretch of the Marathon is renowned for the screaming Wellesley students that can be heard a mile away. These ladies were fierce and had so much energy. They also had some of the best signs listing out reasons why runners should give them kisses (“Kiss Me, I’m graduating!” “Kiss Me, I left the library for this!” “Kiss Me, I’m wet!”… That last one made me giggle for the next half mile). After Wellesley, I ran through the half marathon point… and immediately felt the need to walk. All of a sudden, my legs were so sore and so tired… and I was only half way done.

Miles 13.1-17:

Oh goodness were these miles tough. My next check point after the half marathon was Mile 15 at the Wellesley Community Center. I continued walking on and off, and began to feel a blister forming on the side of my ankle where my sock was rubbing. Luckily, right before I hit the Wellesley Community Center, a bunch of elderly women were passing out sticks with Vaseline on them! I grabbed one, stopped, and slathered it all over my ankles – which kept me blister free the rest of the race. I ran another hundred or so steps to the Wellesley Community Center and tried to stretch my legs out and get them back for the next 10+ miles, but they weren’t having it. After I passed the WCC, I began texting Sarah and Eric to get a sense of where they were – hoping they were close. My wonderful friend Jess had offered to drive them to a couple different spots so they could see me run by – and they were waiting for me just past Mile 17. I did my best to run to them, walking a bit as I crossed the bridge over 95 and ran by Newton Wellesley Hospital. Eventually, I was on the lookout for them and ran slowly so they wouldn’t see me walking. And then there they were. And I was so happy! Until they reminded me I needed to keep running…

photo 3 (3) photo 4 (3)

Miles 17-24:

And then I was in the Newton Hills. I’ve never been one who hated running hills. I like the rolling up and down. But after the extreme downhill from Hopkinton, and the overall exhaustion I was feeling, my legs weren’t having it. I began to walk again, until I saw my teammate Cassie. Rather than let her pass me, I decided to try and run with her for as long as possible. She and I had struggled through the Newton Hills during our 20 miler, so I knew we were probably going to be tackling them at a similar pace. After the first hill, and maybe midway through the second one (of 4), I began to walk and let her go on without me. My Coach Andy found me soon after, and we walked/ran together while he tried to diagnose what was going on. I was eating right, I was hydrating right, I started out SLOW, but my body just wasn’t interested in performing. He gave me a pep talk, and sent me on my way to tackle Heartbreak. Regardless of how shitty I was feeling and how much pain I was in, I decided that I was going to run up Heartbreak and not stop. And I did. And that was a great accomplishment. But then my IT Band gave up. And it felt like a spear was jabbing into the side of my knee after running more than a few steps. This was the beginning of the #SoloShuffle, which I continued to do until the finish line.

photo 4 (2)As I headed towards Boston College, I was surrounded by college students again. Again, the energy (the drunken energy?) was fierce. They were screaming my name, cheering me on with all their power, and I couldn’t handle it. I saw my friends again (minus Eric who was racing to the finish line) and all the emotions started to bubble up. As soon as I said goodbye to them, I was crying. My friend Julia sent me a text to give me her location, and as I began to respond to tell her I was nearing her old apartment just past BC, my phone turned off. My hands were so cold and wet that I didn’t want to take my phone out of its plastic baggie, so I just kept running and figured I’d see her. With all the emotional crazy, I think I read her text as Cleveland Circle, when in fact she was at Coolidge Corner (let’s be honest, I get them confused in real life, too), and when I didn’t see her at the first one, I got extra emotional thinking I’d missed her. I continued the #SoloShuffle and combined it with the ugly sobbing (if you want to see some hilarious/unfortunate race photos, please feel free to check mine out).

JuliaHugAnd then I heard someone screaming my name and running towards me in a pink rain jacket – JULIA! This was the most emotional moment – I was at mile 24 or so, in horrendous pain, and an emotional basket case – I don’t know if I was crying because I was in pain, or because I was having a shitty race, or because I had put in all this work for 6 months and was not doing as well as expected – but some of it was definitely thinking about Granny. In the weeks leading up to the Marathon, our coaches reminded us over and over that we needed to remember why we were running and who we were running for. So, I also sobbed thinking about how much I missed Granny and Poppies, and that no amount of training or running would bring them back.

 

Miles 24-26.2:

After a sobbing hug from JKP, I kept up with the #SoloShuffle. I shuffled through Kenmore, through the tunnel, and all of a sudden, I was turning right on Hereford, and left on Boylston. There was no more #SoloShuffle as I headed towards the finish line. Once I was on Boylston, there was only running (albeit, slow running). I saw Eric on my right screaming my name and blowing me kisses – luckily I had the strength to blow him some back. Then I saw him RUNNING down the sidewalk to meet me past the finish line. I think I may have blacked out at the Finish Line because I have no memory of crossing it. Apparently they said my name and that I’m from Somerville.

photo 2 (2)

Crossing the finish line.

photo 3 (4)  photo 4 (4) photo 2 (4)

Post Race:

photo 3 (2)Once I had passed the line, I saw Sarah, other Eric, and Elizabeth. I think they were cheering for me and taking pictures and asking me questions, but all I wanted was to get my medal and my foil blanket. They were so great and didn’t even seem to mind that I had no interest in chatting. Maybe I gave them hugs? All I remember is walking down the Finish chute for blocks before getting my medal and blanket. Eventually, I was able to turn right off of Boylston towards the family meeting area, where Eric was waiting for me. As soon as his arms were around me in a hug, I was sobbing again. When I was done crying for the umpteenth time, we walked (I hobbled) to our Team’s meeting area in the Boston Park Plaza, another few blocks away.

photo 1 (2)

Monday night ice bath, featuring three 5-lb bags of ice.

The hotel was filled to the brim with happy runners who had showered and changed and were enjoying their congratulatory beers. Once I finished taking a shower and getting into dry, warm clothing, I began to feel like myself again. Sarah and other Eric’s flight got delayed to Tuesday, so we headed back to Somerville where I ate a bowl of delicious fries and an enormous burger topped with onion rings… and a beer.

 

 

Final Thoughts:

After a week of processing, there are a few things I know to be true:

1. I’m glad I did this. I’m glad I applied to be a part of the LLS Team; I’m glad I chose to honor the 5th anniversary of Granny’s death this way; I’m glad I dedicated the last 6 months to training and fundraising almost $10,000 for LLS.

2. I’m proud of myself. I’m proud of 6 months of balancing what felt like a second full-time job; I’m proud of all the early Saturday mornings I spent running outside in the worst Boston winter of recent history; I’m proud of myself for finishing my first marathon.

3. I will run another marathon. In the first few days after the Marathon, I said that not only would I not run Boston again, but that I wouldn’t run any other marathon, ever. A week out, I know that I’m a better athlete and runner than what showed up in Hopkinton last week and I want to prove it to myself by running another marathon in under 5 hours. I still don’t think I will run Boston again. The day is so special and meaningful, and I think I would rather support other runners by volunteering during the day along the route or just by cheering on my former teammates (who already plan on running again next year).

I am so thankful for this experience. I am thankful for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society who do such an amazing job supporting 100+ runners in their training and fundraising. I’m thankful for my two coaches Andy and Sarad who helped me transition from a half-marathon runner to a marathon runner. I’m thankful for my amazing teammates whose stories and mission moments kept me going when the winter felt like it would never end or when I needed a reminder of our mutual goal to end blood cancer. I’m thankful for my most wonderful family and friends who supported me with love and donations, helping me to raise almost $10,000 and keep me sane these past 6 months. I’m thankful for my extra special friends who came and cheered me on during the marathon – or sent me supportive texts and emails in the days prior. And I’m most thankful for my boyfriend Eric – my #1 supporter. After 6 months of my waking him up between 5-5:30 for pre-work runs and talking incessantly about nothing other than the marathon, training, and fundraising, I assumed he’d be ready for me to take a break. Instead, he turned to me a few nights ago and said “You’ll run Boston again, I know it.”

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has raised $978,942 and we’re trying to hit $1 million. If you haven’t yet had a chance to donate, I hope you’ll consider helping us hit this incredible milestone as we fight and cure blood cancer.

#SomedayIsToday #WeRunTogether

 


2 Comments

#OOTD: Boston Marathon edition

#OOTD aka Outfit of the Day is some funny thing on the interwebs where people – you guessed it – post pictures of their outfit. I’ve never participated in #OOTD, but I figured I actually have enough interesting pieces that I’ll be wearing on Marathon Monday, that it would be worth explaining them. Let’s start at the top, and work our way down, shall we?

photo 1 (6)photo 2 (6)

Hat – My new official BAA Marathon hat! Got the men’s/unisex hat instead of the women’s because they always seem to shrink and squish my head.

Sunglasses – I bought some polarized sunglasses at Target for $20. Win. However, it’s supposed to be pretty overcast and rainy. Less of a win.  Just kidding. It’s going to rain the whole day. No need for sunglasses.

Necklace – I’ve never run with a necklace before, but on Marathon Monday I’ll be wearing my grandfather’s military ID/dog tag. Not only am I marking 5 years since Granny’s death, but I’m also marking 10 years since Poppies’ death. I want to make sure I carry both of them with me, and I’ll be carrying him through his ID.

photo 1 (5)

Singlet – Isn’t it beautiful? I went with the Men’s Small because the Women’s singlet had a weird v-neck cut that I was uninterested in. Give me that deep scoop neck! The back has TNT’s honored heros and a shout out to Granny (I was a little disappointed that the singlet’s come with that standard “I’m going the distance for:” because I wanted it to say “I’m running in memory of…”). But it’s beautiful and purple. I put my name on the front so everyone can cheer for me. Granny’s name is on the back, with a few other names that friends and family provided.

Long sleeve shirt – Because it’s going to be in the 40s. And raining. Sigh.

Sports Bra – Another great find from Target. Slathered around the sports bra is a ton of Body Glide. I don’t know about you, but the worst chafing I experience is on the top of my bra line, in the middle of my chest. #funfact
photo 5 (4)photo 4 (4)photo 2 (5)11150319_10100303201194269_7139374591051260280_n
Road ID – my Road ID goes everywhere with me because of that “sometimes I just faint” thing. Luckily, it’s been more than a year since my last “episode” and at this point it’s just a precaution.

Fitbit – let’s see how many steps I take!

Pura Vida Bracelet – I bought this bracelet on a whim – it caught my eye because it’s red, white, and blue (patriotic, just the way Granny likes) and part of the proceeds went to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I’ve been wearing it consistently since mid-February.

Evil Eye bracelet – Sarah brought this for me – red, white and blue AND will protect me from evil!

Garmin Watch – Eric got me this fancy Garmin watch for Hanukkah. I still haven’t figured out to use the heart rate information or even graphed out the results of my runs on my computer, but I love having it in the moment to accurately see my pace at any given time.

Nail Polish – I got a special manicure for the Boston Marathon, based on an amazing picture I found on the internet. Representing the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Team in Training, head to toe!

Handheld Water Bottle – With a easy access pocket for my phone and ID – text me while I’m running! I won’t respond, but it’s always nice to see the messages!

Running Belt – To carry my snacks, of course. Big pouch has my awesome long run snack mix – pretzels, sour watermelons, and peanut butter m&ms. Little hooks are holding onto some chocolate Gu, sent to me as part of an awesome Marathon care package from CC.

Running Undies – Some runners can’t stand wearing underwear when they run. I, on the other hand, love my wicking panties from Target! #anotherfunfact #tmi?

Running Capris – These are probably one of the first pairs of running pants I ever purchased. They’re so well worn at this point that I trust them the most when it comes to my longer mileage runs. And the purple-y/pink stripes are color coordinated with the rest of the outfit!

Socks – Some tried and true socks. No blisters, please!

Shoes – In the last couple years, I went from only wearing one specific kind of shoe to wearing all the different kinds of shoes. During any given week, I’ll run with at least 3 different pairs of shoes – namely my Brooks Ghosts and Saucony Grid Profiles. I bought a new pair of shoes in March – the Brooks Pure Flow – based on the recommendation of Marathon Sports. They’re somewhere in-between my Saucony shoes (you know, the one I have 3 different pairs of) and my Brooks Ghosts. I did my 20-miler in them and felt great, so I’ll be wearing them on Marathon Monday. Thanks to that awesome Marathon Monday care package from CC, I have some awesome shoe bling that say “I run for Granny” and purple shoe laces to match my singlet. #colorcoordinationisimportant

I’m a little bummed that it’s going to be raining all day long… I have sweats to wear to the Athlete’s Village/pre-race as well as a poncho and grocery bags to put over my sneakers. And I have the greatest friends ever in town who will be tracking me and trying to find me along the course. If you want to track me, look for bib # 27258!

Wish me luck!


Leave a comment

Race Recap: Savin Rock Half Marathon

After a year of (almost) monthly half marathons, 2015 is off to a weird start where the focus has been on marathon training, and I haven’t been able to participate in any half marathon races. Sarah and I were going to run one while I was in NC in the beginning of March, but they were all hours away and more money than we wanted to spend. The ONLY half marathon race I was able to run was the Savin Rock Half Marathon in West Haven, Connecticut.

Sarah’s awesome friend Elizabeth recently moved to Connecticut and I’m so glad we’ve become friends. We signed up to run the Savin Rock Half Marathon together pretty randomly – it was the only race a decent driving distance between us on a day that worked perfectly with my marathon training schedule AND the logo had a shark. And who doesn’t love sharks? Especially after Katy Perry’s performance at the Super Bowl featuring the infamous Left Shark, sharks are all the rage (however, we’d like to point out that our plans to dress up like sharks for the Savin Rock Half Marathon date back to NOVEMBER, long before Left Shark).

katy perry animated GIF

I’m Left Shark, I do what I want.

The weather was, obviously, not forecasting to be great. I left work a little early on Friday and drove out to New Haven. It snowed the whole way to Connecticut. And New Haven didn’t seem to plow its roads as well as they could have, leading to a bit of a scary drive to the hotel and to dinner.

I found a deal on a hotel through Rocketmiles, my favorite website for collecting miles. Not the greatest hotel, but it did the job. (Special thanks to the people who were having a party next door to my room at 1am). Elizabeth and Mark and I had a lovely dinner of pizza (of course) and watched some Duke basketball. After watching a few episodes of Friends, I went to bed by around 10:30 or so.

Thankfully, because the hotel was a 10 minute drive to the race and Mark was willing to drive us and drop us off, we were able to sleep in a little and grab breakfast before getting to the Savin Rock Conference Center right at 7:30 to pick up our bibs. Elizabeth is amazingly crafty and made us AWESOME shark fins to wear on our backs. We also had matching shark hats from CVS. No surprise, but everyone loved us and commented on how awesome we looked. I struggled with my fin for the first few miles, and was worried I’d have to ditch it. Thankfully, we figured out how to tighten it so that it would stay on.

photo 1 (5)

Pre-race – note the off-shoulder fin strap.

photo 2 (6)

Snowy and cold on the water.

photo 3 (4)

Pretty cute in our matching shark hats!

photo 4 (4)

Completely soaked, yet still smiling!

The snow started to fall as soon as we walked outside to the start line… and got wetter and heavier as we ran. Elizabeth hadn’t trained as much as she’d hoped, and I’ve been running slower per my coaches’ advice to GO SLOW on our long runs, so we stayed at a 10:30 pace for most of the race. There were a LOT of hills – they weren’t necessarily fun, but they were definitely good practice for the Newton Hills. The snow eventually began to stick, so the ground was super wet and slushy and our shoes were soaked through. Icy snow collected on the teeth of our shark hats. Overall, not great conditions. BUT, we felt great and even quickened our pace in the last few miles, getting under 10:00 minutes in the last mile. We finished in 2:20:05.

The race organizers had some DELICIOUS pasta waiting for us inside the conference center – definitely one of the best post-race meals I’ve ever had. The medals and t-shirts feature the Shoreline Shark logo – probably one of my new favorite medals. Of course, as soon as we hopped in the car to go back to the hotel, the snow stopped and the sun started to peak through. It ended up being a gorgeous afternoon. After quick showers and hotel check-outs, we grabbed lunch at Prime 16 and I had one of the most delicious burgers of my life.

While the weather was far from perfect, I had a great time running with Elizabeth like a shark and running in an actual race. Even with the gross weather, the spectators and volunteers were awesome and incredibly supportive. We probably saw one couple and their dog in 4 different spots  – and every time they saw us they’d yell and cheer. Running in the snow may be hard, but being a spectator in the snow is even harder! Thanks, Shoreline Sharks, for letting us join the fun!