Becky Runs Boston

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


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Goal 25 and #RWRunStreak

The Runner’s World #RWRunStreak is officially over and while I didn’t run at least a mile every day between Memorial Day and 4th of July, I think I did pretty darn well.

RunStreak

I had a rough start to the challenge, missing a couple days right in that first week. Then, MapMyFitness didn’t register one of my runs (probably because I barely did 1 mile). But starting Thursday, June 5th, I think I did a great job. I ran every day except for one day where Eric and I went for a 35 mile bike ride and the day after when I rode by bike to and from work (but didn’t get a run in). That is 30 solid days in a row of some kind of solid fitness.

So what did I learn this past month? That my legs are tired and need a break every now and then. A lot of nights, I passed out on the couch before 9pm even rolled around-probably because of how much I’ve been working my body. I also learned that working out every day does not necessarily cause me to lose more weight than I would while taking rest days, as I am exactly the same weight as I was 30 dad ago (aka, still 7 pounds over goal, grrrr).

However, I also learned how easy it is to just run 1 mile. There were a lot of days where I told myself “Dude, you’re working really hard right now, so just go out there and put in 10 mins.” And BAM, less than 10 minutes later, I was done. (I also ran my fastest mile, under 8:30… And it was after a few hours of eating and drinking hard ciders so who knows what my potential is under better circumstances!).

Finally, now that I’m done with the 30 days and I’m also tapering in preparation for this weekend’s Narragansett Half Marathon, I’m having a hard time “being ok” with not running every morning. I took Tuesday off, my first real break (well, I did bike to work) and during the day started to consider checking out RunFellow, a new running group in the Somerville/Cambridge area that was having it’s first run on Tuesday night. When I got home, I remembered “Oh wait, I’m NOT supposed to run today. Right. Keep sitting.”

I think I’ll try the run streak again in the winter, when I need that extra motivation to get outside and I won’t be biking as much. Overall, I’m pretty happy with how I did this time around.

Today is another non-run day (although it was a bike-to-work day). Tomorrow I’ll do another 3 miles. Saturday I’ll rest (and by rest, I mean shop all day long with Sarah). Sunday I’ll run. Wish me luck!

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Race Recap: Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon

I ran the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon Sunday morning and WOW my legs are still tired. However, I have managed to get in 1-2 mile runs every morning since as part of the Runner’s World #runstreak challenge (my streak is at 7 days!). Here’s a review of the race and why my legs have been trashed!

I took the T out to Boston College after work Friday evening so that I could check out the expo and pick up my bib. I had sadly forgotten how bad the Green Line is, especially the B line, so it took much longer than expected to get there. I was stressed out and wished I had just opted to drive out on Saturday or at least go home and get my car on Friday, but by the time I walked across campus to the Conte Forum, all my stress melted away. All of a sudden, I was surrounded by other runners, newbies and seasoned professionals, and instantly felt calmer.

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First stop was bib pick-up where I grabbed my bib. I had received an email with my bib number earlier in the week, so getting my bib was super quick and easy.

ImageAfter picking up my bib, I walked around the Expo and scored a drawstring back-pack, tried some energy bar and smoothie samples, and picked up my Runners World Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon t-shirt (which I wore all day Sunday after the race!)

I headed back to the Boston College T stop where the woman in line behind me asked if this was the right train to go to Park Street. She was a very petite woman, maybe five feet tall, with an enormous backpack and a Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon and Festival volunteer badge. She was staying with a friend and needed to get to Davis Square. I told her that I too was headed to Davis Square and offered to commute with her. GOOD DECISION. After about half an hour on the T together, I had learned enough information (first name: Diana, hometown: somewhere in Pennsylvania, and has run numerous ultramarathons and marathons) and discretely googled the information to find out more.

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She’s legit. She’s a SERIOUS ultramarathon runner. Her name is Diana Widdowson and I had an entire hour to talk to her. (Here are some articles that describe the races she’s run, including the July 2007 Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run and the Mohican Trail Run). I did my very best to ask questions without seeming creepy or stalker-like, and even offered to give her a ride to the half-marathon Sunday morning so that she wouldn’t have to take the T. She was running the Hat Trick (5K and 10K races on Saturday, followed by the half marathon on Sunday) and happily took me up on the offer (especially since she would be dragging her large backpack with her again). We spent the T ride chatting about training for ultramarathons, her favorite races, her upcoming schedule (she’s doing the Leadville Marathon next weekend… it’s one of the most badass marathons out there!), and the importance of having a network of running friends to keep you motivated.

After a lovely Saturday spent outside with family, Sunday arrived way too fast. We were out the door by 6:10am, picked up Diana a few blocks away, and were at BC by 6:45am. We parted ways (I will have to find her on some form of social media…) and after a quick jaunt to the restrooms (in a building, not even a port-a-potty!) Eric and I headed to the start area. I did some stretching in the shade, took a selfie (with Eric), and then joined the runners in the start gate. I didn’t have a hard goal in mind, I just wanted to complete the run in the 2:10-2:30 range (where my other half marathons have finished). I stood at the back of the 9:55 pace group and figured I’d try to run with them as much as I could and if I had to fall back to the 2:15 finish time group behind us, that would be totally fine.

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Slanted crowd shot

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I am very much a morning person. Eric is very much a trooper for letting me take ridiculous pictures of us ALL THE TIME.

And then we were off and running! After a quick loop around Boston College, we started running down Commonwealth Avenue toward Newton. I felt pretty good and was doing great staying with my pace group. During one significant downhill, I even passed my pace group and ran about 100 meters in front of them. I also saw Elizabeth Comeau, the former Boston Globe blogger who now works for Runners World (I was a little obsessed with her blog). Without any reservation, I screamed out her name and told her how awesome I think she is… I’m such a creep.

Running, running, running, up and down the hills. That’s pretty much the story of this race. Eventually, we turned left and ran through the residential areas of Newton and Waban. Some locals passed out orange slices (always my favorite). We ran past the Newton Wellesley Hospital and the Woodland Golf Course. And eventually we returned to Commonwealth Avenue to run back up the hills. Oh, those hills. During our jaunt through the residential areas, my original pace group caught up to me… and then passed me. I started to walk, then run, then walk, then run… And I really began to struggle as the hill got steeper. Seeing a few people on stretchers, being taken away in ambulances, did not help the motivation. But I kept going, kept shuffling along at my slower pace.

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And then! A young woman wearing a One Run for Boston t-shirt was standing on the corner holding a baton… THE baton… aka Miles from the original One Run for Boston. I excitedly yelled out and pointed, and the girl (Lenore) handed me the baton and started running with me! She also took pictures of me running with the baton. BIG thank you to Lenore for the boost I needed to finish the race!

I kept run/walk-ing my way to the finish, and at the right turn back into BC, I gave it a final push and ran as fast as possible to the finish line. As I ran the final 100 or so meters, I saw Eric on the sidelines cheering me on. When I reached the finish, the clock hadn’t yet hit 2:18! I was shocked. Considering it took a few minutes to get across the start line, the clock was suggesting that I finished in something close to 2:15! (Official time ended up being 2:15:39!) – that’s my 3rd best time overall!

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Didn’t need an ambulance #winning

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Eric made me awkwardly lift my hat up so that my face wasn’t in the shadow. My enormous forehead is now even bigger.

After cooling down, stretching, and grabbing all the free snacks I could hold, Eric drove me home. My middle toe felt like it might have lost a nail, but it was fine. Instead, I have a pretty awesome blister on the edge of my right foot’s big toe. A pedicure is going to be necessary this upcoming weekend, even if all I do is pretty up the rest of the foot to take away from my sad looking toe. I also have incredibly red stripes on my chest from the chafing of my sports bra (no pic necessary for that one!). I need to start using Vaseline (Body Glide is just not doing it for me!)

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Sorry this is gross but it’s the TRUTH #RunnersHaveGrossFeet

Overall, the morning was a success. I got a great time, I didn’t pass out from the heat, I didn’t get a horrible headache, I got to creep on famous runners, Eric got to watch me finish, and I got a fancy new medal to add to the group.

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Taper Time

After two very long months, my first half marathon of the summer is this upcoming weekend. My last “half” was the One Run for Boston on April 13th, which wasn’t really officially a half and instead more like two 6.5 mile legs of the relay that I counted in my monthly half-marathon list. I mean, really… 13 miles is close enough to 13.1…

BUT that means that I had enough time between that run and this upcoming half to get out of half shape. I’ve been on a somewhat official training schedule since then, slowly working my way up from 8 mile long runs to 12 miles two Saturdays ago. (And, I must admit that it was a stellar 12 mile run… a 9:36 pace or something close to that, making it my fastest pace for a run that long).

Reaction GIF: fuck yeah, dance, Brad Pitt, Burn After Reading

This is basically the same happy dance I did after my last long run.

 This past weekend, I ran an easy 6 miles on Saturday to prepare myself for the taper week. On Sunday, we had plans to help my younger sister move out of Brighton into her new apartment in Somerville (less than half a mile away!). Eric really wanted to get a bike ride in, so – being the intelligent couple that we are – we decided to go on a 15 mile bike ride to Lexington and back before moving my sister. Did I mention she was moving out of a 2nd floor apartment and into a 3rd floor apartment. Saying my legs and knees are exhausted is an understatement. And did I mention that Eric and I did our own move a month ago? A friend reminded me of this incredible scene from Friends that is an accurate depiction of how I spent April 30th and June 1st:

I took Monday off (oh nooooo ruined the Runner’s World #runstreak that I had going… oh well!) and then went on a short 2 mile run this morning. My legs are still veryyyyy tired, so I’m going to be taking it extra easy the next few days. Luckily, I have all the fun plans this week to keep me distracted including a drink with my old roommate last night, belated birthday dinner with my fave Poonwalla this evening, and my “big sis” is going to be in town tomorrow and Thursday. Busybusybusy but I love it!

I’m not sure how this is all going to go on Sunday considering the race is the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon and therefore the course is up and down the hills of Newton and Heartbreak Hill. Because I did so well in my most recent long run, and because this course is unlike any other I’ve run before, I’m going to balance the two conflicting factors and make a goal to finish in 2:10 – 2:15. While I do plan on beating my half marathon pr at some point this year, the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon is not the race to do it. I just want to enjoy it and experience it and use it as solid prep work for my (hopefully, please and thank you) Boston Marathon debut next spring.

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Because who doesn’t think this is the best way to spend a Sunday morning?

I hope everyone has a fabulous week and I can’t wait to tell you all how it goes!!


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Goal #25 and Runner’s World #RWRunStreak

Last week I posted my 28 goals for this year and #25 was to run 28 consecutive days of at least 1 mile.

Goal 25. 28 days of running at least a mile every day (thanks Dan S. aka Courtney’s hubby for the suggestion!). This might be a great way to get runs in during the colder winter months. If I can tell myself that I only need to run 1 mile every day, I’ll have an easy way to motivate myself to get outside!

Well, looks like I’m not waiting until the winter. Runner’s World is hosting a challenge to get people to run at least a mile every day from Memorial Day to 4th of July. If I complete the challenge, that’s 40 days of running. Holy smokes, that’s a LOT of running.

I just signed up and you can follow how I’m doing here.

OR you can join the fun and sign up for the challenge here. DO IT!

#RWRunStreak