Hills

Churchill’s Half Marathon recap 2015

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Without further ado, let’s get on to the topic of the day – Churchill’s half marathon race recap!!  If you’ve been following my blog, I have mentioned that I was running this race with my friend Jamie, who just started running in February and was making this her first half marathon.  I figured I would end my year on a good note after my PR in Columbus last month and give my body some rest.

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Best sign ever!!

Churchill’s half marathon is a local race which has a long history.  This year was the 48th year and it’s one of the oldest half marathons in the country!  It used to be a Spring race, and two years ago they switched it to Fall, so one year we got to run it as the 46th, and 46.5th year (both Spring and Fall).  It is named after a local runner, who ran the Boston marathon 22 years in a row – Walt Churchill.  Walt doesn’t actually run any more, but he is at the finish line every year handing out medals.  That’s very cool in my book.  He’s also one of the founders of our local running club, Toledo Road Runners.

The race has had several difference course configurations over the years, and this year was the 3rd year for it’s point to point course layout.  That’s pretty unique in terms of race courses too, at least around here.  The super cool thing about this race is it starts at a high school, which very kindly opens up the building for the runners to wait in.  We’re talking a warm building with a plentiful of indoor toilets!!  Race morning doesn’t get much better than that folks.

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The morning was a bit chilly to start with, around 35 degrees, but really it was ideal for racing.  In years past Churchill’s always seems to happen on a windy day.  The kind where wind hits you from every direction.  But this year, no wind!!!  Hooray!  They even had pace groups in this race so we decided to position ourselves between the 2:05 and 2:10 pacers.  2:10 was Jamie’s ultimate goal for this race, even though it was her first half marathon, and she especially didn’t want to walk.  I was a little concerned about the walking part of the promise because I had fallen victim to walking quite a bit the last time I ran this course.  It has some hills after mile 10 which are challenging.

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Jamie is in the green. I had to run over to the side so the photographer could get me in the picture!!

We were ahead of our pace for the majority of the course having around a 9:30 pace.  We hit the hills and our pace did slow down a bit, but I knew that would be the case so it was already in the plan.  As we went up each hill I was happy to see Jamie wasn’t complaining, just cruising along.  And for the record, she was a much better “running buddy” than I am to my husband… I complain a lot when the going gets tough!  We made it up the last hill and I gave her a high 5, we were going to make her goals!!

I made a motivational sign for us which was around mile 13.  Hooray for us!!

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If this doesn’t motivate you, I don’t know what will!

We finished with a time of 2:08:42.  Nice!!!!!  I had to laugh at the end when she pulled a “Sydney” on me and sprinted ahead of me at the finish line!  Dude, what is up with that??  haha  Good for her. And that sprint was pretty darn quick too – it totally caught me off guard and I couldn’t keep up with her.  (luckily we ended with the same finish time… or else I would never let her forget that!! LOL!)

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Dang girl, I was not ready for that!!!!

After the finish, we met up with Alan who had a blistering fast time of 1:28.  21st out of 940 runners. Mere seconds away from his PR.  It was a great race day indeed!  The funny thing was that Alan and I got flu shots the day before the race and he wasn’t feeling good after the shot.  He was even considering not running because he was feeling a little off!  (note to self, don’t get flu shots before any major event!)

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We celebrated with a beer… or two.  The finish area had a heated beer tent complete with a band.  It was fun seeing all of our friends there.

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I had a good time running this race as a pacer for my friend.  It gave me some renewed energy in running races by taking away the stress of always worrying about a better time with each race.  It was fun to just soak in the surroundings, listen to the other runners, and I even struck up some conversations with a few of them.

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Q: Is there a race you have ran in for several years in a row?

Q: What is the best race sign you’ve seen?

Q: What temperature do you think is best for running?  Do you like the heat or the cold?

Blown away Thursday

As I’m writing, I can hear the winds whistling past my windows at 25 mph.  Gusts of up to 40 mph expected today!!  Yikes.  Small poodle alert! I laugh because the half I am running this weekend is ALWAYS windy.  It’s been pretty calm around here lately, but sure enough, rolling in just in time for our race this weekend, here come the strong winds.  Ugh!

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Quite the opposite of yesterday.  It was a great to have a mid week day off!  Hope you all had a good Veterans day and gave thanks to all who serve our country and protect us.  I started off my day with a run at the park with Alan.   As promised, we saw several deer.

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The trails were beautiful with the Fall leaves and color.

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Even though I had a great run the other day, my run today felt like a total struggle!  Maybe it was the hills.  Maybe it was the humidity?  Maybe I shouldn’t have wasted my energy trying to capture a jump?

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Well, who knows, but it was a beautiful morning and I was happy to be outside, running, and with Alan 🙂

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In addition to a variety of short trails, the best part of this park is going over the hanging bridge.  There is just no way to correctly cross this bridge without bouncing all over the place!

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ua6T3-g3jgU%5B/embedyt%5D

You should see how out of control that bridge is on the “group runs” we have at the park!  After those tough 7 miles we had some bagel sandwiches.  Just the perfect mix of a ton of meat, and salty deliciousness.  Yummm!

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After dinner I decided it was time to dust off the Just Dance game and get moving.  My favorite song is One Direction “One Thing”.  I love the song, but also, I’ve danced it a lot so it’s pretty much the only song I can crush the kids with!!!  Victorious again!

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Q:  Do you play any video games?

I totally suck at using the controller, so I’m pretty bad at Mario Kart and Mario Bros.  I do pretty good on Just Dance, and the Wii Fit games though – ski jump and the other ones that use body motion and not hand eye coordination!

Q: Favorite sandwich – cold cuts, or something grilled?

Q: Have you seen any animals on your runs lately?

 

 

 

Happy Monday!

Howdy everyone!  I hope you had a great weekend.  I sure did!  My Friday started out with being productive and swapping out the summer clothes for the winter clothes.  Yep, it’s that time of the year again.  Tank tops and shorts are being replaced with long sleeves and hoodies in my kids’ closets.  Always fun to find all of the dirty shirts that my son has just stuffed back into his dresser drawers all season!!  My husband and I met an old friend for lunch, and after that I even got around to washing the windows outside.  It was beautiful outside!!

Saturday morning I ran with Jamie on our last training run for the upcoming Churchills half marathon.  I decided I should actually revisit the hills that are on the course since I haven’t been training any hills!  I was relived to find they weren’t as bad as I remember.  Although they will still be challenging since they hit around mile 10 or so.  The run went well and we had to cut it short at 9 miles instead of the planned 11 miles due to schedule issues, but I think it was a perfect amount to end on.  We saw many other runners out on the course.  Everyone getting ready for the big race!

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On Sunday morning I decided I needed to burn off some calories because we were going out for donuts for breakfast.  I LOVE donut mornings!  When I peeked out the window in the morning, there was frost on the ground.  It was a lovely sight and I wanted to get out there.  Then I remembered my compression socks, which I haven’t had much chance to run in yet, so I wore those.  They kept my calves nice and warm, but at 29 degrees the rest of my legs were freezing and by mile 2 I was wondering if it was a bad outfit choice!! Oh well, keep it going.

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The super awesome thing about my run is that it turned into one of “those” runs.  You know – the kind where you end up kicking butt, your pace is fast, and the run just feels right.  YES!  Love when those happen.  Ironically it was happening at the same time I could have been running the marathon I decided not to do, but we all know 4 miles is a heck of a huge difference from running 26.2.

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When I go out for a run, unless I have some specific speed workout, I typically just go for a half mile and then look at my watch.  Often it will show a pace around 9:00ish.  Sometimes, it will be 9:20, or if I’m sluggish, something more around 9:30 or slower.  All perfectly fine paces for my “whatever” running.  But that morning my pace was 8:20. 8:20!!  One look at that and I knew I could pick up the pace and really run it fast.  My paces ended up being:

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I like how that small .05 sprint to my driveway came in under 7:00 pace.  Woohoo, thank you number 6 for being on my paces today!! 😉

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Love those sprinkles!!

I’m looking forward to this week because I get an extra day off (Veterans Day, bank holiday!).  I’ll be enjoying a run with my husband on that day and going out to lunch with him.  A perfect day I think.

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Q: Does anyone else have the day off on Wednesday?

Q: Favorite donut style?

Creme filled, frosted with sprinkles, and glazed!  

Q: Have you had a great run lately?  Do tell!

The rush of XC!

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I had some other things to ramble on about for today, but that will just have to wait because I have the most exciting story to share with you!  It’s all about the last Cross Country meet of the season for my daughter.  I may have mentioned a million times that my daughter is running her first year in XC, and she has been doing well.  At the beginning of the season she got to run “varsity” for the Jr High, which are the top 7 runners for her school.

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There are only two meets that use a varsity group.  For the other meet, which was their final meet of the season, she did not get selected to run varsity.  I have to admit, that broke my heart more than hers!!  She seemed OK with it, but I was a bit sad.  She was selected as the “alternate” varsity runner, just in case they needed her.  When I finally got over it, I assured her that it might be even better because she’d have more of a chance in the Open division because she’d be one of the faster girls out there!

This past weekend we checked out the course.  It was being held at an old fort in our area.  The fort is along the river, up high, and it has a flat area down below which would be the meat of the course.  Down a winding hill, two loops in the flat, up a long steep hill, and then about a half mile to the finish.

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The fort up high, with flat lands below

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“short” uphill #1

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“long” uphill #2!

When the girls took off, Sydney was in the mix of them all.  They headed off to go down the hill, and we went up to the top of the fort where we had a clear view of the open flat area.  Soon the runners came into sight.  We were shocked and amazed when we saw Sydney in front of all of the girls!!  She was actually in the lead by quite a bit!  There was another girl from her school behind her, and then the rest of the pack was behind them.  WOW!!!  There were 9 schools participating, so there were at least 100 girls in the Open division.

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Even after rounding a few corners, there she is all by herself!!

She kept up her lead for the entire flat area that we could see.  Then, she headed up the hill.  Sure enough, at the top of the hill, which was closed in to a narrow strip by the cheering spectators, was Sydney still in first place!!  We cheered her on and made our way to the finish line.

We could see her in the distance approaching the finish chute.  Her team mate was still the same distance from her, but as she got closer we saw it… another girl was coming speeding up behind her!  That girl was cruising, and came out of nowhere.  I had not even seen her on the last half mile to the finish, up until now.  What the heck??

We yelled as loud as we could to give my daughter some sort of indication that she had another runner right on her tail, but it went by so fast, she never got to even see us.  The girl caught up to her in the last seconds of the race – and from our vantage point – it looked like she stepped on the finish line at the same time as Sydney did!!  I’m not sure what it really looked like at the finish, but first place was given to the other girl.

It’s hard to describe the excitement of it all, so here is a very poorly recorded clip of the finish line.  Crazy, right?

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geKniOsXVGw%5B/embedyt%5D

Despite the shock she had when she crossed the line, it was a great race.  I’m so proud of her!  She finally got her goal of sub 14:00 for her race (13:58!) and basically crushed this course.  And that second place finish could have easily been a first place if she knew that girl was there.  As a reward for her great efforts this season, she finally got the brownie bites she has been eyeing up every time we go to the grocery store 🙂  It was the perfect end to her first XC season.

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Q: Is there a favorite treat that you like to reward yourself with after a job well done?

Q: What has been the best part of your week so far?

 

Last long run before Columbus… and Strava

Today was my last long run before the Columbus half.  I had envisioned it as some awesome run with me busting out some confidence boosting pace miles.  Uh huh, you know how those plans go!  I ran with my husband since he is also tapering for Columbus marathon.  He took me to the trails he usually runs with his Saturday morning group.

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It’s the beautiful park of Wildwood.  There are a ton of trails in the woods.  I haven’t run out there in a long time.  He runs before 7am, which is also pitch dark for most of the year – so they wear headlamps.  It’s a bit dark even on an overcast day!

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The park is seriously beautiful and these deer forced me to stop and take their picture.

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Can you find all four of the deer?

As did this deer who didn’t seem frightened at all by us.

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Oh, and there was also an awesome covered bridge…

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And all sorts of beautiful landscape!

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So combining the hills, and the 100% humidity, I was exhausted from our run by about mile 1.5.  Only 8.5 miles to go!!  It didn’t help that I felt like I had to keep up a good pace for my husband, who was running quite slow by his standards.  After I while I just gave up on this being any spectacular run, and just enjoyed the great company, my day off, and the beautiful surroundings.  All in all, it was a good run.

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This week I have also been deeply engrossed with Strava.  Are you on Strava?  I’ve been on it for probably a year now, but I never paid a whole lot of attention to it.  But this week I set up a Strava club for a local running group I am involved in on Facebook and it’s been a lot of fun seeing other people’s runs!  It’s interesting to see where they run, in hopes of finding new places for me to try out.  But by far the most interesting thing on Strava is the “flybys”.  You will see a map of your running route, and it will also show you any other Strava members that were in the area at the same time.  That is mind blowing!!  The flybys are especially interesting at a race.  Here is a map of me running Boston.  I’m the red circle in the middle.

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As you can see, I did not win the Boston Marathon that year.  Maybe next time  haha!

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Q: Do you use any websites to track your running or biking?

Garmin Connect, and Strava  

Q: Do you prefer running on trails or streets/bike paths?

I feel slow as a slug on trails, but it was nice and soft on my feet and as I mentioned: beautiful!

Q: Got any weekend plans?

Two great things and a sucky ending

Monday was my first official day back to training since Erie Marathon.  Yippie!!  On tap was intervals, 5 x 800’s (1/2 mile) with a mile of warm up.  I went out right after the kids got on the school bus.  The morning was actually crisp and chilly.  You can feel Fall in the air!!  Not to mention all of the leaves starting to fall on the running trail.  Ahhhhhh…..

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I picked out a straight boring mile section of the trail and ran back and forth.  The intervals were supposed to start at 10K pace, but I’m not always so good at keeping my pace outside so I just ran fast.  Intervals ended up being faster than 10K, each around 7:33.  VERY happy with those results.

Must have been my snazzy new compression socks!  It was a good morning for them – they kept my legs warm.

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Next great thing on my agenda was later in the afternoon.  I got to run with the cross country team.  It was a “hill run”.  We ran over to a hill 1.5 miles away from the school, then ran up and down the hill.  Zachary got to bike along for support too.   We were kinda like sheep dogs keeping the team in line 🙂

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The hill is killer.  It’s a sledding hill.  I ran up and down it three times.  That was about half of what the team was doing.  I thought my heart was going to jump right out of my chest!!

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Look out kids, old lady coming through!!

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We even found a baby snake.  Awwwwww, so cute!

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After that hard work we all ran over to the ice cream stand for some treats.  Ice cream has never tasted so good!!

And for the sucky part of my day – I was excited for approximately 5 mins when I got to register for the 2016 Boston Marathon.  My excitement was short lived as we read about how registration was up 15% from last year.  For sure, the BAA will be breaking some hearts again this year by turning away some runners, and it’s most likely I will be one of them.  Which totally SUCKS.  That’s all for  now, because I don’t even like to think about it, it’s getting me sad.  I’m purposely avoiding all the personal opinions on what the cutoff time will be.  That really doesn’t help.  Everyone should know by Sept 30th if they made the cut or not.   I’ll try my best to stay positive, but it’s really not looking so good at this point.

To end on  a happy note, my kitty was hanging out with me this morning 🙂

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Q:  Have you ever wanted something so bad and you don’t get it?

HAHA, just kidding, I wasn’t going to mention it again, right?  It is what it is.  It’s just too bad everyone can’t run.  I just wish they would change the qualification times again so people aren’t disappointed after they register.

Q: Do you ever wear compression socks in the summer?  Just wondering because they are pretty warm.

Q: Favorite topping for ice cream?

I chose hot fudge for my ice cream treat.  Yum, oh yum!

 

 

 

Sleep… where are you? and some final Boston thoughts

As I’m typing this, it’s 3:00 am.  I am not a night owl by any means, so to be up this late means something has gone wrong in my day.  I had gum surgery today, and although it turned out fine so far, any time the pain meds wear off I am feeling the pain.  Big time.  I couldn’t even keep my eyes open around 10:30 last night when I went to bed, but I woke up at 1:00am feeling like a brick had hit me in the face.  Knowing I could not take any more ibuprofen, I searched out some Tylenol.  Luckily I found some, and trying to read the tiny print on the bottle by the dimmed shower light was my next challenge.  Mission accomplished and, combined with an ice pack on my face, I finally got some relief.  However, that was 2 hours ago and I still can’t get back to sleep.

So I’m taking to my blog to clear up my mind and maybe, just maybe, I can fall back to sleep.

I was happy that I was feeling good enough to attend the Family Fun night at my son’s school.  Since he’s a 4th grader, this will be his last year at the school and I’m trying to make sure I get to all of the events.

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They had fun carnival games inside, and bunch of inflatables outside.  A good time was had by all!

I wanted to give one last focus on my Boston race.  Looking at things I did well and what I could do to improve my performance next time.

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Things that went well:

1) Fueling!  This was by far the best thing that happened during this race.  I was so concerned with the race starting late and that I would end up really hungry while I was running.  In fact, this was not an issue at all!  I ate quite a bit of food prior to the race (bananas, oatmeal, bagels, granola bar).  During the race I had 4 GUs.  I think I took them at miles 6, 12, 17 and 21.  Even though I wasn’t hungry, I took them anyways.  That’s the key, fuel BEFORE you are hungry!  I think this is the first race when I didn’t cross the finish line with a growling stomach.  Another thing that I did was to turn off the “clock” screen on my Garmin.  I didn’t need to know, or obsess, that it was 1pm and I was still running!

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2) Race outfit – I’m not talking about the fashion level of my outfit, although you have to admit, that open area in the back of the shirt is pretty cool!  I’m talking about the functionality of the clothes.  Everything was comfortable, and kept me warm enough in the weather conditions.  If I had access to all of my clothes before the race I still don’t think I would have picked something else out because what I had on really worked.  I think I would have been way too warm in some sort of rainproof jacket.  And those capris – I had only wore them one time prior to the race, so kudos to C9 for making such an awesome, affordable,  and functional piece of workout gear!  This is the pair I got:  C9 Running Knee Legging  They are actually quite light weight and I think will be good in warm weather too.

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3) Attitude –  I think I did a pretty good job at keeping a positive attitude during the race despite the crappy weather.  I didn’t run the race in the time I had hoped for.  That is always a bummer when you have a vision of what race day is going to be, but then starts to take a turn for the worse.  I really thought a sub 4 hrs would be easy to do, given my past races that came in at 4 hours.  Even half way through the race I was thinking I might BQ or even PR!  But, when the course got really challenging, I just focused on enjoying the crowds and appreciating that this race was the end result of my hard work, not a showcase of my abilities.  I’m proud of my effort, and for pushing through it when it got tough.

Some things to work on…

1) Smarter pacing?  Well, this is a tough one.  I’m not quite sure if I need to change my plan.  I know I was supposed to “hold back” on the first part of the course, but honestly, I’m not much of an “end game” kind of marathoner, so whenI hit the 18 mile mark, chances are I wouldn’t have felt “energized” unless I had been walking the earlier part of the course!  No way I’m going sub 4 hours with that much walking involved!

2) Strength Training – Yes indeed.  I can definitely improve in this area.  I could barely move my legs at the end of this race and I think doing more leg exercises (hip flexor strength) could have helped me out.  Also, focus on strong glutes/hips.

3) More hill training – Now I know what to expect from Boston.  Those hills are killer!  I’m sure anyone’s running could improve from more hill training.  Mine especially!

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Q:  Are you a good sleeper?

Q:  Night owl or early bird?

Q:  Favorite pre-race foods?

Boston Marathon Recap

I’ll apologize in advance for the super long post.  I was trying to pick out pictures for this recap and it was hard to just pick out a few.  So, I’ll take you through the whole race in a photographic journey!  Since we had a late start time (10:50 am), we woke up around 6am and felt totally rested.  Unlike those races where you have to get up at 3am to make it to a 7am start time, this was a breeze so far!  I got super excited when I looked out of my hotel window and I saw the buses that were taking runners to the start line in Hopkinton already!

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I thought the bag drop off and bus loading would be crowded, but it was super easy and sailed right through it.  We got on our bus and took the 40 min ride to the start line.

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The excitement was growing as we unloaded the buses and headed to Athletes Village where the runners wait for their wave to start.  On the bus ride the rain started to fall just a little bit before we got off the bus, but then stopped. The wind was pretty gusty though.  I did start to worry when I could see my breath!  It was in the mid 40s at the start.

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Athlete’s Village is at the high school and takes up the entire space.  Most people were hiding out from the elements inside one of these large tents.  Fueling for the race was one of the things I was originally concerned with.  Before I left the hotel I had some oatmeal, a banana, and a NutriGrain bar.  On the bus I had another NutriGrain bar.  At Athletes Village I had a bagel, another banana, and half of a Cliff bar.  I was all fueled up by the time 10:50 arrived!!

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There was no lack of port-a-potties here!

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Soon enough it was time to head to the starting corrals.

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But wait…. our journey had not yet begun.  We had to walk a long way to get to the starting area.

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As we were waiting, the rain started to fall.  But that didn’t dampen our spirits!

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Soon we all started walking to the start line.  The funny thing was that Alan had to tell me when we arrived at the starting line because I could barely tell the difference from it and the rest of the journey so far!  But here it was – ok, everybody run now!!

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Here is a random picture of some people peeing off the side of the road around mile 1.  That was a frequent occurrence and no one seemed to care, as long as they weren’t in front of someone’s house.  Pretty funny!

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Here’s my marathon/race advice for everyone – make sure your throw away gear is actually functional.  Some people had bathrobes and PJ’s in Athlete’s Village – but I stayed in my hoodie for almost the first hour of the race I think!  So glad I had it.  Lots of people ran in plastic bags for almost the whole race!!  I think they ditched them in the last mile for a nice finish line photo.

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I also clutched that water bottle the whole time.  I was just a regular plastic water bottle, but it became my safety blanket because it comforted me to know I could drink water any time I wanted.  Or throw it away any time I wanted to!  Around mile 11 we ran into a friend.  She “tried to keep up with us” for quite a few miles.  She was hoping for 9:00 miles, but would try out our 8:50 plan.

 

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Half way done now!  I’ve got to say – not only is Boston a net downhill course for the first half, it’s also “rolling hills”.  I really had no idea what “rolling hills” were, because you know I live in the flat lands of Ohio.  Oh man, by the half point my glutes were burning.  That’s my issue – I always get strong pain in my glutes.  Like someone is tightening a screw on them.  And by mile 13, I was feeling it.  But on a good note, no foot problems and no pain in my knee.  I guess my plan to tape it up was a success!

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A little later on, we ran into another friend.  He started before us, and we finally caught up to him.  He was quite happy to join us and have someone to talk to!  Here we are powering up one of the Newton Hills.  The Newton Hills are 4 hills that start around mile 16.  The first one was not an issue.  It was less of an issue for my friend in orange, and she kept on going when I slowed down a bit on the hills.

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They say that Boston shreds up your quads from the hills.  I did not have that issue.  I guess that means my treadmill hill training paid off!  I was still in a world of pain from the glutes.  Each hill was harder and harder, and by the 4th hill – Heartbreak Hill – I was spent.  No shame, I was actually in tears at the top of it.  I think it was tears of frustration and pain more than happiness that it was over.  Tears that I still had 5 more miles to run!!  My splits were starting to really suck at this point.  Early on I was cranking out 8:30 miles, and now I was struggling to get anything better than 10:00 min miles.  It felt like I had concrete blocks on my feet.

We finally made it to mile 25 where we could see the Citgo sign.  This is a huge point in the race – just one more mile to the end.  Longest.Mile.Ever!!

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But I kept on telling myself that if I smiled, I would be happy.  So smile I did!  Despite the rain and temperatures being only 44 degrees, I was not cold.  That was surprising because I was shivering at the start line.  Thank God I brought along those capris and arm warmers (socks!).  Remember I was concerned about having a tan a few weeks ago?  hahaha

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That was a picture of us going down the final stretch – Bolyston street!   We had finally made it.  And then this awesomeness happened….  listen very closely….

Wasn’t that the best??  And my husband recorded it for me.  It was a surprise to both of us.  He never asked them to do that, they just did it.  It made my day, big time!!

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After the race kinda really sucked though.  I was an emotional basket case and was sobbing.  I was in such pain, it was an effort just to walk a few feet down the road.  My legs barely functioned.  I just wanted to sit down, but they wanted to keep everyone moving.  We had to walk at least a half a mile to get to the end of the finishers area, and then another half a mile to get our gear bag (with the dry clothes in it).  At least the ponchos were pretty awesome and functional.

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I just wanted to be magically transported back to my warm hotel, and it was so frustrating.  Luckily we had some dry socks in our gear bag and we used those for mittens.

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After I finally got back to the hotel, Alan took off my shoes and helped me lift my legs up on the bed so I could relax.  I took a super long hot shower (and some strong pain pills!) and I was feeling much better.  We had some burgers, celebration beers, and went to share race stories with our friends.

If you’ve hung in with me this long, give yourself a high five!!  You deserve it 🙂  I hope you enjoyed this long journey I have been on.  It’s hard to answer the question “did you have fun?”.  I mean, it’s hard to get excited about running in the rain, but in the end, I really feel great about my race.  I powered through the hills, never stopped once, and got that medal at the end.  My husband is awesome for supporting me the whole way.  The city of Boston loves the marathoners and I was surprised to see how many people stood around in the rain to cheer on the runners, on such a rainy chilly day, along the entire course.  It really is BOSTON STRONG.  And yes, I’ll be back 🙂  It can’t rain two years in a row… right??

Busting a move – 4 weeks to go!

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I dragged myself out of bed this morning.  I was already groggy from my daughter crawling in our bed at 4:51am, and I was thinking my alarm was going off at 5:10.  Ah ha!  Then I remembered today I got to “sleep in” and the alarm was set for 5:30.  Slight snooze more.  I didn’t run yesterday due to the sore throat and today it didn’t feel much better at first, but I was up so I figured I needed to get my “hills” done.  The hills were slow, but I did them.  “Just keep trying” is my new motto for running hills.  As I was running I kept reviewing my schedule this week and frowning a bit when I realized I had no time once again to go to the gym.  ughhh.  I really need to get some strength training done.

But after my run I heard the good news…  Alan was taking a day off to recuperate from that very very hard training run he did yesterday (apparently those hills pretty much kicked his butt just a little too much), so if I busted a move and got to work earlier than normal, I could go to the gym at lunch time!  And that’s just what I did.  Zip!

I was pleasantly surprised to find the other location of my gym was pretty close (7 mins away) and was really nice.  Not to mention they had some really nice lighting in the locker room.  Kudos to that!

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I did feel like a bit of an outsider at the gym though because everyone seemed to be looking at me, like I was the new girl in town.  Or maybe it was because I was reading all of the instructions on the equipment since it was different than the stuff I usually use!  Hey, everyone does that one time, right?

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With only 4 more weeks to go until Boston, I am looking forward to this being my last week of pushing it hard.  I’m saying “screw you” to my cold and going to give it my all.  Here’s what’s on tap for this week:

  • Mon – 5 miles, hills  – done!
  • Tues – 10 miles, VO2 max w/ 4 x 1,200m @ 5K pace (intervals, 3/4 mile)
  • Weds – Rest!
  • Thurs – 8 miles with last 2 miles of strides (10 x 100m)
  • Fri – 20 miler!  Last one!  This actually sounds “short” now that I got that 22 miler done last week!
  • Sat – Rest!
  • Sun – 8 miles.  Might run a freebie 5K with the family this day too.
  • Total = 51 or 54

My plan for the 20 miler is to run it at 11am, which would be the starting time for my corral in Boston.   That will be the real challenge this week because my stomach will probably be crying out for lunch at 11:35am.  yikes!

I started seeing some funny stuff on Pinterest about April Fools pranks.  It’s almost time!  I love to play pranks on the kids, but they are getting wise.

Q: Runners – favorite fuel for long runs?  GU, other?

A: GU – salted caramel all the way!

Q: Any good ideas for April Fools pranks?

A: I love to make “fake” food (salty stuff that looks sweet, etc)… but I need more ideas!

 

“Hills” in my hood

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Did you see that?  It’s me powering up a hill.  Yep, that’s what qualifies for “hills” around my neighborhood!  It’s probably a “mid sized” hill though.  The “big hill” is actually an over pass that’s on my route too.

I was all over the board with my Sunday workout.  First, I thought it was 8 miles.  You know me, I just “think” of what the mileage is, instead of actually looking at the plan until the day it happens.  And my memory is bad.  So I was excited when I found out it was actually 6 miles, and I was running it with my friend.  3 miles before I met her, and then 3 miles of chatting.  Perfect!  I was looking forward to it.

But then, I found out she was not feeling well (boo, sorry Jennifer!!) and wouldn’t be able to run.  I was already awake at 7:15, so I had to give myself kudos because instead of sneaking down to my treadmill to watch some TV (after all, it was 28 degrees outside!), I figured I would just get my run out of the way since my running clothes were already picked out and waiting for me, and I’d probably be home before the kids even woke up.

It was just a GA run, which (to me) means, just run it however you want (hope that’s cool Coach!).  My run actually felt quite sluggish, but I managed to get all the miles faster than 9 mins, so I was thrilled with that.  And along the way I took some pictures.  Here is the beautiful sunrise on my route…

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I was going to run 6 miles as planned, but then I realized I could turn around at the mall if I ran a little farther.  Then I realized I could run “the hill” if I took another turn.  And once I’m over the hill, I have to go look at the monument.

Here is the historical portion of my route.  On the far right  you can see the “big hill” (overpass) that I referred to earlier.  Crazy, right?  That’s some killer incline.  haha  That’s why I stick to the treadmill for my hill training.

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But the most surprising thing about my run was the view from the top of a hill.  What you are looking at in this picture is land that is normally covered with brush and small plants/bushes/grass.  However, you see white in the picture.  It’s not because that is remaining snow, it’s ice!  That ice was on the river hundreds of feet away.  When the ice on the river broke up, it was pushed all they way across the road (!!) and into this flat area.  Now that’s crazy for sure!!  The park was closed, as well as the roads, until it gets removed.  I’ve heard that this has not happened in this area since the 1950’s.

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8.6 miles done.  Enjoyed the sun, enjoyed the weather.  Missed my BRF.  Get better soon Jennifer, we need to catch up!

Q: Do you live in a hilly area, or the flat lands?