Boston Marathon 2017 Recap

“Limitations only exist if you let them”

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I GET to write this blog post.  Being able to type this title was something that I wasn’t sure I would get the opportunity to do.  Not only do I get to type those words but I get to post a finish line picture!  My heart is so full and I feel so blessed.  I not only ran the Boston Marathon but I felt GOOD.  If you were to tell me back in January or even the day before the race that the only real pain I would feel in the Boston Marathon was a scorching sun burn on my back..I would have laughed in your face.  This does not mean I am free from all labrum issues but this goes to show that my dreams will not be crushed from it.

The emotions during marathon weekend were a snapshot of the emotions throughout this entire training cycle.  A nonstop rotation between moments of extreme excitement and moments of fear.  Up until race day, my hip was tight and tender and there were moments my knee ached.  I’ve done enough marathons to know that taper pains are a real thing and they are SO mental but I still can’t seem to use this knowledge to keep me sane and panic-free.

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My mom and I drove into Boston Saturday morning to pick up our bibs and do all the expo things…aka…spend lots of money and rationalize the purchases by saying IT’S THE BOSTON MARATHON.  We met up with Bethany and I was finally able to meet the lovely Sarah (@lesky27).  I can see why Bethany and her became instant running buddies and great friends, she is so sweet and upbeat.  Just one of those people that can lift your spirits without even trying!  After a lovely day in Boston, we headed home only to be hit with a friendly reminder that marathon hydration and traffic are the WORST combination.

Easter Sunday was pretty low key.  Shakeout run, foam rolled, stretched, laid in the 80 degree weather for just enough time to bronze my skin so it wouldn’t blind all the spectators 😉  We had a nice pasta dinner at my parent’s house and then relaxed for the remaining of the night.

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Turkey, Beet, Avocado and Spinach Panini with Sweet Potatoe Chips and Nuun…love me some pre-race carbssss

Race Morning

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Just like last year, there is a local bus that departs at 6am and shuttles all the local runners to Hopkinton and then picks us up in Boston.  It was already in the 60s when heading to the bus at 530am so I knew we were in for a hot day.   I wouldn’t say I love running in the heat but I am a warm weather person and would MUCH rather heat over cold and rain so the temps didn’t concern me much. My mind was fixated on that super tight hip that kept messing with my confidence.  When I reached Hopkinton, I wandered around the athletes village soaking everything in and eventually found Bethany, Katie and Sarah who helped ease my nerves.  Our squad grew when we ran into a few other Instagram friends!

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The Race

I will recap the race by sections but to be honest, this race was so consistent.  When I think back, I just see myself chipping away at the miles.  Not pushing, not holding back, but just relaxed, consistent…and burning the entire time.

Miles 1-9: Truly unforgettable because Katie, Sarah, Bethany, Kristen (@mamabear_runs_marathons) and I ran in a pack.  The power of a running pack or even with a running buddy during a marathon is indescribable.  Looking in front and to the sides and seeing 4 strong women, all whom arrived in Boston with different training, setbacks and goals but running strong and consistent is an amazing feeling.  It makes you want to fight for them and not for yourself. Running is an individual sport but if you let it become a team sport, it can be so inspiring and a fun experience.  I didn’t anticipate our squad of 5 to stay together for the entire race but I knew I was going to do everything I physically could to keep cruising with them.

Mile 10-13:  Bethany, Sarah and Katie may have a different take on what happened at this point (haha sorry!) but I will tell my viewpoint.  One of my best friend’s sister said she would be cheering close to Natick center which is around mile 10 so apparently after a water stop I started getting excited to see a familiar face in the crowd and sped up because when I turned around, I could only see Kristen.  So here I am on the course, trying to look side to side to spot my friend but then whipping around to find the other girls all while trying to actually run a decent pace and breathe.  I tried to slow a bit but didn’t want to slow too much because this was the time to clock some decent miles before the hills hit and the pace would DEFINITELY slow.

Mile 14 – I WAS THE HAPPIEST PERSON WHEN I FELT BETHANY AND SARAH ON MY LEFT SHOULDER!!!! Yes!!  This was all I wanted.  I didn’t want to pull a last year Boston when I took off on them and that same guilt was starting to surface so seeing them put me at ease……and then Bethany had to tie her shoe!! haha. Those dang Adidas Boost shoelaces.

Mile 15-18 – I lost Bethany and Sarah and was hoping mile 14 would repeat itself and they would come up behind me and we would run step for step for the rest of the race but that never happened. womp womp.  I was really starting to burn up and the sun was beaming down on me.  Every water stop consisted of gatorade, water for drinking and water for my face.  I had friends that were supposed to be at mile 18 so that was all I could focus on.  I just needed to get to mile 18 and then I would get that surge of energy that comes when you see a familiar face in the crowds.  Mile 18 finally came and I searched high and low for my friends.

Mile 19 – Hmmmm…maybe they had their mile markers mistaken and were at mile 19.  Still no friends but miles move quickly when you are on the search for people in the crowds so that was a bonus.

Mile 20-22 – Oh Heartbreak Hill.  You are bittersweet. You are hard but when you are over, you provide an overwhelming sense of relief and energy.

Mile 22-25 – Seriously questioning whether I am on fire at this point.  The sun on my back was painfully strong.  Of course I would rather a sunburn over cramped legs but darn this was going to be one nasty burn.  I was beginning to fade from sheer heat exhaustion.  I had to remind myself that at this point last year, I felt equally as exhausted, if not worse.  This is not unfamiliar territory and it will pass.  These are the moments of grit and the moments that you often can’t remember when the race is over because you were just so tired.  I didn’t want to not remember these final miles.  I kept reminding myself to stay alert and try to embrace everything.  Don’t wish for it to be over because as soon as it is, I know I am going to wish I could relive these moments despite how painful they are.

Mile 25 – 26.2 – Just like the sign that someone was holding early on in the race..’Just keep running, just keep running’ . And then it happened….HEREFORD.  I was spacing off and didn’t expect it so it was a VERY NICE surprise to say the least. This point last year was a total blur and I regret that so much.  The fact that I couldn’t remember the best part of the race killed me so this time around, I promised myself to take it all in.  Yes, Boylston is LONG.  You see the finish and you can’t help but be like “ughthat’s far..” but I tried my hardest to look left, look right, look up and just take it all in.  To my surprise, my legs had that last bit of juice left to kick it in and finish with the biggest smile and hands in the air..exactly the way I wanted to finish.

As soon as I crossed the finish line, I ran hobbled into some Intagram friends, and then spotted Sarah and Bethany! We didn’t finish as a squad but we held strong for a while and I was just so happy to be able to re-connect…almost as if we were together the whole time.  In the process of trying to locate my Dad, Sarah casually got ENGAGED!!!! I met Sarah 48 hours prior and here I am hugging her mom and screaming.

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The face you make when you consumed WAY too much Gu and Gatorade due to the heat.

I couldn’t celebrate for too long because I had to get back to the finish line to cheer on my Mom.  My dad had her splits and she was on track to finish well below what she thought she would (as always!!)

We weren’t able to catch her before the finish line but we spotted her in the finishers shoot.  At this point I completely embarrassed myself by jumping on the railings and screaming “MOM”….because no one other than my mom goes by Mom, right??  We finally caught her attention meanwhile those around me are deaf…and celebrated the race with a nice long walk to bus to grab our stuff and then to my dad’s car.  Nothing like a far walk to the car only to realize that we went wrong way at some point because we were standing above the car with no way to get down but retrace our steps and take a different route. Imagine having to tell 2 females who just ran a marathon that we have to turn around.. my poor dad.. but he is the best person ever and you can’t really stay mad at him for long.

We finally made it the car and I had the ride home to reflect on everything…and eat the biggest salad in an attempt to tame my stomach from all the Gatorade and GUs.

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I was so relieved and just so happy.  Relieved that the race I have been stressing about for months was over and a success.  Happy because I fought hard and finished equally as strong as those who had great training cycles.  I say that not in a bragging manner but to prove that we all have obstacles and setbacks and although they feel debilitating at the time and make you constantly question your ability to perform – come race day, it is anyone’s race.  I am not going to lie, this race was in my favor seeing as I spent January doing hot yoga instead of running and in the end the ability to perform in the heat was the ultimate task.  The point I am trying to make is that a setback or even multiple setbacks don’t always dictate the result of the race.  There are so many factors involved.  Your weakness on race day may be someone else’s strength and your strength may be someone else’s weakness.  Take the cards your dealt, swallow your pride and run with your heart.  Sometimes that is the best racing strategy.

Boston, you were exhilarating as always.  I am beyond grateful I got to run your streets again, finish strong and healthy enough to make my way to the start line of Big Sur!

 

Where Has the Summer Gone and Where Have I Been?

You would think summer would be the time when I am on point with my blogging but this summer has proved that theory wrong! Between vacations, a summer class, yoga, crossfit, running, enjoying the outside and now school starting, I have not had the time or desire to be glued to my iPad to type up posts.

I do not know where to begin on this recap so I will start with some key events and memories from the past couple of months

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The week after the San Francisco Marathon, I was back on a plane heading to Wiscounsin for a family reunion!  My first run back after taking some time off from running post-Marathon was a quiet 7-miler along a hilly road in Wiscounsin.  Who knew Wiscounsin was so hilly!

Another great memory from this summer (end of August) …MY FIRST RELAY!

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I did the 100 on 100 Vermont Relay which starts in Stowe, Vermont and finished right in Okemo. My mom was part of a team and one of the females was injured so I volunteered to take her spot.  I had no idea what to expect but figured if I could run 26.2 then I could run my total of 16 throughout the day.  Though it sounded logical and certainly manageable, I did not expect it to be as difficult and fun as it was!  We stayed the night in Stowe and woke up early to make our 7am start time.  And by our, I mean the woman who was doing our first leg.  I was the last leg so I didn’t start until 11ish.  Right as a the sun was starting to beam. Lovely. 

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My first leg was 5.8 miles, my second leg was 5.2 miles and my third leg was 4.8 miles.  It is safe to say that I experienced all the climate changes throughout the day.  It began to downpour during my second leg which actually made me concentrate less on how miserable I was and more on just trying to hurry up and get out of the rain.

Leg 2 was definitely the most challenging.

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People said that leg 2 is where you loosen up but it was the exact opposite for me.  This is where I felt the tightest.  Thankfully the rain gave me the kick I needed to finish up the final 2 miles.

Leg 3 was actually my favorite!  I never run at night or with a headlamp or through trails so this leg was pretty exciting.

imageI quickly found out that the headlamp does not replace a street light.  I had very little light and the trail-type road was not helping with the struggle.  As much as I would have liked to move faster – not spraining an ankle took some priority and I just focused on my stepping.  Around mile 3 I met up with a runner and we decided that if we wanted to finish this thing with ankles still attached to our legs, it was best that we stay together and use some teamwork headlamp action.  It worked perfectly and the miles (it was only 2 but after a long day, that seemed like a lot) just seemed to fly by as we were chatting.  Before I knew it, we were approaching our final hill that led us right into the lodge.  The buffet table was in the same area so it almost felt like I was running straight toward the buffet line…which isn’t a bad way to end a race. 😉 After a day of eating/drinking just electrolytes, gels, bananas and nuts, it felt great to have a real meal!  Even if it was 11 o’clock at night. 

I have also finally made my way to local Thursday night 5ks.

imageThe races go on for 12 weeks and you accumulate points every time you race.  The better you perform, the more points you get at each race, however, if you miss just one week, you miss out on the points and can drop significantly.  Every year, I say I am going to start at the beginning and try to get the most points but once again, I don’t start until much later and have missed so many points that even my wins will not bring me up.  Points aside, they have been nice Thursday night runs and every week I go into the race telling myself that I am just running for fun.  I do Crossfit on Thursday mornings so my legs are never feeling race-ready but for some crazy reason, every time that gun goes off, my soreness goes away, I stay relaxed and manage to pace myself perfectly.  And with great pacing and low stress, I have been getting some pretty solid times and have consistently been placing 2nd.  They may not be PRs but it feels so good these days to pace myself and learn how to just run for fun with a little competitive edge.  Last year, I would come to these races with a plan to win.  I would start off crazy fast, hit a wall, and usually want to die by the last mile.  I may have had better times but it wasn’t worth it.  I think I stopped going after 3 weeks because that whole “feel like dying” thing was not really what I wanted to schedule into my Thursday evenings.  Now, I just start off with a solid pace, listen to my body, and start catching people if my body feels good.  And with some good pacing, it usually does!

I also raced a 20k on Labor Day weekend.  This race was a USATF certified race so I was racing for/with my team.  I had a long run planned for that day prior to signing up so I figured I would make the haul to Eastern, MA so I can get a long run in with people, represent my team and enjoy the time with my team.

imageWe also bought new uniforms that are black, pink and baby blue so of course, I was eager to rock some of my favorite colors.

So far this summer (and September), I have run 2 new PRs!! What is my strategy you ask??? JUST RUN DISTANCES YOU HAVE NEVER RUN BEFORE! ha ha. But seriously, it is a sure way to score yourself a new PR.

A couple additional things (I am scrolling through pictures on my phone to recap my last 2 months ha ha)

imageI bought a pair of Hokas because I just couldn’t resist the thought of how comfy they look despite the clown-shoe-like style.  I am not sure why I thought breaking them in on a 14 mile run was wise, but of course, that was exactly what I did.  They felt pretty good.  I was not in love, but I am starting to warm-up to them.

The weekend before school started, I went to Ithaca for a big family reunion/get-together with my boyfriend’s side of the family.  It was the absolute perfect way to end the summer.  Good BBQs, good people, good weather, and lots of fun and games.

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Quick food recap.  I bought the Oh She Glows cookbook and feel in love.  I learned how to make creamy sauce by simply blending cashews that have been soaked and almond milk.

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This dish was one of their curry dishes (we added the shrimp because it is a vegetarian cookbook) The sauce is simply curry, cashews and almond milk and it is mixed in with all sorts of delicious veggies.  I topped some zoodles with this concoction but some brown rice would be perfect. 

My mornings have consistently been delicious Greek yogurt and fruit bowls for the entire month.

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The key to a wonderful Greek yogurt bowl is some Purely Elizabeth Puffs + Granola.  I absolutely love granola but the sugar content is pretty high.  This cereal is primary puffs with some granola mixed in.  It is perfect because you get just enough granola with some puffs for the added crunch.

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I have also been a huge fan on zoodles (Zucchini spiralized into noodles)!

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My summer lunch was usually zoodles mixed with Cottage Cheese and Flavor God Pizza seasoning.

This summer was absolutely amazing and I am still on cloud nine from the marathon.  I want to do a fall marathon but I also just want to train and run while the weather is still nice without having a specific game plan.  I like having the choice to do what I want and not have to plan around events.  October is stacked with races and crossfit competitions.  Although a fall marathon sounds wonderful –  jumping in a bunch of different half marathons and some Crossfit competitions also sounds great.  My game plan is to increase my long run distance every weekend that I am free and if I can manage to get that 20 miler in with 2 weeks allowed for tapering, then we will see if there is something possible for early November.  But right now I just have my eyes set on some great runs, great Crossfit workouts, my Spartan Race next weekend and just taking the weekends to wind down.  🙂

I hope everyone has had a great summer! It is always sad to see it go, but I love working with my new group of students and am excited to implement some new things in my teaching!

That Evening Race Struggle and a NEW Long Run Record

Happy Tuesday!

I ended Thursday’s post about my road trip after work to New Hampshire for a 6:30 5k race.  The Hollis Fast 5k. Well fast for others, not so much for me.. When I told co-workers that I had to leave work a bit early because I had a “race in New Hampshire” on a Thursday evening, they looked at me like I was crazy.  And when I proceeded to say to tell them it was only a 5k, the judgement got stronger.  But I can’t disagree because IT IS CRAZY!  It was a USATF certified race so my running team was competing.  It is rare, very rare, that I would be down for traveling an hour and a half on a Thursday evening to race a 5k but when you have a great team that is committed to racing and the success of the team, along with a great car load of people to ride up with, it is worth it.  However, just because it was worth it, doesn’t mean it was easy.  It was pretty darn hard to muster to up the energy to just get my legs moving once we arrived let alone race!  I was waiting for adrenaline to kick in, but it wasn’t happening.  I was definitely nervous when I got to the start line.  I don’t know if it was because I knew my time mattered tremendously because I was racing for a team…or because there were so many tiny, fast runners  decked out in uniforms surrounding me which was quite intimidating..or because I knew that in minutes I would have to go full speed for 3 miles and my legs were not in the mood to do that.  I
think it was a mix of all three of those reasons but despite the nerves, as soon as that gun went off, I took off down the road…way too fast.  My first mile was a 5:43 and since my average mile time was 6:21, that only means one thing…

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.. I definitely started out too fast and hit a wall.  It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t entirely enjoyable, but it was over fast!  Though I didn’t have a PR, many of my teammates raced a PR!!

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The face says it all…don’t make me move fast, I just don’t wannnaa!

I also mentioned in my last post how I couldn’t stop smiling over my new long run record of 14.24 miles.  Well I have stopped smiling over that because I have something EVEN better…

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On Sunday I tackled 16 miles! I can’t believe I did it!  I am beyond proud of myself because this type of mileage is something I have feared for a long time and each week I am proving to myself that it can be done!  I have heard from many people that the key to surviving the long run is having a running buddy.  Well unfortunately, I do not have a running buddy for a couple of reasons.  I haven’t really ever wanted one.  Part of my love for running is the ability to just be alone, listen to music and just drift off into my own little world.  Of course there are those runs that are miserable and the only thing running through my mind is the seconds/miles remaining…but for the most part, my runs are usually peaceful and is my time where I can think through things and jam out to some great tunes.  I also have no interest in wasting the little breath I have on talking.  The thought of trying to hold a conversation with someone while gasping for air does not sound appealing, but is also my biggest problem. I don’t know how to slow down!  That being said, though I like my alone time during my runs, as the miles are creeping up, I am starting to realize that I do not need 16 miles worth of alone time.  I have been contemplating the idea of recruiting someone/people to run certain legs of my long run with me so that I can get my alone time in but can also have someone to distract me from those negative thoughts that start to arise around mile 13.  A couple of members from my Crossfit box told me that their club team was planning on a 6 mile run around a local reservoir on Sunday morning at 8:30.  THAT’S PERFECT! I can have 10 miles to myself and then jump in to group run to help me slow down my pace and motivate me through the final 6 miles.  It all sounded great but I wasn’t sure if it would all pan out the way I had vision in my head.

I had the morning all planned out before I went to bed.  If I wanted to make it to the group run by 8:30 with 10 miles already in the bag, I would have to leave the house by 7:10…making for a glorious 6:30 wake up call on Sunday morning.  My run started out fine, but I was noticing some tightness in my left calf from the race on Thursday.  The tightness was subsiding which resulted in me questioning this whole 16 miler.  I was convinced around mile 3 that this would end up just being a 6-10 miler.  Not bad, but  not what I had in mind.  But then around mile 4 my calf just slowly loosed and it all felt okay.  It was like the clouds parted and I had a burst of confidence. Dramatic, I know. I made it to the group run a little behind schedule but just in time and exactly 10 miles in!  I stopped to take a quick breather and get into their group huddle and before I knew it, I was back running and ready to tackle this final leg.  The pace was a bit slower, my music was put away and I was just enjoying the beautiful scenery of the reservoir and the conversation of the people around me. I ended up doing the final 6 miles with two older men whom I  never met before.  I still am not a huge fan of holding a conversation while running but it wasn’t horrible.  I actually think I enjoy running with people just to listen to other people’s conversations…slightly creepy but it’s interesting! Another 6 miles later, I broke off from the running group and ran home clocking a little over 16 miles! 🙂

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I write this with so much excitement and pride.  I can’t believe I am conquering mileage that I feared for so long…and it’s actually enjoyable!  I already have a 17 mile route planned out for this Sunday and maybe a partner who is willing to bike the final 6 with me! I am trying not to let my excitement get the best of me because I am well aware from past experiences that things can come up and throw a giant curve ball in your game plan.  I am doing everything I can to prevent any injuries or possible disturbances in my training by resting, taking care of my body and stretching every night.  I am incorporating yoga into my schedule in addition to running and Crossfit so that my body can remain flexible and loose despite the heavy lifting and running.  I can only hope that with proper care and nutrition, my training will continue to stay strong and I will make it to that finish line on July 26th!

Have a great rest of the week!…only one more week until summer vacation 🙂

Can’t wait to enoy more of this view..

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Longest Run to Date and a Racecation Planned

Ironic that my last post was about setting PRs and the frustration I have been experiencing with not having set a running PR in quite some time…then BOOM, without any expectations, I set a running PR.  No, no, not some outrageous race time but my LONGEST RUN EVER!!!

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Owe it to my new Brooks Launch running shoes..

Like I said in my last post, I have been focusing most of my time on Crossfit and have only been getting in super short runs later in the day if I have time.  Two weekends ago, I had a 14 miler planned but not a single bone in my body wanted to do it.  I don’t necessarily get excited for long runs but I don’t usually dread them like I was dreading that 14 miler.  Instead of forcing something that I just didn’t want to do, I ended up skipping my long run and doing yoga at my Crossfit box followed by a Sunday WOD and some extra lifting.  It was exactly what I wanted to do.  My body needed a good stretch and I was in the mood to lift and workout with people.  Being my first week of marathon training, (yup, MARATHON IS BOOKED.  Will explain later!), I felt a little guilty about bailing out on a long run this early into training but sometimes you just need to let yourself break away from the plan a bit and do what you want rather than what you feel you should do.

This past Sunday, I knew I had to stick to my schedule and I felt ready to take on the long run, especially because the weather was perfect.  With almost 2 weeks of little running since my last half marathon, I had no idea what to expect.  I set a goal of 10, a reach goal of 12 and if some miracle happened, then the intended 14 that I missed last week.

imageAh yes, I still smile when I see those numbers.  How did I do that??  But seriously…I wish I knew what made this run so perfect.  My legs felt fresh despite 5 straight days of working out before going into this run, my mind was relaxed and everything just felt great. I just kept tacking on more miles because my body and legs were willing to take it and not fighting against me for once!  Once I knew I was going to hit my reach goal of 12, I went a little further for 13 and though I could feel myself starting to weaken, I was way too close to that miracle so I slowed my pace down a bit and just remained controlled.  I reminded myself that a mile is just  my quick warm up around the block before Open Gym crossfit.  I can handle that!  And sure enough, I did 🙂  This was so needed.  I needed this running boost to remind myself that I can do this!  When I look at my training plan, those high mileage runs scare me, but I just need to take it one mile at a time.  I also need to remind myself that not every run is a good run and sometimes your legs just want to give up after mile 1.  Don’t force it.  If the run isn’t there, then save it.  Wait for the moment when it is.  It may not be part of the plan, but the plan will work itself out if it’s meant to happen.

Speaking of this whole marathon training thing that I keep mentioning…

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I am making my way back to San Francisco this summer 🙂 I received this same confirmation email a year ago but only made it to the Half-marathon finish.

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San Francisco Half-Marathon 2014

Lets see how it all plays out for Round 2.  I am excited..nervous…scared…but also relaxed.  I know that the trip will be amazing regardless of what happens.  If I don’t feel marathon ready then I will just switch to the half marathon and enjoy everything that race has to offer…THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE.  And even if NO running happens, I can enjoy a wonderful vacation with a great friend in a beautiful city.

Running wasn’t the only huge accomplishment this weekend but because I haven’t had many of those in a while I will boast about that the most 😉 On Saturday, I finally reached the highest double unders amount for my Crossfit box!  This has been a goal I have been trying to reach for weeks now and I am so happy it finally happened! 102 consecutive Double Unders! 

Funny story about reaching 102. On Friday I decided to try and set a new personal best seeing as I had been at 83 for a couple of weeks and Double Unders were in Friday’s WOD.

imageI made it up to 99! A new personal best (as of Friday) and a tie for first place at my box.  I walk in on Saturday and saw I had been bumped to 2nd because a phenomenal double underer (definitely not a word..) in the later class ended up hitting the whole 100! She is actually the person I learned double unders from.  I starred at her form and just tried to mimic it…a little creepy but true..and helpful!  Since I was still on cloud nine from my 99, I did not expect to have to tackle this challenge again but being only 1 away, it had to be done.  I didn’t get it on my first try but my legs were willing to jump 102 more times 🙂  I suspect this will lead to a little Double Under competition 😉 but what better way to stay motivated and continue to better my previous score!

Lets get to the good stuff and talk food…

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Friday nights always call for burgers and a sad attempt (fail) at grilling artichokes.  When it comes to burger night, things get a little territorial so thankfully we had some chives to make sure our burgers are not mixed up 😉 I am a huge fan of the Trader Joe’s grass-fed 90% lean beef, mix in some onions and Flavor God spices and top it off with melted shredded Swiss cheese. Instead of buns I use one slice of toasted Ezekiel bread and just leave the top open and load on grilled onions, mushrooms and avocado!

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This is has been a recent post-workout favorite!  If you are a chocolate lover like me, this is right up your alley.  I mixed my Vega-Sport Chocolate Protein powder with just enough Almond Milk to make a gooey fudge.  Chop up some fruit…apples, strawberries and bananas are my top choices...and just dip/SLATHER them in chocolate.

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Lastly, after a cold and rainy 3-day field trip to Cape Cod last week, the only thing I wanted for dinner was grilled, HOT, food!  That is exactly what went down…Salmon, broccoli, brussel sprouts, chopped sweet potato fries.  Just what I needed after 3 days of cold food!

I hope everyone has a great rest of the week!  I will be road tripping it with my team tonight for a USATF 5k race in New Hampshire.

Wish us luck! 🙂

Boston Run to Remember Race Recap

Between ending the lacrosse season and a 3 day field trip to Cape Cod with my students, I am FINALLY here and ready to recap the Boston Run to Remember Half Marathon.

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This was my 3rd time running this race and is the only half marathon that I have run 3 consecutive times.

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2013
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2014

It was also my 3rd time staying in the Hilton at Logan Airport with my mom.  Prices are cheap, transportation to the start line is quick and easy, view is spectacular and post-race brunch is delicious..which is a necessity.  It was also the 3rd time that my mom and I set an early departure time but ended up leaving hour(s) past the intended time 😉

Time of departure aside, my mom and I met up Saturday afternoon and were off to Boston.  We had a few pit stops that had to be made along the way…

Marathon Sports was a necessary stop because I have been struggling to find the perfect shoe.  The Asics Gel-Pursue have been my go-to for the past year and although I have tried to explore different Asics, I always end up coming back to the pursue.  Well sure enough they had the Asics Pursue at Marathon Sports and sure enough the shoe expert said that it was a good fit given my foot structure.  But I also had my eyes on the beautiful Brooks Launch running shoes.  I have been contemplating trying out Brooks because I have heard great things about the brand.  The second I slipped them on, it all made sense.. they felt amazing.  So amazing that I felt the need to walk out of the store with them on and wore them for the rest of the day 🙂

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I also felt the need to talk a picture of how awesome they were while standing in line for my over-priced/standard Boston price Americano.

A Whole Foods stop for some pre-race fruits and a Sushi lunch was also mandatory

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..and of course another over-priced drink.

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But this was a drink I didn’t mind spending $4 on because it was delicious!  You can’t even imagine the excitement I had when I went to my local Whole Foods this past weekend and saw a sign “2 for $5” for them.  Definitely walked out with 4 different flavors.  

And after multiple stops throughout Boston, we finally made it to the Expo!

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The Boston Run to Remember expo is always pretty decent.  Nothing too crazy but you have a solid amount of samples..free samples are what make an expo awesome, right?!  It’s hard to judge the expo when your last Expo was the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  Lets just say the expectations are set pretty high after you experience that.  After the expo we headed back to the hotel to relax..and catch up on Grey’s Anatomy with a Boston Skyline view.

We had reservations at the same restaurant that we ate at last year, Salvatore’s.  It still holds as some of the best pizza that I have ever had. So delicious that I even still have a picture of my pizza from last year….

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In the midst of inhaling the pizza, my mom was chatting with the bartender about last year’s race which somehow turned into a convo about my time and place last year which then led to the bartender saying “If you get top 3, you can come back tomorrow evening and I will buy you your meal”.  First of all, you should never offer to buy a female dinner after racing….we/I can EAT. So I guess you can say, my lack of placing top 3 was because I am overly generous and did not want the bartender to go bankrupt 😉

The race was at 7 so we had a 5am wake up.  I wasn’t too nervous because I had no idea what to expect.  I have been getting in my long-runs but my mid-week runs have been limited.  I have been focusing on strength and Crossfit rather than improving my race times.  I want to be ready and prepared to jump into half marathons for fun but fast times are currently not my main focus.  Last year, I ran a PR (which was beat this past fall) of 1:27 and with most PR races, there was a whole lot of pain and struggle.  It is hard to enjoy the beautiful Boston scenery when your fighting to hang on.  This time around, I decided to take it all in and not focus on time.

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3 minutes slower than last year which is still a bit hard to accept but it was truly an enjoyable race and I can’t say that about many races that I’ve raced hard in.

The expo samples may have been limited but they certainly made up for it after the race!

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If I had any class/dignity left in me after the race, it was definitely out the window when I grabbed an empty cardboard box and just started loading up on every possible (free) sample I could find.  Thankfully, I found a bag to transfer everything which made me feel a bit more classy.

Another reason why I decided to take the slower, more enjoyable racing option was because the next day was Memorial Day which means HERO WOD at Crossfit.  I was already signed up for the 10am session and I definitely did not want to skip on this fun!

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Not your typical ‘day-after-half marathon-workout’ but I am so glad I have some energy left from the race because this was crazy, challenging, and so rewarding!

imageI can’t say enough great things about working out with these people.  They are so strong, so motivating and they always keep me humbled.  Each person has a different strength and a different weakness.  Crossfit is such a mix of different abilities which is why I love it so much.  There is always something (multiple) things to improve on which keeps me wanting to come back and push harder everyday.

It sometimes worries me that I am not getting in as many runs and I have been lacking the motivation to push myself in races.  I am naturally a competitive person and will always want those race PRs and those super speedy times, however, I am still mentally recovering from some really tough races and I just want to get back to the joy of racing before I return to that level of pain and struggle.  I also need to keep reminding myself that although I am taking my racing lightly, I have been pushing myself harder and faster everyday in Crossfit.  There are so many goals I am trying to reach in that arena and I have been really fighting hard to reach some solid benchmarks.  Balancing running and Crossfit has been manageable but there is a lot of give and take.  In the fall, my focus was on racing.  I was only able to make Crossfit 3 days a week because I needed to get in high mileage.  I was improving in Crossfit but certainly not as much as I am now.  I guess you could say, I Crossfitted with caution which limited my achievement in that aspect, however, I ended up racing some fast half marathon times.  This past spring is opposite, I skip more weekday runs because I want to give my crossfit workouts everything I have without tired legs.  Despite my lack of racing PRs, I’ve set some solid PRs on the rower, on many lifts, and FINALLY just set the highest Max Double Unders.

So, with all this PR talk, I will end with this.  At the end of the day, no one really knows what your PRs are/is, many probably don’t care, and SOME DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT PR STANDS FOR! (Personal Record by the way) Just got out there, do what makes you happy, do what keeps you coming back for more, and do it for YOU!

A (day late) Mother’s Day Post!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

I wish I could say this post is a day late because I was too busy making sure my mom had the most amazing Mother’s Day but unfortunately that is not the case.  I can say that we celebrated Mother’s Day with my mom and Grandma on Saturday night and it was so great to have everyone together.  Those two are definitely worth celebrating! They have done one heck of a job as wonderful mothers.

I may not have spent the morning with my mom but I did go on a long run in preparation for the Boston Run to Remember Half Marathon that my mom and I are doing in two weeks!

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Oh it was a hot one.  I can’t complain about the warm temps just yet because I spent the winter complaining about miserable, snowy and cold runs.  Regardless of the beating sun and the need for a water stop at a local cafe, I’ll take summer heat over winter snow any day.  At least with the heat, you can wake up earlier to try and beat it.  You can’t really beat the snow, once it’s there, it’s there…especially this winter.  Overall the run went great.  My body could definitely tell that my long runs these past few weeks have been consistent 10 milers.  When I get past that 10 mile mark, everything gets tough. Last week’s 13 miler was the same, everything is enjoyable until about mile 10, then that’s when it goes from a long run to a bit of a fight.  But it eventually all gets done 🙂

I was in a bit of a rush to get to my parent’s house to give gifts to my Mom and Grandma but standing in front of the window fan with water for a solid 5 minutes was necessary.

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A post-run smoothie bowl was also just was I needed to refuel and allow my body to cool a bit.

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Thankfully, I finally stopped sweating and was able to finish 3 more pages in my racing scrapbook just in time to show my mom for Mother’s Day.

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I wanted to finish these pages because they were from our Disney Challenge and capture the amazing experience and the fun that we had together.  I love creating this scrap-book for so many reasons.  With each page, I get to relive some incredible memories.  The scrapbook was designed for just half marathons and hopefully a marathon, but the entire Disney Challenge deserved a spot in the book because it was so special.

Though I managed to finish the pages, there is no gift or day that can amount to how thankful I am to have such an incredible mother.  She is amazing is so many ways.  We certainly have had our moments – there is something about that mother-daughter relationship where you know just what to say or do to make them mad, or even worse, make them hurt.  There is no justification for it but you just need to learn from those guilt-filled moments.  And at the end of each day, I truly am blessed to have such an incredible and passionate person in my life.  She has and continues to support me in every aspect of life.  She is the reason I am who I am.  Based on her most recent half marathon times, she still has a ton of fight left in her which makes me incredibly happy because I hope to have many more race-cations.

My scrapbook still has many more pages left and I can only hope that those pages are not just me but us.