I saw this quote from da Vinci the other day and thought it was worth sharing. I have a feeling every runner would appreciate the sentiment, especially because we make ‘happening to things’ part of our lives.
Something to think about
I saw this quote from da Vinci the other day and thought it was worth sharing. I have a feeling every runner would appreciate the sentiment, especially because we make ‘happening to things’ part of our lives.
Something to think about
I think pre-vacation brain is like taper brain. I’ve managed to forget the simplest things, my mind is restless, I dream of calories in the form of beer, and I’ve checked the weather no less than 5 times today even though the weather should be sunny and gorgeous where I’m going.
I’m really looking forward to this vacation. Last time I went to Mexico, I literally turned my phone off the moment we landed and turned it back on only when we arrived back in Chicago after 6 days lounging in the sunshine with a margarita in hand. I’ve been thinking more about unplugging 100% for the 6 days, just as I did then. That feeling of becoming detached from technology was scary and wonderful at the same time.
I’m anxious to take some time away to READ. My Goodreads list is out of control and there’s no way that I would be able to read all of the books I want to read in my lifetime while still trying to hold down a regular job. I bought the three books above to devour on vacation. I’m a Kindle-reader and read 3/4 books on it. But I’m leaving it at home, all by its lonesome. Maybe if I pretend I’m allergic to technology for the next week, quitting it cold turkey won’t seem so scary?
Have you ever done a technology detox? Was it as easy or hard as you thought it would be?
Recovery. Ahhh sweet, glorious marathon recovery. If recovery means stuffing your face with leftover pizza and eating ice cream out of the carton with a spoon, and sitting on the couch watching stupid TV , then apparently I’m doing it right! To be fair (to myself), I haven’t been a complete bag of lazy bones. I took a mandatory week of rest following the marathon and slowly (very slowly) began to get my legs back. I ran 3 times last week and did some light strength work, but I haven’t been sticking to a routine. This week will be the first week since Boston that I’ll run over 25 miles. Baby steps, people! It’s nice running when I want to and not running when I don’t want to.
After the physical and emotional whirlwind of Boston, I didn’t think that I would come around very quickly to planning out a racing schedule for the rest of the year. But all of a sudden, this week I started thinking about the next potential race and a full schedule through a fall marathon (yep! another!) fell into place.
6/23: Chicago Women’s 5k
8/23-24 Hood to Coast with Nuun!
9/28- Crosstown Classic 10k
10/20- Grand Rapids Marathon
One race per month sounds a bit aggressive to me right now, but this schedule is more than I can handle considering I ran an intimidating (in hindsight) schedule in 2011. I’m looking forward to the mix of distances and dedicated speedwork starting at the end of this month to prepare for a challenging 5k. (I’ll be more nervous for the 5k in June than I was for the Boston Marathon—guaranteed.)
I am excited for summer running again. Training through the Chicago winter was incredibly difficult and draining–but I’d like to think that I’m stronger for it. My heart was in it especially for a race like Boston. (I’m not sure how anyone can train through a bitter cold winter if there heart *isn’t* in it.) Looking back on it now, it seems like it flew right by, but each week was full of challenges that made training more difficult than expected. But NOW! SUMMER IS COMING! The lakefront in the summer mornings and evenings is my happy place. It’s going to be an interesting transition because my body doesn’t know how to even operate until I’ve stumbled into the kitchen and had at least one huge mug of hot coffee. When 4:30 AM alarms start back up again, that routine will have to die a painful, slow death. I will not have time to leisurely sip coffee when I need to race the sun and hot temperatures.
Grand Rapids will be a nice change of pace (heh…) in the fall. It’s a very small field compared to Chicago or Twin Cities (duh) and the course is pretty much flat with some rolling hills toward the middle. My mom recently bought a house in Michigan so it will be nice to feel like somewhat of a local after spending a few weekends up there this summer. Plus, ALL THE BEERS afterward! I mean, let’s be honest. That was a big selling point in the decision-making process, for sure.
With a new training cycle starting in a few weeks, I was thinking through what keeps me motivated. I listen to music during pretty much all of my runs (I don’t see that changing anytime soon, but you never know). Training through this past winter was tough but considerably more enjoyable with some songs that helped keep the legs moving.
(links are to Spotify!)
Bizness by the TuneYards
Around the Bend by Asteroids Galaxy Tour
Sacrilege by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Closer by Tegan and Sara
Sun by Two Door Cinema Club
Books From Boxes by Maximo Park
Five Seconds by Twin Shadow
Dancing on My Own by Robyn
Default by Django Django
It’s Time by Imagine Dragons
Undercover Martyn by Two Door Cinema Club
Loud Pipes by Ratatat
Ambling Alp by Yeasayer
What’s on your race calendar for the rest of 2013? What are your favorite songs to run to lately?
The first step is admitting that you have a problem, right? Alright guys. I’m addicted and have been for a few years now. The Saucony Kinvara certainly hasn’t been the only shoe to carry me in the past 2 years but let’s just say it’s been there for me through thick and thin. I bought my first pair in April or May 2011 when I started training for my first marathon. After a short transition period, they quickly became my favorite shoe. And they’ve remained a constant in my shoe rotation ever since.
My Addiction. Illustrated in race pictures….
First marathon. Kinvaras.
Rock ‘n Roll DC 2012. Kinvaras.
Carmel, IN Half 2012. Kinvaras.
Bayshore Half 2012. Kinvaras.
Batavia Half 2012. Kinvaras.
Twin Cities 2012. Kinvaras.
Boston Marathon 2013. Kinvara 4s!
Saucony was generous enough to provide me with the newest version of the Kinvara before it’s officially released on May 1st. I received them in the mail 2 weeks before Boston and was anxious to see if they could be my race shoe for the marathon.
So far, the Kinvara 2 had been my favorite version. When they released the Kinvara 3 last year, I quickly realized that I wouldn’t be able to wear them. The 3rd version had a higher ankle rise and it rubbed my achilles raw during a 12 mile run. I have a very short period to break in a fresh pair of Kinvaras because my feet and legs are so accustomed to them. But I knew that it was trouble if they bothered me on a relatively short distance run. [More details if you're curious about the differences between the Kinvara 2 and 3!]. Luckily, I was able to stockpile a few pairs of Kinvara 2s and track down a few more pairs with the help of Saucony when I could no longer find them online (super nice of them!). I guess you’re truly addicted with a shoe when you have to solicit the aid of the brand to find it…
The Kinvara 2s provided enough cushion and stability for my first marathon and I haven’t ventured too far from them since then. (The other shoes in my rotation lately have been the Saucony Fastwitch 5 and New Balance RC 1600s). Beyond the achilles issue, the Kinvara 3 was much more firm and didn’t respond to the ground the way I was hoping.
But my love affair continues….Loving the Kinvara 4!
I put about 25 miles on the Kinvara 4s the week leading up to Boston. (I know, I know. ”Never try something new so close to a race”.) But they seriously felt like a glove and I had no issues with the achilles rubbing in the back. The longest run in them before Boston was 12 miles and they felt great. The biggest difference that I can feel between the Kinvara 2 & 4 is the cushioning in the heel (due to the PowerGrid in the new version). The ride seems to be a bit smoother because of it. I pretty much consistently land on the midfoot and there seems to be less “bulk” in the 4s. Overall, they’re super responsive and light as a feather (just as they always have been). If you want more details on the specific changes Saucony made to the shoe, check out their dedicated Kinvara site.
Kinvara 4- Left. Kinvara 2- Right.
Saucony stripped away a lot of the soft padding from the K2s but I haven’t had any issue with the achilles rubbing on the K4s. The heel is flexible enough that it bends when I flex my foot forward.
I couldn’t help snatching up a pair of the Limited Edition Boston Kinvara 4s before Boston a few weeks ago [SEE?! I AM ADDICTED!] I know they’ll always be a special pair…
Looking forward to an early Cinco De Mayo celebration and the Kinvara 4 Launch party at Fleet Feet on Friday, May 1st. [If you're in Chicago and want to attend, be sure to RSVP so they have enough food and drinks for the crowd!]
AND IF I HAVEN’T CONVINCED YOU OF THE SEVERITY OF MY ADDICTION…
I thought I only had a few pairs to donate but after rummaging around in my “shoe closet” (AKA underneath my bed) for a few minutes, I found more than a few pairs to donate to Step Into My Sole….
I’ve smiled more in the past two days than I smiled all last week. There’s a lot to be said for a few good nights of sleep and a new mindset thanks to a clear schedule last weekend. I tried my best not to put anything on the calendar or think about what time it was (note: avoiding a clock is harder than it seems!).
Post-marathon recovery is going well. I think my legs are confused at this point. They’re restless at times, heavy at times, and some sort of mixture between those two at other times. It appears that reverse taper madness is alive and well in my world. It seems like Boston was more than 9 days ago. A lot has happened since then. I was looking at the calendar last night and realized that April is GONE. When did *that* happen?!
Hillary made my day when sent me a link to this month’s Chicago Athlete. Turns out I placed 21st out of 50 of the women from Illinois racing Boston this year! :Mind=blown: It’s really cool to see the locals represented at Boston and my name among them. Cheesin’!
So…what’s “next”? I haven’t gotten there just yet. I know that I want to take 4-6 weeks off of a consistent training cycle for some easy miles (and impromptu fartleks). I started daydreaming about more spin classes while I was working the other day so that will probably happen too. I’m looking forward to a bit of a change of pace and rest, but I know that once I get into that rhythm it will likely change. I can only rest for so long before I get antsy to put another race on the calendar. I’m sure I’ll do 1-2 half marathons this summer just to get to a start line.
For now, the only event I’ve committed to is …..
Hood to Coast with the #NuunHTC team in August!
After a cancelled and rebooked flight from Boston last Wednesday, I really needed something to smile about. I submitted a silly video application to the Nuun team on a silly whim a few weeks ago and honestly didn’t think I had much of a chance of being selected. (If you have seen some of the other applications, you know what I’m talking about!) I’m really looking forward to an adventure and connecting with badass ladies from across the country. The ultimate bonding experience is in a sweaty, smelly van, right?! I’ve already decided that I need to work on my vuvuzela skills.
Beyond August, I will definitely be running a fall marathon but I haven’t decided which one yet. Grand Rapids is high on the list mostly because of the beer options afterward. (Duh).
Speaking of R-E-S-T (my body says, “what’s that??”)! Last night I officially booked a VACATION. In the words of the Man, “Even though Jenny and I just got back from an “adventure”, We just booked another one with more SUN and SAND and Exotic Appeal.” I.cannot.freaking.wait. I need time to unplug, drink countless margaritas, and read silly beach novels. If I do anything more active than that, it will be because I was forced to. I booked the trip last night and I’ve already started thinking about what I’m going to be packing in my suitcase. Definite sign that I need some R & R.
To those of you running Eugene this weekend, KICK THAT RACE’S ASS!! If you begin to lose momentum, just remember…I’ll be tracking you! Don’t let the internet down!
How much time do you take to recover after a marathon? What tips do you have for a Hood To Coast noob? How far out do you plan your races?
Like many others, I’ve sat down to write my race recap a couple of times over the past few days. It’s hard to write about something that forced you to feel so many conflicting emotions. I go to write one sentence and then slowly delete it, thinking “is that what I really want to say?” or “is that what I am really feeling?”. Trying to resolve the emotions between celebrating a great race and coping with what happened at 2:50 PM last Monday afternoon has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do.
There’s a moment that I keep replaying in my head. I’m sitting down at the restaurant on Dartmouth and Stuart. The waiter just served me my first celebratory beer. I’m happy. I look at my phone, open Twitter, and scroll through my mentions. In an instant, my feed switches from “congratulations” to “are you ok????”. My smile is gone and I don’t know what to do with myself. What once were texts and tweets congratulating me on my race quickly turned to ones of concerns and fears.
I can’t get this moment out of my mind. I was looking forward to thanking people for tracking me and letting people know that my post-marathon hobble was impressive, that the hills were no joke, that I became emotional when I saw my family cheering at Boston College. There were so many things I wanted to say to those people when I began to celebrate.
And because that moment was stolen from us, it’s been hard to get back there. In my last post, I said I likely wouldn’t write a race recap. I wrote that it seemed pointless…meaningless. Whenever I stopped to consider writing a celebratory recap, I was immediately overcome by guilt. Why should I stop to celebrate my race when people are still suffering? To be honest, I didn’t even really remember much from the race. I was too concerned about what happened afterward, that those memories just ….left. POOF!. Gone. It’s like someone just erased them from my brain. It’s a weird feeling to know that you ran 26.2 miles but you struggle to remember even one mile of it.
But I’m stealing back that moment. In the past few days, the happy moments have come back to me. I’ve read others recaps, looked back at pictures, and stepped away from the grief of last week. I’ve had flashbacks that I wished would never return. I’ve played out scenarios of what could have happened to me, my friends, or my family countless times in my head. The footage from the news was on repeat in my brain and on my TV screen for 7 days.
But then, the happy flashbacks started. I’ve had flashbacks that remind me that I was happy and there were events, people and thoughts that made me laugh during the race. I welcome these memories and I’m so happy they’ve returned. And I want to continue to remember them.
We had a nice meal on Sunday night and rested up for the day ahead
On Sunday night, I slept like a rock. I had slept 10 hours the night before (woot!) and would have been happy to get 5 decent hours of sleep before waking up at 4:45 AM. I slept 6 hours and felt really rested when I woke up that morning. I spent a few moments alone in the hotel lobby eating a snack and sipping on some coffee before the rest of the world woke up and before our group met to get to the shuttles in time.
I was kind of giddy but I didn’t show it. I just kept thinking, “this is the moment I’ve been waiting for”. The bus ride was very surreal. We sat on the back of the bus (like the cool kids always do). Kris and I sat together and chatted off and on about how we were feeling. We quickly realized that the back of the bus wasn’t the best place to be because we hit several big bumps and we both went flying (along with my remaining coffee). The ride to Hopkinton felt like it took hours. When we arrived, I was quiet and nervous.
And then? We waited. An old high school friend of mine, Seth, was running and we met the day before for lunch. After not seeing each other for 8 years, it was a welcome reunion. [Side note on Seth: He's an incredible runner. He told me that his training hadn't gone well and he was just hoping to run sub 3:00. He CRUSHED that goal with a 2:43! Just amazing].Seth called me once he arrived at the Village and we met up to wait it out. He made me laugh all morning and distracted me from thinking too much about the race. To anyone that told me to bring way more clothing than I thought I should bring to the Village….you were right! Sadly, I didn’t follow that advice and had to deal with some shivers throughout the morning. I should have brought one extra layer for my feet (my toes were cold!) and my legs. Next time around? Definitely bringing several layers and a warm blanket.
It must be some kind of law of nature that you will spend hours of your time hanging around, doing nothing and wait until the LAST possible second to get your gear ready to head to the corral. I don’t think any one of us avoided rushing at the last minute to put our bibs on, stuff our warm clothes into our gear bags, and walk to the corral. I entered the corral with 5 minutes to the start and had no idea I had cut it that close until the announcer said, “three minutes to the start of the 117th Boston Marathon!”. I took the last few sips from my water bottle, tossed it, and waited for the corrals to start moving.
Because the first 4 miles are downhill, the goal was to let the legs go a bit and try to work through the crowd as much as I could. The first mile was conservative especially because we were all still jostling and trying to get comfortable. But the next three miles felt great, knowing that I could settle down in the next section. I took my first water cup at Mile 4.
The goal for this long section of the course was just to settle in at goal pace and see how comfortable I could make it feel. The course is rolling here so I just tried to take each little hill in stride and recover on the downhill sections. To be honest, my legs didn’t feel good in this section. They felt heavy and I had a hard time finding any kind of rhythm (internal rhythm as opposed to the time on the clock). I was a bit worried because I knew that if my legs didn’t feel good before the halfway point, I might be in big trouble at mile 16 when the hills started. I took deep breaths and tried to take in the experience. I took my first Gu at Mile 6 and my 2nd water cup at Mile 8 (consistent water stops every 4 miles and a Gu every 6 miles through the end of the race).
I knew my Dad would be cheering me on at mile 10 in Natick. It helped to have that mile marker to look forward to and it distracted me just enough to look around for him on either side of the course (we hadn’t agreed on a certain side). He apparently saw me but I wasn’t able to find him in the crowd. I was disappointed but knew that he must have seen me. The crowd through Natick was awesome. Both sides of the street were completely lined and we ran through some pretty loud cheering sections. At this point, I had been running for a 70-year old guy for about 7 miles. Guys? If I’m still running a 7:20 pace in a marathon at the age of 70, I win. That’s just amazing. Each mile I ran with him, I thought one of two things. First, he’s incredible. And second, he’s 70 and you’re 25 and you should be running faster than him, Jenny! That guy was tough.
I took my 3rd water cup and my 2nd Gu at Mile 12.
I’m not sure what happened at this point, but all of a sudden the legs started to feel really energized. Turnover was smooth and I didn’t feel like my legs were just dead weight once I reached the half marathon marker. I guess it’s a sign of a long distance runner if you don’t properly warm up until mile 13?? I remember the slight hill when you come up to Wellesley and you begin to hear the students cheering for you. The noise wasn’t nearly as loud as I imagined it but you could hear it become louder as you ran closer. The signs were really clever and the smiles were much appreciated. I didn’t stop for a kiss but maybe I should have. I stayed on the left side of the road to avoid those that were stopping for kisses (which weren’t many, actually!). I remember seeing this guy carrying a camera taking video of the girls cheering for him. He must have stopped for 4-5 kisses before he kept racing. I’d love to see that video (I’m sure he’ll cherish it forever because he seemed really excited about the fact that girls were cheering for him).
Water and Gu at Mile 16. This is when the work begins. I honestly avoided looking at my watch much between miles 16-21. I tried to take the hills at effort, give myself 1-2 minute break once I reached the top, and then get back into a rhythm near goal pace. I honestly didn’t even know which were the “big hills” because everything felt like a hill at that point (even the relatively small ones). As much as I wanted to keep my head up and enjoy the crowds through this rowdy section, I just kept my head down, listened to my music (low volume) and kept my legs moving. I knew that if I could just keep the legs moving and not look at my lap pace, I could mentally and physically get through the hills. The downhills between each of the three big hills really helped me collect myself and prepare for the next one ahead. I didn’t even know I had run up Heartbreak Hill until I reached the top and saw someone holding a sign saying “you just ran up Heartbreak Hill!”. Well thanks, stranger! This section of the race is more of a blur than any other.
Gu at 18 & Water at Mile 20.
The downhill after Heartbreak was the only time that I became emotional during the race. I was so relieved that I had made it through each of the 3 big hills. I’m not sure I’ve ever cried tears of relief before but I’m pretty sure that’s what they were. It was a mini celebration because I knew I could conquer the next 5 miles. The crowd through Boston College was SO impressive. They were definitely louder than the Wellesley crowd! I felt like I was floating down the hill. All of a sudden, out of the corner of my eye I saw my mom cheering for me near Mile 22. I had no idea if it was her but I had a feeling that it was. My entire family was waiting there for me and I managed to miss all SEVEN of them! I put my hand over my heart, tapped it a few times, and tried to show them that I saw them and appreciated their support more than I could express in words. And for whatever reason, I thought that putting my hand over my heart probably wasn’t that obvious so I quickly threw my hands up in the air, Rocky-style. For real, it was all a blur. My sister Lindsey said she’s never seem me glare like that before. I was so out of it!. I’m just proud of myself for mustering the energy to throw my hands up like I did (a difficult tasks after running 22 miles!). Mile 22 was an emotional mile. I shed a few more happy tears and regrouped.
Last water stop at Mile 23 (one mile before I planned). Those 10 seconds of walking to sip my water felt heavenly. Just a few more to go. Usually I really like to empty the tank at the end of a race. The last 6 miles is usually a progressive pace. But all I kept telling myself was just to keep my legs going. Just as I had during Miles 16-21, I avoided looking at my watch. I knew I was on pace for a 3:14 finish time but I didn’t want to get too anxious.
And just like that. The Citgo sign was ahead. And then it was behind me.
Right on Hereford.
Left on Boylston.Head up and a small smile knowing that the finish line is so close That finish line. Amazing feeling. It gives me goosebumps every time I think of it. A moment of celebration 5 minutes after finishing. One week later and I’m thankful that I’m ready to celebrate
Coach Hadley prepared me for Boston in 14 weeks. I never expected to PR by 3 minutes on such a tough course. There are lots of good things to look forward to the rest of this year!
What happened before 2:50 PM that day was a true celebration of all of our hard work. The happy moments should trump the sad and truly scary ones. We deserve to celebrate and not feel guilty for doing so. I’m really looking forward to my first post-Boston run tonight at Fleet Feet Chicago. I’ll wear my race shirt for the first time with a smile on my face as a tribute to those that were injured, killed, or affected in any way by last week’s events. The Boston Globe published an article that helped me: “Runners, the marathon does matter.”
“In the best of circumstances, running a marathon is a punishing experience. But it’s not one we normally associate with survivor guilt. Yet it’s not unimaginable that some runners might feel as if their personal path to fulfillment has been cheated. This should not be confused with selfishness. …
The lesson here is not to dismiss, even for an instant, the shared heartbreak that will forever mark our experience of this particular 2013 day. But runners need a way to honor the hours, the miles, the sweat, the discipline, the achievement of running beyond their capacity to continue.
The takeaway is to celebrate what can never be taken away.”
It seems like Monday, April 15th was more than just a few days ago. A lot has happened and not happened since then and I can’t help but feel like everything we’ve experienced couldn’t possibly have happened in a matter of days, hours, minutes, seconds.
I’m not sure I will be writing a race recap this time around. I don’t think I could do it justice. Everything is a blur and details just aren’t there. I trained my heart out for the past few months and was so happy to cross that finish line with a smile on my face and happiness in my heart. I did it. I ran a 3:14:37, a PR of over 3 minutes.
All of that seems so silly now. It’s meaningless. And just like the ups and downs of the course, the emotional roller coaster of the past few days seems like it just won’t end.
Others didn’t get the chance to reach that finish line. Like many of you, I’m angry, hurt, confused, conflicted, sad, and lost. After I exited the finish chute and hobbled over to the gear truck to collect my bag, I turned on my phone for the first time. It was a flurry of text messages and tweets from friends who had been tracking me during the race. A wave of emotion came over me as I realized that all of the sweat I put into this training cycle was worth it. I put on my finisher’s jacket and began making my way through the family meet-up areas. Manny called me and told me they were still on their way back from Boston College where they had been spectating (near mile 21.5) and that they would get off at the Hynes stop. I’m not totally familiar with Boston but I knew where that was. I walked west and approached Boylston when Scott called my name. I turned around and we hobbled (like only marathoners can) toward each other. We congratulated each other and began talking about the race and how we felt. Scott told me that he saw Kevin and that we should walk over toward the finish line to meet up with him and see Chanthana finish.
I knew it would be tough to get there. I asked several of the volunteers standing near the barricades in the finish chute if there was an easy way to get over to the finish line. They told Scott and I to turn around (away from Boylston) and walk several blocks west before turning back north where the finish line was. So we did. But we knew that it was going to be really busy and we ended up finding an empty corner to sit and wait for my family to find me at Dartmouth and Stuart. They arrived a few minutes later. I was torn between finding a place for all of us to sit and eat and drink a celebratory beer and finding the other runners in our group who had all finished. We decided it was best to wait there and use it as a meeting spot. And we were especially looking forward to starting the celebration with a beer.
We ordered a round of drinks. And then we ordered a meal.
And this is when time starts to slow down.
I heard one boom. Others heard two. We felt it. The restaurant had open windows and we could see everything that was happening on the street. People were so confused and quiet. We all looked at each other and kept repeating, “what was that?”. For a few minutes, no one on the street moved and everyone in the restaurant peered out the windows to try to figure out what happened. A few minutes later, we saw people running away from Boylston and crying. No one looked injured. People were in shock. We told our waiter we wanted the check and we didn’t want our food. We didn’t know if we should stay in the restaurant. I looked at Twitter and the first tweet I saw was from Flotrack.
The restaurant turned on the news and most of my family walked over to see what they were saying. I stayed in my seat. I didn’t know what to do. I was worrying about the other runners that were on their way to meet up with us. I was torn between wanting to know what happened and avoiding it. I knew it was bad but I didn’t want to know how bad. Another few minutes went by and ambulances and police cars lined the street outside the restaurant. They told people to get off the street and directed them several blocks away. There must have been at leaset 15 cop cars on the street. Manny was planning on taking the train to the airport 30 minutes before. He had his bag with him and everything. He quickly decided that he would intentionally miss his flight and pay for another the next day. I’m so glad he stayed.
Our phones were crazy. We had random spurts of cell service and all of us received notifications in batches. We couldn’t keep up with responding to everyone. (Thanks to anyone that passed along the news that the group was okay. That was incredibly helpful.) Our phones were quickly dying.
Lauren and Chanthana arrived at the restaurant and we all hugged them so tightly. Everyone was safe. My friends and family were all safe and accounted for. I’m not sure what time it was when we decided that we should start walking to our hotel. We knew we wouldn’t be able to take the train and that the walk across the river to Cambridge was probably less than 2 miles. Compared to the 26.2 we had just run, 2 miles sounded easy. And compared to what could have happened just an hour or so before, we felt lucky, spared.
After everything that happened, it didn’t occur to me until Tuesday night that I could have been much closer to the finish line than I was if those volunteers hadn’t directed Scott and I to walk several blocks in the other direction first. And as badly as our legs hurt, I’m glad we were too tired to end up anywhere other than that restaurant.
My mind has been on a loop since Monday. It’s hard to think about anything other than what happened that day. I’m having a difficult time putting into words how I’m feeling. I was in shock until Tuesday night when I shed the first tear. It’s been difficult to stop the tears since then. I can’t put it into words , but Megan said it well when she wrote, “I think this is why my brain is tricking me into thinking that somehow it’s not a big deal. That it wasn’t an earth-shattering, life-changing event. It’s put up a sort of barrier that’s guarding me from fully taking it all in. But then I see photos from the scene and read about those victims who didn’t make it, and it all hits me again. Realizing that so many of my close friends could’ve easily been one of the victims triggers yet another wave of emotions that I’ve been trying to suppress all day. I just can’t believe that this insane event hit so close to home. Much, much too close.”
It’s not fair that we didn’t get to properly celebrate our accomplishments. And it’s not fair that innocent people were killed and injured on Monday.
But we will get our legs back underneath us, lace up our shoes, and run forward. Because that’s what we do.
Taper. The week when forcing yourself to be “boring” and routine is acceptable and welcomed. It’s been a little less routine that I’d like so far but that’s nothing I can’t handle. (I had business trips immediately sandwiched around the Twin Cities Marathon last year and I didn’t die so there’s that!) This week really has been a weird rollercoaster of emotions and thoughts. On Monday and Tuesday, I couldn’t help but think about what this race means to me. Now that it’s later in the week I’m focusing on the little things like foam rolling, sleeping, hydrating, and tying up loose ends before I get on that plane. There’s a big difference between Monday’s emotions and today’s emotions–thank goodness!
It’s hard to believe that race day is almost here and I will be on a plane to Boston in a matter of hours. I feel like I’ve mentally prepared for this day for far longer than just this 14-week training cycle. The journey began when I BQ’d at Chicago in 2011. Ever since then, I’ve been thinking about what it would feel like and what kind of runner I would be when I raced from the start line in Hopkinton to the finish line in Boston.
I’ve changed so much in 2 years. The first time I ever posted about something running-related on this blog was in February 2011 when I wrote about my decision to train for Chicago, my first marathon. I re-read that post the other day and literally started to cry. I’m not kidding. Full on taper crazies emotions going on over here this week! At this point, it’s par for the course and I’m embracing it.
In that first blog post about my decision to run my first marathon, I wrote: “Hopefully this motivated, determined feeling will remain in full-power through October when I put my mind and my body to the test. I have a feeling it will do just that–because when I set my mind (and body) on a goal, there’s no way out of it, no slacking off possible.” Woah there girl! Where’d you get the balls to say that?! Who do you think you are? That girl had a lot of guts considering she hadn’t jumped into a real training cycle yet. The farthest she’d ever run was 13.1 miles and she had no idea what was ahead of her. I know that this positive self talk was just one of the ways that I convinced myself that my first marathon would be a great day to race. I spent literally 8 months giving myself this pep talk leading up to the Chicago Marathon.
I don’t think I’ve ever stopped giving myself this pep talk. Running became my obsession 2 years ago and I can’t help but sit here and wonder how all of this happened in such a short amount of time. It’s been one hell of a ride. And I can’t wait to get to that start line in Hopkinton to finish what I started two years ago.
As prep for the race, I’m putting this training cycle in perspective.
14 Weeks of Training
547 miles total
Average 39 miles per week
Consistently ran 5 times per week
10k & Half Marathon PRs
2 – 20-milers (compared to 3 for Twin Cities –longer cycle)
In November & December, I went to physical therapy for 5 weeks and took several weeks off running because of a weird hip/glute issue. To say that I was nervous about training for Boston beginning in January is a huge understatement. The two weeks off running allowed the minor tendonitis in my hipe/glute to subside but I knew it was still weak. With strength training and the exercises I did in PT, I gradually started to feel stronger. The first few weeks of training were literally just test weeks to see if I could jump into a full-on training cycle. Thankfully, the hip passed that test and we were off and running….literally. I know that if I hadn’t taken that time off in December, I likely would have had a bigger injury on my hands and I would not be racing Boston. (Maybe running it, but definitely not racing.) INSERT BIG SIGH OF RELIEF that that scenario did not happen!
This cycle has been different than ones in the past for several reasons.
I incorporated more strength and agility training.
I ran 5 days a week, as opposed to 3 or 4. (Thanks to Coach Hadley’s push!)
I treated myself to a monthly massage (that will be routine in the future).
I became serious about my nutrition and learned how to fuel properly.
I trained through a true Chicago winter for the first time (I could have done without that challenge, to be honest!)
I focused on each week’s training, as opposed to looking too far ahead and getting caught up in the next race on the calendar.
I trained in the moment this cycle.
I’ve been so caught up in all of the Boston activity this week. Taper Brain is real, people! I’ve devoured race recaps, read through the recent issues of Runner’s World and Running Times, and I’m almost done reading “Pre”(finally!). I visited 3 stores last weekend to hunt down a new race singlet–with no luck. Luckily, I found one I liked on Running Warehouse on Monday and immediately clicked CHECKOUT (thank goodness for two-day shipping). I’ve already created a list of things I CANNOT forget to pack in my suitcase. I’ve checked the weather about 3 bajillion times since last week (who isn’t?)
At this point there’s nothing to do but
obsess over my racing plan rest, hydrate, and fuel. I thoroughly enjoy these three activities so I don’t think it will be a problem .
For now, my goals for Boston are mine to obsess over but if you want to track me on Monday morning, text the word RUNNER to 345-678 and respond with my bib #: 8763. You will also be able to watch the marathon live on BAA.org (just be sure to close the office door and lower your voice while you’re cheering us all on at work!) Flotrack is also going to have a live feed available.
For you Boston vets, what wise advice do you have to give a newbie? What should I absolutely *not* miss in Beantown: food, sights, activities?
I haven’t really formed any concrete thoughts about this week’s running. I’m in shock that Boston is now just 8 days away and I’ll be on a plane to Boston by 6:30 AM on Saturday morning. I peaked at 51 miles this cycle, but 45 miles this week didn’t feel too challenging. I’m feeling strong, confident, and relaxed at the moment……but I’ll post more about my pre-Boston thoughts later this week when I really start to overanalyze and over think things….because that’s definitely going to happen.
Easy 6.5 miles at 8:20 pace. Today was one of those days when the legs just never seemed to wake up. I overestimated my route and ran 0.5 miles longer than I was scheduled to (whooptydooo). It’s probably all mental but this was the first day when I thought, “Oh taper… grumble grumble.” The remedy was 45 minutes of foam rolling and trigger point in front of the TV afterward while I watched Mr. Selfridge [Anybody else think it's weird to see Jeremy Piven act in a 'period series' on PBS?]
11 miles 7:25 average. One of those rare nights of this training cycle when I run on the lakefront in the evening. Plan was to start at 7:40 pace and ease into 7:20 for the remainder, but to stay nice and relaxed. Mission accomplished! Felt smooth the entire time and couldn’t believe how easy 7:20-7:25 pace felt. All good signs Side five #1 with Tim R. around mile 7 and an airplane side five with sound effects with @HillarySpeaks around mile 9. Nice to be out there on the path with a lot of people after work for a change.
3.5 miles at 8:14 pace (29 minutes). Unplanned easy run in the Kinvara 4s (!!!!) Usually Wednesdays are complete rest days for me but I was so excited about the shoes being delivered that I asked Coach if I could go out for a short jaunt that evening. He approved 30 minutes (which was 30 minutes more than I thought he’d approve). Felt good to get the legs moving actually.
+ 30 minutes of Jillian Michaels yelling at me in the 6 week 6 pack DVD
8 miles total, 7:23 average. 2 mile warm-up, 5 mile tempo 7:05-7:10, and 1 mile cooldown. Last “official workout” before Boston! The tempo pace didn’t feel super challenging, which was nice. I kept reminding myself that I ran a half marathon at the same pace in horrible conditions (i.e. 25 mph headwind and the worst course ever). Now all the runs on the calendar are EASY PEASEY. Which basically means that I’m going to second guess the pace on each and every mile and overthink things for the next 7 days. That’s what you’re supposed to do during a taper right?!
Easy 4 at 7:52 pace. I avoided looking at my watch and didn’t realize until I returned home that I was running sub-8 minute pace. It was such a nice Friday afternoon that I just went with it.
12 miles, 8:02 pace. This run seriously sucked. Note to self: when you go out the previous night and tell yourself that you “only” have 12 miles the next day, you should revise it to say “Yeah…I have ALL of 12 miles tomorrow.” After sleeping and lounging most of the morning, I went out around 2 pm to a WALL OF WIND. Constant wind gusts of 30-40 mph made this supposedly easy taper run into more of a battle than I thought it would be. The wind was blowing the dirt from the baseball fields up near Montrose across the path and into the faces of runners and bikers. When I got home I had a nice layer of dirt and sand all over my skin and a piece of debris (not kidding) on my front tooth. Blech. Let’s just count it as resistance training, shall we?
SHAMROCK SHUFFLE SPECTATING! Really fun Sunday morning with Team Race With Us. I’m not sure I could actually portray how badass our spectating skills are, but I tried to in this Vine. [Some of you mentioned that you noticed us at State/Jackson near the 2 mile mark---we're happy we were obnoxious enough!]
Obligatory puppy pic. She hadn’t had her cup of coffee yet, so I sipped mine for a few minutes before my day started while she slept in my lap
It might not be all that warm yet here in Chi but the sunshine and blue sky certainly made it feel like spring this week
New obsessions = kombucha & chia. Now in a jar together (Cherry is delicious, but also heard Grape is too)
First ice cream truck siting of the year! Woot woot!
Team Race With Us (#TRWU) + 1 cowbell + 2 vuvuzelas = Fun Sunday Morning Spectating the Shamrock Shuffle
Went to the Museum of Contemporary Art for First Fridays. The pic on the left is of a TAPESTRY that covered the entire wall. (When you stand far away, it looks like an actual photo. Insanity.)
Hillary keeping an eye out for Mama Grumps
Aren’t they pretty?
Guys guys guys! They arrived! Last week, I came home from an easy run to a happy piece of mail (among other pieces of mail that involved people asking me for money). Saucony was generous enough to provide me with the newest version of the Kinvara before it’s officially released on May 1st. I’ve been wearing this shoe for over 2 years. I think I bought my first pair in April or May 2011 when I started training for my first marathon. After a short transition period, they quickly became my favorite shoe. And they’ve remained a constant in my shoe rotation ever since then. At this point, I’m not exactly sure how many pairs I’ve owned, but it’s likely over 10-12 pairs (I usually log around 350 miles on each pair.)
The Kinvara 2 has been my favorite version. When they released the Kinvara 3 last year I was bummed that the rise at the back of the heel rubbed my achilles a bit more than I’d like. Luckily, I was able to stockpile a few pairs of Kinvara 2s and track down a few more pairs with the help of Saucony when I could no longer find them online (super nice of them!).
I went for my first run in the Kinvara 4s last night even though it was supposed to be a rest day. I can’t resist a new pair of shoes especially when: a) they’re my favorite shoe by far b) the colors are badass c) they have the potential of being my Boston race shoe! and d) it’s a gorgeous spring evening (now that it’s finally warming up in Chi). Coach approved a short jaunt to test the shoes and I was all too happy to take advantage. I took them out for a quick 3.5 miles.
I’ll decide by this weekend if the Kinvara 4s will be my Boston race shoe but it’s certainly looking positive at this point!
I’ll post a full review of the Kinvara 4s soon (hopefully before race day!).
What’s your favorite shoe? Do you have a lot of different brands in your shoe closet or do you stick to a certain brand?