A Few Reasons To Be Happy

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’!

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Pinch me.

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?

-J

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Boston Marathon 2013: Race Recap & True Celebration

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.

So, here are the happy moments I remember.

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Chanthana, Scott, and I went for a fun shakeout run on Sunday morning. (Good thing we didn’t injure ourselves during these jumping pics!)

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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.

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Before the village was full. Quiet moments early in the morning

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.

Miles 1-4: 7:28, 7:16, 7:14, 7:08

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.

Miles 5-13: 7:22, 7:16, 7:19, 7:17, 7:17, 7:25, 7:20, 7:15, 7:27

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.

Miles 14-21: 7:18, 7:28, 7:17, 7:31, 7:35, 7:38, 7:37, 7:59 

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.

Miles 22-Finish: 7:18, 7:32, 7:43, 7:31, 7:21 (and 6:53 pace for last 0.2)

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. 

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Ok, where did THOSE quads come from?!

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Pleasantly surprised that my form is so strong with 1 mile to go!

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Right on Hereford. 

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Left on Boylston.

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I don’t remember seeing that dude in the sweatshirt… It was much too hot for that, mister!
 
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Head up and a small smile knowing that the finish line is so close
 
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That finish line. Amazing feeling. It gives me goosebumps every time I think of it.
 
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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!

 
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Boston Marathon 2013 Splits
 
 

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.”

If we choose to remember them, these happy moments cannot be taken away.

-J

On Boston.

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.

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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.

Flotrack Boston Marathon 2013

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.

Boston Marathon 2013 Explosion

the restaurant in relation to the finish line

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.

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– J

A Look Back: Boston Training 2013

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.

Boston Marathon 2013 Training Mileage

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?)

Boston Marathon 2013 Weather

This was a pleasant surprise! Fingers crossed it stays this way

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 🙂 .

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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?

-J

Boston Marathon 2013 Training: Week 13 of 14

BM2013 Week 13 Training

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.

I ran 45 miles this week + a few foam rolling sessions and core routines. Taperrrrrrr…..

Monday

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?]

Tuesday

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.

Wednesday

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

Thursday

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?! 😉

Friday

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.

Saturday

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?

Sunday

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!] 

Highlights o’ The Week:

  • Added to my running playlist: Percussion Gun by White Rabbits 
  • THE KINVARA 4S ARRIVED AT MY DOOR! Definite highlight of the week. Running Warehouse and Saucony released their previews of the shoe months ago but they’re worth checking out if you have worn the previous version(s) or are looking to test them out when they are released on 5/1. [I’m especially excited to track down the special Boston edition of the Kinvara 4 at the expo!!!)
  • I used iMovie for the first time in years to submit a fun application to Nuun’s Hood to Coast team for later this year!  (iMovie skills were dusty to say the least, but I think it came out nice!) I’m so camera shy that I’m shocked that I don’t look like an idiot….at least not 100% anyway. Plus, Barklee made a cameo appearance.
  • I saw Dan Pink speak at the Union League Club. I read his book Drive a few years ago and recently read his new book To Sell Is Human. My boss had the chance to meet and speak with Dan before he spoke to the entire group. Fun afternoon to break up the week, for sure.
  • NEW FAVORITE? Creme Brulee Haagen Daaz ice cream. Where has that been all of my life and why had I not tried it until this week?! You better believe I’ll be eating at least 1 carton this week to ward off the TAPER TANTRUMS.

Pictures o’ The Week:

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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 🙂

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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

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New obsessions = kombucha & chia. Now in a jar together (Cherry is delicious, but also heard Grape is too)

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First ice cream truck siting of the year! Woot woot!

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Team Race With Us (#TRWU) + 1 cowbell + 2 vuvuzelas = Fun Sunday Morning Spectating the Shamrock Shuffle

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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.)

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Hillary keeping an eye out for Mama Grumps

Saucony Kinvara 4s: Sneak Peek!

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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?

-J