Boston 2014 Training: Week 5 of 16

Boston Week 5 of 15

This week, I ran 44 miles.

5 runs (only ONE outside!)

ART x 1.

1 hour spin.

1.5 hr yoga.

(and somehow…no core?! Bad memory…)

Monday:

Active recovery: 1 hour solo spin, 1.5 hour vinyasa yoga class

I opted for spin recovery today and some yoga because the top of my right foot was tender after Sunday’s sloshy run in the snow. I was fighting for my footing for at least 9 miles of that 15.5 and my foot seemed angry at me. The last thing I wanted to do was get on the treadmill and a solo spin always feels good. I’m apparently REALLY good at misreading class schedules lately because I thought yoga was an hour long until I realized we were 75 minutes in and not stopping. 🙂 It seems I’m really good at spending almost 3 hours at the gym these days.

Tuesday:

{3 x 1 mi repeats} 7 miles, 7:54 average. Splits: 6:27, 6:31, 6:31.

Yet another treadmill run. If it wasn’t for Sunday’s long run, I think I’d have forgotten what running outside is like (ahem…glorious!). This workout went well, although the legs were heavy because of yesterday’s heavy cross-training (noted). Ran 2 up, 3 x 1 mile with 400 m RI (1 min walk, the rest recovery jog), and 1.25 down. Splits: 6:27, 6:31, 6:31. I need to look back in my training log and see what kind of recovery interval I normally do for mile repeats. (Right foot soreness 90% gone, will continue to monitor!)

2014-01-28 21.17.08-2

 

Lots of this lately, too.

Wednesday:

ART appointment + 7 recovery miles, 8:10 average.

Normally run 5-6 mi on recovery days but I felt good today so I went with it. I had another ART session this morning, which seemed to open some things up. Watched Ellen while on the treadmill and giggled a bit.

Thursday:

{2 x 2.5 tempo at 6:58} 9 miles, 7:36 average.

Another mid-afternoon run. This felt surprisingly good! ART yesterday and a good recovery run really made the legs fresh and ready for the workout today. Ran 15 min up, 2 x 2.5 mi tempo at 6:58 (4 min RI), and 15 min down. Nice to set it and forget it on the treadmill today (and I heard the wind on the lakefront was insane). No complaints really, beyond being the sweatiest person in the gym. 🙂 Right foot didn’t seem to bother me until the last mile.

Friday:

5 recovery miles, 8:11 average.

Nothing much to say about this one. Nice and easy after a full day of calls and meetings. Felt good to sweat and flush the legs a bit.

Cozied up to this bottle that night. Yummy!

2014-01-31 18.54.51-2

Saturday:

Complete rest day.

I had plans to head to Morton Arboretum with Chanthana, Tim, Pedro, and Kevin but I knew that snow was going to fall overnight and the footing might be tough. While I’ve been able to put in some good miles and workouts this week, the last thing I wanted to do was tweak my foot while running through the snow again. This whole resting thing takes a lot of self control — but I’m sure I’ll be happy I did it. Plenty of stretching and foam rolling to prepare the legs for the long run the next day.

Sunday:

16.0 miles, 7:28 average long run.

There was sun! In the sky! And it was glorious!

2014-02-02 15.13.06

Today was a bit ‘backwards’. Slept in late and went to brunch with The Man before my run, which meant that the run was either going to be amazing or horrendous. It ended up being amazing (thank goodness). I was strongly considering running on the treadmill today just so I wouldn’t be miles away from home with a sore foot but Chanthana and Declan pushed me out the door–thanks guys! I started around 2 pm while the SUN was still shining. Saw a lot of people sledding at Montrose, a few families cross-county skiing along the path, and 2 strangers asked me if I’m running Boston this year and wished me good luck. Gosh darn it, I love the running community! My foot didn’t bother me at all on the run but it’s still a bit tender after. Another rest day tomorrow and I should be good to go! Took at Salted Carmel Gu at miles 6 and 12. Didn’t really feel hungry but need to get back in the habit of regularly fueling, I think.

Thoughts:

This little foot thing was worrying me all week. I almost feel like I have injury PTSD because I can easily focus on every little ache and pain. But this week, I think I was realistic in recovering and I didn’t feel like I needed to skip workouts because it never really hurt on the run. I iced it literally every day (some days, at least twice) and elevated it just to be safe. If I learned anything this past fall, it’s that I should always listen to my body. That’s what this week was all about. If it continues to hurt through this week, I’ll know that I need to see someone about it. I think my legs are starting to get used to full turnover again–the speed workouts and tempos on the treadmill are tough. I can’t help but think about how enjoyable these will be once I’m running outside 100% again.

What I’ve Learned:

  • Read the darn class schedule!
  • Runners are never strangers to one another.
  • Running on days when you REALLY don’t want to will always make you stronger.

11 Weeks to Gooooooo!

– J

Boston 2014 Training: Week 4 of 16

Boston 2014 Week 4 of 16

This week, I ran 43 miles.

Strength training x 1

Spin Class x 1

Core Routine x 3

5 Runs

1 Rest Day

The goal this week was to be realistic, put in the work, and be patient. (And know that the fitness will come!)

Monday:

6 recovery miles, 8:12 average. + Bodypump class

Planned on working a half-day on the holiday but spent a large portion of the morning at the gym (and it was surprisingly busy!) I ran 6 easy treadmill miles as recovery to get back into the week while watching the Today show. My legs seemed to have more pep today than they usually do on recovery days. Good sign!

And thennnnnn…I went to my first Bodypump class. Let me just say that I’m typically not into this kind of group fitness class. I’m not sure why but I’d rather get the work done on my own. But I’m glad I went! My upper body was in sufficient shock by the end and there were tons of squats and lunges to strengthen these grandma hips (although they’re feeling less and less creaky each week.) I’m thinking about going back to Bodypump through this cycle to work on overall strength.

Tuesday:

[4 mile tempo] 7 miles, 7:34 average.

Today, I decided to dominate the treadmill instead of letting it get the best of me like it did last week. It worked! 2 miles up, 4 mile tempo, and 1 down. Splits: 7:08, 7:03, 7:03, 6:58. I’m still working my way back into fighting shape and tempos are always the hardest part of that, it seems (especially on the treadmill). But for some reason, I was able to find my groove today. And despite some pretty tired post-Bodypump legs, they still had some kick. Happy happy joy joy!

Wednesday:

1 Hour impromptu DJ Spin Class + Core Routine x 2

BEST.SPIN.CLASS.EVER! Not kidding. I went to the gym looking forward to a solo, easy spin just to flush the legs and apparently I read the schedule wrong because I showed up just in time for a live DJ spin class. Yep, spin instructor AND live DJ. I was a bit skeptical at first but I’m definitely going back now. Awesome music and the instructor was the best I’ve had at my gym (and I’ve tried 4-5 by now). So much for an easy spin! Plenty of springs, progressive hills, and jumps. I haven’t sweat that much in one spin class…ever. I had a puddle underneath my bike by the end. 🙂

+ core routine x 2

Winter Hydration with Nuun

Thursday:

[5 x 1000m repeats] 8 miles, 7:55 average.

Booyah! This one felt good! For some reason I’ve been able to find my groove on the treadmill lately. I still don’t love it but you gotta do what you gotta do in the winter. I ran 2 mi w/up, 5 x 1k with 400m recovery, and 2 mi c/down. Splits: 3:50, 3:54, 3:54, 3:53, 3:50.

I was really happy with how this went. The goal was just to run smooth and controlled through all 5. Mission accomplished–now I have a baseline for future 1k repeats. Oh! And I received a few weird looks at the gym when I did a shoe switcharoo between warmup-workout-cooldown. Side note: I felt like I was flying in my racing flats. I’m happy to transition back into them for speed workouts after a long hiatus.

And then….I drank beer and cooked dinner with a recipe from the Craft Beer Cookbook. Because, I can drink my beer and cook with it too.

Craft Beer Cookbook

Friday:

Full rest day. Highlights include copious amounts of pizza and beer.

Saturday:

6 recovery miles, 8:15 average + Core Routine x 1

After a big brunch, a mid-afternoon nap sounded blissful but I knew I’d feel good after running easy. I was looking forward to a super early bed time to make up for it but that didn’t happen for some reason.

Sunday:

15.28 miles, 7:35 average pace.

I shifted my long run today to avoid yesterday’s 25-30 mph winds and I’m pretty glad I did. The wind today was strong at times, but not like last week (probably because it from the W). I started around 11 am after a full night’s sleep, some coffee, and a Picky bar–smooth caffeinator ftw! I wore my neck gaiter and sunglasses (which I almost never wear) to block the wind. The first half was a big slushy mess and my legs were pretty fatigued halfway through. I saw Chanthana around mile 4 when she was 9 miles in and was jealous that she’d be inside and warm sooner than I. 🙂 She helped me get out of the house this morning when she told me to put my Boston jacket on and get it done. By mile 8, I just wanted to be done with this one, but once I turned around to run back south, conditions improved. I really need to befriend the dude that drives that little John Deere plow on the lakefront –he made the second half of this one SO much more enjoyable than the second. Kind of shocked at my pace. Still aerobic and didn’t feel like I was running outside of a comfortable zone. Keeping an eye on my right foot, felt a bit sore by the end.

14 degrees, real feel 4 degrees
20 mph wind gusts, 4 mph constant

Total Miles: 43 miles, 5 runs

Thoughts:

Some nice progress this week, I think! The treadmill was nice to me and I was shocked at how smooth and comfortable the 1k repeats went on Thursday. And fighting through the mental battle of tempo-ing on the treadmill on Tuesday makes me think that training is going well. I decided to go to ART every 10 days again, so things started to feel a bit creaky by week’s end, so it will be nice to work some things out in a few days.

TWELVE WEEKS TO GO!

-J

Boston 2014 Training: Week 3 of 16

Jan 19 Boston

This week, I ran 37 miles.

ART x 1.

Hip Strength x 1.

Core x 1.

This week was a cutback recovery week and I took full advantage of it. The past few weeks, I did a considerable amount of cross-training on my running rest days. A little bit of yoga and spin here and there has been making my legs feel fresh when it comes to workouts lately. But this week, the couch and some movies sounded more appealing. 🙂

Monday:

6.85 miles, 7:29 average (Speed ladder 1200m to 400m)

It’s been a long time since I had to write a speed workout on my hand so I wouldn’t forget the target paces. (I sweat it off by halfway through the workout, anyway haha.) Loving these “warm” temps –with the sun out this afternoon, it felt like spring.  The wind made a few of the intervals difficult. The path was still full of ice but I chose a section that was mostly clear and ran all of my repeats on the same section of the lakefront path.

2.38 w/up
Speed ladder with 200m RI (1 min walk, 1 min jog)
1200 – target 4:39/ actual 4:34
1000- target 3:49/ actual 3:44
800- target 3:02/ actual 3:01
600 – target 2:15/ actual 2:12
400- target 1:29/ actual 1:30
1.25 c/down

This was definitely a challenge. Legs had a hard time working through the 800 m interval after pushing hard on the 1200 and 1000. On top of that, I started to feel the affects of acid reflux in the last few repeats. I ate lunch an hour and a half before I started my run, so probably should have waited a bit longer to digest.

Tuesday:

5 recovery miles, 8:12 average. Treadmill.

+ Jillian Michaels 6 Week 6 Pack DVD –> RETURN OF JILLIAN MICHAELS! And yep, this DVD is just as hard as I remember it being last cycle. I actually consider this core and hip strength training because there are plenty of lunges and hip work. It’s amazing how strong you can feel after only 30 minutes of Jillian Michaels yelling at you through a tv screen.

Wednesday:

Complete rest day. I got my nails done and watched silly TV. Because, sometimes you just need a girly day. 🙂

Thursday:

7 miles, 7:34 average. (Progressive tempo-ish run)

+ Hip Strength Routine

Recovery week tempo-ish run. Ran 1 mi up, 5 mi progressive from 7:30-6:48, and 1 mi down. This actually didn’t feel as “easy” as I was expecting it to, probably because it was on the treadmill and the temptation to either slow down or stop is stronger. I haven’t locked into a strong tempo pace yet (still early in the cycle!) but I assumed working my way from 7:30 to 7:00 min/mile pace over 5 miles would feel easier. Really wish I had run this one outside instead of on the treadmill!

Friday:

5 recovery miles, 8:12 average. Treadmill.

10 min rowing + 10 min Stairmaster + ART appointment

Who knew the gym was the place to be at 7 pm on a Friday night?! I couldn’t believe how busy it was–thought it was going to be empty. The true sign of a good recovery run? My legs felt so much better after this than they did beforehand. Went to PT for another ART appointment in the morning. Worked out some left hip soreness and did some Graston on my outer left quad.

For no reason whatsoever, I felt like using the rowing machine and the Stairmaster after my run, neither of which I’ve used in the past 3-4 years? I consider this super light cross-training of the week. Plus, the stairs have to be good for these runnin’ glutes, right?!

Saturday:

13 mile long run, 7:31 average.

Cut back week long run out on the lakefront this morning. Motivated to get out there before the snow hit this afternoon. Some of my long runs this cycle are going to include some faster miles and a few goal marathon paced miles. I’ve never really done that besides some fast finish runs and I’m curious to see how it affects my overall training. I decided to do 1-2 mi w/up, 9-10 mi 7:20-7:35, and 1-2 mi c/down. My legs did a fair job of ‘turning on’, but not until later in the run when my face almost froze off in the wind. I really regret not wearing my neck gaiter to cover my face when I really needed it (last ~4-5 miles). Always a rude awakening when you enjoy running north and forget about the wind running the opposite direction. Solid airplane side-5 with Chanthana (thank goodness we didn’t meet 2 minutes beforehand–she would have caught me mid-snot-rocket!) 🙂 The legs felt pretty tired by the end but I was more frustrated with the cold wind than anything else.

Followed by (you guessed it!) yet another brunch with Chanthana and Corey. We’re like…really really really really really ridiculously good at brunching.

Sunday:

Brunch and total rest!

Thoughts:

I think I put in another solid week of training. I impressed myself with the speed ladder on Monday, and even though the progressive didn’t go well on Thursday, I’m sure it would have been a different outcome on any other day or if I chose to run outside. Tempos are mentally tough no matter what, but the treadmill adds a little bit more of a challenge than I was feeling up to that day. I’m happy with the long run, especially because I seemed to lock into the target pace early on and hold it fairly easily.

Bring on another good week!

A Reflection on What Worked: 2013 Edition

A (belated) annual recap is in order. I really like looking back on years’ past and I think I deserve it to myself to recap 2013. This is more for me than for anyone reading so you really shouldn’t feel obligated to read 🙂 (Because, let’s be serious–enough annual recaps are floating around out there!) 

2011 was the year of firsts.

2012 was the year of: “Ok, I did all that last year. What can I possibly tackle in 2012?”.

2013 was more like a rollercoaster. A lot of good things happened and a lot of unexpectedly sad and frustrating things happened.

BUT, there are accomplishments to celebrate and setbacks to learn from so that 2014 is the best year of running and racing yet.

In 2013, I…

improved my 5k time by 33 seconds.

improved my half marathon time by 2 min, 30 seconds.

improved my marathon time by 3 minutes, 10 seconds.

ran 1,622 total miles (annual personal distance record).

ran a monthly mileage high of 202 miles in March.

ran an average of 31 miles per week and 135 miles per month.

successfully trained through a Chicago winter and raced my first Boston Marathon.

ran my first relay– Hood to Coast with Nuun!

2013 Races

raced 6 times, with PRs in the 5k, 10k, half, and full.

bonked…hard. Ya live and ya learn, ya know?

trained hard for a fall marathon that didn’t happen. It can’t all be sunshine and rainbows.

was reminded that the ‘little things’ make a big difference (and that acupuncture and ART are my friends!).

and placed in my age group a few times! (it appears my fears of placing in this competitive age group were a bit dramatic):

  • Wacky 10k: 2nd place overall female, 1st age group
  • Chicago Women’s 5k: 2nd place age group
  • Bastille Day 5k: 2nd place age group

Jenny_Poore_s_2013_Training_Summary___dailymile

So, there ya have it. All in all, it was a year of accomplishment with a few setbacks. What doesn’t kill ya makes you stronger. I’m looking forward to a fun year of racing and running in 2014!

– J

Boston Training Begins! + New Obsessions

Yes, I used the word TRAINING! I officially started training for Boston 2014 on Monday, December 16th.

It’s taken more time to get to this point than I thought it would, but now that I’m here, I’m surprised how easily the miles have come to me the past 4-5 weeks. When I realized that Grand Rapids wasn’t going to happen and that this silly leg was going to throw my plans askew, I (very) slowly worked up the courage to start thinking about giving training another go. And I’m happy to report that I’m back at it and feeling like my normal runnin’ self again. It only seemed appropriate to begin the next training cycle on a gorgeous (warmish) wintery day in Chicago on my birthday. The snow started to fall just as I started my run and it was frigid cold—something I’ll have to get used to again as I put in some hard work over the next 16 weeks.

This fall/winter has been more about courage than I thought it would be. 2013 was a rollercoaster year. Ups and downs and loopty-loops made me happy, sad, elated, and frustrated, but I know that there were more ups than downs. For a year that asked more questions than provided answers, I think I’m stronger now. I wore my Boston 2013 jacket for the first time on my first training run of this training cycle and thought to myself, ‘it’s time to move on’. And so, that’s what I’m doing. Clean slate, open mind, fresh training, and lots of miles ahead of me in 2014.

Image

All bundled up for Boston 2014 training run #1. My face is freezing and I can’t feel my nose. Standard.

In November, I started to think about what I wanted to change and what I want to accomplish in 2014. And as I usually do, I wrote down some big hairy, scary goals and tucked it away in a place that I’ll be sure to look at it everyday. I’m excited to start working toward a goal again.

So, this is what I’ve been up to. At the beginning of November, the focus was on a bit more rest and then a gradual increase in my weekly miles with all slow, easy miles. I started at 20 miles per week and worked up to 35 miles each week for 5 weeks. Literally all of my these miles were easy recovery pace from 7:45-8:40/mi. No fartlek action, no speed, just MILES. It was slow going in the beginning and it was incredibly difficult to be happy with 20 miles total for the week. But I had to start somewhere after lots of recovery so I focused on keeping up with cross-training. It made me feel good just to be running 4-5 x a week again. I wanted to be able to do that without feeling like my legs were going to fall off. Success!

After 5 weeks of easy base-building, I decided to test the legs a bit. I increased my mileage gradually to 40 miles and added two light “workouts” to the schedule. The first was supposed to be a progressive run of 8 miles (4 easy miles, then 4 miles up tempo — not tempo pace, but a bit of a challenge). That plan flew out the window when I started running and the legs didn’t want to stop. I actually ended up running an 8 miles steady-state at 7:20/mi pace. It was a bit unexpected and, at the time, I kept telling myself that one good run doesn’t mean that my legs are ready for full training mode yet. Then, the second “workout” planned for the week was 8 miles with the last 10 miles fast/moderate. I ran the first 6 comfortably at 7:50-8 min/mi and then the legs were ON. I ran the last 1.5 miles of that workout at 6:40 pace. 6! A 6 hasn’t flashed on my watch in ….3 months? I was giddy and surprised and happy to be able to run a quick pace again.

The week of 12/16 was an awesome step in the right direction. 40 miles, 5 runs, two “workouts”, and a note in my training log that said “MY LEGS ARE BAAAAACK!”. At the end of that week, I knew that I’d be able to start putting speedwork on the schedule on 12/30 (and that’s still the plan this week). I’m also really happy with my cross-training this week. I was really bad about adding cross-training into my schedule in August-September and  I know that it has to be more of a priority this cycle.

To recap: Week of 12/16

Monday: 8 miles, 7:26 average (“workout” #1:progression run turned steady state)

Tuesday: 5 miles, 8:15 average + hip strength routine

Wednesday: 1 hour yoga + ART (Rest Day)

Thursday: 8.8 miles, 7:39 average (+1 hr belated bday massage)

Friday: 1 hour spin 

Saturday: 12 miles, 7:47 average

Sunday: 6 miles, 8:30 average

TOTAL: 40 miles 

Annnnd that brings us to this week! All of that good stuff that happened the previous week? Yep, it just kept rollin’. I ran a total of 44 miles this week. FORTY-FOUR! I like that number. And I especially liked how the legs are feeling considering I haven’t been to PT for ART since Wed, 12/18. I’ve been going about every 5 days so this stretch of 12 days is a good test especially with strong mileage and a slow build to more difficult workouts.

Week of 12/23: MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Monday: 8 miles, ~8 min pace. 4 miles easy , 3 at 7:20, and 1 mi cooldown.

Tuesday: 5.5 miles, 7:39 average.

Wednesday: REST + Christmas!

Thursday: 10 miles, 7:37 average. (including 8 x 1 min surges at 6:20-40 pace with 1 min recovery)

Friday: REST – family time

Saturday: 14 miles, 7:29 average pace! Really not sure where that pep in my step came from but this felt GREAT!

Sunday: 6 recovery miles, 8:30 pace.

TOTAL: 44 miles + 2 rest days

I wasn’t confident that my legs would come back so soon after a lot of recovery in September and October. I ran zero miles the week of November 3rd. Since then, I’ve run 21, 23, 30, 35, 29, 40, and 44 miles each consecutive week. 7 weeks of patience is paying off, I think.

Now, the hard work really begins!

New (Gifted) Obsessions:

Roll Recovery + Garmin Forerunner 220

#Runnerd Christmas presents: Roll Recovery & Garmin Forerunner 220.

My family was spot on with the Christmas presents this year. Two gifts that I will use literally almost everyday. The Roll Recovery is a torture/recovery tool that I’ve had my eye on since Hood to Coast when Robyn showed me her torturous ways and encouraged me to inflict pain on myself (all in the name of recovery of course!). It was especially handy in a relay scenario because having the time and space to foam roll is virtually impossible. I do my fair share of foam rolling and I really love the Stick but this thing is the real deal. I’ve been able to trigger point muscles that are pretty difficult to reach with a foam roller. Obsessed!

Garmin Forerunner 220Purtyyyyyyy.

Annnnnd the Forerunner 220. I’ve had the huge BRICK AKA Forerunner 305 on my wrist for 2.5 + years. Mind you, I have tiny wrists and this thing is massive compared to my frame. When I took the 220 out of the box, I couldn’t believe how light it was. I wore it almost the entire day and didn’t really notice it. I fits tighter and because it’s so light, it feels like wearing a normal watch (which would be impossible with the ancient 305). I took the watch out to time the satellite lock on Christmas afternoon and it locked onto a satellite in less than 35 seconds. Before my 14-miler yesterday afternoon, I turned the watch on and, I swear, it locked onto the satellite signal in less than 10 seconds. That’s impressive considering the signal lock seems to be much slower in the city than it is in the suburbs. Just knowing that I won’t have to wait 5-8 minutes for the satellite signal each and every time I run, makes me giddy. I’m sure I’ll have more positive things to say about the 220 the more I use it.

So with a new outlook on training, a newfound sense of courage after a crazy 2013, and some new training tools, I think 2014 is going to be a great year.

Did you get a lot of running specific gifts from friends and family members this year? What are your new obsessions?

Do you find it difficult to start a new training cycle? What are ya training for next?!

-J

Why I’m Not Racing This Fall

The past 3 weeks have been difficult, both physically and emotionally. It’s been 3.5 weeks since I felt like my body started to tell me “woah there buddy, stop at the red light!”. Up until my long run on September 14th, I hadn’t felt any aches or pains this cycle. I was deliberate in my strength training and stretched muscles that are notoriously tight when training peaks. I felt like I was doing everything right and getting stronger through the cycle.

After that 17-mile long run, I tried to do everything I could to refresh the legs. I didn’t really feel like anything “happened”. Nothing snapped, nothing was broken. My legs just weren’t working. (That’s the only way I can describe it.)  I resolved to take it easy for one week and, as difficult as it was to skip 2 key workouts and my first 20-miler, I knew it would be for the best. Missing out on one week of training wouldn’t make a difference come race day. I saw my chiropractor and had massage work done, along with gentle foam rolling and stretching at home each night. But things didn’t really turn around, as badly as I wanted to convince myself that they were. I had a few very short test runs that week and an elliptical workout that felt fine, but I just knew my left quad wasn’t going to let go.

The next week, a little better. I managed 25 easy miles and my 10-miler actually felt strong. I thought, “alright, we’re not out of the woods yet but we’re almost there!”. Still hoping and dreaming that all my hard work and recovery would pay off, even if it wasn’t the original plan.

2013-09-29 12.37.08-210 miles was a confidence boost, but somewhat of a “fluke”

And then? Last week. My heart wasn’t in it and the disappointment started to set in. On Monday, I did a very easy spin for 45 minutes and felt great. On Tuesday morning, I woke up early to do another test run of 6 easy miles. I didn’t feel comfortable by mile 3 and knew it was over.

Actually, I think my brain knew it was over but my heart wasn’t ready to let the dream die yet.

I sat on my butt and did absolutely nothing on Wednesday and Thursday evening, even though I had another easy run planned for Thursday morning. Thursday just….came & went. Almost every hour, I considered going out for a jog (I was “allowed” to run 7-8 miles that day). I felt like I was in a daze all last week because I didn’t know what to do with myself, but my heart and my body started to agree by Thursday afternoon.

I went to physical therapy and said these words out loud for the first time: “I don’t think I’m going to run a marathon this fall.”

I was surprised how comfortable I was when I said it. It just kind of came out.

There are many reasons why I think this is the right decision for me right now. 

This is a very minor injury. I “can” still run, but don’t want to risk major injury during or after a marathon this fall. Running through pain is a recipe for disaster and I’d rather choose to rest now than be forced to rest for a much longer period of time later on.

I have Boston 2014 to look forward to. I would be angry with myself  if I ran through pain this fall and struggled through the next training cycle. Too many years of racing ahead of me to risk anything right now.

My body is trying to tell me something and I have to listen to it. I ran twice last week. I haven’t run at all this week (self-imposed hiatus!). And honestly, I don’t miss it yet.  That’s a sign that I need to recover and regroup before going into training mode again.

Abby NYC published a post this week about why not racing isn’t the end of the world. It’s like she crawled into my brain and gave me the kick in the ass that I needed.

She’s right:  I’m still in awesome shape. Just because I’m not racing now doesn’t mean that won’t EVER race again. There’s still value in the training I did for the past 18+ weeks.

3 weeks ago, I was thinking: “I wasted months of my life for no reason, I feel like I’m a disappointment, what will people think?, what if I decide to run another race instead?, etc.”. Picture all of the negative aspects of the situation swirling around in my brain and that was my reality for about 10 days. A bit of a mental temper tantrum, if you will. One day, I would confess that the race was still going to happen and the next I’d wonder why I even said that.

I’m happy to say the temper tantrum has come to an end and I’m comfortable with my decision. After staying away from Bikram for over 2 years, I’ve started going to classes again. I have a clear idea of where my weaknesses are and it feels so good to work on them. I’m spinning and doing elliptical workouts just to keep up with cardio. And I’m SLEEPING like a pro (I’ve always been good about my sleep but it seems more restful now). I don’t feel the pressure to fit the workout into my day and, for now, that’s a good thing. I’m excited to rest through this week and work on a really strong base before I start training for Boston again in January.

The marathon isn’t happening for me this fall but that means I get to be a spectating fool for not one, but THREE different marathons within the next few weeks. First up, Chicago this weekend! Next, Grand Rapids (where The Man will run his first half and Hillary and Jeff will race for all the beers). And finally, the Indy Monumental Half and Full at the beginning of November. I bought extra vuvuzelas on Amazon a few weeks ago (I’m prepared, people) and I think I’ll be pretty skilled after spectating for three marathons.

Being on the other side of the race this fall seems refreshing to me now. Hey, 2014! You better watch out! I’m comin’ for ya.

2013-10-07 16.10.26I made a decision. And then this arrived in the mail. Boston 2014 will be an amazing experience.

-J

Grand Rapids Training 2013: 5 Weeks Out!

Grand Rapids Marathon Training Week 6

This week, I ran 45 miles

+ 2 core workouts.

+ 1 strength workout.

Monday:

5.5 easy miles, 8:10 average pace.

I had a lonngggg weekend. And my body was demanding a full night of sleep. I didn’t think it needed 11 hours of straight slumber but when I woke up at 8 AM and realized I had slept through my alarm, I thought , ‘welp, guess I needed it!’ (thankfully, I didn’t miss any work calls or meetings.) I delayed the run until late afternoon and went to the gym because of a heat index of 99 degrees. Yeah, Chicago just got the memo that summer is ending and it decided to cram it all into 2-3 days. Swass.

Last week, I decided to run all of my recovery runs Garmin-less but that’s kind of hard to do on a treadmill. 🙂

+ Core!

Tuesday:

10 miles with 30 sec surges, 8:03 average pace.

Another treadmill run. Record-breaking heat in Chicago today…in SEPTEMBER. It’s been awhile since I ran 10 miles on the treadmill. Observation: very few people stay on a treadmill longer than 20 minutes at the gym. The 8 x 30 second surges felt good, but I ran them likely slower than I should have (around 6:30-6:22). Does anyone else find it hard to run controlled on a treadmill? You’d think it would be easier but I always feel like an uncoordinated baby giraffe on that thing.

+ Core!

Wednesday:

Rest + Recover.

1 Hour Yoga: Some quality time with a Rodney Yee yoga DVD. Lots of hip openers. I’m feeling better already, although I think whatever I’ve been fighting off for the past 5 days has finally won. Sore throat–hope it goes away soon! I’m glad I spent an hour stretching and breathing. Feeling “blah” all day is no fun.

Thursday:

8 mile progressive tempo, average pace 6:56.

I could find a few reasons why this didn’t go the way I’d hoped, but I’m choosing to ignore those.

Good things: 

  1. I got my butt out of bed to run this workout before work. Win. (And oddly, more energetic than yesterday. Throat wasn’t worse than the day before.)
  2. I’m not sure I’ve ever finished a workout in the 6:xx average pace before. This is a good sign.
  3. I just wanted to cut the workout short and cooldown the last 0.5 miles but I decided to punish myself push it for 1-2 too many water breaks (which are mainly why I’m so frustrated with the workout—too many stops!)
  4. If I adjust the target paces for the misery index (134), a 7 min pace should have been more like 7:10. It’s the little things.

Left quad feeling a bit wonky. Yoga yesterday helped.

Splits: 7:47 (0.5 w/up), 7:12, 7:05, 6:54, 6:50, 6:45, 6:42, 6:29 (last 0.5)

I’m slowly working my way through Matt Fitzgerald’s book, Run: The Mind Body Method of Running By Feel, and this quote jumped off the page at me this morning:

“The capacity to tolerate suffering is as critical to success in running as are the various components of physical fitness. And like those physical adaptations, the capacity to tolerate suffering can and must be trained. The runner who is serious about realizing his full potential in competition must suffer for the sake of suffering in training.”

Lately, some workouts have felt like one big SUFFERFEST. I’m keeping my head up and working as hard as I can.

Friday:

4 mi treadmill recovery, 8:18 pace. Left leg just will not get with the program it seems. It’s been uncomfortable on a few runs lately but this was the first one that started to worry me. Ran a super easy pace and just tried to let it do its thing. I foam rolled and stretched while watching TV at night and hoped it would be better the next day.

Saturday:

17 miles with 3 fast finish miles. 7:42 average pace, with last three miles at: 6:58, 6:55, & 6:43. 

I started this run around 10:30 thanks to the fall temps we’re having in Chi this weekend. Ahhh, sweet sleep. Procrastinated while noshing on breakfast, drinking coffee, and reading Running Times. Finally went out with Manuel Alejando C. (WHO RAN 9 MILES, HIS LONGEST RUN TO DATE!). From the start, I knew the left quad would give me trouble. Thank goodness I have a massage scheduled for tomorrow. Otherwise, I’d see if I could squeeze one in today. Hoping it’s not serious IT band issues and I just need to give it a rest. Ran easy 7:45-8:00 for the first 14 and then fast finish the last 3 mi. The target was 7:00-7:05 and somehow, the legs “turned on” and I ran 6:58, 6:55, 6:43. I wouldn’t say I really enjoyed this run but happy to just get through it.

Note to self: new shoes ASAP (!) + foam rolling every night this week. Also, I didn’t run my shakeout yesterday until 5 pm. Next time, I’ll run it earlier and let the legs recover for a longer period of time.

Highlights o’ the Week:

  • Added to my running playlist: The Kills- No Wow.
  • REGISTERED AND CONFIRMED FOR BOSTON 2014!!  After running it last year, I knew I’d be going back. I know everyone has their own reason for going to Boston. I’m excited to train for a race that will no doubt be special for many. Hopefully, it will be the experience that I wished I’d had last year. It’s going to be one big lovefest.
  • On Monday night, I was clicking through the channels and landed on Clear History on HBO. I watched it by myself and was literally laughing out loud through most of it (which is rare). I wouldn’t consider myself a fan of Larry David but this movie was hilarious.
  • The Man and I went out for a midweek treat dinner to Hot Chocolate in Wicker Park. We had the carrot ginger soup, sauteed bean appetizer, eggplant parmesan, burger, and we shared a bottle of this year’s Allagash Fluxus. NOT TO MENTION the chocolatey goodness of dessert and a “half and half” hot chocolate (half hot chocolate, half espresso…..mmmmmm).

Pics o’ the Week:

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BOSTON 2014 Confirmation. Looks like I’ll be training through another brutal Chicago winter!

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A midweek treat with the Man at Hot Chocolate. Eggplant parmesan and Allagash Fluxus FTW

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The lakefront was beautiful (as always) on Thursday morning. #nofilter

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The honeycrisp have arrived!!!

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Ahhh, fall temps. I love you.

– J

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. 

Boston14Full

Boston2Full

Ok, where did THOSE quads come from?!

Boston15Full

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

Boston11Full

Right on Hereford. 

Boston5Full

Left on Boylston.

Boston9Full

I don’t remember seeing that dude in the sweatshirt… It was much too hot for that, mister!
 
Boston4Full
 
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 🙂 .

att_2013_promo

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