Boston Training: Week 1

I am so excited to announce that I am finally in TRAINING! I am very nervous about how things will go over the next 120 days (and I should mention, 243 days until the Timberman half ironman!), but I am also unbelievably excited.

Eyes on the prize!

Credit to Greater Boston Photography for this awesome picture

Credit to Greater Boston Photography for this awesome picture

I have enjoyed tracking friends training recaps and being able to quickly flip through week to week. I also really want to do this to keep me held to my training schedule. So, here goes nothin’!

Monday

3 mile treadmill run, hip exercises, abs & foam rolling

First day of training, wooo! I woke up on Monday feeling a sense of renewed excitement, ready to tackle the challenge of Boston 2013.

Tuesday

Hot Power Yoga 1:30

As a part of my pact with myself to do everything possible to avoid getting injured I have forced myself back into weekly yoga classes. I really love yoga and it’s ability to help me slow down, get centered and most importantly: STRETCH! The problem is, I just have a hard time spending an hour and a half in a class that is sometimes, so unbelievably slow. And yes, I go to hot power yoga and I think it’s too slow! Change is good, right?

This class seemed to address any tightness or issues I was having and I left feeling like a million bucks. Mission accomplished. Change, is in fact, good.

Wednesday 

With a little 70.3k race weighing on my mind, I took a little trip to this little shop over lunch:

Image

I know, I know what you’re saying, “Swimmykimy is turning into “bikeykimy?!” Well, it’s about time. It’s going to be a long road (more on that later) but first, I thought educating myself and trying out some bikes is a good first step.

I tried out three different bikes and really enjoyed the Specialized Allez Evo, unfortunately, my taste level is a bit higher than my budget. This is an unfortunate problem that I have with, hmm everything! My search will continue and I see a lot of hand holding and research in my future.

Many thanks to the patient staff at Landry’s for all of their help. I will be back!

After work: 5 Miles treadmill run, abs & foam rolling

Thursday

Morning: 3,000 yard swim

I struggled with breathing, I think it was a combination of being stuffed up, neglecting using my inhaler and a really humid pool. I was hoping to do 2×500’s strong (approximately at 70.3 race pace, but I am still working on my tri training) for my main set, but decided to break it up into 5×200’s strong. I ended up feeling great after this 45 minute swim.

Friday

Off day.

YES.

After a great holiday themed dinner party with my girlfriends Thursday evening, I spent most of Friday yawning and oh so excited to change into sweats and catch up on DVR with Foxy and prep for my LR on Saturday.

Saturday

8.20 Long run, 1:13:54

First long run of the training cycle, wooooeee!

I woke up a bit later than I anticipated (still recovering from Thursday, oops) and set out for my first long run since May, how have I possibly not run longer than 45 minutes in over 6 months?! Not possible! I took my first few steps feeling strong but, seeesh, it is cold! I struggled to breathe and dealing with stop lights but finished the run just above an 9:00 pace and pleased with myself that I was able to get back in the groove. After feeling so great on my run, I spent the majority of my day on the couch reading and battling an upset stomach, boo. Luckily, I was able to recover to hit up my friend Katy’s annual Christmas party, in style.

Foxy

How cute is that bow tie? SO. CUTE. Love.

xmas party 2012

Cape Cod Beach kids, all grown up!

Sunday

jinglebell_baeventsSomerville Jingle Bell Run 5k: 26:30

Took this one easy so I won’t push myself and get injured. Rob and I ran together and enjoyed taking in all of the costumes and spectators blasting Christmas music. This run always brings a huge smile to my face.

Unfortunately, no photos this year.

Overall results

Miles: 19 Running, 2 swimming. Total time: 5:06.

Definitely a solid week of training, considering how it was my first foray back into running long in over six months. There are things to work on (adding in: speed, hills, mid week long-ish runs, working on nutrition and fighting stomach issues), so I’m looking forward to the next few weeks to really fine tune and optimize this plan. Next week I definitely need to get back into spinning class, keep foam rolling and focusing on hip strengthening exercises. I’m also finally going to bite the bullet and join a running club I have been talking about for nearly six years, eeps!

Noel’s Boston Marathon Recap

I swear that Boston posts are coming to and end…but just bare with me for one last post! Since my friend Noel doesn’t blog, I always end up emailing her incessantly on her post race and training thoughts. The two of us are such similar competitors (our competitive spirit, not so much our times) that I absolutely love hearing her thoughts, so I figured there is no better time to share her post race thoughts, than after her most recent Boston Marathon. Since the majority of the running community shares the same competitive spirit, I figured it might be a good read to reminisce and relive the day. It’s a little long, but I personally think it’s worth it! (Noel, don’t hate me for including the photos!)

Noel’s Boston Marathon Recap

Boston 2010

Almost immediately after finishing the Boston Marathon in 2010, I knew I wanted to be back in 2011. Not because I had such a magical race or even because one of my best friends lived in the city. I made the common rookie error of going out too fast in the first several miles of the race and barely had anything left in the tank when I got to the Newton Hills. After finishing, I ended up in the med tent for the first time in my career due to dehydration and low blood sugar. Marathoners are notorious for being gluttons for punishment, so it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that the reason I wanted to be back for Boston in 2011 was for revenge.

Boston 2011 Preparations & Training

First, I set my sights on the Chicago Marathon in the Fall. Training was going pretty well, and I was finally able to work in some speed intervals. Then that nasty plantar fasciitis (which I really never let heal) came back to haunt me, and it was worse than before. There were mornings I would wake up and have to walk on the outside of my foot to get around in only minor pain. My decision to completely rest my foot and not run in Chicago was particularly hard because I had already raised about $2000 for The American Cancer Society in honor of my granddad who passed away the prior Spring.  But  in September, I took 6 long weeks off from running (and even the elliptical machine) to rid myself of this nagging injury. When I started back up in mid-October, I decided to toss away my heavy, padded shoes and orthotics and introduced light trainers into my 2-3 mile short runs, focusing on forefoot landings as opposed to the heavy heel pounding I was used to. By January I was up to a 15 mile long run…

Then Minnesota winter kicked in, I got the flu on 3 different occasions, and my travel schedule took over. Suffice it to say, going into this year’s Boston, I wasn’t trained for revenge. My longest run since Boston 2010 was 16 miles, and my heaviest week of training was 33 miles. So I decided, this year, just to take it all in, aim for a negative split (or just finishing) and to savor each step of the race because with the new time standards, I may never be back.

Boston Marathon Race Weekend

Race weekend was jam packed with activities. I hit up the expo on Friday and sat in on a seminar with the experts on how to run your best Boston. I wish I would’ve gone to this last year too! That night, I met up with Kim and our friend Kate who cooked us a fabulous dinner. On Saturday, I went with Kim to her runner meet up where I was motivated by other runners and even won a pair of New Balances! My mom flew in that afternoon, and the carbo loading began w/ a dinner at Papa Razzi. I did my pre-race shake out run on Sunday AM (and saw Kim at the starting line for the 5k!), and I was surprised at how great I felt. We attended a brunch for ACS on Sunday, where I was inspired by the other runners and got chills when I realized I could finally honor my Granddad the next day. The rest of the day was spent on my feet as my mom and I shopped on Newbury Street and met up with Kim, Kate, and Foxy for a final carbo loading session. I fell asleep immediately on Sunday night, probably because I thought the next day would just be a fun jog into Boston!

Marathon Monday

My wake up call was at 5:45 race morning, and I walked over to meet Kim’s friend Katy and the other ACS runners for a ride to Hopkinton. This was perhaps the most clutch move of the weekend because I got to chill w/ positive people in a warm car until about 45 mins prior to my wave taking off. So, thank you to Katy and the other ACS folks!! When I got to Athletes Village, I had enough time to go to the bathroom (twice actually) and then headed to the last corral in Wave 2. I was supposed to be in the 6th corral, but I didn’t want to be in everyone’s way! I stripped down to my hot pink hat and shirt (honoring my granddad) and polka dot arm warmers and off we went!

As you read this, keep in mind I had no clue what my actual pace was the whole race. I was going purely off feel for the first time in my life. I didn’t wear a garmin. The first 5k was very memorable. I made it a goal not to pass anyone on the steep downhills (which I didn’t) and to not waste energy bending down to high five the kids (I waved instead). I figured I was holding a 9:30 pace or so and was OK with it because I thought I could do that for 20 or so miles. I was so casual at the start of the race that I even went to the porta potty about 2.5 miles in. When I hit the 5k mark at over 28 mins, I thought I could push it 15 secs/mile faster, so I did and slowly started passing people. Two things stand out in the early part of the race for me: 1) the biker bar obviously and 2) the hills seemed much tamer than they did when I ran after training in Florida the previous year.

[Read more…]

Boston Marathon Recap

I honestly don’t even know where to begin when it comes to the Boston Marathon weekend Recap. The weekend was so busy, so inspiring and SO MUCH FUN. Marathon Monday started early, lots of running around and coordinating things before making the trek out to Newton to spectate and meet Noel. Eeeeek!!! I apologize for how long this post is, I swear I will stop being THIS excited eventually, but the Doctor says that this obsession will probably stick around for awhile.

After seeing Kate on Saturday, I called her Sunday night and asked if she would have any interest in spectating and potentially running in with Noel. She immediately answered yes and that she was secretly hoping I would ask. I <3 running friends!

We met in the Back Bay and then hopped onto the T around 9:30. Since the Red Sox game starts at 11am and there are so many folks in town for the marathon the MBTA is a disaster. We shrugged our shoulders and just went with it.

We ended up getting on the C Green line train which was on the marathon route, which made for some fun wheel chair racing spectating. I am so in awe of the wheelchair athletes, especially those who participate in Boston with all of those hills! From there we began our trek from Cleveland Circle back to Mile 19ish.

Walking through Boston College was SUCH a trip. There were drunk kids everywhere and their excitement for the race was papable. Once we maneuvered the crowds we found a great spot near the 21 Mile marker and decided to hunker down for a bit and watch the elites come through. Since we were out there so early we scoped out an unbelievable spot. Even though I had told Noel I was aiming for 18.5, we ultimately decided trying to find her at 21 was better than risking a tough spectating situation on the Newton Hills.

While waiting anxiously for runners we chatted excitedly about races, training and life. I love the vibe the entire weekend, but nothing compares to Marathon Monday for a boost of inspiration to achieve your athletic goals.

So much fun

When the lead women came through we were FREAKING out. I think I still have a blister on my hand from banging my tiny cowbell so hard. Spectating is hard work, clearly.

KARA!!!!!

Making it look easy

Ryan Hall, looking like a horse with that stride.

Shortly after the men the masses came! This is where the real fun began, trying to pick out all of the people I knew who were running! I missed several people but I did see Emily, Corey & Molly and Skinny Runner. Oh and this man who ran in a Tutu w/ a wand.

"Tutu fast for you!"

Foxy was stuck at work, but he was manning the “command center” by continually texting updates of Noel’s splits throughout the race (I never rely on text alerts, these have absolutely never work for me!) Noel’s big goals were to negative split, feel good and not die. Her first 5k she was pacing 9:15 miles, which is a far departure from the 8 minute miles she was pacing in 2010. With each split she got faster and faster, and knowing her style, she was only going to be hammering down like crazy as she approached the end. Foxy sent out a text with an update from her 30k splitKate and I anxiously waited. After a few false alarms, I saw her neon pink get up about a 100 yards away and I went crazy cheering & hopped in with her.

Her first words? “FINALLY!!!!!!!” Kate and I hopped in and asked how she was doing. She said she felt great and she was really enjoying herself. Her second question was “Wait, was that Heartbreak? Is it over?” I just said “YES!!!” Too much, love it. I then proceeded to force feed her gatorade and Kate and I gave her updates on who won and how Kara Goucher looked. She did say that focusing on meeting the two of us in Newton helped miles 10-20 speed by, thank god we met her! She also said she was making sure to really soak of every moment and that she thoroughly enjoyed all of the signs in Wellesley, which last year she didn’t even remember.

This is how you run a marathon & enjoy it!

I realized about a half mile in that I never started my gamin, so I quickly started it and noticed we were pacing 7:30 miles. I warned Noel several times and she would pull back for a 30 seconds and then speed back up. The excitement was so intense at this point that it was so hard to hold back!

Somewhere around mile 23 we ran into Janna, who was also running for the American Cancer Society’s DetermiNation Program.

I LOVE this picture. I was so happy I was able to jump in with Noel & experience some of the madness of Boston 🙂 I joked that we were the pit crew, but this probably helped her kick it up and notch seeing as how she was able to blow by water stops when she was feeling so great.

As we tore through Brookline the crowds kept on getting bigger and bigger. Noel’s outfit was in fact neon, but I felt like everyone around her was screaming “NOEL, NOEL, NOEL!!!” At one point I said to her “wow, EVERYONE loves you” 🙂

Near St Mary’s street, which is just before Kenmore Sq and mile 25, Noel was really in the zone and pacing well ahead of us. Kate & I had a quick pow wow and decided to send her on her way and finish hard. Kate and I ran the rest of the course on the side walk weaving in and out of drunk college kids and Sox fans. Fun times.

By the time we got to the Back Bay, Rob texted me and said that Noel had finished in 3:38:00!!! I was soooo happy for her I just wanted to get to give her a huge hug! For someone who had such a bad training cycle, that is an IMPRESSIVE race. I was so proud of my friend and seriously could not stop talking running craziness. Sorry Kate!

I met her at the Park Plaza hotel with the DetermiNation team event. It was great to see her and the rest of the runners to check in and see how their faired. Overall, everyone had awesome races.

Molly Berries! This girl dominated Boston and got a PR of 3:29, awesome job girl!

From there we walked over to Noel’s hotel to shower up and get ready for the celebration dinner at Toro. We were walking along when I saw the CUTEST yellow lab puppy that I’ve ever seen! The owner was actually on the phone and I basically asked her to hang up so we could stalk her puppy.

OH.MY.GOODNESS!!!!!!!!!!!

When I finally pried myself away from the cutest little puppy ever (I say this about almost every dog I see, but this one it a contender for “cutest dog ever” in my book) We then showered up and went to dinner at Toro to celebrate!

Noel & Her mom

Overall, 2011 Boston Marathon weekend was action packed and oodles of fun. Meeting bloggers I stalk everyday of my life and learning that they are in fact the bomb.com in the flesh?! AWESOME! Spending quality time with one of my best friends and running a couple miles of the marathon with her? Ummm, amazing. I’m so sad the marathon is over, but I’m so proud of everyone who raced, whether you had the race of your life or not, you conquered Boston!

Scenes from the Boston Marathon: Sunday Edition

Sunday started early, my alarm went off at 6am and I popped right out of bed and got to coordinating my pre-race essentials. I got dressed, made myself some coffee, stretched, ate a banana & a kashi bar. As I got everything organized I could hear the rain pounding on my windows…blast, this definitely SUCKS. Another icky detail was the fact that I had apparently come down with a head cold/congestion issue overnight. I was coughing and generally felt off. Oh well! I tend to feel better working out when i am sick, so I was hoping that this would be the case today. An added bonus, luckily after about 15 minutes the rain let up and by the time I stepped outside it wasn’t rainy and it was WARM!

We showed up to the race and we were pushed around by some of the most intense wind I have ever experienced, bah! After picking up my friend Kate’s & Foxy’s bib, we decided to seek out real bathrooms right around the corner from the start (shhh, I’m not telling my secret!) My friend Katy then met us and we made our way to the start line.

Katy and I made our way towards the front, which was still a bit of a hopeless task as the start line was absolutely PACKED with runners. Katy and I were both discussing how many things weren’t falling into place for us, and decided we would just enjoy the atmosphere and try to run the best race possible! We bumped into Katy’s dad who was volunteering as a race official (also volunteered as official race staff of the Marathon, sooo amazing) and then seconds later we saw my friend Noel, fresh from her shake out run! After listening to God Bless America and the National Anthem, we were off!

The first mile was a bit of a shitshow, but I just tried to focus on a good stride and enjoying myself. I was weaving in and out of so many people I knew my time was going to be slow, so why not enjoy this?! We crested the hill near the Massachusetts State House, and as we ran down the hill on Beacon St I saw @Ninaruns!! She was such a trooper clapping and cheering for all of the runners that early in the morning and it gave me a huge boost! Thank you Nina!

Mile 1: 7:52, ehhh

As we made the turn into the Back Bay, things leveled out and I tried to find a pocket where I wasn’t surrounded by a million people. I was feeling relatively strong when I looked down at my watch and a man in front of me slowed down, causing a possibly epic collision. Whoops! I recovered and soldiered on. I finally felt the humidity and moisture in the air and found it a little hard to breathe with my congestion. I just told myself “you’re not going to die, just push it!”

Mile 2: 7:32

Right after this photo was taken I really started to hate my life. Really Kim? Another 5k? Stupiddd. I just tried to hammer down but I was having a hard time moving. The BAA 5k takes the same left hand turn onto Boylston St as the Boston Marathon, so I tried to savor this moment as so many people I knew would a little over 24 hours from my race. I made the turn and I hoped that would get my legs moving. No dice. I just dug deep and tried to push to the finish, but it was hard to breathe!

Mile 3: 7:45, .15: 1:02

In general I wasn’t overly enthused with this race, but it’s always fun to run races with friends, so I really shouldn’t complain! Katy had a frustrating race as well, and Foxy & Kate both had solid, fun races. I think I need to shy away from 5k’s and amp up the 10k, 10 miler and half marathon distance. I’ve never had fast twitch muscles in my life, so why do I think I would acquire this gene at 27?!

After the run we showered at Noel’s hotel (THANK YOU NOEL!!!) and caught a cab to Harvard Sq for the DetermiNation team brunch event at Tommy Doyle’s. It was a great chance to meet the runners, particularly Nancy & David and the rest of the INCREDIBLE Dream team. I had tracked several of them via twitter and Daily Mile so it was wonderful being able to meet these talented and compassionate individuals. The American Cancer Society DetermiNation program is not an official BAA charity, so in order to be affiliated with the race the ACS must ask runners who have already qualified to raise money for them. It’s an uphill battle, but the team of 19 was such a dynamic group that their personalities and commitment to fundraising made up for their size.

DetermiNation Runners!

Volunteering with this group is such a wonderful and rewarding experience. Raising money for Cancer research, outreach and support is such an important cause to me personally and one of the biggest motivators for why I run (more on this later!) Plus, coordinating events surrounding running, road races & amazing people is so much fun it hardly even feels like work or volunteering!

Some D-Nation Committee Members: Kim, Lisa & Aimee!

The brunch consisted of yummy food, great conversation & of course wonderful speakers.

From there, Rob & I hopped on the T and made our way to Hynes Convention Center to man the DetermiNation Booth at the Boston Marathon Expo for a few hours.

Can you tell we were tired?

We left the expo shortly after 3pm, and walked over to Noel’s hotel to pick her and her mom up for the big pre race dinner! After a lot of planning, I decided to cancel our 7:30 Giacamo’s reservation in favor of grabbing dinner around 5-6pm at a reliable, quick pasta restaurant. We had a great quick dinner and Noel said she felt relaxed and her big goals for the race were negative splitting and enjoying the whole Boston experience.

The excitement was brewing and I couldn’t wait to go to bed just so I could wake up the next morning so it would be my favorite day of the year: MARATHON MONDAY! 🙂

Next up…Marathon Monday Recap!

Scenes from the Boston Marathon: Saturday

The Boston Marathon weekend is HERE!! Lizzy & I threw a Boston Blogger meet-up at Cambridge, 1 in the Fenway area, it was so much fun! If you live in Boston and ever need a spot to grab great food before or after a game, this is the perfect place. They have fantastic flatbread pizzas with really creative and high quality ingredients. They were nice enough to let us use their space and donate some of the delicious pizzas to feed our hungry, carbo-loading Boston Marathoners.

Noel & Katy bonded over marathon memories…

Emily ate cupcakes…as usual.


There were delicious pizzas!


Loving how many marathon addicts were out!


Some of the bloggers! Thank you to everyone for coming.


Boston Marathoners!


I like your carbo loading style ladies!


SF LADIES! So wonderful to meet you, I’m getting so excited for SFM 🙂


Kirsten won New Balance Minimus shoes, woo!


Afterwards we took all of the extra shwag and piled into Lizzy’s car…only to get stuck in tons of Sox traffic. Eeek. Even though traffic was crazy, we still had a blast joking around.


Almost time!!!

GOOD LUCK RUNNERS!

If you are spectating, what is your Marathon Monday plan?!

Marathon Weekend Preparation

The Marathon Weekend to end all marathon weekends is almost here! Things are a little crazy this week in the preparation…You are probably asking, why is it so crazy?

I’ve been busy coordinating race weekend activities for the American Cancer Society’s DetmeriNation runners!

Some hardcore D-Nation runners in Hyannis

Lizzy and I are throwing an awesome Marathon Pre-Party complete with awesome goody bags filled with shwag! Since Lizzy is running on Monday, I told her not to worry and I would coordinate all of the last minute shwag details for the event. That means this week has been filled with a GAZILLION errands and Foxy has been earning boyfriend of year points left and right by catering me all over town to get running accessory samples. If you come to the party on Saturday, definitely give Foxy kudos.

Goody bags taking up temporary residence in my tiny apt

Oh, and did I mention mini-cupcakes?!?! Last night I started prepping everything for Saturday. And the flavors? Peanut buttercup, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough & Regular old vanilla cake, complete with my favorite frosting. For those who are running and don’t want to indulge prior to the big race, I will be asking for plenty of small “to-go boxes” so you can enjoy them post race if you so please!

Just a few in production

No, this isn’t my to do list for work, this is my Boston Marathon Weekend To Do list, yikes!

As I mentioned in my last post, I am planning on meeting my friend Noel around mile 19 in Newton and pacing her for the rest of the race. I figured establishing a BRIGHT outfit ahead of time would help make me stick out. Runners, look for me as the crazy girl with the seizure inducing running outfit. (Yes, my bedding is Pink and Green…no I’m not a 5 year old girl, I’m a prep from New England!)

And yes, all of this prep work, running around like a crazy person, & planning is worth it! IT’S the best weekend of the year!!!!! Marathon Monday just around the corner! Good luck Runners!!!

If you are in town for the marathon, what is your Marathon Weekend plan?!

Boston Bandits

Ahh, the Boston Marathon. People train their whole lives to qualify and spend thousands of dollars to make the trip. It’s a running rite of passage. Even though I’ve never run Boston, my heart swells with pride when I talk about the Boston marathon. The traditions of the race, how every year it gets more competitive to qualify and sign up. However, a little part of me does wish that Boston was had a set up like Chicago, sign up on registration day with no qualification guidelines? Sure! Hmmm, not Boston though. Or how about NYC? Enter a lottery OR, if you live in the area, join a the NYRR running club & run 9 races to obtain and automatic entry. Very cool, but again not Boston.

For as prestigious and coveted the Boston Marathon is, the marathon organizers are decidedly lackadaisical about  letting unofficial runners just hop right in. It is estimated that in addition to the 20,000 qualified & charity runners (does anyone know the exact number?), as many as 2,000 runners run as “bandits”. Meaning that they line up in Hopkinton behind corral three, without numbers and run the same exact race as the rest of the field. Sure, they don’t get an official time, but they do get to experience one of the world’s best marathons without qualifying or raising money.

I personally love finding my name in race results, free t-shirts, space blankets and most importantly, BLING. Running as a bandit doesn’t exactly appeal to me personally, but for the average runner, it’s their only option to run Boston.

What is your opinion on bandit marathoners?

One huge advantage to the BAA turning a blind eye to bandit runners, is the ability to hop in, offer fresh legs and a mental boost to friends running the storied 26.2 mile course. Plus, you  get to take part in a tiny piece of the action that IS Boston. I did this back in 2007 when my good friend Katy ran the Boston Marathon for the second time. That year was absolutely awful weather it was the first year on record that the BAA actually thought about canceling the race. It also marked my first official April as a Boston resident as a working professional, so my excitement for Patriot’s Day brewed over the 4 months of Katy’s training. I woke up Monday morning to pouring rain, but that couldn’t dampen my spirits! I was so anxious to get out to Chestnut Hill that I found myself fidgeting and anxiously texting my friends about Katy’s race.

I woke up on Monday morning & I took the long ride out to Boston College from my neighborhood (that day it took almost two hours, MBTA, are you listening?!), and when I finally found Zach, we assumed Katy would be there any second according to our predictions. So we waited, anxiously scanning the crowd. And we waited…and we waited. Finally a group of men running in Elvis costume’s ran up to me and asked me to take a picture of them. I agreed and as I was focusing their camera I saw Katy and her dad in the background. Ahhh! I quickly snapped the photo and hoped in.

Katy’s first words? “I’m NEVER running a marathon EVER AGAIN” (nice work Katy, we’ve all said this, yet we keep coming back for more) Zach and I kept things light and just tried to stay encouraging.

Luckily, running past BC was a huge mental lift for Katy. We had only graduated the year before so she still knew a lot of students, and plenty of friends were out along the course.

One of the rare smiles that Katy let out during the last 5 miles of the 2007 Boston Marathon!

As the miles ticked by, we saw more and more Boston landmarks, Coolidge Corner, the Citgo Sign, Fenway Park, the Prudential Tower…then we made a right on Hereford st. At this point Katy was struggling but the sheer determination to finish was keeping her legs moving. We continued to run and took a left on Boylston St. At that point I was working in the John Hancock Tower, so I spent nearly everyday in this amazing area on the city. It was terrible weather, but on this gloomy day in April, I’ve never seen the neighborhood look so beautiful: the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Even though I had only run 5 miles, waves of emotion came over me. My friend and her dad were finishing Boston!

Katy and I still to this day look back on this fondly, it was an amazing experience as a spectator, and hopefully it helped her as a runner. This year I’m looking forward to reliving those first “semi bandit” memories by jumping in and pacing my friend Noel around mile 19.

I love the city of Boston with all of my heart, and as much as I wish I could just sign up for the Boston Marathon like any ole race, there is no way around it. Boston is Boston and someday, no matter what it takes, I will get there 😉 Until then, Good luck to everyone running on Monday!

Have you ever hoped in and run a race with a friend?

Post Race thoughts from a Boston Marathon Champ!

Marathon Monday has come and gone, but the excitement and prestige of the Boston Marathon is not leaving the hearts and minds of runners and non-runners anytime soon. As you read in my previous post, Noel had an extremely hard fought race and truly gave it her all, as demonstrated by her near collapse and rush to the medical tent. Noel and I have always been intense competitors, but she truly stepped up to the plate and left everything out on the storied 26.2 mile marathon course. Before she left my apartment to head to the start line I gave her a few color print outs with pictures, memories and motivational quotes to really get her in the zone. The quote that resonates the most with the marathon, as well as Noel’s personal race,  is one of my all-time personal favorites:

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift”-Steve Prefontaine

Below is Noel’s personal race recap as she saw it over those 26.2 miles. Congrats again to Noel on a job well done!

My first Boston Marathon was certainly an unforgettable experience. This was my first major marathon, and what an initiation! The race weekend kicked off with a trip to the Expo. Luckily, Kim was smart enough to get us there early on Saturday morning around 10 AM before we were shoulder to shoulder with other runners. We retrieved our race numbers, shopped for goodies, and chatted with some of the vendors. It was amazing to see so many runners in the same place who had achieved such an amazing goal of qualifying to run in the most prestigious marathon. Throughout the weekend, I kept seeing the bright blue and teal jackets all over the city, reminding me of what I had come to do! Enjoying Kim’s fabulous meals, catching up with old friends, and watching the 5K race sure made the weekend go by quickly. Before I knew it, Monday morning was upon me.

Foxy (Kim’s boyfriend) was nice enough to drive me to the loading buses early Monday morning. When I arrived at 7 AM, the lines were already long, and I got on the 2nd to last group of buses around 8. The drive was very long and painful for all of us racers, as our anxiety built. We finally reached Athlete’s Village around 9:30, leaving a limited amount of time to wait for a porta-potty. After relieving myself, I made the .7 mile trek to my start corral #14. I can’t go without mentioning my “star” sighting of Rudy from the Biggest Loser in one of the charity corrals. I wish I could say I told him to have a good race, but I was too focused on my 10:30 start time.

The gun went off, and I was across the start line in under 30 seconds. It definitely pays to be in the first corral! The first several miles had a lot of rolling hills, more than I expected. The spectators lining every inch of the course, the net downhill grade, and the general excitement took everyone out fast. I checked my Garmin very frequently and kept seeing 7:49, 7:53, 8:04 pace. I knew, with my training and the uphills that were to come, I had taken it out too fast, but there was nothing I could do to slow myself down. I just went with it and crossed the half marathon mark at 1:44. Around mile 15, I started feeling it…my stomach couldn’t tolerate Gatorade or Gels any longer, so from there on out I drank only water. Thank goodness I saw my friends soon after I hit the wall because they motivated me for several miles to follow. Then came mile 16 and the Newton Hills. I was not prepared. They were steep and seemed to go on forever. The only thing that kept me going was the crowd and different spectators yelling my name which was written on the front of my shirt. Before long, I was walking through the water stations to make sure I was getting my fluids and then starting back up to a slow trot – 9 min/ miles on downhills and flat roads, and 11 min/ miles up the hills. My crowning accomplishment was making it up Heartbreak Hill without walking. When I came to the last few miles, the crowds were amazing. Rows and rows of families, drunk college kids, professionals on their lunch break just chanting my name. It was truly unbelievable, and I wish I felt better so that I could’ve truly enjoyed it. When I made the final turn towards the finish line, I could barely hear myself think, when I heard Kim’s voice from the opposite side of the course. I immediately spotted her yellow Livestrong hat and was inspired to hammer down into the finish. I crossed the finish line in 3 hours and 44 mins, within the target range of 3:35-3:45 I had set for myself in the weeks leading up to the marathon. Although during the race, I just promised myself I would finish no matter what the time.

My first Boston Marathon was without a doubt the hardest athletic endeavor I’ve ever taken on. I was unprepared for the hills and honestly the duration of the race, but the crowds and my psychological strength got me through the finish. A few hours after the race, I ended up in the medical tent with IVs of fluids running through my veins. It was at that time I knew I had given it my all, and even though I felt miserable, I was more proud of myself than I have ever been. I look forward to my next Boston experience, where I will be more physically and mentally prepared for what’s to come. Reflecting back on the weekend, I understand why it is such an honor to be a participant in the race, and I can’t wait to be back for Round 2!

Boston Marathon Weekend: Marathon Monday Recap!

So the big day has come and gone, and NOEL KICKED BUTT! Before I spill the beans on her race, I just want to share a few photos (shocker)

Noel heading out for her ride to the shuttle!

Leaving for the shuttle to the start

 

Acting like a mom, Noel getting in her ride!

After Noel got in her ride to the start line shuttle, I met up with friends and went into the city to ride out to Newton, it took almost 2 hours! Next year I will be figuring out a shuttle of some kind.

Waiting and watching for NOEL!

We watched in front of Newton-Wellesley Hospital, which was giving away free branded cow-bells-WOO! I am still milking a strained voice and my right hand hurts from shaking the cowbell so intensely. All in the name of the Marathon!

NOEL, NOEL, NOEL!!! I see her!!

Noel’s focus and form was impressive, at this point she had been pacing roughly 8:01 miles for over 16 miles. She was so focused that she almost didn’t see us! Good thing I went absolutely CRA-ZY cheering when we saw her because she ran over and gave a quick hop and funny face…

There she is!!!

...And she's off!

As soon as she ran away, we sprinted for the train. Which sadly had a ridiculously long line, so instead of stopping at Heart Break Hill we had to continue straight to the finish in order to see her. The train ride back to Hynes Convention center stop took an hour, seeesh! I was sad that I didn’t have the chance to jump in with Noel, but I figured she was pacing such a fast race that I would just hold her back if I hopped in.

Herreford and Boylston was a MAD HOUSE. It was such a gorgeous day that it attracted more people than I’ve seen in past years. The crowd was easily 5-6 people deep on each side of the barricade, such great motivation for the runners.

Waiting for Noel at Herrford St, the last stretch before Boylston st

We saw Noel shortly after I took this picture, sadly I was so excited when we saw her that I didn’t have the chance to document it!

Noel & Me, so proud of her!

Her final time? 3:44:25! Not a bad time for a girl that was injured and had to curtail the intensity of her training just a month ago. We finally met Noel along Berkeley St, where she said it was the hardest marathon she’s ever run. Her first admission? “THOSE HILLS! There were more hills than I ever prepared for!” She admitted she went out to fast, but she felt great and the field was so fast that she really couldn’t stop herself. Around mile 17-18 the hammer really started to drop and she started to feel intensely fatigued. She said it took everything she had to keep going and not walk, and she credited the amazing spectators for helping her stay focused on her goal. She felt so sick near the end that she was unable to take any Gu, gel or Gatorade, ouch.

When she finished she was in great spirits, but once she showered and started to get ready for a celebration meal the fatigue and lack of nutrients really hit her. After about 2 hours of waiting and trying to take it slow in the locker room of my gym, Patti and I went up to the street and got the medical staff to take her to the med tent. Their solution? Two IV drips of Saline and she came right back to life. While Noel was in the med tent we saw not only Celtic’s star Ray Allen and Tracey from the Biggest Loser!

All in all, it was an awesome day. A bit of a tough finish, but at least it happened once the race was over, and not in the middle. The race was a great chance to see one of my best friends run a fanastic race and get pumped to run the Chicago marathon together. Noel, thank you for inspiring a new level of dedication and passion for running! I can’t wait for 10-10-10!