Falmouth Road Race Prep!

This coming weekend is the 38th running of the Falmouth Road Race, and I am pleased to say that I am running this year! The race is one of New England’s most storied and prestigious road races, yet it most certainly will never outshine the most prestigious race in the nation, the Boston Marathon. It’s picturesque beach side location and challenging course make it appealing for serious and casual runners a like. Just saying “Yeah, I ran Falmouth” brings a certain level of credibility and respect to any running conversation.

For those who know me well, will retell the story of when I ran the Falmouth Road Race in 2008, it was a terrible experience and I vowed to never run the race ever again. My boyfriend was dumbfounded when I admitted to him that I thought the 2008 ING New York City Marathon was easier than the Falmouth Road Race. Yes, I realize that NYM is 19 miles longer than FRR! However, much like my curses and vows to never run another marathon, I am running Falmouth again. Yes, I truly am a glutton for punishment.

Since I’m just getting back into the running swing of things and this race is a particularly challenging course, I’ve decided to outline a few goals for Falmouth 2010.

Goals for the 2010 Falmouth Road Race

  1. Slow and Steady– In order to make sure that I don’t reinjure myself, I’m going to take things very slow and steady, particularly the brutal hills near the end of this course
  2. Take in the Scenery– The last time I ran this race I went out so fast that I wasn’t able to take in the true beauty of the race. This time I’m planning on hanging out and enjoying the scenery and actually enjoying myself 🙂
  3. Use the spectators to fuel me through the race– One of my memories from FRR ’08 was the sheer number of spectators that come out to cheer on runners. It was similar in volume to the amount of people that come out to watch a marathon, which is very impressive!
  4. JUST FINISH– ‘Nuff said!

Hopefully if all goes well, the race will be an enjoyable experience for me and it won’t end in me cursing one of my favorite hobbies. Until next time, happy running!

Sugar Doll Blogger Award & Good News at Physical Therapy…

My good friend Lizzy over at http://www.foodtorunfor.blogspot.com harassed me to update my blog and fill out a quick “10 things about me” list she calls the “Sugar Doll Blogger Award”. Lizzy, I apologize for not updating my blog as frequently as I would like, sometimes injuries and life get in the way, wah, wahhhh. Luckily, this magical little post is just the trick to getting me back to posting on a regular basis

1. My laugh is a bit over the top, but the people that love me have completely embraced it!

2. I really can’t stand lazy and unmotivated people. There I said it! My mother once told me, “Kim you don’t sit well.” Unfortunately, that means that I get bothered or annoyed by others that have that premonition! I am very ambitious and sometimes I tend to judge people that aren’t the same way.

3. I don’t generally watch TV, but when I do, I easily get sucked into bad or useless TV: Anything reality in nature, Keeping up with Kardashian’s, Say Yes to the Dress, House Hunters (especially international) occasionally the Soup

4. I’m obsessed with taking pictures. As much as I love taking pictures, I’m obsessed with looking at them on the tiny little digital screen on my camera. I guess I just love making memories and reliving them!

5. I’m OBSESSED with baking. I love it so much that I have to actively tell myself not to bake and make a mess of my kitchen. As much as I love baking, I don’t feel compelled to eat every single treat, I enjoy sharing the cupcake love with family, friends and coworkers!

6. My favorite food snack food is carrots. No lies! I can eat an entire bag of baby carrots in one sitting. I’m not sure what it is, I’ve always loved them.

7. I love being active. My worst days are ones where I don’t have the time, or the ability to work out. Whether it is running, swimming, yoga, core fusion, a class at the gym, or even a class at the gym, I love it all!

8. My friends mean the world to me, and I am extremely lucky to have so many close friends all over the country, and the globe. I firmly believe that “Good friends are like stars, you might not always see them, but you always know they’re there”

9. I HATE elevators. Of course, it doesn’t help that I work in a very tall building and I have to take an elevator anytime I want to do anything on a different floor than my own, boo. I dislike being in small spaces and also how hot and sweaty they are, ICK!

10. I tend to get overly emotional. For those who know me closely, it’s no surprise, for others who know me on the surface it probably is. I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve and get caught up in things, whether that means crying on my way to work because I see the same hopeless homeless man in the same spot every morning on my way to work, or beating myself up for days over a simple mistake that was barely noticed by my bosses. I like to think that it makes life a little more complex, but it’s better to feel too much than to not feel at all!

Now that I finished my 10 things (phew!) I have FANTASTIC news!!! On Friday July 30th, I visited my physical therapist, Angela (a fellow runner, hooray!) and she tested my knee to see how it was healing. After a few minutes of walking on a treadmill, I was able to slowly run, then walk, run some more, walk again, and I repeated this series for roughly 20 minutes. After confirming several times that I felt good and I didn’t feel any pain or discomfort she cleared me to resume training for Chicago! Hooooray! Angela is so fantastic that she went through my entire marathon training program and amended the remainder of the schedule. After working out a plan to run 3 days a week and slowly increase my milage, she was able to get my longest run up to 18 miles roughly 3 weeks before, which is significantly longer than I thought I would be cleared for! Thank you for all of the support and continue to send good vibes my way in hopes that my knee holds together until 10-10-10!

(NOT so) Patiently Waiting For My Knee to Heal

This is me, obviously unhappy about the current state of affairs

As you probably have noticed, I haven’t posted in a few weeks. Sadly, that’s because my worries of a knee injury came true and I have been unable to run since mid-July 🙁 But wait, you are probably asking, aren’t you supposed to be training for a marathon?! Yes, I am. And I’m doing my best to keep up my aerobic endurance by exercising on the elliptical, swimming and taking exercises classes. I will absolutely, 100% be running Chicago on 10-10-10, COUNT IT! I can’t guarantee a best time, but I will certainly be running 26.2 through the streets of Chicago 🙂

Luckily, my injury, while it is a huge inconvenience, is not that large of an issue in the grand scheme of things. What I worried was a meniscus tear, was actually just bothersome knee tendinitis and some meniscus deterioration, whatever that means! Anyways, for the past few weeks I haven’t been running, but instead I have been busy diligently doing my knee exercises. Fingers crossed that I will be back up and running on July 30th, so on that day I ask that you send some good vibes my way! For those who have knee issues, I will be documenting my knee exercises (however awkward they may be) on the blog and sharing them with you. They’re relatively easy and can be done at home! Even if you’re not injured they are great exercises for strengthening your quads, hamstrings, hip flexors and other little pesky leg muscles.

This injury also means that I have to bow out of the Marathon Sports 5 Miler, which is taking place in Weston, MA and several of my favorite Boston based twitter/blogger friends are taking part of! Good luck to @ninaruns @reallynotarunnr @petfxr @bostoncardiovet and @foodtorunfor! Kick butt and PR’s to all of you 🙂 I’m sorry that I can’t join you, but I look forward to partaking in the festivities next year!

How To Train For a Marathon and Maintain a Busy Schedule

Recently, I’ve felt like my free time is between minimal to non-existent. And when I checked my blog today, I realized I haven’t posted since May 26th, that is almost ONE month! Yikes!

Between traveling to weddings in different cities, various different projects at work, organizing the corporate challenge for my entire office, and maintaining a part time job the has severely limited the time I have available to work out, relax or even sleep. Since I haven’t posted in awhile I thought I would give a quick update on my life, and also outline some of my tips for maintaining a marathon training schedule during a very busy life schedule.

Before I share some tips, I just wanted to share what I’ve been up to the past month…

Danced the night away at a wedding on a farm in rural North Carolina

Met up with an old college friend and former swim teammate!

Drove down to Steve and Michele's wedding in an RV!

Celebrated Steve and Michele's Wedding in Villanova, PA

Celebrated my birthday at Jimmy Buffett!

Tail Gated at Buffett with my mother, her friend Maureen and my boyfriend Rob 🙂

Represented Pestos with Panache at the SoWa Food & Produce Market!

Celebrated at my Company's Summer Anniversary Party with Lizzy!

Phew, what a month! Now that the dust has settled a bit and the traveling and social engagements have subsided for the next six weeks or so, I’m looking forward to training at normal hours, catching up on sleep, eating healthier and of course, consuming less alcoholic beverages 🙂

So, with that chaotic of a schedule, how does someone train for a marathon?

  1. Schedule everything– I am a big fan of the “to do” list, and I relish in the sense of accomplishment I feel when I can successfully cross something off. The same goes for training runs, especially those of the long variety! I’ve compiled my training schedule into an excel document with all of my weddings, birthday parties, BBQ’s, bachelorette parties, showers, as well as all of my runs for each day until the Chicago Marathon on October 10th 2010. By merging social and running onto one calendar I can accurately plan my runs around my social schedule instead of having something sneak up on me
  2. Be at peace with missing something–inevitably, things do come up, and runs are missed, don’t fret, just say to yourself “ok, I’ll give myself that out, next time I won’t make that same mistake.” Own your pitfalls and move on.
  3. Lean on your running buddies– If you’re like me, you have many running friends from multiple different circles. I’m lucky enough to have them in almost every part of my life, so where ever I may be for a weekend I usually have a running friend close by. I find that the buddy system adds an urgency and responsibility to completing the work out.
  4. Find a Road Race in a city you a visiting- I know it might not seem possible, but if you can squeeze a quick 5k into a weekend in New Jersey when you’re there for a wedding, it will not only ensure that you get a work out in, but it will be more fun!

These are just a few tips, I will, without a doubt, be adding to these as the summer continues on.

Thanks for your patience and I look forward to posting with more frequency as Chicago training ramps up!

Want to Learn More About Barefoot Running? Come to This Event!

For those of you who read my blog, know full well how much I LOVE Marathon Sports. I’m on their mailing list, and seeing how much I love them I just wanted to share an event they will be hosting this Thursday at their Boston location. Check out the details from their mailing list posting:

For those of you who have read Born to Run, author Chris McDougall’s diatribe on barefoot running, the most frequently quoted expert within is Cambridge local, Harvard Professor Daniel Lieberman.

Right on the heels of publishing a major study on the effects of barefoot running in the journal Nature, professor Lieberman is now making a tour of sorts in an attempt to demystify the science behind the study, and to help clear the air on the barefoot running phenomenon.

Q&A With The Barefoot Professor
Dan Lieberman
This minimalist running thing still has the running world abuzz, and is showing no signs of slowing. With the introduction of several new products to our product line in support of it, from Vibram and Newton to the new Saucony Kinvara, Marathon Sports is now more than ever ready to tackle the demands of each and every runner looking to make the switch.

In a show of true solidarity, Harvard Professor Dan Lieberman (the oft-quoted expert in Chris McDougall’s Born to Run and coauthor of the recentNature study which lends credence to the claim that barefoot running can indeed decrease injury risk) has offered to subject himself to a barrage of questions from eager Marathon Sports loyalists on Thursday, May 27th in our Boston store.

From 6-8pm, stop by to see the man himself, explore a bit of the data discovered in the recent study, and pick Professor Lieberman’s brain until his voice goes hoarse.

For a full bio, check out Professor Lieberman’s webpage.

What:
Dan Lieberman Talks Barefoot

When:
Thursday, May 27th
6-8pm

Where:
Marathon Sports Boston
671 Boylston Street

I’m personally skeptic of barefoot running, but I would love to learn a little bit more about what benefits it can have for runners. I’m going to try to stop by this, and hopefully meet some fellow runners while I’m at it!!

New Take On An Old Favorite: The Gel Nimbus 12

Last year I wrote a product review on my favorite pair of running shoes, and now I’m here to refresh that post with the new arrival of my Gel Nimbus 12’s. I bought them at Marathon Sports when I was picking up my number for the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon. A note in a registration email noted that if I showed the team at Marathon Sports my bib # I would save 20%, woo! I’ve been toying for quite some time with the idea of buying two shoes and rotating them, so with the emergence of the coupon, I took the plunge.

When the woman helping me brought out the shoes, I was really happy that they were a different color than my previous countless pairs. I know it’s silly, but sometimes the little things make the difference! I personally love that moment when you put on a new pair of running shoes, you feel as though your feet are encased in pillows (I’m stealing this phrase from my boyfriend, who has been known to say this after taking off ski boots), besides, they have that wonderful new shoe smell :). After I walked around for a second the woman said to me, how do they feel?! I, of course, said fantastic. I noticed that she was holding back a little bit, and she finally said “those are actually a 9, not an 8.5” OH. “We’ve found that this model is running short and everyone has been sizing up.” I got nervous for a second because I’ve been wearing the same size running shoes for years, but I trusted the woman helping me and said, ok I’m in!

After I bonded with my new shoes for a few days, I went on the Asics website and I saw this video about the new design, because I was curious to find out what elements caused the shoe to run short. After checking the website, it made me very happy that I sized up. It sounds like the little tweaks that they made to the shoe helped increase the cushioning and the shoe’s overall hold on the foot. It seems like a lot of technical aspects that I personally don’t understand, nor do I really care, but I’m happy that the knowledgeable staff at Marathon Sports had the experience and foresight to put me in a size larger. This just reaffirms my love for this fantastic running store, thank you Marathon Sports!

I’ve only run in them a few times, but so far, so good! Since Chicago Marathon training officially kicks off on June 7th, and my legs have been tight following the brutal Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon, I’ve been resting my legs and just doing cross training, so I haven’t gone on a run longer than 3.5 mile runs, but they feel fantastic! All in all, it feels great to have a new shoe, and I’m hoping that rotating the two pairs will help reduce the amount of times I have to replace them, as well as reduce injury. Fingers crossed!

The Asics Gel Nimbus 12 retails for $125 and is available in running stores near you. If you live in Boston, or happen to be visiting, check out Marathon Sports in Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Wellesley, Melrose and Norwell. They’re even on twitter @marathon_sports.

The Three Day Cleanse

For those who know me well, know that I have always struggled with my weight. I am in no means someone that has every been “overweight”, but I always feel as though I have a few pounds to lose. Whenever I eat something indulgent and skip a day of working out, I feel it and it shows. I would kill to have a faster metabolism, but unfortunately there are some things we just can’t change. Enter, cleanse. I’ve always wanted to try a 3 day cleanse before, but I have always worried that it would make me sick, I wouldn’t be able to focus at work, that I would faint, etc. I never thought that I would find a cleanse that was something that fit my needs and my lifestyle. That is, before I had an emailed forwarded to me by one of my favorite running buddies, Kate.

When I think of a cleanse, I immediately think of the Lemonade and cayenne pepper master cleanse. My best friend Kaitlin did this a few summers ago while living at home and unemployed and saw great results. The length of the cleanse scared me, who could go without food for two whole weeks, YIKES! Plus, I had heard multiple stories about how dangerous it is for your body. NO THANK YOU. I’ve looked at other cleanses, but I really never found anything that jumped out at me. Until Kate forwarded me a short email with a document attached that said “I’m planning on doing this next week”, mmm. I opened it and the cleanse looked doable. Maybe I can actually do a “CLEANSE”. Check out the elements of the cleanse below:

What to Shop For

  • a grain: preferably brown rice or quinoa b/c higher in protein
  • 1-2 proteins: beans, hummus, nut butter and/orwhite fish (no oily fish like tuna)
  • A soup: miso soup, diuretic soup or veggie/veggie noodle/veggies bean soup of your choice
  • fruit: lemons and tart green apples, plus optional berries
  • some greens: salad greens w/normal salad veggies and/or cooked dark leafy greens (any)
  • 1-2 fat dissolvers: onion, ginger, red radish, daikon radish. work these in where you can. maybe on salad, maybe cooked in soup or with greens, maybe raw as snack.
  • baby carrots: or other raw veg for emergency snacking.
  • seasonings: a little sea salt, a little vinegar or fresh herbs are ok in small amounts. avoid spicy/peppery/sweet.
  • fat: olive oil, flax oil, nut oil or sesame oil in small amounts. best not to cook in oil – steam or water sautee, then add oil cold. you may really crave fat – feel free to dress your grains with oil and salt, this helps the cravings a lot.
  • sweeteners: if you are losing your mind with sugar cravings, add honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup or agave nectar to your tea. if still losing your mind allow yourself to eat spoonfuls of that stuff –  you’ll be happier than if you eat a cookie
  • liquids – water water water of course. drink hot or room temperature if you need to – avoid chilling yourself, you may tend to be cold because of eating less fat and protein. any herbal tea you like is fine. I like the grassy ones on a cleanse – nettle, raspberry leaf, oatstraw, etc. green tea is best choice for avoiding caffeine headaches. avoid black tea and decaf coffee.
  • supplements – whatever is your usual thing. it can be good to add a green drink because it helps keep your blood sugar balanced – helpful while eating less fat and protein. easiest solution is to buy 3 bottles of naked or odwalla green juices, one for each morning

Day Before

Eat normally but avoid sugar, chocolate, dairy, alcohol, coffee.

It makes Day 1 of the cleanse less of a shock to the system if you already have 24 hours of clean eating before you start the detox.

Cleanse Days

  • AM – water, hot water with lemon, green drink and/or herbal tea
  • breakfast – apple w/ squeezed lemon juice and nut butter or hummus. Chew well. If still hungry add fresh berries, small serving of grain or cooked greens.
  • midmorning: water and tea. snack on raw veg, fruit and/or greens
  • lunch: grain, protein and greens (salad or cooked) of your choice
  • midafternoon: water and tea. snack on raw veg, fruit and/or greens
  • dinner: soup and grain (best to eat protein midday for energy, then rest from it in the evening before bed; try to eat before 8, see below)
  • evening: water and tea. try not to snack after dinner – stopping food well before bedtime makes it easier for your liver to detox overnight. but if you are starving/woozy, eat!!
  • Day After
  • Eat normally but avoid sugar, chocolate, dairy, alcohol, coffee.
  • More protein, fat and seasonings are fine, just don’t over do it, ease back in to normal eating.

Other Optional Helpful Cleansing Things

  • setting an intention for your cleanse: can be anything… lose 3 pounds… take 3 days to focus on myself… get rid of old X to make way for new X… whatever…
  • tongue scraper every morning
  • chew well and slowly
  • eat in a quiet, nonstressful place if possible
  • gentle exercise only
  • limit social engagements and running around
  • get enough sleep
  • hot water bottle on abdomen at night to help digestion
  • journal out any emotions that come up
  • send whiny emails to your girlfriends when cravings make you crazy
  • do grounding meditations and/or walk outside if you feel like you are getting too spacey
  • at end of cleanse, do a salt scrub, take a bath in Epsom salts and/or get a massage – all good for final toxin release

So after looking at my master marathon training, social engagements, work schedule, weekends away etc, I zeroed in on May 17th-19th. I picked these days because it was directly following the Heartbreak Hill Half and it was right before wedding season 2010 officially kicked off. I also felt it was a great way to rejuvenate my current weight loss goals. So why not?

Day One

Day one was, I’m not going to lie, tough. The half marathon the day before was difficult, and I proceeded to drown my sorrows and pain in a fatty brunch, chips and guacamole, and not to mention multiple Sam Summers. Not exactly the precleanse routine that was laid out on paper, oops. I was ok until roughly 10:30am, when I started getting very hungry. I had a reserve of strawberries and I allowed myself to have a few, thank GOODNESS this cleanse allows berries! Around noon I ate a salad of mixed greens, sprouts and onion along with a piece of Alvarado Street Bakery Bread (my favorite bread in the entire world, I actually used to have my mom send it to me in college so I could take it to the dining hall and make a sandwich with it. Crazy, I know!) with some humus spread on it. About an hour and a half later I was hungry, so I ate a small serving of carrots. Then, another half hour later I was hungry AGAIN, so I ate a few blackberries. I plowed through my work and left exactly on time so I could run home and make myself dinner, I was FAMISHED! I stood in my kitchen staring at a two pots; one boiling White Bean Tuscan soup, and then another cooking some quinoa. As soon as both were ready I put them in bowls and chowed down in record time. I was still a little hungry so I had a small bowl of greens. I tried not to think about food afterwards, and decided to head to my bedroom around 9pm and read to resist temptation to snack. About a page and a half later, I was out like a light. I made it through day one, yes!

Day Two

If day one was a mountain, then day two was certainly Mount Kilimanjaro. I woke up Tuesday morning feeling refreshed, getting one of the best nights of sleep I’ve had in quite some time. Yet, it was only a matter of minutes until an intense headache took over my brain, ugh. I went to work, drank tea, had my apple with Justin’s almond butter and some berries…still a headache, ick! I went through much of the morning fighting back the headache, but it wasn’t until a lunch meeting (where I snacked on carrots) when I really felt like I was going to pass out. I experienced the same sensation for the next two hours, and I’m not going to lie, it was dreadful. It felt like a combination of caffeine and sugar withdrawal, not fun! However, around 3pm (just in time for another snack of berries) I turned a corner and felt better. Hooray! I went home, ate dinner and went to bed just after 10pm. Another day in the books, maybe I can do this!

Day Three

Day three, was significantly better than the previous 2 days, I no longer suffered through horrible headaches and felt as if I had more energy throughout the day. I ate my meals and found that my body was coping with the smaller portions better and no longer forced me to find berries to eat. I felt great! Over dinner I thought, why not extend this another day? I feel great! Day Three: I did it, and I’m showing this cleanse who’s the boss!

Day Four

I felt great the entire day. I went and weighed myself after breakfast and I lost three pounds, awesome! Feeling energized after work, I even went for a short run and did some yoga and core fusion exercises at home! I changed the dinner suggestion by having a salad (no dressing) and some tuna fish on the side. I morphed this meal because I do have a wedding this weekend, and I didn’t want my body to completely freak out with the introduction of non-cleanse friendly foods.

Post Cleanse Thoughts

This cleanse was a GREAT experience. I feel as though the withdrawal symptoms were not as severe as if I had done a juice based cleanse, which was great. I was able to center my nutrition plan and effectively avoid off limits foods, and I feel as though this will lay the ground work for great decisions during my jam packed schedule this summer. An added bonus was the weight loss, I really didn’t set out trying to lose weight, but I’m happy that the end result was a loss vs a gain. All in all, I highly recommend this cleanse. It’s a realistic and healthy take on a full body cleanse that gives you energy and enforces good eating habits.

Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon: Race Report

The name of his race does not lie, the hills of Newton to induce absolute heart break. What’s missing? The plural, because it certainly caused multiple Heartbreaks for me, as well as most of the 500 person field of runners over the challenging 13.1 mile course of the Heartbreak Hill Half.

The day didn’t start out with heartbreak though. I woke up at 6am and despite not getting the best night of sleep in my life, I popped right out of bed. I went straight to the kitchen and put on the coffee, mostly for my boyfriend who was playing chauffeur and cheerleader and is not exactly a morning person. After getting everything in order, we were off and on our way to Newton. The drive from my apartment was relatively quick, but we were cutting it a little close, so of course I was stressed about timing. Luckily we found a parking spot immediately, and I jetted off to find the closest bathroom. In order to make it there in time I ran over to minimize time anxiety and get a little warm up run in. I was in and out within a few minutes and I was running back to the start line. On my way there I ran into my boyfriend, who was waiting patiently for me and told me he saw my coworker, Melisa, who was running her first half marathon. I was bummed that I missed her, but all I could focus on was running 13.1 miles, EEK! I gave him a kiss and ran on my way to the start line. After a few moments of waiting around the gun went off and I was over the start line within seconds.

Here we go!

I knew the course was going to be challenging, so I decided to go out conservatively and try to keep an even pace throughout the race. When I saw the elevation chart I threw out the notion of getting closer to my PR (1:50), and just tried to settle into a pace. I was holding back, but I felt like everyone around me was absolutely flying by me. I told myself they were newbies, or didn’t know the extent of the elevation on this course. Immediately the course started punishing my legs, and since this was and out and back course, I realized that a hill at the first mile was the killer hill at mile 12 that everyone said to save a little gas in the tank. CRAP. I continued on, focusing more of my thoughts on an efficient stride and body position. The course was rolling for the next few miles before it leveled out (somewhat) for about a mile to a mile and a half. The rest of the course, however, was more rolling hills and mountains to climb. UGH.

Somewhere around mile 3, already feeling fatigued

I was able to get through the first 5 miles of the course without many problems, but by the time I reached Heartbreak my legs were completely gassed. As I looked up the historic hill at which many marathons are won and lost, I whined to myself for a half second and then put my head down and trudged on. After a few minutes I stopped and walked, my legs were so tight and exhausted that I needed the break. Not surprisingly, this started a bad habit for the rest of the race. I started running after a quick walk and ran until the gigantic hill located at the halfway point of the race. I thought to myself, “Well, here it is, FINALLY”. I was exhausted just looking at it, but it actually gave me a sense of relief that it was no longer something to fear. I ran to the top of the hill and started walking again, ICK. I was walking along when an older man that I saw earlier in the race run up to me and say “come on yellow shirt, let’s go!”, he even went as far to grab my arm and pull me along. Some people absolutely hate this, but I couldn’t get enough. Maybe I have a secret sign on my forehead that reads “glutton for punishment. I chatted with him a little bit about my lack of hill training and then as soon as we started down the hill I lost him. Older guy in the grey shirt, THANK YOU for getting me through that horrific hill!

Then, I made my way back down heartbreak, hooray for downhills! I was coasting along when I saw my coworker Melisa in the distance. She was all smiles and I ran up and gave her a hug, she looked great! What an awesome attitude for such a killer first half marathon. Her great attitude definitely helped propel me through the next 15 minutes of the race! The rest of heartbreak was a nice break from the rolling hills, but the downhills were rough on my battered legs. When we crossed from Heartbreak to the winding neighborhoods my heart sank. This course was not only a test of your running ability, but a test of will.

The rest of the race was a blur. I felt waves of depression, exhaustion and sheer determination to finish this race and put it in the books. Around mile 10 I misread the mile marker and thought I was on mile 11, which I learned was not the case when I reached the mile 11 marker, UGH. The saving grace was seeing my boyfriend around mile 11, where I told him about my mishap, how hard the race was and thanked him for the bottle of water he had waiting for me. Attempting to harness this lift in my spirits, I gave him a kiss and went on my way. I felt as if the rest of the race went on forever, though I attempted to just keep my head down and run. When we finally turned the corner to Newton South High School I almost cried out of sheer joy “oh sweet Jesus, THANK YOU!” I turned up the intensity with whatever energy I had left and pushed on to the finish. The minute I crossed the finish line I let out a huge sigh of relief, IT’S OVER!! My time, which is over 15 minutes off my best, could not have meant less at that moment. After I got my medal, some water and met up with my boyfriend we went out to the road to see if we could find my coworker Melisa. Her goal was to finish under 2:45, so I knew she was a ways away from finishing, but I decided to get out there and cheer anyways. All of the runners had a look of pain and elation as they headed for the finish line, I was happy to see I wasn’t being over dramatic, the race was really THAT hard. Rob even told me that every finisher was complaining about the elevation, thank goodness I’m not THAT big of a wuss. After about 25 minutes we gave up, and went back to Rob’s car. Right before we got there we were chased down by Rob’s friend Lauren from college who also ran the race. We talked a bit about the course and snapped a picture before we went off on our way:

Victorious!

So, lesson learned from this half marathon? ALWAYS check the elevation chart of a race and train accordingly! Even though I changed up my training with including speed work, gentle pickups and tempo runs, that wasn’t enough. Hill raining can simply can not be neglected and I dropped the ball, big time.

Will I do this race again? Doubtful. Was it a good experience? Yes. The race directors and volunteers did a fantastic job keeping everyone on track and motivated. I would have loved more spectators, but I knew this course wasn’t going to offer much in that department, so I was ok with it. All in all, it was a difficult day and I’m happy I ran the race. It’s given me a chance to kickstart my training for the Chicago Marathon, an excuse to focus on my diet, experiment with different cross training elements and trim down. It was a challenge, but what fun is running if you never have a challenge?

Heartbreak Hill Half: Pre Race Report

It seems like just yesterday that I was outlining my half marathon training plan and signing up for the Katie Lynch Purple Shoes Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon. Snow was still covering the ground and my boyfriend and I were planning our next ski weekend when I signed up. Since then we’ve had sunny weather, 90 degree days, the Kentucky Derby, and now the race is just 3 days away! After Eight weeks of training, I’m feeling primed and ready. I’ve integrated speed work and tempo runs into my training plan and I anticipate great results. One of my biggest frustrations with marathon training is how broken down and slow I have become.  To combat this I have tested cross training combined with the challenge of interval speed work outs and gentle pick ups to help me ‘feel the need for speed’. I have felt confident and relatively healthy the entire time, so I am anticipating a solid performance, although I knew the course wasn’t easy, this is HEARTBREAK Hill afterall. I knew it was going to be tough, but I figured “I’m in shape, I can handle it” I felt this way until, I made the mistake of checking the elevation map for this race…

WOW. This is going to be tough, 836 feet of climbing? eek! I then made ANOTHER mistake of comparing the elevation chart to one from the Marine Corps Marathon, where the highest elevation was 160 feet. I immediately had flashbacks pop into my head of my chest tightening and suffering the breathe at mile 8 of the Marine Corps Marathon, which is one race I would like to erase from my memory! The highest point of the Heartbreak Hill Half is 280 feet, YIKERS! That’s an additional 120 feet of hill climbing, not to mention the increased frequency of hills compared to the MCM course.

I nervously told my friends about this new elevation discovery, and they shook their head and told me the best advice: trust your body! And you know what? They’re right. I might not have trained hills at the length that I should have, but at least I’ve geared up my training to include speed work and pushing through pain at the end of runs. Plus, it’s not like I haven’t conquered hills or tough courses before. So for the next few days I will be pushing aside fear, self doubt and past issues and looking forward to conquering the hills of Newton! Wish me luck!

The Picture Perfect Lunch Time Run

I’m fortunate enough to work in an office building that offers me one of the best views in the entire city of Boston. Some days it’s a total tease because quite frankly, I would much rather be outside reading a book on the beach, running, going for a walk, etc. Other days, I get to see crazy weather patterns, gigantic ships and planes come in, there really is never a dull moment from my seat. I know I’m lucky to have this awesome seat, and it gives me the chance to gauge the weather and plan my lunch time runs accordingly.

This past Wednesday was no exception. It’s been a busy week, I easily could have sat at my desk and plowed through work, all the while looking outside longingly, wishing I had just gone outside. Well, it was so picture perfect that I couldn’t resist a run, so I went for it. I completed my favorite lunch time run, my Financial District-North End-Charlestown loop. Since it was such a beautiful day, I decided to take my camera along. It’s one of my favorite runs in the city of Boston, and I figured it was time to share all of the historical landmarks and gorgeous views I soak in throughout my run. It really helps motivate me when I’m struggling through a tough run, I just take a break, look around and say to myself, “wow, I’m reallllly freaking lucky”

Lunch Time Charlestown Navy Yard Loop
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Heading out on the run down State St

Running through Christopher Columbus Park, absolutely gorgeous

Running through the North End/Waterfront Area, no suit for me! Just running clothes 🙂

Hellllo Zakim Bridge!

Running over the North Washington bridge into Charlestown

Running on the Freedom Trail!

Running past Old Iron Sides

Marine's displaying combat vehicles for Marine Week Boston

Ugly construction in Charlestown

What's around the corner...you'll just have to wait and see...

My favorite view of the city!!!

Running over a dock, NO BIG.

Pretty awkward extended arm pic while running, but I had to!

Dogs running around in the dog park, I think there were at LEAST 3 bulldogs there!

Back over North Washington Bridge, heading back into Bean town

Running along North Washington St, just steps away from the Garden. Go Celtics, GO BRUINS!

I hate this little narrow sidewalk, it's impossible when this area of the city is flooded with tourists

Hanover St, my old home!

The Greenway and the financial district

Heading back to the office...

The Old State House...Almost there!

Back to 53 State St, and back to my desk