Three Things Thursday

Howdy folks! I know I’ve been a bit of a recluse lately, and I vow to change that! Life has just been a bit busy lately with work, wedding season, summer gatherings and it’s been tough to keep up! I’m also nursing a hip injury that has left me wanting to stay silent rather than broadcasting my injury to the world. Luckily it’s on the mend. I’m currently in the middle of a ridiculous week, and I thought rocking a “Three Things Thursday” Post might be in order.

1. My Five year college reunion is this weekend! I seriously can’t believe it’s already been 5 years, where did the time go? It feels like yesterday that I was competing with my swim team, drinking Natty Light at frat parties, and enjoying having all of my close friends within a stones throw away.

Ahh, theme parties...

Now we are all scattered throughout the globe, busy working hard in our respective professional careers and setting goals for post collegiate athletics! I’m so excited to see my good friends, live it up in the dorms like it’s 2002-2006 and relive old memories. I wouldn’t be lying if I didn’t say I was nervous of sadness once I leave and realize I only see these amazing people a handful of times a year. But none of that now! Luckily this girl is on the train to positive & awesomeville I will 100% be enjoying all of the amazing events that reliving ones college days entail! Did you recently go to a college reunion? Was it everything you imagined it would be?!

2. The Hip. Luckily, my hip seems to be on the mend. Jake Kennedy at Kennedy Brothers has been fantastic, and thank you so much to Lizzy for putting me in touch with him! Luckily I was able to run the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge without any pain and a 10 mile run two days later without any pain – FIST PUMP!

I am looking forward to being able to return to hills shortly and hopefully not compromise any of my SFM training in the brief break I had to take to let the bursitis calm down.

3. NYC. I’m taking a brief trip to NYC today for an all day training session which meant a 4:45am alarm and a busy day ahead. Luckily the Acela has Wi-Fi and some pretty scenery.

to make up for some snoring passengers…

Luckily I have something really fun to look forward to: the Sox vs the Yankees at Yankee Stadium tonight! Then it’s back to Boston for a few hours of work and then it’s REUNION TIME!

How has your week been? I apologize in advance for posting comments to blog posts from 2+ weeks ago, I need to catch up on everyone’s lives 🙂

Back At It!

After a brief hiatus and injury scare, I’m back to running! Leading up to the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon my left hip really started to bother me. I took a few days off of running in the beginning of the week in favor of cross training, and decided that while it might hurt during my half, I would deal with the ramifications afterwards. The race obviously went well, but the pain only increased as the week went on. crap, crap, crap.

A week after the half, I was setting out for a 15 mile run when my hip was hurting so much that I decided to cut it off at mile 8. Luckily I felt strong throughout those 8 miles, but the pain was so bad that I knew I needed to pump the breaks. I knew it was the right decision, but I felt deflated going into a long weekend in North Carolina for Foxy’s college roommate’s wedding weekend. So, I made the decision, to take a full week off and ice the #$&! out of my hip. The decision to rest didn’t come easily, and over that week I felt exhausted and just plain depressed. I started having nightmares of last year’s Chicago marathon training cycle that ended before it could ever get off the ground, mostly because my PT was too cautious and held me back for so long that when I got back into training I was way too far behind. It was a tough week, full of QT with Aleve, ice bags and frozen veggie bags and than I have experienced in a long time. Hello Ice, it’s been fun, but I think I’m ready to say goodbye.

Luckily, Lizzy put me in touch with her amazing PT, and he cleared me to run, the very day after my appointment. I was actually so surprised that I almost thought he was joking with me. The diagnosis? Mild hip bursitis and an extremely tight IT Band. If I played it safe, I would be back in no time. All of a sudden “crap, crap, crap” turned into “YES, YES, YES!”

Leaving the appointment I felt a sense of relief and empowerment which was a stark departure from the feelings of the 7 days leading up to that day. Yes! I will 100% run 26.2 miles on 7/31, and I am going to have an amazing time while I’m at it. Tomorrow morning I head to my PT for the second time, in hopes that I am cleared to run double digit mileage.

Thank you to Lizzy for putting me in touch with the miracle man & all of my friends for helping me keep the faith! I’m definitely not out of the woods yet, but I will be foam rolling, icing, stretching and ice bathing (for the first time…I need your help on this!) until July 31st.

Since I was able to get back on the road over Memorial Day Weekend, I thought I would share a beach photo from my beloved beach at my family’s house Cape Cod. This summer marks the 50th year that the house has been in my family, and it is the year of many, many improvements that I can’t wait to share. Most of all, there is one thing that really can never be improved, and will always be my sanctuary…

How do you cop with injuries? I end up taking them too hard and hiding from the blogging world from a bit, which is something I vow to change!!

Friday Faves

After a long and rainy week in Boston, Foxy & I have waved goodbye to the cold and rainy north in favor of the warm and sunny atmosphere of Wilmington, NC for a friend’s wedding! This officially kicks off wedding season for the two of us, which luckily this year includes more local weddings vs travel. Last year Foxy and I had quite the wedding season roster, with weddings in Durham, NC, Villanova, PA, Cape Cod, Wilmington, DE & Denver, CO. This year the majority of our weddings are local, so Foxy and I are treating this as a vacation! It’s been awhile since our last one, so we’re excited.

One of the highlights to my week was watching Step Up on DVR…Foxy makes fun of my love of street dance movies, sorry Foxman, this prepster from New England won’t be changing her bad movie taste anytime soon. I can’t believe I’m admiting it, but I definitely fist pumped and might have shed a tear after this final dance sequence.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2A3kubSuWQU]

I picked up a new toy this weekend, my very own STICK! So far it’s been a welcome addition to my crazy painful thera-roller. HURT SOOOO GOOD!

I’m not sure about you guys, but I have a bit of a love affair with white wine, specifically Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc. It’s light, fresh and quite honestly tastes like juice. If you don’t mind acquiring a drinking problem, try it. If you like staying dry, I suggest staying far, far away from this delicious wine!

After a long rainy week, I am so thankful to be headed to sunny skies and THE BEACH! I’ve never been to this area of North Carolina, but I’m excited to spend a long weekend on this beach!

I’m looking forward to logging some solid time in the ocean and getting an open water, rough seas swim in! I’m also going to enjoy running in warmer weather and sunny skies. I think some much needed vitamin D, fun times with friends and of course a few workouts sounds absolutely PERFECT for a weekend plan!

What are your Friday Faves?!

2011 Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon Recap

2011 Heartbreak Hill Half – SUCCESS. This is a major difference from last year’s experience. During the 2010 race I was unprepared and defeated by the first few miles.

Just 3 miles in to the 2010 race and already hating my life

This year, however, I made sure to prepare for the hills, and RUN for the sake of running. Based off of this photo, I think I accomplished those goals. I couldn’t wipe this off of my face for the full 13.1 miles.

After a restless nights sleep, the morning started early & WET, with the rain pouring down, I tweeted & Katy responded:

The rain didn’t stop us, so around 6:45am we met at Newton South High School, just in time for the pouring rain to stop. Thank you mother nature, I take back all of those mean things I said about you (until tomorrow’s storm.) I made the decision to run with my new Nathan hand held water bottle, figuring that if it bothered me, I could hand it off to Foxy at mile 3. After a few pre-race words & the national anthem, we were off.

The first three miles were gentle rolling hills, my legs felt stiff and I was worried that I would never get into my groove. I just kept on telling myself to just be patient and eventually I would get into my groove. Due to the rain and last minute details I was unable to warm up, so I just told myself to calm down and be patient. Despite feeling stiff, my splits were right where I wanted them to be:

Miles 1-3: 8:44, 8:39 and 8:40. How is that for consistency?!

Around mile three I saw Foxy & his cowbell, and I was all smiles.

Finally around 4.25 I took a Gu and my legs started feeling less stiff and I felt myself getting into a groove. Ironically enough, this is was the slowest pace yet of my race. Right around this time we hit our first major hill, so I really shouldn’t be too hard on myself! I just kept on telling myself “You’re so much more prepared than you were last year, you can do this!” I continued on and continued to hit my groove. I think it was a combination of 1) hill preparation and 2) knowledge that I had completed the course previously and (just barely) survived.

Mile 4: 9:09

Mile 5: 8:50

Somewhere during mile 6 we hit Heartbreak, with a Gatorade station conveniently located at the bottom – thank you volunteers! I started the decent and felt strong and confident, “you can do this, you can do this” I passed a father-daughter running duo who blew by me in the first mile, they were visibly struggling, I thought to myself “not this year!” I powerfully bounded up heartbreak. Somewhere near the top I spotted Luau bombing down heartbreak, I screamed out to him “LUAU!!!! SWIMMYKIMY!!” He yelled back to me excitedly. That little exchange was just what I needed going into the toughest part of the course.  I channeled positive thoughts and mantras (I may have said “Faith, not Fear” 100 times.)

This is where the race gets really interesting. After heartbreak there is a brief, but welcome down hill, most people that haven’t looked at the course map sigh in relief only to get the butt handed to them two minutes later. I sped up enjoying this brief reprieve and braced for the toughest, and steepest hill yet. We took a left and faced the 300 foot climb up Waban Hill Rd. With each step I took I kept feeling stronger and stronger. I noticed that no one was around me, at one point I glanced back and saw a pack of people behind me, it was as if I was pulling a whole team of people along! The hill is steep, and has three noticeable ascents. The third and final climb is absolutely demoralizing. Last year during this stage of the race I cried. This year, I dug deep and took no prisoners.

Once I reached the top, down we went, and fast. People started whizzing all around me, and as much as I wanted to tear my quads and hips to shreds, I decided I would hold back and just coast down the hills with control.

Miles 6-8: 8:57, 9:00, 8:36

Somewhere at the end of mile 8 and the beginning of mile 9 I started to hit a MAJOR wall. The major downhills were over, and now the course was back to rolling hills, ugh. Luckily I was running near a group of spry high school kids, so I stayed close to them and just tried to hold on. Somewhere in here, I had another Gu. I was worried about the Gu sloshing in my stomach, but I was starting to get so tired that I knew I needed the calories to get me through to the end. Somewhere around mile 10 I saw Foxy, he asked how I was doing and if I needed water and I said “Nope, I’m great!” I rung his cowbell and told me I looked great. What a guy! Two seconds later a couple that Foxy & I are friends with randomly drove by and cheered me on! The little burst of cheers definitely gave me a boost to trudge on. I knew the end was in sight, but holy crap those last few miles seemed to last forever.

Miles 9-11: 9:27, 8:44, 8:56

When my watch hit 11 miles, I noticed that I would easily be under 2 hours and I sighed in relief. I wasn’t quite out of the woods yet, and I still could have a melt down, but I decided to try to give it everything I had and finish strong. As I ran I tried to focus on my stride and stay loose, and try to ignore the negative thoughts creeping into my head. Over the past two miles the spry high school kids pulled away slightly, I told myself it was OK, they were about 10 years younger than me, I probably would have burned a 27 year old too. However, I began to pass more and more people, which gave me a significant mental lift. I kept on repeating: “Don’t die, don’t die, DON’T DIE!” I made the turn toward the finish and was relieved to see Foxy and know that I was finishing strong and with a smile on my face.

Miles 12, 13, .02 9:07, 8:33, :17

Final time 13.1 Miles, 1:55:39, a 10 minute improvement on last year’s disaster and one of the stronger 1/2 marathon times I’ve had in awhile.

All in all, the race was a success! Foxy was such a trooper waking up so early and being my #1 cheerleader. I am so thankful that he sacrifices sleep and social gatherings in order to support my running goals 🙂

Holy red face & exhaustion...

Shortly after I finished Katy came through looking strong! She ended up with a Half Marathon PR, but felt like she could have pushed it harder. I think she is absolutely going to smash that time in the next half she runs!!

In general I am feeling extremely encouraged with the training and hill preparation I have done thus far in my training, I’m going to take a look at my plan this week and really start to pin point certain areas where I can tweak my plan to make sure I run the strongest race possible on 7/31/11. The biggest victory in this race was feeling strong on the tough hills and enjoying myself throughout the entire run. Getting back to enjoying running and staying injury free is such a refreshing and welcomed feeling! I am really looking forward to the rest of my training cycle and having more races and long runs similar to the 2011 Heartbreak Hill Half!

Revisiting & Revising 2011 Goals

So now that we are five months into 2011, I figured it might be a good time to look back at the goals I set for myself on December 30th 2010….

Goals for 2011

  • Only run shorter races – This year I’ve made the conscious decision NOT to run a marathon. Last year that decision was made for me, which was heartbreaking, but I’m moving on. I’m going to focus on 5-10k’s, triathlons and half marathons.Clearly I didn’t accomplish this goal, and I’m really happy about it.
  • New Goal: Run the SF Marathon and get back to LOVING distance running, so far I am on a great track!

On the road back to LOVING running in April!

  • More Yoga –  in 2011, I’m going to make every effort to go at least once a week in order to reduce injury and help work on my core. So far I have averaged going to Yoga nearly once a week in 2011, which is a huge accomplishment for me!  This is directly correlated to injury prevention – hooray!
  • More morning gym work outs – This also goes hand in hand with #4… I need to improve upon this, my hopes are that it will get easier now that it is consistently warm out! 
  • New Goal: Work out 3 mornings a week.
  • Get More Sleep – So then I can’t hit that snooze button and skip the gym! Still need to improve this one!
  • Renewed focus on Healthy Eating and Portion Control– Easier said than done, but this is always a challenge! So far, so good! I have really been trying to resist bad food that comes through my office and watch my portion control. So far it’s paid off and I’ve slowly been slimming down to a better weight for marathon training.
  • More time at the Cape!– It is my happy place, after all. Looking to spend as many weekends as possible down on the cape at my family’s house 🙂
  • New Goal: Spend less time stressing out and more time enjoying life & spending time with Foxy!
My goals for 2011 have shifted slightly but I still think that they are attainable and I will have a great time in the process!
Have your goals for the year changed since NYE?

Overwhelmed…

Lately things have been a bit chaotic lately, multiple client projects, party hosting, projects for a part time WFH job, quick jaunts to Cape Cod for Easter & Mother’s day, volunteering with the ACS, oh yes, and then training, sleeping, eating and spending time with my boyfriend! My apartment is a mess, there are multiple loose ends that need to be tied up, priorities need to be made and I need some very much needed QT with my favorite person, Foxy.

After a really tough week last week, I’ve decided that I’m just going to take this week to try to streamline what I can, and get my life in order to avoid any future stress freak outs. I need to remember, I can’t do everything! Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want my life any other way, but for now I need to take a quick break and get everything in order. With very little on the agenda on social schedule this weekend (I cleared the whole schedule awhile back for the Heartbreak Hill Half on this coming Sunday, which I am now so grateful for) I should be 100% back in action and my chatty, bloggy-self in the not too distant future. The good news is, my runs have not been sacrificed, and it’s helping me stay focused, centered and keeping me from losing my mind. Thank you running!

To share one non-running thing, Foxy & I celebrated the Kentucky Derby this past weekend with friends at our annual party that we host with another couple. It was a smashing success! Doesn’t Foxy look dapper in his seersucker suit?

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, how do you manage everything? I need your tips!

Marathon Goggles

Runners High, it’s a beautiful thing. But, what if it leads you to make decisions that might, under normal, non-runners high situations be considered, straight up crazy?

This past Saturday I dragged myself out of bed and hopped in Foxy’s car and made the trek out to Newton. As I drove, the GPS took me on the craziest route, but I finally arrived in the Hilliest place in all the land, NEWTON. As I drove the infamous Newton hills my heart beat with the excitement of the run on the horizon. Is this normal? Hmm, not so much. I parked, stretched quickly and then I was off on my way. In order to get in 12 of the hilliest miles possible, I had to do a quick down and back to Newton-Wellesley Hospital (right around roughly mile 16-17 of the marathon.) I was happy to just space out and take in the beautiful day. I did a quick 3 miles and then I was back near Foxy’s car. I anticipated passing my starting point would result in huge mental battle, but it was quite the contrary, it motivated and catapulted me towards an awesome additional 9 miles. As I ran on the carriage road I kept on imaging what it might be like if the Boston Marathon was happening at that exact second. What if Kara Goucher were here RIGHT NOW? I thought about everyone I knew who ran, and how much determination and will they proved on those trying Newton Hills.

Then, I thought about last year’s Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon. I was ill prepared for this race and absolutely hated my life, but somehow in this beautiful day on the last day of April, I felt as if each hill empowered me. Instead of feeling defeated, I felt strong. When I might have felt exhaustion I felt POWER. When I realized that I was conquering the hills with ease I actually thought to myself, wow, maybe I really am a runner after all!

In addition to being a runner, maybe I could actually RUN HILLS, and not die. Wow, what a thought. I’m going to hold onto this huge victory, and never let go.

For the rest of the run it was more of the same, daydreaming of great races and what my future might hold. What if I decided to sign up for a marathon in the fall…just for fun? Hmmm, what about Disney in January? Running with characters sounds like fun to me…and it was more and more of the same.

As my heart and mind were racing at the prospect of signing up for multiple half and full marathons, I thought to myself, hmm maybe I should ease up a bit? Then I realized I was experiencing the running equivalent of BEER GOOGLES. Yes folks, I had Marathon Goggles.

What are Marathon Goggles? It’s when you have such a great run that your endorphins are a flown’, perhaps more than the average, recommended dose for a functioning human being. This excess in endorphins, which is similar to over imbibing mistakes we all may have made in college, leads to making decisions which appear to make perfect sense in our clouded minds. Sure, Marathon goggles are a little safer than thinking a creepy guy is cute and giving him a kiss, but signing up for marathons in the heat of the moment can definitely lead to some post endorphin remorse.

Original Beer Goggles, circa 2006

So there I was, about 8 miles into my long run, racing down the streets of Brighton and Newton with a huge pair of Marathon Goggles strapped to my face. If there was an inkling or thought to complete a run on the horizon, you bet it raced through my head.

Somewhere around Cleveland Circle I came to the realization: I’m having a fantastic run, but to be honest, they’re not all this great.  So why push it? Just enjoy the run!

My major goal for running the San Francisco Marathon is to enjoy the entire race and get back to LOVING marathons. My other goal? Staying injury free. So, as I talked myself out of signing up for other races, I also told myself to savor and enjoy this moment. Great runs only come around every once and awhile, I wasn’t going to let this one get away from me.

12.0 Miles 1:52:27 9:22 Average Pace.

Have you ever had an unbelievable run or race that lead you to signing up for challenging races? Did it pay off with another good run or race?

Friday Faves

Spring is in full swing, and thank goodness. Today’s Friday Faves will be influenced by all things spring & colorful 🙂

Fresh Tulips, don’t these just scream spring? Love it.

Warmer (though a bit rainy) weather, and a fantastic forecast for the weekend!

After spending Easter at my family’s house at the cape I have to share probably my favorite fav, my mom’s new kitchen! Our house has been in our family for 50 years and the kitchen hasn’t really been updated since the 60’s or 70’s. Well, my mom has taken on the project trying to do it cost effectively and reflective of Cape Cod. Unfortunately the counter top hasn’t been installed yet, but the cabinets look great!

And of course our beach…this is my #1 happy place in the world.

And it wouldn’t be Friday April 29th without The Royal Wedding! Here are some pictures of my office decorated for Wills & Kate’s Nuptials…Did you wake up at 6am to watch coverage like I did??

and then…

And of course it’s time for some royal wedding morning cocktails!

Lastly, I get to run 12 miles in Newton tomorrow morning. Bring it on hills!

What are your Friday Faves?

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.

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“If It’s Not hard, Why Do It?”: Jamestown Bridge 10k Recap

When I checked the course map for Sunday’s Jamestown Bridge 10k, the following keywords popped up:

Average Terrain, Hard Difficulty, Hilly Contour, Long Climb Contour, Oceans, Road Surface, Scenic Surroundings

Oh No.

After running this race my personal keywords are: Rain, hills, wind, rain, wind, hills, rain, rain, COLD.

Ok, so I think you now know, it was windy & raining hard and absolutely FREEZING. However, I’m still happy with my performance, and it gives me a huge kick in the butt in regards to SFM marathon training.

The morning started early, 5:50 to be exact and I woke up, peered out the window and noticed that the streets looked wet, but it seemed as if the rain had stopped, fist pump! I started my coffee maker and started packing for a brief trip home following the race and fueling. By the time Katy swung by at 6:30am to pick me up it was full on pouring rain. We greeted each other acknowledging that we were completely crazy and that we probably wouldn’t expect too much out ourselves in this hilly, and now rainy & windy 10k.

We chatted the entire way there and before we knew it we were parking at North Kingston High school, again, it was still POURING like cats and dogs. We waited in the pouring rain and then finally boarded a shuttle and made our way to the start line. Once we were there it was insanely windy. I had dressed rather conservatively, a running jacket, short sleeve top & running crops but I forgot my gloves. FAIL. My hands by the end of this race were so cold that they felt like paws. We chatted briefly, met up with ACS superstar, Robert Frary and joked about the awful weather. Robert is in remission from throat cancer, hardcore runner and generally awesome person. Despite not being able to eat a normal quantity of food due to side effects from treatment, he absolutely LOVES to run. This doesn’t stop him one bit and next weekend he will be running the Cox Providence Marathon, which will be his third marathon so far this year. Good luck Robert!

The Race

Shortly after, we were on our way. The course starts on a fairly steady downhill so I kept glancing at my garmin to make sure I wasn’t going out too fast. Ooops, I was pacing 7:30 splits. I told myself to dial back, and then I saw Katy start to wiz by me, I warned her that we were on 7:35-ish pace and to hold back, we had some serious hills coming up!

Mile 1: 7:40

Apparently I didn’t heed any advice from Marathoner’s last weekend who said to always conserve your legs in the beginning on down hills. Whoops.

After the first mile mark we started our descent up the Jamestown Bridge. TRIMOM was NOT lying when she said that this was a scenic, but challenging course. Once the bridge was in view my mouth literally dropped and I said to myself “MOTHER EFFER” (Sorry mom) At this point we were right on open water and we were running STRAIGHT into the wind. I just tried to keep my head down, glance at the water and focus. There was a race photographer out on the bridge and I am seriously terrified to see these photos. The climb was difficult, but it was relatively gradual, so at least we had that going for us.

Mile 2: 8:55

After we crested the top of the Jamestown Bridge, we started going down hill again, Oh holy GOD, THANK YOU! I tried to hold back and make sure I wasn’t killing my quads, so I just tried to get into a groove and get to a good pace and brace for a relatively steady flat land. From here the course made it’s way through a really cute little coastal neighborhood. A lot of the neighbors all came out and cheered the runners on, there was even a grandmother holding a pot and banging it with a wooden spoon. Thank you Grandma! We went down a small but steep downhill and then hit a water & Gu stop. I ran w/ a water bottle so I decided to grab a Gu and take as much as I could. I choked it down and then continued on.

Mile 3: 8:04

What goes down, must go back up….eeek. The course then turned right and went back up a small, but very steep hill. This was where I was really feeling it. I had mentally prepared for other hills, but not this one. I just slowed my pace and soldiered on.

Mile 4: 8:37

At the 4 mile marker we then hit our last water station and continued our journey back onto the Jamestown Bridge. I was really hurting here and cursing myself for going out so fast. The only good news about running on the bridge again was the fact that we had the wind at our backs, thank you TAIL WIND! I felt as if my legs were cinder blocks and I trudged up the hill. I just kept telling myself that it would be over soon and this was great preparation for the HBH Half & SFM.

Mile 5: 8:51

Mile 5 was then a downhill, THANK YOU! Everyone was flying by me at this point and I was just trying not to completely fall apart. I coasted down the hill and then I noticed that we had to scale the same down hill that we had started so quickly on. This is when I really started to panic. My legs were so tired that I seriously had no idea how I was going to do this. I tried to focus on my crumbling form, but I kept on falling apart. The hill continued and I just kept on telling myself I could do it.

Mile 6: 9:20

The last .2 was a total blur, I seriously felt like I was crawling up the hill! I saw some runners that had finished earlier and they told us that the finish was just around the corner, I found every last bit of energy I had and pushed it into overdrive, trying hard to finish strong.

.25 2:11

Garmin: 6.25 Miles: 53:41 Average Pace 8:35

Official results: 278/930 Kimberly Chambers 53:42 8:39 F

Check out this amazingly high quality video of the race complete with only the most bumpin’ tracks.

Overall, I was relatively happy with this race. It was extremely challenging and it was fun to get out run in a different part of New England, and as always it was really fun running this race with Katy! I did really hate the rain and wind, but it is great to race in those conditions, as you never know what the weather might do on the day of your “A Race”. Even though I was cursing the course the entire time, I do think I will try to run this again. You can’t improve if you never push yourself, right?

SOGGY.

Afterwards Katy and I chatted about what non-runners say to us when we tell them about running races like the Jamestown Bridge 10k and Heartbreakhill Half. They ultimately always ask, “if it’s so hard, why are you doing it.” We then ultimately decided, “if it not hard, why do it?” and this is going to be my running mantra for the remainder of 2011.

Have you ever signed up for a race purely because it was challenging?