L Street Running Club

This past Sunday, I finally bit the bullet and did something I have talked about at length for nearly six and a half years. I finally joined L Street Running Club. L Street, I am your newest member and I am beyond excited!!!

L Street Logo

I do have to admit that I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to try something new.  Adrienne gets all of the credit for finally getting me out on the pavement with the club. She has been telling me for over two years years to meet the wonderful people that are a part of the group. But somehow, there was always something stopping me.

So what was it?

First off, it was fear of trying something new. As an outgoing person I was always embarrassed that this was something I feared. The issue is that I had a less than awesome experience trying out a masters swim team where I didn’t know anyone, and that has forever tainted trying athletic social groups for me. Luckily, I had a buddy to lean on and an instant “in” to the group, so I really should not have been worried about this!

Secondly, it’s time. I have a very busy schedule, similarly to everyone else I know. I find myself frequently lean on the excuse, “Oh, I don’t have time for that”, well the truth is, I do. It was time for me to look at my schedule and make some adjustments to prioritize this higher in my laundry list of to do’s.

Ultimately, the straw that broke the camels back, was the loneliness I felt on some very cold long runs. I started to worry that my motivation would dip and I would slack on runs if I didn’t have structure of a group. So, I decided to get over my fears of trying new things, make time in my schedule and dive in head first. I knew that running with other accomplished and fast runners would help me run smarter and faster on race day. They could provide me advice, experience and best of all, laughs along the way.

Luckily, I chose the perfect weekend to join L Street on a long run. Forecast: High of 17 degrees with winds between 10-20 mph. If there was anytime I needed extra support, it was Sunday.

I woke up nervous and shaking because of the cold temperatures, could I do this? It was 8am and the temperature was holding a steady 11 degrees with winds reaching 20 mph. Yuck.

I nervously drove a mile over to the athletic club where we were starting from and quickly found Adrienne. After a few minutes of chatting and introductions to some of her oldest running friends we were off! This run marked the longest I have run since July of 2011 and it was also the coldest run I have ever been on in my entire life, so I was extremely thankful to have a huge pack of people for support.

We started out slowly, the wind and cold were nearly unbearable and I questioned my ability to run 15 miles in these conditions, but I soldiered onward. It was so awful out that afterward Adrienne and I both confessed to one another that during the first mile we considered running back and hitting the treadmill for 15 miles. But, we didn’t.

Mental fortitude of runners: 1, Mother nature: 0.

After the first 25-30 minutes I regained feeling in my ears, fingers and toes and all of a sudden, the miles and minutes seemed to melt away. There were water stops every three miles manned by fellow running club members who were volunteering that day and I welcomed their enthusiasm and fuel. The group of runners covering 15 miles that day were bursting with positive stories and were extremely kind to me, something I needed on such a challenging day.

Once we finished I had a smile on my face and hugged Adrienne. I am forever in debt that she stayed with me for the entire length of the run.

15 Miles, Total time: 2:14:02 

This was officially my longest, and coldest run of this training cycle. Boo yah! Afterwards we all congregated in Boston Athletic Club to refuel and chat about our runs, the room was packed with sweaty, happy runners.

L Street

I am already looking forward to joining the group for a 16.5 mile run through Boston next Sunday!

If you live in the Boston area and love to run, I highly recommend L Street Running Club. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or to make plans to join us! For more information, check out their website: lstreet.org.

Do you run with a running club? Did you have any fear or anxiety about joining something new?

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!

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?

My (not so new) Best Friend: Garmin 405CX Review

I used to think that I was a zen runner, I would just put on my shoes and run and be happy. I’m not sure where or how I arrived at that notion, because I’ve always been a girl who is fixated on competing and constantly improving upon my last race. My obsession with competing and training hard all started with swimming.

SwimmyKimy in her natural state

I’m not sure where it came from, but there was something inside of me that loved and craved pushing myself to the limit and giving a practice my absolute 100%. I was absolutely infatuated with knowing my splits my every time I dipped a toe in the pool, whether it be the biggest race of my life or a regular ‘ole practice. I was known to haze younger swimmers forcing them to choose the harder interval with me. On occasion I also went a bit too far when hyping up teammates before a big race, oops. Oh, and on top of that, I was plain CRAZY when it came to beating my opponents.

So where the HECK did this idea come from? That I was going to just go for a run, not really know my time and be happy with that? Hmm. Seems like an ill-fated idea if you ask me.

Well, it was.

Slowly over time several of my running buddies have taken the plunge and bought a Garmin or Polar GPS watch. I was always intrigued, and I loved hearing my splits. I found myself obsessively asking friends that owned a GPS watch what the pace and current mileage total was. Finally around Christmas time I found a good deal on Amazon.com for the Garmin Forerunner 405CX. I mulled it over for a few days, read some reviews and then when Santa brought me money for Christmas I decided to take the plunge.

I know I’m a little late to the Garmin party, but here are my thoughts on the product

Pros

  • It’s small, so it doesn’t bother me when I’m running – Call me picky, but the Garmin 305 looked like a huge remote on your wrist. I’m very particular with how things fit/feel when I’m running, so I knew that wouldn’t work. The smaller/sleeker design did just the trick!
  • Garmin Connect – This is absolutely life changing. Uploading all of the data is extremely easy, almost too easy! Instead of having to where a standard watch, track my route on mapmyrun.com and then figure out my “average pace” Garmin collects all the data for each mile, elevation, the exact route, etc. Pretty much any and all data that you would want from your run. Cue massive geek fest.

  • Ease of use – After playing around with it for an entire weekend, I figured out all of the fun features & Garmin Connect. I’m sure I will continue to find new things, but for now I have the basics down
  • Perpetuating my competitive edge – Having the ability to constantly know my run stats has made me more aware of my training and I’m looking forward to using it throughout this marathon training cycle

Cons

  • Obsessively checking my pace- The Garmin is amazing, but sometimes I feel like I can’t just relax and RUN for enjoyment.
  • Loss of signal – Living in a city with tall buildings, every now and then I lose the Garmin signal. Which creates waves of panic and hysteria. But then I just remind myself,  it’s just running!

Abridged version: I am hooked. I’ve waved goodbye to the “Zen Runner” I once thought I was and I look forward to a long friendship with my (not so) new best friend. Lizzy, thank you for introducing me to Garmin. I know it won’t always be a great friendship, so sometimes I will leave G at home, but for now it’s opening a whole new world of running to me!

Do you have a Garmin? How did it change the way you train and run?

Help Wanted…

with my new marathon training plan!

On July 31st 2011 I will run the San Francisco Marathon and I am beyond thrilled. I know that this race won’t be a PR race, but rather I am looking forward to getting back to what I love about running and enjoying the amazing scenery along the way. I’ve always toyed around with Hal Higdon‘s marathon training programs, many times tweaking it with the advice of friends and fellow marathoners. This time, I think I’ll take a step away from my good friend Hal and put together my own plan. But first, I need your help!

Seeing as how I picked up running after graduating college and I’ve never run with a team, I don’t have the best knowledge when it comes to different training strategies. Ok, compared to most of you, I really don’t know ANYTHING, so I am all ears! I’ve also been prone to injury over the past few years, so I’m looking forward to having a injury free training cycle and a successful race on July 31st.

Plan Considerations:

  1. Hill Work – This is an absolute must, I am going to work in hills to my long runs as well as attempt hill repeats (gulp)
  2. Spacing out Runs – When I asked Aron for advice on a training plan for SF she pointed out that I should consider avoiding back to back days to reduce the wear and tear on my body and likelihood of injury.
  3. Yoga – I’m terrible with stretching, so incorporating this into my weekly routine has always helped me, so I’m going to stick with it
  4. Speed Work – I’m forcing myself to do one speed workout a week, I truly feel that this will be a huge differentiator
  5. Cross Training – Prior to signing up for the SF Marathon I vowed to get back to my swimming roots and try a few sprint triathlons, so I signed up for two this summer. Marathon training will be my primary focus, but I think cross training could be a great chance to mix it up and help reduce burn out

So, here it is! I plan on playing around with this a bit before I make a “final” plan (I say that loosely, as training plans are never set in stone!) I’m definitely feeling a little nervous about this, so please let me know any tips or ideas that you have for me 🙂


So, what do you think? What are your marathon training tips for me?

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.

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!

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends…

When Noel departed Boston putting a successful 2010 Boston Marathon in the books, something donned on me. The running community in Boston and beyond is awesome, and I think everyone out there needs to know that. So, for this post I’ve decided to do a little shout out to my running buddies. Thank you for inspiring me to train, compete and finish races, even when I’m feeling at my worst. Without you guys, I never would have signed up for a marathon, let alone THREE (with many more to come)

Thank You to my Favorite Running Buddies, you guys are the best:

Kate

Kate & Me before the Marine Corps Marathon 2009

I first met Kate in the kitchenette at work waiting in line for the spring water filter. Naturally, we had gigantic nalgene bottles, so we usually had a few minutes to kill while they filled with water. We started with small talk, and then instantly found out that we both LOVED to work out, particularly running. We are lucky enough that our office supplies showers and towels, so we started venturing out on lunch time runs together.

Kate is a very powerful runner with great form and stride, she always pushes me to run faster and make me a better runner. As good of a runner she is, she’s also the most humble person I know, she is constantly always telling me how much better I am than x,y,z than her (which is completely untrue!) Aside from physically pushing me to become a better runner, Kate is also a great listener. Part of why I love distance running is the camaraderie between training partners, and Kate is no exception.  My favorite example of her unwaivering friendship and team work is in the Marine Corps Marathon in October 2009. I was struggling big time near a hill at mile 8, and I decided that I should try to run off and walk in order to get Kate to stay on the pace she needed to break four hours. Everything was going to plan when she RAN BACK to find me. After screaming at her and telling her to move on, I finally gave up and ran with her for a bit. When it was clear that I wasn’t going to make a recovery I forced her to move ahead and carry on without me. I will never forget her act of selflessness!

On top of this, she listens to all of my good and bad news and always has a supportive or encouraging comment to back it up. Whenever I return from a run with her I feel challenged and pushed, but also refreshed to know that I have such a good friend, on and off the pavement.

Michele

Michele and me at the NYC Marathon expo 2008

My first memory of meeting Michele was over New Years Eve, and we instantly bonded over our love of running. I was impressed that she had run two marathons, and she firmly planted a bug in my ear to try to get into the NYC marathon the following year. Any normal person listening to her stories of training and racing would run for the hills, but not me! As a fellow glutton for punishment, I successfully secured a number in the 2008 NYC marathon running for one of my favorite charities, the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Over the next few months leading up to the November 2nd race, Michele and I traded emails and thoughts regarding training, gear and race preparation. Even from a distance, she was able to prepare me for the trials and tribulations of the marathon, and reassure me that she would be there right along side me.

Just 10 months later, both of us found ourselves ready to embark on the New York Marathon, holy crap! Michele let my boyfriend and I stay with her, and they instantly made us feel at home by hosting a pre race pasta dinner. Her mother drove us to the start of NYC in Staten Island, which sure beats a crowded marathon school bus shuttle from the New York Public Library. I enjoyed Michele’s company while waiting for the race to begin, and her words of marathon wisdom for this newbie. At 11am we were finally off! The race was great, there was an amazing crowd, fantastic water/Gatorade stops and challenging bridges to climb. Fast forward to mile 22, and I lost Michele, I’m not 100% sure what happened, I think the crowds were thick before central park and I suddenly had a burst of energy, but I looked back and she was nowhere to be seen. I finished with a time of 4:16 and Michele finished shortly thereafter. Afterwards we were both exhausted, but instantly started plotting our next marathon. Thank you Michele for encouraging me to embark on this new frontier!

Liz

Awkward Extended Arm/Elevator Picture Pre Lunch time Run

Liz is another running buddy from my office, and she’s great! I met Liz two years ago, but finally started running together just a year ago. She was training for the 2009 NYC marathon, and I was training for the Marine Corps Marathon, so it was a perfect training match. I love running with Liz because of her enthusiasm and dedication to the sport. She’s always looking for ways to push herself to the next level, and unfortunately this same ambition is to blame for her achilles tendonitis which eventually kept her running NYC. Yet, even an injury wasn’t enough to sideline her! This coming Sunday she will set out to complete her first official full, the Providence Marathon. I am so proud of Liz for not only overcoming an injury, but having the strength and resilience to stick with running in order to fulfill her goal: kicking butt and taking names over 26.2 miles. Liz, good luck to you and kick butt! You’ve put in the work, now just let your body do what it knows best, RUN!

Noel

Noel & Me after the 2010 Boston Marathon

I have written multiple posts over Noel’s running, so I will keep this short! Noel and I met in college on the swim team, and once we both graduated we turned to running. Though she lives in Florida and I live in Boston, we are able to share our running experiences, times, and enthusiasm over email. I loved tracking her Boston Marathon training and knowing that one of my closest friends would be running the country’s longest running, and most prestigious marathon. Her love of running has helped motivate and inspire me through ruts in my own training, and her experience has helped me figure out my own marathon training plan. Though Noel is MUCH faster than I am, this fall we will both run the Chicago marathon together. We might not be running the marathon alongside each other, but I’m looking forward to her positive influence and motivation over the race weekend. After losing her grandfather to cancer recently, Noel made the decision to run Chicago for the American Cancer Society, be sure to check her fundraising page!

Rob

Rob & Me before the Camp Harborview Harborthon 5k

Celebrating after a successful first marathon & $5,500 raised for LAF, NYC 2008

Lastly, but certainly not least is my boyfriend, and favorite running partner, Rob (or more popularly referred to as “Foxy”.) Prior to dating, Foxy and I met and became close friends through our mutual friend Greg and were instantly very close. His fun, easy going attitude and great friendship eventually lead to dating after a year and a half of friendship and after over two years we’re still going strong. When I was training for my first marathon (NYC 2008) he was there for me through thick and thin, which he admitted, took a toll on him as a supporter. Since he knows how important running and fitness is to my life, he has taken to running a few shorter distances with me, and eventually even embarked on running several 5k’s. When he first set out on the pavement he struggled through 1-2 mile runs, and now runs a 3.5 mile loop with ease! He is also looking to increase the challenge by perhaps running a 4 or 5 mile race. I’m so lucky for his participation in the sport, because I love going on runs together and our comitment to a healthy lifestyle. He firmly states that he will never run a marathon, but he has found the value and rewards of running for himself, all the while still supporting me and my quest for the finish line in endurance races. Thank you for everything Foxy! 🙂

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!

Johnny Kelley Half Marathon: I Lived to Blog About It!

This past Sunday I met my fear of unpreparedness head on, I bravely ran 13.1 miles after a measly 2 weeks of training. I ran with my friend’s Steve and Michele, who I feared had been training extensively for the past few months-luckily they were in the same boat as me! So, when the gun went off to signal the beginning of the race we agreed to go at a leisurely 9 minute pace in order to not burn under trained selves out. Below is a photographic time line of the entire race along with comments:
memorial day road racesHere is the crew of runners! 1/2 marathoners along with the 5k crew!

Memorial day road race2Anddd, we’re off! The start of the Johnny Kelley Road race began at Ocean St in Hyannis and the first mile went directly down Main St, which I thought was a cool feature of the race.

Memorial day road race3 Greeting our cheering squad at mile 10. This was a great boost to what turned into a pretty boring race. I nervously asked if they had any water due to the lack of water stops, but Steve took it in his own hands to hydrate. He ran with the beer (pictured in foreground) for about 10 feet and took several gulps! What a champ.

Memorial day road race4 I guess the beer didn’t sit very well because Michele and I lost Steve around mile 11. Here we are finishing out the race in the last 100 yards-look at all that gas left in the tank!

Memorial day road race5 When we came to the finish line we realized we just barely missed being under 2 hours! Huge bummer, but at least we had a great time with it, it’s not everyday you finish 13 miler with a smile on your face!

Memorial day road race6 Johnny Kelley Half Marathon: Complete! This marks the completion of the first of many athletic adventures of 2009 for the three of us!

Looking back on the race, we didn’t break any records or win, but I think most of all we were just happy that we finished the race on a good note! When it comes to endurance races of any distance, the feeling you have while racing is the biggest take away. I wouldn’t say I was personally in my prime, but it felt pretty damn good considering how little I trained. Though I originally posted that I felt my NYC Marathon training was now lost and gone forever, I do have to disagree with my previous statement. I believe that the fact I have already run a FULL marathon gave me the mental edge to muster my way through the race. It also reconfirmed that I never want to take a gamble and under train for another race, especially the Marine Corps Marathon in October!

Now, I’m off to check out what race I can run next-any suggestions are greatly appreciated!