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?

Boston Marathon Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

So much fun

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

KARA!!!!!

Making it look easy

Ryan Hall, looking like a horse with that stride.

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

"Tutu fast for you!"

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

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

This is how you run a marathon & enjoy it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Noel & Her mom

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