Oh Heeeey, Heartbreak!

This past Saturday I set out to log my first long run of San Francisco Marathon training. I wasn’t nervous going into this run, but I have to admit, there is a bit of fear and apprehension as I begin this training cycle. Β I’ve had a frustrating past two years when it comes to the 26.2 distance: one heartbreaking Marine Corps marathon where my four months of hard work fell apart in the first few miles, and then an injury a few weeks into training forced me to withdraw from the Chicago marathon.

Earlier this week I made plans to meet Katy on Saturday morning, to run an 8 mile loop starting and ending at the base of Heartbreak Hill. The last time I ran Heartbreak was during the 2010 Heartbreak Hill Half, when I was cursing hills and my lack of hill preparation prior to the race. When I finished the race I told Foxy that I would NEVER run the race again. Well, cue registering for the SF Marathon. It seems to be in my best interest to prepare for a marathon in one of the hilliest cities in the US on one of the hilliest half marathons in the area was probably a good idea. Hill training and avoiding injury are my two goals for SF training, so there is no better place to start than training on Heartbreak!

I met Katy close to 10am, we were supposed to meet at 9:30 but I couldn’t find my favorite running hat and felt a little frazzled (What can you absolutely NOT run without? Mine is a hat!) I found her car, parked and then shortly thereafter, we were on our way.

We started at roughly the 18.5 mile mark of the Boston Marathon course. Comm Ave was absolutely PACKED with people running, so it was a wonderful atmosphere with a lot of fast runners. Katy and I planned to take it at a reasonable pace and just went on our way.

Heartbreak in all of its glory. I definitely struggled through a long story I was telling Katy, but we focused and hammered out the hill. All in all, it wasn’t that bad. When we reached the top, I pointed out the turn that is the half way point in the HBH Half, which is significantly steeper and harder than Heartbreak itself! Luckily we saved that one for another day and ran past Boston College, Katy’s alma mater.

This is continuing down Comm Ave, with the Reservoir on the right. In just a two weeks this area will be lined with people for the Boston Marathon!

When we made our way down Comm Ave to Cleveland Circle, where we popped into a Dunkin’ Donuts to use the restroom and buy waters. Pictured below is 1950 Beacon Street, Katy’s crazy off campus apartment that she lived in Junior year of college. I have a laugh every time I pass this apartment with how many crazy parties we threw there when we were 21. Oh college..

From there we veered off the Marathon route and ran around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, which was extremely windy. Luckily we had each other and kept chatting away.Β This is when we took the turn onto College Road, which cuts through Boston College’s campus. Pictured here is Katy’s dorm from Sophomore year.

We picked up the pace and ran quickly back down Heartbreak and the other hills of Newton. I had to point this porta-potty out, I’ve read about this before, but it was the first time I saw the Saucony Porto in person. Such a creative Out of Home Advertising execution which ACTUALLY adds value to the consumer’s life. Not many other media placements can say that πŸ™‚

When we finally reached our cars I couldn’t believe we were done. I felt so great that I wanted to keep on going for several more miles. However, in the interest in achieving my goals and avoiding injury, it was definitely best to stop. Some nice people walking by saw me struggling to take an extended arm photo of the two of us and they volunteered to take this photo πŸ™‚

Afterwards Katy and I decided to head to Blue on Highland to grab some lunch because our friend Zach was working. As you can see from the photo, Blue isn’t exactly a safe haven of sweaty restaurant goers, so we were very happy that it wasn’t particularly busy.

I’m definitely not a food blogger, but I was so hungry and the food was SO delicious I had to share. We split the Chicken Sandwich and we each ate a few of the Parmesan and basil fries w/ a truffle dipping sauce. HOLY MOLY amazing.

Then, we split the spinach-prosciutto pizza with roasted red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, & pine nuts. DELICIOUS.

All in all, it was a fantastic run. We had so much fun chatting that I barely realized that the hills were challenging. This run with Katy was so much fun and it definitely has made me look forward to adhering to my training schedule and staying healthy throughout this training cycle. First week down, 17 more to go!

Heartbreak – Boston College Route 8.56 Miles/9:42 Pace/1:22:57

How to you refuel from long runs? Do you have any long run rituals?

Friday Faves

I’ve seen Friday Faves floating around now for awhile, so I figured I would partake in the fun

The most exciting thing about today is that it’s opening day for the Boston Red Sox!!!

The Boston Marathon is just 17 days away! That means that I am just over two weeks away from seeing one of my best friends, Noel!

April Fools Jokes

Pretzel Crisps. I tried these for the first time at the Ibex “Coaching your Inner Athlete” Event on Tuesday, and WOW, I am obsessed! Skinny pretzels? Sign me up.

A wide open calendar this weekend. I’m looking forward to a great long run, a chance to catch up with friends and possibly checking out a new spot around the corner from my apartment

What are your Friday Faves?

Unlikely Inspiration: Friends Facing Adversity

Two weeks ago I wrote about March Madness and it’s ability to get my blood pumping, heart racing and motivate me to get outside. It definitely got me thinking, with all of the non-athletic things that I do in a day, what things can we spin to help push us to achieve our athletic goals?

A couple of weeks ago I heard some really bad news from a friend from college. Definitely not an “aww shucks” type of news, but “holy *^&*%”. My friend Patti is a fellow former teammate of mine from college. When I first met her, she introduced herself as “Patti from Cincinnati” and as a fellow backstroker, I knew we were bound to spend a lot of time together. Β Her pride for the Reds, Bengals and Ohio State Football was unrivaled. She was immediately drawn to political science and was involved in multiple campus organizations over the four years. Oh yeah, she is a DAMN good time. To say she was focused was an understatement. She always knew what she wanted and went after it, and nothing has ever changed. Whether it was a debate over the Iraq war, national budget, the interval we chose in the pool or what type of beer we were drinking that night, she let her thoughts be known.

Patti & Kim - Circa 2006

She was working at a government affiliated job in DC for over two years, was promoted several times when her firm told her they were “going in another direction” and that her position (along with others) was being eliminated. She emailed a small group of us college teammates and when I read the words, my heart broke. Absolutely no one deserves to hear those words, let alone someone that I know that pours their heart and soul into what they do.

I felt awful for her, but then I realized that of all the people that I knew, she would 100% land on her feet. In fact, I knew she wouldn’t just land on her feet, but she would rise above and land an even better position. We emailed back and forth, and after a big night out to drown her sorrows the night after she got the news, she told me that she already had numerous interviews lined up for jobs on Capitol Hill, her dream. After hitting the interview circuit hard, she prevailed. Due to the tough climate, and her focus on achieving her dreams, she took an unpaid internship in order to get the connections and experience that was necessary for the next step. In order to pay bills she took a bartending job to make ends meet.

Now I know the majority of people I know would pack up their bags, find a sublet for their apartment and move home with their parents. Or, just apply for the same position or field that they previously held, but lacked professional fulfillment.

Patti took a huge risk, and something tells me that going out on a limb and going after her dreams will pay off, in a BIG way.

I was thinking about her situation on my run yesterday; and just when I was feeling lazy and wanting to cut my run short I thought, why settle for mediocrity when I could go the extra mile and push myself. No one remembers the people in the middle of the pack, but people remember those that go out there and get after it.

I’m so proud of my friend for going after her goals and I hope that her busy schedule during this time and any struggles that she might endure helps fuel her throughout her career. Moments like this are what define us.

Patti, you rock. Thanks for being such an inspiration to set goals and unabashedly pursue them.

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 πŸ™‚

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

St. Patrick’s Day 5k Race Recap

This past Sunday I ran the 71st Annual South Boston St. Patrick’s Day 5k, starting and ending at the Boys & Girls Club of South Boston. The 5k starts at 11am prior to the 1pm South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade, so the neighborhood is primed and ready to spectate the two thousand person road race.

Lizzy didn’t want to risk getting injured after running 20 miles the day before, so she graciously gave me her number. It was a great to see one of my favorite running buddies πŸ™‚ Since I switched jobs in October, I went from seeing her nearly everyday in the office to now every few months. Luckily, we’ve vowed to change that and already have a few running dates on the calendar for the next few weeks! She told me I needed to run fast and get both of us a PR πŸ˜‰

The course was hilly, and as soon as it started I thought to myself “ugh what am I doing?!” People were hanging out of their apartments cheering and yelling “why are you running? You should be drinking!” Stay classy Southie.

The race had two major hills, one right at the beginning, and another around the mile mark. Since it’s an out and back course, those were repeated at during mile 2, eek! Other than the hills, the race was great! It was a beautiful day and everyone was out spectating and getting ready for the infamous South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The runners were also dressed up head to toe in green garb and there was a lot of excitement in the air.

Unlike the An Ras Mor 5k, there was a chip which tracked your time from when you started and finished the race, so I was able to get an accurate 5k time! I crossed the finish line in 23:50, a new PR! After the race I chatted with Lizzy and we have made a pact to try to get down to 22 (ANYWHERE in 22 minutes, really!) From there I walked to a friend’s party for a few hours, walked back along the parade route and then finally met up with my boyfriend and all our friends at his St. Patrick’s Day Parade party.

Junior, my friend’s Bernese Mountain Dog was in full spirit rocking a green polo shirt πŸ™‚

Still rocking my race gear, while celebrating with a few pints πŸ™‚ Doesn’t Foxy look SOOO stylish!?

Party Couch!

Overall it was a great weekend, I was so glad I chose to run the road race AND celebrate with friends. I promise this is the last time I include “St. Patrick’s Day ____” in a post in 2011!Β  Slainte!

Scenes from the Saturday and Looking Back on Swimming…

Thank you to everyone for the comments on my St. Patrick’s Day Weekend party conundrum. I ended up being able to balance celebrating AND running (both days, yay!) this past weekend. I did receive a few phone calls and texts asking where I was, but I was really happy that I was able to get in a beautiful run along the river with some DetermiNation New England Runners, volunteer at the Multisport World Expo, make cupcakes and then enjoy a few brews.

Saturday morning was kicked off with a 5.3 mile run along the Charles River. Unfortunately my photos didn’t capture the beautiful early spring weather as I had hoped, but I’m sharing them with you guys anyways.

We finished the run just before 9am, 5.32 miles in 49:58/9:23 pace. It was just what I needed, a nice easy run and a chance to catch up with Katy! Still sweaty from the run, I sprinted back to the car and drove over to the Zeiger Sports complex at MIT to volunteer for at the Multisport World Expo.

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To Party or Not to Party?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

It’s hard to believe how quickly time flies…

Three years ago today I was celebrating St Patrick’s Day in Dublin, Ireland with one of my best friends, Hannah

Two Years ago I was at Hannah’s brother’s wedding in Washington D.C.

Last year: The Southie St Patrick’s Day Monsoon Parade

This weekend marks the St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Boston, and it guarantees to be a HUGE party weekend. We all know that I have a party girl side. If Boston is the promised land of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, then Southie is the grand messiah. South Boston is a predominately Irish Catholic Neighborhood, and the pride for Ireland runs extremely deep! The festivities kick off on Thursday, continue on into Friday, all day Saturday and then Sunday during the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Sigh. So many beers, so many calories, and yikes THAT HANGOVER!

Needless to say, this year I’m not looking forward to this year’s festivities with the usual vigor and excitement of past years. I’ve been feeling GREAT when it comes to my health, nutrition and running. The thought of completely falling off the wagon for a full weekend is less than appealing at this point. This weekend is so crazy that in my prime it took over 3 days to recover, at this stage, who really knows!

So here is my plan for this impossible to avoid partying weekend:

Friday – This is always a traditionally low key weekend since everyone is gearing up for two big days and recovering from a mid week St Pat’s imbibing (I will not be partaking in this) So I’ll be able to work out, chill out and catch up on sleep.

Saturday – I’m volunteering at the World Multisport Conference in Cambridge, MA at MIT for DetermiNation from 10am-12pm, then I’m planning on running around the Charles River (a hop, skip and a jump from MIT), head back home to good old Southie and figure out my strategy from there. Maybe it’s a couple pints of Guinness and an early bedtime?

Sunday– This is the real conundrum, I want to run the Southie St. Patrick’s Day 5k at 11am, but friends and fellow St. Pat’s enthusiasts are telling me that “it’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever had”. With the new development that my friend Lizzy is now running Boston in just over a month, she has offered me her number in this race. So why not?! Even if I end up over imbibing during the end all be all of St. Patrick’s day celebrations* I can still get out there and have a good time.

Moderation is key, and I think if I tackle this weekend with the right mindset I will still be able to get in the spirit, get my sweat (and hopefully race on),Β  have a couple libations and avoid a near death feeling come Monday.

[polldaddy poll=4731364]

What would you do? Party all weekend and fall off the wagon? Or, stay in and be good? Is there a middle ground?

*Chicago Natives, I make this claim but I realize that your St. Patrick’s Day is a rockin’ good time as well. Someday I will have to experience it for myself!

March Madness

[Warning…this has nothing to do with running]

It’s that time of year again…



The fans. The brackets. The squeaking of shoes on a basketball court. Coaches freaking out. The calls. The pep bands. THE FANS, THE FANS, THE FANS. Players actually playing with heart.

I’m not the biggest college Basketball fan in the world, but I honestly can’t ever get enough of the NCAA March Madness Tournament. My favorite part is the PASSION for the game and the resolve to win! Watching conference tournaments this weekend it seriously made me want to go out for a run or absolutely CRUSH a treadmill.

Instead of pouring over each and every game like most college basketball fanatics, I will be using these games as motivation to get out there.Β  I know a college basketball tournament is surely an unlikely place to find motivation, but it gets my blood moving, my heart pumping and the urge to GET AFTER IT.

What motivates you?

New Kicks and An Ras Mor 5k Race Recap

A weekend I’m actually in Boston…say WHAT?! The past few months have been busy, with a few weekends in NYC, skiing in NH, Maine, and VT we really haven’t had time to breathe. My apartment has been a bit of a disaster for the past few weeks, so I knew a weekend at home to take care of errands, cleaning and actually seeing friends was a must.

So after watching Duke successfully beat Maryland on Friday and a very much needed chance to sleep in on Saturday, Foxy and I headed off to run some errands. The first stop was South End Athletic Company to pick up a new pair of running shoes and use my $50 Gilt City voucher that my friend Lizzy told me about! Lizzy’s brother ran cross country in college with the owners, so there was an added incentive to check it out. The shop opened in the fall of 2009 in one of my favorite neighborhoods, so I was really excited to support a local business started by people that are passionate and running and a healthy lifestyle.

I walked into the shop and explained that I had always worn my trusty Asics Gel Nimbus, but I was looking to branch out and try other kicks. They gave me a quick foot and gait analysis and came to the conclusion that I was in fact wearing the correct type of shoe for my foot/running style- hooray! I tried on several different shoes (unfortunately I don’t remember all of the names) and even took them out for a quick spin on the sidewalk out in front of SEAC. Finally after much deliberation, I found myself struggling to pick between my trusty Nimbus or the Brooks Glycerin 8. They were both very similar, but ultimately I found myself enjoying the feel of the Brooks. So I decided to break up with my old standby’s for the time being and try out Brooks. I really enjoyed my first visit to SEAC and I am already looking forward to meeting up with them for some Thursday Speed Work outs and Saturday Long Runs. Thank you to Lizzy for the tip!

Rob and I grabbed a late brunch at Metropolis Cafe on Tremont st and ran some errands on our way back to Southie and then I took my new kicks for a slow spin on the Treadmill at the gym. They felt great and I was extremely excited, I feel as though my feet always go through a major adjustment period when I buy new shoes, but these felt perfect. I also spent ample time at the gym stretching, foam rolling and doing knee strengthening exercises to avoid a heartbreaking repeat injury to last fall.

On Sunday I woke up ready to run the An Ras Mor 5k in Cambridge. I woke up around 8am on Sunday and made myself some coffee, ate a banana and had a small bowl of my new favorite cereal, Nature’s Path Flax Plus Red Berry Crunch got my St. Patrick’s Day outfit together and headed out the door. Rob was feeling a bit off, but I was proud of him for sucking it up and going forward with the race!

I didn’t really know what to expect for this race so I set the bar very low to tie or beat my last 5k time in December which was 25:05 at the Jingle Bell run in Somerville. I was deathly ill during this race and felt like each step was a struggle, so I figured I would have no problem beating that time, but with running you really never know. I also haven’t been doing much in the way of speed training (If you have any advice on great speed work outs, can you send me some?!), only one tempo run a week, so again, who knows.

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I’ve been noticing the ABC’s floating around the blog world, and I’ve had so much fun reading everyone’s that I’m deciding to do it myself, so here we go!

Age: 27
Bed size: Full, I do really wish I opted for a queen though
Chore you dislike: Doing other people’s dishes!
Dogs: I am counting down the days until I can get a dog! I have a few favorite breeds, but Westies are really the way to my heart!

Essential start to your day: Shower and coffee.
Gold or silver: Silver all the way!
Height: 5’9″
Instruments you play(ed): Um, the recorder? That lasted about a week πŸ™‚
Job Title: Media Buyer
Kids: None, but hopefully someday!
Live: Boston, love that dirty water!

Mom’s name: Marilyn
Nicknames: Kim, Kimmy, Kimbo, Swimmy etc
Overnight hospital stays: Not that I remember, I did have surgery on both of my shoulders in high school, but luckily those were out-patient procedures
Pet peeves: I have so many, but probably people smoking and blowing it into my face is the highest on the list.
Quote from a movie: “Damn the Man, Save the Empire!” – Empire Records = Best.Movie.EVER.


Righty or lefty: Righty.
Siblings: Two older brothers and one sister in law πŸ™‚
Time you wake up: 6 AM if I exercise in the morning, 7am if I don’t. I’m looking to try to make that 6am or earlier everyday and switch to strictly AM runs
Underwear: None of your bee’s wax!
Vegetables you don’t like: I am OBSESSED with veggies! I don’t know one I don’t like. My #1 veggie obsession is carrots, YUM!

What makes you run late: The Bus/T, as well as lack of sleep and dilly dallying while getting ready
X-rays you’ve had: teeth/jaw, foot (stress fractures), collar bone (broke it when I was 6) multiple MRI’s on my shoulders and knees
Yummy food you make: CUPCAKES!!!

Zoo: I love Pandas & Penguins πŸ™‚

Now it’s your turn to do the ABCs!