This coming Sunday one of my favorite running buddies , Liz, will embark on her first full marathon, the Providence Marathon! Liz was originally supposed to run NYC last November, but due to a late injury she was unable to compete. The frustration of having to sit out a marathon after MONTHS of training is unfathomable. In my running “career” I have never personally been faced with the decision to run and risk permanent injury or sit out. If this were to happen to me, my guess is that I would become depressed and give up on competition altogether for a few months. Well, the fighting spirit and desire to challenge herself never left Liz, and the depression never set in. She gave herself time to heal (cross training all the while), and then launched straight into marathon training, probably not something a doctor would recommend! Now she finds herself just DAYS away from her first marathon, GO LIZZY!!! Please check out her post about her pre-race jitters and thoughts, and please wish her GOOD LUCK!
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:
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.
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 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!
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!
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! 🙂
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!
So the big day has come and gone, and NOEL KICKED BUTT! Before I spill the beans on her race, I just want to share a few photos (shocker)
After Noel got in her ride to the start line shuttle, I met up with friends and went into the city to ride out to Newton, it took almost 2 hours! Next year I will be figuring out a shuttle of some kind.
We watched in front of Newton-Wellesley Hospital, which was giving away free branded cow-bells-WOO! I am still milking a strained voice and my right hand hurts from shaking the cowbell so intensely. All in the name of the Marathon!
Noel’s focus and form was impressive, at this point she had been pacing roughly 8:01 miles for over 16 miles. She was so focused that she almost didn’t see us! Good thing I went absolutely CRA-ZY cheering when we saw her because she ran over and gave a quick hop and funny face…
As soon as she ran away, we sprinted for the train. Which sadly had a ridiculously long line, so instead of stopping at Heart Break Hill we had to continue straight to the finish in order to see her. The train ride back to Hynes Convention center stop took an hour, seeesh! I was sad that I didn’t have the chance to jump in with Noel, but I figured she was pacing such a fast race that I would just hold her back if I hopped in.
Herreford and Boylston was a MAD HOUSE. It was such a gorgeous day that it attracted more people than I’ve seen in past years. The crowd was easily 5-6 people deep on each side of the barricade, such great motivation for the runners.
We saw Noel shortly after I took this picture, sadly I was so excited when we saw her that I didn’t have the chance to document it!
Her final time? 3:44:25! Not a bad time for a girl that was injured and had to curtail the intensity of her training just a month ago. We finally met Noel along Berkeley St, where she said it was the hardest marathon she’s ever run. Her first admission? “THOSE HILLS! There were more hills than I ever prepared for!” She admitted she went out to fast, but she felt great and the field was so fast that she really couldn’t stop herself. Around mile 17-18 the hammer really started to drop and she started to feel intensely fatigued. She said it took everything she had to keep going and not walk, and she credited the amazing spectators for helping her stay focused on her goal. She felt so sick near the end that she was unable to take any Gu, gel or Gatorade, ouch.
When she finished she was in great spirits, but once she showered and started to get ready for a celebration meal the fatigue and lack of nutrients really hit her. After about 2 hours of waiting and trying to take it slow in the locker room of my gym, Patti and I went up to the street and got the medical staff to take her to the med tent. Their solution? Two IV drips of Saline and she came right back to life. While Noel was in the med tent we saw not only Celtic’s star Ray Allen and Tracey from the Biggest Loser!
All in all, it was an awesome day. A bit of a tough finish, but at least it happened once the race was over, and not in the middle. The race was a great chance to see one of my best friends run a fanastic race and get pumped to run the Chicago marathon together. Noel, thank you for inspiring a new level of dedication and passion for running! I can’t wait for 10-10-10!
The craziness of Boston Marathon weekend rolls on to Sunday, just 24 hours before the big event! Rob and I signed up for the BAA 5k, which started promptly at 8am, woof! It was a cold and dreary morning, but both of us ran a controlled and steady race, no need to stun the world, just time to have fun! The best news, Rob (aka, Foxy) said he felt as if he could have easily run another mile at a faster pace, GO Foxy! I loved the fact that the finish was in the actual official Boston Marathon finish line, it’s such a great chance for average runners to experience (one very small) part of the course. Below are the pictures from the BAA 5k:
After the 5K Noel and I went on a quick 2 mile run, a cool down for me, and a “get the jitters out” warm up run for her. Even though it was disgusting outside, it was a pretty decent run and a great chance to get in one last final tune up for Noel! Patti and I then spent the day in Harvard Sq and Beacon Hill playing tourist and catching up while Noel relaxed at home. Probably a good idea to avoid the intense amount of walking we did on Saturday (I think we did roughly 5 loops between the expo center and the Copley Sq area, not great for a girl that has to run 26.2 miles on Monday!)
After a good old fashion carbo load (whole wheat pasta, simple tomato sauce, garlic bread and salad), we talked race strategy and then put the finishing touches on Noel’s shirt:
So, the big day is almost here!!!! Go out there and make us proud NOEL!!!!!
It’s Friday, and not JUST Friday, but after 4pm on a Friday of a very long week. True to form I’m antsy, I’m excited for a busy weekend of skiing, time on the cape, meeting up with friends, a wedding, or just catching up on me time at home.
This Friday is not unlike any other Friday, but the antsy-ness is only intensified because the entire city of Boston is ready to descend upon the best weekend of the year: Boston Marathon (Long) Weekend. This weekend normally evokes excitement and enthusiasm, but this weekend is particularly exciting seeing as how one of my best friends is running! But sigh, I’m still here sitting at work.
As I type this I stare out the window, it’s grey, gross, and plain old ominous. My office also just so happens to look out onto Boston Harbor as well as a little place called Logan Airport. My friend’s plane landed at 3:45, so right now I’m just looking across the harbor just dying to be reunited with her! So in order to properly handle my inappropriate excitement and antsy-ness, I’m venting my frustrations here and just a quick note about how I’m going to recap our weekend plan, which I plan on thoroughly documenting via tweets, four square and of course my camera! 🙂 Happy Boston Marathon Weekend!
Though Noel isn’t into blogging, I love sharing her success in different races, particularly her crowning achievement, qualifying for Boston. I speak with her regularly, so I’ve heard all of the details of training and racing on nearly a day by day basis. Though, I personally have heard of each of her achievements and set backs as they have happened, I still love reading her recap of the past few months. I feel so blessed to have a friend that shares the same passion for running and one that I can look to for guidance, encouragement and of course, friendship. While she’ll be tearing up the streets of Boston, I will be on the sidelines clutching a sign and screaming for dear life. If you happen to be running Boston this year or even just spectating, be sure to look out for her ORANGE race shirt on the course. The shirt has YET to be revealed, but I promise, you will not be disappointed!
Please read Noel’s Boston prep thoughts here:
Less than two weeks from today (exactly 12 days, 306 hours, to be exact) I will be running in the Boston Marathon, and my journey to get there hasn’t quite gone as planned. Last summer I trained tirelessly in the humid early hours of the day in order to reach my goal of running a qualifying time at the Twin Cities Marathon in October. Although I had a few minor problems through my training (sore Achilles, stomach virus), nothing really sidelined me more than a day or two. I was confident I was about to realize my goal. I ran the race in 3 hours and 35 minutes, following my normal gameplan of taking the first several miles out comfortably and then bringing it home strong for a negative split. It was an improvement from my first marathon (Disney 2009) of 28 minutes.
After Twin Cities, it was hard to get myself motivated again. I was elated about my race, but I had reached my goal and was physically and mentally exhausted. It took me a couple of weeks to really get my head back into training. I was able to do so by signing up for multiple shorter races to keep my competitive side satisfied. I re-vamped my training plan to include speedwork and soon found myself winning my age group in 10k’s and 5k’s, finishing 3rd overall in a 5 mile race, and bettering my half marathon time by 4 minutes in 3 months. All the while, I ignored the nagging pain I felt in my right heel after each of my runs. Finally, the pain became too much after the Gasparilla ½ marathon at the end of February. I had already take a few days off before the race to make sure I could get through it, but I pushed myself too much that day and found myself struggling to walk. I made the decision to completely rest my heel for a full week and forced myself to ride the stationary bike for 40 minutes a day. It was boring, and I had no motivation to push myself.
That decision to rest was certainly in my best interest. Otherwise, I don’t know if I would be where I’m at in my training today, just 4 weeks later. The time I took off gave me a chance to re-evaluate why I run and why I love to race. My podiatrist told me if I would’ve kept running, I would have risked tearing my plantar fascia which would have completely sidelined me from Boston, the race I worked so hard to compete in. I want to run for many, many years and have no aspirations of becoming an elite athlete. I just love to get out there, improve my time and race strategy, and feel the energy of other athletes who share the same passion. Missing Boston because I tried to run through pain would have been devastating and downright stupid. But now, I’m running 4 times a week and since my ½ marathon have peaked at 30 miles. Although that’s nothing compared to my peak week of 55 miles before Twin Cities, it’s a lot better than 0 miles! Last Saturday, I finished my longest run since September, 20 miles, and felt great. Sure, my pace wasn’t as strong as it could’ve been had I not gotten injured, but the goal is to cross the finish line and know that I just completed the Boston Marathon. Now, I can’t simply rest of just finishing Boston, so what’s my next goal? of securing an automatic qualifying slot at NYC (running under 3:23) can wait until I race Chicago 2010 🙂
Good luck NOEL!!!!!!!!!!!!
I won’t bore you AGAIN with the details of my Marine Corps Marathon melt down, but I am writing today because it ended up helping me out! A few weeks ago Marathon Sports posted a tweet asking for everyone’s Best and Worst IT band stories. The incentive? The winner would receive a brand new Thera Roller! I immediately tweeted my MCM story to enter me in the running. Apparently not many other people wanted to fess up about their IT band problems, or maybe the man populating their twitter feed felt bad for me, because I won! A few days later I received a gigantic box in my office and low and behold, it was the Thera Roller!
As you can tell, I’m SUPER excited about winning the new, super fancy, and extremely Purple foam roller. I must admit the groves had me somewhat intimidated, yet excited at the same time! For those who aren’t familar with foam rollers, the benefits far out weight the temporary pain one must endure while using one. The benefits are similar to a deep tissue massage, alleviating pain and increasing flexibility. By rolling back and forth on an area that is sore, the roller works to target tense, tight muscles. The absolute best is when you find a sore or tight spot, to pause for a moment to ensure that it is receiving the most attention. The Thera Roller differs from standard foam rollers because the grooves only intensify the results from using the roller. This move makes me absolutely writhe in pain, but the final outcome is 100% worth it! When I put my running shoes on for a run ( no matter how long), I always feel as though the pain and suffering from the previous day’s run has been (nearly) completely erased. This is best to do on a regular basis in order to avoid any IT band pit falls while training or in my case, in the middle of a race!
Thank you to Marathon Sports for the Thera Roller! Now, I never have an excuse for any IT band problems in the future 🙂 If you live in Boston or, you are visiting town for a little race on April 19th be sure to check out Marathon Sports many Boston locations, as well as on Twitter @marathon_sports. It’s a great store with a FANTASTIC staff, I can’t say enough about them. For more information on how to use a foam roller to best address your own running or exercise injuries please check out this Runner’s World article.
As I have made it painfully clear, I am COMPLETELY obsessed with Core Fusion at Exhale Spa. It gives me the chance to stretch, sweat and tone in a way I have never experienced in a regular gym or yoga class. Now they have found a way to amp it up to yet another level, Core Fusion Cardio. The class is founded on the same principals of Core Fusion, a toning and core conditioning class. The basic Core Fusion class blends the Lotte Berk Method and pilates in order to help you tone your body and increase flexibility. All of the classes claim to have a cardio element, but none of the classes have quite the same intensity as Core Fusion Cardio. The class blends not only the Lotte Berk Method and pilates, but also kick boxing and cardio elements for prolonged periods of time throughout the class. Other Core classes put you in the cardio zone for 25-30 minutes whereas Core Fusion Cardio keeps you there for a non-stop, fat burning, and extremely sweaty 45 minutes. The rest of the class is comprised of warm up, ab focused exercises and cool down. Check out the official description from Exhale:
Core Fusion® Cardio is a calorie burning, sweat inducing, body sculpting, power-packed fitness experience, masterminded by the co-creators of Core Fusion®, Elisabeth Halfpapp and Fred DeVito. Merging cardio with intense strength and flexibility moves, this 60-minute class generates maximum calorie burn, resulting in defined abs, sculpted legs, and high, rounded glutes.
So, fast forward to MY experience. I had heard about the class from one of my favorite teacher, Catherine, and decided to go out on a whim and try it if it fit into my schedule. I love Core Fusion and I love cardio, why not merge the two?! In addition, I received a tweet from the co-founder of Core Fusion, Fred Devito, telling me that he would be rolling out the class in Boston at the end of March and I should go to his class. I loved the personal touch, passion for the class and enthusiasm he exuded, so I knew I had to get in. Apparently, everyone else that attends Core Fusion wanted in too! It took me nearly 10 tries to finally secure a spot in the class. Once I did, I was so excited I was doing fist pumps in the air, pathetic I know! Working out really gets me going I guess 🙂
The minute I walked through Exhale’s doors I felt the energy and excitement brewing, I knew it was going to be good! When I entered the classroom I was greeted by excited Core Fusion instructors, all of them were attending in order to take notes and learn the method so they could, in turn, teach the class on a regular basis. Instead of traditional Core Fusion, this class uses yoga mats and also allows for you to go sock-less, cool stuff! Before class began Fred Devito gave a brief explanation of what we were going to be doing and how we were going to feel, as well as including a disclaimer that we might not know what we’re doing at all times and that’s ok. Then, he launched right into it. After a brief 5 minute stretch series, we started into doing Mountain Climbers and then directly into yoga inspired moves combined with low weight repetitions of various toning moves. Each of these moves on their own are difficult, but when combined they become a fantastic core, toning, and cardio work out! As the class went on, the intensity of each move increased and so did my sweat glad output, sorry Core Fusion Cardio neighbors!! We gradually increased the amount of mountain climbers (moving from 8, to 6 and then finally to 48!) and the difficulty of the moves. At times it was difficult to keep up, seeing as how there were so many complicated movements paired with new body position, but I kept telling myself, everyone else is in the same boat! I was lucky to have a Core fusion teacher trying the class directly next to me, so I was able to cheat and glance over at her movements whenever I got overwhelmed. The class then ended with one of the most intense ab routines I have ever done at Exhale. At the end of the hold the entire class let out a collective heavy moan and sigh of relief that the pain was over!
All in all, I think this is an absolutely fantastic class and I can’t wait to try it again! The class combines the already amazing toning aspects of the regular Core classes with the chance to burn calories and get your sweat on, perfect for cardio-aholics like me! I can’t wait to work this into my weekly work out routine. Great work Fred and Elisabeth!!!