Tag Archives: Boston Marathon

One Year Later…

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Today marks the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings.  One year since lives were lost and others forever changed.  One year since the city of Boston changed in a multitude of ways.

I’ve thought a lot about what I wanted to say today.  I’ve thought a lot about the experience I had, the emotions I’ve felt and continue to feel and how that day affected me.  A huge part of me wanted to say nothing at all today but ultimately that doesn’t feel right.  I’m sure there will be a lot of different point of views on the day and I think it’s important to remember that everyone will react and feel in their own way.  In the end, there is no right or wrong feeling today.  There is hope and strength, and grief and sadness and even anger.  And whatever it is you may feel today, that’s how you feel and that’s ok.

I wasn’t physically harmed when the bombs went off but like so many others I was in the area and was affected in some way.  In the months that followed the bombing I suffered from nightmares about bombs and death and terror threats.  I’d wake up scared, with tears streaking my face.   To this day I still panic if there are a lot of sirens and can immediately feel the fear creeping in.  When you live in a city, there are a lot of sirens which means this happens more than I’d like it to.  Most of all, I’ve struggled to find my own peace with the events.  Reading the news, and seeing stories related to the marathon makes me sad and quite honestly is just too upsetting for me.  Personally, I was dreading this day.  For me, it brings up so much emotion and I’m not sure I’m ready to deal with it.

Perhaps what is most significant is how the events have impacted my relationship with running.  When I ran the B.A.A. Half in October a bunch of fire trucks zoomed by with sirens blaring as I was approaching the finish line.  Rather than enjoying the last quarter-mile I was panicking, and wondering what was going on.  It’s with that feeling that I’ve shied away from races.  I’m just not ready to toe the start line to a major marathon with 40,000 other people.  I’m sure I will again, but right now I need more time.  So many runners have found peace with the events through running.  Countless runners have run races to raise money for the victims of the bombings- they’ve run 5k’s, 10k’s, half marathons, marathons and even across the country.  It’s amazing to see how much they’ve accomplished, and how much money they’ve raised.  But I’m not ready for that and as a result I feel a bit disconnected from the running community and I’m sure I’m not alone.  A year ago, I never thought I’d be saying that.  But it’s true.  For me, running solo with my thoughts is what I’ve needed.

Beyond my own feelings and emotions, I’ve noticed how much kindness the world has shown our city and those affected.  It makes me happy to see victims standing strong, running this race and experiencing genuine acts of kindness.  I followed a dream wedding created for one couple thanks to The Knot, countless fundraisers to help pay medical bills, friendships of a lifetime created as a result and so much more.  And while all the good does make me happy, another part of me feels sad.  Sad that we have to see such kindness come out of such a horrible act.

It’s my hope that Marathon Monday will be a day of healing for this city.  I hope that it’s our chance to take back the city, and return Marathon Monday to a day of community, hope, resiliency, strength and all the good a marathon stands for.  I hope it’s a day for us to heal and move forward.

For today, I’ll be thinking of those we’ve lost, those harmed and honoring the strength of the city that I proudly call home.  

#bostonstrong

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Reflections on 2012

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The sun is shining and despite the chilly temperatures it’s a gorgeous day in New England.  Even though I’m incredibly sore from a weekend at yoga teacher training I was really looking forward to going for a run.  So I layered up and headed out.  Saturday night we had a good old-fashioned snow storm here in Boston and I think the skier in me was dying to get out in the snow and play.  As I navigated the snow and ice and treacherous side walks I couldn’t help but think how this run was much like 2012 itself…filled with obstacles, hard work and rarely a moment of clear sidewalks to just cruise but at the same time filled with happiness, contentment and smiles.

For me, 2012 was definitely a year of making dreams a reality.  I ran the Boston Marathon, became involved with Team in Training and The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which later proved to be a relationship that would help me make the career change I’d been working so hard for.  I became a certified personal trainer.  I found myself featured on Women’s Running Magazine’s and Fitness Magazine’s websites.  I embraced my new career and job.  And started my journey to become a certified yoga instructor, which in just a few short weeks wraps up.  Michael and I escaped to Maine for a relaxing week away and in June moved in together.  2012 was a big year when I stop to think about it.

For me though, 2012 isn’t about all the accomplishments I can write on paper…sure, I’m proud of them and all of my hard work but I think I’m MORE proud of the person I’ve become and the lessons I’ve learned.  I think I learned this lesson for the second time in my life and I’m sure I’ll have to learn it a third but making your dreams a reality is a lot of hard work.  It’s persistence, diligence, tears and sweat and more so it’s about having a support system who might believe in you more than yourself and will listen to you doubt yourself again and again while always reminding you that you can do this. I’ve learned that not everything needs to be done RIGHT NOW and that truthfully I don’t want to do everything RIGHT NOW. It just means that it make take you an extra year or maybe 5 to accomplish your goals and make your dreams come true but it also means that you’ll slow down and enjoy the journey along the way and really isn’t that what life is all about?  I think most significantly (and with many thanks to yoga teacher training) I’ve finally learned to find peace in life.  I’ve learned how to just be.  I’ve learned to love who I am and outgrow the parts of myself I don’t love.  I’ve learned that the best moments in life are the most simple, like laying in bed laughing with the one you love and curling up with a good book on a snowy day.

As we head in to 2013 I’m looking forward to what lies ahead.  In my efforts to simplify and become a recovering Type A there are no goals to talk about, or lists to tackle this year.  I know my yoga journey will continue on as I transition from teacher trainee to teacher and I know my running will always be there.  Maybe 2013 will have another marathon in store for me, but maybe it won’t.  Most of all I hope 2013 brings as much happiness and laughter to my life as 2012 did.

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As I finished my run this morning I couldn’t help but find hope and happiness in the words that Ellie Goulding so confidently belts out…

But now I’ve seen it through

And now I know the truth

That anything could happen

Anything could happen

So as we welcome in 2013 tonight I hope you’ll believe along with me, that anything could happen and dreams really do come true.

Happy New Year Friends! I wish you all a healthy and happy 2013!

Running and Random Thoughts

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Wohoo Friday!! This week FLEW by and I certainly will not complain! It’s been a good week for sure.  Good weeks make me happy! Hopefully this weekend will be just as good.  It should be a pretty quiet weekend filled with friends, yoga and downtime.  If I’m lucky and the weather cooperates I might even get some beach time!

The 90 degree weather here in Boston has certainly been front and center and on most people’s minds.  On Wednesday I decided to head out for a few miles after work.  It was my first time running in 90 degree weather since, you guessed it, the Boston Marathon! I decided to head out for an easy 3 miles.  I didn’t want to over do it and quite frankly I was still wicked sore from Ashtanga.

Easy 3 Mile Run

Knowing that the temperature would be hovering around 95 degrees during my run I made sure to prepare.  I took a walk around my building at lunch to try to acclimate to the temperature.  I ended up walking for about 30 minutes at a casual pace and was glad I spent some time in the heat before my run.  I drank more water than normal as well.  Hydration is key!

About a half mile in to my run all I could think  about was how hot it was.  And then I realized I hadn’t run in heat like this since the Boston Marathon.  My first thought was “How did I run a marathon in this weather?!”.  I was never able to shake that thought.  I survived that marathon in part to being smart and listening to my body and the sheer fact that I was determined to finish the Boston Marathon.  The energy and support from the crowds was unbelievable and definitely kept me going.  Thinking back on the memories from that day definitely made the miles tick by! Before I knew it I hit my goal time of 30 minutes.  I followed my run with abs and stretching.   Gotta love a sweaty run.  I felt great after and was happy I went.

Sweaty and Stretching Post Run

When I first started this blog I wrote a really good post about running in the heat and my tips for staying cool.  It’s worth checking out! An oldie but goodie for sure!

Yesterday was an easy day.  I went to yoga on my lunch break and called it a day.  I hadn’t had a night where I just went home and hung out since I moved in with Michael and was really in the mood to do that. Sometimes that is exactly what we need!  Unfortunately there was a ton of traffic on my commute home and I got home late anyways.  Oh, well!

I’m not sure what today will bring in the form of a workout.  Hopefully something good! I’m looking forward to more Ashtanga this weekend.  I’m truly loving this combination of running and yoga in my life these days.  But then again if I didn’t I wouldn’t have a blog titled LiveRunLoveYoga now would I?

Ok, I’m off! Stay cool out there and be careful running in the heat!

Did you run in the heat this week?  Did it remind you of the Boston Marathon? How do you stay cool in the heat?

Lessons from Marathons

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Hey Guys! The sun is finally shining here and there isn’t rain in the forecast for days! It’s been so rainy here lately that I’m really looking forward to enjoying the sunshine and some warmer weather.  I plan to get out and hit the pavement tonight, I’m thinking I might do another 5 miler.   Tuesday’s run left me feeling so motivated to run.  I think it was exactly what I needed to get me out of my more laid back approach to working out.   It’s funny how my motivation came back almost one month to the day from the Boston Marathon.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Boston Marathon, it’s hard to believe it was a month ago.   Having ran three marathons it’s funny to me how different each of them were and at the same time how similar they were too.  No matter how you spin it 26.2 miles is HARD and a LONG.  That never seems to change no matter how many marathons I have to my name!

New York City Marathon was my first.  I ran it in 2009 which feels like an eternity ago, crazy how much our lives can change!  I was rather ambitious when it came to a training plan.  I was hoping to get 4o or more miles in each week with my highest week being about 55 miles.  I still had the mentality of a college athlete and felt that I had to train hard to accomplish this goal.  I had just moved to Boston and didn’t have a ton of friends so I spent a lot of my time running.  In late September I started having horrible knee pain.  I went to the doctor a few days later and was diagnosed with ITBS.  I received shots of Synvisc to reduce the swelling and provide pain relief.  I started PT and ran with a knee brace as much as I could.  My longest training run was only 16 miles so I was rather nervous for race day.  I was up at 4am on race day to head to the start which involved taking a cab, a ferry, a bus and some walking.  I was all alone for the race and will never forget standing at the Verrazano Bridge waiting to start.  The first half marathon was easy.  I saw my family at mile 8 and took in the sights.  At Mile 15 my knee started to hurt and I had to stop and stretch.   Around mile 20 I gave myself a talk about how I needed to have more fun, go out for drinks more and give these crazy athletic achievements a break for a while.  I started to come in to Central Park at mile 23 and could barely run, my feet were cramping and everything hurt.  Somehow I managed to keep running.  I saw a woman at mile 25 who grabbed my hand and told me I could do it!  Crossing the finish line was amazing.  I finished in 4:03.51 and felt immense pride in myself.  Celebrating with my family was so fun and being sore for days after seemed like a small price to pay.  I won’t ever forget how challenging it was to finish that marathon but I think part of me expected that.   I knew it would be hard but I knew I’d finish as well.  I really learned about the limits of my body with this marathon.  I knew going forward to be a good runner I’d have to make smarter choices.   More so I learned that a missed training run is a missed training run.  You only wear yourself out when you try to play catch up.

Mile 8

2009 New York City Marathon

They say you have to forget your first marathon before you attempt your next one.  I’d say that’s true.  It took about 2 years before I was ready for another marathon.  Michael’s desire to want to run one also motivated me to tackle it again.  My approach to training for the Chicago Marathon was different, I had learned from my mistakes and was not about to repeat them.  I used the Smart Coach training plan so that if I was sick or injured it would adjust my schedule for missed days.  I knew that if I ran 3 days a week I’d be healthy and I knew that yoga had to fit into the plan.  Speed workouts were also something that I knew were crucial to my success so I was dedicated to doing them this time.  I was also excited to run and train with Michael.  We did our long runs on Sunday mornings and were up by 6am most of those days to get our long runs done before the summer heat became unbearable.  We watched movies on Saturday nights and reminded each other to hydrate.  For me the running went completely according to plan. I never missed a long run and was always on pace, I got in all my speedwork and rarely fought heavy legs.   As marathon day arrived I was confident going in and knew that the race was mine.  In fact Nike’s slogan was Own Chicago.  It seemed fitting for my attitude on race day.  Race day itself was perfect even though it didn’t go exactly according to plan.  Michael and I walked to the start, started together and ran the first 14 miles together.  Once I left Michael I cruised until I hit mile 20 and then counted down the miles.  The reality is, when you run a marathon miles 23-26 hurt.  But I toughed it out and just focused on getting to the finish.  I finished with a 3:51.27.  It was amazing to share the experience with Michael.  The full recap is here.  I think more than anything I learned that a good training plan is the key to success.  I learned that it is more about quality miles and less about the quantity.  Fully committing to the training plan was key and always being flexible to listen to my body and shift runs around a bit helped to make me successful.  Thinking back on it, Chicago seemed easy and fun.

Mike and I at the Finish!

Chicago had given me the marathon bug so I was ready for another one right away.  The Boston Marathon was a little different having ran for charity.  Fundraising and running was very time-consuming and challenging but it was fun at the same time.  My training plan was similar to Chicago since that had worked so well.  I ran my long runs on Saturdays with the team and loved having a running partner and making new friends.  About half way through the marathon bug had worn off and I was getting tired of getting up for long runs, losing half of a day on Saturdays and my legs constantly felt tired.  There was no pushing through it, I ended up taking a week off from running and focusing on cross training and when I came back to running I cut back on my miles.  It was tough for about 3 weeks but then it slowly got better, the miles seemed easier and I felt like I was in good shape.  Team in Training had lots of events along the way that made the high mileage weeks seem more fun.  Towards the end though I was just ready to race.  Michael was ready for it too, he wanted our weekends back and a girlfriend who wasn’t exhausted all the time.   By the time race day came I was excited and nervous about the 90 degree temperatures predicted.  The heat was challenging and I hit a wall at mile 6, again at mile 17 and once more somewhere along Heartbreak Hill.  Boston was unlike any other marathon.  It took more determination, will and grit to finish than I had ever expected.  I thought more than once, this is what hell must be like.  Boston perhaps taught me the most valuable lessons about marathons.  The most obvious was that you can’t predict the weather and you certainly can’t control it.  What you can do  is reset your expectations and adjust your race plans and enjoy the day.   I also learned that marathon training affects everyone around you whether you like it or not.  Luckily I have Michael who understands my passion and supports me no matter what but I know it was hard and that it affected our life as a couple.  Moving forward I realize that a marathon has to fit not only into my life but also into Michael’s and into our lives as a couple.  It’s a commitment, there is no way around that.  Perhaps the most important lesson I learned is that with dedication and grit you can accomplish your goals.  I learned that lesson even before race day, just getting through the training taught me that.  I learned it on race day again, when I was just determined to finish the race.  Knowing I did that is a valuable lesson I’ll take with me every where.

So Proud!

Marathons are never easy and they are never the same.  I’ve learned a lot from each of mine and each one of them was different and unique in their own way.  New York taught me about running and my body, Chicago taught me that a good training plan and confidence can go a long way and Boston taught me that with grit and determination you can accomplish your goals even if it is a marathon in 90 degree heat.

How has the training for each of your marathons or half-marathons differed?  What lessons have you learned?  How do they compare to each other?  What lessons has running taught you about your life?

Team in Training You Are Amazing…

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Hey Guys! Happy May! How’s everyone’s Tuesday going?  This week is off to a good start and I’m thrilled.  I needed a nice and easy week…lets hope it stays this way! Last night I got out for a nice and easy 3 mile run and have to say I really enjoyed it.  I’m starting to feel like my running self again.  It was nice to just take in the views of Boston, relax and just run because I love it! I hope to do the same on Thursday night!

Today I wanted to talk about my experience with Team in Training.  I ran the Boston Marathon with them and raised over $6000 for the cause.  The entire experience from start to finish was all that I hoped for and more. Training and qualifying for Boston may be hard but so is training for a marathon and raising thousands of dollars at the same time.   It was quite the challenge from the moment I was accepted and signed up for the team.

My plan had been that if I qualified at the 2011 Chicago Marathon I would run in 2013 but if I didn’t I was going to apply  for a charity team and run in 2012.  Right after Chicago when I realized I had not qualified and knew I’d run for charity I started thinking about charities and who I’d like to run for.  I was first introduced to Team in Training when I ran my very first half-marathon in 2008.  I met some wonderful people who could not say enough about the charity.  The more races I did the more people I met along the way who loved Team in Training.  I also wanted to try to run for a charity that had some personal importance to me.  There is some history of blood cancer in my family but more so I saw the effects of it with Michael’s family.  His Aunt suffered from blood cancer and so did one of his Dad’s life long friends.  It was heart breaking to see his family go through so much pain and I knew then that this was the charity I’d run for.

I found out in early November that I was accepted to be on the team.  I was very excited and extremely nervous about the fundraising all at the same time.  Once I signed on I was set up with my fundraising page and emailed tons of tips and paperwork regarding the fundraising.  Michael and I spent a ton of time talking about a fundraising plan and brainstorming a million ways to help raise money.  That first weekend I received my first donation from a fellow blogger I’d never met in real life.  She had run with Team in Training and as she said, was paying it forward.  On top of her generous donation she emailed me with a ton of great ideas and some tips and tricks that helped to make her successful.  I was incredibly grateful.  Team in Training organized a meeting for anyone on the team to come and learn more about the fundraising and get started before the official kick-off.  A couple of weeks later the season kicked off.  The Boston Team has mentors which are people who fund raised and ran in years past.  Some of the mentors just volunteer their time while others are also training, fundraising and mentoring.  My mentoring group was amazing and filled with other young women who lived in Boston.   I was so happy to meet them on that first day and never guessed that some of them would become such good friends.

Team in Training Practice

The season started with short runs and I fell into a routine of running with my friend Lauren.  Each week we’d tackle the runs and chat the entire time while getting to know each other.  When I wasn’t running I was sending out emails to family and friends, hosting 50/50 raffles in my office and seeking out in-kind donations for a raffle here on my blog and for an event.  Myself and 3 other women all joined together to plan a fundraiser in Boston.  We raised over $4000 in one night had so much fun in the process.  We were lucky enough to have a beautiful venue and tons of food donated, they allowed us to charge a cover and donated money from a specialty cocktail.  We had over 50 raffle items for our silent auction and raffle and everything from gift cards, to photo sessions, to one night stays at hotels to cameras and Botox treatments.  Over 150 people came out that night to support us!  It was quite possibly one of my favorite moments of the entire experience.

Cocktails for a Cause Hosts!

With fundraising in full swing and friends and family helping me any way they could it became less of a stress and more fun.  I was even able to reunite with some old friends over coffee thanks to my fundraising and I never expected that. Ever.  I really came to enjoy every part of the fundraising and was blown away at how generous people were.  It brought tears to my eyes more than once.

At this point I was able to start really focusing on the running part of this challenge and each week the runs got longer but more fun.  Team in Training made sure to always keep it fun and interesting.  There was a Holiday themed run at Christmas, a St. Patrick’s Day run and barbecue and an amazing 20 miler.

20 Mile Day!

Each week volunteers came out to man water stops every couple of miles for us and they weren’t just any water stops.  They were complete with candy, pretzels, Shot  Bloks, GU and Gatorade.  Those volunteers stood in the cold and rain and cheered us on and put a smile on our face when we needed it most.

Team in Training Water Stop

Our teammates shared their mission moments each week giving us all a reason to keep running and tying this all back to the cause.  So many people were touched in a variety of ways and it was incredible to learn everyone’s story.  And each week Lauren and I kept running together, sharing stories of our week and learning more about each other.  We’d sit with our other friends and chat about life.  It was a really nice routine and more than once we all reflected on how much we enjoyed the time together.

In the weeks leading up to the marathon it was exciting to share our excitement for the big day, having a 150 other people with you for the journey is just awesome.  My friend Lauren hosted a Puff Paint Party and we all decorated our singlets and started to carb load.  I loved every minute of it.

Puff Painting My Singlet!

The girls and I even went to the expo together and got our numbers. I really wouldn’t have wanted to go with anyone else.

Team in Training at the Expo

Marathon weekend came with an Inspiration Lunch put on by Team in Training and it was amazing to celebrate our accomplishments.  At that point our team had raised $950,000 to fight blood cancer.  Some individual’s were honored for their extraordinary fundraising efforts, our coaches were honored for keeping us all healthy and happy and ready for marathon day and we all thought about those that we would be running for.

TNT Inspiration Lunch

Marathon day itself was in one word amazing.  A family volunteers to let the Team in Training Team crash in their house or on their front lawn while waiting for our starts.  We had bathrooms to use and dry ground to relax on.  Our coaches were there to answer our questions and send us off with our adrenaline pumping.  Along the course the volunteers who had cheered us on each week were there in their purple with water, ice, sponges, salt and anything we needed to fight those hot temperatures.  At mile 15 we passed our home base and I was never so happy to see our coordinator Jillian and our coach Kelly.  They hugged us, gave us salt, water, sponges and sent us on our way.  It was amazing.  The support from Team in Training never stopped.  Mile 17 there was a mentor, mile 19, mile 21, the whole way to the finish they were there to see that all 150 of us crossed that finish line.  One woman finished the marathon at 7pm and there were still mentors and volunteers along the way to support her.  At the finish the volunteers and coaches were there to congratulate us, hug us and send us into the shower before we all went to celebrate.  I could never thank those people enough.  And I could never thank my running partner Lauren enough, for being my side for every one of those training runs and what would prove to be a very challenging race day.  Lo, your truly a good friend!

Side by Side with Lo at Mile 26 of the Boston Marathon!

And finally Team in Training hosted a Victory Party for us the day after.  It was a chance for everyone to come with their medals and gear, share their story and congratulate everyone and remember why we all ran 26.2 miles.  It was the perfect way to end the season; to thank the mentors, coaches and staff and to end what was an incredible experience.

Team in Training touched me in a way I didn’t realize it would.  I never thought that I would make friends with women that I’ll undoubtedly stay in touch with for years to come.  I never thought that I’d actually consider raising thousands of dollars again but I am.  It felt so good to be a part of something that is bigger than myself and I’m proud to be a part of what has proved to be an amazing group of people.  Collectively as a team we have raised $992,000 and with matching gifts and donations still outstanding we will hit $1 million dollars.  I’ve always been in awe of Boston Marathon qualifiers but today I can honestly say I’m in awe of everyone on that team.  To qualify may be hard but to raise over a million dollars and run a marathon is just as hard.  Everyone of those Team in Training members was utterly committed to that marathon in ways I didn’t know possible.  To say they impressed me is an understatement.  So, yes, yes someday and hopefully sooner rather than later you’ll find me running again with Team in Training because how could I not want to do this all over again?! I’d recommend Team in Training to anyone looking to run with a charity.  And to my team, friends, running partners, coaches, volunteers and staff thank you from the bottom of my heart for making this an experience of a lifetime!

Have you ran a race for charity before?  Are you involved with Team in Training and The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society?  Are you looking to become involved with a charity?