Tag Archives: Run

One Year Later…

Standard

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

Boston-Marathon-2013 2

 

The B.A.A. Half Marathon!

Standard

Today I ran the BAA Half.  This has always been my favorite half marathon and I look forward to it every fall.  What set today apart from past years (this was my 3rd time running it) was that I ran the Maine Half- Marathon last weekend.  I’ve never run races back to back weekends and I’ll be honest I didn’t really know what to expect and was a little bit nervous.

This past week was kind of crazy with work and things going on home so it wasn’t as restful as I’d hoped it would be.  I slept in a few mornings to get some extra rest and my only workouts were yoga on Tuesday morning and an easy 3 mile run on Thursday.  I did try to stretch as much as possible as my hips and hamstrings have been incredibly tight and uncomfortable.  I knew going into today that my legs didn’t feel as fresh as last week but still hoped for a good race!

Michael and I headed out this morning around 7am, I brought my oatmeal to go and fueled up on the way there.  I was cautious to not drink too much water and Gatorade as I over did last week and had to stop and use the bathroom.  We scored a great parking spot and were at the field very easily, I picked up my shirt and then waited.  The line for the Porta Pottie is really long at this half so I didn’t ever bother to try to go.  In the past I’ve always just made a quick stop in the first mile or so and since I’m running for fun I don’t mind losing 45 seconds.  We headed to the start and I got into Wave 2, the 8 to 8:59 pace per mile corral.

The B.A.A. did a really nice job with the speaking portion before the start and the National Anthem was gorgeous.  They certainly touched on the events of the Boston Marathon but they didn’t dwell on it and recognized how many people came out to run and show their support.  Before I knew it Wave 1 was off and we were making our way to the start.  I crossed the line and started running.  I knew right away I was going to have a challenging race.  My legs felt a bit tired and achy.  At the half-mile mark I tried to quick run in and use the bathroom but there was a line so I kept going.  At mile 1 I decided I’d just wait for the guy in front of me.  He took longer than expected and by the time I was back out running I’d lost about 2 minutes.  I was pretty bummed but told myself I was running for fun and my time wouldn’t matter in the end.

The course was VERY crowded the first few miles and it was really hard to navigate your way through people, there was a lot of weaving on my part!  One of my mental tricks for running a half is to not pay attention to the mile markers until mile 4, and by then it’s less than 10 miles to go.  So today that’s exactly what I did.  I focused on the people around me and scenery and truly felt thankful to be out running on a gorgeous fall morning.  Just before mile 5 was a u-turn and I knew the course would start to get hilly then.  I took my first shot blok and some Gatorade and tried to relax and enjoy the easy terrain.

The BAA Half Marathon!

The BAA Half Marathon!

Mile 6 is where the hills start and mile 7 has some real good ones.  I love hills (a product of being a nordic skier) so I just pushed my way up and over them.  My legs started to feel really heavy and the hills were definitely a challenge but I just stayed mentally tough and told myself I was over half way there.  Mile 8 is pretty flat and it was a welcome break to my legs.  It gave me a chance to rest before we’d go back up again.

At mile 9 I saw Michael which gave me an extra jolt of energy, he’s the best cheerleader!  I grabbed some Gatorade right after I saw him and took another shot blok.  I knew the challenging part of the course was coming so I started to mentally prepare.   Mile 9 to 10 is pretty much uphill the entire way, it’s long and gradual and it does a number on your legs.  I set my pace, stayed mentally tough and pushed through.  Right after the 10 mile mark is another u-turn before you head back down.  I welcomed the downhill but was getting frustrated as the course really narrowed and became congested.  It was so hard to pass people and run freely.

Once you pass the 11 mile mark you hit another challenging uphill.  It’s again long but steeper than the hill at mile 9.  I was ready for it and I knew it’d bring me closer to the end.  Thankfully the course opened up a bit and I had a little more room.  I set my pace and chugged along.  Almost to mile 12, I saw Michael again and was thankful for his enthusiasm and encouragement.  His sister was volunteering at the water stop and was full of energy! The two of them gave me the push I needed to get up and over the hill.

20131013_095322

Smiling at Mile 9!

Mile 12 is my favorite.  It’s winds through the Franklin Park Zoo.  I passed an aviary and wound through some narrow paths. Before I came back to the road I saw the camel taking it all in!  There is only a half mile to go after the zoo so I started to pick up my pace.  The crowd was cheering and I knew I was almost there!  As I entered the stadium and saw the finish line I pushed the pace and crossed with a strong finish and a time of 1 hour 52 minutes.

It certainly wasn’t my fastest half marathon but it was worth it!  I’m bummed I lost almost 2 minutes going to the bathroom but it happens.  I am proud of myself for making it through two half marathons, two weekends in a row.  My legs felt it today and it’s quiet obvious I need some more yoga.

I learned a good lesson today when it comes to running…I’m more about quality than quantity.  I realized that running two races didn’t make me feel better about all my training or the time I put in, it’s just that I ran 2 races not one.  I definitely think I’d rather run one race…feel good, have fresh legs and give it my all than say I ran 2.  I don’t run for the medals or the swag or to say I did a certain race.  I run races because it gives meaning to my 5 am runs and it gives me a reason to go run 10 miles before work on Friday mornings.  To me, races are a celebration of months of training and I’m content with one really awesome celebration.

I also learned that I really love the smaller races.  Today 8,000 people were out running.  Last weekend there was 3,000.  I have to say I’d rather run with 3,000.  I don’t want to wait in line for the bathroom, or give my warm clothes to Michael 30 minutes before the start so I can get in the corral and I don’t want to worry about the course being crowded or how I’m going to get around all the people in front of me.  I just want to run my 13.1 miles, and have some fun!

All in all, I’m happy and proud of my races and the lessons I’ve learned.  These races have certainly made my months of training complete worth it.

How were your fall races?  Any thoughts or reflections?

The Maine Half Marathon!

Standard

Today I ran the Maine Half Marathon!  This half was much different from past races for me in that I set out with one simple goal, have fun.  In the past I always trained for a time or to accomplish a specific running goal.  Life has been so busy lately and I just needed to train for a fun race!

We headed up to Portland on Saturday afternoon.  We took our time getting up there…slept in, made breakfast, did a few errands and then headed out.  We stopped in Kittery to check out the outlets on our way up there and made a pitstop at Yummies for some candy.

When we got to Portland we headed to the expo to pick up my number.  The last expo I went to was for Boston Marathon.  This one was much smaller and we were pretty much in and out with my number.  Since we hadn’t had lunch we headed downtown to have a late afternoon snack and a cocktail.  We ended up at The North Point which was so cute and cozy and the perfect place for happy hour.  The best part about running a race for fun? Enjoying a cocktail the day before!

On our way up I realized I forgot my race belt which holds my number and my stick.  Ordinarily I’d be all stressed out and annoyed I forgot things but I took it in stride.  I’d survive without my stick and safety pins will work just fine!

For dinner we checked out Boda.  It’s a high-end Thai food restaurant and was delicious.  I started my meal with an appetizer of pork and rice on top of pineapple, so good!  For dinner I had chicken pad thai fold into an omelet.  It was such a great presentation and it tasted delicious!  For dessert Michael and I shared a thai sundae.  I can’t tell you what was in it but it was so good!  After dinner we headed back to the hotel and headed to bed…

Our hotel was less than 10 minutes to the start so I didn’t have to get up terribly early.  I got ready, stretched and ten we grabbed a bagel on our way.  We got to the start with just enough time to say hello to a few people we knew, I used the porta pottie and then made my way to the start coral.  A definite perk of smaller races is how easy it is to get to the start!

Maine Half Marathon

The first few miles were nice and flat.  I settled into my pace and felt really good.  At mile 3 I noticed that my pace had dropped and I was running 8 min/miles flat.  I felt great and the pace seemed easy so I decided to go with it!  Before I knew it I was at the turnaround point at mile 6.5.  I was having a great time, the bands that were playing were awesome and the volunteers and spectators couldn’t have been nicer!  They were all cheering so well!

At mile 8 I started to get a bit tired and was ready to be at mile 10.  Lucky for me mile 10 came pretty quickly.  There was a man running in a moose costume and that kept me entertained for quite a bit.  Especially since the two women behind me kept joking that it was hunting season and they needed to pass him.

The middle of the race was pretty hilly but the first and last 2 miles were really flat.  Once I hit the mile 11 mark I knew I was in the home stretch.  I picked up the pace a bit and ran sub 8′s to the finish!  I will say that last mile felt LONG but crossing the finish felt so good!

Finisher!

Finisher!

I love half marathons.  To me there are really the perfect distance.  The training requires commitment but it doesn’t eat up all you’re time and the race goes by so fast!  What’s not to like?!  This race was great.  It was so easy and stress free plus it was really spectator friendly and the volunteers were so friendly and nice! I’ll definitely be doing this race next year!

Michael and I hung around at the finish for a bit before heading back to the hotel to shower and get cleaned up.  We then made our way downtown for a post run brunch.  Seriously, this may be my favorite part of races!  I’ve spent the remainder of the day laying on the couch being lazy!  Next weekend we get to do it all over again for the B.A.A. Half Marathon here in Boston!!!

Did you race this weekend?!  How did it go? Any upcoming races? Favorite race distance?

Fall Half-Marathon Training Update #2

Standard

It’s hard to believe that summer is coming to an end and that in just a couple of weeks it will Labor Day weekend.  That also means we are only a couple of months away from the fall racing season!  I signed up for the Maine Half-Marathon and the B.A.A. Half-Marathon.  In June I started building my base and then in July I started increasing my mileage for long runs and added in some speed work.  Everything was humming along perfectly…until it wasn’t.

I started feeling really tired on my runs, my legs weren’t recovering and a 4 mile run would wipe me out.  I knew I was getting sick so I thought I’d get a head of it, take a few days off and rest.  Well that sickness turned out to be a summer cold.  I was down and out with a stuffy nose, a headache and a cough.  To add to it we were traveling for vacation and I definitely didn’t want to sit still and get extra rest.  We are finally back home and settling in to our routines again…3 weeks later.

I headed out this week and got in a 4 mile run and on Friday I was able to get in an 8 mile long run.  While I was happy to be back out running and getting my mileage in, I’m definitely still not feeling my best.  I easily get tired and still have a cough but do feel world’s better compared to last week.  This past weekend I forced myself to sit still and rest which as Michael says is kind of like telling me not to talk.  I’m still debating about going to the doctor but I’m hopeful I feel my best again this week!

Going forward I modified my plan to adjust for the weeks of training I missed.  I still plan to get in one 14 mile long run and a couple 12 mile runs.  During the week I’m focusing on a recovery run and a good speed workout.  I’m hoping that as I feel better I’ll be able to add in one shorter run.

In terms of the PR I was hoping to get, I’m not sure I even really care.  I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can simplify (more on this in another post) and I’ve come to realize that PR’s and times don’t mean as much to me as they once did.  In fact, pacing and PRs seem like an extra stress that I don’t need.  I love going out for a run and tackling the mileage because it makes me feel good and is the best stress reliever I know.  I love racing and a half-marathons because they are fun and a great way to celebrate all my 5am workouts.  So for now I’ve kind of decided to let the PR goal move to the back burner and just enjoy my runs.  Whatever happens on race day will be.  As long as I’m having fun that’s all that matters!

f77a9b4dfef421f3b6414f9a60dc65f5 2

How is your training going?  Have you had a summer cold?  Are you training to PR or just for some race day fun?

Definition of a Runner

Standard

I always have and will continue to call myself a runner but sometimes I grapple with what being a “runner” truly means.  When I think of a runner I think of elite runners….you know the type that run 50+ miles a week, have qualified for Boston, the women who race in the short shorts and sports bras with their rock hard stomachs and who run a mile split I could only hope to run.  I think of the women who grace the cover of Runner’s World every month.  But that’s not what the average runner is and it’s certainly not the kind of runner I am.

My training plan has slowly been increasing the mileage and last week my body was truly feeling it. My legs were heavy and sore and each run seemed to take a huge amount of effort.  My week got switched around a bit and by Friday I knew my long run wasn’t happening like I’d planned.  Rather than increasing my mileage for the week I knew I needed to just take it easy and cut my mileage back.

As I headed out for an easy 4 mile run Saturday morning I got thinking about my total mileage for the week.  I’d end up around 18 miles rather than the 22 miles I had planned.  I found myself thinking about how “real runners” get in 40, 50 or even 70 miles a week.  I couldn’t help but think that they’d scoff at my measly 18 miles.

A few miles into my run my hips started aching and my patella started hurting and my body reminded me of why I only run 20 miles a week.  Back when I tried to run 40 and 50 miles a week my body would break down.  I’d constantly be injured or sick and it made training for my first marathon a challenge.  In the months before race day I spent more time in PT then out on the pavement running.  After I ran the NYC Marathon I immersed myself in yoga and found a happy, healthy balance with my running.  While I was training for the NYC marathon I used to think of myself as a “real runner” and was so proud of the challenge I’d taken on.  Looking back on it I was actually less of a runner then than I am now.

A real runner is a runner who is healthy, motivated and excited to be out running even if it’s hard and it sometimes hurts.  A real runner respects their body and understands their limitations.  For me that means running smarter not harder.  Shorter runs with lots of yoga keeps my body balanced and happy so I can keep running steady mileage year round rather than just during a training cycle.

Definition of a Runner

I couldn’t help but feel bad that I was comparing my running to an elite runner.  It’s just not the same, it’s like comparing apples and oranges!  Regardless of my mileage, or how many races I’ve run, or how fast my pace is I am a runner and so are all of the other runners out there crossing the finish line of their local 5k, 10k, half-marathon or marathon.   In fact, I looked up the definition of a runner and yes, I’m officially a runner.   And it’s likely you are too.

Next time you hear someone say “I’m not a runner.”  Remind them that every time they lace up their shoes and hit the pavement, they are running and are officially a runner.

Runner

Are you a runner?  What is your definition of a runner?