2008 Boston Marathon- Part 5, The Aftermath

Going into Boston I promised myself that no matter the race outcome I was going to party hard the whole night. 10 weeks where I think I only drank 3 times and danced once, I was more than ready to let loose a bit. I love running and it is obviously a major part of who I am but I can't deny that there is also a big part of me that loves to party and especially loves to dance. Even when I am not training for a major race I don't get to dance often so when the opportunity arises I try to make the most of it.

Knowing that my legs in the state they were in might inhibit my intentions of dancing the night away I planned to also drink plenty of alcohol. Nothing like a bit of liquor to kill the quad pain ;) (Note I don't recommend anyone do this, drinking heavily is probably the last thing you should do for a quick recovery after a marathon, but every now and again a girl has just got to get her party on, responsibly of course. And note that I no longer take any pain killers so I was not worried about getting sick from mixing liquor and meds.) So after I refueled with a smoothie and an ice coffee I was ready to get my drink on. The girls started with some wine while Daisy got ready and then we headed over to McGinty's.

Unfortunately for me I totally spaced when I packed and did not bring any post marathon appropriate shoes for dancing. Big mistake! So I had to wear the heels (short ones) or suffer looking a fool in a cute top and running shoes. I opted for fashion knowing I could ditch the shoes and go barefoot if it got really bad. I usually am not very worried about how I look or what I am wearing, but on the rare occasion I go out I let vanity get in the way and do my best to pass for cute. Even the most tomboyish of girls wants to be girly every now and again I guess.

Made it over to McGinty's which thankfully wasn't too far of a walk. All the girls were dolled up and ready to party but our gimpy walk and medals gave us away as the marathoners we really are. We got plenty of congratulations from drunk passerby. It is such a neat feeling to walk around a city which spent the morning celebrating your accomplishments. What an ego boost ;)

Downed another glass of wine and heard the short tales of every one's races. Most of my clubs runners had fantastic days and I was so proud of them all. What an honor to be a part of such an amazing group. I kept expressing my disappointment in my day but slowly over the night realized I was being a chump and that I should be extremely pleased to come away with a PR when many were forced to walk or jog it in. Regardless I wasn't going to let that affect my mood. I was high on all the running adrenaline and ready to have some fun.

We took a few group photos and slowly made our way to dinner. Our first attempt ended with a 2 hour wait so we continued our trek across the city looking for a suitable dining area. We finally ended at an Irish pub and half of the crew jetted to an exclusive party while the rest of us drank beers and heard about every one's races in more detail. I managed to get down three beers, but the taste of beer was sadly losing its appeal. It was weird as Daisy mentioned the same problem. I guess maybe your body just isn't happy with one flavor the night of the marathon.

After dinner it was off to the official marathon party. I fell behind the group to make sure one of our friends knew the way back and got a chance to call Solar as I walked over to the party. She cracked me up with her message to me, something about how she tracked me all day and mentioning two of our members I beat and calling me hard core, I laughed my ass off.

Got to the party and saw KM. Told him the rest of the group was there somewhere but a good tune came on and I headed straight for the dance floor. Eventually Daisy, Dawn, and Katy found me and we danced for a few hours, stopping for an amaretto sour and a bud light. They had a band that was decent and these dancers to help any poor runners who didn't know how to dance on their own. It was hilarious watching all these gimpy runners following along with the dance moves. I dance to my own beat I guess, I doubt I look good, but I sure have fun!

Eventually the girls were ready to call it a night but I planned to stay until the party ended. Thankfully a few of the guys planned to stay so I was able to party the whole night. Met the people who make the medals for the race and had a few more beers and a dreaded tequila shot. Surprisingly though I still had plenty of energy and was just content to dance the night away, and take lots of goofy photos. (Can I just say I love my new camera?) Headed to one last bar after the party closed and then realized that I didn't have my hotel key. Decided to crash at McGinty's for a few hours until the drunks were off the streets and then head back to my hotel early. Best 2 hours of sleep I have ever had despite being fully clothed and wearing contacts. Apparently running a marathon and partying till 2am will do that for you.

Said goodbye to all my sleepy friends who had to head to their plane at 4am and hiked my butt back to the hotel for another couple of hours sleep.

Woke up early surprisingly and tried to go to the pool with Katy. Water was just too cold for me, so I settled for dipping my body in half way and kicking my legs around (killed my blister, ouch!) My calves which had felt fine were wrecked from a night of walking all around and dancing in heels. Wasn't feeling stellar, exhaustion, and a bit hung over, but we went to the grocery store and got some greasy dunkin donuts for breakfast which seemed to help. We picked out stuff to eat on the train and then prepared for the long trek home.

While the train ride to Boston had been relaxing, the train ride back seemed to drag on. I mostly just slept and read. Blogged a little on the first train, but the internet connection was sketchy. Once I knew we would be in Albany a little before our next train left I called my buddy JP from college and had his family meet me at the train station for a very brief visit. Couldn't believe how big their youngest had gotten. Not nearly enough time to really talk but it was great to see them.

Then it was onto the train home. The train was packed and we didn't manage to get seats next to each other. Tried to get Daisy's seat mate to trade with me but he was having none of it. Too bad because he ended up getting trashed and taking up more than his fair share of the seat that night. Poor Daisy! It was a long ride but eventually we made it home to our hobbling husbands, you'd think they had run the marathon the way they stumbled out of their cars. Gotta admit they are pretty awesome for picking us up so late (4 AM).

It's a week later now and I am still mulling over the whole experience. Boston is just so amazing. I sent in my check to reserve a room for next year. Hopefully next time I will get to start much farther up and see what I can really do! But one things is for sure, we know I will have a blast either way.

Thanks for reading and thanks to everyone who makes my pursuits possible. I am one seriously lucky gal.

2008 Boston Marathon Race Report- Part 4, Splits

For those who couldn't make it through the lengthy report!

I am putting this down as my most evenly paced effort in a marathon race. Only slowed 5 minutes in the second half as opposed to the 10 minutes last time I ran Boston, and also handled the hills much better this time around. Really happy that I didn't slow until the hills unlike in previous years. Wish I could have upped the pace in the final miles, but it just didn't happen. Next time around I am going to work even harder to ensure my quads hold out for much longer than they did.


Mile 1: 7:46 (Funny how such a steep downhill can go so slow, probably a good thing there were crowds this mile to hold me back)

Mile 2: 7:35 (easing into pace)

Mile 3: 7:30 (right on target and stayed there up through the hills, a few miles varied because of water stops that were crowded but for the most part the first 16 miles were right on target)

Mile 4: 7:32

Mile 5: 7:39

Mile 6: 7:34

Mile 7: 7:37

Mile 8: 7:35

Mile 9: 7:33

Mile 10: 7:32

Mile 11: 7:41

Mile 12: 7:27 (Hmm this is about where I realized my quads were not holding up to the downhills, coincidence that it was the only mile faster than the pace I wanted to go?)

Mile 13: 7:34

Mile 14: 7:31

Mile 15: 7:35

Mile 16: 7:30

Mile 17: 8:00 (Here starts the hills)

Mile 18: 8:00

Mile 19: 7:52

Mile 20: 8:11

Mile 21: 8:14 (I don’t know why but I thought Heartbreak was over before this mile so I was disappointed to have two miles over 8 through the hills)

Mile 22: 7:47

Mile 23: 8:01 (Only water stop I was forced to walk and weave around volunteers, got cut off three times by the same guy)

Mile 24: 7:56

Mile 25: 8:04

Mile 26.2: 9:25 (around 7:45 at 26)


Finish: 3:22:50
Clock: 3:30:25
10K: 0:47:18
15K: 1:10:50
Half: 1:39:30
30k: 2:22:26
Place Overall: 4849 of 21963
Place Women: 586 of 8935
Place Open 18-39: 478 of 4908

Note that I finally cracked into the top 10% of females instead of being stuck right at 10%! WooHoo!

2008 Boston Marathon Race Report- Part 3!

After the half way point at Boston it starts to hit you that it won't be long before you are going to be heading up those famous hills. I felt good other than the searing pain in my quads. My hydration was going well, grabbing a cup of water at each stop and doing my gels every 5 miles starting from mile 7. The sun was out and as usual when it's over 50 I get warm. The awesome spectators and Boston were ready to help out offering ice occasionally. The few times I saw the ice I grabbed it and held it in my hands and then threw it down my shirt to help lower my core temp. Between that and the headwind I seemed to be handling it well (tell that to my sunburn I had later).

About mile 14 you hit a steep downhill, AKA time to thrash those already thrashed quads. Sucked up the grimace and just tried to enjoy the fact that my pace would be faster the next mile. But whew it didn't feel good! I just kept thinking to myself this is a sick sick sick sort of fun. It is amazing how you can put these painful moments out of your mind during training and you can never really simulate the pain a marathon delivers, it is never quite the same, but it is always worse than you thought it would be.

It was about this point that my mantra became "Hero's run 3:16 not 3:25" One of the Adidas signs was "Be a hero for a day." So I guess it was just my little twist on it. As I crested the first hill and managed to stay under 8 minutes I thought there was still a chance for sub 3:20. About mile 16 I hear a "Looking Strong Elizabeth" and turn to see my team mate Dawn. I was just so happy to see a familiar face and started to ask how her race was going before she replied with a stern retort to stop talking and focus, so I moved ahead with a bit of new energy.

Mile 17 I opted for one of the power bar gels instead of my E-Gel so I could get a caffeine boost. My plan through the hills was to keep even effort. No need to waste myself on the hills and come walking into the finish. There's a reason it is called heartbreak (This is teh hill Johnny Kelley passed the first runner only to be run down in the final miles because the other runner had saved more through the hills) I had hopes that I could do that and still stay under 8 minute miles.

I realized at some point that I was passing the Johnny Kelley statue. Lots of memories here and it was nice to know that shortly I would be over all the hills. I got a little boost passing my original TNT coach CK up heartbreak hill, felt bad that he wasn't having a great day and tried to get him to pull uphill with me but had to pull away. Even though I was trying to get to the top without losing too much steam it was amazing how many people were suffering. Other than my quads I felt really strong and was just disappointed my pace wasn't a little quicker. I forgot the course here a bit and thought that Heartbreak was over before it actually was and had two miles over 8 minutes. I was bummed but I knew that just meant I had to work that much harder in the final miles.

Once you get past mile 22 the course changes, not only are you done with the major hills but you start to enter the city. Spectator crowds get bigger and the streets seem to narrow. From about 10 to go I just kept trying to convince myself that this was no different than any other Sunday run. Meanwhile my quads are pretty much telling me to take a hike :) I basically was just trying to hold on to any semblance of my former pace at this point. Managed to keep the miles at 8 or under but I just couldn't get them back down to 7:30. In the last few miles you start to see more and more people faltering. You just have to keep your fingers crossed that the pace your pushing isn't going to make you one of those people.

Mile 22 I felt the blister that had been forming on my left foot pop. Holy cow that hurt. At that point you just have to laugh it off, I mean what are you going to do? It's like as if the searing quad pain wasn't enough? I've never actually had a blister pop quite like that so it was a new experience for me.

After mile 22 the crowds on the course just got out of control. I started to get cut off more often and a clear path would get clogged more often than not by someone weaving back and forth. Around mile 24 I walked my only two steps of the whole marathon when I got cut off for a third time by the same runner at the same aid station and had to stumble around the volunteers to get out of the back up. I can understand one or two cups but did this guy really need a third? And did he really need to cut in and out of the course three times? Uggh. At least he didn't elbow me in the process.

The last few miles I really focused in on my relationships. Everyone who had helped me get to where I was at this point. I have a wonderful running club, wonderful running friends, wonderful friends in real and Internet life, and a wonderful family, but most of all I have a wonderful husband. I had forgotten to take off my rings at the hotel before the race and had decided to put them on my watch band. My hands tend to shrink and swell and I always get nervous that I will lose the rings during an enthusiastic high five on the course, hence putting them on the watch band. In the last few miles I just kept looking at my rings and thinking "Come on baby, clear a path for me, keep me strong" over and over again.

About mile 25 I noticed the crowds all of a sudden got even louder and realized it was because Rick and Dick Hoyt were just ahead of me. This was the same spot my friend Brian got to run with them two years ago and luckily my sister had been there to get the perfect photo of it. This made me smile thinking of Brian and how inspired we all are by the Hoyts. I ran next to them for a moment and congratulated them before using that energy to push on. I knew that the new slight down and uphill were coming up and I braced myself for the literal impact it would have on my quads. I saw several grown men here hobbling down or up the hill and vowed not to be one of them as I hammered down and up the hill getting that much closer to Hereford and then the final turn onto Boylston. On Hereford I took the opportunity to ham it up a little bit urging the crowd to cheer just a little bit louder. This would be the last of the inclines and then turning onto Boylston it was a straight shot to the finish. I knew mile 26 was around Walgreens and once again failed to see any sign but looked down to see a 7:45 mile split which I was happy with. I pushed as hard as I could hoping to eek out any seconds, knowing I had missed my goal but that I was going to PR by nearly 5 minutes.

Crossed the line in 3:22:50. A 4 and a half minute PR. I wasn't entirely happy with it at the finish line. I was disappointed my quads gave out on me so early, but I was excited to note that my calves didn't feel bad, as normally one or both are also a mess. As I wandered through the post finish area I noted an extremely sore lower back but no signs of dehydration or exhaustion. It appeared that at least my nutrition had gone well. I still had plenty of energy, it just hurt to move :) But I moved along congratulating and commiserating with those around me. Happy to have the majority of the pain done with and looking forward to seeing how all of my friends had done and cracking open a few drinks. It took me about 30 minutes but eventually I got through the crowds, managed to take off my own chip and grab an ice coffee and a smoothie at the grocery store. Also got stopped in the mall by one of those vendors who proceeded to ask me what I do for my nails and skin. I couldn't help but laugh and made some retort about how could he possibly think my skin didn't look great after running the Boston marathon. It's like didn't he notice that I was sweaty, covered in salt, hobbling, wearing a space blanket, and oh wearing a big shiny medal around my neck? I just wanted to get back to my hotel!

Finally made it back and I hit the Internet to check on all my friends. Noted a nice bit of blood on my sock and took a post race finish photo to show my wrecked state. Dawn got back shortly after and I hit the showers. Then it was off to the parties! Which I will save for part 5.

2008 Boston Marathon Race Report-Part 2

So like I was saying before :)

The early miles felt good. I was surprisingly right on target without any tweaking of pace, which is nice since I'm not sure I could have done much about it if I was off. The miles weren't flying by but it's okay when it is early since you still feel good. My shins had been acting funny the last few weeks (phantom pains I am sure) so I was just glad that everything felt 100% and I was able to run the way I wanted to. (well other than having to dodge people every minute or so)

Even though it has been two years since my last Boston I was basically just reliving the course as I went. Remembering how I felt at each stage my previous two times here, and was glad to note that I felt a lot stronger this time around (oddly enough the first 12 miles or so I was actually running almost the exact same pace as my last time here, just goes to show that I am actually getting smarter) ;)

The first 7 miles were just a count down until I could take my first gel and free up one of my hands. Lucked out as there were kids at mile 7 with water and I was able to avoid the madness of the water stop there. It is so nice how so many spectators come out with water, oranges, ice, freeze pops, beer. I was good and only partook in water and ice on Monday. I thought about the oranges, but honestly having orange stuck in my teeth would have drove me nuts!

It's funny how a lot of the first 7 or so miles look the same. There are plenty of little rollers which make you think "Isn't this a downhill course?" and each time you crest one you think you remember where you are only to crest one that looks exactly the same a mile away.

Just clocking miles after 7 counting down the next five until it was time to free up my second hand of a gel. It's amazing how many spectators line the course. Seems to me they could have been a little louder though ;) I love the surges you get when you go through the main streets of the little towns where most spectators are gathered. They just push you right through smiling all the way. Mile 12 came soon enough and it was time for my second gel. Carrying the packets didn't really bother me but it was nice to have my hands free for better high fiving that was about to come up ;)

After my second nutrition break it was time to look forward to the noise at Wellesley. It is just amazing how much of a racket those girls make. And the thing is there isn't even that many of them. Saw lots of great signs as always. My favorite was "Run Bi%@h" I gave her an exceptional high five as I hollered something like "That's right just Run Bi%@h." Also laughed at the "Kiss me I'm Mormon" sign. I slapped plenty of fives and just used the girls energy to push me forward. My quads were showing signs of fatigue already which I wasn't thrilled about so in my mind I knew I was definitely going to have to use the crowds for some extra steam after the hills and might as well use them now while I had them. It's always a let down after you pass the last Wellesley girl. Nothing compares to that tunnel of sound.

Headed up another roller before the half and grabbed a vaseline stick for my arms. My awesome SERC singlet is just a little big on me and was chafing the side of my arms. Managed to get the vaseline on without getting any on my hands, which is great, and then I tucked my shirt into the sports bra to avoid further chafing. It must have been right after this that I turned to my left and was surprised to see Kim Martin right next to me. I shouted hello and scared the crap out of her. Sorry! We talked for a minute or so and both agreed we just weren't having quite the day we anticipated, only being half way done and already showing signs of wear and tear. Of course I am sure her reasons were probably some recent hundred miler while I was stumped as to why my quads were letting me down so soon. I moved ahead and told her I hoped I'd see her before the finish. She has a strong kick and you just never know what is going to happen on those hills.

Hit the half in 1:39 something and thought if I can just force these quads a bit in the final five maybe I can even split.

2008 Boston Marathon Race Report-Part 1

(I'll have to do this in pieces as I won't have time to sit down and get this all out anytime soon.)

10 weeks of focused training and finally I was crossing the starting line. Me and 14,000 of my new friends. It was apparent quickly that a direct route through the Boston course was not going to happen. There were just so many people. It seemed like whenever you had a clear path someone would weave in front of you or flail there elbow out at your face. I didn’t want to waste energy weaving but it really was unavoidable most of the day. I started towards the back of the 11th corral and throughout the day I just kept passing more and more people from the corrals in front of me. My secret goal was to run 7:30 pace. I didn't look to see what that pace equated to until the day before at which time I realized 7:30 would give me a 3:16:30, hmm that sounded pretty quick and would have been over a 10 minute PR. But I stuck to my guns and went out with the intention of going for it if I felt good. I left the pace band at home. The Nike pace band was adjusted for elevation and so resulted in the opposite tactic of what I wanted to take. That pace band took you out fast on the downhills and slowed you up on the Newton Hills. I wanted to go out at pace or a bit slower, take it easy on the hills, and hammer the last 5 miles. Since I have paced two marathons now, one of which was hilly I decided to just trust in my pace instincts, my legs, and my training.

I also knew that I wasn't going to force anything this time. No pushing the pace if it just wasn't there on the day. I wanted to run a strong race and a smart race. I've been to Boston twice and I have run strong but not smart there. This time around I wanted to try and run Boston the way it should be run. With respect for those downhills! I did quite a few of my medium long runs on courses where I pounded the downhills early in the run but apparently I needed a few of those closer to the race to truly get my quads ready, but I didn't know what would come at the start so I was off and had the best of hopes for a stellar day.

The crowds as always are ridiculous. As you crest the start you can see the sea of endless runners wall to wall weaving downhill in front of you. I was so far back that I couldn't even see the front so to me it looked like the road full of runners never ended. How on earth was I going to pass all these people? I tried to just ease into the race and take opportunities to pass when they came. I did a good job of this the first three miles and the crowds helped me to keep the pace easy. I wanted to warm up a bit before I settled in. I took in all the surroundings, slapping fives with little kids, and laughing at the cheers for those around me. Perusing the crowd to check out all of the amazing runners I was surrounded by. One in particular kept me entertained for the first 5-7 miles. Her name was Brie and she went to Duke. Every time someone would cheer for her or Duke she would let out this insane high pitched holler. My throat cringed every time. Needless to say her outbursts died down before we hit Wellesley.

Also noted a girl with a shirt that said WAMP on the back whose bib was 13,000 something. I don't really race anyone at Boston but I vowed I would beat her and was impressed how long she stayed in front of me, she must have done a lot of weaving to get that far up in the pack.

My nutrition plan for the day was to start taking gels at mile 7 and take one every 5 miles. I took water at every water stop. Thankfully the water stops are on the left and right every mile (except for one mile towards the end where I got burned last time I was in Boston and Daisy got burned this year) I usually run on the left for some reason so I stuck towards the middle left at the beginning grabbing a cup of water every stop. No walking this year so I would just slow to grab the water and hurry forward. Since the sun was out and it was already warm I wanted to be sure to stay hydrated. Last time I ran Boston I am pretty sure I was getting really dehydrated by the end and I didn't want a repeat of that claustrophobic feeling at the finish line.

I vowed that after Pig I would not be so focused as to not enjoy myself this time around. 26.2 miles of not taking in anything is just insane. So I just fell into my pace after the first 3 miles and occasionally would slap fives with spectators and just used their energy to cruise through each mile. My breathing felt good and other than a short stitch scare early on (that went away quickly with some focused breathing) I felt rather good. I would look at my watch every mile but wasn't really worried about it. I wasn't going to change my effort significantly if the pace was off, if it wasn't my day it wasn't my day was kind of my thinking, I'd pay more for pushing than just running the way my training set me up for. So I was just grateful that the pace was just about where I wanted it.

Boston Photos

A slideshow to tide you over until I can get to the race report (man why do I have to go back to real life so quickly?)

Weekend Lead up to the Boston Marathon (AKA Teaser Post)

What a weekend! I’m sitting on the train now reflecting on a wild and busy weekend in Boston. It has been two years since I ran this race and it is still just as exciting as the first time I came for the marathon 3 years ago. There is just something very special about Boston, and this time was even more special since we got to see the women’s Olympic trials. The whole weekend was just nuts, go, go, go, and go some more. Definitely my style but probably not the best pre race strategy when you are trying to set a hefty PR.

The train ride in was actually pretty relaxing and other than being extremely long and having to eat crappy expensive food it was not too bad. I actually liked the fact that I had a day to not worry about anything and just relax. We got in late Friday night and headed straight to Kim’s pad. She kindly let us crash so that we wouldn’t have to spend another 200+ for the extra night at a hotel as we wanted to hit the expo first thing Saturday.

Kim is just as fun and adorable as I pictured. Totally my kind of gal. We had a good time “catching up” and eventually we crashed for the night.

Saturday we were up bright and early and headed for the expo. We picked up our packets and technical (yay!) long sleeve shirts and then it was time to shop and look for free goodies. The expo wasn’t too bad first thing in the morning and we managed to even get our gait analyzed without a wait. Apparently I pronate more than I thought. (I’m wondering if it was exaggerated as the treadmill had you running at 10 minute miles, anyone know if you pronate more the slower you go?) It felt comfortable but watching the ankles in slow motion was painful!

I behaved relatively well and only bought a pair of capris and a jacket. We had some fun filling out the annual wall, this year they had little tags that once they were all hung up would spell out Impossible is Nothing. Eventually we headed for an early lunch at legal seafoods and I got my salad that I have been craving since the last time I was in Boston. It was everything I remembered it to be. Quite tasty. After lunch it was off to the duck tours. This time our tour guide was Hardly Davidson, an ex member of a scooter gang. I love the duck tours, corny and informative, how can you beat that?

After the duck tour Kim had to leave us to get ready for her duathlon. Unfortunately we didn’t get to hook back up after that but next year for sure we will plan out the weekend better so that we can get our party on.

Daisy, Katy, and I headed out for an easy 5 miler along the Charles River. We threw in 5*25 second strides and otherwise kept the pace easy. It was a great night for a run and a ton of people were out.

Hopped into the pool for a little bit before getting ready for dinner. Hit the puma party real quick for a free raspberry hefeweizen and some schwag then it was over to Vinny Ts for our club dinner. We had way more people there than anticipated and as usual were packed in like sardines. I had another good salad and enjoyed listening to the guys talk the regular smack before the race.

After dinner it was off to the grocery store to buy the goods for Sunday’s pasta dinner. I got the honors of helping 5 guys pick out goods for the huge party the next day. After much indecisiveness we finally managed to get everything we needed and were headed back to McGinty’s with the goods. We thought it would be smart to try and cart the groceries as far as possible since we had a really full cart. But unfortunately as I surmised the carts were rigged to stop when they got a certain distance from the store and we lost a pasta sauce when the cart abruptly stopped and all the groceries on the bottom rolled out. Smooth. But other than that and leaving some bread crumb trails behind us we successfully got everything back without too much whining from the peanut gallery ;)

Then it was finally back to the hotel to get some sleep. Daisy and Dawn were out partying late but I managed to get to bed right after shopping, and got a decent nights sleep before it was up first thing for the women’s trials.

The women’s trials were just amazing. Getting to see so many fast women up close was such a neat experience. I couldn’t believe how close they would run to the curb. I would be so nervous about getting tripped on accident. Deena Kastor was just awesome. I knew she was going to win even with the huge lead Magdalena opened up. I was so excited to see Deena come around the corner by herself on that fourth loop as she pulled way ahead of the lead pack and eventually chased down Magdalena. What an amazing race!

After moving our way through the crazy maze of people we ran into the expo so Daisy could get some gloves and I could get some sunglasses and arm warmers. Someone had said it would be chilly in the morning and I didn’t think the singlet would cut it. Had to settle for some men’s arm warmers that were slightly large but they gave me $10 off. Found a pair of sunglasses that fit and matched the outfit and then we jammed out of there, the expo was out of control busy and I felt like a sardine once again.

After that it was off to lunch in Cambridge with Kurt. We went to a cool little café in Cambridge named Zoes and after a bit of a wait we were seated for some great food. I opted for a big lunch since I am not a huge fan of the pasta dinners before big races. I had a huge plate of sweet potato fries and a Belgian waffle with strawberries as well as half a strawberry smoothie. I’m not sure how I got it all in but it was completely satisfying and didn’t feel like too much. Interesting enough I saw a Michigan Ultra runner at the café who won the North Country Trail Marathon the last two times I have gone up there and he had come in second at JFK this year to Wardian. (Update apparently he either didn't race Boston or didn't finish as I couldn't find him in the results, perhaps just in town to watch the trials?) Very nice guy, real laid back all three times I have chatted with him.

Kurt and his wife were kind enough to get us back to our hotel and we got ourselves around for a light jog before heading to dinner. It was crazy windy out but very sunny so Daisy and I had a nice little run. We cut it short since we had to get to dinner and both of us were still a little full from lunch.

Dinner at McGinty’s was great. It was nice to just chill out, eat some grub and enjoy good company. Our friend’s daughter is a singer who performs in Vegas and she treated us to a private performance of a few of her own original songs and some favorites. Very cool way to wind down for the evening. We headed back to the hotel and got our bags ready for the morning and after some girl talk we were all tucked into bed by 11 PM.

I slept pretty well and woke 5 minutes before the alarm at 5:15. Took that as my cue and hopped in the shower. We got all our gear and headed over to McGinty’s for breakfast then took the cab over to Boston Commons. The bus ride as always took forever and they dropped us off pretty much as far away from the church we go to as possible. I finally started to get nervous about the race on the way over. You can’t help but get excited with all those runners on the bus getting geared up for the race.

So we took our long hike over to the church and made a few porta potty stops put on the sunscreen and gels pinned to my skirt then headed to the start. It had been overcast and chilly but as soon as I got to the coral the sun came out and it got warm. Had to ditch the arm warmers as they were too big to have on my wrists the whole day and I knew I would get irritated with them stuffed in my pocket. So I made a $20 arm warmer donation to the homeless, someone is going to look sweet in those navy blue arm warmers! Realized really quickly that pinning the gels to the shirt waist band wasn’t going to work either, apparently getting down to my fighting weight put my skirt on the loose side in the waist so I unpinned the gels and stuck two in my pocket and opted to carry the other too. At least it gave me something to do while we waited for the 10,000 people in front of us to get through the start line. I did my best to move up spots as we walked slowly towards the start. I knew it was going to be a rough start for me as I was seeded at 3:29 and I wanted to go out around 3:20 pace for the day. I really didn’t want to be weaving in and out of anymore traffic than necessary.

As has happened before when I was at Boston the crowd starts to jog towards the top of the hill before being slowed to a walk again and finally picking up speed and crossing the start line. I was just so excited to finally be starting the race I had worked so hard for the past 10 weeks (not to mention all those miles I had logged last year in hopes to run a 3:25).

Run B@$ch

Has to be my favorite sign I saw at Wellsley today. My quads are absolutely shredded. Utterly painful by mile 12, apparently I just wasn't as prepared as I thought I was for those downhills. Quads were just shot by the half way point. But I PRed by almost 4 and a half minutes. I think I have "the site" because Wednesday I dreamed I ran a 3:23. I think I am still about where I thought I was. I figured if I had a bad day I would run 3:25 and having the quads in that much pain by 12 I knew today wasn't going to be my day. I ran my butt off but I just couldn't pick it up after those hills. You'd be amazed how bad your legs can hurt on those downhills at the end. Thank goodness for the great crowd support at Boston.

Other than a sore lower back and shredded quads I feel pretty good. I ran hard the whole way and I had a great time taking in everything. All I have to say is don't underestimate the difficulty of Boston. It just kicks your butt. Between the crowds and having to weave to pass people the whole day, getting cut off multiple times, shredding your quads by 12, and the late start and high intensity weekend before it is just damn tough.

Will post more later. I need to put up my legs on the bed and get my drink and party on. I thought of everyone as I crossed all those 5k mats, you kept me honest out there!

Almost to Albany

Been on the train since 7 AM only about 6 more hours to go. In all honesty I have been enjoying relaxing and having nothing to do and just chilling with Daisy and Katy. Watched Juno, played Rummy, and ate some crappy train food. That's the only thing I would change. Next time I need to bring a cooler with some healthy cheap food. $20 on crap really grinds my gears!

For fun photo updates this weekend stay tuned on Daisy's blog if you don't see any action here! (Check over there now to see a fun train photo! (and my new aerodynamic haircut)

Boston Bound

Wow so there hasn't been much posting going on over here, or much commenting by myself on other blogs. My apologies, life has just been hectic leading up to this race. By far my most intense training so far even though it was a shorter time span than normal. On top of that running club stuff and work have had me feeling like a chicken with its head cut off. I cannot wait to board the train tomorrow and just relax until I get to Boston! This weekend is going to be a blast. Looking forward to hanging out with my SERC pals and meeting up with some blogger pals. Oh and running that little race on Monday ;)

Did my little dress rehearsal tonight and the 2 miles at race pace went off without a hitch. Didn't feel amazing, but I didn't feel bad either and I settled right into pace right away so that has to be a good sign.

Daisy is bringing the laptop and I just bought a brand new (pink) camera so hopefully we will be keeping everyone updated on the weekend! Lots of fun planned but hopefully we will be keeping mostly off our feet and saving the real partying for Monday afternoon.

Thanks for all the well wishes. I feel like I have got to be one of the most highly supported amateurs out there or something. Between my family, friends, coworkers, and blog friends I know I will have the good vibes I need to do well on Monday. If you are bored and have nothing to do you can track me Monday my bib is 11603. They should have tracking on the site Monday if you want to follow along with all your friends progress. I'll be starting in wave one and taking my chances with the crowds. Plan is to start behind pace, run comfortable through the hills and then haul ass all the way to Boylston street once I crest Heartbreak. We'll see how I fare :)

Weekly Rundown-Boston Training Week 9

One week to go, and yes I might actually consider this next week a true taper, although when you throw the marathon in the mileage is still high, but with Boston being on a Monday, this week will actually be reminiscent of my casual jogging days, yahoo!

Onto the stats:

Monday- 2 mile walk to the movie store with David

Tuesday- 8 mile general aerobic run with Daisy 8*30 second strides, beautiful day, please let Boston be just the same.

Wednesday- 3 miles easy on the treadmill 9:30 pace

Thursday- My last "hard" workout before Boston. 9 miles with 3*1600 at 5k pace with 2 minute jogs for rest. Daisy and I headed over to a local track downtown only to find that there was a class out on the track and we were not welcome during school hours. So we had to think fast and decided to run back to the gym and do our intervals on the treadmill. Got in about 3.5 miles on the road and then another mile on the treadmill before ramping it up and hitting it hard.

I don't know why but I had been dreading this workout and doing it on the treadmill did not appeal to me any more, possibly less than doing it on the track did. But once it was said and done, it wasn't so bad and I feel good about having it done. Other than a treadmill error that caused my treadmill to shut down about 3/4 through my last mile I managed to suffer through the workout. All three miles were around 6:16 (not 100% on the last one but I just ramped the speed back up and ran until I hit 6:16 and called it a mile, I had the treadmill on 6:15 pace for the first 3/4 and ramped it up to 6:11 in the last minute). I don't know why but as hard as the workout was, I was fine once I was doing it. Yes it was difficult, yes I would rather have stopped, yes I felt like a tool staring at the out off order sign on the treadmill in front of me while I ran in one place. But when all was said and done I got the work done and I am sure I am stronger because of it.

It's all worth it when the girls in the locker room ask just how fast you were going. I guess when Daisy and I are both cranking out repeats around 6 minute pace the lunch crowd notices :)

Friday- 5 mile recovery run on the towpath. 9 minute pace Bizarre weather! Sunny and beautiful for the first 2.5 miles, downpour the next 2 and sunny the last .5. Saw lots of fun (and not so fun) wildlife on this one. A cute muskrat swimmming in the canal and a blue heron up close. Could have done without the 5 geese hanging out on the path.

Saturday- 7 miles around the hood. 3 mile warm up then 3 miles on the track doing 100 strides once every quarter mile. All around 21-23 seconds, so my 30 second strides on the road were probably all a bit longer than the prescribed 100 yard strides, oh well. 1 mile run back to the house. Pace around 8:30

Sunday- About 13 miles with my SERC crowd. Weather was cool and a bit of light rain. I felt great and we had to keep backing down the pace. Ended up a little shy of 13 miles average pace 8 minutes.

Now I am ready to ramp it way down this week. I actually get 2 rest days and all mileage will be at a recovery pace except for 2 miles at marathon pace Thursday and some strides on Saturday. The train (literally) leaves for Boston Friday morning and I am so ready to be on it. Now I just need to pack!

Weekly Rundown-Boston Training Week 8

Highest mileage taper week ever :) I am definitely starting to feel ready to just race and be done with the training! Breathing this week was just a little ragged, I'm starting to wonder if it is more to do with the warmer weather, possibly allergies, than with the training as my legs feel great. Got a legitimate tune up and baseline marathon pace predictor race in with the 10k and I am feeling better about making some more aggressive goals for Boston. Only workout I am dreading this week is the track workout Thursday. Other than that I am looking forward to all single digit days during the week and a light 13 miler Sunday :)

The stats:

Monday- Rest

Tuesday- Track Workout in a wind and hail storm

Was right on target the first 3 repeats despite the wind but then the hail kicked in and I struggled a bit :)

Warm up 4 miles easy
6*600 with 200 recovery jogs

2 mile cool down

Wednesday- 11 mile medium long run. Went to NC and added a few steep/long hills. Breathing was ragged but pace was fine. 8:10 pace

Thursday- Recovery run with strides. 6 miles downtown with Bridget. 6*30 second strides, felt good. 9:10 pace

Friday- Recovery 5 mile on the treadmill with Daisy (trying to get heat acclimated and just really didn't want to run in the rain) Not paying attention and managed to stop the treadmill 3 times with no clue how long I had been going. Ran the first mile at 10 minute pace and the rest at 9:30

Saturday- Martian Meteor 10k 41:17 6:39 pace
Warm up 25 minutes with a few strides
Cool down 11 minutes easy

Sunday- ~17.5 miles at 8:24 pace. First 10 miles easy at 8:45 pace, last few miles dropped it down under 8

Who Turned on the Heat?

Last long run before Boston is in the bag. Went to the park and got in about 17.5. It got seriously warm by the end of the run. I am not ready for 60 degrees. Can't we ease in with a few weeks of 45-50? Pretty please?

Anywho dad rode his bike with me again and because of my bitching about my form we decided we needed some video of me running. Added bonus you get to see my wild Martian shirt in action. A cyclist must have designed this thing.

So bring on the analysis. I actually don't think it looks too bad in these videos. I must start deteriorating as I get faster and tired. These are about 10 miles into the run today.

After Boston I think I definitely want to key in on a few of my weaknesses. Primarily posture, I start to hunch and lean forward as I tire, and also I want to stop bouncing up and down so much and use that energy to move forward :) We'll see if I can make any improvements this summer.

Martian Meteor 10K

So we made another trip up to my home state to compete in my final tune up race for Boston. Chose a fun one with a very cool Martian theme. I wasn't expecting stellar placement as the race boasted an elite field with money prizes 5 deep overall and 3 deep masters as well as free shoes for 1st in age group and running caps 5 deep in each 10 year age bracket. However, I was expecting to run a PR, I had a range I was eyeing, with 40:10 being my aggressive goal (6:28 pace) and 42 (6:46 pace) being the slowest I would be content with in good conditions.

I felt pretty ragged (aerobically) on my Wednesday medium long run and could tell I needed the 2 days of recovery that followed. So with my mini taper I was ready this morning to see what these legs would do for me.

Woke up early and got in some cereal, a banana, tea, and a hot shower 3 hours before the race. We got to the expo just in time as within about 10 minutes of picking up my packet the line was out of control! We marvelled at the awesome freaking shirt I got. Let's just say there's not much room for any more graphics on it, I'll post a photo next time I get a run in it. Walked around and found the start line then I headed out on a warm up. Wasn't feeling stellar but I got in 25 minutes with 4 strides and hoped for the best. After two quick porta potty stops I rushed over to the start.

Not quite awake standing in line to get bib.

Posing with a pink martian.

Finishing my warm up.

Heading to the start line after one last porta potty stop.

They warned that anyone running slower than 5 minute miles should not be up front so I lined up a bit farther back than usual for me. I think it worked in my favor as I didn't try to stay with any girls that would have pushed me too fast early on, but I did have to dodge a few overzealous i pod wearing peeps that should not have lined up so far forward. I'll save the rant.

Video of the race start. I'm towards the end of the vid :) Not entirely happy with my form but I guess I always knew that I don't look like Ryan Hall when I run. I don't know what it is going to take to fix my posture...

Just tried to find my magic pace the first mile. Didn't want to go out blazing but I also didn't want to get too comfortable and have to make up time later. The course started with a big loop (about 1.25 miles) and then continued on out onto a highway of sorts out and back and then onto a paved trail for the last mile until you popped back out onto the road we started on. So the 1st and 2nd mile markers were in the first loop and a half. I was pleasantly surprised to hear cheering in the first half mile as a spectator in pink hollered "Go E-Speed." I didn't recognize the face and called back "Who are you?" Yeah I'm a goober, what can you do. It was nice to have someone out there rooting for me and I spotted her a few more times on the course and chatted after the race. She was there cheering for her sister and she is training for Steelhead this summer. I'll definitely have to go check out her blog.

Mile one split was 6:34. Not quite as fast as I was hoping for but the effort felt sustainable and I was content to keep that pace for the rest of the race coming in between my goals. As we came around the corner back towards the start I took down one girl that looked like she could be my age, turns out she was much younger and not in my group, oh well! Caught up to a lady I had chatted with at the start who said she was aiming for 45. Ran side by side with her through about mile 2 before pulling away.

My parents as always are the best and both came to watch me run. Dad got some great shots and also took the video. It's really touching when you run by and hear them commenting to other spectators that yes that's their daughter, as they scream their heads off for you. Makes you feel good.

A little before mile 2. I swear I was running 6:35 pace here even though it looks like I am power walking.

Right before mile 2.

Mile two was 6:36 just holding steady. After the two loops it was off onto the pot hole filled highway. I passed a few guys here that were friendly and warned me to watch the pot holes. The road has definitely seen better days. I would have paid someone for their sunglasses out there, it was sunny and I broke mine heading to the start. A light wind and slight upgrade on this mile but conditions were pretty much ideal. 6:41 I had secretly hoped to hit the 5k right around 20 but I just wasn't that speedy today. Had to settle for 20:33 which is still in my top five 5k splits of all time I think. Maybe I should have just crushed the first 5k and died, there was a $100 bonus for the leader at the 5k. ;)

Passed a lady coming into the aid station before mile 4 and thought I would reel in the next one but never did gain any ground on her after that. I kept pushing as I grabbed a water cup. The volunteers were friendly but pushing the water hard. "Get your ice cold water to run faster" Mile 4 was 6:43. Not what I was hoping for but I could tell my effort was about the same as the previous mile so I wasn't surprised.

The girl I passed surprised me by picking it up and stuck with me for quite a ways. She has got some grit. I know I would have had a hard time picking it up if anyone passed me at that point. A gentleman I had passed coming into mile 4 caught me half way through 5 and I did manage to hold onto him, pushing for a 6:26 mile 5 (I'm confident the mile was short as mile 4 had a bit of a downhill and I didn't up my effort until I hit 5 so my guess is both those miles were actually about 6:35).

I had warmed up on this part of the course and was stoked that I would be done in less than 8 minutes and may have upped the intensity a bit much here. Got to a bridge that had been slick during the morning warm up but looked dry now and hammed it up for the photographer. Realized as I was doing it that the bridge was definitely still slick. Very weird sensation as your foot strike slips behind you.

Headed up the only hill and rounded a corner for the final stretch. Right before we hit the road there was a nice puddle waiting for us. The guy next to me was tall and managed to get most of the way over and apologized for splashing me. I dipped my right foot right in the center, but I told him no worries, "I'm a trail runner". (again, goober, I know)

My parents were waiting for me right around the 6 mile marker (6:48, also leading me to think that mile 5 was short) and cheered me on encouraging me to catch the lady in front of me, but I didn't have any steam for a kick and I think she upped her effort when she heard them (official results are up and I actually did run faster than the lady ahead of me but she must have been up front at the start) :) Hammered my way in grooving to the Casper slide playing on the intercom for 41:17 (is it bad that all morning I really just wanted to dance to the good tunes the dj was playing?). So overall pace was 6:39. I'm pretty happy with it. Would like to have been a bit more even on the last 5k (compared to the first) but for my first 10k in a while at the tail end of my biggest month ever I'll take it ;)

Made sure to go and congratulate the lady in front of me and the one behind me as well as the gal I had talked to at the start. Grabbed an H20 and banana and headed to find my parents. Rounded out the morning with an easy 11 minute cool down before heading to the awards. Managed to snag around 12th overall female and 4th in AG so I got a cap. We went over to the expo and picked up some gels for my long run tomorrow as well as a fun shirt for my hubby.

All in all a fun morning. Expo was a bit crowded, too tight of space but I'd imagine the marathon tomorrow will be well run. They put on quite an affair! Love the themed races but I am corny like that. If you have the weekend free next year and are in the Michigan area I'd definitely recommend checking out one of the races, they offer 10k, 13.1 and 26.2.

Home Stretch.

Glad to be done.

Cool Down.

Sporting my cap and a T for the hubby. All the volunteers were wearing these, I thought it was awesome.

Pretty happy with the effort, not convinced I gave 100% the whole race but definitely couldn't have run much harder coming down the line so maybe I am just getting better at pacing. Legs felt pretty stellar, but my aerobic system was just a little ragged. Breathing wasn't quite as easy as I'd like it to be, but that's what the taper is for! Side stitch threatened in the second and third miles but some focused breathing seemed to make it go away. I'm guessing my less than perfect form is contributing to this problem when I up intensity. I'll just keep my fingers crossed that no side stitches come after me in Boston!

Out of this World

Tomorrow I am leaving the planet to tackle the Meteor 10K. I am not only super excited to race in what hopefully will be much better conditions than two weeks ago, but I am also excited to check out this alien expo and festivities. It will be fun to check out the marathon expo post race even though I am not doing the full on Sunday.

Plans are to race a steady fast 10k. Hopefully the lack of gravity won't be a hindrance ;) Considering I have only ever raced a few 10ks outside of an olympic tri I would assume I will PR tomorrow, question is only by how much (I hope it's a lot!). We'll see how it goes!