NYC Marathon Excitement!

Every time there is a really big marathon, I get excited. Don’t you?? I am going to love watching my favorite fabulous runners really take center stage and ROCK their training. The elite pool of NYC competitors is some of the very best in the entire world!

First, there is Desiree Linden.
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This little American is hoping to set a crazy insane marathon time of 2:24 for herself at NYC. She ran a 2:23 in Boston this past April.

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Deena Kastor, a master’s runner, is just the coolest lady…I want to be her someday, please and thank you. She is hoping to set the master’s record of 2:26 this year. Ummm…what?? Deena is 41, just a little FYI….I am so going to beasting marathons in my 40’s….

And then there is my new favorite…A runner I had never heard of before this week, but she is amazing!!
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Her name is Lauren Kleppin and she is just beginning to tap into her marathon potential. If anything, I feel like I can relate the MOST to this young star athlete. She struggled to get running career going. She finally realized that this running was something she truly wanted to give her all to, so she moved to join the North Mammoth Track Club and has been blossoming under the tutelage of Deena and Andrew Kastor. She smashed her 2013 PR of 2:42 by 12 minutes at the LA marathon this year, so it look like the tutoring is paying off!
Perhaps my favorite thing about Miss Lauren likes to reward herself with a cold beer after her hard runs. Spoken like a girl after my own heart… Go get it Lauren, I’m here rooting you on, and someday maybe I will be as fast as you!

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Last, but not least.. there’s the girl on everybody’s mind…(or maybe just mine?!) She is running the long road back from injuries. She isn’t favored to win, but that doesn’t mean that everybody’s not paying close attention to her ever move…Kara Goucher. I just love her. I can’t wait to see how her run goes! She had always been an amazing running inspiration to me and I wish her nothing but amazing good luck!!!

For more on the elite runners, you can check out this article in Runners World!

Happy Friday, and happy running!

Simplifying your life

Every once in a while I do a “non running” post. Today is one of those posts, so don’t mind the non-running stuff for a day :)

My husband did a truly awesome thing this week: he bought us a new couch!!! Previously, we had furniture that I had bought for my apartment way back in 2005. (it doesn’t feel that long ago, I will tell you THAT.)

Obviously: the motto should be: out with the old and in with the new. But I found myself very reluctant to part with one (of our two) couches.

It’s nothing fancy, it’s just a very small chair on the “larger” side of the “chair” world. But I just couldn’t part with it. It was the first piece of furniture I have ever bought. And ….it’s really really freaking comfortable. By far, it’s my favorite seat in the house.

My husband said it was absolutely not going in the attic. If I wanted to keep it, it would have to go upstairs in the room that I use as my “closet”, otherwise known as my “getting ready room.” So I thought about it….the room is already pretty jam packed with stuff….basically, if I wanted to keep it, I would have to part with about a third the contents of the room….could it be done?

I give tons of clothes to charity every year. And somehow I still have a ton more clothes. this boggles my mind because even though I KNOW I have a ton of clothes…I seem to get ready everyday sometimes and say “I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR!” (so maybe I have too clothes?! )

So this past weekend, I made a SOLID attempt to clean out my “room.” Truly, I’ve never thought I hoarded until this past weekend. As I sorted through the contents of my room, I realized what I was really doing was deep cleaning and simplifying my life. It was hard to pick and choose what to keep. I realized that I have a hard time parting with some things-Certain clothes have a memory, don’t they? There are the more obvious things-like my wedding dress- that remind me of our big day. But there are plenty of less-noticeable clothing items where memories lie in wait for us.. like the tank top I wore out my on best friends bachelorette party, or the jeans I wore for a solid year when I was 23 and going through a rough “life patch.” It was the things I hadn’t worn in forever because I was so reluctant to part with because that memory is still there. I don’t know, maybe it’s only me who remembers exactly what I wore and where I wore it to (I have a phenomenal memory and it’s both a blessing and a curse.)

As I packed items into bags for good will, I began to feel lighter. I remembered things and packed them away. I will tell you-some small 115 lb girl is about to get lucky! ;) I applied a set of “rules” to my cleaning:
-if you haven’t worn it in a year, it’s gotta go.
-if it doesn’t fit anymore (too big or too small), it’s gotta go.
-just because you still fit in those clothes from when you were 23 does not mean you should keep them. Trust me, they are not really in style anymore, and when the style comes back around, you (me) will want new ones, anyways.
-clothes that hold any sort of “negative” memory are getting the boot.

I also applied a really positive rule… ….clothes that are a really great memory are staying forever…for example-the dress I wore for my engagement pictures, and the tank top I was wearing the night I met my husband. I may not wear these things on a regular basis, but I definitely love seeing these items hanging in my closet.

I wound up with about eight bags to take to the good will, and a cleansed mind from all the cleaning.

Lessons learned:
-I don’t need all the stuff. Less is more. Really. I don’t need a whole lot of stuff.
I only need a little. If the house was on fire-my clothes wouldn’t be the first thing I grab.

-nobody needs a whole lot of stuff.

-you are not defined by what you have. And nobody except for that weirdo Kim Kardashian even cares about the “stuff” anyway.

-a deep cleaning of your stuff not only looks better but it makes you feel better!

-making more room in my “room” now gave me a sweet reading spot on my little chair that is always quiet! Score!

Oh! and I LOVE my new couch!!!

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When is the last time you did a “deep clean”?

What’s next and pick your fave

This is a question I get quite often from people who know I’ve been trying to Boston Qualify since….well…since I can remember. I think that it’s assumed that I will stop running, or maybe not even care about my timed goals anymore now that I have obtained my goal. But if you know me…. I bet you can guess what’s up next…

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A faster, much faster marathon time.
Does that surprise you? It really shouldn’t. I am, above all, a 110% completely focused and goal driven person. Obtaining a BQ was my goal….but now I want to be a faster marathoner. I will continue to set goals, and hopefully knock them right out of the park.

I’ve already pretty much decided on my next three marathon(s). One is just for me, (to be revealed soon!) and one is something I do ever single year for Charity:The Boston Marathon. (More on my charity story soon!). The last is, as always, my absolute favorite…the Baystate Marathon..which yes I just completed on last Sunday BUT it is my very favorite race so it’s a no brainer. I might throw another full in there somewhere as a pacer for a marathon group-it’s been something that I’ve always wanted to do, so we shall see!!

As far as the month of November goes, I want to focus on shorter distance races to work on speed. I’ve already signed up for two races and am planning at least one more … A local 5k(still have to actually sign up for one!), a thanksgiving day 10k with SIL (so we can eat all the food after, duh) and a half at the end of November. I’m not sure what (if anything) I will race in December… I have a half in mind, but I’m still unsure because I have a million things every single weekend!!

I really love being motivated by an upcoming race. Shorter distances (anything under 26.2 is short, right?!)Technically…I’m not in “marathon training” right now. Buuuut…..The only real difference for me is that when I’m In training-I make myself do things like track workouts/sprinting/mile repeats/harder tempos and when I’m not in training, it’s more easy-just-go-with-the-flow-Whatever-works-today-kinda-runs….BUT…i would much rather be in training than not. I like having my constant effort level raised. I know there could come a point where this will get old/Life distractions come along—but for now: racing is my favorite!

And because I can not get enough of this idea, please tell me
Your favorite.
I’m in the process of redecorating a room in my house, and I’m planning on displaying my medals. It’s also crossed my kind to MAKE my own…we’ll see!!

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Next Race for you?

How do you display your medals?

Weekly miles recap& My tips for marathon training like a beast

I just have to tell you that it’s been monsooning in my area over the past week. I’m not just talking about some rain. I’m talking about how the rain is coming down so hard that it feels like someone is dumping a bucket of water on your head. Normally, being forced to stay inside and be cooped up/run on the treadmill would annoy me, but this week I guess I don’t mind so much since I’m taking this post marathon run thing kind of easy-peasy.

I hopped on the good old ‘mill on Wednesday night (it never even got light outside the whole day-the rain was that bad) for a few miles to see how the legs did. They felt pretty good, calves are tight, but otherwise, I felt pretty good. I feel like I’m recovering quickly from Sunday, but I’m still trying to take it easy. Friday morning, I did another easy 7 on the treadmill.

Finally, on Saturday, we saw the sun, and Saturdays run ended up being done with a body that from Fri-Sat: probably slept five hours, ate a lot of not good for me food, and hooted&hollered like a 14yr old at a one direction concert for two straight hours at Eric Church…that body ran 9 hilly miles & I was pretty happy with that. It was one of those runs that really made you feel great and 100% alive in your own life & was 100% wonderful! I had moments during the run where I just felt overwhelmingly blessed/lucky to be able to do what I do and have come so far and overcome so much. Sometimes, I just feel so darn lucky.

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Sunday. Rainy morning again. I didn’t care that much so laced up and hit the road. I’m so glad I did. Sometimes, rainy day runs just leave you feeling so cleansed and happy. By far-it was my favorite run of the week!

Miles for the week: 30.10

Things I did that helped me marathon train like a beast!
A lot of people have been asking me how I made a 17 minute jump from my previous PR (Feb,2014/Hyannis)You can read here and here about my tips for getting faster, but there are lots of other different things that happen over the course of training. It’s not only speed, but mental “toughness” that plays a large part in how your marathon/marathon training will go. These things definitely played a role for me, I hope they help you out too during your training!

-- Make your training YOURS. Not anyone else’s. Just because your friend is doing 70 miles doesn’t mean you have to do 70 miles. This is YOUR training. Don’t get caught up in what everybody else is doing. Believe in yourself that you can do it and make your plan work for you.

- I treated trainining with importance. Running a marathon isn’t just something you roll out of bed and do. It takes discipline, patience, and hard work. I treat marathon training (and running in general)like it’s a job because its that important to me. If I took an extra day off-there had to be a dam good reason for it! Making it a top priority has helped me improve my running.

- Come to grips with the early morning wakeups, hard workouts, and all the difficult things you might not want to do. 20 mile runs aren’t everybody’s cup of tea, and neither are speedwork outs that make you want to puke. But you know what? I will tell you right now that making myself do a weekly long run as well as staying consistent with my speedwork made me have a much easier time during my marathon. My body got used to performing harder tasks and that translated into a better marathon experience for me.

- Rotate your shoes! This Helps a lot! Your feet are doing so much work for you, so be kind to them. I’m good to my feet, and I have about 5 pairs that I rotate between. And I don’t hesitate to bid adieu to a pair of shoes if I think they are past their prime….Even if a pair of sneakers feels like it’s wearing out at 200 miles but previous pair of the same exact sneakers didn’t wear out until 300 miles, I won’t hesitate to retire them. Bad/worn out sneaks cause “The Creaks” for me and I don’t mess with that! I’m good to my feet which leads to my whole body feeling good. Sneakers play a huge part in your running…worn out sneaks=no good. Change those bad Sally’s OUT!

-I made No excuses. Too humid? I got up earlier to run. Too hot? I could run on my treadmill. Stomach ache? Treadmill til ya feel better. Don’t want to do that hard track workout? Too bad, it’s going to make you faster.
I didn’t let myself make excuses. I did the hard work, and it absolutely paid off. It’s so easy for runners to just say “I’ll do my __________ run tomorrow.” Don’t do it tomorrow, do it now so you can look back on today’s workout and say “wow, I’m glad that done until next week!” I never made/make excuses because hard work pays OFF.

- Visualize your goal. Really SEE it in the forefront of your mind all the time. I was even having dreams of crossing the finish line and getting a BQ, and they made me even more excited for my marathon!

-Have a mantra: Mine is “you can do hard things”. Everybody has their own reasons to keep the running drive going…This marathon cycle, I also developed the mantra “GET THE BQ”I never forgot this… I saw this in the very forefront of my brain in Every. Single. Run. And I NEVER forgot it!

I hope these help you!

I bought three out my seven pics from my BQ race… I’m not crazy about any of them, but I figure you have to buy your first BQ pics, right?!

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Happy start to your week!

How do you train like a beast?

Picture Saturday&oops

So. I said I would be back yesterday with a post on how i trained for my marathon like a boss. Turns out life got in the way, and I had zero time for any writing! Oops!!

Friday night was my birthday present from my husband(my birthday was in May-I’ve been waiting for this for a while!) –Eric Church concert at Mohegan Sun!!!!! I looooooove Eric Church!!!! We had a BLAST and stayed overnight (and up all night). I can’t think of a more perfect ending to my week “off” from training!!
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I saw this in front of Michael Jordan’s and had to take a picture with it since it pretty much sums up my outlook on running and marathon-ing!!!
“I listened. I was aware of my success. But I never stopped trying to get better.”
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Me and my love!

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Eric Church!

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And you are not going to believe this.…but we ordered this amazing thing at 2am -

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It was amazing!

I will (for real!) be back on Monday with a real post,..until then, have a wonderful weekend and enjoy every second of your Saturday!❤️

The Aftermath of After The Marathon

Nicole@TheGirlWhoRanEverywhere:

This was a funny post I wrote following Baystate of 2013. It certainly applies to this week too! Happy “Throwback Thursday!”

I will be back tomorrow with a fresh post on “how to train like a boss” for a marathon!

Happy Thursday!

Originally posted on The Girl Who Ran Everywhere:

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 In traditional fashion, I can’t forget about a Five things Friday Post!

 In honor of all the runners who recently completed a marathon…These are some official conditions that you may be suffering through POST marathon…

 So. You ran a marathon last weekend….

 

Condition #1: What’s Up Next?? You can still feel the adrenaline of crossing that finish line- all your hard work, effort, time-it’s all rolled into one big huge sense of accomplishment. You are holding to that moment since it ends as soon as you cross that timed thresh-hold.You’re suffering from the condition known as “WHAT’S NEXT.”  Don’t lie, you know you’re doing it already: Still tired and sore, you have spent hours on the world wide web scanning the local race calendars. You try to figure out if your time will be good enough so that you can finish the race and not miss a single second…

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Some random marathon things that didn’t fit in the last post…

There were a few things that just didn’t fit within my race recap, (because it would make it a mile long) so I decided to put them all in a separate post. There really is no pattern or flow to this, so just roll with it.

Shoes.
I’ve been asked which shoes I ended up wearing. And why did I choose them?
I ended up going with my Pureflow 2s. I was really, really happy I went with them. I have to tell you though…during the last week of taper, I started to have a whole bunch of random foot pains. I blew it up in my mind: my foot was breaking/broken, that I would run the marathon, but midway, my foot would break in half and I would be carried off in a stretcher. The mind can be cruel if we let it be! I debated wearing the heavier Ghosts right up until I actually left.

The Pureflows were a great choice! I’ve never done a marathon in shoes as light as this-it’s usually a heavier pair like my Ghosts that win! Fun fact: my half marathon PR was done in this pair of shoes-To me that’s kind of cool!!

-Runderwear. I’ve never used it before. I went to Dicks the day prior to the marathon and saw it for $10. Normally my cheap butt wouldn’t pay $10 for a single pair of underwear, but I made an exception. So, I wore it on Sunday. Bought it on Saturday. The best time to try new stuff is Marathon day right?! um, no, it is not. But..I really didn’t give a damn. This may be a bit of TMI, but my long runs always cause, ahem… a little chafe-age, and I despise that…so the worst that could happen a that I hated the Runderwear. Lucky for me: NOPE to chafe-age and I loved it. Brand? Reebok.

-What did I eat the night before?
Pizza! I love my homemade multi grain pizza! I always stick to the same things before my long runs and during this particular training cycle-pizza the night before kept my stomach completely calm!

-What did I wear for clothes?
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I wore my favorite running skirt from Skirt Sport (The “Cougar”, if you are curious) because it has three pockets and I LOVE pockets. For a top, I wore a tank because I get hot quickly whole racing. I found a tank top from Nike that I got at Dicks on Saturday. (I know, more new things, not the best but it worked out. ) I wore my black Pro Compression socks and my Nike sports bra (it is my all time favorite)

-People recongnizing me:
This was pretty funny for me-I was recognized a lot on Sunday-at the start, during, and afterwards…a lot of readers came over and said hello-that’s so much fun because I love meeting new runners!! So THANK YOU to all of you who said hi!

-Tracking: this year was the first time that tracking was available for both the half and the full-it was awesome! I love that my family and my readers knew where I was and were able to see my progress on the course. It is a lot more fun when you can track people live!

-Fueling:
Baystate has two fuel stops: like 7&17. They offer the Powerbar gels but I brought my own because I can’t stand the consistency of the Powerbar gel. I prefer GU-salted watermelon is my favorite! I took 4 with me, ended up eating 2 3/4 of them. I literally couldn’t stand the third one and was only forcing it down because I was trying to keep my energy levels up.

-The Faster Field. This is so fascinating to me, a geek who loves statistics and placements. As someone who has now completed four Baystate Marathons I can say with confidence that the crowd I was in for the 2nd half felt a little thin this year. Last year, I felt like I was constantly surrounded by runners, and I was 17 minutes slower. There were plenty of periods where I was solo on Sunday. I started to think about how the field felt faster, and I did some research for my previous marathon times:

-In 2013, -I was finisher #561/1344 with a 3:47 time
-in 2012, I was finisher #580/1192 with a 3:54 time
-in 2011, I was finisher #672/1002 with a 4:17 time

In 2014, I was the 350th finisher with a time of 3:28. There 1576 marathoners. You can see the growth with the marathon, can you not?

This probably is only cool to me…but I couldn’t help but look at similar placement in finishing times to mine for the past 3 years. If I had gotten the same time in:

2011-I would have been the 187th finisher…
2012-I would have been the 293rd finisher…
2013-I would have been the 284th finisher…

What does this mean? It means the field for Baystate is becoming increasingly competitive. The race this year sold out faster than I can ever remember it selling out. Word is spreading for what an amazing course it is. Some of my fellow runners have said that they think it was hillier than expected- I personally don’t notice the inclines in it, but that is just me because I’m truly used to running the course all the time. The race is growing size-wise, but it seems to also be growing for speed…faster runners want a chance to display their best running selves on the 3rd Sunday IN October.

What does this mean for my own Baystate future? It means I will be signing up for Baystate on opening day next year!!! ;) Hey Glenn-Can I have Bib #1???? ;)

-There has been a lot of talk of “The BQ” in my house lately. The husband is over it. He has started teasing me by saying things like “Hey, guess what? I DQ’d today!” And when I stare at him with a blank expression, he then tells me he “Dairy Queened” haha….gotta love the humor!!!

Anyone else have a non running spouse who teases you mercilessly about your running and the weird running terms?

Baystate runners: did the field feel faster to you too?

2014 Baystate Marathon Recap: The Wind, The Struggles& The BQ!

Can I start all my sentences now with “I BQ’d”? Is that inappropriate? Maybe. But maybe not seeing as I worked real hard for this moment!

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17 minutes. This is what I took off of my previous marathon PR. (Hyannis Marathon, Feb 2014). 3:28:07. There are like one million emotions running through me right now as I type this post.

I have to start off by acknowledging what an amazing team of people put together Baystate. I was given the opportunity to blog about my training for Baystate this year by Glenn Stewart, race director, and his incredible team- I would never ever blog about something that I wasn’t passionate about: I am QUITE passionate about the Baystate Marathon. It is run by TRUE professionals. Everything is seamless, and I have never once had a single problem with registering, bag check, porta potties, finish area, etc….I LOVE this race. Not only because it’s in my backyard: it’s a fabulous course, a PR course-for sure. Also, being that it is set on the 3rd weekend in October means you are practically guaranteed to have nice weather. The course is ALWAYS well maintained, and the police directing traffic are really looking out for the runners. The finish line chute is a breeze and I met my family&friends very quickly…this is a race I will go back to again and again! (Sunday was my 4th Baystate…that proves how much I love this race!!

Race day weather was awesome. We were chilly at the start (ok, FREEEZING) so I kept my sweater on as LONG as possible:
Me and my SIL embarking on our journey! (thanks again Mama D for driving us!)
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We got to the start around 7:15..we live close by so it was a lot easier for us to get there that late than most people are able to, plus we got dropped off so we didn’t have to worry about getting around road closures in order to park. We immediately stood in the porta potty line right next to the bag check. I have to say-there seemed to be even more porta potties than last year, and they had them in secret spots too, all around the start line-I never noticed lines that were too long! While in the porta potty line, a runner introduced herself and said “Excuse me…are you the girl with the blog? I just had to ask!” And I AM the girl with the blog, so this was a LOT of fun to be asked! Allison was running her first marathon, and I later found out she rocked it and finished in under 5!! YOU GO GIRL!!! Bag check was also a piece of cake. Hello sirs&ma’ams, here is my bag, please keep it safe, #thankyouverymuch.

I got to see my running partner for about two secs before we each had to go line up at our respective starts (she was doing the half) but we did snap a quick cute pic!! It was awesome to see her and her wonderful mama (also doing the half!) for about a minute!! They both rocked it!

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The Race.
Miles 1-13.
My plan all along had been to run with a pace group. I decided that I wanted to be smart and head out with the 3:25 group, break away at 15, and try to catch the 3:15 group. This plan worked for the first half of the race. The weather was amazing, I was in the thick 3:25 group, and I felt like I could’ve pulled away & passed them at any moment. In fact, I kept reigning myself back in so as not to kill my speed.

My biggest issue the first 14 is that the group was so tight, that I was focused on keeping my eyes constantly on the pacers. This caused me to trip not once but twice on the lovely stupid orange cones. I seriously managed to find myself needing to hop over practically every dam cone. Mile five I was going down..think “face plant” down…but a wonderful, amazing, lovely lady in a purple tank &turquoise sports bra reached down, grabbed my arms, and hauled me up. YOU ARE MY HERO!!! I could have cried because I was so happy not to have fallen!! I don’t know that I could do that for somebody else.. I am SO ridiculously clumsy that I think I would also topple on top of you as I try to pull you up. So after my angel picked me up, it was smooooth sailing. Loop one-over the bridge-felt amazing. #BAMIGOTTHIS

I had zero problems staying with the pace group for the first 14. I ended up NOT taking my camelbak–> this is my biggest regret and one of the reasons I slowed in the 2nd half. I have said it before and I will say it again:I am terrible at water stops. The act of “stopping” slows me, and slows me real fast. I started to realize though that even though it was easy for me to catch my pace group at my first few stops, it was going to be pretty tough for me to catch them later on..truth be told, that had been my biggest concern going into marathon day. I hadn’t wanted the weight of the pack, so I opted to leave it at home. HUGE Mistake. Oh well, you live and learn!! Also, I know runners are always curious about this: I GUd three times-7,14,20– but never finished the last packet because the taste started to make me sick. I stopped for water at 5,9,15,18,20,22,23,24(after 20, I just wanted the excuse to walk)

There were a few times during the race where I found myself getting really emotional. The first few times, it was because I was literally seeing myself hit all of my goal times and I was really, ridiculously happy. I had made myself memorize a few key splits on my pacers shirt:
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I did the first half in 1:40:49 (coincidently,my 2nd fastest half time) I was on pace, and doing exactly what I wanted to be doing. I was really proud of myself for sticking to my plan. I couldn’t believe a BQ was actually going to happen for me: It was Surreal, and still is. A lot of you have said that you found it hard to believe that I haven’t BQd before, and while I thank you for thinking that, I guess the marathon always runs me down. It’s a tricky minx: you go out all cocky and excited, get beaten down, and just when you think you are going to quit, you begin to see the silver lining and realize you’re almost there… and somehow, somehow you finish with on tired legs, and with a full heart.

Mile 14
Still happy! Still strong! And then….mile 15. my headphones managed to get ripped out of one of my ears and I couldn’t get it back on the right way. So I lost my music. And then I lost my pace group. And I couldn’t go catch up no matter how hard I tried because the wind had started. I hate wind. HATE IT. I will take snow, rain, and humidity so high you can drink the air over a windy day. So by 15, I had slowed to an 8:00 pace and I had to fight to keep that. No matter what I did, I seemed to be unable to get myself back to my pre 7:20-7:30 pace. I just couldn’t get there. Each water stop, I fell more behind the pace group, and I slipped into a dark place in my mind, these evil thoughts were swirling around:
I’m not going to BQ.
All of this hard work for nothing.
I’m going to disappoint all of my readers who believe in me!
I never want to run a marathon again!
I want to go home!
I hate running!

15-18 were brutal. The wind exhausted me and sucked up my speed. Fighting to keep pace 15 miles in is no piece of cake. Once I crossed the bridge, I was telling myself that it was ok because at 21, I was going to see my friend Erin and she would help me finish! So the countdown to How many Miles Until I See my Friend began. It was a long way. It was hard. I don’t necessarily need music, but I can tell you that I had spent an awful lot of time crafting the Worlds Most Amazing Playlist and dammit I had wanted to hear it!

I was positive at this point that I would not be BQing. 100% abso-freaking-lutely positive. But them two amazing things happened…

#Amazing Thing #1
This is a little sidebar story. My SIL (as you might recall, ran her first half Sunday?!) has an amazing friend named Sandy. We are Facebook friends and talk ALL the time, but had never met in real life. (She is the MOST AMAZING and INSPIRATIONAL person who Has Ever Lived.)On Sunday, Sandy and I Were going to meet (she was volunteering at like 100 different spots during the race), but couldn’t manage to hookup. She realized that she never saw me go over the bridge, so she set off to find me. She drove the course, hoping to catch me.

So here is Nicole, at mile 20: picture her, if you will:she is sad. she feels broken, both physically&mentally. Suddenly, there is a minivan on the other side of the street with a lady about to fall out because she is YELLING MY NAME SO HARD and at that moment I realized who she was and heard her words:

THIS IS YOUR RACE, NICOLE, ITS YOUR BQ!! YOU GO GET IT!!!

I realized she is right! this IS my race! I WILL go get it! I cannot thank you enough Sandy, you truly pulled me out of my own negativity and helped me get my mind straight!!

Amazing Thing #2:
Right after seeing Sandy, my watch clicked mile 20 at 2:36… I did some quick mental math:I was still holding a low 8 minute pace: even if I slipped to 10 minute pace, I would still BQ! Maybe doing the math wasn’t the best thing ever. I knew it was “ok” to slow, but I honestly couldn’t go any faster if I tried. Even though my 2nd half was slower–I could tell that all of my fast finish long runs were helping me be able to hold onto the 8 minute pace. For past marathons, I have easily slipped down to a 9 minute pace.

Finally… it was mile 21, and there was Erin… I told her how happy I was to see her (understatement of the year, right there) We previously had had a plan to run the last 5 at <7:30 pace. Umm, yeah, that wasn’t happening. She asked if I wanted her to tell me that I had to pick up the pace if we went above 8 and I said "yes". But when she told me to pick it up…I couldn’t. I really couldn’t. I was crying while telling her I couldnt go any faster…I tried so hard, but everything everything was hurting. I had a toe on my left foot that I swear to god I could feel it’s pulse. (yeah, it’s black. Yuck.) Thank Sweet Baby Jesus that Erin was there and jumped in with me—just knowing that she was helping me finish and was trying to get me to our original pace Really helped me stay focused on her pace and not slow anymore than I already was. Or stop. Because I wanted to stop. Like a lot. Like “give me my medal at 23 please” stop. But she would not let me, so, I focused on all the things Erin was saying and tried to stay “in the mile” I was in.

I’ve run plenty of marathons where I haven’t felt good in the end. This was an all over body stiffness/soreness that I haven’t experienced before. My goodness, it really freaking hurt. Every mile felt never ending, and even when I had only 2 left to go, it felt like 20.

FINALLY… I rounded the last corner of the course, and could see/hear the finish line excitement!!! I gave it all that I could (which was still not much) and finished strong!!

I couldn’t help but cry. The lovely volunteers were all asking me if I got my BQ and I was so happy to tell them that I had, and it had taken me 14 marathons to finally do it.

I was so happy to finish with me friend! I couldn’t have finished that strong without her and probably would have let myself walk, or slip from an 8 minute pace on up. THANK YOU know million times over, Erin!!!

We walked to the family meeting area and over to bag check. It was all so easy to get to, and I didn’t have to think about where to find my family.

Erin and I at the finish:
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My adorable nephew& I… he &my niece made us signs…seriously, how cute are these?!

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Me & SIL at the finish line…she did an amazing job on her first half and I am SO PROUD of her!! And she said she would go back and do it again!!

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This picture is me and my MIL….it pretty much sums up all of my emotions post-marathon & as a first time BQ’r…

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Some other important thank you’s that need to be said: Thank you to all of you for believing in me. I’m not kidding when I say that your well wishes were playing in my head while I was running–they were on a loop! I loooooove reading all the comments from yesterday and I promise I’m going to respond (I went to work the next day, can you believe it?!)

Thank you to my family who always supports me-my parents, sister, my SIL, BIL, niece& nephew, MIL, FIL…without them I could not do all this marathoning nonsense!

Thank you to my friends who always support me in my crazy marathoning adventures. Their friendly faces are always at the finish lines. They get up super early on their days off just to come and get me in the city. They are the bees knees and I am a lucky, lucky girl❤️

Thank you to running partner for crazy 5am runs, endless run talk & for the pep talks💛💙💛💙

Thank you to my husband who figured out a long time ago that a happy wife is a happy life. He may not go to the finish lines anymore, but he lets me be who I am, and train how I want and never hardly ever complains. Love that guy!

I think I will be riding the emotional high for a while. Yes, it took me 14 marathons to do this-but I wasn’t serious like I am now over the course of those 14. To be truthful, I think it took 3 solid years of effort. I’m completely ecstatic that it happened for me at my very favorite race. I will never forget the feeling of first breaking 4 hours (at Baystate, 2012, 3:54) in the marathon. That little break under the 4 hour mark told me that I actually can do this, I just would have to work a little harder. The next year, (Baystate 2013, 3:47), I took 7 minutes off that PR. Just a little bit further… the goal was almost in my reach. This summer I worked my a** off to get here. This is a feeling that I will never, ever take for granted. Yes, I do wish I had hit my goal time…but at the end of the day, I did finally BQ. I know I am fully capable of a sub 3:20, and I’m already scheming on how to get there (does that surprise you? 😉) I know my story is a sort of the Cinderella story for runners-the fairy tale of a really slow runner who is transforming into a fast runner. But there is no fairy godmother here…just hard work, effort, and a obsession with making dreams come true…because seeing “BQ” next to my name in the results? Well that is just about the coolest thing ever…
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Sooooo. I BQ’d!!!

I actually cannot believe it.
I’m in absolute shock still..
I have been crying like a baby ALL. Damn. Day.

I did not hit my goal time…but I still did BQ…3:28:07, and almost twenty minutes off of my previous PR❤️
I promise to explain every single detail in my recap tomorrow….for now I would just like to say a GIGANTIC, AMAZING, HUGE thank you to everyone who believed in me…your well wishes were looping through my mind today..I can’t thank you all enough:

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This is all I have to say right now:
If you have ever had a dream..
if you have ever tried to do something that you were not 100% sure you actually could do….
if you have ever repeatedly tried to do something again and again without the results you wanted….

NEVER.
EVER.
GIVE.
UP.

Keep running free, and running strong💙💛💙💛💙💛

Silent sunday!

Well mostly silent. When you are reading this, I will be (at least&god willing) 1/2way through my marathon!

Number pickup!

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Me and my girl apple picking!
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Came home to a sweet surprise of cookies and a beautiful cars from my amazing running partner❤️❤️❤️ as I write this-I’ve already had three…and they are amazing…Carb loading, right??!?
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And this bridge. Tomorrow.
Doin it.
Twice.
#Getthebqnicole

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