How Running has helped me Cope: A Guest Post

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to take a moment to share a story with you that is truly humbling. This post is written by my friend Sandy, and she is one the most inspirational and giving people. I Asked her to write this post because I think she is one of the most amazing people on the planet. She tried to tell me she couldn’t write a post because she isn’t a “real runner” (you know I quickly shot that down!) I told her there is NO SUCH THING as a real runner and that if you RUN, than you are a RUNNER!!!

She has been through hell and back and has used running as a coping mechanism. Sandy is a wife, mom, a runner, and a giver. She donates her time, her energy, and her love to helping others. I don’t want to take anything away from her powerful story, so read on.

Sandy’s Story
When Nicole first asked if I would share a post in her blog, I thought what could I possibly share about my running. See, I’m not what I refer to as a ‘real’ runner, I am just someone who learned that running is a good outlet. My story isn’t all about running, but I do have a story and any opportunity given, I love to share that story, which also includes my one marathon!
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I’m a mom of 3 boys, Christopher, Matthew and Zachary. Zachary was just 10 days old when Matthew (aka Matty) was diagnosed with Hepatoblastoma (liver cancer). Matty was 4 years old at the time. In the 3 years that he battled, he not only had chemo and radiation treatments, but a liver transplant, 2 brain surgeries, 3 lung resections and his left arm amputated 5 months before he passed away. Matty lost his courageous battle on March 25, 2007. I wish my story had a happy ending, unfortunately, it does not.

But, because of Matty’s story, I was inspired by the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge team and just 3 weeks after Matty passed, I decided that I would run the 2008 Boston Marathon with them. I was active and in good shape, but no way close to being ‘marathon material’! I had a year to train, how hard could it be, right?! Well, I was 40 years old, I should’ve taken that into consideration. In my commitment to run with DFMC, fundraising was included, something else I didn’t take into consideration.

Life happened along the way and my husband was deployed to Iraq just 6 months after Matty passed. I now had to somehow get my butt out for training runs with 2 young boys at home, fundraise and hold down the fort, so much I never considered. I am thankful for my parents and other family members for helping us out, especially throughout the entire training season. And, of course, wouldn’t you know that it was a winter just like last year’s winter, with a storm every week. I had to shovel then hit the pavement. I give SO much credit to single parents. SO much credit!!

But, let’s back up a bit, as those were just life challenges along the way. I got serious and started my training for Boston about 10 months before the marathon. I remember literally starting with 1 mile. I ran one whole mile without stopping. I was so happy. Two days later I tried two miles. Each week, I tried to gain another mile. Some weeks I was successful, some weeks not. My training was going pretty well and I ran my first ½ marathon (Baystate) that October. I finished at 1:58, which I was thrilled with. I ran some 5k’s and 5 mile races over the next few months. On Superbowl Sunday of 2008, I actually placed first in my age group for a 5k, finishing at 22:23 (7:14 pace)! There is nothing like a runner’s high, and more so if you place! This gave me so much hope that I was ready for the marathon. Hope is a really great thing to hold on to…not just with running but with anything. Hope got me to mile 16 (of my 18 mile training run) but I was quickly brought down with an injury at mile 16. My knee locked up. I couldn’t even walk, never mind run. I had to get a ride back to the gym. I was devastated, but still had hope that this injury would be short lived.

After a lot of pain and a doctors visit, it turned out that the injury was due to lack of stretching. You have to know that I HATE stretching (and I hate using the word hate)! I really thought stretching was pointless. Turns out, it is not. I wasn’t able to hit the pavement again until marathon day. I never ran more than 16 miles before marathon day, something I don’t suggest because I had a lot of fear that I wouldn’t finish the marathon. But, I still had hope.
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I ran that day, that awesome most perfect marathon weather day, in memory of my son, my hero. I had “Matty’s Mom” on the front of my Dana Farber singlet and Matty’s picture on my back. I heard “Go Matty’s Mom” the entire 26.2. I stopped to hug Matty’s nurses, some friends and Team Matty supporters along the way. I saw a little bald girl sitting on the sidewalk and she winked at me. I accepted a popscicle offer from a little boy who had the biggest smile! (side bar – popscicles are the best treats along a marathon course!) Every mile, I felt Matty with me and I felt he placed these children strategically along the route. I got to mile 25, the Jimmy Fund cheering section and I got the biggest hug from a little girl, who was battling the same cancer Matty had. That hug carried me to the finish. I can honestly say that I smiled from start to finish, something I wish every marathoner could do. I crossed the finish line at 5:00 even. It was never about the time, it was about the accomplishment. I finished injury free and I raised $12,000 for Dana Faber in doing so. It was one of my most memorable days and I love to share my one and only marathon story.

I never need to run another marathon, as nothing will ever top that day. But, one thing I’ll always continue to do, is share Matty’s story.

I continued running ½ marathons and 5k’s up until this past year. Like many runners, I have a love/hate relationship with running. I hate that I ‘have’ to run and by that, I mean I have to because it’s the only way I’ll continue to stay in shape. But, I love how it makes me feel after a good run. I have learned that running is such a good outlet in handling my grief. It’s been a great way to clear my head, relieve some stress and frustration and if I want to have a good cry, running is a great way to have at it!
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Matty was treated at Boston Children’s Hospital and Dana Farber’s Jimmy Fund Clinic. I continue to stay involved with volunteering for both organizations, including the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge team training runs. I work the water stops from December to April, for each year’s marathon. In my volunteering at training runs, I not only get to talk about my own marathon experience, but I get to share Matty’s story, which is so much more important! It’s such a great way for me to give back to two places filled with staff that tried their hardest to give Matty the best quality of life possible.

I have so much more to share about Matty but this is Nicole’s blog and it focuses on running and that’s where we’ll leave it.
But, if you are interested in hearing more about Matty, please consider stopping by Frobie’s Café, 101 Broadway Road, Dracut, MA, on Saturday, November 29th, 9-3pm, where I’ll be hosting a Children’s Hospital Blood Drive. I host one every 8 weeks. Just another way to get Matty’s story out there, while giving back.
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Thank you, Nicole, for allowing me to share a little about my running story and how it came about. I’m not a ‘real’ runner, I never will be but that’s never discouraged me from hearing such great running stories and I always love being a supportive spectator! I love your blog. Keep the posts coming! xoxo
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Please consider stopping by Frobie’s Cafe in Dracut, MA this weekend and donating blood for a great cause!

Feel free to leave Sandy a comment about how her story moved you❤️

So THATS why I don’t like trails…huh…

Saturday was such an awesome, day! it was my side of the family’s Thanksgiving! We are so weird and have so much fun together, it’s just awesome.

These are some picture highlights from my weekend…
I am obsessed with this new scarf!

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Three delicious bottles of wine!
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Silliness from my two favorite men❤️
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Sarurday mornings run was CHILLY…
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Sunday, I had signed up to run the Wolf Hollow
Half Marathon. I ran it last year, and I have to admit, I did terrible last year. It was about 24 degrees with a wind chill that made it feel about 2. I’m not exaggerating at all., it was the coldest race I’ve ever run.

I didn’t hesitate to register again because
A-it’s local to me..The race is in Nashua, NH, less than a half hour away. And
B-it’s really pretty. You run along a stream through the gorgeous Mines Falls trails with a little bit of pavement mixed in.

The week before the race, I was really excited for it. I had a really good feeling about my performance..I knew that during my PR in October, I wasn’t as fast as I could have been, and I was really thinking I could be 3-4 minutes faster than I was a month ago.

My first 3 miles (on pavement) had splits of 6:50, 6:55, 6:51..I’ve never seen splits that fast for myself during a half marathon. And ironically, even though I feel like I had a crappy race, I don’t feel like I went out “too fast”. I wasn’t trying to keep up with other people, I was really just trying to run my own race. Those three miles where when I felt the best, too, ironically.

By the time mike 4 hit, we were solidly on trails. I would say 75-80% of the race was on them. I’ve run through Mines Falls before, and all I kept thinking of was my last run there with my girlfriend where I tripped and fell. Trails are not my friend and I’m really not meant to be a trail runner, as I can barely walk and not trip and fall.

I fell twice, nearly tripped a whole lot, and had to tie my shoe once. Besides my ego being a little bruised from falling, I was fine. My legs just naturally slowed to protect me from falling (even more) on the trails which attributed to my overall slowness.

The course was also a lot hillier than I remembered, and running on the trails made it twice as hard. I was surprised that I hadn’t remembered that from last year-but I think I was just trying to stay warm
And finish it..this year the weather was gorgeous and I wore a skirt, tank and arm warmers.

It really felt like it took three hours to finish those 13.1 miles, It could not have come soon enough!! My exact time was 1:42:14. I would have been a little faster if I hadn’t had to pick myself up and dust myself off (dam you, tree branches!).

I’m really not mad about my time at all-not every race can be your best effort. Or maybe this was my best trail effort, who knows! Last year, I PRd in an October half with a 1:43 time, and ran a 1:51 time a month later in the Wolf Hollow Half. This year I PRd in an October half with a 1:35 and ran a 1:42 at the same race. So I know trails slow me! It’s something I never do but ought to do more of, for sure! I talked to a few other runner friends who also did the race and felt the same as I did-tough course with all the trails on it!!

I wouldn’t hesitate do this race again because even though it’s tough, it’s so pretty. After the race they have delicious soup too and I love when a race hands out soup-it is one of my very favorite things!!

One thing the race did do was make me excited for my next road race-on pavement. (where I can still actually fall but hopefully will
NOT.)

This is the only picture I took all day–another way you can tell I was off my game! I typically take a million pics!
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Congrats to everyone who ran yesterday! Special shoutouts to Lauren (a reader who recognized me and came over to say hello-and she did bad ass yesterday!), Laurel (in my Baystate marathon pace group and recognized me) and Mike and Amanda, who raced Wolf Hollow too and hated every second just like I did!!

Brrrrr&Friday Tangents

THANK YOU to all of you for your comments and sweet words for my long three part “Why I Run The Boston Marathon” series…a couple of people had mentioned how important running was to them immediately following the tragedy. I remember feeling the same exact way. My mom usually buys me a massage post-Boston (she is a love!) and when she offered that year, I told her that I felt guilty getting one. There were so many people that were hurt from the bombings, it just didn’t feel right to get a message because i, at least, had my sore muscles. I took a look back at that week to see how many miles I ran-it was 75. I guess running was all that helped me too. (((Big hugs to ya’ll)))

It’s been a weird week.it’s been so ridiculously cold that I’ve been needing to be inside for running. I’m being a bit of a baby by not going outside right now! I feel like we have gone from beautiful fall weather to Christmas weather within a week. The weather is on as much Christmas steroids as my tv commercials are (every commercial is a cold-weather snowy picture-perfect Christmas commercial..TOO.SOON.)

(((SIGH))) The DREADMILL.
I hate running on the treadmill.
I feel lucky I have one, but I don’t like being forced to run on it. Another weird thing about this week is that I have had absolutely zero motivation to run. I know all runners go through this at some point- this is my week I guess…I had two-4 mile days where it was an absolute struggle to get through that. I don’t know. Maybe I’m coming down with something because I’m all out of sorts! I keep telling myself that it’s “ok” to be lazy right now because as of next week, I’m going to officially consider myself to be back in marathon training…aka-hitting it and hitting it hard.

ok no more complaining!
I tried this over the weekend:it was delicious!
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And then I had this beer on Wednesday…

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UFO is actually the winner which shocked me because I always love Shipyard EVERYTHING!

Thursday was National Hug A Runner day! SIL made us these :)
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And this was my fortune with my wonton soup (which is delightful, btw)
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Seriously, how perfect is that fortune?

Happy weekend everybody! Head on over to two of my bloggy friends and wish them good luck in their Sunday race-they both are racing the Philadelphia Marathon and are going to do GREAT!! I feel like these girls could be my real life
Friends, I just adore them!
MicheleMichele and Lisa, I hope you KICK ASS this weekend!!!!

Stay warm everybody!

I Mustache You A Question…

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Today is a little bit different.i was tagged by Michele to do this cute little survey and I feel like today is the perfect day to do it!

Four Names That People Call Me (Other than my real name):
-Miss Nicole (my students)
-Cole. (There is no other nickname. If you call me Nicky…I would probably punch you)

Four Jobs I’ve had:
A hostess at a restaurant, a cashier at CVS, a teller, a Financial Education Teacher

Four Movies I have Watched More Than Once:
-The Notebook (every time its on, I can’t seem to turn it off!
– Titanic (I have to admit that I stole this from Michele, but I totally watch it every single time its on and can’t turn it off..and if I’m watching the DVD, I only watch the first disc..because then if I DON’T watch the second, Jack never dies, right?? ;)
-What Dreams May Come
-The Incredibles (This is my movie when I’m not feeling good and am laying on the couch!

Four Books I’d Recommend:
The Fault In Our Stars, The Pact, Summer Sisters, The Last Pick

Four Places I have Lived:
This one is soooo super boring….I have lived in one town my whole life! Who is boring now??

Four Places I Have Been:
Jamaica, Mexico, Domincan Republic, California

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now: Oh good lord anywhere warm. ANYWHERE.

Four Things I Don’t Eat:
-Olives. Blech.
-Anything that is a delicacy because usually that means its been cooked/stuffed/filled/sautéed in something weird like “a cows stomach” for example (YUCK)
-Canned food ( I weirdly despise canned products)
-Coffee. I know it says “food” but its my ‘mustache’, so my rules ;)

Four of My Favorite Foods:
-almonds, smoothies, steak, buffalo chicken

Four TV Shows That I Watch(ed):
-old shows:
Friends (I will never turn it off, ever)
-The office-I still watch the reruns
-Raising Hope (just started watching a couple weeks ago)
-Gilmore girls
Currently on:
-The Goldbergs, Nashville, Modern Family, Big Bang Theory

Four Things I’m Saying:

-I am not ready for winter
-Can we move to somewhere that is not wintery?
-more wine, please?

Four People I’m tagging to Do This Next:

The Suz

Michael

Lee

Tantra

Feel free to answer one or all of these! :)

Why I run the Boston Marathon #3: save the best for last

Thanks for continuing to read about my Boston Marathon journey!
(see Part 1 & Part 2 to catch up) If you have stuck around this long, you are pretty amazing!

This last part was the hard part for me to write about. I don’t like thinking about it and I try not to but it is always there in the back of my mind. (if you’re not a new reader and you’ve read this before, I will try not to bore you 😉)

Boston has always been a day that my friends and family Celebrate together.. Long before my husband arrived on my marathon scene, Ive been blessed to have had a core group of AMAZING girlfriends who have come to the finish line. They make a whole day of it-mimosas on the train, early morning beers, flasks…they do it right! Everyone always travels in one big group to meet me at the finish. Thanks to the tracking systems that the BAA has in place, they know pretty much exactly where I am at on the course. It’s pretty convenient nowadays to track your runner!

Some pics of us through the years at the finish line!
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For someone who doesn’t know my Boston Marathon story at all, there is an immediate follow up question after I have told them that I have run 8 (7 consecutive)Boston Marathons:

Where were you during the bombings in 2013?

Here. I was here during the bombs.
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I will sum it up as briefly as I can: my friends and family were all there: my husband, SIL, BIL, and 9 girlfriends. Big group. All there, and incredibly, no one was hurt. They were directly in between the two bombs (I was about 15-20 feet from the 2nd) After the 2nd bomb went off, I panicked. I have said it before and I will say it again: I thought the ground under my feet was going to explode. I had no idea what was going to happen next. I managed to find my framily within two minutes after the detonations. I know how blessed I was because some of my friends who were further back were stuck forhours without their families or a way to contact them.

**I would like to note that Everett was not there that day-he was sick so his dad stayed home with him. Now tell me that isn’t the greatest creaming miracle ever???**

One of the reasons I started this blog as a way to let out a lot of emotions about the aftermath from this tragedy. I can say to you that although it was almost two years ago, there is not a single day that goes by that I don’t think about the marathon bombings. I still cringe and cower at loud noises. Hearing fireworks makes me cry. PTSD is real and it is NOT a joke, friends. My husband who has always suffered with anxiety has possibly been affected the most. That is all I will say on that.

I spent the 2013-2014 marathon training season being angry at the marathon bombers. I felt sick, constantly thinking of those who had been hurt while we were all miraculously left unscathed. Survivors guilt. I had to learn that it was not my fault that this happened. Let’s just say running was pretty much therapy for me earlier this year. It was how I connected back to my own experience, and how I was able to make sense of it all. I realized that this world is chock full of amazing people. I mean sure, there are a hell of a lot of Kim & Kanye losers..but for the most part, the world is an incredibly beautiful and generous place. For example, after the bombings, I will never forget how one of my childhood besties stopped by house and left a bottle of champagne and then put a finish line on my door step for me to cross..(it still makes me cry when I think of it.) I’ll also never forget the hundreds of texts/facebooks/voicemails/phone calls we got making sure we were okay…people who I hadn’t spoken to in yearscalled my parents house to make sure we were okay. So people, although they may piss you off at times—they are GOOD. #lessonlearned

I refused not to go back to the starting line in 2014. I pretty much could have been pregnant and giving birth or sick with amoebic dysentery and would have still showed up at that starting line. I had to finish the race I started. All runners know that training for a marathon isn’t just the day you race. It’s the culmination of months and months of hard work and training. To have a moment of crossing the finish line stolen right from me felt like someone cut off an actual piece of me.

I trained for both the Hyannis and Boston Marathons at the same time, furious at the bombers. My anger at them fueled (and still does fuel) a lot of runs. I did fantastic in the Hyannis marathon this year:I set a new PR for myself of 3:45(in February), but then in April.. I could barely break 4:30. Why so slow? That day was an emotional roller coaster for me. I knew how worried my husband was that I was there ( he was home) and I was worried about my small group of friends who put on brave faces to get to the marathon finish line and pick me up. It was not an easy day. Combined with the heat, the mental exhaustion crushed me to slow, turtle like(for me) paces.

Perhaps my crappy finishing time is why I chose to train so hard for Baystate this year.. I really wanted the redemption. I refused to go quietly. I guess that is what has made me a hearty marathoner: I’ve never once thought about quitting. I have never thought I couldn’t do better. I’ve always assumed that because I’ve struggled so much that this means I can be more. Try to BQ after once running a 6 hour marathon? ok. Survive a terrorist attack and go back? ok.
There is nothing that isn’t “doable.” I continue to run Boston because it is at the core of my heart. There is nothing that will stop me.

It was such a long time ago that I was just a 14 year old kid vowing to be the youngest runner ever to run the Boston Marathon. I can’t believe I’m 32 and about to start training to run my 9th, (that ‘ish is cray) I never forgot the excitement of the crowds, or how those runners looked on TV as they sprinted towards Boylston street. You can feel the electric excitement and the energy of the runners coming right through your tv! That magical feeling is why I keep going back. I’ve never forgotten what I felt as a kid and I feel like I carry that feeling in my heart still. I love the Boston Marathon. It’s not only the oldest marathon in the world, it’s a part of my own history. It has shaped me into a better runner and made me push myself. So THAT is why I continue to run the Boston Marathon.

Thanks for taking the time to read about my journey!

Why I run the Boston Marathon #2: My Charity team involvement

(for the first post, you can go here!)

I kept running after my first marathon. (duh) In between my first Boston Marathon (2006) and my second, I did a half ironman (another story for another day-but in a nutshell:NEVER AGAIN). I knew I really wanted to do another Boston, and I was overjoyed when one of my colleagues, Kathy, asked if I wanted to run as a part of the Kids At Heart team for Children’s Hospital. (So that is how I have run SOOO many Boston Marathons without qualifying)

Honestly, I’m going to put here what I wrote on my Children’s Hospital website because it’s pretty descriptive…

This year is my 8th year as a teammate in the wonderful program of Credit Union Kids at Heart. Our team, the Kids at Heart team, is a subset of a larger team, Children’s Hospital Boston. 8 years ago, a friend and colleague of mine at my job asked me to become a part of this organization and I have been loving the journey ever since. I have stayed a part of this team for so long because it’s a cause that I am 110% commited to.

A little background on the Credit Union Kids at Heart: The cornerstone fundraising event of the Credit Union Kids at Heart program is the Boston Marathon. Each runner is paired with a patient partner child who is receiving care at Boston Children’s Hospital. Participating credit unions raise funds on behalf of their runners to support life-saving care and world-class research at Boston Children’s Hospital. the CU K@H Team is attempting to raise $300,000 for certain special research projects that are intended to treat and/or cure Moyamoya disease, Sturge-Weber syndrome, and brain tumors. Two of the research projects were requests from my teammate’s patient partner families, and they are compelling cases indeed.

For 6 out of the past 8 years, I have had the cutest little patient partner. His name is Everett Chase. When I first met Everett, he was just a 5 year old little peanut who I could easily pick up! Now he is a handsome 10 year old who is ALWAYS smiling and laughing. Whenever I’m around him, I can’t help but grin from ear to ear! He also has Cerebral Palsy. The exact cause for Everett’s condition cannot be diagnosed by doctors, as it is a particular set of issues that has never been seen. He doesn’t quite fit any known syndrome or disease. Trips to Children’s Hospital in Boston are commonplace for Everett’s care. Everett attends school at The Professional Center in Andover, MA. He is doing very well, and loves going to school. The staff thinks the world of him, and Everett’s family, in turn thinks the world of them.

Everett has two sisters: One older, Meredith, and one younger, Heather and these two adore their brother. As a family, the Chase’s do tons of stuff together. They are a normal family who does activities together like bike riding to sledding…Everett loves it all. He loves to be outside and to be with his family. He makes lots of noises when you aren’t paying attention to him! Everett is just an everyday, normal kid trying to grow up in the most normal way that he possibly can. The Chase family doesn’t put a limit on what their son can do-That is one thing I have learned from them.

If you are to ask Michele( Everetts Mom, or Peter, (Everett’s Dad) about what they did over summer vacation, you would hear answers like “we went camping all summer, and ate tons of ice cream.” Sure, they might visit the doctor’s office more than most of us do, but for the most part they are just a normal, everyday family. Everett has taught ME that “handicap” is just an expression and that there are no limits to what you can do with your life. The world is a wonderful limitless place and to see it like that is a gift.

To have a patient partner on Marathon Monday means that there is someone waiting for me near the finish line of the race: Everett is my motivation to schlepp my butt outside in the freezing cold weather to get my runs in..There are NO EXCUSES for me when it comes to marathon training. I know that I have to get it done because there is a little man counting on me to run those miles on April 20th and pick him up at the fire station on Boylston St. He will be waiting for me with his ear to ear grin for us to make the journey down to the finish line!

Every year, as I round the corner of Boylston St, Everett is there, waiting for me. I pick him up in his wheelchair, and we cross the marathon finish line as a whole because we are Team Everett&Nicole! Last year was a little different. Due to the heightened security from the 2013 marathon bombings, my team opted to keep the patient partners in a secure, safe location. Everett was not there waiting for me for us to finish and that made me kind of sad. This year we are hoping to have our partners back in the city at our old location, waiting on the runners to finish our journeys into Boston.

SOOO…I stay a member of this team because:
-I get to help the coolest people on the planet:kids!
-I get to be a part of a team that is filled with AMAZING people!
-UMMM.. HELLOOOO I get to run my beloved Boston Marathon!
it’s really a win-win situation in my eyes…

It has been an absolute honor, and a privilege to be a part of this team for so long.. I wish you all could come to our kick off marathon parties so that you could here all of the incredible stories from my teammates. Their stories are beautiful and eye opening and will give you some running fuel along while filling your whole heart with happiness. And, I’ve gotta say… it is a lot easier to train through disgusting New England winters: I know someone else is counting on me, and that is crucial for marathon training. Long before I found my own motivation to “Get the BQ“, I had the drive to keep going because of my patient partner, and that is really something special.

Here are some pics of my little cutie patootie and I throughout our years together!

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Part 3 (the final one!) coming at you tomorrow!

Why I run the Boston Marathon, #1:The background

I wrote last year a lot about my journey with the Boston marathon. Since last year at this time, I have gotten a lot more readers, so I wanted to do a new post and a little bit of explaining. I’m going to break it down into a few different posts because altogether it’s kind of long.(sorry)
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Once upon a time, in a small farm town in Massachusetts, a little girl sat down to watch the Boston Marathon on TV with her mom and little sister. A tradition begin to form. By the time that same little girl was 14, she vowed to herself that she wanted to be the youngest person ever to run the Boston Marathon. (she wasn’t, just an FYI)She could feel the excitement coming out of Hopkington and wanted to be a part of that special magic. She couldn’t believe all those people were there to run a marathon!

Now, this little girl was not a runner. She was not a “natural” athlete with long lean naturally muscular legs. She was a (somewhat) lazy girl who, at best was a cheerleader(think “top” of the pyramid because she was little) for a few years, but the thought of running was really wayyyy out of her comfort zone, and never crossed her mind. If you had told her that within 5-10 years that she would be a die hard runner, she would have laughed at you.

Take #1:The marathon isn’t that long, I’ll be home for lunch.
Time moved on. When she was 18, she began to run as a way to “tone up” and get in shape. A couple miles a day turned into 3-5, and somehow, that turned into “Hey! I really think I can run THE MARATHON!”

But..she underestimated the beast that is “THE MARATHON.” Her first attempt to tame the beast was when she was 20 years old(2003). She hadn’t trained properly, nor did she really know how long the mileage would feel: it’s 26.2 miles. Twenty-six-mother-f*ing-WHY-DONT-YOU-JUST-KILL-ME-WITH-THE-POINT-TWO miles. It’s by no means “short.” she didn’t finish that year(16 miles). But she went back again two years later.

Take #2:If at first you don’t succeed…dust ya’self off and try again.
She went back again for more(2006).
She got a number from a local running club. Her BFF promised to pick her up at the finish line that year. This little runner didn’t even have her cell phone with her. If you can believe it, she left it at home. Next, she got really, really sick with (((ahem, TMI))) some explosive….situations that required the porta potty for about every mile. Halfway through, she had to start walking. Finishing felt like it may as well have been 100 miles away.

But, her BFF was there at the finish line waiting for her. By the time she actually got there (6+hours later!) she was beside herself in pain. She didn’t think she could finish, told BFF that she just wanted to go the f*** home already. BFF wouldn’t hear of it! They were only .25 from the finish line! BFF hopped the fence, took her arm, and made her finish.

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I am that girl.

If my BFF hadn’t been there that day,I am 100 trillion billion% positive that I would not have had the courage to keep going. I just kept picturing her worried face, had no way to call her and tell her what was going on, and I didn’t want her to worry when I never showed up.. So I finished.

What would have become of me as a marathoner if I hadn’t finished that day? I have no idea. I don’t know that I would be where I am today. Finishing a marathon is not easy. It is hard. Sometimes, it will literally take everything you have in you until are about to break in half. Now, I know how much it takes to run the race. I know it isn’t all training: it’s mental, it’s guts, it’s the want of the glory…it’s heart. So that is why I finish,because I have the heart to do so. My first completed Boston took me over 6 hours…probably closer to 7, I don’t even know. But I had the HEART to finish it.

If I think back through my years of running, I see a lot of key elements and turning points tied to my own history with Boston. And I’m not surprised one bit because the picture from my 14 year old brain is still chrystal clear: there was a young, impressionable girl, and some marathoners. This sparked some motivation, some inspiration, and (eventually)an insane drive of wanting to be a better runner. I’m still that kid impressed by those Boston Marathoners. 14-year-old me is still there and she asks me all the time… So…are you ready to run?
Of course I tell her yes!

I will be back with part 2 tomorrow!

Happy Friday-a sentence or 2 per a pic!

My new favorite running skirt❤️
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(big news coming up next week on THAT, but for now, just look to the right, if you would be so kind!

Smoothies make my heart happy❤️

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No lie-I bought this for my hair…deep conditioner hair mask! (I will let you know how it goes!)

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These are delicious!

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And so is this wine, made about fifteen minutes away from me at a local winery/brewery!

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Happy Friday!!
Best of luck to anybody who is racing
(I’m seriously jealous!)
Head over to my friend M’s blog and wish her luck in running Richmond this weekend!

Onwards&upwards: new goals.

I had Tuesday off because schools are closed in honor of Veterans Day. Both my Pepere and my Grumps (his own name he made up for ‘grandfather’) fought during World War II…they each had amazing stories about their time served,but that is a different post. I also have had a few really close friends/family fight for both the USMC and the Army, so ya’ll are just amazing to me. Thank you for all that you have done for your fellow countrymen, it is an honor to know you. ❤️💙🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

I haven’t been able to hit the track lately- i think I went 1-2 weeks before my marathon, but haven’t been back since. I have to tell you that when I don’t go to the track, I really feel a difference in my body and in my running. A good track workout makes me feel like I’ve been hit by a bus. (Yes, it is weird that I like the feeling of getting hit by a bus!) Once it’s complete, there is such a feeling of accomplishment. I don’t want to lose all the advancements I have made this summer/fall from my other one million track runs so I’m going to keep up with it. And I like the variety of throwing in a track workout, it changes up my running!

I did 400s.My goal is to get my times below 1:30. I know it is going to hurt but I know it’ll help me in my future races.

Total miles: 10, 7:19 overall avg pace.
Warmup to the track-1.50, 8:46 pace
8 400s with 400 jogs in between reps, 27:22,6:51 avg pace.

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Jog home from track-1.50, 8:45 pace

And then because I’m silly, crazy, running addicted girl,or just crazy I hopped on my treadmill for 3.10 more miles to see how fast I could do a 5k: 20:19. I really want to sign up for one soon and see how I can do. I would love to really push it and see if I can break the 20 minute mark!

I’ve been debating over if it’s a good idea/bad idea to put this on here so soon-but then I decided that I’m way too excited about it and if somebody doesn’t like it than that is just too bad. I am registered for my next marathon. I am doing Hyannis (in Cape Cod)again because I just LOVE that marathon. It’s Feb 22, 2015. It’s 8 weeks before Boston and although I do know it will be tough to be training for two marathons, I feel I can do it. I feel like I’m a different runner than I was last year, and I’m really excited to delve deeper than I ever have into training. I’m even thinking of buying a McMillan training plan! Ahhh!!!

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One dayREALLY soon I plan to tell my Boston story (if you’re not a new reader, then you already know it!) it takes a lot out of me to write about it, that is the only reason I’ve been putting it off.

I guess I was nervous to put that I registered for my next full marathon on here because I didn’t want to be judged. That is so silly though because this is my blog, and if I want to register for another marathon, I’m going to register for another marathon. I will probably not do Hyannis again (for a few years) after this year. I love doing a winter marathon and even though it’s in February-I love the Cape. I know “The a Rule” is not to do too many marathon within a certain amount of time… But honestly, I just don’t give a dam. Marathoning is something I love. And I love me a winter marathon!

Onwards&Upwards.. Maybe it’s because I’m getting faster ..and I’m way too excited about my running right now that I’m taking my momentum and rolling with it. I have waited like 13ish years to get where I want to be. And I guess I’m just not ready to slow down right now…

Last weeks miles, and pics

I forgot to post my mileage from last week in yesterday’s post, so I’ll include it here:
Monday: 7.20 easy miles, 8:11 avg pace
Tuesday-off
Wednesday: 9 miles-a tempo run I did on my treadmill. I wish I had written down what I did, but I actually 100% forget, oops. I think it was something like a 2 mile warmup, 6 miles at my tempo pace, and 1 mile cool down… Avg pace, 7:09 1:04:18 total.
Thursday: off.
Friday: Doubles.
Morning set: 4 @ 7:39, 30:35.
Evening set:: 4 @ 7:08, 28:32
Saturday:18.01, 8:30 avg pace
Sunday: 7 mile Progressive run-8:41: 8:41, 8:19, 8:02, 2 miles @7:57
49.2 total miles, avg pace 7:59.

After my long run on Saturday, this pretty much sums up my Saturday night…
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This weekend it was Sunday Funday. We rotate houses for who hosts it, and this weekend was ours! It was amazing and got me excited for family day on Thanksgiving!

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I am loving the weather forecast for today:

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It actually SAYS “delightful!” it cracks me up!

I hope wherever you are, you have great weather today too!! if you are a veteran, I thank you for serving our beautiful country…you are amazing.