The 2016 Baystate Marathon

Hi friends!!!! On Sunday, October 16th-I ran the Baystate Marathon. It was my 6th Baystate. This is by far, my favorite course. I have so much to say about my PR race and thought it was time I did a recap☺️.

Sunday was SO MUCH FUN-I lived a lifetime of memories in one day and I’m going to do my best to sum it up here!

Friday.
Packet pickup on Friday with my twin, Nicole. I LOVE HER. We have been one another’s support system lately: all training considerations and thoughts are bounced off each other. We are so much alike and say that we “share a brain”. So OF COURSE  we had to do packet pickup together!

I had #11…how cool is that? (I always register RIGHT when registration opens!)

Friday night dinner: Steak tips and sweet potato.

Saturday.
I try to stay really low key the day before a marathon. I do little things like laundry and clean my bathroom (aka boring chores that I’ve been putting off forever and ever) and try to sit on my butt as much as I can!

I mostly hung out with my new puppy…LOOK AT THIS FACE!!!!!!!! His name is Tucker and I’m totally in love with this pup 🙂

Saturday night dinner: PIZZA!!! This is always my go to food before a race. THis time, it was the Polynesian pizza (Hawaiian pizza with bacon too)

Sunday: RACE DAY!!!!
Up at 5, race started at 8. Breakfast- one egg, a piece of toast, and some juice. Nothing new on race day! I made the decision to bring my hydration pack with me: I’ve never done this during a marathon before, but I had done a lot of pace miles with it on before and I felt confident that it was going to help me during the race!

My dad picked me up at 7 to bring me to the start. After my sweet Dad dropped me off, I stopped at the porta potties…And who immediately spots me upon my exit but one of my FAVORITE runners Francine! I LOVE HER SO MUCH!!! It was SO AWESOME to have a little pre-race chat with her!!

I met up with my running partner, Kristina and my twin Nicole … Then we connected with Marissa and Nari and it was the PERFECT pre-race moment!

We had some laughs, took some pictures and before we knew it….

(Kristina, me, and Nicole at the start)

IT WAS GO TIME!!!!!! (I wish I could use the new Iphone 10 update here & have fireworks go off for you as you’re reading this!–> I was that FREAKING excited and it felt like a PARTY was about to happen!!!)

I was in line for the start, and all of a sudden I heard my (main) running partner behind me: my friend Shannon! So exciting to see her right before the gun went off!!!!! We weren’t sure if we were going to bump into one another at the start, and normally she doesn’t bring her phone with her while she is racing so I hadn’t bothered to text her beforehand to meet up-so it was FATE that we found each other!

There is something about this marathon that always gets me: I’ll be standing there in the cold, shivering uncontrollably (partly from my excitement AND partly because I’m usually frozen). I always feel like I’m standing on the edge and about to fall into something wonderful. It’s a pretty special feeling and it makes me well up when I think about it! The way I see it is that we don’t get too many REALLY SPECIAL moments in life and if you are able to recognize ahead of time that THIS MOMENT that you are in RIGHT NOW is pretty magical? Well you are pretty darn lucky. My brain took a million tiny pictures that day because I KNEW it was going to be a great one.

The gun started and I forgot to start my watch! I think I started it at 15-20 ish seconds in? I also still ended up running 26.50 miles, even with the shorter time!

Shannon and I ended up running together for about 15 miles. Somewhere along miles 2-3, we talked briefly & decided we wanted to pace & push one another for as long as we possibly could. I felt pretty great for those first 15 miles…. Our pace felt really smooth, and Shannon and I are used to running together and push each other naturally so it felt like just another long run.

At mile 12, My stomach started to hurt… I felt like a hard weight was in my belly:it felt like cramps and intense GI pain combined. It was AWFUL. At mile 15, the pain was  I slowed down and couldn’t match Shannon’s pace anymore.

By 16- I knew I wasn’t going to make my goal time. and, over the next 10 miles, I stopped several times and walked for a few seconds. It was awful and I felt SO defeated.

By 18: I had to stop taking GU. I had sipped on one, slowly, for miles 6-9, and another from 12-14. But my 3rd GU, I literally couldn’t swallow it and I choked it up. My stomach was in so much pain & it didn’t want any food in it. I could still take in water and I’m really grateful for that because otherwise I would’ve gotten severly dehydrated.

At 19.5- I saw one of my good friends Kaelagh!!! I ALMOST MISSED HER BEAUTIFUL FACE!!!!!!! She was pulled over in the most random spot and I’m SO GRATEFUL for her because seeing her made me get out of my pity party/waaaaaaaahmbance!!!!!

I had told myself that I couldn’t do the MATH for my finishing time until mile 20. I knew that I had slipped to an 8 min/mile pace.. but: I knew that if I kept that pace up-I WAS STILL GOING TO PR with a 3:21/3:22 time.

I saw my friend Marli at both 13 & 22 (Baystate is primarily a double loop marathon course and certain spots along the course are great because spectators can see the runners twice)….I just love her positivity!!! At 13-I knew she was cheering me on-but by 22: I *NEEDED* to see her and was looking for her face in the crowd: she yelled to me on her megaphone that I was looking so strong and that I was a BEAST! 😘😍

Marli took this of me! Side Note: I will never race in this shirt again because it is way too big on me and NOT flattering at all, LOL!

For those last miles, I had to dig deeper than I have EVER had to dig!!! I kept telling myself that YEAH, I had a bad second half of the marathon, but I DID NOT/WOULD NOT/REFUSED to give up: I didn’t run all those crazy hard, and FAST workouts JUST to give up: I came to this race to mother f*ing PR!!!!!

The fact that I was going to PR got me to the finish line. Even if I didn’t hit my “A” goal of 3:15- I knew KNEW, without a shadow of a doubt that I was going to PR!

At mile 22: I kept saying in my head “Aly, my family, Aly, My family”

I knew my family was only 4 miles away: I NEEDED to see my daughters cute little face!!!!

I tried to speed up as much as one with basically crippled-feeling legs CAN actually speed up. I just wanted to finish! ((SOMEBODY TELL ME WHY PHEIDIPPIDES RAN 26.2 AND NOT LIKE 20??THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER JUST SAYING))

I kept thinking: OMG PLEASE LORD LET ME BE FREAKING DONE!!!!!!!

From then on it was a battle of ONLY the mind. I knew that I would be able to finish because my body is TOUGH. But I needed to actually see my People before I could quit…

At mile 25, I saw the adorable Katie cheering me on..and she is just as cute in person as on her IG!!!!!! (Sidenote: She walked to mile 25 to cheer on the marathon runners after she finished her half-SO BADASS)

And then, in all it’s red glory, came the Aiken St bridge (Ouellette Bridge), there was mile 26…at exactly 26.2: I had a 3:23:02 time on my watch. (Screw you long course!!!!)

I saw my family at 26.10 and they were SOOOO FREAKING LOUD and I know that I am SO DAMN LUCKY!!!!!!!! My daughter and my niece were jumping up and down and cheering for me!!!!!! I SPRINTED to the finish with a 6:30 pace and got an “official” PR of 3:25:25!!!!!!!!!!

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My SIL took this of me!

I set out to run a 3:15 marathon & It didn’t happen.

But what did happen:

I ran with my heart.

I dug so freaking deep into my soul to finish this run: it took everything out of me.

I learned how tough, physically & mentally that I really am.
First half:1:37
Second half: 1:48

Official finish time: 3:25:25

(again with the shirt-where did my shorts go????)

My watch -3:23:02 for 26.2, 3:25:02 for 26.50.
Don’t stop believing friends! 6:30 down to a 3:25. Sub 3:15… you will one day be MINE

Splits: 7:19, 7:01, 7:15, 7:15, 7:17, 7:28, 7:18, 7:24, 7:23, 7:23, 7:24, 7:25, 7:25, 7:43, 7:55, 8:15, 8:03, 7:58, 8:04, 8:00, 8:06, 7:57, 8:33, 9:15, 7:56, 8:01, 3:37 (.50)

My family and I at the finish!

One really amazing moment that I have to brag about: My twinnie, Nicole, GOT HER FIRST BQ!!!! Girlfriend got a 3:35 and we are BOTH going to the 2018 Boston Marathon! It was so special to see her after the marathon. My head is always a little foggy when I finish, and I wasn’t sure yet where exactly she was along the course. I was in the finisher’s chute, and all of a sudden-I looked up and THERE SHE WAS! I’m so PROUD of her for achieving her dream of a BQ. And you are only just beginning girlfriend! 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

After the race, we went to one of our favorite watering holes. I got a sandwich as big as my face….

My Niece and I have a tradition of her wearing my medal and us taking a picture with it 🙂

And some family pictures. Aly is pointing to me because she would like you to know that I am the champion!

More family pics 🙂

 

And I made my puppy wear my medal. How could I NOT????

 

And now you have the whole PR story. If you’ve made it this far- THANK YOU!!!!

Why should you run a local & smaller marathon like The Baystate Marathon

I’ve run a whole lot marathons. So many that I often lose count at how many I’ve finished! When I first started running full marathons, I chose to run larger races like Boston and NYC. I incorrectly assumed that all races were created equally. The large starts, elbows in the face, tripping over my fellow runners sneakers-I thought these things happened at every single race!

It wasn’t until 5 years ago that I started to do smaller marathons. In the fall of 2011, I registered for a race in my backyard. I quickly fell in love with my hometown race, The Baystate Marathon, and have done it annually since. I know a lot of runners only do those huge races, but I wanted to give you some of my favorite reasons and why I think you should consider running a smaller marathon race-like my favorite race, The Baystate Marathon!

1.) Course prep! My long runs are done along the course. Once a week you can see me running the course in preparation for race day. There is nothing like training on the course for your upcoming race. It prepares you mentally and physically. I love that I can navigate it’s roads in my sleep. (And I know where the nearest porta potties/bathrooms are!)

2.) Sleeping in my bed the night before the race. Waking up early is hard to do. Waking up early to drive a couple of hours is dam near impossible to do. The morning of Baystate I wake up early and drive 10 minutes. BOOM. Local runners: there is nothing like this: to me, being able to sleep in my own bed is priceless. Out of town runner’s: There are also several nearby hotels that are a 5-10 minute drive to the start of the race or you can take the shuttle services offered by Baystate. For more info, see here

3.) Local support: The water stops are manned by the local track teams from the town’s you will pass through. More than once, one of my students has handed me my cup of water as I blaze past, and of course I see all of my coach friends. The kids are excited and energized to be helping out!

4.) Skipping the lottery. There is No waiting to enter the Baystate Marathon! No lottery, no staggered registration based on your previous BQ time. Ever signed up for NYC? Then you know exactly how annoying the lottery can be. Ever held your breath with your heart pounding in your chest as you submitted your app for Boston while PRAYING/crying/pleading with the big guy that you made the cut? A small local race allows you to register immediately, sparing yourself the near heart attack.

5.) Running on a much less crowded course. I consider Baystate to be on the “smaller large side” if this makes sense. It’s not too big (like Boston or, even larger:NYC), And it’s not too small (Hyannis Marathon has only about 400 participants).  It’s limited field (2000 entrants for the full) make it the “Baby Bear” of race course sizes: it’s just right. It has friendly competition, is still large enough that they offer pace groups, yet small enough that getting elbowed in the face (most likely) will not happen to you.

6.) Additional race offered besides the 26.2. Another cool part of Baystate is that they also offer a half marathon at the same time: not all marathons do this, and I love when they do. I have found that you can always talk one of your friends into running the half as you’re running the full! Race buddies are the best!

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(Some of my race friends who ran Baystate with me last year!)

7.) Its So Much Cheaper!!! Boston is $180! Hyannis cost me $60, and if you got an early entry into Baystate it’s $85. CHA CHING!! That’s more money you can put towards something else running-related, right? Like your next race…

8.) Local people are the staff that are directing the race. I know who directs my favorite marathon, and I know that the money goes right back into the community for races, fun runs, and other activities that encourages running. I feel good about that. Local people volunteer to help, and local police officers are manning the course and shutting down traffic. A friend of mine handed me my bib last year. I like all things that go along with racing local!

9.) Good cheering sections for friends and family. Baystate has extremely accessible areas for your family to cheer you on. It’s possible for them to get to all areas of the course to see you whiz by! Last year my friend Sandy drove along the course until she spotted me so that she could cheer me on! You can’t get stalking like that at a big race!

(One of the bridges that full marathoner’s will cross twice- other side is a great area for spectators!)

10.) And my personal favorite reason I think you should join me at Baystate this year? Fewer crowds and less people on the course means a chance for a sizable PR. You don’t have to make up those precious seconds you lost due to the weaving that happens with big races. Of course you can run a PR at a large race-it’s never happened to me though. All of my PRs have happened at this race I like to call my favorite race, The Baystate Marathon! This race was also recognized as one of the 15 fastest fall marathons to BQ, and has earned the #2 spot for the fastest marathon in the country!

Even if The Baystate Marathon isn’t local to you-you should just come run it with me anyway- it will be a great day!

As of today (8/2) registration for the marathon is at 1278 filled spots with 722 remaining! Get yourself one of those open spots! It WILL fill up, and it won’t be the day before…it fills sometime in August, so don’t delay too much on entering! 


Who’s running Baystate with me?