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!!!!!!!!!!

.

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!

IMG_7489-0

(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?

My recap of the 119th Boston Marathon!

What a difference a year can make! I took a look back at my logs for what my goal was for last year’s Boston…I wanted to pull a 3:30. How ironic that it happened this year, and in terrible weather conditions! I like running in the rain…I say it all the time. But, I think after yesterday, it will be a little while before I head to run out on a cold, wet, rainy day.

Boston is a hard day for me (I know its hard for everyone for different reasons, I’m not trying to steal the “hard” from anybody here). Its hard to get up at 5 and not start running until 10. It’s hard to be in a car for an hour and wait for a few more until I start. My body doesn’t like waiting one bit. I find myself getting really stiff and way too in my own head. The waiting game really takes a toll on you!! Last year, I left my house at 5 am and didn’t start until 11:20…that was a LOT of waiting around!!!

This year I fared better-I started at 10:25, and left the house at 6:15. My father in law ( SHOUT TO YOU FIL, you ROCK!) has driven me into the city every year for the past 4 or so years. My husband used to take me, but my FIL is a limo driver and knows the ins and outs of the city. My husband DOES NOT, and our day used to start with me crying and getting dropped off far away from the bus I needed to be on and nearly having a panic attack that I wasn’t going to get to Hopkinton. Not exactly my preferred way to start the day…This year, with SIL along for the ride, I felt confident that we could find our way to Hopkinton–>this meant a little extra time to sleep in..that helped A LOT. Last year i got up at 4 am to leave by 5!! AH!!!!! THATS JUST SO EARLY!!!
20150421-174711-64031886.jpg

I seriously have on about 4 layers in this pic because I was so cold!!20150421-174709-64029815.jpg
We made it to Hopkinton by 7 am..sooo early! I hadn’t planned on being there until 7:45-8, but oh well. We were bused by shuttle from an exit off of 495 to athlete’s village. From there we were able to navigate ourselves to the areas inside that we would be waiting at. It was soooooo hard to leave SIL and I cried when we parted ways!!!

With three hours to kill until I started, there wasn’t much to do..I played on my phone….responded to some well wishes….and watched the starts of the elite women and Wave 1. The time did move quickly (but still not quick enough!)

Suddenly, I found myself in my corral and about to start. It was all really, really surreal. You spend so much time prepping for the race that sometimes the actual race doesn’t feel “real.” At least for me it really didn’t! I was VERY VERY COLD at the beginning of the race. So cold that I didn’t take off my shirt until mile 3, and even then I tied it around my waist because I didn’t want to regret tossing it(but i did by mile 7ish because its wet-ness was annoying me).

I stayed at an extremely conservative pace for the first few miles. The rain didn’t start until maybe mile 4? 5? I began to pick up my speed & I felt really, really strong. I thought I could still PR even with the wind & the driving rain. Every single mile went by SO FAST. I realize that this was my fastest Boston, but still, the way the miles were ticking on by was pretty great. I wasn’t cold until probably mile 17…this was when I also started to slow down a little bit. From a mile to mile standpoint, I really don’t remember a heck of a lot of the race- it’s really weird. I’m going to bullet point some of the things that happened (in no particular order, sorry folks):

  • I took GU at miles 7, 12, and 17. At 17 my hands were so cold that they wouldn’t function very well. I couldn’t even rip the tab to open my GU & had to suck it out of a little bitty hole. I slowly sipped that one until mile 24. I typically will take 4 GU during a race- If I had a 4th GU yesterday, I would have puked.
  • I didn’t do any Gatorade. I didn’t train with it and I never felt like I needed the extra sugar to boost me up so I did just water. I didn’t stop at a single stop. I have to give myself some major credit for not stopping and managing to actually swallow the water (instead of the usual snorting it up my nose) 
  • I treated Boston like I always do-high fived and hugged as many kiddos as possible. After all, I was wearing a Children’s singlet….you’ve gotta represent the shirt in a classy manner! And I love seeing the kids out there. They were incredible!
  • It wasn’t that windy until I hit Heartbreak. Man i got cold on those hills. I wanted a blankie. Or a heater. Or to jump in a hot shower. Cold, Cold, Cold.
  • It helped to be in a faster corral. It helped a lot. My start time was earlier, and I had a lot of people around me running my paces. It was really good.
  • I didn’t stop at all…even though my stomach was rumbling and i FELT like I could GO to the bathroom…I did not. I just wanted to finish and get the hell out of the rain!
  • I will be forever impressed that there were as many spectators out there as there were yesterday. I saw Soooooooooooooo many people that I knew, it was GREAT!!! Special shoutouts to one of my blogging friends that I saw out there : Courtney!! I got to see her & got a high five from her right before I climbed the hills! And I saw my cute coach Lauren at mile 24..that was awesome to see her and hear her screaming my name!!!
  • Heartbreak was not hard at all this year. I’ve never worried about Heartbreak & I’ve always said that it isn’t a hard hill-its positioning in the course is the only difficult thing. I don’t mind hills, but I also don’t seek them out, either. At one point I forgot that I was even on Heartbreak and it wasn’t until I saw the “Heartbreak is over” balloon at BC that i realized it was all done. I do a decent amount of hills in my regular running, so I’m pleased that they were quite simple. The only reason I slowed on the hills was because I was F-R-O-Z-E-N. It was so weird- my skin hurt and it felt like someone was giving me one of those stupid Indian Sunburns that kids used to do when I was little. FREEZING.
  • I never hit a wall. My last Marathon (Baystate 2014) I think I felt defeated pretty quickly…Maybe by Mile 15-16? I never felt that yesterday. YES, I was cold, YES, I was soaking wet on every single part of my body…But I felt really, really good. My spirit never broke. There were times when I wanted it all to just slooooow down because it was flying by all too fast. (but then I would get a reality check in the form of a gust of wind and realize that this ISH needed to END)  I know that I could have pushed it alot harder if I wasn’t also so cold. I’m NOT a cold weather running gal…Give me heat & sunshine any day of the week!! At my last Marathon, I NEEDED my friend Erin to jump in with me and help me finish. Yesterday, I felt really good all by myself. It was weird and awesome to feel that.

Rounding the corner of Hereford and onto Boylston was amazing.  I saw my patient partner’s mom and stopped for a hug…LOVED that. Hugging her was hands down the best part of my day! IMG_6023Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 11.58.11 AM Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 11.58.45 AM

Before I knew it-The whole race was over! It took me a little while to find my friends and by then, I was frozen and visibly shaking. I guess I could’ve gone into the medical tent, but it really didn’t even cross my mind. I knew my girls had a bag of warm, dry clothes for me, fresh compression socks, and new sneakers. OMG. Wet socks are the WORST THING EVER. I changed at the Westin at the Children’s Hospital area…It was lovely to do this! Normally, i don’t change. I just thrown on a sweatshirt & pants and carry on with my day. This year was the first year that I’ve ever been SOOO COLD afterwards that i NEEDED to be out of ALL of my clothes ASAP.

When I turned on my phone post race- I couldn’t believe how many text messages, facebook posts, and emails that i had! I loved the hard core stalking and it was just as fun for me to hear about as i’m sure it was to be doing the stalking!!!

I’m really, really happy with this time. It’s not a PR & its not the goal i wanted/that my coach thought I would hit, but I never walk into Boston without expecting to be knocked down a peg or two from all the things that happen during the day. This was a fantastic “course PR” for me. 48 freaking minutes! (Previous PR- 2013, projected finishing time 4:08.) Pretty great! With the downpouring rain, wind whipping in my face, and being really cold for about 9-10 miles—> I’m pretty darn happy about this.

And, like I said in Tuesdays post : BQ’ing at Boston FOR Boston is pretty freaking amazing! 🙂 One item down off the bucket list! 

One thing is for sure-I felt SOOOO STRONG yesterday that I have zero doubts in my mind on whether I can accomplish a sub 3:10 marathon (and someday, a sub 3:00). I know I have a lot of potential left to tap. If the weather had been better yesterday, I think I would have had a PR day for sure! It was a terrific day and I have zero regrets about anything that happened.

Sadly, I didn’t get to see SIL finish. 😦 I’m still pretty sad about that. I’ll spare you the really long story and just tell you that my original plan was to stay and wait for her to come through. There was a little confusion between my brother in law and I after I finished, and it turns out that I wouldn’t be able to get to the finish line to see her because the finish line areas were all blocked off, and SIL’s family had special bleacher seats that you needed an ID to get into & had passes with their names on them. I would have had to wait in the family meeting area alone (my friends couldn’t stay because one of them was catching a plane this morning to warm, sunny Florida!!!) So i ended up by going home with my girlfriends and stalking her hardcore on the app to see where she was! She is doing FANTASTIC today and I’m SO PROUD of her finish! You can read her recap here…its amazing! In hindsight, its probably a good thing for my body that I didn’t stay. Even in warm dry clothes – I continued to shake until I got into the shower, & woke up with a ridiculously sore throat and head cold Tuesday morning.

Here are some great shots of SIL!!!!

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 4.15.53 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 4.16.04 PM

I said this on my facebook but it is really worth mentioning again too: it takes alot of people to train for a marathon. It isn’t just the runner. It’s my husband who puts up with all of my races and doesn’t blink an eye because he knows it makes his wife happy. It’s my family & friends who go to all of my marathoning stuff so that i feel supported. It’s my friends who are willing to wait outside in the rain for HOURS so that they can see me finish. It my in-laws who drove me & SIL into the start of the race. It’s my MIL who takes the kids for my SIL every year so that she can go into the city to see me finish. It’s the constant support from well wishers on facebook ,twitter, IG & here on this little blog! It’s so, so many people who help you along your journey. And for THAT I’m truly blessed and grateful. It takes a community to train for a marathon, that is for sure. So thank you to all of YOU who are always coming along this big, beautiful journey of mine!

Congratulations to all who completed the 119th running of the Boston Marathon: You did so on an absolutely terrible day! I’m proud of you all!!!

20150421-174710-64030829.jpg

Allllll Things Boston

My brain has now become a whole bunch of Boston MUSH. I can ONLY think about race day. And the weekend surrounding race day. And everything surrounding Monday. EEEK!!!!!

If you want to be overwhelmed with pictures from my Boston weekend, you can follow me on my IG account. I promise to upload tons of pics to document these HUGE days of mine that I have coming up! 🙂

I wanted to tell you all what I’m planning on wearing/taking with me on Monday! I don’t think I’ve ever done a post on this before, but now is as good of a time as any!

Boston is a horse of a different color. I leave my house REALLLLLY early and then wait a REALLLLLY long time to start. I dislike this.  I’m typically in Hopkinton by 7:00 am. This year, I will be there a little bit later than usual since I’m getting a ride in instead of taking a bus. I’m hoping that since I’m in Wave 2 this year (i’ve only ever been in the last wave) that it will be easier on my body….I’m not the biggest fan of waiting for a race to start….and neither are my legs.

I will be waiting in a church in Hopkinton on the morning of the race (after I get dropped off). I’m only allowed one clear gallon size Ziplock baggie…Your regular  post “race bag” that you receive from the BAA (Boston Athletic Association) must be dropped off prior to Monday since it must be searched. I’m not going to get into the whole bag process except to say that I’m not checking one. I’ve found it to be extremely tedious to retrieve it, and I’m going to give my girlies my bag to keep in their car for me.

Typically, I bring a “fanny pack” (that is the grossest phrase & I can’t even DEAL with it without sticking my tongue out and saying YUCKY) type thing with me to carry all of my stuff in. This year I”m going to do something a little bit different: I’m going to try to hold all of my things in my skirt. There is a chance that I might still need my fanny pack (Again I just loathe that word) but as of this moment–I”m not planning on it.

I just love my Lioness skirt(s)…so cute and SO functional…#WINWIN

So.

Here are some things I am bringing, or are considering bringing.

1.) The sneakers. I literally cannot make up my mind. At any second I waver between a new pair of Brooks Pureflow 2’s and a new pair of Brooks Ghost 7’s. My reasons for each:

-The Pureflows:
I love racing in lighter shoes and I loooove the Pureflow 2s & have a few pairs that I stocked up on when I knew the 2s were being discontinued. I love how cushy the Pureflows are and still feel light. Think running on clouds meets snug-fitting, element-protecting socks that you won’t even know are actually there. I ran my last marathon in a pair of Pureflows. My feet were pretty happy.

-The Ghost:
Although they weigh maybe an ounce more, they are like running on a slightly more stable cloud than the Pureflows. I love the Ghosts! These shoes have been my go to shoe since…Like forever ago. The Ghost shoe is solely responsible for some of my most amazing long runs. My love for Brooks began with the Ghost shoe, and to this day-its the only shoe I will buy blindly. What do I mean by “blindly”? I mean that regardless of the price–>I will pay it for a new pair of Ghosts..even if its a brand new model that I’ve never run in before, I will pay top dollar. I love the shoe that much and have firmly believed that each new model has only gotten better. Fine wine has nothing on the Ghost…

Anyway I cannot decide. I’m leaning towards the Pureflows because I know I won’t be on my feet that long. However. The Ghost has always been perfect to me too. I pretty much am up in the air and even after listing all these reasons for me to review? I can’t make up my mind!

So lets move on to…

#2. The bottoms.
I’m wearing a Lioness skirt. Even if I wasn’t a Skirt Sports Ambassador…I would be wearing one of these skirts. I LOVE THEM. Now to decide the color….Pink, teal, and…Tomorrow I’m getting a black one delivered… I need to have ALL the color options… #priorities.

3. Socks. I’ll be wearing compression socks. (DUH)

 

Oh more on my fave skirt…. I “m choosing the Lioness skirt because it has two very deep side pockets on each side of the compression-y under shorts…. I am pointing to one of the side pockets here...
And, the skirt also has a sweeeeet back pocket… When I’m doing my long run, I put my house key, money and debit card in this pocket because I like that it zips shut!

4.) My Children’s Hospital Singlet. Proud doesn’t even begin to cover how I feel rep’in this shirt. IF you ever get the chance to represent something you believe in…DO IT.

5.) The electronics and sun protectors…My Garmin, my Oakley sunglasses, my bluetooth ipod nano and my bluetooth headphones. I loooooove my bluetooth headphones. I’ve never worn them during a marathon before so I’m pretty excited to try them out at Boston!  I know alot of people like hats during the marathon, but I have actually one of the smallest adult female heads in the WORLD and a hat AND shades feels weird. My scalp has never been burned because I am a creature of the sun….sunglasses are what I typically wear during a race!

IMG_5859

6.) Also, bringing, but not pictured here …..
-I’m deciding between a battery case for my iphone vs one of those little charger sticks that you charge & then plug your phone into. I have a charging case but think its way too large, and I am getting the stick thing tomorrow. (Target has them for like $5!!!!). Sidenote: During the marathon, I turn my phone on airplane mode…it saves on battery life& I don’t use it for music anyway!
– I will be bringing 4 -5 GU’s with me and cramming them into my skirt pockets 🙂
-Immodium…because I have had Boston’s and 1 NYC Marathon filled with porta potty visits galore and I don’t plan to do it ever again……..ain’t nobody got time for that when its time to set a PR :))

7.) And because you might be curious... My “Post Race” bag will have clothes….salty snacks….and a new pair of kicks to change into.

8.) Pre-Race- I just realized that I left this out and you might be wondering: My start time is 10:25. For a lot of runners, this is a late time to start their run. For me, this is actually right around the time I would normally head out for my long run. The only problem I have with Marathon Monday is that I have been up for so long before starting the race. If I was at home, I wouldn’t have even gotten up until 8:30 ish, ate breakfast, got ready & left. So, naturally I’m hungry when I’m waiting. I’ll have my normal breakfast when I get up of an egg sandwich on toast with a slice of prosciutto and cheese. Children’s has tons of food& liquids for us inside the church where we wait, so I will have a couple pretzel sticks and maybe a honey stinger waffle.

 

Just because I love this pic so much, I wanted to tell you that I will be seeing this line in THREE FREAKING DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AND…I get to see THIS FACE tomorrow!!!!!!!! YIPPPPPEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!

I will try my best to check in with some things before Monday but I can’t make any promises!
My Bib number is 14809…in case you are curious!
Thanks a million, trillion, zillion times over for all of your well wishes… knowing I have people in my corner thinking of me will make these little feet fly a little faster :):)

BOSTONSTRONG!!!!

The weekend💙💛💙💛

I just want to start this post off by telling you some things:

-I am SO tired. Like tired-to-my-bones tired. But still, i have to tell you…. I’m ready for this week because it’s “peak week”!!! Bring it on, peak week, BRING-IT-ON.

-I’m writing this the night after my long run, and I’m pretty spent. If there are spelling or grammatical errors….This is your one and only apology. I’m way too tired to proofread!

So lets recap the weekend….

SIL’s benefit was this Friday night! (Sidenote: I wore the exact same dress that I wore last weekend. No judging please…I got all discombobulated by the fact that it started to snow out and scrapped my original outfit. Again…no judging! :))Me and my beautiful friend, Sandy!!

Wifey and I

The guest of honor, AKA, my SIL/Sister 🙂 I’m beyond proud of her you guys…She has set out on this incredible journey and it’s been so fun, and inspiring to watch her along this road!

Cause we’re the four best friends that anyone ever had!

A bromance…

My Love and I!

Saturday:) I woke up and it was a BLIZZARD outside! I made the executive decision NOT to hop on the treadmill for my long run. I THINK i have already proved that I am tough enough this winter. It’s spring and practically April. There will BE NO MORE long runs on the treadmill! (She says, hopefully, as she checks the weather reports…) I made the decision to move my long run to Sunday!

Saturday night, we took our girl to a Japanese Steakhouse…For this pic, I said “smile” and this is what I got…

A Mai Tai. It was DELICIOUS.

She was AMAZED by the fire!

Me and my smallest and most adorb BFF 🙂

Sunday….Second to last “really long run” in my Boston training! LESS THAN A MONTH UNTIL MARATHON MONDAY…A-WOOO-HOOOO!!!!!
A backyard ice bath in the snow after my long run. YIKES, this run hurt!

An awesome lunch date with my love after my long run…This sandwich did not even see my face coming. I out-ate my husband. My eating skills could have been challenged on TV….

IMG_5481-0
All weekend I have felt like I’ve been fighting off a cold! Since I’m starting peak week, I need to be at my strongest!!! Wish me luck and please PLEASE send me some healthy thoughts!!!

Tell me something great from your weekend!! 

 

 

 

Fantastic is….

…A date with your running partner that you don’t get to see as much anymore! Why don’t I get to see her as much anymore? BECAUSE SHE IS HAVING A BABY!!!!!
IMG_5248

I’ve left that off the ‘ole blog for quite a while, but last week when we had our date, she told me I could post this pic! And along with that, I am going to tell you the weird story of how we met, and then give you some reasons why I LOVE to run with people!

I met my RP last year (around mid-January 2014) in the most unusual way. We both had commented on another blog, and on this particular post, the “question of the day” was something like “What is your next race?” I commented that my next race was the Boston Marathon and it was extra special to me due to the fact that I couldn’t finish in 2013 and that I was about 10-15 feet from the 2nd bomb, and less than a tenth of a mile from the 1st.

A girl replied to my comment “Dude, we must have been right next to one another because that’s where I was.” We took a look at pictures, and it turned out she was right next to my patient partner during the marathon bombings and probably 15-20 feet away from me!
2boston-marathon-explosion
(she is the circle, my patient partners’ mom& sister are the arrows)

We commented back and forth on that post a little more about our whereabouts on that day, and then I decided to check out this chick’s blog, The Fast And The Foodiest. I started reading her most recent posts and it turns out – she had just run a race in the next town over from her-Lowell, MA. How about that-The next town over from ME is Lowell MA. We began to email back and forth, and it turns out that we both live in the same town. Weird, right? It gets weirder. We start talking running routes- We run the exact same roads every day. We decided to meet at a spot close to our houses, and little did we know that for the past 5 years- We have been neighbors. We live less than .25 miles away from each other…and had never seen one another before!!

We started running together right away. Running with a partner is Sooooooooo different than running solo. Night and Day.

These are my top 10 reasons running with a friend is way more fun than running solo:

-Getting the “Workouts” done. Even when you are just not that into today’s workout-When you have somebody waiting for you and counting on you to be there, it is much easier to just do it that to wait and do it solo.

-Motivation. Even When one of you is tired, you can count on a partner to help motivate you along.
20141020-181111-65471132.jpg<
-Waking up early for a run. When you have sombody meeting you, getting up early takes on a whole new meaning. Its much easier to get out of bed because you know someone is counting on you.

-When you’ve got a good match, running with a partner is effortless. You will draw from each others strengths. We are attune to each others footsteps. When one of us has a “slower” day, running with a partner can get you going faster.

-Long runs. Slogging through miles is better when you’re slogging through with someone else!

-New routes. It’s easy to get stuck in a routine with the places you run. Running with someone else offers you new routes and challenges that you’ve never done before- from hills to hidden neighborhoods, you can learn a lot of new stuff.

-Bouncing running plans off of one another. I love to tell my RP new things I want to try, and she will tell me what she thinks of it and what has worked for her. Only a running friend can listen to you drone on and on for hours on end about race strategies and then give you great feedback.
20141010-135925-50365842.jpg
-New friendships! One of the best things about running with a friend is the bonds that develop really quickly. Running with a friend guarantees lots of long talks about that thing called LIFE. It’s not just time to see your friends, its therapeutic, too.

-Races. Doing a race with a friend is way more fun than doing it solo!

-Safety in Numbers. Not only is it Fun and Friendship-forming, it is safer too. Running at 5 am solo in the dark- dangerous. Meeting my friend to run at 5 am in the dark? Not dangerous. Bringing a friend along means 2 cell phones, 2 of you to be seen on the roads, 2 of you to look out for ice…you get the picture!!

Do you run with friends? If so- Whats your favorite thing about it?

Some feelings on the Tsarnaev trial.

Every morning when I wake up, the very first thing I do is grab my phone to google the latest updates on the Tsarnaev trial. I cannot get enough info on the case of the man who tried to kill me. If I didn’t have a job, I would be at that courthouse every day trying to be one of those pedestrians that they let in to watch.
20150310-220736-79656150.jpg
It has taken almost two whole years for this trial to begin. I need its closure. Crossing the finish line in 2014 brought me closure, but the verdict in the Tsarnaev case will bring me a different kind of peace.

I have read that Tsarvaev will not meet the eyes of any of his victims, nor will he even spare them (save one) a glance. If I had it my way, I would make him look at every single individual he has hurt until he cracks with the pain of what he has done. I would literally hold his eyelids open and make him stare. This is a man without a soul and instead has a heart full of hate. I want him to feel the ongoing agony he has put his victims through. “An eye for an eye” also sounds great…but I would rather hear that he has been given the death penalty.

Reading the stories of the victims is painful. Its a constant walk down memory lane towards the images I try not to think of and a day that has caused so much pain in the lives of my friends, family, and in my own heart. Painful though it may be, I feel like I need to read/hear each account from each victim. I want to give each and every one of them a hug. Cry with them. Every single story is relatable, have you noticed that? There is Jeff Bauman, who came to the finish line to see his girlfriend cross. There’s the Richard family– Just the normal everyday family who wanted to go to an extremely popular sporting event (Marathon Monday ranks 2nd in coverage. The number one spot goes to the Superbowl of course.) To me, the fact that all of their stories are relatable is the scariest part. These are the stories of my friends and my husband-just a fun day in the city celebrating their friend and watching a marathon. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wanted to hurt the everyday people of the world.

Even though I have no physical scars, and I didn’t lose a limb, I have scars in my heart that will always be there. These kind of scars are ones that will never fade and even with the passing of time, the marks have not fully healed. I carry a scar for my husband who kept our entire group together. This is a man who does not like crowds as it is, and only went to the finish line to watch his new wife finish her marathon. My anxiety ridden husband suffered enough that day, never mind throwing bombs on top of it all. He was militant in keeping our group together, all holding hands, until they found me. I carry a scar for the carnage my friends and family saw: limbs, blood, and the screaming…So much screaming. The “wrong place at the wrong time” phrase was created for 4/15/13. I carry a scar for the fact that anyone was even there to see me run in the first place.

I have a scar for Marathon Monday. My favorite day of the year–> more than my birthday–Marathon Monday is MY day. MINE. I know I am BostonStrong because I rallied, and I returned to Hopkinton last year to run those legendary 26.2 miles. The day originally symbolized my love of running for Children’s, meeting up with my “people” after, and celebrating this huge accomplishment. Now, even though it is still all those things-the memory of what happened will always be in the forefront of my mind. I will always be nervous. I will never forget. It has changed me. It changed my city. It changed “my people.”

But through tragedy, triumph always shine through eventually. Boston rallied, stronger than EVER, around its people. We displayed a courage so powerful it takes my breath away just thinking about it. We shut down a city to catch the bombers.
A WHOLE CITY.
ONE OF THE BIGGEST AND MOST POWERFUL CITIES.
I have faith that Boston will triumph again and make the best decision in the outcome of this trial.

BostonStrong now…Boston strong ALWAYS.

20150310-220736-79656578.jpg

Guest Post: Q&A’s for my Marathoner in Training: SIL!

I wanted to do another installment of interviewing my SIL! If you didn’t catch the first one, you can see it here! I talk alot about her in this blog (its because she is pretty much amazing!) and now SIL is going to be running her first marathon this April! And not just any marathon, but BOSTON! I’m so proud! It’s been a long time since I’ve been a new marathoner and over the course of these past few months, I’ve loved hearing her side of marathon training. I know alot of you are new marathoners and I think you can really appreciate this!

I decided for this post, I would mix it up a little bit this time and do some Q & A’s, interview style! Here are her answers below!

 

We are now Eight Mondays (starting March 2!) from Marathon Monday…How are you feeling about everything?
I’m feeling good most days. I feel strong. I finally feel like I can do this. I’m not going to lie I am tired. I overthink a lot of things and my wheels are always turning but overall I feel good. I feel the strongest I have ever felt just 2 months shy of 40 and I that makes me smile.

One of the things distance runners typically get excited about is hitting new distances for the very first time in their training..what is your most memorable “new distance” that you’ve hit thus far?
My most memorable new distance has been 17 miles training on the marathon route with my DFMC team members. It was a balmy 18 degrees that day. I wore way too many layers and felt like I was carrying so much extra weight. I kept thinking (praying) for some beautiful days ahead where I would be wearing tank tops and shorts and feeling so free. This is how all this winter training will pay off in the spring. If it ever comes to visit us here in New Enland.
IMG_5147
(Pre race selfie!)

Tell us about some of the speed bumps you’ve hit along the way in your training.
Ugh. Speed bumps. I think being a mom, a wife, a teacher, a photographer and taking on a marathon is nearly impossible. If I didn’t truly believe in my heart that NOTHING is impossible I might think it was impossible. People ask  me how I do it? Or how I am doing it? I’m not really sure. My go to answer is “You can do anything!” That’s because I am a pretty positive person most days. I think you need to have a really strong, supportive village. You also need to have a really strong mindset. You need to have time management and you need to be able to fit it all into every day and be at peace at the end of the day with all of it. Even the stuff that didn’t work out. Even the stuff that didn’t fit in. The stuff that didn’t get done. You need to be able to let it go. That is the hardest part of all of this. I have a hard time with that still. And I am pretty hard on myself. The amount of effort that goes into one day sometimes is overwhelming. All the things that need to get done from sun up to bedtime.  But then I stop and I think about the WHY. The reasons I am doing this is because people have cancer. People fight cancer every day. People die from cancer every day. My people. My sweet, kind, loving, fearless people. And that is just not okay in my heart, in my mind, deep down in my soul. We need a cure. We need to be closer to a cure. This needs to end. So while I fight my own minor battles to get through the day and get all of this done. My battles are nothing compared to what my people are fighting.

 

What are some of the things that have come to you naturally, or, more easily than you would have expected before you began training for Boston?
I think running in the freezing cold has been easier than I thought it was. I hate to be cold. Absolutely hate it. I am a “heat on 72” kind of girl. I am a “WHY do we LIVE HERE” every day kind of girl. I am always cold. My bones are cold. I seriously don’t think I have any blood. And when someone told me what training for Boston in the winters would be like, I wanted to cry. But we’ve had some pretty tough runs, some pretty long runs, some pretty freezing runs this winter and I have survived. And it was not as horrifying as I thought when I first started this journey. I can do this. Even in winter. Even in single digits.

 

How has marathon training changed you? Strengthened you?
I think training for Boston has strengthened me in so many ways. My body and my mind. While I have always considered myself an athlete. I swam competitively my whole life. I feel like I am a much stronger swimmer now because of my running. I was always a sprinter so anything over a 100 yards and I was done. I no longer feel that way. I feel stronger in that sense.

This is silly but I feel taller. This is a funny only because so many people have said to me… “Did you grow?” I am 39 years old. I have been this tall since 6th grade. Which was awful, btw. To be 5’8 pushing 5’9 in 67th grade when everyone was tiny. But no, I have not grown. Maybe I stretched a little. But it’s hysterical because standing next to my smaller friends it does seem like they’ve shrunk. So bizzare.

I feel like I am stronger in my mind than when I started. When I started this journey, I had run a ½ marathon but it wasn’t really until recently that I have felt like “I can do this.” I know I can do it. I am doing it. There’s not turning back . But now I feel like I really can do it. Mind over matter has never really been my thing. It’s slowly becoming my thing. I also feel like I am stronger at being at peace with things. There is a calmness in me. And I am not a calm person. I am a 100% Type A, overthinker, overplanner, worrier. But when I breathe, like really breathe, which is not something I was ever used to doing. I feel at peace with all of this.

And it will be amazing. I know it.
IMG_5139
(Tara looking amazing pre Stu’s 30k this past Sunday!)

What are some of the weird “marathoner-in-training side effects” that you’ve experienced
Welp. I love that word: Welp. It’s not even a real word but I love saying it…
I didn’t realize that you could lose a toenail or 2. Nor did I realize that if they fall off it’s not like there’s nothing underneath. It’s almost like there’s another one just waiting for you. It’s crazy. And it’s not painful. It just happens. And it’s okay.

People don’t get that. And that’s okay too.

I feel like this journey has been much like a pregnancy.

So many changes with your body. I am hungry more. I eat every 2 hours. But I am trying to be really good about what I eat because I know it will only help me on this journey. But I am only human. Let’s not get crazy now. While I am not thirsty all the time, I am constantly drinking water just because I am afraid of becoming dehydrated. I haven’t yet (knock on wood) but I feel like I need to stay on top of it logging all these miles. Some days I walk funny (usually after those long run days. I had to finally take my engagement ring off the other night (much like my pregnancy) hahaha but for the opposite reasons. I took my glove off and my ring flew off. So that’s locked up for awhile until my hands become sweaty and warm again because right now they are just cold bones. My wedding band is apparently smaller than my engagement ring and stuck on for life.

And just tired. Oh so tired. Not like an unhealthy exhausted. Just beat. I am not a ton of fun to be around on weeknights as I am asleep around the same time as the kids. Poor Bri. The weekends I really try to step up my game so life isn’t completely passing me by. There are things to do! Fun things!

Everybody loves inspiration! Tell me three things that drive you to keep going when you want to quit!

 

Why do you run?
So my top 3 things that drive me are…

I run in honor of my beautiful godmother Shirley Cyr. When I think I am done. When I think I can’t run another step I picture her face. I hear her laugh. She was robbed of years with her family. For her I would run to the ends of the earth.

I run for my mom and my aunt who have both battled cancer, My mom battled breast cancer and today is cancer free and my aunt has battled thyroid cancer since 1993 and is still fighting. 3 sisters. 3 different cancers. How is this possible?

We need a cure. We need a goddamn cure.

I can’t even limit my response to 3 inspirations.

I run for Matty.

I run for Shelbie.

I run for my 2 best friends who both lost their beautiful Moms.

I run for family and friends that we have lost to this horrible disease.

Family and friends that are still fighting so hard.
Tara1
(tara’s inspirations!)

My DFMC team inspires me so much. I run with some pretty amazing people who have some really hard stories of why they are running. Every team run is just an incredible experience.
IMG_5170
(Tara in her new DMFC singlet!)

I feel like I can find inspiration in so many things every day but fighting this battle for Dana Farber is my one mission right now. And I am honored to be a part of it.

Tara3<a
(we took this after the race…bathroom selfie! This MEME courtesy of Tara!)

Tara2
(Scott & Tara finishing strong on Sunday at Stu’s)

For more on Tara’s journey, you can follow along at Cancer Needs A Cure. I hope you enjoyed reading this! Leave her a note of encouragement below!

If I didn’t have bad luck I would have no luck?

What a weird week.

First of all…. I have to say I’m really sorry to all of my readers, and also, sorry to my fellow bloggers…I’m really having an “off” week this week. I have not really sat down at all to write or read blogs. UGH. I’m not liking that. Work has been exhausting. Sometimes I swearNOT taking a vaca is actually easier than taking one. It’s crazy how much there is to do when you get back. Good thing I was well rested to take on the post vaca stress? Hmmmm….

So. My next race was cancelled/postponed: I am Two for two.

IMG_5081

(Insert all the swear words here_____________)

I picked the Black Cat out around the same time I had signed up for Hyannis . It is was only two weeks post Hyannis…however, I knew I wanted another race to re-motivate myself towards keeping up my Boston mileage. Although I didn’t register for it until Hyannis was cancelled-in my brain I was always planning to run it. They postponed/cancelled it this Tuesday. Two for two within a week. I hate you, winter 2015.

SO, it was back to the drawing board.…this meant ANOTHER big discussion with my coach on my training, race schedule, future marathons etc…. please let this be the last change up for a while?! please and thank you.

Still, even though it seems things always have a way of working out, I’m sad! My husband says I’m being extremely dramatic and there isn’t any reason for me to get upset. In his words: “You run 500,000 races, and you’re probably going to run 500,000 more.” While All Of That is certainly true–> im just having a hard time getting/staying excited & motivated about running a different race. I was ALL fired up about Hyannis. And BAM! Cancelled. Then I decided to get excited (again!) over Black Cat. I know I should be more “just go with it” but come on now.. when the heck will these weather malfunctions be over? I don’t even have an end date in mind AND, at this point–> I’m seriously hoping there is no snow at Boston. For real, that is not a joke, I’m ACTUALLY worried about the giant snowpiles still being here towards the end of April.

What irks me THE MOST about cancelled races is that I’m still willing to spend MORE MONEY for another one! Yup: I’m mad at ME! As soon as a race is cancelled- I am immediately going into die hard research mode. Let’s be serious-At this point I know just about all of the area races by heart, anyway. YUP..I know where all the races are, and their dates…you could quiz me.. . My coach and I decided on a local half who’s original date had been changed from Feb 22 to March 15. Because it is ALWAYS the same day as Hyannis, I never run it because it means choosing, and i just love the Hyannis Marathon. I actually emailed the race director to ask if they have any forseeable plans on canceling … If I have ANOTHER race cancel on me, I’m going to lose my ****. Hopefully she doesn’t judge me too much because I put that in the email… #sorryimnotsorry. I will consider my emailing skillzzzz to be a step in the right direction...#imgettingsmarter

I am REALLY excited about my long run this weekend. It’s going to be HARD, but so, so worth it. This coach of mine is really working me hard and i like it. 🙂

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 5.54.03 PM

In other news of Things To Be Excited About… my benefit is on Saturday night..Its an amazing time with amazing people for an amazing cause! 🙂 I think I will do a rare “Saturday post” with some Benefit Throwbacks over the past 8 years!

This weekend one of MY FAVORITES is running her third marathon…The Phoenix Marathon! Please join me in wishing her THE BEST DAMN RACE EVER!!!!!! XOXO Hugs and Kisses, Suz!

HAPPY WEEKEND !!!! Tell me something you’re looking forward to!!

You guys are the best.

Thank you everyone for your amazing comments and support. It has made this difficult and unsettling time a heck of a lot better! I’m still a little sad. Which is weird because I am truly NOT at ALL a sad person. In every situation, I am able to find a silver lining and quickly move forward and refocus. I’m not a “dweller” and I never have been. I like to think of what is happening now, and of course, the future. Onwards and upwards…never backwards.
IMG_4969(this is a picture of the city right now. Yikes.)

A lot of people have said to me that at least now I can focus on my spring race, Boston. Which IS actually, in fact, true. However. The thing with Boston is that for the past 8 years? I have not run it FOR ME. I run it for Children’s Hospital. I run it for my adorable, sweet patient partner, Everett. My times get affected for Boston. I stop to hug kids along the way. Every Children’s Hospital mile stop- I break to give some high fives, get a popsicle or candy. During the Boston Marathon, the past 7 years (and soon to be 8) have meant that I run for a cause bigger than ME. And I have always been 100% okay with that, and still am.

Two years ago, I decided to run Hyannis as a winter marathon, and knew I would be running Boston in April. I knew I would be tough to basically train back to back for marathons. I also really didn’t care. I wanted to hit a new PR at Hyannis, and then i did it. This year, I wanted to revisit the Hyannis course, and take a NEW PR for myself. Not just a “course PR”, but a NEW MARATHON PR: 3:08.

My current marathon PR is 3:28. I realize 20 minutes sounds like a large jump. At the risk of sounding like a crazy person–> here is my reasoning for shooting for that goal:
-I was solidly trained for a 3:18 marathon in October 2014.
– I didn’t reach that goal because of a couple random things (not having my hydration pack with me and a ridiculous headwind).

In my mind, this meant I only had to shave 10 minutes off of my time. (NO JUDGING on my crazy thinking, PLEASE) The thing is that i worked sooooo hard for it. Honestly? I’ve been working on my new goal since my BQ back in October. Nearly all of my workouts center around my goals. I just don’t like to slow down and i certainly do NOT like to quit. Telling me “NO” or “you’ll never be able to do that” means that you should drive to Foxwoods or Vegas and bet on me doing the EXACT OPPOSITE of whatever you just said—> I don’t like those phrases and have proved naysayers to be wrong many times in the past. I was going into Hyannis with the winning attitude and wanted to place, high, within the top three finishers. I can’t even sugar coat my disappointment.

But.

And you know there is ALWAYS a “but” in these types of posts and conversations.

BUT.
I am healthy.
I am not injured.
I have my legs (both of them!)
I am able to run, every day.
I have the ability to undertrain and overtrain (if you can’t run right now than obviously you can appreciate that sentence)
I can still continue to be bad ass in my training.

It’s not like I have to “give up” running because I can’t run my marathon this weekend..

it’s

only

ONE

RACE.

YES. I die hard trained for this full marathon.
But, i can’t say that all those 20 mile runs feel like a waste because MAN i LOVE 20 mile runs…. I’m such a weirdo.
I know maybe some of you are wondering why I don’t just pick another race? But I would like to just tell you right now that I have LESS THAN ZERO % desire to travel and run a race on a course I have no experience on. I wanted to run a race on a course that i had a ton of experience on. I don’t want to fly to participate in a race (someday, maybe i will travel by plane for a race!). I can’t miss more time from work ( 8 snow days& counting). This race was my race and now my race is no longer. It is what it is.

So on Tuesday, I sat on my couch for a while all day . I may or may not have eaten a ton of candy. (no judging!). By 3 pm, I had had enough of my wallowing-ness. I felt YUCKY. What better to solve the YUCKY-NESS feeling for a RUNNER than to GO FOR A RUN? There is nothing better, its true. I laced up and hit those snowy streets and ended up having one of the best runs. It should have felt like “A LOT” of effort for this really hilly run…But it didn’t. Every mile felt easy and that is a true mark of how hard I have been working.
IMG_4968
Garmin satellites were wonky-6.85 miles/7:15 avg pace.

This run helped to put my mind into a better perspective. As with life, running is all about perspective, decisions, and the choices we all make.

I CHOOSE to be a runner. 

I CHOOSE to run.

I CHOOSE to race.

But most importantly of all: I CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY. Running and racing make me happy. I’m going to keep doing what makes me happy…even if I have to wait a while longer for my next PR race. I’m not worried because everything happens for a reason. And only time will tell me what the heck that reason is.

I will be back for you, Hyannis. And not only will I be winning you next year… I will be teaching you a lesson by setting on you a new course record. TAKE THAT, Winter 2015!

What makes you happy?

How do you spin a bad thing into a positive?