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!!!!

2015 Baystate Marathon Recap 

Congrats to all of my fellow Baystate Marathoners who completed the half or full this past weekend! It was a very cold and windy day and we DID IT!! I’m sorry for the delay in the recap, but today was really the first day that the fog has lifted from my brain because I have been so very sick.

Before I launch into my recap, I want to say THANK YOU to the Baystate Marathon race director, Glenn Stewart and the Baystate staff. This is the second year that I have been their official race blogger and its an honor to represent this amazing race. It’s run by the Greater Lowell Road Runner’s (which I just proudly joined!) and they put on a terrific day for runners. Their tagline is “for runners/ by runners” and it really is. The expo is run by its members and always feels very home-y to me. I say it all the time-The Baystate Marathon is my favorite marathon. It’s well organized, staffed, and I always feel completely safe when I’m running it. The course itself is terrific and usually there are some gorgeous trees to help get your mind off the 26.2 miles. This past Sunday did not disappoint. If I wasn’t running a race, I would have stopped a whole bunch of times to take pics because the trees were STUNNING!! (Sidenote: I had the honor of being #10 this year because I was the very first person to register. This is how much I love this race:))

Let’s back up to taper week: Wednesday, I began to develop a slight cough but didn’t think much of it. Thursday, the cough progressed and I could feel it taking root in my lungs and couldn’t stop coughing. I asked my IG running community for help and was BLOWN away by their quick responses: Since last Thursday, I’ve been drinking Emergen-C and special teas, swallowing Zinc, downing Apple Cider Vinegar shots, making homemade concoctions, and sleeping/hydrating a TON. These things helped the congestion in my lungs a little bit but the cold still worsened. By Saturday, it was in my head, and by Sunday, I couldn’t even pop my ears due to massive head congestion.

I really weighed my options because lets face it– doing a marathon when you’re sick isn’t very fun. There are a few other full marathons that I’ve always been interested in so I thought about signing up for one of those with the hope that my cold would be gone by then. But my brain kept going back to these thoughts:
-I’m perfectly tapered for Baystate. What would happen if I pushed the race out 1,2, even 3 weeks??
-My family was ready to come to the race
-I trained all summer along the course
-ITS MY FAVORITE MARATHON!!!!!

So I told myself that even though I didn’t know if I could meet my goal for the race, I would still go out and try my very best. If I ended up feeling worse, I knew I could call my husband or my dad to come and pick me up. (I didn’t have a fever, and if I did? I definitely wouldn’t have done the race.)

The weather dawned bright and sunny…but COLD. I didn’t want to wear a lot of layers during the race, so I figured I’d just try to keep on the bulky layers until I got warm. I thought that I would be warm by the 2nd mile (that’s my typical mile that I throw my clothes away) I wore my original Lionness skirt, this sports bra, black arm warmers, black compression socks, pink tank top, cute new Chica bands headband I bought at the expo. 

It was a whole lot colder than what I’ve been used to lately. Before Sunday, the coldest run that I had done so far was 50 degrees. My Garmin says that it was 28 degrees and I think that feels right! I got to the start at 7:30. My dad got as close to the starting line as he possibly could and dropped me off. He told me to call him if I needed a pickup. I didn’t have long to stand and wait around and for THAT, I am so grateful!

I saw a few friends before the start, dropped off my bag, and lined up with the 3:15 pace group. My plan was to stay with them through the half and if I felt good, I could branch out on my own. If I wasn’t feeling like I could go any faster-I would try to stay with them, or, as close to them as possible. BUT… This was my plan pre-illness. I definitely felt that it was doable, but with a head/chest cold,  I had no idea what would happen.

I could barely even hear the National Anthem being sung because my ears were blocked. And I don’t remember a whole lot about standing in the starting corral-I think i was a little surprised that I was running a marathon and it felt a little surreal. I blame that on the cold meds…. BLAAA. I had a thick fleece on over my cute outfit, and underneath that-a throw away sweatshirt and gloves. I disposed of the fleece right as the anthem was finished being sung..seriously…it was SO DAMN COLD that I could hardly bear to part with it. I didn’t even realize until I sat down to write this post that I took no pictures of my race outfit, and no pictures of me at the starting line.. It really didn’t even occur to me. I was way too nervous about racing while being sick since it’s something I’ve never done before.

The gun went off promptly at 8 (I love that) and we were off!

  I tried to snap a good picture of my pace group leaders shirt but it was tough!

Miles 1-9.
I learned from my mistakes of running in a large group from last year: The orange cones lining the course  tripped me up…a lot. I didn’t want it to happen again, so I stayed at the back of the pace group. It was primarily men and just 2 other girls… If I fell….I would have gotten stomped on by really tall men!

I didn’t shed my gloves until mile 7…and even then I was really hesitant to do it. I was a little sweaty and it was either toss the gloves-or toss the sweatshirt. I didn’t want to get to a situation where I was suddenly walking and freezing and wishing I hadn’t thrown it away so the gloves were tossed. As soon as I tossed them, I immediately cooled. I’m now wondering if I should’ve kept the gloves and tossed the sweatshirt because I never warmed up again and kept that damn ugly, old sweathshirt on for 26.2 miles. (and it was an old zip up shirt that I think I got from high school!)) 

I stayed with the pace group this whole time. Everything still felt good, and I figured I had a good chance to hit the goal I wanted to hit.

Mile 10.
My cute running partner Kristina told me to look for her family  at mile 10 and I ALMOST MISSED HER and the GIANT AMAZING sign she made me!! I asked her how I was doing and she said GREAT and that the 3:15 pace group was right ahead of me and that my goal was going to happen. She told me she’d be there for the second loop and I’d see her at Mile 20.

Mile 11.
Tra la la la la! I get to see my friend again at mile 20! Yay!

Mile 12.
Rourke Bridge- See my friend Marli and I’m SO thriled that I face planted into her to give her a hug. She tells me to keep going and that I’m doing GREAT!

Mile 13.
I’m tired.

Mile 14.
I think the pity party started right around then. I didn’t want to be there, I wanted to go back to bed, I wanted to be warm…I wanted a lot of things. I think this was also when I realized the 3:15 pace group was a little farther ahead of me than what I’d planned. I thought to myself “It’s ok! The 3:25 group hasn’t passed me yet! I’m good.”

Mile 15/16/17.
My breathing started to feel really laborious (that’s what happens when you run IN the cold WITH a cold, duh), and I saw the 3:25 pacer’s shadow over my shoulder as they slowly passed from behind me.(((SIGH))) #Sadness. It’s really hard to remember a lot of details from around that time besides hitting the WALL. I WANTED to go home with Kristina when I saw her. Or call my Dad. I just didn’t want to be there anymore and marathons are dumb, and running when you’re sick is dumb and I probably was even thinking that running itself is dumb. Sniffle sniffle, cough cough, and cue the Waaaahhmbulance!!

30k:
I hit the 30k in 2:24 and I remembered that when I did Stu’s 30k back in March, I ran that in 2:45. I realized things might not be that bad after all.

Mile 19.
I GET TO SEE MY FRIEND IN A MILE AND IF I WANT, SHE WILL TAKE ME HOME. 

Mile 20/21
I see my beautiful friend, running towards me! I tell her how sad I am about the 3:25 group passing, and she lets me continue to cry and moan to her. Then she tells me she’s going to run with me for a little while. (company is amazing during a marathon, FYI) She starts telling me funny stories of her day of spectating. She gets me out of my own head. Along mile 20, I also saw my beautiful running partner S! I almost missed her TOO because I was looking down at the road! She brought her kids to cheer me on and it was amazing! I only wish I could’ve stopped to hug her, but I’m not sure I would have finished if I did that!!!

Kristina and I hit mile 21 and she told me that she has to turn around and get back to her husband and cute little baby. She said that she KNEW I was going to finish and at that moment? I knew it too. I am 100% positive that I would’ve given up if it weren’t for her words of encouragement. She was really sore from her tempo workout the day before, but she still pushed me to get my pace faster because she knew exactly what I needed at that exact moment. I’m forever grateful for what she did for me! Never underestimate the healing power of friendship!!

Mile 22
4 miles left? I can do 4 miles in my sleep! I picked up the pace a little because I was almost done!

Mile 23.
I felt so strong mile 23! I started to pass people and dream of a martini and French fries!

I haven’t mentioned this yet, but my stepdaughter was going to be at the finish line with my SIL, my MIL, and my niece. I said “my family is at the finish line” over and over in my head and it became my mantra. I was so excited to see my little’s face!!

Mile 24
This was my slowest mile, and I don’t know why. My legs felt like they were moving fast but my split ended up being an 8:58.

Mile 25…almost there…Mile 26…yay! I happened to look down at my watch at exactly 26.2 miles and it read 3:25:50. I guess it’s a PR from my 3:28:07… But it’s not official so I have a hard time considering it an actual PR.

I crossed the finish line, officially, with a 3:28:33. 26 seconds off of my “official PR”, and pretty far away from the time goal I had set.

Over the first few days of being sick, I think I went through the denial stages and I definitely struggled the most with “anger.” Of all the times to get sick (and I’m NEVER sick): its the week of my big race. What dumb bad luck. But you can’t plan everything, and I definitely trained like a bad-ass for 4 months and did the hard work. “It is what it is” and I DO know that I had a terrific time-whether I was sick or not. A 3:28 is fantastic: It’s a BQ with lots of cushion . I didn’t enjoy myself as much as I usually do during a race. I just love this course and to be sick while running it…well. It just wasn’t as fun as it normally is for me!

Some fun pictures from the day…

This is right where my family is standing. I’m waving both hands because they were on BOTH sides of the street, haha.



I was immediately a popsicle after the finish and I regretted not packing a blanket in my bag. SO freaking COLD outside!!

  This is one of my favorite pictures of all time. You can’t really tell, but that’s my little one bundled up in this coat. SHe was hugging me for so long telling me she was proud of me. It meant the world to me that SIL captured it 🙂


This is my girlfriend Kaey who volunteered that day. She had a bunch of friends who were running and thought it would be fun to volunteer. I LOVE her. Anyway, someone snapped this pic of us and I know for a fact that I was feeling like I was going to pass out right here and Kaey walked with me for a while until I got my feet back! Thanks girlfriend!

  Kaey made us some signs 🙂

Family hugs 🙂


After the race, it was off to our local watering hole! (We go to the same place every year.) Every year-> my niece and I take a picture together. I love that she comes to all my finish lines, too because she’s the funniest/sweetest thing!


Being silly with the hubs 🙂


The SILS and our photo bombers!


Me with my little ladies 🙂

 

And some of the professional pictures:

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See?? I told you I kept the sweatshirt on ALL DAY!

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This pic above?? THIS is my very favorite racing photo of ALL TIME. And I run a whole lot of races so THAT is saying something my friends!


This years medal were STUNNING. They are red to signify the LAST of the bridges that the runners cross (it’s red :))

 

I didn’t get the time I wanted, but you know what? It was still a very good day. I ran my favorite race and was blown away by all the support I received. I felt the love all around me! That’s the most important thing. I had my family there for me, my friends, and all of YOU in my corner..so THANK YOU.

I have to say that running is a lifetime sport for me. That’s always in the back of my mind. And, I’m learning that PR’s and official times don’t define me. You are great even without the “great” times. That being said… I will get my goal someday and I’m not worried about it 🙂

And oooone more picture:

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This is a “throwback” to my very first Baystate Marathon. You can see how little Aly is! She was only 5 here 🙂 I will never forget this race, as long as I live: This was the first time I was ever able to break the 5 hour mark with a time of 4:17-I think it was a PR of about 45 minutes for me. Knowing that I could do something so amazing gave me a LOT of hope. I’ve kind of taken that hope and run with it over the years. I will never ever give up on my dreams, and neither should you. It’s ok to miss a time goal you set for yourself because it just gives us more inspiration to go out and knock it out of the park next time.

 

Thank you for reading this really obnoxiously long post 🙂 And as always, Run Free, Run Strong my friends!

xoxo

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?

Gate City Striders Inaugural Marathon

 Just a little disclaimer: I feel the need to start this recap with the cold hard facts: I ran a marathon on Sunday…but…I did not finish.

Sunday was the Inaugural Gate City Striders Marathon in Nashua New Hampshire. I woke up so excited to run another race! I love new races, and I love races in my ares. A WIN WIN in my book!!! Nashua is only about 20 minutes from my house-Perfection.

Packet pickup was located at Fleet Feet Sports in Nashua, also nearby-only 15 minutes away. I was able to go on Saturday –I love picking up my packet early, but sometimes that isn’t possible due to the race being further away. The swag bag was great! Lots of fun goodies in it and I love that!( I wasn’t one of the earlier registrants, so I didn’t get the Beer Glass or the race T.)

I laid out all my clothes the night before (duh) and went to bed super early…I think 8?

flat Nicole!

I got to the starting area around 7:30am..
I was able to park RIGHT next to the start, and had enough time to use the porta potties beforehand and take a selfie and check out the cool tents lined up.
 So excited to run!

This race was both a full marathon and a relay race: The finish line was actually the central area of the race, and the course is designed as 5 loops that make up a four leaf clover (the first & fifth loop were the same). Runners passed the finish line area and were either swapping off the baton to their next runner, or continuing on (like me) for the full 26.2. (If you are really curious, you can read the great write up on cool runnings about the race). It seemed that every relay group had their own tent set up…pretty cool! This race was a terrific one to spectate at since you would see your runner several times as they went through the finish chute, instead of the usual drive and hope you actually find them deal that typically happens.

I took this before I started-this is the finish line that all runners pass through with every loop. It was lined with people one the race started!!


course design-four leaf clover!

The race started about 10ish minutes later than its 8am start due to a main intersection in the race not being blocked off yet. (It’s a super busy intersection, and I was more than happy to wait until it was completely closed off!) Runners were treated to church bells at 8am sharp-That was seriously beautiful.

As far as my own personal race goes: It’s not really that interesting. I had an off day, and that off day also coincided with a marathon. Go figure! If you would have told me that on Sunday I would wake up, start a marathon, but not finish I would have told you that you were crazy. The first loop (5.4 miles I think?), my splits were great. I should have known it was a bad sign though that when I would see someone with a baton, I would automatically think “oh wow they only have a little longer left.” And then I would wish I only had a little longer left. And then loop 2 my splits dropped from 7:19 to 8:30…and only got worse from there. It was hot by the start- I’m typically in a sweatshirt until I hit mile 2…but i was comfy in a tank and my skirt from the time i stepped out of my car. At race start, it was about 65 and 88% humidity. By the 2nd loop, it was easily above 70, and by the time I hit the 3rd – it was at least 75. I couldn’t stand it! I love running in the heat, but my body is not adjusted to it yet! After a loooong cooooold terrible winter, I’m still adjusting to the warm weather. I was dragging the entire 2nd loop. When my watch clicked 11, I had just passed through the finishers chute and I wanted to call it a day RIGHT then and there. However, the stubborn girl who loves her weekend long runs reared her ugly head, and I slogged through the 3rd. It was like I had sand bags on my legs. I could already feel how badly my sweat was making me chafe! I was REALLY glad that I had my camelbak with me because the water stops were spaced out at every 3 miles (i think) and it wouldn’t have been enough water for me! And, I only had one GU along the whole route- I wasn’t even hungry! So weird.

I really liked the concept of loops! Every time I passed through, I got the energy of the crowds, and the announcer called my name. Thank you Mr Announcer Man! The whole 3rd loop was torture. I was sore all over, hot, whiny, and just plain old miserable. I had no desire to run another 10 miles at the turtle like pace i was holding. No matter WHAT i did, I just could NOT speed up. So annoying!! So i passed the finish line for the 3rd time, got some water, and called it a day. My body just did not want to be running a hot and humid marathon!

Ironically, I truly believe that running Boston a month prior had zero to do with how I felt this past Sunday. I know my body, and my body felt ready all week for a big, really fast marathon. I had a 16 mile long run 2 weeks before this in 2:06, 7:54 pace. . . and that run was a dream and felt so super easy. Sunday was just not a good day. I’m really okay with it, so please don’t think I”m complaining here!

Some facts for you that didn’t fit in:

-The volunteers + police =amazing. I NEVER questioned, even ONCE, where I was supposed to be going. All the volunteers were in these BRIGHT orange shirts- you couldn’t miss them! And I really felt that the police officers were there protecting the runners. I never had to stop to wait as a car went by, and I felt safe the whole day. There were a million orange cones, too, so you clearly knew where you were going!

-The 3rd loop, although slow (for me) was actually my favorite for its scenery. It was through my favorite parts of Mines Falls. I’ve run in that area a ton of times-It’s SO beautiful! The Gate City Striders did an incredible job of marking each individual tree root/uneven spot/rock etc so that the runners wouldn’t fall. (I took two falls the last time I ran the Mines Falls trails!)

-At the beginning of the race, some of the early start runners passed by. The announcer yelled out that there was a woman named Kerrie and she was running her ONE HUNDREDTH MARATHON that day!!! Can you believe it? She is AMAZING! I passed her around mile 14 (?) and had to stop and take a picture with her! You ROCK Kerrie!!!!!!

-I’m not only chafed, i’m covered in WELTS from my sweat. So painful. On my neck (sports bra) legs, back, underarms….. It’s seriously aggravating. I guess the “Summer of Chafe” is upon us again. Boooooo. And I had applied Body glide that morning too, but it didn’t do anything!

-I did a quick change post only-a-17-miler-and-not-a-full-marathon…and went to my favorite nephews 10th birthday!! These two..Be still my heart! They are the best little people I could ask for to be my niece and nephew!

-Above all? I am REALLY excited to race again. I have in mind SO many half marathons, am racing a bunch of 5k’s, and I’m just super excited to get back to higher mileage again. I have a pretty amazing running plan for the summer, and I’m really excited to hit it, and hit it hard!

I would highly recommend this marathon to anyone! I I will absolutely be back again, and next time-I will finish the full..or form a relay team and customize awesome race shirts for us!! Who wants to be on my team???? 🙂

Ever “DNF” a race? (for the record–> I dislike that term and it kills me to use it)

It’s ON.: The May Marathon 

Welllllll ….I did it! I pulled the trigger& made the decision on my spring marathon! 

May 17th-the Inaugual Gate City Striders Marathon in Nashua New Hampshire. It’s close to me, I can sleep in my own bed the night before and I’ll be home by lunchtime! I even get to pick up my packet the day before at a store I frequent quite often. Win-Win. 

I’m so excited to run another full marathon! Obviously I want a good time, but a big part of me is pretty excited for those three hours and (hopefully not more than) 12-17 minutes that I will be  pounding that pavement. This is my bday present to me, from me! Last year, I ran two half marathons during my birthday month…this year it’s a full! I hope to do well…but in the end-I just want to run my heart out!

  

And the amenities look pretty great…

Weekend happenings….Saturday I had a terrific long run, and then I sat and admired our garden.   (Although the pollen is draining my energy like crazy..I’ve never had allergies in my life!)    

Man I just love flowers and the springtime!!!       

And a little Saturday night treat: grapefruit mojito’s with mint from our garden!   

I’m cutting this post short & sweet because my allergies are driving me crazy and I want to scratch my eyeballs out of my head! Time to hit the hay with a Benadryl!! 

I hope all you momma’s had a fantastic Mother’s Day!!! 

What’s next? And some randomness, per usual :)

I haven’t written anything yet about what is next for me with running and racing. I have to say that at this  time last year, I was sooooooo happy that marathon training was done. I had PR’d at the Hyannis marathon only two months before, but didn’t perform well at the 2014 Boston. I wasn’t particularly upset about not doing well at Boston-Everybody has off days, and I was simply excited to have a whole summer of shorter races ahead of me. I spent the summer working really hard at improving my speed with weekly tempo work and regular track work sessions.

This year, I launched into training for the Hyannis marathon with a vengeance.  I was more than 100% confident that I was going to hit a 3:08. I trained, like a boss, for that stupid marathon that was cancelled because of the stupid snow. (I’m not bitter at all, huh?)  I got over it, claimed the motto that “it is what it is” and I moved on. I set my sights on my spring marathon, The Boston Marathon. I’ve said it before-Boston is a party to me. No matter what goal I set, it is way more of a celebration than a platform in which to display my athletic improvements. It’s just not an easy Race day(for me). 

So here I am, end of April already! I feel like I did very well at Boston: Given the day, the weather, the waiting around…..i did great and didn’t turn into a popsicle when I finished (ALMOST, though, ALMOST). But I didn’t hit the goal my coach had set for me. I often feel like “all the things” need to align in order for me to have the “perfect race.” Some of those things, for me, are weather and waiting around to start for a race. I don’t like waiting! I just want to GET GOING ALREADY PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

 Now I’m debating a May full marathon. I’ve had a few in the back of my mind for a while now. Pretty much since Hyannis was cancelled, I guess.  It’s been a topic hashed out between my running partner and I (who is glowing & due at any moment, might I add). She knows how I feel/felt about the differences between running the Hyannis Marathon & running Boston is for Children’s: Running Hyannis is for me. Hyannis was for PR’ing and setting my goals up high. Running Boston is for Childen’s: slapping ALL the kids hands that I possibly can, stopping for hugs, and making the day of it….having an absolute blast with it. I’m proud that I did that exact thing once again this year.

 So the more I think about it….The more I kind of want to do one of the May marathons that I’ve  been looking at! I’m not tired, I’m not suffering from a post marathon burn out, and I feel great. All reasons to keep going strong until May. I’ve researched running double marathons and I think I really do stand to make a time I want (not 3:08. However, kinda close)

I’m writing this post and I have no idea where I’m going with it. So…I guess it’s more “thinking out loud” to share my thoughts and kind of organize them a little!

Whether or not I do (another!) spring full is still up in the air. Regardless, I plan to still have an Amazing spring/summer of shorter races that will be great times with friends! 

And now for some randomness.

-Today is THE BEST DAY!!! I have a date night with my BFF!!!  

  

My husband bought me (and bff) tickets to see my FAVORITE: ERIC CHURCH!!!

Why did he buy me tickets??? Well my friends, because Eric Church is my FAVORITE…aaaaaaand……because….. FRIDAY IS MY BIIIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!! 

I hope to have a a few minutes today to write a post for friday….but if not? HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEKEND!!!! 

Any other May babies? 

Ever do two marathons within a few weeks of one another? 

 

 

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!!!!

Returning to Boston as a BQ’d runner

In 21 more days (three weeks from today!),  I will be running my 9th Boston Marathon. For most of these years (8), I have run for a charity. This year, although I’m still running for a charity, I’m running also as a qualified runner!
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My little buddy Everett & I!

Someone recently wondered snarked if it was “anticlimactic” for me run Boston as a qualified runner…even though I’ve been there 8 times before, surely this one can’t be that special because I’ve been there so many times, right?

The thing about a marathon (or any race, really) is that every one is completely different. There are no two that will be the same for you and each race brings new memories. I like to think of my past Boston’s like this:
2005: the year I drank coffee while waiting for the start and spent half the race in the porta potty. Lucky for me I have the most amazing BFF who waited almost seven hours for me to finish!
2008: the year I actually DROPPED my phone INTO a porta potty at the start of the race. Like right before the start…
2009: the first year my husband was a part of the race and brought me to the starting buses in Boston.
2010: the year that the MOST people went to the race to see me run-like 20 peeps! And the first year my husband came to the finish line!
2011: the year my husband had to work and couldn’t come 😦
2012: the year of the heat…like 80 at the start. It was also the year my friends made a life size cardboard cutout of me and took pics of “me” all around Boston. They also made cutouts of my face on Popsicle sticks and there were “Nicole’s” in all the pictures. Tooooo funny……it was awesome!
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Look! It’s Me…and ME!
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I’m with the band…

2013: it would’ve been my best Boston time yet. But I never got to finish.
2014: the first year post bomb. A totally different marathon experience…game changer. My friends are strong, and they rallied around me. #blessed
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What will 2015 be the year of? It’s already so many things… It’s the first year my SIL has ever done a marathon. The first time we will drive to Hopkington and squeak out our anticipations, fetter out our worries, and soothe one another’s nerves.
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And, it’s the first year I’m running as a qualified runner. Returning as a BQ’d entrant isn’t at all anticlimactic. The thing about me is that when something grabs my heart-it never let’s go. Never. And the Boston Marathon grabbed my heart a very long time ago. The fact that I ran so many times as an “unqualified” runner has never once mattered to me. I knew, without a doubt, that I would get to this point. I’ve never felt like I didn’t belong at the starting line because Boston is my race. I want to still be running it when I’m 85. Its always had a piece of my heart, and that piece grew a little bit bigger back in 2013 after the bombings. It got even bigger in 2014 when I saw the strength of my city, my friends, and my family.

I can’t wait to see what this year brings me.

I bleed blue and yellow!💙💛💙💛

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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.

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(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. 🙂

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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.
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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?