Saturday, April 26, 2014

Afterthoughts on Boston 2014

Hey guys!

It's never so easy as a high 5 at the finish line for me. I have analyzed and ridiculed my every footstep of that race to try and find my take away lessons. So far, I'm 50/50 on how I feel about my performance. I'm very upset that I didn't get my sub 2:55. Ok, fine, me and 30,000 others it seems. But then again I'm grateful I didn't tank so hard like so many other amazing athletes did. It could have been worse.

I guess this is the problem when you only run 1 marathon a year. It got too hot. I died. End of story. I don't think there was anything I could have done to help me in the later stages of the race. So for that I feel I did my best.

So what is next? I'm not sure yet but my leisurely summer of swimming and biking may be over taken by another stab at marathon training. Maybe. I'm testing the waters and seeing how I feel this week. My first run back was a 10 miler at 7:10 pace and then a 9 miler a little faster. So it appears I may be back at my usual very soon. I took 3 days off. Well, I swam and walked.

I don't want my fitness to go to shit. I want satisfaction at 26.2 this year. I don't want a slow death that still looks spiffy to some. Screw that! I didn't train for spiffy. No way! So I'll keep the wheels turning, both physically and mentally until I figure out my plan for the summer.

Here are some race pics:

My mom and my sister right after I finished.

That smile took everything I had. 
Y'all know the Citgo sign. Mile 25.
In the cab a few hours post race heading to BOS
I found this in a BAA feed. That's my bun!
Day 2. The dog and stairs. Ouch.

I hope you guys are recovering well. Thank you for all the awesome feed back!! Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Boston Marathon 2014!!

Hey Guys!

I don't even know where to start! Boston 2014 was quite possibly the most amazing display of humanity ever. Boston pumped love, perseverance, support, empathy every second, all weekend. I have never in my life experienced this type of non-stop caring and selflessness from every single person I bumped into during my entire trip. Everyone wanted to help make the next person smile. It was contagious.  It is one thing to read about it or hear it on the news but the experience was simply amazing. Beyond words, but I will try.

I left home on a flight to Boston kind of freaked out by the incident earlier in the week at the finish line. I couldn't handle it again this year. I couldn't deal with hoaxes either. I was kind of on edge not knowing what to expect. I happen to meet an older gentleman in the airport who was headed home to Boston. We started talking but had to board. Thankfully, he ended up sitting next to me on the plane, by chance. He has lived in Newton for over 40 years and has cheered for the Boston Marathon runners for just as long. In conversation I asked him, "are you afraid, at all?" He emphatically said no. He explained how he would not let fear torture him anymore. This was his city. This was their city. He basically explained the term we all know as Boston Strong. He was a honey badger of sorts. I said, ya know, you're right. I deplaned with a new attitude. 

I arrived Saturday night so that day was gone. I awoke Sunday morning and did my shake out run and showered before leaving for the expo. My coach and I met up and went in to get our bibs, jackets and hopefully leave soon.  That was a fail. 

To pick up your race bib you need your ID. I lost my ID at security in the airport but I had 2 other forms of photo ID. So I asked the lady holding my number to accept an alternative form of identification. She said no loud and clear. She sent me to here:

Long story short. They said: no ID, no bib. My immediate response to this was a complete and total meltdown into hysterical, uncontrollable sobbing. For many of my close friends you all know I don't cry! I later made jokes that I didn't know why water was coming out of my eyes. lol. So anyways, the waterworks didn't sway them. After a few minutes of this the police started to gather as my coach tried to fix the situation with an escalating voice. I said, let's go. We are not getting arrested for crying! I went back to my hotel on another $25 cab ride to hopefully find my ID in my luggage. Luckily, I found it in my laptop case!! I could run now! I took another $25 cab ride back to the expo with my bloated face and dried tears and got my bib. YAY!

My day was planned out pretty well by this point and I had to move along. Next, I had planned to meet my new running BFF from Texas that I met online in a Boston Bound run club. We have motivated each other for 16+ weeks and ran and compared notes on every painstaking mile. We were beyond elated to run Boston during such a special year. Just as I imagined Lisa was so sweet, kind and beautiful on top of being a phenomenal marathon runner with a hardcore training program that I have admired from day 1. : )

By now a few hours had passed and my eyes weren't so puffy. Perfect because it was dinner time with my gorgeous sister and loving mother who probably expended more energy crewing me all weekend than I spent running a marathon. 

After dinner I was ready for bed. I laid out my outfit, gels and shoes and prepared my drop bag. Then passed out…until my 4am alarm. But who the heck cares! It's time to run the Boston Marathon!! Sleep wasn't needed Sunday night. I had enough energy to run 2 marathons, so I thought. lol.

I took a shuttle from the hotel at 5:15 to the Boston Commons to catch the bus to Hopkinton. Pretty smooth. Our bus driver took us to the drop off location for the charity runners accidentally. Normally, that would be alarming but we had 3 hours to spare so it wasn't a big deal. Next up we sat on the grass for 3 hours waiting to be loaded into our corrals. Again, it's all part of Boston. No one really complains.  It was about 41 degrees while I was sitting in the grass but over the next few hours it warmed up. People started stripping down early. I refused to make any negative weather comments at that point because nothing could be changed. This was my race day and I was going to deal.

Okay, now let's talk splits, strategy and focus! My official goal was 2:55 but it really was 2:54 inside. I just couldn't say it out loud. I felt very prepared and confident in my training and fitness. I was going to do this because it's what I trained for. It wasn't a stretch for the shape I was in. 

The gun went off and we started to move. This year I was in corral 4 as opposed to 5 last year. 4 was smoother. People ran! It was all good until the 30K. Then I fought dehydration and the chills on and off till the end. The best way I can describe it from that point on is that I felt like I had woke up hungover on a beach with a sunburn and then someone clapped their hands and said GO, go run a marathon, and now!

 I ran through the hills as the sun stole my energy. I didn't care, I had a gel for that. Around 21-22 people started cramping an getting sick. The sides of the race course were littered with runners cramping and crying. It was hard to look at. People who had elite bibs on their back were running 8 pace. I saw many of my friends trotting along. I always slowed down and said, c'mon let's go! Some people just stared back at me in pain. It was horrible. I wanted everyone to be happy and run well. 

I did okay through Newton and Heartbreak Hill, but I didn't fair so well on all those smaller hills afterwards. At one point I refused to look ahead because I didn't want to see another hill. My splits went in the shitter. My garmin average pace plummeted. But oddly enough, it didn't matter at that point. I didn't do my usual bratty face and stomp home a fail. I kept looking at the crowd. They were willing me and the others with their eyes to keep going. I felt it. I shuffled harder. I saw so many people walking within a mile of the finish. It killed me. I wanted to help. 

By now I wasn't looking at my garmin for sanity reasons. I knew I blew my goal but was still sub 3. I crossed the finish line and almost smashed into a wall of stopped runners heaving, hands on knees 2 feet beyond the second timing mat. It was not a happy joyous time when I initially looked around. People were trashed.

This included me. I didn't realize how badly I hurt until I tried to walk. My legs were shit. I started shivering so badly that medics kept trying to scoop me up. I smiled and tried to will my shivers to stop and said no thank you. Then it got worse. It was obvious I was freezing. I kept refusing help. Then a kind spectator gave me her jacket an her husbands jacket and piled them on me. She would not accept no. It was embarrassing to shiver like that. I just wanted to be normal! 

Keep in mind these events took what seemed like hours. I couldn't find my family. I couldn't do anything useful. I wanted by body back! But I had to go to the loo…..

The loo was an experience in itself. I hope I'm only speaking to marathon runners right now. lol. But I learned that fried quads do not assist in trying to squat over a port a john seat. My dainty squat turned into an ass slam on a nasty dirty port a john seat! I fell. I was appalled and disgusted and even worse, I could not get up off the seat! I wanted to cry and bang on the door for help but decided against that. haha. So I grabbed the pipe that is in the corner of the john and hoisted myself upright. GREAT, but I still needed to pull up my shorts. I have never laughed so hard while in pain and filth, by myself in a john. But in true honey badger style I washed my hands with antibacterial and exited ready for a selfie, like nothing happened. 

So finally, I was reunited with my mom and sister. AKA my 2 new crutches. I was falling apart even worse. I hadn't yet had food or water post race. I think my mom ripped a banana out of a kids hand and gave it to me. It helped. I was starting to come around. We slowly walked to the Commons for my drop bag. Another hour passed. We sat in the sun for about 30 minutes. It was a gorgeous day punctuated with runners on all 4's vomiting throughout the Commons. It was like The Sound of Music meets a scene from the Termintor.

From that point on it was a slow hustle to catch a cab, go to the hotel and then the airport. It ended so abruptly. But I had to get my kids to school in the morning. Life goes on!
my son's class and my sister's class tracking me. So cool!!

It was a whirlwind weekend but of the best type. I can't thank you all enough for every kind word throughout my training and this weekend. I definitely do not exist in a vacuum. Without all my friends and family and all the amazing people I have met along the way this would not have been possible. Thank you!!! 

PS you know I'm praying to the quad gods for a quick recovery. 2:55 or bust is coming next!

Thanks for reading!!
aka your 2:58 Boston Specialist 
(I did 2:58 last year as well)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A little taper humor on a Wednesday!

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

This is just a quick rant about the emotions involved during a marathon taper. The emotions I cited I would not speak of in my last post because it's been done before. lol. Anyway, I feel like an abnormality. I can't be the only one, right?! Let me explain.

Sunday I ran 13 miles. I had to run in my neighborhood at 5am to get it done early. It was full of cul de sac turns every 400m. I also was messing around with my iPhone trying to stream the London Marathon, while running. I responded to a few FB posts asking if I was going to spectate the local Rock and Roll marathon. I also had a large flashlight because my headlamp broke.

So clearly, it was a slower run. Just like I had wanted. But, as the miles clicked off I became irritated  that I wasn't running faster. Despite the above I kinda wanted my shit-around pace to be my mile race pace.  I chalked it up as a whatever run. Slightly bummed.

Monday came. I did around 7 pace for 9 miles pretty easy. I felt better. I'm not a loser.

Tuesday rolled around and I did 10 with 2 at marathon pace. It was 70 degrees and humid. I didn't give a shit! Somehow today was my ego's day to shine! I was grumbling and whining how slow 6:30's were. I was almost in tears that I could never ever run that slow for 26.2 miles.  Clearly I need to lose the 2:55 dream and kill it by 10 more minutes. And while I'm at it, I'll just run a qualifier! I decided I would alter my race plan to include negative splits on the Newton Hills. I would drop everyone and fly from mile 22 on! It was going to be spectacular!

Wednesday (today) I headed out for 7 miles. The front moved in last night and it was now 35 degrees and the 14 bridges I had to cross were iced. I shuffled across them. There was a 5000mph headwind. Clearly, a great day for an easy run. Objectively, this is an amazing taper. But deep down I want to fight the urge to run 6 flat everyday! Then with every step I analyze my form, attitude, arm swing, foot strike, decision making skills on puddles. Thankfully this run ended in 51 minutes. Complete mental overload.

So, after shaking my head I have vowed to chill out for the next 4 easy runs. No more over analyzing. No more speed walking the grocery store and finding the tangents in the produce section. No more keeping my "bitchy resting face" in full effect to practice my ability to focus. It's done!!

My work is done. I just need to sit my little self down and wait. I'm sure that will go well given I can now live off 2 hours of sleep because I have so much ENERGY!!! No, I think I'm tired.


4 more days. I can do this. We can do this!!!! Thanks for reading!

We all know marathon success all boils down to the pre-race mani/pedi!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

One more week!

Hey oh, oh eh guys!

It's almost time! Can we just fast forward? I really dislike reducing my mileage. That's where I'll end my taper bitching because it's already been done! I just wrapped up an 80 mile week. I don't even feel like I ran. Just when the fun starts it's time to stop. I'm going to chop that almost in HALF this week. So I need to focus on other stuff like:

1. First and foremost: Don't get fat! I say that smiling. I know it's not a huge possibility but still. I'm pretty lean now and would like to stay that way.

2. Pick out something to wear. I'm still not sure. I don't want my usual Nike Pro-combat shorts. I wanted something newer. Something with more give on the upper quad. I may wear a singlet too. We all know that training is 20% and outfit is 80%. ha!

3. I hate to go all jogger on you but I like to have music for some of the race. I need to get a new shuffle and upload my playlist. Over the past few months I've made and added to an iPhone note when I hear a good song. So far:

Sympathy for the devil by the Rolling Stones
Ice cube. It was a good day.
Coolio: 1234
Pitbull: timber
Beastie boys: no sleep till Brooklyn
Tone loc: funky cold medina
Fat Joe/nelly: get it poppin
Akinyele: put it in ur mouth
Nate dogg/Warren G: regulate
LL: around the way girl
Outkast: rosa Parks
Slick Rick: hey young world
Run-DMC: walk this way
Biggie: mo money mo problems
EPMD: strictly business
GNR: you could be mine
2 unlimited: get ready for this
Biggy: hypnotize
Eminem: shake that
N2Deep: back to the hotel
KRS-One: step into a world
Alecia Keys: No One
NIN: closer
Will Smith: get jiggy wit it

4. Get my Boston manicure. I always do something special for my races. I need to look cool blowing snot rockets. Actually, I'm more of a wiper. 

I think that's about it. I am beyond stoked to be in a position where nail color is my main concern. I've never rolled up to a race with such solid training behind me, no injuries and a shit loads of miles. 

A few months ago I was absolutely bouncing off walls at my 6 min paced tempos. I'm still doing them but I could give a shit. The novelty has worn off. I'm proud, yes but I'm not impressing myself anymore. I like to walk away from a good effort feeling giddy, not complacent. For my next marathon I want 5:50-5:55 tempos. I've done all I can do for this build up. No matter what happens I have no regrets. My take away is that I can handle high mileage and do pretty well. This is great because I fricken love to run!

Some guys will drop me by 10 minutes in Boston and have peaked at 70 miles. I wouldn't trade. I prefer the daily distance. 

icing in the Neuse River after a hard run.

So in addition to all of this I will make an effort to review my running logs and pull out information that will considerably boost my ego. lol. I did a quick review of 2013/2014 milage from Jan 1 to Boston.

2013: 1132 miles in the 3.5 months
2014 : 1435 miles in the same time frame.

So more good running this year. Oh, also after months of being torn between the Kinvara 4 and the Boston 4 I decided on the BOSTON!! I figured the heel would assist in the downhill pounding.

Well, I got up at 4am today to watch the London Marathon live. Mo??? and poor Dibaba on the bottle drop. UGH! I tried to stream it while I ran at 5:15am but it wasn't working out. I'm going to nap and watch the parts I missed. I hope you guys have a stress free final taper week or crush it if you're not there yet!

Over and out!