Boston Marathon Part Two {Race Recap}

Even though I set three alarms, I was up well before any of them went off. I was up at 6:15 am, ready to go. I got dressed and just sat around. I ate a single piece of toast while I packed up my other two pieces to eat on the bus ride to Hopkinton. I was abnormally calm considering I was able to leave to run the marathon I’ve worked towards for years. I said goodbye to Josh and went to get on the buses at Boston Common. Looking at the weather, I knew that I wasn’t going to get to run in my optimal conditions. Luckily I had already told myself, this is about the experience, not setting a new PR.

I was able to get on a bus right away which was great. The bus ride was long and hot. So warm that I took off my sweatshirt immediately upon sitting down. I definitely wasn’t going to need it. I choked down my toast as I talked to a guy from LA who had qualified in Chicago, the same year I ran it sick. The ride was about an hour long. When we arrived in Hopkinton, we walked about a quarter mile to the athlete’s village.

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The village was buzzing with runners. I dropped off my sweatshirt in the donation bags, got in line for a porta potty and waited. As soon as I had my turn, I grabbed a bottle of water and got right back in line. I was in the village about 90 minutes before being called to start walking to the start line. I finished my water and headed out. I wished I’d grabbed one more bottle for the walk.

It was almost a mile walk to the start line. Along the way, spectators were offering sunscreen, Vaseline, shots of whiskey and beer. As we got closer, my nerves turned to excitement until I realized I only had about eight minutes to get to my corral. I lead a group of five others through the crowd to get up to our spots in the first corral. I made it with four minutes to spare. Phew. I was sweating already.

After a few announcements, we were sent on our way. I crossed the start line of the Boston Marathon with a gigantic grin on my face. I probably looked ridiculous. I teared up again as I looked around me. I told myself, do not go out too fast. Let people pass you. My goal was to run the first 4-6 miles at an easy pace. I didn’t want to burn myself out on the downhills. I settled in checking my watch every once in a while to make sure I was in the 8:15-8:20 range. I was taking in the spectators and the people running with me. While the first few miles are mainly downhill, there are a few rolling hills. The first 5k flew by. I felt pretty good but I was hot already. There was no shade and the sun was almost directly overhead.

5k split: 25:55 (8:20 min/mile)

Between the 5k and 10k points, I decided I should grab a cup of water from every water stop. While I had water with me, I needed that for my gels and it was pretty warm already. This lead to some congestion and bumped elbows. Just past the six mile marker, the Sixth Mile Experience was bumping. The crowd was amazing, their was music and people on loud speakers. They were so into it and I loved it!

10k split: 51:54 (8:21 min/mile)

With the first six miles under my belt, I started to speed up a little bit. I was finally warmed up and ready to start making up some time before the Newton hills hit. I knew that I was no longer going to speed up substantially because my body was just not responding well to the heat, but I was going to knock a few seconds off. There were some little rolling hills that reminded me of some of the trails I had run during training. I knew once we hit Natick that Wellesley was the next township we would run through. I was looking forward to seeing some fellow Support the Girls affiliates who found out I was running and made a sign to cheer me on.

15k split: 1:17:22 (8:18 min/mile)

Honestly the only thing I remember here is how cute Natick was. I focused on reading signs the spectators were holding. Same favorites included: “Hold onto your uterus!” and “If Trump can try to run the country. You can run this marathon.”

20k split: 1:43:31 (8:19 min/mile)

I was entering Wellesley and getting closer to the “Scream Tunnel.” I was also trying to figure out what I needed to do in order to cool off. I was already drinking one cup of water and dumping some over my head and running through any sprinkler that was on. I was slowing my pace to compensate for the heat, but I was still struggling to bring down my body temperature. I decided I’d try to make it a few more miles before I started walking through water stops if I hadn’t cooled down a bit.

Half split: 1:49:14 (8:19 min/mile)

Just past the half, I was running by hundreds of Wellesley ladies holding their Kiss Me signs. The signs with all the reasons why to kiss them were hilarious. Kiss me…I have no ties to Russia, Kiss me…I’m not a Patriots Fan, etc.

And then I saw my Support the Girls cheer squad with their amazing sign!

I was so excited for their support. It made me perk back up and keep working towards the finish line.

25k split: 2:10:35 (8:24 min/mile)

By mile 16 I was walking through all the water stops. I had stopped sweating which really freaked me out. Training through the winter in Minnesota had not prepared me for 70+ degree weather and direct sun. I knew that I had to do what I had to do to safely get to the finish line. There were medical tents at every mile and each one I passed was full of runners. I tried to just focus on keeping my legs moving and looking forward to seeing my cheer squad in the next few miles. A spectator was handing out ice. I was so excited. I grabbed a handful and put it down my bra. I held onto an ice cube in each hand until they melted. It really helped temporarily. We made our biggest turn thus far on the course at the Newton Fire Station a slight breeze started blowing across me. It felt so good!

30k split: 2:39:40 (8:33 min/mile)-18.6 miles

I’d just passed the 30k mark when Josh called to tell me that they were at mile 19. I was ready to see them. I was almost to the base of Heartbreak Hill when I heard them cheering. I was so excited to see them and just felt so lucky as I ran toward a dozen people schlepping all around the Boston metro area to cheer for me. I was soaking wet after running through water spraying from one of the fire hydrants the fire department had opened.

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Then I did something I’ve never done in a marathon, I stopped and talked to them. I drank some amazing ice cold water and started running again.

Then it was time for Heartbreak Hill. I was so happy when I saw a sign that said “This is the top of Heartbreak Hill.” I knew the biggest hill was now behind me. I also knew that there was another hill right after Heartbreak, regardless of what a few signs said. It was no big deal, though I’m glad I knew it was there and didn’t take me by surprise.

35k split: 3:09:05 (8:41 min/mile)- 21.7 miles

Heartbreak Hill was behind me. I could walk back to Boston under the 6 hour limit if I really needed to. This thought totally crossed my mind as I poured another cup on water over my head and took another gel. I was wishing I had brought some salt tabs with me because I think it may have helped me replace all the salt I had been sweating. Something I needed to think about for warmer races.

I started looking for the Citgo sign. I knew I was going to be able to catch a glimpse of it. That was my sign that I was going to finish this thing. I was almost to Boston! A head wind started picking up as some clouds started moving in. I was so thankful for a bit of shade and even for the head wind because I needed some cool air.

40k split: 3:37:28 (8:44 min/mile)-24.85

Seriously, a foot cramp. Yes, I got a crazy cramp in my left foot. Out of all the aches I worried about, I never thought I’d have a foot cramp. I walked up the final hill just past mile 25 while trying to stretch it out. Once I had that worked out, I started running again. The crowds were amazing. They were helping carry me through. All the sudden I saw the Hereford street sign. I was almost there! I made my right on Hereford, ran the short block up to Boylston, Left on Boylston and I could see the finish line. The streets were PACKED with people cheering. I did everything I could to pick up the pace. I was smiling from ear to ear. I tried to sprint and as I really started pumping my arms, I heard these guys yelling out, go orange shirt go!

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I raised my arms as I ran across the finish line. I had done it. I’d finished the Boston Marathon. I’d achieved a goal I’d been chasing for years. I’d qualified for Boston, trained hard and taken my victory lap. My friend Ashley captured me on video crossing. So cool.

Finish: 3:50:10 (8:47 min/mile)

I didn’t even know what my official time was until almost a week later. I stopped looking at my watch somewhere around mile 18. I pushed stop and save before I even glanced at the screen. I still haven’t looked at my mile splits. I knew I was not going to be as exciting after performing well under my ability. Anyway, once I crossed the finish line, I saw my family. The tears started flowing especially when Ella told me that she was proud of me. I hugged everyone then turned to get my medal.

Lucky for me, my family brought me a change of clothes. I popped over to the changing area and got into dry clothes. After changing, we took a few more pictures before I decided I was ready to head home.

I walked the two miles back to the North End. It actually felt really good. I think it helped delay the onset of post-marathon soreness. First stop, Mike’s Pastry.

A sweet reward, for a hard earned race.

 

Boston Marathon Recap Part I {Expo and the Night Before}

After a mere four hours of sleep, I was wide awake at 6:30 am, anxious to get to the expo so I could hold my bib. With hours to go until that was even a possibility, I got cleaned up, ate my toast and requested my Lyft to the convention center.

As our driver started getting closer to the convention center, I started seeing signs for the marathon, Boston Strong signs and hoards of runners walking around with their celebration jackets on.

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As we pulled up, I could see the finish line about a quarter mile in front of us. Walking into the convention center, I was on the verge of tears. Who had possessed me? I’m not one to get teary over packet pick-up.

We got in line with all the other eager runners and waited for the doors to open.

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Once we were moving, the line went quickly. Before I knew it, I had my bib in hand and a tear on the verge of falling. We snapped some pictures before heading into the actual expo.

I went into the morning thinking I was going to buy all.the.stuff, but the official merchandise area was a zoo. Not wanting to waste energy on fighting the crowds, I grabbed a tank top, beer glass, a couple of Spike stuffed animals for the kids and got out of there.

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After paying for those, I hit the KT Tape booth to have them tape my shoulder. It was pretty achy but once the tape was applied, it actually felt normal-ish. I walked around a bit more and picked up one more t-shirt. I was getting overwhelmed. Suddenly I became fearful that I was going to have a bunch of Boston Marathon stuff and then DNF. What would I do with it all if that happened? I stopped looking for anything else to buy, which I’m a bit bummed about. I should have bought the water bottle I wanted (only available at the expo), the license plate cover and  key chain that I need for my new car keys.

Done with the expo, it was finish line time. There were yellow daffodils in blue foiled pots lining the windows of the businesses all down Boylston.

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The closer we got to the finish line, the more anxious I got. Again I started worrying about having my first DNF. I really had no reason to think I wouldn’t successfully finish the race, but my nerves were getting the best of me.

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We crossed the street and there I was. Standing in front of the finish line I’d be crossing the next day. Of course we took a million pictures. And once again, I was all choked up. Who was this emotional basket case?

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Pictures taken and crowds getting bigger, I was ready to leave. It was nearing 86 degrees. Not wanting to get dehydrated, and getting hungry, we swung by Whole Foods to pick up my bland food to make for my dinner that night. When we got back to the apartment, I ate my safe lunch and took a nap while the rest of the family went to enjoy delicious looking pizza.

A short while later, our friends Ryan and Claire arrived from Providence. We met up with the family and headed for a stroller through Boston Commons and the Public Garden. We even took a ride on a swan boat before walking across the street to Cheers. While I drank more water, we all discussed spectating plans for the race.

Shortly thereafter, we went back to our apartment, I made my sweet potato and pork chop with a side of toast with almond butter and jam. Super exciting. I laid out all my race stuff and pinned my bib to my tank top before sending Josh to get me some melatonin so I could actually fall asleep. Of course the next morning I ended up changing my shirt and having to repin it all over again. I seemed to get it on properly without any trouble the second time around.

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By 10:30 pm I was out…for a few hours. Then I was waking up every two hours, just in case I overslept.

Adventures in Travel and Recovery

What a busy three weeks it’s been since the marathon. I’m exhausted and while I’m not finally home, things are not really slowing down all that much. Quick and hopefully, abbreviated review of the past several weeks. I was going to add a bunch of pictures but then I may never actually publish this:

Week One:

I walked, walked some more, foam rolled and slept a little more than usual. I was itching for a run and met my BRF for a few loops around Elm Creek. We ended up doing nine miles which felt like plenty to me. After that run my hamstring was incredibly sore. Like so sore it hurt to push on it and walk. Ugh, more rest.

Week Two:

Off on a cross-country trip with the kids. Yes, just me and the kids, by myself for 12 days. First stop, Denver for my brother Ted and my sister Audrey’s high school graduation. Crazy that I have siblings in high school right? What is crazy is that when I graduated and went off to college, they were not yet four years old, younger than Ella is now. It was almost surreal watching them graduate. They are off to SOKA University and the University of Colorado in the fall. I think my favorite part of their graduation week was the time I got to spend with them. I feel like I missed they’re entire childhood because I went to college, then got married, had kids and now live states away. I got to do a long walk with Audrey, tour the Botanic Gardens with Ted and stayed up until 2:30 am talking to both of them. It was worth being exhausted the next day.

We had a great trip filled with lots of family time. My grandparents flew in from San Diego which meant we had four generations together. We went on a cultural adventure around Denver which included the Museum of Nature and Science as well as the Denver Art Museum. On our last day in Denver we also spent hours playing in and walking around the Denver Botanic Gardens.

I also got to sneak in a Florence and the Machine concert with my BFF Rachael. Our night also had to include a stop at The Market for my favorite cake. I ran a few times, slow and not far, but between altitude and an irregular sleep schedule, it was all I felt like doing.

Week Three:

Onto Indiana! Who has three siblings that were all graduating this year? Me! Next up was my sister Emma’s high school graduation. We arrived in Indianapolis LATE. We got to my mom’s house around midnight and the kids weren’t in bed until 1 am. Luckily we were working on Mountain Time which mean it was only 11 pm technically. The kids were so far off their schedule by this point, it didn’t matter. Luckily they slept in pretty much every day.

My grandma and step-grandpa Max drove up from Missouri for the occasion and I got to watch my brother Riley work his pastry chef magic on some of the best desserts I’ve ever tasted. We spent my time there eating. We had a special girls only trip to The Cake Bake Shop to toast to Emma’s graduation and my birthday. This is the second time we’ve done this with four generations and I think it will be a new tradition. It’s a good thing I went to Orangetheory and ran a few times while I was in town. While we were doing the girls thing, Anderson was busy with Papa riding in the Jeep and visiting the tracker store.

Late in the week, I got to watch Emma graduate with honors. She just looked so happy and I was proud of how great she did not only in academics but also in how many close friends she’s made in the two years since they moved from California. It is not easy moving across the country, especially in high school. Her graduation party was the next day and boy did we have good food. It was a nice party aside from one of her classmates asking me if I was her mom. I mean really. She is off to Indiana University in the fall.

Week Four:

We finally headed home! It was a two short flights but one long layover in Chicago. I was so happy to be home when we landed.I met my friends Morgan and Ashley for an easy, unplanned 10 miles that Sunday evening to get myself back on track. While I’m not really training for Chicago, I at least need to keep my base.

That brings us to this week and I still feel like I’m recovering. I’m working on a huge project for my old company and all of our summer activities are starting up. I hand wrote two other posts on the plane, but I cannot find them at the moment. Oops.

 

 

Lake Wobegon Marathon Training {Weeks 10 &11}

Phew. The last two weeks have been busy. After my long run on the 2nd, we flew down to Florida for a little vacation. We had five days of warm weather and sunshine. It was so nice to be away from daily life. While it was not necessarily a relaxing vacation, it was a much needed break.

Week 10:

Monday – 30 Day Shred
Tuesday – 12×400 @ 6:18 min/mile (7.75 miles @ 7:39 min/mile avg.)
Wednesday – Orangetheory
Thursday – 5 mile tempo (7:49 min/mil avg.)
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 17 miles
Sunday – 11 + miles of walking

Last year when we went to Magic Kingdom for a day, I didn’t have my new Garmin, so while I knew we walked a ton, I didn’t realize just how much. This year, we averaged about 12 miles/day of walking. That doesn’t count any steps I was taking when I used both arms to push the stroller. My legs were toast by the end of the week.

I didn’t run again until Wednesday, when we planned to hang out at the pool all day, rather than hit the parks again. After breakfast, I threw on some clothes and headed out to run around the boardwalk. While I could feel the lack of sleep and excessive walking, the run felt pretty easy. I was surprised to see that I was running 8 or sub-8 minute miles. It was a pleasant surprise.

Once we came home, I was happy to rest, that is after my late night intervals. Friday my only goal was to get my 10k steps. Saturday morning it was a lovely 14 degrees outside when I met Amy and Beth for our run. It was a bit of a shock to my system. The first few miles felt hard. I was dreading running for hours. As the run progressed though I started feeling better and better. Slowly my pace started to effortlessly increase. My last four miles were my fastest of the entire run. I decided to try to do a fast finish for my final two miles. I pushed a bit harder to so that I was on the brink of all-out effort. Mile 20 was 8 min/mile on the dot and 21 was a 7:54! Needless to say I had a serious runner’s high when I was done.

I can only hope that I can pull that off on race day!

Week 11:

Monday – 12+ miles of walking
Tuesday – 12+ miles of walking
Wednesday – 6.55 mile run (7:56 min/mile avg.)
Thursday – 5×1200 @  7:13 min/mile (6.75 miles @ 7:43 min/mil avg.)
Friday – REST (finally)
Saturday – 21 miles
Sunday – Rest

Our Weekend Away

We have never spent a night away from Anderson together. We once, two years ago, spent a single night away from Ella. We stayed in the same city and were away for less than 24 hours. Last year when Josh was asked to be a groomsman in a friend’s wedding out East, we decided it was time for our first trip without the kids. It’s expensive to fly the entire family anywhere, especially with Anderson turning two next month. Plus, we needed a weekend free from parenting.

I was so excited but nervous about leaving the kids. My mom was generous enough to offer to fly out to stay with them for us. We bought her ticket and lined up our plans for the wedding. I started prepping the kids a few weeks out about our trip. Ella was totally fine, which I knew she would be. I was nervous about Anderson. He’s still (I know STILL) nursing three times/day and I had no idea how he would do without me at bedtimes. I spent way too long writing my mom notes about any nuances I could think of. I made a fresh loaf of bread and grocery shopped to make sure they had plenty of food.

When the day actually came, we said goodbye to the kids before putting them down for their naps. Even on the way to the airport, I was slightly freaking out. Not that my mom wasn’t capable, but we’d just never left the state without them. By the time we’d checked in and ordered our first drink and antipasta platter, I was relaxed.

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We kept saying that it was so strange to not be making a dozen trips to the restroom, sitting in the play area and worrying about keeping kids entertained. To be honest, after a few drinks I had a buzz going. Our friends Ryan and Claire had just, basically that day, moved to Providence. They were amazing enough to pick us up at midnight. The next morning we were off for New Hampshire.

It took a bit longer than we expected, a little more than three hours of driving through the beautiful, lush trees.

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We arrived at the Bishop Farm B&B which was so cute and situated in the White Mountains. Absolutely gorgeous.

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It was almost like being in college again. Ryan and Claire were in the room across from ours. We ate together, drank too much together and walked from all the wedding festivities together. Claire and I even picked ticks off of each other after getting more than a dozen between us during our afternoon stroll.

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The wedding was something straight off of Pinterest. Jess looked beautiful and Paul was beaming as he watched his bride walk down the aisle. They had a bluegrass band and tasty food in the barn.

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The next morning we drove back to Rhode Island, making a stop for Josh to enjoy his first lobster roll and me to hug a lobster. Plus a quick stop in Boston for some treats from Mike’s Pastry. Sadly our quick trip was all but over after enjoying a really delicious Italian dinner.

I don’t know why we waited so long to take a weekend away. The kids did amazing with my mom. She had them out and about all over the Twin Cities. When we got home, they ran to us for big hugs and kisses. I thought Anderson would wean while we were gone, but nope, the first thing he did was take my hand and ask to go night night aka, give me milk.

We celebrated our return home with some s’mores after dinner and a well deserved glass of wine for Nana.