Archive for the ‘2010 race’ Category

Wicked fun runnah

Objective: To have a blast running one of the, if not most, celebrated marathons in the world.

This past weekend in a word: surreal. I wish the entry I am about to write would do it justice but all I can say is every time I think about the experience I still get goosebumps. It lived up to everything I hoped for and then some.

Getting my bib number!

Saturday morning I awoke to my dad coming in and saying “everyone that’s running the Boston marathon on Monday wake up!” So what do you think happened? I popped up and off we drove to Boston. After an obnoxious traffic jam in Connecticut (does that state ever not have traffic?!), we arrived at the expo. I walked around wide-eyed. Seeing so many runners. So many amazingly fast runners. Wow. I stopped at the Brooks booth and ran into @jessetchen and @Athleticgirl11. After buying my Boston paraphernalia it was time to head to the north end to meet my TRD teammates for dinner. Yum:)

It was odd to wake up Sunday and realize – I’m not running my marathon today! It’s tomorrow! Thank goodness because after the long, hectic Saturday I was in no condition to run:) We got a guided tour from my mom’s friend since Kindergarten around town. Pretty awesome – it included stops at the finish line, Brookline (my mom’s old ‘hood), and various other famous spots around Boston. Finally, that night I met up with @celluoidcinema and her hubby for dinner in Quincy. She was as awesome as advertised and I can’t wait til she runs her first marathon in NYC. 🙂

Monday – RACE DAY!

Alarm wakes me at 5:15. No issues getting up as my excitement got me right out of bed! Dressed in my usual marathon gear (pink hat, PSU singlet, blue shorts and mizuno inspires), I was set for battle. Oh, don’t forget the peanut butter on a bagel – life is disastrous without that. Since it would be chilly, I dressed in some really hideous throwaway gear (proud member of team dork..hahaha!).

Coolidge Corner. My mom grew up in Brookline watching the race on this corner!

My hotel was over in Quincy but the hotel provided a shuttle to the Boston Commons. Cool. I get on the “shuttle” and it’s a party bus. A literal party bus complete with a stripper pole in the middle, lights, etc. Hysterical. All that was missing was the booze (there was water). Our shuttle ended up with a police escort which was extra cool! I arrived in the Commons area and just again stopped to admire the experience. Holy crap, I AM RUNNING THE BOSTON MARATHON. That kept circulating through my head til my friend Helen arrived (a 6 time veteran). She kept telling me how she was so excited for me…the Boston rookie.

Funny now that’s it over: Helen started saying she had to pee about 10 minutes into the bus ride. By the time we were about a mile from the Athlete’s Village she was about to burst. We watched some dude in the van ahead of our bus sprint to the far off woods to relieve himself. Helen was a trooper and busted off the bus as soon as we arrived. The woods scraped up her legs but she felt better:-D hehe!

Athlete’s village was HUGE. They had sponsored food tents, music, and runners lying around everywhere waiting for the start. Helen left for the start and I spent the remaining time listening to my Boston tunes to get the jitters out. Finally, it was time for me to take my place at the start line of the BOSTON Marathon. As we waited, I chatted with some other first timers. Everyone had the same emotions – just unbelievable excitement. Unlike anything I’ve experienced except maybe my first marathon.

Here's how far I ran...

With a very soft gun to start the wave, it was time to go. As I crossed the start line, tears of joys came over me. This was it. This was what I had spent so many days and nights sweating through workouts. This is what I ran through freaking downpours for. This was for me, my own personal playground for the day. I was going to make it that. I wasn’t intimidated. I was ready to conquer.

The start was very congested but I’m OK with that. There’s 26.2 miles and you’re not going to lose your time from that. Immediately I set into my pacemaster zone. That zone? 8:30s. I was OK with that – if it meant I would enjoy each and every second SO worth it. I slapped some hands over the first couple miles and soaked in every step.

I remember seeing signs made by Adidas at each town telling runners why they should “Run Boston Better.” For example, in Wellesley it was “Brace yourself for

This picture captures my mindset the whole race

the Screams.” I really enjoyed the signs. Thumbs up Adidas. You guys advertised the race really well – and way to go with your version of the Nike+. It will work with any shoe and any MP3 player. Smart.

Anyway, the race. The support was amazing. People lining the streets cheering. Some drunk as a skunk (including signs saying drunk with an arrow pointing down at said person), some just handing out water/oranges/etc just to be helpful and others blasting music. I remember hearing old school rap music and laughing. Why? Because it was actually a live band! 🙂 Things like this made me smile the entire way from Hopkinton to Boyleston Street.

Wellesley lived up to its reputation. As I approached the sign welcoming me to Wellesley, I started to hear screaming. As I got closer, it was deafening. Funniest part? Signs portraying “kiss me” “Kiss me I’m a first year” etc. Ha. Guess it was a lot more exciting for the guys:)

As I approached the half, I felt great. I didn’t feel like I was going too hard and knew I could make it through the second half. That was a sign of good things to come. As I approached the sign for Newton, I said to myself “alright, let’s do this. Newton Hills, you ready for me?” Pretty sure I said it out loud because a few runners laughed out loud:) Hope it helped them too!

At that point, a major decline started and I knew that I would be going back up said incline. Fun. It’s one thing when it’s the beginning of the race but mile 17? Mentally ready. At that point Josh started yelling in my head “Pick up your knees/legs and swing your arms.” Faster. As this replayed in my head over and over, I was at the top! Whew. I noticed a lot of people walking around me. Not me!

heartbreak hill

Big smiles at the bottom of Heartbreak Hill

Round 2 of the Newton hills? Same result. As I declined once again I hear someone screaming my name on the side of the road. It was my parents yelling to me! Since time wasn’t an issue, I pulled over and gave them a GIANT hug. I got a couple of pictures with my dad before taking on the beast known as Heartbreak Hill. I knew once I got to the top, it was smooth sailing home. Between the crowds and downhills, my legs still felt as fresh as can be expected.

Running through BC, I got a second wind and started slapping hands on the side of the road. You could smell the beer everywhere. I’m pretty certain my smile was HUGE at this point and laughed at the ridiculousness of it all. This was it. As I approached mile 24, I knew I was getting close to Coolidge Corner. This was where my mom used to stand when she was growing up to cheer on runners. I passed a couple of teammates and they cheered me on to keep running – they saw I felt great. splits

The crowds starting picking up and I remember seeing Fenway where the Red Sox were in the middle of losing another game:-p As we approached Mile 25, I thought about my coworker MM and her mom battling cancer. I promised her mile 26 would be for her and her mom. As everything started to go through and process, tears started flowing. Not just for them but everything. Everything I had endured to be running the streets of Boston today – from the minute I first met Susan in the park to train for the NYCM to training through the harsh 2010 winter. Rounding the turn onto Boyleston Street I saw the finish line. Not just any finish line. THE BOSTON MARATHON finish line. Holy crap. This is it. I really started to let the tears fly now and had an even wider smile!! I was beaming and pointing to the crowd. I have no idea what I was doing but it didn’t matter. I was living the moment and it was great. Crossing the finish line I realized not only did I have a fantastic time running it, I ran a pretty decent race. 3:46:02 (3rd best marathon time). Not a BQ but I achieved the numero uno goal: WICKED FUN.

Post-race with a sign - no stopping!

That smile I crossed the finish line with has not evaporated and I’m pretty sure this feeling won’t go away anytime soon. If anything, this helped burn the fire a little hotter to go after NYCM in the fall so I can be back in Boston again (are you ready Runnin’ Around Uptown?).

Thank you everyone for your support. During my run, every time I crossed a mat I thought of the people tracking me and knew there was a sigh of relief each time (I know that’s how I feel while tracking someone). I also had nyflygirl in my head saying “don’t go out too fast or I’ll be yelling at you”. I laughed when I started realizing every split was within seconds each time. It was pretty crazy – sure I slowed a bit on the hills but even those splits were all right within seconds of each other as well (the only over 9 min mile was when I stopped to say hello to my parents)! Take a look!  This is why I call myself “pacemaster.”  My legs find a pace, settle and I lock it in.  Just so happens 8:30s felt great today – for how I wanted to run this race.  Could I have run faster? Probably but I would not have experienced the same race.

With that, marathon #7 is in the books and goal obtained.  After a couple of weeks of recovery, it will be time to shift focus towards that race in August… For now, I’ll keep up my post-marathon glow:-D

Dad and I sporting Boston jackets - a decade apart.

Read Full Post »

Pinch me

Boston. 26.2. 3rd Monday in April. A dream about to be realized. Quick someone pinch me to make sure I’m not dreaming!

I’ve said after each marathon I’ve run that each has its own story to get to the finish line (well, the start line I suppose). This one didn’t disappoint. I’ve experienced the highs, lows and in betweens. I ran up the Empire State Building, chatted through a 1:43 half (?!), and experienced a low in mid-Feb. The weather has been less than cooperative – most memorable is a tie between the 14 miler I did in December in 10 degrees and windchill in the negatives and of course the 20 miler on the ice skating rink with a 4 mile race at the end. Work did its usual to try and mess up my schedule. With the exception of one week from hell, I’ve been able to stay on track.

This time around I had a new cast of characters to help me find my way through the journey to Boston. Thanks to the social networking site of twitter and dailymile I’ve been able to have virtual support as well as a few that have become real life friends (you know who you are). My teammates, The Reservoir Dogs also have been a source of encouragement. It’s been refreshing, rejuvenating and most of all, fun. I don’t think words calculate how appreciative I am.

Balance. It worked for me in MCM for 2005 and 2009 so I’ve tried to keep to that trend. My mileage never went sky high (one week of 50) but I kept the fitness level up and kept it fun. Those that know me well, know I can’t survive a regimented schedule. It just isn’t me. I do enough of that during the week! Swimming became a cross-training day I looked forward to on Mondays – who would have believed that one???

Keep it fun. This is a HUGE one. It goes right along with balance but I don’t think it’s an accident that my two best marathon times have come from just enjoying my training. My long runs felt like parties with a final destination to look forward to at the end. Does it get much better than knowing a delicious croissant awaits at the end of 22 miles?

I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m ready. What I’m ready for? I’m ready to do battle with 26.2 on Monday. It’s a distance I respect and my training shows that consistency.

So thank you all for your support. I can’t say it enough.

I’ll finish with this:
I still recall my dad (sub 3 marathoner in his day!) saying to me when I was training for my first marathon back in 2004: “when you make it to Boston, I will buy you your jacket.” Notice the wording: when. He would ask if I wanted one at my other marathons and I’d decline. There’s only one I want which will be in my hands after I cross the finish line April 19.

How this story ends? Stay tuned!

Read Full Post »

Today marked the last pre-Boston tune-up.  I awoke to amazing conditions: 50 degrees and no wind.  What?  A non-brutal NYC half? Unheard of.  I awoke at the ungodly hour of 4:30am to have enough time

Canal Street - mile 12

to get to the race minus stress.  I met ironing.it.out at the Brooklyn Bridge stop at 5:45am after an interesting trip to the subway (there are some weird characters at that hour).  I’m pretty certain from the time we met til the finish we didn’t stop talking?

Going into the race I had a couple of numbers in mind but would just go with whatever the legs told me to do.  As the race started, they settled into a groove.  That groove?  7:54-7:56 pace.  The pace didn’t hurt as I was able to continue being my chatty self the entire way around the park.  Before I knew it, we were at mile 7 heading to 7th avenue!  I had  an issue with the sport beans and water with the water up my nose and issues opening the sport beans.  I’m just smooth like that:-)

My favorite part of the course: running through Times Square.  The crowd support. Music.  Just puts a pep in your step.  Between E and I we had a ton of cheers and the miles peeled away.  This year instead of turning at 42nd we headed up a couple blocks for a turnaround near the Intrepid.  We both commented we’d never been there.  I remember “Danger Zone” was playing at this point. Made me laugh and think of a young Tom Cruise (pre-weird Scientology).

The West Side Highway made the miles melt away as both E and I run home from work this way.  I commented it’s the run home minus the bridge for me!  I crossed the finish line at 1:43:23. Not a PR but a successfully run race.  A) It was a PR for a half marathon in NYC. B) 3rd best half time and it didn’t feel horrendous like in 2006 or last year– I definitely could have run faster. C) I had a blast running with E!  The morning finished out with coffee and more chatting – who knew there could be more to say;)

Now for the numbers part.  Remember, I am known as the pacemaster.  Just take a look at my splits.

Just a rock solid race.  I’m feeling pretty good and if I’m running like this already, I may need to revisit a few goals later on this year. It feels great to have that running vibe back. 4 weeks from tomorrow til the next bout with 26.2!

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts