One Week to Go!

I can’t believe it! By this time next week, I’ll have finished my second marathon! (At least I hope I’m not still on the course come 8 p.m :-P!)

Overall I reflect back on this summer of training with mostly fond memories.  It hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve been very fortunate to have an exceptionally awesome support system of run buddies who got me out for my training runs consistently.  I can’t believe that when I ran Boston I had trained primarily solo.  Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for solo runs, even longer distance solo runs, but I have really found a love for running with friends.

This weekend was my last long run and I ended up putting in 11 miles with myIMG_0257 friend Scott.  I had no complaints in regards to the weather or our route. I can’t remember the last time I was able to comfortably run in a long sleeve shirt!  If anything, it was a little too windy at times, but that was mostly when we made it to Castle Island in Southie (where I made Scott take our photo stop!) .  The leaves are turning and running through the city was a nice change of scenery.

The only thing getting me nervous as of late is that I am struggling with some right hamstring pain.  I’ve gotten so much action from my foam roller I think it’s time he proposed!  I’m basically in a regimen of rolling, stretching, icing and taking anti-inflammatories.  I’m struggling with how much to do in the week leading up to the big run, but I am planning to get in at least one or two days of some easy miles.

At this point I’ve done what I can do and what happens on the day will be what it is.  I’m ok with that. I am so fortunate to be able to run at all I have no pressure on myself for any other goal than to cross that finish loud proudly knowing I worked hard to be able to get to this point.

I’ll admit I took this picture after running, when I had gone in to the city later in the afternoon, but nonetheless the beautiful fall-meets-Boston sights were plentiful throughout my run and I wanted to end with this beautiful shot.

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I’m willing to bet I’ll be a bit antsy the day/night prior to my marathon so I’m thinking you all might hear from me again before I head to the start line 🙂  I’ll at least post some info about following me on my run, for those who are interested, and there’s even a cool app I’m going to use while I run because it allows friends to pre-record cheers and choose where along the course I hear them!  Seeing as I’ve become admittedly so reliant on my run buddies, that’s sounding quite amazing to me and worth running with an ear bud (something I haven’t done in forever!)

Until then, happy running!

20 Miles, 20 Selfies!

So I’ll get it out of the way.  Today was TOUGH.  In fact, I’m pretty convinced the only way I got through this run was because I mentally committed to this “20 Miles, 20 Selfies” idea before I started. (What’s funny is you can totally see the decline…it was only fun for like the first 10 miles, but more on that in a bit!)

It’s been awhile since I have not only had SO much internal negative talk, but also that I’ve not been able to overcome it.  I don’t know what exactly happened. I’ve been thinking about it for awhile and have gotten no further in my efforts to try and describe what I felt. I definitely wasn’t feeling physically awesome, especially by mile 16, but I just could not mentally get out of my own way.  I did more walking than I wanted, but hey, I finished!  That was what was really important to me.  Second in line for importance was I hoped to finish before the course officially shut down (4 hours).  I expected to have more wiggle room, but I finished with 4 minutes and change prior to the shut down so I’ll count that as a “win.”  The course was tough.  The loops we 20-milers did was not super scenic.  The volunteers were great as were the other runners, especially the other 20-milers. It was kind of like a special club, tackling 20 miles together.

So let’s enjoy the 20 selfies, because that’s more fun than my continued thinking about how tough today was (though near the end, you’ll start to see the shift from excitement to “Oh my god I hate everything right now”).

Arriving at the start, bright and early!
Arriving at the start, bright and early!
Nice view near the start
Nice view near the start
Mandatory pre-race selfie
Mandatory pre-race selfie
Mile 1, let’s do this!
Mile 2, still "fun"
Mile 2, still “fun”
Mile 3
Mile 4, kinda cute! (minus the shaky wobbles)
Mile 4, kinda cute!
High Fiving at Mile 5!
High Fiving at Mile 5! Kirby’s CLIF Gel time!
Mile 6, Amanda’s on to her nutrition and I’m starting my cute faces
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Mile 7, Getting our selfie on with some water in the background
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Apparently 8 miles gets me so excited I strain my entire face! (PS I don’t have a double row of top teeth)
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Mile 9, trying to capture some scenery
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Looking pretty good for Mile 10!
Yeah, this is where the run started to lose us both, Mile 11
Yeah, this is where the run started to lose us both, Mile 11
Mile 12…speaks for itself
Mile 13, buddies break off
Mile 13, buddies break off, but I gained a double chin for this pic 😉
Just anything to keep me going at Mile 14
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Mile 15, lost Amanda for good d/t the dizzies and I legit am not amused with this run!
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Mile 16, pretty sure I was trying to optimistically “thumbs up” but honestly only thinking about hitchhiking (or Ubering, actually)
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Mile 17, rallying for a selfie. (For the record, totally faking the happiness)
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Mile 18. Yeah…
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Mile 19. One. More. To. Go….
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Mile 20. Done! Cute medal and I’ll receive my 20 mile tag in the mail.

So in the end, I got it done. It was not the pace I was hoping for (I certainly wasn’t hoping to walk!) I wanted to feel better, mentally and physically, but I have to deal with the fact I didn’t and just move on!

I have a “shakeout” 5K run tomorrow with the Cambridge Classic 5K which I’m really looking forward to as those are always a fun event.  Next weekend I’ll go for 18 and the following I’m going to attempt 22.  Part of my training this go around was to do 2, 20-miler runs, so we shall see!  Trying to keep positive because I have been putting in the work. Sometimes running is just tough and nothing productive can come from being hard on myself!

Until next time, happy running!

Race Route
Race Route

Time to Recap and Regroup

I’ve been trying to get away from a life of making excuses.  But I will offer one here for my lag in updates (since May 4th, eek!)  Basically, I had been severely technologically challenged with my painfully slow computer.  Blogging is something I’ve wanted to keep up on, but posting from my phone was just getting way too cumbersome and my computer was making all efforts take 5 times as long.  So I finally got an upgrade and the goal is to get back to this blog and hopefully make it better and more regular than ever!  I’ve upgraded my blog client so bear with me as I try to really embrace the world of blogging and make this fun, more aesthetically pleasing, and interactive.  Blogging was SUCH an important part of training for y first marathon and it received such a good response.  I want to get back into the swing of things since I’m on to marathon #2 in less than 2 months and definitely have some big aspirations for my future running adventures!

The good news is that despite a writing lag, there has not been a running lag.  Let me try to play a little catch up for the past few months and then we will move it forward from there 🙂

So super important here to remind everyone that my next big race undertaking is the Marine Corps Marathon on October 25th!  It’s coming up and training has been surprisingly good so far!  The summer heat has not been particularly enjoyable, but as of recent it’s started to cool down some and runs are happening in temperatures that are a bit more pleasant (and tolerable!)

Soon after returning from the Wings for Life run in Canada I ran the 5 mile course at the Boston Run to Remember.  It’s a great course and always a great day for a good cause.

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After the ferocious New England winter the race offered the option to downgrade from the half to 5-miler.  I’ll be the first to admit that without Boston in my future this year, my winter running was much more sparse.  Running 13 miles with the little running I had under my belt at this time of the year just did not seem like a smart move.  So I downgraded (apparently with a ton of other folks!) and actually ran way faster than I expected, so that was a nice surprise!

Not long after this race it was time to start getting my base built back up again so going into full-blown marathon training mode would not be a huge stress on my body, and my mind!  So clearly I needed to take my friend to yoga at Boston Winery 🙂

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It’s all about the cross-training, folks 😉

IMG_7213I’m loving living in Charlestown, so I took advantage of the Battle of Bunker Hill Road Race to support the Boys and Girls Club of Charlestown and, while hilly, it was great being able to run through the new hood and there was so much more support from cheering fans along the course than I ever would have imagined!

So then, you guys, June 18th came.  And HISTORY WAS MADE!

I DID MY FIRST EVER PRE-WORK RUN AT 5:30 A.M.!!! IMG_7242

I know, I know, it’s incredible! I’m really happy to report that this has also become a fairly consistent habit in large part to my running buddy Abigail.  I have gone out a few times solo in the pre-work hours, but if it wasn’t for Abigail keeping me accountable at least one morning a week then I would not be going as often. We’ve also upped our morning mileage to 5 miles.  It’s been tough at times (and only getting tougher as it’s now darker and darker) but it’s been really worth it.  It’s amazing how much more you can do in the day after work when you’re not fitting in time for a run!  It’s also been a pretty basic necessity for summer training given some of the extreme heat afternoons and evenings.  And who knew how awesome the city is in the morning before everyone has woken up?! I mean I guess all you morning runners did, but it was like discovering a new world for me!

Next up was the BAA 10K which we ran in a total monsoon.

IMG_7325 IMG_7330 IMG_7347 IMG_7351 I’m happy to say I toughed it out, but I was surprised how many did as well!  It was one of the worst rain storms I ever ran in but this race certainly holds a special place in my memory thanks to the weather.  Special shout out to Dan who outfitted us in GIANT trashbags pre-run.  Not gonna lie, we were the most #trashbagchic folks around!

A huge perk to living in the city has been all of the free summer fitness classes available. My favorite has been a Cardio Pilates class on the Greenway.

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It’s been a nice addition into training to add some strength work to my training, which has not always been my forte.  (I think about doing strength training a lot, does that count at all??)

And then came July!  A super important month.  Not only was it the official start of Marine Corps Marathon training, but it was also the month of the Run Selfie Challenge!

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Oh yes, my friends.  Every day of the month had a different selfie challenge.  I am extremely proud to report that I participated in EVERY challenge 🙂  Rather than post each individual challenge, here’s a compilation of them all for the month.

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It was a ton of fun! I would definitely do this again. It connected me with a great virtual community of runners and held me even more accountable to getting runs in every day for the month (although I did observe a few rest days, but still found ways to meet the challenges!)

When it was time to re-enter the world of double-digit running, I needed something interesting to run for so I got my new running buddies, Amanda and Scott, on board with my plan to run to Revere Beach for the International Sand Sculpting Competition. The route from Charlestown (10 miles, by the way) left a lot to be desired in terms of scenery mid run, however, the end was well worth it as there were the coolest and most ridiculous sand sculptures I have ever seen!


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We also ended our 10 miler with a dip into the ocean which is truthfully how I wish I could end every single long run!

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The rest of the summer has been full of midweek running, Pilates classes on the greenway, increasing long runs on the weekend, and other fun and awesome things.  I’m sad I didn’t keep this up to chronicle it all live-time, but this is the time to get back on track with the blog!  Here are a few more favorite pictures of recent.  Lots of more fun adventures to come and I’m looking forward to you all joining me for the journey!

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