Time to Taper? Tackle a Half!

And what’s better than the B.A.A. Half Marathon?!
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It certainly wasn’t my best run, but it wasn’t my worst.  I’d be lying if I said I was happy with how I felt during this race, but that’s ok.  I actually feel like regardless of overall not feeling on my game, it was a great decision to have a race during my taper time. It helped me step away from all of the pressure I’ve been putting on myself. I know that sounds weird because a race venue for many comes with pressure, but for me it was a beautiful fall morning in Boston that I got to spend with friends and it just so happens I got in 13.1 miles that is helping me keep on my game for my upcoming marathon.  Race bling is always fun, too 🙂

I have had a lot going on which has unfortunately coincided with the final month and a half of my marathon training.  It’s been distracting and I’ve been carrying a lot of life stress and anxiety into all of my training runs. I am positive that has not been helping me feel at the top of my game.  Nonetheless, I’m really trying to take things one day at a time and low and behold those days are slowly ticking away and it’s almost the big day!

So in the spirit of trying to keep things positive and find the fun in every run, here are my pics from this weekend!

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Some pics with friends before the start and in the starting line.

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Running through the Franklin Park Zoo  gave me the awesome opportunity to snap a selfie with a Zebra!!!  I look at this a sign and as practice for The Big Five Marathon , which I hope to tackle one day!

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It was great running with some fellow Race for Rehab alums !

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Lastly, having completed the B.A.A. 5K, 10K and Half Marathon races this year, I got some extra sweet bling with the Distance Medley Medal!

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So I’m heading into this weekend and my FINAL long run (eek!) before Marathon day!  I’m going for another easy 12-13 miles and really looking forward to all of my shorter midweek runs.

I apologize that my posting has been a little off schedule, and fairy uninspired.  In addition to marathon training, I’ve had some additional work projects and I’m in the process of buying a new place and moving.  Everything is coming to an end at the end of October so I’ve been a real test of prioritizing and productivity lately, neither of which I feel like I’m doing all that awesomely!  Nonetheless, I’ll get through it and I really cannot wait to share my experiences of my time in D.C.  Fortunately I’m off from work for over a week and it will be a wonderful end to a long training and couple of eventful life months!

Lots more excitement to come! And 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

Fabulous Flashbacks on Today’s Long Run

So first off, I have to ask! Did I get you to my blog post because on my social media  I promised photo-documentation of “a little sumpin’ sumpin’ in my ice bath?”  If so, that’s awesome!!! And here you go!

Little Sumpin' Sumpin'Oh yes, my first attempt at a post-run ice bath deserved a Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale. Definitely a fave of mine and a nice addition to the tub 🙂  I will say I was advised, probably rightfully so, to ease into the ice bath scene since this was my first go.  It wasn’t SUPER cold, but it was definitely cold and regardless felt great on my legs after the 16 miles of hills today.  I’ll up my game next weekend after my 20 miles and make it even colder.  Maybe I should take a shot of whiskey prior to that bath? Hmmm….

Anyways, let’s go back to the start of this morning! My run buddies and I took our long run this weekend back to  our old stomping ground. That’s right, we started out at the Woodland T stop to run into the city along the Boston Marathon course.  From Newton we ran 8 miles in to the city getting us almost to Kenmore before our turn around.  Overall, I’m looking back on the run and my legs felt really rough the second half, which I account to the lack of hill training, but I stand by my thinking it could have been way worse.  I got a little tight and heavy feeling in my legs but ultimately ran almost the entire way, except for maybe .30 miles at mile 14.  Hey, sometimes when the muscles talk you just gotta listen! Overall, my pace for 16 miles averaged out to 11’05”, which is way faster than I ran Boston and is definitely making me optimistic for my next marathon attempt the end of October.

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My favorite part about this run, aside from the company (that’s a given!) was definitely the memories that came running back (pun intended) while on this route.

[Wavy Fadeout to Memories of March and April 2014]

I was remembering moments from both my 21 miler in March 2014 as well as from the day of the actual 2014 Boston Marathon.

IMG_1007The March training run started with a few more run buddies than today as I joined my Race for Rehab team at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital where we got shuttled out to our start that morning.  This run was like none I had experienced to date and I was so proud to be rocking the RFR singlet and cheering on all of the other charity  and individual runners along the course.  A training long-run like none other!

The training run was also super exciting, because that was the day I got a photo with Tedy Bruschi!  OK, OK….I did kinda stalk him and didn’t exactly ask for the photo, but the triptych memory I was able to create is possibly one of my favorite photos ever!  We were also all a little sad today that Bill the Gorilla was not outside waiting for us, but that’s alright.  The memory of my selfie with him on training day came flooding back as we passed by Heartbreak Hill Running Company.

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The Cleveland Circle area is also the first part of the race where my friends started popping up along the course on the big day!  I mentioned this in my final post for the Boston Marathon recap but it’s worth saying again: I would not have finished my first marathon without the love and support of my friends!  Here’s a few people I remembered out there on this part of the course from a year and a half ago as I ran past theses areas of the route today!
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I haven’t run this far in awhile, so it was awesome to be somewhere that brought back such amazing memories . Certainly a welcome distraction to the hills and achy quads.  The greatness I felt from my first marathon experience is definitely the reason I am tackling a second marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon, and I certainly expect to be taking on other races in the years to come.  (Don’t worry Boston, I’ll get back to you at some point too for sure!)

We really lucked out with weather today. It was nice and cool, overcast and even misting the entire time.  The perspectives are a little off (since I really couldn’t run in the middle of Beacon Street today!) but the view today was a bit different compared to my marathon day as I approached Kenmore!

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Pros and cons to both weather options. Today I was SUPER happy we weren’t in extreme heat and actually didn’t have any sun.  The fact that I was able to get awesome photos during my first Boston Marathon, well yeah I liked the blue skies for that 🙂

So finally to round out this post, I want to make a special shout out to the ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walk that was being held in Newton, MA.  As we were on mile 14-ish, their event had just started.  Amanda and I got cheers and encouragement from the race volunteers and other run/walkers and even got a water refill at one of their stations.  (I maybe sounded a bit pathetic in my “We’re at mile 15 of our run, can we please refill?” plea).  But no seriously, they were all great and I have since made a donation to help support their cause.

So it’s on to 20 miles next weekend! I’ll be running this as part of the Tache Wicked 20 Mile Race up in Salem, MA.  I think having the support of a race crew will be awesome. But I have no idea how large the 20-mile run field is since it’s kind of a random distance.  Good chance I will be the final finisher for the entire event (there’s a 10 mile, Half Marathon, and 20 mile course option) but I figure finishing dead last at some event is something of an experience as well.  Will give me a good topic for my next post 🙂

Until next time, happy running!