BOSTON MARATHON!!

image1 (2)

Unlike other races in the past, the Boston Marathon lived up to every one of my expectations. Many people will never get to experience this race and I feel so lucky that I was able to, that my body has been able to keep up with my crazy marathoning, and that our positive attitude around race day turned an otherwise rainy, blustery day into a magical, unicorn-filled, sunny day.

It’s kind of surreal that it’s all over; it’s very bittersweet. My life for the past four years has been nothing but school or work and marathon training (strong exaggeration) but marathoning does kind of take over your life. I’m ready for a break. I’m ready to not have to stress about running after work everyday and every weekend. I’m saying ‘see you later’ to the 26.2 beast for now, but not forever.

Expo

michelle_expo

The expo is something I’ve been dreaming about for the past few months (if not years!). I ended up only buying a hat that I ran the race in and a t-shirt for my mom. I already had gotten the jacket before the expo. We walked through and it was one of the bigger expos I’ve been to – there were just rows and rows and rows of vendors. It was busy and crowded but not to the point where you couldn’t move. Loved seeing Pamela at Sparkly Soul and I ran into Michele near the Runner’s World booth with Kris. We quickly fled the scene after taking some “bib shots” and headed to the Adidas RunnerBase across the street to look at some more apparel.

We got to the finish line and it was beautiful and sunny – it was hard to believe that we were actually standing there at the finish line and were about to run across it a few days later!

roos_bibs_finish

Race Weekend

We arrived on Saturday with the Amtrak train. After getting our bibs and grabbing dinner with our family, I headed up to sleep. Day before the actual race counts the most in terms of hours of sleep for me! Sunday we did a shake out run and then explored Boston via Duck Boat Tour which was hilarious! Recommend if you are interested in seeing the city of Boston without being on your feet too much. I went to the hotel to relax in a bath while the rest of the crew went to the Harpoon Brewery. After catching up for dinner at Giacomo’s we headed up to our rooms and laid out our outfits and got everything ready. Knowing we would be heavily rained upon, I made the switch first from skirt to shorts then from shorts to crops. I didn’t want bare cold skin in the rain.

Race Morning

I woke up at 6:30 am as our hotel was about a 15 minute walk from Boston Common where the buses would be taking people to Hopkinton. Since I was going to eat on the go I didn’t feel like I needed much time before leaving the hotel at 7am. I made a cup of coffee, got into my outfit (lululemon crops and the Yeah Yoga tank top, Zensah arm compression sleeves, Boston Marathon adidas hat) and headed to my sister’s room so we could apply BodyGlide allllll over the place.

I packed with me a water, fig cereal bar from TJ’s, bagel, and a banana. I ended up eating everything (only half the bagel) and I also ate another banana at the Athlete’s Village. They had big tents set up which was amazing for the runners to huddle under and there were a fair amount of porta-potties (definitely not like CIM, but still a great amount). We were able to go through the lines twice before we were called to start walking to the start.

The Race

The walk from Athlete’s Village to the start is unexpectedly long and the start was all kind of a blur. You hear the gun go off but depending on your corral (I was corral 7 out of 8), it took me 4-5 minutes to actually get to the start. The energy at the start was great and it hadn’t started raining yet so we were at least dry to start. I had left my phone at the hotel so unfortunately I have no photos from the start.

The race definitely feels weird to start off; if I didn’t know it was the Boston Marathon it would have seemed like a road race going through random Massachusetts neighborhoods. It started raining around mile 1 which was about 10:30am for us. Nicole and I had two goals with this race: run the whole marathon together and finish not hating running or marathons. Part of achieving goal number two meant pacing the race properly so that we had fuel to finish strong. We hoped to run between 3:30-3:40 roughly hitting an average pace of 8:10.

Mile 1 – 8:12, Mile 2 – 8:07, Mile 3 – 8:09, Mile 4 – 7:55, Mile 5 – 8:12

[Boston is a hilly course. This means that yes there are definite uphills but there are also a ton of downhills – and the first 6 miles are very fast (net downhill). We wanted to take out the first 6 miles in average of 8:15 or so, but we ended up being a little faster but still felt like we weren’t pushing the pace so we held on and settled in. I took my first gel at 5.]

Mile 6 – 8:00, Mile 7 – 8:05, Mile 8 – 8:03, Mile 9 – 7:56, Mile 10 – 8:00

[I don’t remember much of these miles. I had music playing and I was just cruising along. Pace got a little faster but we still felt pretty strong. Took my second gel at 10 and some water at 8.]

Mile 11 – 8:05, Mile 12 – 7:51, Mile 13 – 7:52, Mile 14 – 8:00, Mile 15 – 8:02

[I opened my Clif Bloks pack and took a block at mile 12.5. Mile 12 and 13 were fast and pretty downhill. This is also where Wellesley College is and these girls know how to pack a punch! Their energy was amazing and thrilling. I ran down the line high fiving as many people as I could. I came off of this strip of people and energy with a high. I took my 3rd gel at 15 and had been taking water almost at every stop, sharing with Nicole since they filled the cups up pretty high.]

Mile 16 – 7:43, Mile 17 – 8:13, Mile 18 – 8:01, Mile 19 – 7:50, Mile 20 – 8:02

[The first 15 miles had gone by pretty fast and we found ourselves facing the dreaded Newton hills. We wanted to not worry about pace too much around here, forgiving ourselves if pace declined. Mile 17 shows the drop in pace but we quickly picked it back up in the downhills. I had taken a blok at 16 and my 4th gel at 18. The only unfortunate part about the weather is how heavy my feet got towards Mile 18. Mile 16 ended up being the fastest mile, followed by Mile 26!!]

Mile 21 – 8:26, Mile 22 – 7:51, Mile 23 – 8:05, Mile 24 – 8:04, Mile 25 – 7:54, Mile 26 – 7:47, Mile .48 – 7:05 pace

[I was looking for my friend who said she would be at Heartbreak Hill around 21 (which was clearly our slowest mile) and I was so sad I couldn’t find her. She had made a sign and everything! She is my oldest friend I have (we met in second grade!) The BC crowd was AMAZING. Their support fueled me through the rest of the marathon. I love that they were out their with the intense energy even in the rain. I took my 5th gel at Mile 22 and had finished the pack of Clif bloks by then. Miles 22 through 24 were tough but I felt strong and like I was crushing it. My confidence and energy was high and I just wanted to see our family so badly!]

caroline

Once we saw the Citgo sign (and missed seeing our friends Leticia, Brittany and Anne oops) we knew our parents and family would be coming up shortly on our left hand side. I could recognize parts of the course from watching the marathon online last year – I remembered seeing Meb racing through here looking back to see where the competition was. Now that I was running the same race was pretty surreal.

The section where you go underneath the bridge/overpass right before RIGHT ON HEREFORD was were our parents were. I can’t explain how euphoric this was. I felt like I could run for days and we sprinted up to them high fiving them and continued running onward. We knew how close we were!

image1 (3)

I was literally on cloud nine and tears welled up – I was overwhelmed with joy, nerves, pain, pride, love. I started choking up and had to shake myself out of the moment for a second so I could breathe and finish the damn race!

I turned to Nicole and said “Is this really ‘Turn Right on Hereford, Left on Bolyston’????” We were about to freaking do it. Make those two epic turns. I’ve never had a more memorable, amazing finish. I felt strong and I couldn’t feel anything (in a good way). We were pushing it so hard and felt incredible. We grabbed hands and threw our arms in the air and crossed the finish line! We finished with identical times, 3:31:50, which meant we ABSOLUTELY nailed our goal! And I think I PR’d in smiling.

holding_hands_23

I have no regrets about the race in any way shape or form. It was perfect.

finishers!

WE DID IT!

I didn’t even notice the chill during the race, but afterwards I was probably more cold than I’d ever been! We luckily grabbed a cab and headed back to the hotel. I can’t tell you how good it felt to finally put on that jacket we had spent so many years chasing. We got our jacket; we got our unicorn!

I’m still overwhelmed with joy from the race and I can’t thank my family, friends and supporters enough for all of your love and words of encouragement! It truly would have been a different experience without you all and I thank you so much for adding so much to my special day.

I’ve never ran a race so evenly and I can 100% say that we crushed it. We ran the exact same half splits back to back! 1:45:55 first half, 1:45:55 second half! Insane! I also fueled a lot more than I usually do – in total I had the equivalent of 7 gels (5 actual gels plus 6 bloks).

I’m SO excited to have a break but I’m thrilled we put up with all of the harsh winter months to get that amazing day on Marathon Monday. Next time you have rain in your forecast, turn that frown upside down and know that anything is possible!

unicorn

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

3 Days until the Boston Marathon!!!!

2015_entrants

It’s a little hard to believe that in 3 days my sister and I will be toeing the line at the 119th Boston Marathon..!!!!! We’ve been training for this day for so long; we’ve run countless marathons, many times failing to qualify for the coveted race. But one race it all clicked (with some coaching magic sprinkled in) and now with a hellish winter training behind us, we are finally ready to run!

My bib number is: 14111

I start at 10:25 am. There’s a free app if you are interested in tracking!

My must-have stops this weekend:

1. Expo (obviously)

2. Adidas RunBase – this looks so cool, love all the hype on instagram

3. Any recommendations? Food stops? Lunch spots?

Something I have avoided thinking about too much as per usual is the weather. I’ve been so lucky on all of my marathons in the past – each of my marathons consisted of great running conditions and no rain in sight (albeit the head wind this past NYC Marathon). Going into the marathon weekend, things don’t look very promising for Monday, and surprisingly I am finding myself not stressing about it for some reason! (Only thing I am bummed about will be missing my new Spotify playlist” but there was life before Spotify, and there will be life after.)

I know this race is going to be spectacular, no matter what the weather brings. Sunshine? Great. Clouds? Awesome. Rain? Game face! Hail/Snow? Might have issues. The best thing to remember is that everyone will be dealing with the same conditions. We have to prepare for it to be rainy so I’m shifting my race day outfit a bit, too.

pacesetterskirt2

This was supposed to be my skirt/bottoms for NYC Marathon and when it was calling for 30 degrees and 25 MPH winds, I decided reluctantly that maybe crops were a better choice… So then I made my Boston Marathon race outfit around this skirt, but it looks like I’ll have to forgo it again. I’m nervous that the material will get heavy when wet and be floppy. Not good to run in something when you don’t know how it will perform.

michelle finish

I’ll instead opt for these shorts, which I know I’ll love. Can always count on the Speed Shorts.

As for top, I’m sticking with the top I bought. I tested it and it passed! I love the color and cut and can’t wait to strut around Boston in it!

yea yoga

Lastly – the accessories. I’ll be wearing my Zensah leg sleeves (in purple) and then I will probably wear a hat with a visor so that I can keep the rain out of my eyes. Like I mentioned, I’ve never run a race this long in the rain so I’m nervous how things will go. I also have never run a race in a hat before but I don’t imagine it being too uncomfortable. Hoping to pick up this hat or something similar at the expo!

hat_boston

QUESTIONS:

1. Has anyone run with their name in Sharpie down their arm? Is Sharpie the best marker to use? 

2. What are your must-haves when it’s raining? Body glide, visors, etc?

3. Will you be cheering? Let me know where you’ll be and I’ll look for you!

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Caring Less

tired

It sounds pretty ironic that I’m caring less about training for the marathon I’ve spent the last 4 years trying to qualify for. I’m not caring less about the race – just about training and I am cutting myself some slack. Michele also just wrote a great post about this topic – specifically about the Boston Marathon too.

The start of 2015 has been nothing but bumps in the road – potholes to be more accurate. First week into the New Year I got hit with a stomach bug. After a few other incidents and a major set back (learning that my BF will deploy again for 9 months), I have felt pretty beat up thus far.

My body was holding up pretty well physically and as usual I was using running as an escape and a relaxer. It wasn’t until last week when everything caught up to me and my body put out a big proverbial stop sign.

I was more tired and cared less about doing my workout. Mentally and emotionally I was drained from personal reasons so I sort of blamed my body for following suit. I posted a picture on Instagram about unintentionally making last week a cutback week, and I received and overwhelming amount of supporters and people feeling the same way.

Training for a marathon is hard as it is. Training for a specific time is even tougher and I have been following a strict, time-focused training plan for the past 4 marathons. Choosing to run Boston Marathon as a “victory” race rather than a goal race was the best choice ever. Nicole and I have been running most of our long runs together and it’s made a world of difference to “just” run the miles rather than focus on specific paces and getting upset if we don’t hit them.

nuunzuno

I’m still doing 2 key speed workouts, a long run, and 1-2 other maintenance runs per week but I’m a lot more forgiving and accepting of my body and how it is feeling.

The Boston Marathon IS a celebration and I am so excited to run it. Sure I won’t be hitting my fastest time, or probably anywhere close to it, but I will be enjoying my life during training and giving it my all race day!

boston_strong

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Running Thigh Highs

nice_pipes_main

Photo from NicePipesApparel.com

You know a company does a good job at what they do when they can make you feel like their product is a missing puzzle piece from your closet. I have so many pairs of running crops that I can never wear during winter training because my ankles and shins will freeze. I never even thought about looking for a solution until it sort of hit me right in the face! Enter: Nice Pipes!

They come in two lengths – knee high and thigh high. And to be honest, I was reaaally skeptical of the thigh highs being long enough for me — “You really think they will fit me at 6′ tall?” — answer was yes! and they weren’t lying.

nicepipes

They are super comfortable and are easy to slide on and off. They also come in a little pouch that you can fold them up into easily (which doubles as a carrying case for your phone and keys during a class).

While I’m sure I’ll use them for yoga and going to classes, the main draw for me was running. I ran with them on Saturday for my first 20 miler of my training for the Boston Marathon as an extra layer of warmth! They were comfortable and definitely added warmth however they did slide down a little bit.

nicepipes 2

While they didn’t stay in place at my mid thigh during the entire run, I didn’t find it too disturbing or annoying (unlike tank tops riding up or other weird apparel quirks). They sort of stayed put right above the knee.

I’d love to see them make a running-specific pair of Nice Pipes with some sticky on the inside to keep them up at the right height!

The great thing is that they don’t ride or slip down when just walking or wearing them around so I can’t wait to spruce up my winter wardrobe with these babies! And take them skiing this weekend!

If you’re interested – they also sell arm warmers (with THUMB HOLES !! heaven) on their website!

Speaking of skiing, what are your skiing apparel must-haves? Have you ever been skiing at Windham Mountain in Upstate NY? Any recommendations for restaurants?

xo – happy Monday!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

7.5 Weeks Until Boston Marathon!

boston-marathon-starting-line1

I think we can all agree that this Winter has us feeling frozen in time and like it’s never going to get warmer, but it also hits me quite often just how close we are to Boston Marathon race day! Today we are officially 7.5 weeks away !

I’m enjoying this training more than any training cycle in the past that I can remember. Perhaps because I’m stressing less about time and more about enjoying the journey as corny as that sounds. Nicole and I are hoping to be able to run the whole race together and ideally cross the finish line together.

The treadmill has been my best friend for speed and some long runs but I’ve been trying to do most long runs outside that I can. I’ve gone up to 16 so far and will be running 20 this Saturday. The highest mileage per week has been 48 this past week.

Favorite Things This Training:

Sauna – this is seriously the best! Crunch has a few locations with a sauna (and steam room) and it’s been a huge life saver after hard workouts. It’s so relaxing and super rejuvenating.

Red Fox Wireless – i’ve been using these nonstop! They are the best on the treadmill because who hasn’t had the experience of nearly falling off the treadmill because you got tangled in your headphone cords. This happened quite often (maybe I’m just not so graceful) but either way, this is the best, most freeing feeling ever! Especially when watching Netflix on the treadmill – not sure I want to send my brand new iPad flying off the treadmill belt on accident.

Heating pad – I bought one at Walgreens and lay on it at night when I’m relaxing. Helps my back and shoulders relax.

kara

I’m happy to announce that I’m a Zensah Compression ambassador!

I just got my samples in the mail and I can’t wait to wear my purple during the Boston Marathon to celebrate this year’s colors!

Here’s also a great compilation of Shalane’s interview videos regarding the 2015 Boston Marathon.

 —

What are your favorite things from this training cycle? What are your training accessory must-haves?

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Wireless Running Headphones – (Where have these been all my life?)

redfox

One of the most annoying things on a run is not feeling free. I run for many reasons but one of the biggest is to let go and release built up tension from my day, week, month. But often times I feel like I’m being held back my the gear I’m using or the extra things I need for my run – water bottles, iPhone, Gus/gels, headphone cords, winter attire. This is a big reason why racing is such a nice free feeling – you don’t have any of the “baggage” that weighs you down during training.

Last week I was introduced to a product – RedFox Wireless headphones (courtesy of the lovely ladies at Smack) – and this is clearly a review in exchange for that product, but the initial background I just took you through is pure truth. I hate having to carry things and one of the most annoying things is knowing where to put my iPhone so that my headphone cord reaches but doesn’t annoy or chafe me during a race.

The headphones were sent to me as a trial and I’ve been able to test them now a few times as I’m knees deep in Boston Marathon training!

initial_thoughts

Sleek design and cool packaging. It comes with its own specially designed carrying case which is a little bit bigger than I would like if I’m going to travel with it but definitely ensures it won’t get damaged.

carrying_case

They are designed to be worn in multiple ways – over the ear (which is the way I tried first, seemed most natural) or flipped upside down. Surprisingly I preferred having it upside down to having it over the ear (in between ear and head).

AND you can control the music from the headphones! Whaaaat? Best feature (other than it being wireless ;)). You can answer calls, change volume, change songs, pause/play songs. Amazing. Especially for us NYers who never stop moving.

during_run

I tried these outside and on the treadmill. They bobbed up and down a little for me wearing them over the ear, but had a much smoother feel once I flipped them upside down and wore them inverted. I think this is purely unique to the user; everyone will prefer it one way over the other (or enjoy both). Here’s an example of how they look being worn down:

down_wear

One thing you do have to make sure is that you charge the product. It comes with a USB cord that you can plug into your computer or any connector (like your iPhone charger). Since it uses Bluetooth, if its not charged it’ll skip sometimes. But it’s battery life is ~8 hours so I definitely don’t charge it after every single run.

It felt amazzzzing not to have to have a cord dangling or getting caught in my water bottle. I kept my iPhone in my pocket and just ran with my hands free. I know a lot of people prefer not running with anything which is fine, but for me, I love having music so this is amazingly revolutionary for me.

other_sues

Conference calls so you can take notes, listening to music while walking (what I do all the time in NYC), calling while cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping (basically anything on the move).

They come in a bunch of fun colors and I think it’s a really good gift idea for anyone who’s either interested in tech or interested in sports (or both obviously!). It’s not purely a running product so there are many uses for those who hate hitting the pavement.

Even just from reading the reviews on the site I can see that everyone really believes in and loves the product. For me, they come in perfect timing as my Yurbuds just died on me (AGAIN, second pair). Will be keeping these babies as essentials for my training for Boston!

Have any questions specifically about the product? I’ll answer everything in the comments below if you have any or feel free to reach out to me personally.

Happy gifting (or self gifting)! Valentine’s Day is right around the corner :)

11 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Training and Why Your Mucus is Green

running_selfie

We’re officially 11.5 weeks away from the Boston Marathon and I feel nowhere ready, which is a pretty scary thought! I’ve been training for a few weeks now unofficially but this is my first week of training and I’ve already run off course a little – not great indication for how the rest of training will go!

Monday – rest – NYC Blizzard

Tuesday – 6 miles on treadmill – Warm up 8:34 then 30 seconds @ 6:53 pace x 2:30 at 8:00 (10 reps) – Cool down 8:40

Wednesday – Spin @ Crunch with weights

Thursday – Unplanned rest day

Friday – Making up today for what I missed yesterday.. Plan is 6 miles with middle 4 progressing from 8 minutes to 6:50

Saturday – 4-5 mile maintenance miles (planned)

Sunday – 13 mile long run (planned)

fave_new_things

Stuff You Should Know (Podcast) – This is seriously the most interesting thing. Learning things like why your mucus is green is something I never thought I’d do while running!

You’re dying to know why it’s green now right? It’s not because it’s filled with bacteria (like most people think) but it is actually because the white blood cells that your body makes to fight have a slight green tint.

Boston Marathon Jacket – Cue the heart eyes emoji. Can’t wear it yet but boy will I sleep in it Monday Marathon night.

boston_jacket

Drawing – Not really new per se, but I’m digging up my creative energy again and can get lost for hours drawing if I get in the zone! I feel pressure a lot of the time to draw really well and it gives me “artist’s block” so I’m working on letting it flow and not being too hard on myself!

lion

Jameson – I’m babysitting him this weekend. My life is complete. And you all know what to expect on social media. Brace yourselves, the puppy selfies are coming.

jameson

Some not so fun news…we got word that my BF has to deploy again in September. I’m going to take it as it comes and not stress about things so far in advance. I have this blog as an aid for creative release and lots of wonderful friends to help me through the process.

What are your favorite new finds?

How’s winter training going? I’m totally relying on the treadmill for most of my runs but braving the outdoors whenever it’s not too icy!

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized