boston red sox

Prelude To A Race

Last Thursday, my family got on a 5:25 am flight from Wilmington to Boston, via Charlotte. Let’s just say that I don’t get up before 3 am very often, and there’s a reason why I don’t. We landed on time in Boston, and by noon, we were peddling our bags at our hotel, off to wander our blurry eyes around until 4 pm check-in.

There was a make-up Red Sox game that afternoon, and Fenway was a stone’s throw from our hotel, so we headed to the famous Bleacher Bar, where the hostess scored us some amazing front row seats to the Sox pre-game practice. My husband and I had a few Sam Adams 26.2 brews and a good sandwich, before we headed off to look at some new Sox gear at the stadium store and conveniently, the Target next door to our hotel. Who doesn’t love a giant Target????

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My boys at the Bleacher Bar

Soon, we headed back to the hotel and napped on the lobby couches, and finally, were led to our room. Then we headed to get groceries and hang out at the hotel until our early bed time.

On Friday morning, after a long, glorious sleep, my hubs and I headed out on what would be my last tempo run. I didn’t realize you could barely go a block before having to stop for traffic, although any amount of common sense would tell you that, so I was easily frustrated (nothing new) until we got to a really pretty park trail around Jamaica Lake. The first mile didn’t feel great, which is what I expected, but my tempo paces came easily to me after the warm up, and I felt like I could run forever. I didn’t know whether to feel good or bad about that since normally, the week before my marathons, I feel like complete crap and that I have never strung two miles of running together before. 5ish miles later, we were back at the hotel, ready to take on the day.

The first order of business was the expo. Three years ago, it was such a mad house, I went through by myself, which is boring and sad. This year, I drug my entire family along as we shopped for Boston gear and other essential items stuff we didn’t necessarily need but really wanted.

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My son and Me

Then we headed to see about the insider Fenway Park tour, which is only held three hours before game time. Yes, scored tickets for that! It was pretty fun to learn a little more about the park, that Yawkey was the last name of the person who essentially saved the Sox back in the 30’s, sit in the oldest seats in the major leagues, and hang out on The Green Monstah watching the players as they had batting practice. Several balls were hit in our area so, considering my nerves were a little shot anyway, I was glad when the tour was over.

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My favorite support crew

Next up, Red Sox game!!! We had a few beers, walked around, and sat in front of a couple who knew each other but I know her favorite word is any version of FUCK. It was fun, but I know my mind was on food and running and weather and almost everything else but the game.  Sleep came easily that night.

On Saturday morning, we headed to Boston Common for the BAA 5k. I signed the entire family up, mostly so my husband and kids could run across the same finish line I would have on Monday and they would get to experience the “right on Hereford, left on Boylston”.

We saw a lot of thongs things while wandering around the common….

 

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Geez. I really wanted to submit them for an episode of “What NOT to Wear” or “Don’t Stretch While Wearing This”. But I don’t know of those actual shows.

Anyway, my youngest and husband ran the 5k, and my oldest, who had foot surgery in January, and I walked the entire thing, just chatting it up. It was fun, and although we were close, we did not finish last.

My son and moi

After that, we headed back to Fenway for our second and last Red Sox game. We hung out for quite a while on Yawkey way, listening to a really cool band, watching a guy on stilts, and feeding off the energy of the crowd.  It was a good game, but unfortunately, all I could think about was marathons and food and weather. I knew I had missed the boat on eating well that day, so I wanted to be sure I could get a really good meal. We stayed to the end, but lucked out and got a seat at the restaurant right next to our hotel and got the meal I was looking for. Whew.

The best family a girl could ask for

On Sunday morning, my husband and I headed out for my 25 minute shake out run, which thankfully felt like crap, and then we headed to the finish line, where we would meet with the other runners from Wilmington. It was great to see so many familiar faces, talk to my friends and training buddies, and see the finish line, up close and personal. We headed back to the hotel, where we watched the Sox game on the roof deck of our hotel. It was cool to hear the crowd live when the Sox won.

The Wilmington Road Runner Team

I pretty much sat on my butt the rest of the day, got all my race gear ready, and honestly, I didn’t panic when I kept seeing the temperatures for race day getting warmer and warmer.  I talked to my coach about hydration, and then my husband and I came up with a very solid race day plan. He has been with me through all my marathon bonks, knew the drill, so we planned it down to a pretty clear picture of what I HAD to do to make this race successful. I wasn’t that nervous, but I would get waves of excitement, nerves, and whatever else that pre-race feeling is, but then it would pass, and I just did my thing. It was weird, but maybe that’s what happens when you gain experience and there’s very little expectations. I mean, I had expectations, but I wasn’t gonna win the race, so there’s just nothing THAT important to freak out about. Haha, yeah, right. That’s what I keep telling myself.

It had been stalking me the entire three days. I knew it was there and I knew it was going to stare me down on Monday.

I went to bed around 10:30 that night, after eating a baked potato and chicken sandwich, hoping upon all hope I had done my nutrition right and that my plan was going to work.

At 5:20 on Monday morning, my friend texted me, wishing me luck, just 5 minutes before my alarm went off, and I knew it was a good thing to wake up to a good luck text. Thanks, Stacey!

Game. On.

Categories: Boston Marathon, boston red sox, follow your dreams, fueled by base, learning from failure, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, running, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Building a Marathon Playlist

I love listening to music when I run. I think it actually can enhance my performance. Sometimes, when I’m just listening to a certain song, my heart rate will go up and I will want to go run, or if I’m at home doing “my thing”, clean faster. In fact, this song is making my heart rate elevated right now:

Can anyone listen to this and NOT get pumped up? It’s now on my race playlist. Twice. Once in the beginning and once at the end.

Side note: It’s not a very good idea to listen to your fast playlist and drive. Just sayin’.

My playlist is vast and varied. I look for good race songs all year long and add them when I hear them a few times and pass the “I won’t get annoyed at this song after a week” test. I have country, rock, instrumental (example above), teeny bopper, and old school. It would be boring to give you my entire playlist – I mean really, who DOESN’T have “Roar”, “Eye of the Tiger”, “Lose Yourself” and “Runnin’ Down a Dream” on their playlist? How about “The Fighter” by Gym Class Heroes? So here’s a few highlights that may differ from your own.

“Come on, feet…got ta get me there!” This one makes me smile and think of making it to the finish line.

“Got ta walk on…. I’m so tired… but I just can’t lose my stride!”

Then there’s this one. It’s pretty obvious just by the title, “Ignition”.  If anything, listen to the chorus at :47. Again, how can you NOT run faster to this one?

I have two different “Animals” songs, one by Nickelback and the other by Martin Garrix. They are both heart thumpers.

Here’s a different sort, and I know it’s not everyone’s thing, but I use these two songs as a “triggers”. I used them in Boston when we were to start heading up, up, up around mile 15-16. I knew it was time to kick it in gear when I hear them. That’s when your body tires and your mind needs to stay sharp.  The hardest part is coming. Hard work it is.

 

The song below makes me want to run mountains. Big mountains with Vikings and lions and fight people wearing bear coats. I have the short, 2 minute version on my playlist.

Then I’ve got “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark”, “Just Push Play”, various AC/DC songs (but not Highway to Hell, that would be way too obvious), “The Distance”, “Higher Ground”, “Kickstart My Heart”, songs like that. But near the “it’s mental more than physical” part (ok, that’s pretty much the entire thing), I have put a nice little reminder of what I’m trying to do and where I want to go and why I’m putting myself through this. After all, it’s all about Boston.

What are your go-to race songs? Have taper madness before?

 

 

 

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, boston red sox, hal higdon training plan, marathon, marathon training, no fear, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Time To Rock ‘N’ Roll!!

For eighteen weeks, my husband, Andy, has been training for his first marathon using the Hal Higdon intermediate training plan. I think training has gone very well for him, minus a little calf glitch in there a few weeks ago that seems to be fine now. I’ve been able to see training from the flipside, and it’s been fun for me. Not as in a “haha, it’s funny watching you sweat” kind of fun, it’s just been fun to see him do something that I truly love to do. He “gets” things more than he did before, like how tired you can be, how hungry you can be, what taper madness is, what pre-race nerves are like, all the aches and pains, chafing, carb loading, and wow, about a billion more things. He’s met running friends, he’s not slept in on a weekend (except for this past Sunday) for months, and I think he’s had a lot of fun. You’ll have to check HIS blog out that he started during this adventure, called Salt Life & Clemson. He talks about life, being a dad, husband to a crazy wife, a Clemson fan, a Red Sox fan, and of course, running. Check it out!

Savannah, here we come!

Savannah, here we come!

So on Thursday, we are going to pack up the Ford and head south. His race is Saturday and honestly, I’m nervous!!! I’ve never been a Sherpa for anyone, and because he is the BEST Sherpa in the continental US and probably the entire world, I don’t want to fail him.  I’ll have two mini-Sherpas with me, which always adds an element of, um, entertainment, but it is extremely important to us all that they see their dad cross that finish line. The hay is in the barn for hubby, so getting packed and carb loaded is all we can do now. Wish him luck!! All I can say is that I’m so proud of him for all the hard work he’s put into this!

As for me, I’ve had a roller coaster of a week. On Monday, I felt like I could conquer the world in a single bound. Today, I feel like I couldn’t finish a 5k if my life depended on it. What’s up with that?? Maybe it’s coming off a big race. Maybe it’s because I didn’t sleep much last night. I am worried that my shin splints have migrated into my calf, so at this point, I don’t even know if I will be able to train for my marathon in January. It’s all I’ve been thinking about since Boston, so it’s been emotional to try and think about an injury and the possibility I may have to pull the plug on my big race. I don’t understand what is going on, but after my run tomorrow, if my gait feels “off”, I’m going to make an appointment with a physical therapist who can assess my stride and see if there’s something firing wrong in there somewhere. I think I’m ok with whatever happens, there’s local marathons, but I already spent the money on a plane ticket to Houston and don’t want to go all that way to run a half marathon or not at all. How will this all play out? I’m guessing I’ll have some sort of answer by the end of next week. Can’t I just skip the pages and get there already???!!!!  Ahh, I remember now, it’s all about the journey! In the meantime, I’m going to have a BLAST with my family in Savannah and watch my husband finish his marathon.

What about YOU? Have you any Sherpa tips for me? Been to Savannah to run?

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, boston red sox, half iron distance, marathon, running, running buddies, running with friends, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

The Other F-Word

Fruit. Forest. Forget. Forget to forage for fruit in the forest? No. That’s not it. The other F-word is……wait for it….. FUN.

FUN

A few times this weekend, I was a part of different conversations with different people about running, racing, triathlon-ing. As you know, I’m training for my first triathlon at the end of October. I’m kind of using this triathlon as cross-training for my marathon in January, where I completely plan to kick boo-tay. The difference between the triathlon and the marathon for ME, is that I plan to just race the triathlon for fun. WHAT?! I’m not going to go for certain times and all that? No, I’m not. My husband doesn’t believe that I will actually only care that I finish in the allotted time, and sometimes I don’t either, but I’m determined to leave this race as a fun experience that I will enjoy. I mean, I do care about time, I don’t want to dilly dally around and chat up the people at the water stops and all that, but I want to just do this thing.   If you can “just” complete a half iron.  I want to have a blast along the way. I need to. Because that shit is hard.

When I first started running as a kid and then doing races about 18 or so years ago, it was for fun and exercise. As therapy, too. And so I could drink more beer. Yes, I ran as fast as I could, but that was it. I put some miles in and I did what I needed to do to finish the race. By no means did I have a training plan, do speed work, run fartleks (although I’m sure I did plenty of farting while I ran, especially after drinking the beer that ironically, I was burning off), or really, anything besides the basics in preparation. My preparation plan was this (it’s highly complicated so you may want to read it twice): Get some miles in and then run a race.  Boom. And it served me really well. I had a lot of fun. I finished several marathons this way, and it was an enjoyable, FUN experience.

It may look like I was trying not to poo myself, but really, I was having a blast that race. I have no idea what my time was either.

It may look like I was trying not to poo myself, but really, I was having a blast that race. I have no idea what my time was either.

Then I wanted to qualify for Boston.  I started using training plans, got a coach, did speed work at 4:30 am at a vacant track in the middle of winter IN IOWA, ran 200 times around a 1/10th mile indoor track when it was way too dangerous to run outside. For several years I did this, and along the way, I fell in love with training for marathons. I love speed work. I enjoy tempo runs. I like the challenge of having a time to meet. I truly LOVE to train, to run, and all the parts of an all-encompassing training plan. Really, truly, I love it. L.O.V.E. I get runners highs right before racing, I get it in my off-season time, and when I mix post-exercise endorphins and caffeine, wow, a runner’s high is amazing.

THIS girl is having a blast! It's what the whole thing is about.

This girl is having fun! THAT’S what the whole thing is about.

So is running still fun for me? Yes. It is. I didn’t feel like my last training cycle was a job, and that’s probably because I take time off between big events. I had fun along the way, as I trained. I need down time and freedom after my big races, and I take it.  But sometimes racing can be daunting. Especially when you’re surrounded by a million competitive athletes and are always hearing about how fast everyone is and improving and doing more and doing better. And a lot of the time, I’m one of them. But when it seems that whatever you’re doing is never fast enough, is never ENOUGH enough, then you know you might be living in a bubble. Have you or your friends ever said, “It’s only a half marathon/ only a half iron/only a 10k,/only an iron distance but not a sanctioned Ironman”? Yes? Then you know you might be living in a bubble. Pop it. Where did the fun go? Pop that damn non-fun bubble. I can’t even really race anymore without a concern for time. Yes, I do love it, but that competitive drive can take the fun out of it. And I can live with that, only because I really, truly love to run, train, and race.  I do admit though, racing isn’t always fun anymore.  Most of the time it is, but sometimes, I can’t help but care about the time on the clock when I cross the finish line. More than once, I let a time determine whether or not I had fun. And that’s not good.

What I won’t do is let that mentality get into my triathlons. I refuse. I won’t make these events about time. Yes, I’d like to kick some half iron boo-tay, but really, isn’t everyone who crosses the finish line kicking boo-tay? YES!!!! And athletes who have fun along the way are even better. Because why do something if it isn’t fun?

Do what you want for fun, not because you HAVE to or because someone else expects you to, or because “every one else is doing it”. Do it because you truly WANT to do whatever it is. Do it because it’s fun. If you want to climb up a rope onto a platform and then do a hundred one-armed push ups while a monkey sits on your head and whacks you with a book when you’re done, then do it, if you want to. Smile while he clonks you in the head. But when the fun starts slipping away, maybe it’s time to re-set your barometer. Maybe it’s time to really think about your motivations.  But mostly, ask yourself if you’re having fun. I have the most fun when I’m gritting my teeth trying to run an 800 in 3:15. Whether or not I make it, I have fun along the way. Call me crazy, but I have fun running 18 miles.

FUN: THE NEW WHITE MEAT. 

(Vegetarians → FUN: THE NEW EGGPLANT)

Give it a whirl, you may just like having fun!

On a side note, I mentioned my husband above, so I wanted to pass along his newly minted blog. The point of it is to just talk about life, Clemson, Red Sox, running, living with a Libra runner, kids, and oh, BEER.  Go check it out HERE.  Enjoy!

 

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, Boston Marathon, boston red sox, half iron distance, iron distance, marathon, running, running buddies, running with friends, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

15 Years

I married my best friend 15 years ago today. It was a pretty wedding that we planned on our own.  We would do a few key things differently now, but what’s done is done, and from what we heard, it was a fun wedding with good food.  We went to Jamaica for our honeymoon. My new husband tested out that “in sickness and in health” thing early, since as soon as we got off the plane from Jamaica, we went straight to the ER. He had a massive kidney infection. If I could find the picture of him after I got him all medicated and tucked into bed at home, I would totally share it. But I’ll share this one instead.

 

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Funny thing is that I’m wearing 4 inch platform shoes. Can’t tell.

 

Our moms and dads have been married to each other for over 40 years. That sets a pretty good example of sticking it through, don’t you think? I’ve only been married for 15 years and I know for certain, it hasn’t been easy the entire time.  My husband and I frustrate each other to no end sometimes, me with my ranting and repeating things over and over and him with his disaster of a garage and inability to open mail and throw the envelope away.  Seriously, why can’t you just throw the envelope away?

There’s a lot I don’t know about how we make it work and grow closer as the years go by.  But what I do know is that we have a mutual respect for each other. We communicate (mostly me), and when we have our arguments, we aren’t mean to each other. I may have thrown out “asshole” once or twice, but I always preface it by saying “I may be a bitch, but you’re being an ……”. We work together when we are facing difficulties. We’ve made three HUGE moves together and we always come out on the other side knowing how much we are ON each other’s side. We love each other and we show it. We say it. It grosses our kids out when we give each other kisses, but we do it anyway. Then laugh and do more to be funny. At least we think we’re funny.  We argue in front of our kids too. Not fight, argue. I don’t think we have had many actual fights in all our years together, but when we do, we work it out. I simply do not have the ability to give the silent treatment either. I think I would spontaneously combust from the pressure of having all those words inside.

I think about marriage as a long, never-ending marathon. You’re always in training, you are always improving, and there really is no finish line. Some days are PR days, and some days, you just want to quit. But you don’t. You keep going. We’ve faced a lot of events – job changes and layoffs, moving a hundred thousand times, having babies that wouldn’t sleep so we went slightly insane from sleep deprivation, a miscarriage, having extra money, not having any extra money, hating our jobs, loving our jobs, house selling, house hunting, having too many animals, addiction to running. Really, we take the good.  We take the bad.  We take ’em both….. (anyone see where I’m going here??) and there you have…..

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Oh, come on now, I HAD to do that. Anyway, I remember a few years ago, driving down the street and wondering when the drama would stop. Seriously, it was one thing or another. It was something with the job, or something with the kids, or the cat barfed on the floor and the kid stepped in it and threw up, or just something. It dawned on me that day that it would never end. Ever. All this stuff, the drama, the good and that bad, it’s just part of life. And I’m just happy that I have my partner to go through it with.

We had a few rough years in Texas, but I still couldn’t imagine getting some good news and calling anyone but him. I can’t imagine being as truly, deep-down happy as I am with him, even when we aren’t necessarily on the same page.  I can’t imagine being one of those couples in the restaurant who are there with just each other the entire meal and don’t say a word.  Every day is training. But the payoff in that marathon of marriage is well worth the effort.

I hope that we will be able to celebrate our golden years together. Nothing in life is guaranteed, so I treasure the moments we have.  Thanks, R. Andrew, for being a wonderful husband to me, my cheerleader, my Sherpa, my best friend, and more than that, an amazing dad to our boys.  I couldn’t ask for more than that.  And honey…. I have an idea.

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Categories: Boston Marathon, boston red sox, marathon, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 14 Comments

The WILMA Dash 5k

It’s starting to get a little swampy here in the hood. Humidity levels are rising, as to be expected, and from how I’ve been running lately, I’ve acclimated to the increase in temps and swamp levels pretty well. Surprise for me since I loathe running in warm, sweaty weather. Give me some 40-degree running and I feel like I can go all day. Not the situation anymore, unfortunately. Case in point was last night’s WILMA Sweatfest Dash 5k.

I had a busy afternoon yesterday. I had to pick the kids up from school early so my oldest could get his eyes check and we could find out how much more blind he was getting. It’s still not terrible, but I hate seeing him have to wear glasses to see. I’m extremely lucky and have 20/20 at 40 years old. My husband is virtually blind as a bat.  I didn’t appreciate my good vision as much until he told me that he would just love to open his eyes and be able to see. That would totally suck. Boy, I’m rambling a lot today already.  ANYWAY, the appointment took forever and then my son had to pick out new frames for his new, more powerful glasses, so we didn’t get home until 4:00.  I wanted to leave the house at 4:30 to get to the 5k early, which was to start at 6.  I didn’t leave the house until 4:50, but it turned out fine. I got there in plenty of time, and I was happy that my sister was able to join in and go with me.

Oh, now I remember why I brought up that I got home late…. I wanted to eat something close to 4:00 so I didn’t run with a bowling ball in my stomach, but I didn’t eat until 4:30, and I chose a banana with peanut butter. Come to find out, it was way too much peanut butter as it felt like a bowling ball anyway, which is what I really wanted to avoid. It wasn’t too hot, I think upper 70’s, very humid, but cloudy.  I was at the start about 15 minutes early and the race started on time.

The WILMA Dash 5k is an all female race that is all about getting active and healthy. It is for runners and walkers of all ages, sizes, and fitness levels. Almost 800 women and girls finished the race this year, it’s 6th year. I’ve never done an all female race before, so it was really cool to see people decked out in cool costumes and just banding together to have fun.

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I wasn’t feeling the best before the start and I wasn’t sure if it was the peanut butter or nerves. There’s something about races that always makes me a little nervous. I knew a PR wasn’t going to happen, and I was ok with that, but I did want to run a good race. I told my sister that I was expecting between a 22 and 23 minute finish. The air horn sounded right on time and I took off. The course took you right up a short steep hill and the rest of it was more of slight inclines and declines. My pace stayed fast and steady between 6:30 and 7:00 pace, and it crossed my mind a few times that “hey, I could possibly get a PR in this thing after all”. That quickly subsided at mile 1, when I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold the 6:50 pace for two more miles.  Thankfully the bowling ball feeling went away, but then I got the sweats.  The course had a lot of turns in it too, which I don’t particularly enjoy, but really, it was a nice course as long as you really paid attention to your steps due to sections of cobblestone streets and the boardwalk at the end.

I felt myself breathing really hard somewhere in mile two, but really, it was probably 90% humidity and upper 70’s, so what would I expect, especially at that pace. For a bit in there somewhere, I thought I might hyperventilate, but thankfully, that feeling stopped. I knew I was running well, and was happy that the three miles ticked by relatively quickly. Don’t you hate it when a 5k feels like a half marathon?

I tried to go a little faster the last quarter mile, but there were several more tiny turns, so I wasn’t able to gun it or anything. I saw my personal cheerleader, who happens to also be my sister, at the corner right before the last turn, right before the finish, so it was nice to see her there cheering for me. I turned and crossed the finish in 22:09.  I was really happy with that!

Then the sweat deluge started. Holy cow it probably took me 20-30 minutes of walking around to stop pouring sweat! Yuck. I haven’t race in conditions like that in a long time, and thankfully it was only a 5k.

We meandered to the Wilma Nights Health Fest where we got a drink and some food. I wasn’t a big fan of the food, but it sure looked good! The Front Street Brewery Kolsch was worth the sweating though. My son’s baseball game was to start soon, but I saw I was going to win an award, so I wasn’t sure whether to stay for my award or leave and get to his game…. My husband and sister said I needed to get my award since I hadn’t missed any of my son’s games all season, so we hung out what seemed like forever for the awards to start. During that time, I met a girl who complimented me on my Boston tattoo and said her dogs’ names are Fenway and Tessie. I liked her immediately.

Finally, the awards started and I got to collect my medal and prize for 2nd place Masters and even 10th overall. I wasn’t too far behind 1st place and it was within my PR time, so of course I had to think the “what ifs” but slapped myself and was happy to finish where I did. And I’m not on a scheduled plan either, just doing my own training. Not too shabby if I do say so myself, especially on tired legs.

2nd Place Masters

2nd Place Masters

My sister and I quickly left as I was delusional enough to think we could make the tail end of my son’s game. On our way, my husband texted that the game was over, so I dropped my sis off and headed home to get some warm water for my shower before the boys stole all of it.

So after doing this “girl race”, I think it would be a lot of fun to run one with a group of friends, complete with tiaras and boas (although those might get a little annoying), and possibly even wine glasses on our hats like the “Run Now, Wine Later” team had.

I’m not sure what I’m doing today, if anything, with regards to running, but I know I’m off tomorrow and doing lots of yard work. On Sunday, I’m planning to run with my friend who’s near the end of her marathon training, and has a “vomit” long run. You know those, right? Run some easy miles, run more really super fast miles, run easy, fast, vomit, that sort of thing. It has been a lot of fun to run with other people, just going with the flow, and getting in some good tempo workouts along the way.

Monday is my .9 mile open water swim, the last with a wetsuit, so I’m actually looking forward to that, assuming the conditions are good.

Have a great weekend!

My newest medal and gift certificate

My newest medal and gift certificate

 

 

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, boston red sox, half iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A Long Trip and the Mothership of all Expos

It took us about 2 extra hours to get to our destination of Braintree, MA, because of stupid traffic near DC and Baltimore. We drove a total of 15 hours. Unfortunately, I will never look at an Oriole the same way. Besides two hours in standstill traffic because of no reason, the trip to Boston went really well.

How much shit do you need for a weeklong trip? Well, ALL of it.

How much shit do you need for a weeklong trip? Well, ALL of it.

I did learn a few things on our way.

1) We travel really well together. We have a lot of experience with long trips and we can pull them off without tears, fighting, tantrums, and silent treatments in the car (mostly anyway). My oldest son would probably be happy tucked in the corner so he could read the entire Harry Potter series AGAIN, but my youngest doesn’t care much for reading. He draws, plays with transformer type toys, and he even made one of them into a gold winning gymnast. They are quite flexible and a lot easier to fix than a real gymnast when their hip pops out. Their movie player stopped working on Day 2, so that was a bummer for them, but they just went on and did other things.  We have a Battleship tournament going. I read a little of last month’s Runner’s World, but for the most part, my husband and I just chatted along the way. Oh, I did take a huge honkin nap within the first few hours of our trip on Thursday, but that was to be expected after all the stress to get my shit together and house cleaned up for this trip. I have NEVER regretted stressing to have the house clean when we leave because I totally appreciate it more when I get home and I don’t have a disaster to deal with.

2) We hate traffic. As soon as we knew we were stuck miles before we even hit DC, we went into PTSD mode. Living and driving through Houston twice a day for two years has traumatized my husband.  We did end up finding a little bit longer route around Baltimore but we were going somewhere instead of sitting there being angry.  Thankfully we didn’t have traffic issues on Day 2.

3) The route from Wilmington to Boston is filled with really cool sites.  We saw the heart of DC, although we didn’t get to drive closer as planned because of #2. We saw downtown New York City. We crossed over many really cool, huge bridges.

trip3

We were in the Bronx. We saw come pretty cool little towns on our epic fail “detour” towards Plymouth. We saw Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower II.  It’s just a rock but it’s a pretty neat place where a lot of history happened.

THE rock

THE rock

 

We ate dinner while watching people race go karts. Pretty cool. I would have included a picture of NYC but it just looks like the sky and road.

Go Kart racing and restaurant, all in one.

Go Kart racing and restaurant, all in one.

4) Don’t believe that all yellow line roads on a map are 4 lane like they advertise themselves to be. I decided to take a “detour” towards Plymouth that would cut some time and miles off our already long trip. Well, that was stupid because it turned out to be a really busy 2 lane road through all the little twists and turns and towns you could imagine. And we couldn’t find a gas station with bathrooms on the INSIDE for miles. Insane. Insane first world problem, I know.

Maps Lie

Maps Lie

5) We get the giggles when we are tired. Or bored. Or both. Our conversation turned a little “5th Grade” when we were driving through the various towns. For instance, we laughed about the exit sign confidently blaring “Mianus”. We were disappointed we never got to see “Youranus”.  Not really. I enjoy looking at the map to find all the little tiny town names that are more interesting than others. One of my favorites is “Gnaw Bone” in Indiana.  For the love of God, why would you actually incorporate a town called “Gnaw Bone”??  We found an interesting brochure at the first hotel we stayed at and giggled a while about that too.

I would visit but I couldn't help but snicker when the tour guide says "Intercourse".

I would visit but I couldn’t help but snicker when the tour guide says “Intercourse”. The guide is snickering too.

We saw the name “Powhite” on a sign and I couldn’t help but wonder if the name originated because that’s where all the “po’ white” people lived. Then my favorite is “Wequetequock”. Say that when you’ve had a few glasses of wine. Or just say that anyway. Then it reminded me of this:

funny2So then we had to entertain ourselves by reading all the names of the towns along the way for quite a while as Sylvester the Cat or Daffy Duck.  Mature, I know. But it was funny.

THE EXPO.  I get to go to the Boston Marathon Expo today. I’m literally jumping up and down clapping my hands like a 5-year-old. Besides running the race and probably the Red Sox game on Wednesday, I’ve been more excited about THIS part than almost any other part.  The Mecca for runners. The Mothership of all Expos. I can’t wait. I’m afraid of buying all the things…. I mean, how would I get them home? 🙂 I am also excited to meet a bunch of other bloggers who are running. We’ve been chatting and trying to help each other for a few months, and to actually meet them is super exciting. So I’m counting down until we leave and head to Boston for a full day of fun.

trip10

How am I feeling? I had a great little jog yesterday where I looped the parking lots of a few businesses about a hundred times because the roads were scary.  My parents arrived here last night and asked me how I was feeling. Well, I’m feeling good but I’m at the point where I’m wide eyed thinking WHAT THE HELL DID I DO???? I have to run 26+ miles in just a few days! It’s gonna hurt!!! But I know deep down that this is an amazing adventure, a journey, and an experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. So I’m feeling happy, lucky, pretty damn good!

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, boston red sox, marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Boston Strong

IMG_1349-5 copy This is me.  The tattoo is real, minus the “Boston Strong” and that is just compliments of Photoshop.  I got my 2nd tattoo last year after I qualified for the Boston Marathon. It isn’t about the Red Sox. It isn’t about running marathons.  It’s about believing in yourself and going for what you want. It’s about holding your head up when you fail and digging in to try again. This tattoo has a very deep meaning to me. I  I wear it with pride, even when I’m chided by Yankee fans.

I won’t ever forget the moment in the parking lot of the Katy Kroger grocery store last April 15th, when a friend of mine called to tell me what happened in Boston. It didn’t compute. I went home and turned the TV on and immediately started crying. I felt like someone had punched everyone in the gut… One. Big. Sucker. Punch.  I had already qualified, but I didn’t know if I was going to be able to run the marathon at that time. I knew I would never be afraid to run it though. And I’m not afraid of running there, those very streets, on Monday. I will run with pride. I will run with “Martin Richard” written on my leg to remember him and to remember everyone who was affected by this act of terrorism.  Martin was the same age as one of my sons, and lost his life just watching what so many of us love to do.

We will run for Boston. We are Boston Strong.

Categories: Boston Marathon, boston red sox, marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Looking Back, But More Importantly, Looking Forward

Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen a lot of people look back on 2013 to review the highs and lows.  I’ve seen a lot of people look forward to 2014, carefully planning out their goals and events to run or ‘tri’.  While I can easily partake in the reviewing, I must take the unusual path regarding the planning.  My husband can vouch for the fact that I’m perfectly fine doing something until either everyone seems to be doing it or someone TELLS me to do it, and then you’ll see my heel marks in the dirt all the way.

First, let me look back on 2013.

It started off with my best and worst marathon, all wrapped up in one race, the Houston Marathon in January.  When race day approached, I felt I could have trained a little better, prepared myself a little more. I’ll never know if that would have changed the outcome of the race, but it’s a feeling I didn’t like, so I chalk it up to a lesson learned. The race itself was my fastest and strongest race, even though it started in a downpour that let up to rain for nearly the first ten miles. I have to include the mental meltdown that occurred while walking/running/freaking out while heading to the start corrals, most likely caused by knowing I was going to 1) run a marathon 2) run a marathon with rain and wind and 3) need a bathroom.  This meltdown included crying, yelling, thinking the world was coming to an end, and then finally, laughing as I hovered my poncho and four other layers over my shoes to keep them dry as I waited in line to use the port-a-jon while it was absolutely POURING rain. I remember thinking or even saying, “WHO DOES THIS?” and looked around and realized that several thousand other people were doing it and were just fine.  It diverted my attention from the previous list, and looking back, it was pretty funny.  Totally unnecessary, but funny.  Another lesson learned: Don’t freak out. No matter how much you think you need to, just don’t.  I ran my best race and finished with a BQ in 3:43:18.

After my BQ run at the Houston Marathon

After my BQ run at the Houston Marathon

In the spring, I ran just for fun, and even ran a mud race for the second time. Fun.

In May, my husband took a job that would move us from southern Texas to coastal North Carolina over the summer.  This was a dream come true. My sister and I would live less than a mile from each other.  I kept on running for sanity and in August, began training with the Without Limits team.  We slowly settled in our house, but I think we are still shell-shocked from making two huge moves in two years with our two kids and four cats, including buying and selling our houses.

In September, I developed excruciatingly painful shin splints, so I had to make adjustments to my marathon plans, defer my entry to the 2014 Houston Marathon, and even the Myrtle Beach Marathon as a back up.  Lots of doctor visits and cross-training later, I’m finally healthy.

During that time when I was dealing with the injury, I was able to submit my entry into the Boston Marathon.  After waiting TEN excruciating days for the registration period to end and for the BAA to verify times, I found out I got in by a mere four seconds. Par-tay.

In October, I was on the Beach 2 Battleship 1/2 Iron Distance on the Hells Bells relay team.  I ran the 1/2 marathon, which was pretty much, the perfect race, even with injury and feeling like crap that morning.  According to my watch, I was able to run a PR at 1:44:11.  My sister swam and our friend, Wendy, rode the bike portion. What a great time!!!!!

Me, Wendy, and Randee after the B2B relay

Me, Wendy, and Randee after the B2B relay

I started swimming this fall so I could start doing triathlons in 2014.  That has been an experience and let’s say that swimming is teaching me patience and perseverance. Not many things besides motherhood can do that.

I was able to run two of my 2nd fastest 5k races this fall and win the masters female division.  That was cool. Being 40 ain’t that bad!

I started “real” training for the Boston Marathon just a few weeks ago, and we are now 16 weeks from race day. As I leave 2013 behind, I look for this race to be the race of all races. I don’t know how I will perform, but I’m setting myself up for success. The thing with marathons is that each one is it’s own organism.  So much can go wrong and so much can go right along the way, and you can have bad outcomes with all the training and preparation in the world.  You can even have a good outcome when things have gone wrong along the way.  I am not pinning all my hopes on this one race, because it’s more about the experience than the actual time on the clock when I cross the finish line.  Let’s be honest here though. Of course I would love another qualification, but really, marathons aren’t going anywhere, and I feel very lucky to just be a part of the field for the 2014 race. My family will be there to celebrate with me, and we are going to soak up as much of Boston as we can.  We already have tickets for the Red Sox/Yankees game.  I get butterflies when I think of our trip to Boston.

To help prepare for Boston, I plan on running the Myrtle Beach 1/2 marathon on February 15th and then two segments of the Quintiles Marathon relay totaling 16.2 miles. Racing in prep for a marathon always helps me mentally, plus it’s good to practice the fueling and hydrating strategies BEFORE the marathon.

After Boston, my only plan is to train for and then compete in the Beach 2 Battleship 1/2 Iron Distance.  My husband does NOT believe me when I say that my only goals are to 1) not drown and become shark bait, and 2) not come in last.  I don’t feel it’s fair to put a time goal on myself for something that I’ve never done before.  Plus, I figured there should be ONE event that I do that can just do and not worry about going faster. (This time anyway 🙂  Heehee!)  I admit, I’m extremely intimidated by this goal.  That is probably the biggest factor in me signing up for it, too.

I don’t know what other races I’ll be doing and at this point, I don’t care.  I don’t have it all mapped out, and honestly, for once, it’s a good feeling.  I’m even going to go watch my husband run a 1/2 marathon in Ocean Isle and NOT run, not even the 5k.  He’s supported me through years of running and racing, so it’s time I attend a race as purely a spectator. It’s been so long, and I’m truly looking forward to it!

So, yes, I have some pretty big goals and events going on in 2014, and I have a plan to achieve those goals.  Just last week, I had thought about 2014 and decided that if I don’t re-qualify for Boston IN Boston, I would find a race a few months after that and try again. And again if needed.  Then I thought about how annoying, expensive, and time consuming that would be, especially during the summer, and I changed my mind. I don’t need it this year.  I want to spend time at the beach, our pool, and with my family and friends, AWAKE.  And like I said before, marathons aren’t going anywhere, and I don’t plan to stop running them, so I don’t have to run all the races this year. It’s time to put my best effort into the ones I’m going to do while always remembering to enjoy them when I get there.

Isn’t it really about the journey anyway?

Categories: Boston Marathon, boston red sox, half iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, swimming, training for marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Jingle Bell 5k and 18 weeks ’til Boston!

The last few weeks have been filled with powerful workouts followed by crappy workouts followed by good ones.  Thankfully, I felt back to normal by mid-week last week and I mentally geared myself up for the Jingle Bell 5k at Wrightsville Beach on Saturday morning.

On Friday night, we attended my sister’s annual Christmas party, filled with mimosas, my brother-in-law’s awesome home brew, wine, and lots of socialization.  Late into the evening, we started playing the game “Cards Against Humanity”, a game that should only be played by non-judgy people. We laughed so much, our abs and cheeks were sore.  Hilarious.  It had been a while since I’ve had so much fun, so I didn’t mind staying up until probably 1:30 am!  I guess that wouldn’t have been a terrible thing had my alarm not been set for 6 am to prepare for the 5k.  Oy, I certainly cannot do that as easily as I used to!

One of the funniest games I've played. Cards Against Humanity.

Being goofy while playing one of the funniest games ever.  Cards Against Humanity.

After snoozing a few times, I dragged myself out of bed at 6:30 to eat a banana and some oatmeal, figure out what I was going to wear, and stretch. I picked up my sister at 7:30 and we headed to Wrightsville for packet pickup and a pre-race jog.  Many of my running group members were there and I was happy to do my warm-up with one of them.  It’s always nice to run with other people!

My plan for the race was to run as fast as I could, or at least get under 23 minutes.  Secretly, I wanted a PR, but I knew it would be tough to do. I wasn’t feeling the best due to the activities the night before, but I was feeling good enough and ready to run.  The horn blew and I took off.  My Garmin showed that I was going around 7:05 pace, which is exactly what I wanted. THEN, between mile 1 and 2, I felt my breakfast slowly creeping up where it shouldn’t go, so I slowed to what my watch read was a 7:30-ish pace.  Ok, I was good with that. It saves time to just slow down rather than stop and puke, right?  When we rounded the last corner around mile 2-2.5, I saw the building where the race finished and knew I needed to kick it a little bit.  As I got closer, I heard the coaches yelling “good job” and I felt like I finished strong.  My clocked time was 22:00.  Argh! ONE SECOND and I could have had a sub-22!  While I was thrilled to do that well, I often think what I could have done had I not slowed down (or stayed up waaaay too late).  Honestly, I was happy with my run, especially considering  how late I was up!!

A little side note here.  For 5k races, I depend on my watch for paces.  I’m unfamiliar with a 7 minute mile “feeling” since I normally run my tempo runs at 7:30 – 8 minute miles or somewhere near that.  This is the second time this watch hasn’t shown the correct race distance as I crossed the finish line, so now I realize that my pace was showing incorrectly as well.  Which is probably why I felt like my breakfast was going to come back up.  I’m ok with this for shorter races, but it really is a testament to knowing your pace and being able to run the pace you want and know it, rather than depending on a watch.

I’m about ten seconds off my PR, so I’m now determined that I’m going to pick out a 5k to run and take it down.  PR, here I come!!  So close two times in a row!!!

After the race.

After the race.

I was happy to find out that I won the female masters division, and finished 27th overall of 550+ runners.  They read someone else’s name when it was first announced, and come to find out, she was in her 30’s.  I was talking to my husband, who was buying Red Sox/Yankees tickets four our trip to Boston at the time, so I totally missed that they corrected and then re-announced my first place finish.  I headed to the podium (an actual podium!) and stood up there, hoping to not make a fool of myself because I really didn’t understand what was going on.  Dur!!  PAY ATTENTION NEXT TIME!!! I won a nice bell, plus an entry into another race.  I’m currently trying to figure out which 5k to run, the one that shall be mine (rubbing hands with a maniacal laugh).

My prize for winning the Female Masters division.

My prize for winning the Female Masters division.

I realized today that the Boston Marathon is now 18 weeks away.  It’s hard to believe it’s getting so close.  I have SO much work to do, but I know I have a good base to grow from.  I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!!

Sadly, the 5k Saturday was my last race of 2013, and I look to 2014 with so much hope, excitement, and just, well, happiness.  I’m lucky in life and know that I can dream beyond anything I’ve ever imagined before. No Fear.

Categories: Boston Marathon, boston red sox, marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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