Posts Tagged With: running marathon

Boston Marathon Race Recap Part Uno

Marathon racing is a game. It’s a game you need to play right to get the result you want. Nutrition, hydration, race strategy, and training are what I consider to be the most important players in the game, and they all need to play together nicely for a successful race. I’ve learned, via many many many mistakes, that a precise plan can really help me focus on exactly what I’m doing and when, and help me to avoid some pretty big mistakes.

NUTRITION:

I typically start carb loading three days before my endurance events. I don’t necessarily eat more, although sometimes I feel like all I ever do for that week leading up to a race is stuff my face.

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The night before racing, I eat a huge juicy chicken sandwich, with mushrooms and a fried egg on top, if the restaurant cooperates, which ours in Boston did not. It was plain-o boring. I also had a baked potato, just because I had already had some fries earlier in the day, and I didn’t want grease overload and have to toot all my way from Hopkinton to Boston. Because the race started at almost 11 am for my wave, I ate four full meals on Sunday, the last being at 10 pm.  I woke up at 5:30 am on Monday  to eat oatmeal, then at 6:30, three pieces of bread with peanut butter, my traditional pre-long run meal. Then I spaced out my eating to have something small every hour until GO TIME.

HYDRATION:

The weather forecast kept getting warmer as marathon day approached, and I was nervous about it, but I raced well three years ago when it was sunny, dry, and in the low 70’s, until I became dehydrated. I knew I could do it, and I knew it was going to be hard, but I knew I was sure going to give it my full effort and attention. I thought that for everything that had ever gone wrong in my races, it was due to poor hydration, so I had to get this one right.

On Sunday, I drank a little bit more than normal amount of water, but I added Nuun to the mix, as I did not want to flush out my electrolytes. I am also addicted to hearts of palm and olives, so I had some of those, just for the salt content, and well, because:

olive

On race morning, I didn’t drink too much more than I normally do either.

The plan I came up with was to be sure to get about 16 oz per hour of fluids. I knew I was going to start the race well hydrated, so I wasn’t planning to get anything from the aid stations until mile 3 or 4, plus I decided to carry Base Performance Rocket Fuel with me, which is a mix of an energy powder, aminos, and salt. I had a 6 oz bottle hooked to my shorts, and added two 5 oz hand-held bottles, something I had never done, but felt important. I was going to drink the Rocket Fuel until the first hour, then alternate between water and Gatorade, getting at least two ounces of fluid in per mile, which would give me the total amount I thought I needed. I was also planning to have a lick of Base Salt every two miles.

RACE STRATEGY:

Leading up to the race, I studied the course, with my coach and on my own, and I read the mile by mile course information, something I had found three years ago and was extremely helpful.  I’d done the course before and knew most people leave the start like American Pharoah coming out of the gate.

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It’s really hard not to, considering you go down hill for a few miles. I knew I needed to really watch my pace here and not go crazy. My goals was to run a 3:44:59 race, so I had a 3:44 pace bracelet on, and I wanted to keep right at an 8:30 minute mile. I didn’t want to go slower down the first hills because, well, might as well let the momentum take me using a 9:00 minute mile effort. I needed to shorten my stride on the downs and ups to help save my quads, and well, I needed to not be a baby when it came to the set of hills in Newton. I knew when they were coming and about how big they were, and I was not intimidated by them. So overall, I wanted to keep a pretty steady pace through the entire race, but hopefully not slowing down at the end.

I felt like I was going into the race well prepared and ready to rock. I was concerned about my various injuries that had popped up and caused my training to not go as well as I wanted, but I knew I was going to run a marathon and I knew I could do it well.

About 45 minutes before my wave could load the bus to Hopkinton, my husband and I got an Uber to the common to meet a fellow training buddy, Renee. We chatted nervously as we made our way to the bus, and soon, we were on our way out of town. Seeing all those busses leaving town in their orderly fashion is an emotional experience. So many hopes, dreams, expectations, excitement, probably some dread in there too. I’m so glad I was able to sit with Renee  on our long ride and talk to help distract me, probably us both, about the day. Bus after bus after bus……

 


It hadn’t quite hit me that I was going to run a marathon that day, but I was surprisingly calm.

Renee and I at the bus loading area

When we got off the bus in Hopkinton, it was cooler than in Boston. All I had extra was a short-sleeved t-shirt, and I’m glad I had it. We entered the athlete’s village and found our way to the bathrooms. In 2014, I totally missed the call to my wave. I didn’t want to go to the part of the village “down the hill”, so we stayed at the top by the school. I still couldn’t hear anything and I was annoyed that I didn’t know who was supposed to be going where and when. All I knew is that I did NOT want to be late, dammit!

Renee and I decided to get closer to the speaker so we could hear what was going on, when we happened upon a group of runners from our home town, who were probably 30 feet from where we were. Yay!!! Thankfully, Amanda knew what was going on, and I realized I had only five minutes to go until we needed to leave the village and head to the start line, 40 minutes before our wave was to start. Hmmm, a few more nerves kicked in, so I got my crap together and ready to go.

Near the start line area, there’s a huge port-a-jon village, so I got the rest of my stuff ready there.  I forgot to pack the Body Glide and forgot to glide the inside of my arms, so I ended up using Chapstick as a replacement. Hint: it worked. I took my last bit of fuel, drank my last bit of water, got my gum in, tied and re-tied my shoes and then re-tied them again, to make them juuuuuust right. Our corral and wave was called, and it was time to line up. I was supposed to meet another Team BlueLine runner, but I could not, for the life of me, find any busses where they were. Bummer.

One thing I noticed was that it was friggin hot. I didn’t feel a wind, a breeze, or a fart. It was warm. Oh man.

I decided to leave one of my small hand-held water bottles at the start area, then strategically packed two Base salt tubes on me, Chapstick, my one clip-on bottle, one hand-held bottle, and two gu’s, all with NOT using a fuel belt of any kind. Pretty impressive, don’t you say?

I was in the same corral as Amanda, so we walked our way to the start, where they really wanted us crammed in like itty bitty sardines. I noticed, again, how warm it was. And it felt humid. The eight minute wait went by fast, and we were on our way.

My Boston Marathon adventure began.

Categories: being epic, Boston Marathon, follow your dreams, fueled by base, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, running, running buddies, running with friends, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Let’s Get This Thing Started! YEAH!

**Disclaimer: I’ve had full caffeine today. ** This is sort of what I feel like:

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“Ohhh, yeahhhh, kickstart my heart….”  It’s a great song, isn’t it. It’s even on my marathon playlist. THE marathon playlist. I have declared today to be my first day of real triathlon training. The darned thing is in about 13 weeks, so it’s about time, ya think? Yes, I’ve been swimming, biking, and running, but not much of anything lately besides running. So today was the end of my running challenge shenanigans and it’s time to kickstart this training season!

It’s been weird taking so many days off at a time. Refreshing, yes, but strange. I honestly love to work out. It makes me feel better, and it’s really a part of my life. My legs were pretty sore from The Scream 1/2 marathon I did on Saturday, so I didn’t feel too guilty taking extra time off.  My kids are staying with their grandparents this week too, so my husband and I have been acting like college kids, going out every night, having fun, and sleeping in.  Well, the sleeping in is just me since he has to go to work. Sorry, honey! Not really 🙂 We caught the Dave Matthews Band concert in Raleigh on Wednesday, and was that ever a good time. This was our 23rd show, but I think we enjoyed this one more since we haven’t been able to go in FOUR years! Oh, the humanity.

I think I lost 75 pounds from sweating so much before it even started. Even Dave said it was hot.

I think I lost 75 pounds from sweating so much before it even started. Even Dave said it was hot.

What better day to start “real” training than today.  Monday was supposed to be the open water swim, but because there was a bacteria advisory (seriously, I wasn’t going to go anyway because I just didn’t want to, but no one really needs to know that) in the waterway from all the rain. I am new to this sort of open water hazard. I mean, I am aware of sharks and jellyfish, boats, floating pieces of Styrofoam shaped like snake heads, but bacteria and another new one, sea lice baby jellyfish? Seriously? How much more dangerous can I get here?

I went to sleep to the sound of thunder and rain, woke up in the night to thunder and rain, so I was really hoping it would clear off and everyone that I had planned to swim with would still come. Timing worked out and when it was time to go swim, it was nice and clear.

It was a little lighter when I started to swim, but it was pretty dark for what I was used to.

It was a little lighter when I started to swim, but it was pretty dark for what I was used to.

I found a huge group of people at the start, none of whom I knew, and they all looked like they could keep up with the penguins, so I knew I couldn’t swim with them. I waited a little longer and my peeps showed up, thankfully. There were four in our group with one paddle boarder and one boat. Two of the swimmers took off and one had problems with her goggles so was behind. I was right in the middle. I was by myself. It was the waterway, and I was by myself. And it was still a little dark.  The creeps took over and I could really see how people who aren’t used to open water would freak out. I figured there’s nothing I could do about it, but just keep swimming, so I did just that. I felt pretty good, except when I tried to breathe on my left side. Seriously, I just can’t get it done without choking on the bacteria-laden water. So I kept with the right side, and I honestly felt good the entire .93 miles of the swim. I didn’t even try to be Michael Phelps when I went under the bridge either. I did imagine trolls positioning themselves in between the supports in the bridge, staring and laughing at me in their cutoff jeans and ratty red shirts (image compliments of The Gremlins).  But they didn’t jump down and try to drown me, so maybe we’ll be friends. There’s always a point in there when I feel like it’s NEVER EVER NEVER NEVER EVER going to end, but I knew I was making progress, even though it was slow.

Because I’m a slow swimmer and I’ve heard it’s all about “form”, I decided to bite the bullet and get a swim lesson from my coach. She’s a top level swimmer who’s actually going to the world’s competition next week, so she has soooo much to teach me. I’m extremely nervous because I am embarrassed about how dumb I will look. I know I need some help, but really, I feel like a big nard flopping around in front of anyone, let alone an amazing swimmer who also happens to be my friend. It’s time to get over that fear and just do it. So that’s Monday morning. Wish me luck!

When we got done swimming, I changed into my running shorts and put my shoes on, and I planned to run 6 miles with one of the friends who was swimming from farther away. Two other girls were running too, so we all four ended up running about 4 miles together. What fun and great conversation it was! Then two of us split off and I finished with 6 miles. Yeah, my first real brick workout was complete!!!

I was told about some “nectar of the gods” coffee (tastes like buttah) so we went to grab a cup before coming home. Mmmmm, it IS delicious and I love FULL caffeine. I think I can conquer the world after just one cup!

As for my schedule tomorrow, I’m taking my newly updated and geared up bike for a 40 mile ride. I’m taking it easy and bringing my toolamabob thing so I can stop and adjust it along the way as needed. I’m pretty excited about getting my bike stuff all figured out, since for a while there, I didn’t know what bike to train on and which one would fit me best. I finally decided and got it all taken care of. Here we go!

I'm trying to figure out what her name should be......

I’m trying to figure out what her name should be……

Sunday, I’m running with some people, but I don’t know how far I I’m actually going to do, then I’ll be back in open water again on Monday. I’ll have to throw in some strength, plank, and arm workouts, just to keep balanced.

I’m lucky that I know so many people who have completed sprint, half iron, and full iron distance triathlons.  There’s so much information to be had from all of them, so I look forward to learning the ins and outs of a new kind of race for me. My goal is still the Houston Marathon in January, but this triathlon, thing, yeah, I think I’m going to like it!

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, half iron distance, iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, running buddies, running with friends, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

10 Things I Learned from Marathon Week and Meeting Shalane

It’s been a whirlwind of a week. My family and I stayed in Boston a few days after the marathon to be tourists then went to DC for a day and a half. Thank goodness we took that detour because I MET SHALANE FLANAGAN along the National Mall (see story below).  We got back home on Saturday so laundry is piled up and the fridge was completely empty, but it was so worth everything. I had the time of my life. I learned a few things along the way and thought I’d share.

1) I won’t be driving to Boston again. The only explanation that I need to give is: Washington, DC and NYC traffic. Our little 13 hour drive….was not.

One of the many beautiful (and expensive) bridges we crossed along the way.

One of the many beautiful (and expensive) bridges we crossed along the way.

2) My family, friends, and followers rock.  My husband, kids, parents and sister and brother-in-law came to Boston to support me. It’s not an easy or cheap trip, that’s for sure. And I can’t tell you how much your comments meant to me before, during, and especially after the race. Y’all rock. You lifted me up when I felt down in the dumps. You made me feel like everything was going to be ok when all I wanted was a re-do.

Cheers to my peeps!!!

Cheers to my peeps!!!

3) Boston does a marathon good. There’s no way to really describe this unless you were there on marathon day. I felt like a guest of honor in THIER home. It was amazing. THEY lifted me up, they carried me through, they made me cry in happiness. Well done BAA, well done Boston.

4) I hate negativity. It’s a bit of an oxymoron, but I heard a lot of negative things during our trip. Complain, complain, complain. I probably have felt some of them because I’m still burned about what happened, but I still feel very positive about the entire thing. Life’s for living and learning, isn’t it? Well, I have no patience for negativity most of the time anyway, and it has just gone up a notch, and I can’t tolerate it. It will now be met with a finger and a “bup bup bup bup” and I won’t listen.

5) I have bittersweet feelings about my race. I’ve had to let my feelings marinate for a week before I could really tell how I felt about my race. It was amazing. It was difficult.  It wasn’t what I planned or thought would happen that day. So I’m bittersweet about it, but mostly, I feel so lucky that I was able to be there and to finish. So it’s more sweet than anything else.  As so many people said, it’s not about your time when you cross, it’s about the fact that you got there and you crossed that finish line.

6) You learn something new at every marathon.  I learned that I have my race prep down. Preparing for the Boston Marathon isn’t easy. You start around 11 am and that’s not when you normally run for 26+ miles. It takes a lot of thought. After the race was over, I knew that I nailed my nutrition and hydration, even with a long, long, long car ride. My body was ready to run the entire race at an 8:15 pace. I knew I wasn’t going to bonk and I knew that the only issue that I had was something that I haven’t dealt with before.  NOW I have been introduced to the world of salt depletion and what it can do, so NOW I know how to prepare for that.  Run and learn, learn and run.

7)  It doesn’t make me feel better to hear similar stories of other runners who had the issues that I did, but it makes me feel a little better to hear similar stories of other runners who had the issues I did. It’s almost like it makes it legit, like ok, it really WAS the salt and I didn’t just wiener out.

8) I feel like my race was unfinished. I’m competitive.  I walked the last several miles of the Boston Marathon. That’s not what I went there to do. I think I’d even feel better if I had just loped in, but I walked. I HAD to walk, but still, I don’t feel the same way about this finish than even the hot race in Stillwater where I ran slow, but I still ran.  It kind of makes me mad that I feel this way and that I can’t just be ok with it, but if I said that I was, I’d be lying.

9) I want redemption.  I know I have a sub 3:40 in me. I feel confident, thanks to the first 20 miles of Boston, that this will happen. I am not eager to do this right away, which sort of makes me sad because I’m in really good condition and I’ll have to pretty much start over in a few months.  But I need to rest, both physically and mentally. I’ll be even more ready to get back to work, and I’ll probably work a little harder this time. Now I know that it pays off. I’m cautiously confident that I can pull out a 3:39.  I’ve already got it pretty much planned, just need to check a few logistics this week to be 100% sure this is the race for me and if I can still do the 1/2 iron distance in October as well. Announcement coming soon.

10) The Boston Marathon hasn’t seen the last of me. It’s not a matter of if I will make it back, it’s simply of when.

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And now, for the rest of the story (Am I the only one who thinks of Paul Harvey when you hear that statement?).  My husband REALLY wanted to just stop in DC and walk around a few of the monuments, see them, show the kids, that sort of quick tourist thing. I don’t know how it happened, but the marathon gods intervened. We ended up leaving Boston a day earlier than we planned and headed to spend extra time in DC.  We got to the National Mall Friday morning.  It was pretty, we were out for adventure, had no plans but to walk around and see history. I saw a very fit runner approaching and as soon as she ran by, I realized it was THE Shalane. OMG. OMGOMGOMG. So I took a picture from behind, which is creepy if you think about it, but then I had a picture of her. I was feeling a little unsettled from the events of the race, the fact that there was some negativity going on with my two children (i.e. FIGHTING), and I was just a little down. Then my husband said, “Hey, there’s that runner up ahead again, they must be circling the mall.” I looked and it was her again. My heart started beating like I was back at the marathon, and I wondered if I should ask if it was her…..I didn’t want to interrupt, BUT I so totally wanted to interrupt.

I did it. I went toward her, in a non-stalkerish way so her body guard person wouldn’t use me as a javelin to remove me from the area, and I asked “Are you Shalane?”.  She answered “Yes” and stopped running. OMGOMG, my hands were shaking, my heart was going a million beats per second. I asked if we could take a picture together and she was gracious enough to allow that. I think I kept mumbling how awesome she was and that she did so great on Monday and was so inspiring, but I really don’t know what it sounded like to a sane person. All I know is that I needed that right then, at that moment of that day, to see someone who did so well and was so disappointed, and was out running again. It was truly like a pat on the back from the marathon gods and a “it’ll be ok, you’ll get your race”.

I thanked Shalane and her guard runner person and as they ran off, I had to go sit down so I could stop shaking.  I had a brush with greatness that morning, and for that, I’ll always be thankful.

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Categories: Boston Marathon, half iron distance, marathon, running, training for marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Expo Madness

If I would’ve had to give the Boston Marathon Expo a review right after I left, I would have said it was pretty bad. Then I had to let it all sink in, and I realize that it was pretty amazing. The only thing that I really, strongly disliked was the crowds. I don’t like to sweat just walking around. I heard so many say that it hasn’t been like that in the past. Maybe it was squeezing 10,000 more runners and families into the convention center, I don’t know, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it had something to do with it.

My family and I rode the train into town and I immediately was drawn to the finish line in the distance. I immediately choked up, got a picture, and went into the expo.

Finish line off in the distance. That's as close as I wanted to get until Monday.

Finish line way off in the distance. That’s as close as I wanted to get until Monday.

Getting my race bib was the easy peasy lemon squeezy. I got my marathon shirt. Surreal. Keep calm. Don’t go crazy here with emotions. So I shoved them deep down, and we went to the Adidas section that had all the official race garb. Total mayhem.

mayhem

I didn’t want to buy my own race jacket, so my husband took our loot and stood in a long windy line for almost 30 minutes. I was irritated because I had this grandiose idea of what it was going to be like and my imagination did not meet reality. So my family left to walk around and grab lunch, and I walked around the expo by myself. There wasn’t room for me to walk around with anyone. I was hot, sweaty, and realized that I had 1) forgotten my Hal Higdon book and 2) forgotten to put deodorant on. Turns out that Hal was on his break the three times I walked by his booth, so #1 was irrelevant, but #2 was becoming an issue. I kept my arms down.

I wandered up on Kathrine Switzer’s booth and there was only two people in line to meet her. OMG. Seriously, a really cool moment. She chatted me up and I was surprised at how much she talked and how friendly she was. I thanked her for breaking the barrier for women to run marathons.  I bought her book and had her autograph it, then I just HAD to buy one of her shirts with “fearless” on it since my mantra is “no fear”. How ironic. I can’t wait to read her book.

Katherine Switzer - one amazing woman

Kathrine Switzer – one amazing woman

I was so lucky to meet a small group of “Boston Bound Bloggers” who have forged a friendship via Facebook. The five of us chatted and hope to meet up at Athlete’s Village before the race. What a great bunch of ladies and I’ll discuss their blogs at another time!

I then stalked Hal Higdon’s booth a few more times, looked for a shirt for my husband, and then happened upon Dean Karnazes. Holy crap, it was him in real life!! I was really done with the expo at that point and hadn’t eaten for almost four hours, so instead of waiting in line, I got this picture. Professional job if I don’t say so myself.

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My husband told me they were by Fenway and I needed to eat, so I walked over there and was surprised at how close it was to the convention center. I was surprised at how small it seemed, but it was so cool to just see it in person. We went to the Bleacher Bar so I could grab some grub, and I didn’t understand why they asked me to please not take pictures. Why would I take a picture in a bar? OHHHHHH, that’s why. When we walked through, I realized you could see in the inside of Fenway and the game that was going on at the time, right from inside the bar. Wow. So I wolfed down a sandwich and a glass of water and we headed out of Boston to beat the Fenway crowds.  But not before we grabbed our new Boston Red Sox gear….

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What a day. Amazing to see those people. Amazing to be surrounded by so many other runners, those running for charity, those running for someone else, those running to win, those running for the sheer joy of it. No fear? Well, I have to admit I’m getting pretty nervous about the race in just a few short hours. Less than two days now. It’s carb up time. It’s mental preparedness time.  I’ve been visualizing and discussing things with myself for a few weeks now, but this is it. This is go time.

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My brunch this morning.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Where It All Began – Part Deux

I’m really enjoying the journey back in time, the “Road to Boston” so to speak. So to NOT have to require a publisher, I’m breaking the story up into a few pieces.  Please read to first part HERE, the part of the story that explains where this crazy dream came from and a few bumps in the road I encountered along the way.

My 1st and 2nd attempts at qualifying for Boston in May of 2010 were gone. I had to let them go, as much as it killed me to do that. Live and learn? Run and learn is more like it. Oh, and don’t be stupid. We all have our moments though.

I ran the Des Moines 1/2 Marathon “time trial”  in 1:44:45, which just so happens to be exactly an 8 minute mile pace. GAME ON!  Once again, I set my sights on the Lincoln Marathon for May of 2011.  Bam, here we go again at a BQ.  In December, I started my training plan. I was confident I learned from my mistakes and that I could pull in a 3:45 for the marathon.

I’m not a drama person. I don’t like it, don’t want to be around it, but there was a lot of it that spring.  My 97 year old grandmother, the epitome of faith and strength, passed away in February.  In March, my husband’s stupid company at the time let him know that when the project he was working on was done in August, he’d better find himself some work to do, which was the opposite of what they had told him a few months ago. Bummer was that any work was five hours away in Kansas City. Hmmmm.  Can you say, PANIC? Sioux City, Iowa, isn’t exactly a hotbed of employment activity for large construction project management, so we figured we would have to move.   I immediately went into “we have to sell the house” mode and he went into “interview for a job” mode. Within two weeks, our house was up for sale.

THEN on April 4th, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Sheesh.  Let’s just say my running kept me sane, but I certainly had some wine in the fridge. Her cancer was caught very early thanks to a mammogram (so anyone who says they don’t save lives is telling lies so if you haven’t had one, GET ONE) and she had surgery to remove it, followed by radiation.  It was difficult to see my pillar-of-strength mom go through this, but I often think that it could have been worse and I was just glad she was going to be ok.

Training was hard through all of this, but I kept at it and got my miles in.  I did my speed work. I ran hills. The marathon was almost there.

On April 30th, my husband and I dropped our kids off at my mom and dad’s house as we headed to the race. I was feeling good, had a nutrition plan in place, but… why… was my stomach upset? I don’t get nerves. Why wasn’t I hungry? No, everything was fine. I pushed that out of my head. We stopped by my favorite restaurant and I grabbed my huge chicken wrap/enchilada thing that I knew would sit well and fill me up. I started eating it on the way down to Lincoln.  Ew. I didn’t want to eat. What the hell was going on? We went to the expo and then the hotel where I laid down and watched tv for a few hours. I felt terrible. Then around 10 pm, eight hours before I was to be leaving to toe the line at a MARATHON, it happened. Yup, I had the stomach bug. A few yacks later, I laughed and thought, “Fucking figures”.  It wasn’t a terrible version of the stomach flu, but I knew my run would be compromised because those valuable carbs were just missing.

I started the race pretty strong that morning after I forced myself to eat my big breakfast. The weather was good, a little windy, but it was great running weather. I can’t remember exactly when I started to lose steam, but I told my husband around mile 16 that I felt like throwing up again. So that’s probably about where. I don’t know for sure.

I'm wearing the pink shirt. So happy that I could finish this race!

I’m wearing the pink shirt. So happy that I could finish this race!

I've never been on a jumbo-tron before! That's me, arms up, on the right. Very thankful at that moment.

I’ve never been on a jumbo-tron before! That’s me behind the pink girl, arms up, on the right. Very thankful at that moment.

I finished that darned race in 3:56, just 11 minutes slower than what I needed to qualify for Boston. Ugh. Here we go again. I didn’t know if anyone would believe me that I got stomach flu or if they’d think it was a cover for a bad race. It was real, and I was pretty much just happy that it was all over. I took my medal and went home.  I lost about ten pounds from that experience because I just couldn’t eat for days. Urg.

BQ ATTEMPT 3: Fail

That July, we sold our house, moved in with my parents, then in August, we headed to Houston, Texas, where husband got a pretty good job. We didn’t want to move there, but we were out of time and options.  To say we were living off adrenaline and stress was an understatement. The dream was put on hold, and I ran for fun, learned how to deal with Houston heat/humidity, and in January of 2012, my sister came to visit with her running group Without Limits from Wilmington, NC. One of the members was in the women’s Olympic trials and a bunch more were racing the half and full marathon. I LOVED the way the group helped each other, cheered each other, and I wanted that. So the next day, I joined a local running group in Katy.

I entered the Houston Marathon in May of 2012 and we started training in August (the race was in January).  It’s fun to start marathon training in Houston in August. Not. I’ve NEVER sweat so much.  I didn’t know if I wanted to go for a BQ again. I was exhausted. My husband wasn’t home much since his work commute was insane. My kids had a crazy football schedule.  I just didn’t know if I had it in me.  I was scared to put all that time and effort into it only to have the crappy outcomes again. I didn’t know if it was worth it anymore. Then one morning I heard the words to an Eli Young Band song that changed my mind. I started crying immediately when I heard it and I knew I wanted to go for a BQ.

“Keep on dreamin’ even if it breaks your heart”

I knew I needed to go for it again. I trained to BQ (3:40), but I didn’t put a lot of pressure on myself because I didn’t want to be disappointed. Again. I went into the race totally freaked out (read the full race recap HERE – it’s a pretty cool story, for real, read it) because of the weather. I had gained weight. I just didn’t know. I went mental and basically had a breakdown in the 20 minutes before the race. I kept saying that all I wanted was a great race.

I ran the Houston Marathon in 3:43:18….

After I found out "the big news" at the Houston Marathon

After I found out “the big news” at the Houston Marathon

…not knowing until 30 minutes later that I had qualified for Boston by 1 minute 42 seconds. Yes, the time for what my age would be AT THE BOSTON MARATHON was 40, even though I was only 39 at qualification time, so I had an extra five minutes. SURPRISE!! I cried. I celebrated.  I. Did. It. It was sweeter not finding out until after I was done, too.

I knew that just because you qualified for Boston didn’t mean you automatically get in. I knew it was based on how many people registered and the times they qualified by, so each year is different. I knew I squeaked by to qualify, but I had to wait until September to register and see if I would actually get in.

It took almost two years to recover from the huge stressful move from Iowa to Texas when my husband got the chance to interview for a job in Wilmington, NC, one of my favorite cities in the country AND bonus, where my sister and her husband lived. (My husband is from NC and I had lived there for several years before Iowa and Texas.) A few weeks later, in the early weeks of June 2013, we were getting our house ready for sale for our last move “back” to NC, which is where we really wanted to be. Before we even moved into our house in August, I started training with the running group Without Limits, the same one that inspired me to join a running group just a year before.  How friggin’ ironic.  I didn’t know if I was going to get into the Boston Marathon. After the bombings, I knew everyone who could run, would run. It was going to be close.

NEXT POST: Four seconds that made all the difference, shin splints, and the Boston Marathon.

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

Happy St. PaDDy’s Day

Shirt from the Shamrock 5k in Sioux City, Iowa

Shirt from the Blarney Stone 5k in Sioux City, Iowa

 

This picture is in honor of St. Patrick’s Day or St. Paddy’s Day (not to be confused with St. Patty’s Day – those Irish people get VERY upset if you say Patty’s).  And yes, I’m going to drink some green beer tonight! It was a very busy weekend filled with expo working, running, and then more running.

The Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Marathon Relay race recap will be coming in the next day! It was a LONG day, but it ended nicely.

I got frozen yogurt so I didn't have to ration how much Magic Shell I used. Was totally worth it.

I got frozen yogurt so I didn’t have to ration how much Magic Shell I used. Was totally worth it.

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, running, training for marathon | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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