Twas the night before 2016 Boston Marathon

And I feel a sense of familiarity. Butterflies going through my tummy and up to my throat, the excitement of running in an event the whole city partakes in. The mixed feelings of Goal A, B & C all sitting on my mind.

And gratitude that despite all my whining, I am still running and for the fifth time in a row I get to compete in one of the most sought after marathons and that despite all that has occurred, I still feel the safety of putting on my running shoes and pounding my way through the road.

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If you want to follow me and aren’t sick of me telling you how already, here’s the info.
Text RUNNER to 234567 using your US mobile phone. You will then receive a text response with instructions on how to submit a runner’s bib number. You will receive up to 8 texts per bib number. Message & data rates may apply. Text STOP to cancel.

My bib is 17723

My outfit is ready and I am somewhere in between. The weather started at 70 expected, down to expected 61 this morning and is now saying high of 57. At this stage, it sounds like perfect weather to me. I’m just hoping for no wind.

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After much debate on shoes, I have decided these more light weight Asics feel better on my heel/foot than anything else with more cushion. The pile to the left is my throw away layers. There’s a slight concern about being cold, but I rather not stress out about throwing away something I love.

My goals:

Goal A- 3:30 – BQ city

Goal B 3:45 – Because I needed something in the middle

Goal C- 3:59 – Because a sub 4 is always a nice

My training this year is so much different than it has in the past. On one hand, I got some solid 20 miles this cycle due to the moderate weather we had this winter. On the other hand, my weekly mileage was at a relative low, my high weeks were around 55 and on average I ran 45-50 miles per week (compared to 60-70 in prior years). I took 6 months off from running so this training cycle was more about building base than speed. I would have loved another month of training to add speed to the mix.

And on the final note, I’m running naked… well wrist naked for a mix of seasons one that starts with I have no idea where my Garmin is after I left for Argentina and ends with that it’s probably better that at this stage I run by feel and not time pressure. I am not ready to hit the times of my prior fitness. The beeps on the watch stress me to run by old goals and not by feel. Injury and crashing and burning can only result from that.

So naked wrist and the motivation to get the race finished shall be my driving pace.

And of course all the smiling faces on the course 😉

2016 Boston Marathon Events

It’s the time of the year again! Where  I calm down and slow down and reflect back on my training. It’s too late to get anymore long runs and probably not the best time to go on a killer tempo. The training is said and done and all I can do is let my body rest up for the rest day. Luckily, I find plenty to keep myself busy during the two weeks before Marathon money. The first week, I’m too busy working (is it cruel that Marathon Monday and Tax Deadline are on the same date each year?) working to even worry about my lack of running. A forced taper is okay enough for me at this stage. The final week? Well I look out for events, close up lose ends at work, and anticipate race day!

Every year I try to put all the running related events together for anyone else that wants to get lost in the Boston marathon excitement!

Saturday, Apr 09, 2016 10:00a – Sunday, Apr 17, 2016 4:00p
Limited information available, but here’s the press release:

Do you like to run? Know someone who does? Or do you just like to learn about the science behind endurance running and training? Come visit us and learn more about what it takes to train for a long-distance race like the Boston Marathon®. Enjoy interpretations with Museum staff and volunteers, guest speakers, and of course all the human biology-related exhibits in our permanent exhibit Hall of Human Life.

Achieve Marathon Bliss – Run & Panel Discussion

Thursday, Apr 14, 2016 6:30p – 8:30p
Janji Pop Up
144 Newbury St
Boston, MA 02115

Join Jubali for a 3 mile run followed by a panel discussion on marathon and distance running, pre-fuel, fuel during the race, recovery and more. We’ll be joined by 4 amazing panelists with a variety of opinions and experiences: Brian Axelrod (Jubali co-founder), Ian Nurse, Amanda Nurse and Micah Risk.

We’ll meet at the Janji pop-up store. The run will be from 6:30-7:15 followed by the panel back at the store.

Smoothie samples provided by Jubali and coffee bar samples provided by New Grounds Food.

Finish Line

Thursday, Apr 14, 2016 7:30p – 9:30p
NonProfit Center Boston
88 South St
Boston, MA 02111

Admission:
$20

Event website:
http://citicenter.org/buy/show-listing/finish-line
Citi Performing Arts Center is proud to support Finish Line: the Untold Stories of the 2013 Boston Marathon. Boston Theater Company (BTC) will present preview performances of Finish Line at the NonProfit Center, Boston from April 7 – 23. The documentary play will have its world premiere in 2017, in association with Citi Performing Arts Center.

Native American Running – Culture, Health, Sport

Friday, Apr 15, 2016 9:00a – Monday, Apr 18, 2016 5:00p
Various – Sponsored by Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology
11 Divinity Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138

www.peabody.harvard.edu/native-american-running

Coinciding with both the 2016 Boston Marathon and with the 80th anniversary of Ellison Myers “Tarzan” Brown, Sr. (Narragansett) winning the Marathon in 1936, this multi-day event will explore the history and importance of Native American running traditions, present efforts to support and encourage running in Native American communities today, and promote the many benefits of running. This event will include talks, a panel discussion at the Boston Marathon Expo, and youth/community activities.

Friday, April 15, 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m

 

 

 

John B. Hynes Convention Center
900 Boylston Street
Boston, MA

Run Frank & Oak Boston
Friday April 15th at 5PM

Join us on April 15th to celebrate and honor the Boston Marathon Supporters and Runners/ Frank & Oak (220 Newbury Street) is our meeting spot for a night of fun and excitement.

Complimentary cuts, drinks, and sounds.

Saturday, April 16, 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m

John B. Hynes Convention Center
900 Boylston Street
Boston, MA

Run Your Best Frank & Oak Boston
Saturday, April 16th, at 9AM

There is something to say about the mental and the physical capacity of a special group of people who decide to run 26.2 Miles for a cause or to achieve a personal goal. In honor of the Boston Marathon join us for a discussion on Performance, Endurance, and Mental Preparation in life and in sports.

Network with fellow Frank & Oak Members and our panel of special guest speakers.

Complimentary bites by Sweetgreen and healthy drinks by Nourish Your Soul

 

 

Runner’s World 50th Anniversary Run

As part of the North Face Speaker Series, Runner’s World will host a 2.7 mile shake-out run, followed by a FREE party and presentation from The November Project as we celebrate Boston, the running community and the launch of November Project – The Book.

Runner’s World Editors and The November Project hosts:
Bart Yasso, Dean Karnazes, Rory Bosio, Rob Krar, Brogan Graham, Bojan Mandaric and up to 300 runners can participate.

6 p.m. start: Boston Marathon Finish Line – 665 Boylston Street, Boston
End: The Cyclorama at Boston Center for the Arts – 539 Tremont Street, Boston

Free – (Up to 300 runners)
Must RSVP for special edition T-Shirt (while supplies last)

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/november-project-the-north-face-speaker-series-tickets-22809995310

Sunday, April 17, 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m

John B. Hynes Convention Center
900 Boylston Street
Boston, MA

Namaste Frank & Oak Boston
Sunday April 17th at 9AM.

A special wellness event for the Boston Marathan Supporters and Runners.
Guest yoga teacher, Lindsey O’Neill. Lindsey offers a slow-flow, mindfulness based yoga practice, and invites practitioners to cultivate a deeper relationship to their own sense of center.

Complimentary healthy drinks by Nourish Your Soul

Some menu specials because who doesn’t love deals on food!

South Street Diner

South Street Diner
178 Kneeland Street
Boston, MA 02113

Sunday, April 17th
5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Tuesday, April 19th
8:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

The diner will kick off its Marathon Menu specials on Sunday afternoon from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. where guests can indulge in South Street’s legendary all-you-can-eat pancakes for only $6. For those looking to reload after the 120th running of the Boston Marathon, on Tuesday, April 19th, the diner will also have a selection of post-race specials and will be offering a gift to anyone coming in with a finishing medal.

For more information, please visit www.southstreetdiner.com

Juice Press

The Street
33 Boylston
Chestnut HIll, Massachusetts 02467

Boston Marathon runners who show their official medal will receive one free juice or smoothie between Monday April 18 and Wednesday April 20 (one per runner)

Fish & Richardson
One Marina Park Drive, 17th Fl
Boston, MA

Join InsideTracker for our pre-marathon athlete’s lunch on Sunday, April 17!
World recorder holder, Michael Wardian, and top endurance Coach Tawnee Prazak, will be discussing various topics including their personal success stories, fitness and nutrition advice, and their tips & tricks for peak performance on race day.Enjoy free lunch and drinks over a stunning view of Boston Harbor. Doors open at 12pm, speaker series begins at 1:00pm.Must register to attend:http://info.insidetracker.com/marathon-sunday (you do not have to run the marathon to attend).
Know anything else going on in town? Comment below!

2015 Boston Marathon Race Report

The 2015 Boston Marathon was held on April 20th, 2015. And to be honest, I’m not sure what can I recap that I haven’t before? Like many others, I’ve gone mile by mile of the course and placed my best tips forward. The heat wave of 2012? My amazing PR in 2013 (before hell started), the joy of being back in 2014 and then there’s 2015. Cue the womp womp womp.

Boston by it’s design is my favorite race of the year. As a running nerd, I get to hype up on the competitiveness and as a local, I get to partake in one of the Boston sports I actually like. Marathon Monday for me is better than Christmas (and not because I’m Jewish).

By the time I gave in and admitted I am injured, it was March and I had two options.

1. Take time off, take physical therapy and basically give up on running Boston

or

2. Ignore my issue, go through half assed mediocre training and run Boston anyways

yea, it’s no surprise that I went with the kick myself in the foot for a longer term injury option, all for the glory of one day.

I kept my training pretty low key this year with weekly mileage 25-40 miles versus my usual 60-80 miles in prior years. And I have to admit, I miss it. I miss the exhaustion that can only come from too many miles in a week. I know some might call be crazy, but I really love high mileage weeks and it’s constantly making me on small line of depression since I stopped. However, while I wasn’t taking a break to resolve my issue, I was running every other day to try to minimize an increase of inflammation. I’m sure someone whose smarter than me would tell me all the ways I was doing myself more harm than good, but what’s ran is ran.

I took a half day off on Friday to stop by the expo and get my hair done! Nothing says marathon Monday weekend and end of tax season like turning my unintentional ombre back to my Lucius golden (slightly orange) lockes.

So the 2015 expo? Way better than 2014! I got my number within a few minutes on Friday. I sat down and immediately examined my swag and was on the verge of tears when I didn’t see my Boston Marathon Sam Adams Bottle opener. SUPER BUMMED! I don’t keep most race trinkets, but I liked hanging those up in a special Boston marathon hook I have in my kitchen. They gave us a plastic Sam Adams cup, but it’s blah.

The expo itself had some great vendors there and I made sure to leave my money at home, but I really didn’t need more running things, as much as I always WANT more running things.

There were two things that stuck out to my visit. I stopped by Topo Athletics and tried out their shoes on a True Form Runner treadmill… it’s literally a hamster wheel that was one of the hardest miles I ran.

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They had a contest who could run the furthest in 5 minutes each day. I guess since I haven’t heard, I’m probably not the winner =)

The next VIP stop I had to make was Skirt Sports! More on my relationship with them later. Kathrine Switzer was there signing her book. She pretty amazing, and will be running Boston in 2017 in honor of her leading the way for women to run Boston. You know because before 1967, men had this theory that my ovaries would fall right out if I ran more than a 5k. Pfft men! It’s okay, now (or at least when I’m not injured), I get to run past them in a skirt.

I made a note to return to the expo and buy the book, but between a baby shower and other obligations, I never made it back to town.

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After meeting Noelle and Nicole (owner of Skirt Sports), I had to dash to a very late hair appointment. Next time, I need to take my selfies after i get my hair done.

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The streets were literally litered with runners and the city did a great job trying to pretend we’re in Spring, even though most of it still feels like winter.

Saturday, I did my last shake out run, a 4 miler and felt pretty good. A minute a mile slower than last year, but a run is a run.

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Sunday went to brunch and then a baby shower that had a amazing Italian food and I tried to control myself. I have a pretty iron stomach, but I definitely didn’t want to test my limits with pounds of ricotta (no matter how badly I wanted to eat everything).

I taped my foot (excuse my gross callous. I still haven’t made up an opinion on k-tape besides that I think it’s super expensive for what it is and how many rounds I get for $18, but the added support does feel nicer on the heel.

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And then like many others I continued agonizing over the weather as it was looking colder, wetter, windier.  I finally decided on a rain jacket for the added pockets and my favorite Skirt Sports, the Vixen.  Boston marathon 2015 (3)

A DailyMile friend said it best. It will never get NOT weird to go to sleep in my own bed, at my usual time and wake up and head into Boston, only instead of heading to work in the daily grind, I’m running a world marathon! Never.

I woke up at 7:00 and had most of my stuff prepared. My outfit, my throwaway layers (two sweatshirts from a friend and pajama pants), my peanut butter pita bread for the busy).  Left the house at 7:30 and got to the Bus loading area by 7:50 thanks to Tony. had a short little walk to get to the bus loading and was sitting in anxiety by 8am.

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As I looked around the other runners on my bus, it was 95% women, which personally, I thought was pretty cool! The ride to Hopkinton was easy, and I was in the village by 9AM with more than 30 minutes to wait until I can start heading into my corral.

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I usually like to roam a little, stretch my legs and see what’s there. But it was a bit chilly and wet already in the grass field. Instead I found myself a nice corner against some barrel than blocked the wind and sat/napped a bit more.

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It’s the runner or homeless person guessing game

As soon as they told us wave 2 can start in their corrals, I went in. The bathroom lines in the village are always insane, and I know there’s some before the corral loading area so I was holding out for that. Downing a bottle of vitamin water through the bus ride was taking it’s toll.

They did set up something new this year. Usually when they start loading the waves, the corral system is kinda a free for all, where I have never been able to get to my actual corral. It’s 8,000 people! This time, they put us all in this caging area, and like us go in 2 corrals at a time so for the first time in my 4 year history, I actually made it to my corral!

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The time in the corral flew by because before I knew it everyone around me was running!

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The thing with Boston Marathon is that if you start with your corral, you are literally running with others at your best PR pace. I qualified with a 3:22 and so did everyone around me and they were gunning to beat it. Trying to take it easy was damn near impossible without being trampled. I stayed to the side and tried to not freak out about everyone passing me. Even with trying my best to keep it slow, my first 5K ended up being a 7:45 pace.  Last year I would have credit to be that slow as I was trying to go 7:15, this year was the opposite. I was really trying to keep an 8:30ish pace.

By 10K, I was getting a little bit more into my rhythm. I was trying my best to not get intimidated about everyone running by me. I saw a girl with crutches doing the race in worse shape than me.

Here’s the thing about Boston. We all qualify to get there at our best. What shape we show up to to actual run varies across the board. I did take walk breaks earlier than I ever would have in the past. People kept beating my back with words of encouragement. I did appreciate this spirit and on any other race, I would have dug deep and pushed on. However, on this day, I didn’t want the dig deep to push through the pain to lead to more pain later on. I know my logic makes no sense to a sane person, but it had it’s own flow to how I was justifying what I was doing.

By mile 8 it started to pour, and any time it would slow down to rain, the wind picked up. I remember after the 10K mark, just telling myself it’s another 20 mile training run. I’ve done them in more misery with less desire than today. I told myself to ignore the crowd, ignore all the other runners, and just get it done.

Sometime after mile 15, I started to get really cold and stiff up. There was a medic tent every mile and I would eye ball it each time. I contemplated stopping by for something warm, but I also wasn’t sure if I would continue if I stopped and DNF was not an option for me today. I have no shame in DNFs, but there’s just certain things you don’t DNF unless it’s life threatening. For me that’s Boston.

At mile 19, I finally saw my friend Sonia. Before that I saw my roommate at mile 7 or so and for the most part, unlike other years the race was a bit lonely. The weather made most people decide to go to work instead of partaking in day drinking. I couldn’t blame them. Hell, if I wasn’t running, I would be crawled up in bed on a day like this.

The hills of Newton came and went, and to be honest, compared to last year, they didn’t feel too bad. Don’t get me wrong, they didn’t feel like a slide either. But I guess since I’ve been struggling to get myself moving since mile 10, the struggle on the hills didn’t seem any bigger than the struggle on the flats.

Nothing get’s me happier than hitting the 21 mile mark or so around Cleveland circle. After living in the area for so long before I moved to Malden, there’s a certain comfort in knowing that I’ve walked this path soo many times in college, from sober to drunk, from friendly to a, shit the T stopped running and now I gotta walk home. I know that from Cleveland circle to Kenmore can be done. I can outline the terrain in my mind from memories alone. And then there’s the comfort of passing by so much familiarity only instead of alone, I’m surrounded by all these other strangers form all over the wrong.

around mile 23 is Coolidge corner, where I spotted a bunch of friends from the area on the left and they took this photo!

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I may be pale, I may be tired and cold, but if I see a familiar face, I put on a good show 😉

Our other friend was on the other side because crossing for spectators was impossible. I’m excited for him, as he’ll be running his first Boston next year!

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and then the final 5K. The final 5K is always like a scene in slow motion. There’s lots of crowds and cheers, and you want to keep putting on the show, but I never pace myself well enough to not feel like death at mile 24. I guess that’s why I keep running this race year by year. Each year hoping for something better out of myself.

I don’t know how it happened, but I somehow missed Tony and Adrienne. They were in Audobon circle and I kept looking for them. Tony had dry socks and Adrienne had her amazing cookie waiting for me. Two things I was ready to kill to get my hands on and didn’t see =(

As I was going towards Kenmore, I saw Tony’s family and group bringing me a little extra energy for that final 1.5 miles. As I went to Boylston, I searched the crowds for anything familiar as I still couldn’t find Tony or Adrienne, but to no luck. And just like that, as I couldn’t imagine how this race could be going any slower, it ended.

I crossed the finish line with many others. Just another race in the running crowd.

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I think because of the cold, they took pity on the runners, and instead of making me walk the rest of the Boylston down to the gardens just to come back up to Clarendon, I was able to cut straight into the John Hancock tower. My office lobby was packed with runners and family. Usually they kick anyone without a pass out, but I guess the cafe saw the cold as great business so they let people hang around. I changed, sat by a co-workers space heater and slowly ventured back downstairs to meet Adrienne and Tony where I finally got my cookie, but no socks! Tony left them in the car which was all the way in Alston. We met up with more friends at Sunset so some margaritas, nachos and burgers. Because nothing says Marathon, like nachos and tequila.

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Net Time4:10:14

Overall 20559/26610

Gender 8595/12022 (Female)

Division 4490/6011 (F18-39 Age Group)

It’s not the best time, it’s not the worst time, but I can proudly say it’s my time and it was earned through the struggle, sweat and joy.

Twas the night before the 2015 Boston Marathon…

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And as far as my feelings go? I feel lost. For the first time since I started running, I have no idea what to expect and no real goals to hit. I have always been a heavy miles runner, even as an adult onset runner, I hit running straight into marathons and back to back marathons where I ran my first in DC 2012 and my second 4 weeks later in Boston.

So when I say I haven’t ran a marathon since early November, it scares me a bit. In the past years, I have ran monthly marathons leading up to Boston. While now, the past few months have been strange, and my emotions confused. My identity as a “fast” runner seems lost. I hit two 20 milers and I know I will finish, but the carefree running that I’ve enjoyed seems forever gone. This planter fascia battle seems a bit never ending. I get the runs done, and I make it through, but its taking it’s tool on my confidence.

Without a training plan, or training happening, I feel lost in my goals.

The nasty physician assistant at the Tufts doctor office I went to, would claim it was my heavy mileage or error in training that cause my injury. I don’t know what to believe anymore, but I try to carry on. I have years of PR ahead me, I just need to  get through this battle so I can win the war.

And at the same time I am overcome with the feelings of being gracious for all the friends, and support I am constantly receiving through social media and IRL – In Real Life.

Here’s the thing about us runners. For the most part, none of us will be athletic champions. Most of us are not elite and won’t be winning anything. But the glorious part of running, is that we are all winners simply by participating, something that most sports don’t have.

We parade in our obnoxious colored bright jackets and brag in our achievements. For a few weeks we feel special. Whether we qualified by running, or fund raised a ridiculous amount of money for an amazing cause, or are just lucky as shit and got a free entry through a hook up, saying you’re running Boston makes you feel like a hero for a little while before we return to the normal grind, even if the normal grind is being a marathon maniac.

And the other feelings circling in me, I’m a little sad and nostalgic to the old days before the 2013 marathon. In 2012, Tony joined me for about 2-3 miles of the race as I walked in heat stroke with a giant bag of pretzels sharing with other heat defeated but not given up runners.

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In 2013, my friend Dan pushed me through the final 10K (but not the finish line) to a 3;26 Boston, my best time on the course to date. Yes, if I had any more energy in me, I would have kicked him.

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And finally, the 2014… we are Boston.. we are runners.. and yet everything has changed…

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I ran the course with many more runners, 36K to the usual 27K. The rutpackers gone. The lewd drunkness in slight secretness. To be honest, I know we were celebrating overcoming the terrible act in 2013, but I felt that the spirit of the Boston Marathon from the rutpackers, to the dunk college students, to other local bandits have been lost.

In 2015, the BAA sent warning emails to no longer post your bib pre-race due to people banditing the course by stealing bib numbers. You know because clearly the victims were begging for their hard earned bibs to be stolen. You would think that with all these scares, they would change the design of the bib, but I can tell you, it looks the same as 2014, only 1 digit difference….

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My hope for 2015? normalcy.. I want safety but to be honest, the security made me uncomfortable. The constant guard dogs on course made me feel in police state and forget my opinion of how I feel about lack of bag check in the Athlete’s village. But I will continue, step by step, mile by mile to run, because I can and I know many others would love to take my spot.

The weather went from sunny high 50s to rain and crazy wind to a high of 48… but I guess it’s only to be expected from the crazy weather we’ve been having this year. I guess in some way, us locals for the first time in a while have a home town advantage. Wind, rain and just shit out of local weather.. yea that’s New England running for you. After changing my mind like 20 times about what to wear, cause you know you gotta look cute for all your hugs and photos, I have settled on taking my rain jacket with me. In a race where I’m less fit, I rather be more warm than cold.

I don’t know how a post about mixed running emotions and goals turned more political than I wish. I guess it’s the sadness that in a year where I would love to have a few steps of familiar support is no longer allowed. It takes a village to raise a marathoner and the inner circle of that village is Boston for me, the city that’s been my home for 12 years. I know many friends who are running tomorrow, but for the most part I feel a bit surrounded by strangers and out of towners. Without time goals, I feel lost, but instead I’ll keep a hugs goal! My friends can’t step on the course, but the BAA can’t stop me from stepping on the sidewalk!

And yes, when I started writing this, I thought I had my thoughts in order, but now it’s just a jumble of something that none the less I wanted to share.

To follow me simply text my Bib Number 11887 to 234567 using your phone. And if you don’t see me for a while between mile 20 and the finish line… don’t worry, I’ll get there ;).

2015 Boston Marathon Week Events

Ahhh… I filed my taxes and it’s not the end of my tax season tunnel time where I can return to the more fun things in life… like more running and more thinking about running.

Speaking of which… my favorite week of the year is about to start!

That’s right, we’re in the weather checking zone of the Boston Marathon!

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One day, I would love to run a PR at Boston, and do something impressive, but until then Boston is about fun for me. Always been and always should be. The spirit of running just takes over Boston and I absolutely love it! Suddenly everything is all about Boston Pride and running pride and all the fun stuff. I’m not into a lot of other sports so I miss out on the spirit of that during most seasons (Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, yea meh not my thing, except Hockey, go Bruins!).  It’s a great time to be a runner the week before and after Boston and it”s an even better time to be partaking in it all surrounded by friends and family since I’m local to the area.

The week before Boston, all the running related legends come into town and I want to put together a little weekly recap of what’s out there. If I missed anything, let me know!! If you’re planning on attending any of these, let me know!

I tried to keep most event with free stuff and free food because you know where my priorities are at. I did include a few paid events in town as well.

Tuesday, April 14

6:00-9:00 p.m. – Adidas Event: City Sports Back Bay (480 Boylston Street). Dave McGillivray, Boston Marathon Director, will speak followed by a 2-3 mile shake out run. After the run, join us for a FREE pasta party courtesy of Adidas. Limited details and other events here

6:30 PM – She Runs Boston 1st Run of 2015 and shopping event hosted by Athleta (92 Newbury Street). Facebook event deets here. I hope to stop by this one.

Thursday, April 16

6:00-9:00 p.m. – Brooks Lobster Event: City Sports Back Bay (480 Boylston Street). Stop by City Sports to celebrate the launch of the new Brooks lobster shoe. Enjoy a 2-3 mile fun run followed by FREE lobster rolls, a live DJ, and raffle prizes. All attendees will receive a special gift from Brooks. Limited details and other events here

Friday, April 17

2:00 PM – Boston Marathon expo opens! http://www.baa.org/races/boston-marathon/participant-information/expo-and-number-pick-up.aspx 

5:00 p.mAsics Store (328 Newbury St.) Bring your friends for an evening shake-out run hosted by Olympic medalist Deena Kastor and Runner’s World Chief Running Officer Bart Yasso. Evening will include:

· Fun run offered to runners of all levels
· Post –run refreshments
· Race day tips from Bart + Deena
· Chance to check out the latest Asics apparel and running shoes
· Secure bag check during run

FREE ASICS Gift Bag for the first 50 runners who attend.

Going to try to attend this too! Facebook details

6:00-9:00 p.m. – Converse Event: City Sports Back Bay (480 Boylston Street). . Join City Sports for an awesome event sponsored by Converse. Enjoy free giveaways, a live DJ, and refreshments. Limited details and other events here

7:00 p.m.Harvard Book Store and Runner’s World welcome Skechers Performance elite athlete MEB KEFLEZIGHI, winner of the 2014 Boston Marathon, 2009 New York City Marathon, Olympic Silver Medalist, and founder of the MEB Foundation, for a discussion of his book Meb for Mortals: How to Run, Think and Eat like a Champion Marathoner. The evening will be hosted by Runner’s World Editor-in-Chief DAVID WILLEY, who will be joined on the panel by 1968 Boston Marathon champion and long-time Runner’s World editor AMBY BURFOOT, TCS New York City Marathon Race Director MARY WITTENBERG, and Meb for Mortals co-author SCOTT DOUGLAS.

Lots of cool people will be there but the event is not free. $25 will get you in and a copy of Meb’s new book that I think is presigned.

Tickets can purchased online only.

Saturday, April 18

9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. – Boston Marathon expo opens! http://www.baa.org/races/boston-marathon/participant-information/expo-and-number-pick-up.aspx 

9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. – Janji Shakeout Run: City Sports Back Bay (480 Boylston Street). Prepare for 26.2 with Janji and City Sports! Join us for a short shake out run followed by refreshments and a Coach Greg McMillan meet and greet. Limited details and other events here

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Join Meb Keflezighi and coach Greg McMillan and learn the secrets to Boston Marathon success! Meet and greet from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Lenox Hotel, 61 Exeter St. at Boylston, Dome Room, 2nd floor. All attendees receive a free UCAN sample pack and autographed photo of Meb! Please register at: generationucan.com/bostonmeb  I’m hoping to stop by this!

11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.City Sports Back Bay (480 Boylston Street). Customize all of your official Adidas BAA apparel at City Sports! Limited details and other events here

12:00 p.m. – Best-selling author Christopher McDougall (“Born to Run”) will be in town on marathon weekend promoting his new book, “Natural Born Heroes: How a Daring Band of Misfits Mastered the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance.” There’s a free run involved but then a 2PM & 7PM event that require tickets. More info on Facebook event!

12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Lululemon (337 Newbury street) Marathon Mantra Henna – Running The Boston Marathon this year? Come join us in store and have your favorite running mantra (henna) tattooed on your arm! There is no better reminder to stay focused and motivated as you cruise over heartbreak hill than glancing down to see your favorite words of inspiration. No appointment necessary and tattoos will be given on a first come, first serve basis. See you there!Facebook details

2:00-5:00 p.m. – New Balance Fresh Foam Event City Sports Back Bay (480 Boylston Street). Celebrate the New Balance Fresh Foam Limited Edition Boston shoe with City Sports! Stop by our back Bay location and try on a New Balance Fresh Foam and receive a free grilled cheese from Roxy’s Grilled Cheese!

4:00 p.m. – Tracksmith: Please join us on Saturday to celebrate the release of METER Magazine Issue #01.

METER is a quarterly journal of reportage and gorgeous photography that re-establishes a connection between the sporting heritage of running and its current group of participants and fans. Meet some of the contributors and enter a raffle to win limited-edition prints of some of the featured photography.

Sunday, April 19

8:00 p.m.  – Land’s End & Runners world – Come run with the Editors of Runner’s World, including Bart Yasso and Elizabeth Comeau, and check out the new activewear line from Lands’ End! Light refreshments will be served after the run. Location:  Sheraton Boston, Backback Ballroom A, 39 Dalton Street, Boston, MA!Facebook details

9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. – Boston Marathon expo opens! http://www.baa.org/races/boston-marathon/participant-information/expo-and-number-pick-up.aspx 

9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. – Janji Shakeout Run: City Sports Back Bay (480 Boylston Street). Prepare for 26.2 with Janji and City Sports! Join us for a short shake out run followed by refreshments and a Coach Greg McMillan meet and greet. Limited details and other events here

11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.City Sports Back Bay (480 Boylston Street). Customize all of your official Adidas BAA apparel at City Sports! Limited details and other events here

Monday, April 20

It’s race day, come cheer me on! Outfit of the day will be posted to Instagram! I am starting around 10:30 and hoping for a 4 hour glory finish if all goes well. Simply text my Bib Number 11887  to 234567 using your US mobile phone for all the details as I slow down mile by mile in my usually glory.

Tuesday, April 21

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.City Sports Back Bay (480 Boylston Street). Medal engraving at City Sports! Limited details and other events here

2014 Boston Marathon Race Recap

Monday was an epic day. Those are probably the best words out there to describe the whole seen. Actually this article sums up everything I felt and saw down to every last word. It’s like he went into my head and wrote from there.

The whole weekend I had grave anxiety. It started with the Boston Marathon Expo. Normally, I go at noon during my lunch break, pick up my bib and go home. This time, I got there at 12:02 th an expo that opened at 12:00 and waited over 30 minutes in one of the biggest but most orderly lines ever.

Boston Marathon Expo

I walked around the expo stopping by to stay hello to some of my favorites, Sketchers, Level Renner, Energybits and UCan (which I’m excited to try since I heard awesome things from my trail running friends). I also stopped by the Sam Adams booth for a 26.2 tasting. The energy level was high, but so were the crowds.

Boston Expo Beer

After somehow finding an exit out of the expo, I made my way back to work with a short bit stop by Boston Old South Church to be scarfed up.

Liana with scarf

Not the sexiest photo of my face, but be grateful there’s no boogies. The church received over 7,000 of these scarf donations for the runners from all over the world. Each one is uniquely handmade and beautiful.

Jack Scarf

Then on Sunday night, I randomly decided to stop by the pre-race pasta dinner. I don’t usually do the dinner, but I wanted to pick up the dessert. In the past, the lines for the dessert and dinner were separate. This time it was one line. I got there around 5PM and barely moved by 5:30 before giving up. The line was going all around Government Center for blocks on end. At this point, after seeing the crowd, I gave up any of hope of being able to even run a mile with the crowds.

Boston Marathon Pasta Dinner Line

On Sunday night after Easter and giving up on spotting running celebrities on the pasta line, I kicked back and prepped my breakfast and outfit. Two slices of bread, generous serving of peanut butter and a bottle of water. I packed a Hammer gel, 5 salt tabs, Imodium (just in case!) and my ID so I can get into my office to shower and change. I declined a glass of wine for dinner and went to sleep.

Marathon Outfit

When you live in a house with two cats, there’s very few things you can do without a ginger in your photo.

When I think about Boston, it always seems like a bit of an ordeal, from the buses, village, the slight hike to the starting line. Yet it always happens so fast and before I know it, it’s just another blurry memory.

The bundle of prerace nerves barely woke me up this time. I woke up at 6:30, only 30 minutes before my 7am alarm. Since I was planning on eating my breakfast on the bus, all I really had to do was get dressed. So I lazed around in bed a bit like it was any other Monday.

Luckily, Tony checked traffic before we were about to leave, because a giant trail flipped over and exploded on 93, but luckily for us (not the unfortunate drivers in the accident) we took an alternative route. We got to the buses in downtown Boston in 25 minutes vs expected 20 at around 8am.

Boston Marathon Bus loadingThis time instead of the buses being a mess of crazy lines, each a separate entity, it seem almost empty. The photo makes it look busy, but I think a lot of those are runners’ friends and family saying goodbye and wishing their friends luck. Maybe everyone decided to be an early bird. Then, I found the golden and blue arch or metal detectors as you may call them. The entry to the buses only had one access point and a small line was gathered as volunteers checked that no one has any bags, or sleeping bags or something “suspicious” looking. The whole process took maybe a minute and I was on a bus in about 5 minutes tops.

What did take a while was getting our bus full enough to leave. Where have all the runners gone? I sat there for about 15 minutes before we were full and had the green flag wave us out. The bus pick up volunteers did an amazing job on what I expected to be a zoo!

On the bus, I was a white bib in a sea of blues and yellows and I started to doubt my decision. Last night I was convinced I was okay with starting in the third wave, since my corral was in the back of the second wave. Better than waiting; however, everything changes the morning of when prerace jitters make you doubt everything!

The ride to the village was an unusually slow one. For some unknown reason, traffic built up on the Mass pike heading out of Boston and according to Waze, there was an accident. Everyone around me chatted excitedly as we all bragged or mumbled how many Boston’s or New Yorks or other marathons everyone’s done. I wondered are these my people? Are trail runners my people? Who am I and other existential thoughts. Luckily before my brain went into a song of I don’t belong here, I started chatting with a very friendly woman whose done 27 New Yorks! Runners, no matter what type, all love geeking out on running. 

And just like that, before I knew it, traffic opened up and we were turning into the Hopkington exit, a monstrous wave of every school bus in the state! I got off the bus at 9:36 (about 30 minutes later than planned due to traffic) and scurried of to find the entrance and corrals!

I was in my hobo outfit that was carefully selected from everything Tony would like to never see again. I shed a tear for my valour pants! However, within a minute I was immediately sweating as 40 degree weather seemed to have come and gone!

Boston Marathon Hobo OutfitWe walked through another golden and blue arch/metal detectors with a volunteering glancing that we all had bib numbers. Could you have sneaked in? My thoughts probably yes, but with all the marine and military volunteers at the village, I personally wouldn’t risk it.

Boston Marathon VillageWhen I got to the corral entrance, they were only letting in red bibs and then a terrible announcement was made. They claimed there was no bathrooms once we exit the village into the trail of corrals. I debated peeing in my skirt and quickly went to go look for a bush or a portapotty. That’s when I finally got a good look at the village and realized no one was sitting and relaxing, everyone was on the longest bathroom lines I’ve ever seen! I got on and one and waited for. 20 minutes barely making a dent. Luckily, a few people in the front let me go in front of them so I only waited another 10 minutes before running to my corrals just as they were planning on closing them.

I exit the village and what do I see? The bathrooms they claimed wouldn’t be there. I give out a yelp of exasperation and scurry on to try to find the 6th corral.

I walk by the usual. The friendly tent with sunscreen, gels, hair elastics and any other last minute goodies you could need. Next is the tent of drink men pushing beer and bagels in our face (that I’m sure are in good nature). I hear them saying 30 seconds to gun time just as I contemplate a second layer of sunblock and decide I ain’t got time for that. How bad could the sun be when my heating oil is still burning every night?

Hopkinton BeerAnd just like that we are off like cattle!

I’m not going to break up the course mile by miles since I already did that before. The elevation and the course hasn’t changed since I studied it mile by mile earlier in the week.

The only time I felt crowded during the race was the first four miles. I couldn’t pick up my speed above 7:45 where as last year I was around 7:15 minute miles. However, slowing down allowed me to notice more about my surroundings.Boston Marathon 2014 (2)

Like all the guides running with blind runners zooming by, or the kid on crutches that I was terrified would get trampled.

Boston Marathon 2014 (3)

I could feel the heat of the run and the drench of sweat already starting. Luckily, I wasn’t too frustrated with the slow down pace since I expected it and figured it was probably a good idea with the weather soaring past the 60s and up into the 70s. I had a long way to go before a friendly face.

Immediately, you’ll notice crowds building up along the curb early on in the race where it used to be scarce in years before. Anyone, whose anyone and was within proximity wanted to see part of the race. The kids and their orange slice, the adults cheering on. It was incredible!

Boston Marathon 2014 (5)

My friend took this incredible photo at mile 11!

I started sucking up salt tabs and water every 30 minutes pretty early in the race. I usually race without food or water, but today it was just too hot for me, to try otherwise. I could feel my body burning up and I slowed down my effort. Emotionally, with the pressure of trying to train for a PR, it was hard to allow myself to slow down, but I learned the lesson on what happens if you don’t in 2012.

After mile 13 or so, I started dumping water over my head every other water stop. If I saw a kid with a cup of ice, bless his heart, I wanted to hug them. Slowly but surely, I moved on! I tried to push my pace, but slowing down every time my head would get dizzy.

At mile 15, I saw a friend volunteering at the water station as I hugged her in the joy and hallucinations of seeing a friendly face again. I was dying of thirst again!

The only funny part is, that despite the heat and how much struggle I felt during the race, the hills felt smaller and shorter than ever before?

Boston Marathon 2014 (4)

Another friend got this wonder of me taking a little walking break as I look for water! You have to be very careful and not confuse them with Gatorade, as I imagine a cup of that over your head would be awful.

Despite how difficult the second half the course is, it’s always my favorite. This is where I run from left to right looking for all my favorite faces! Since security was so tight and no one was allowed to cross the route of the runners, it was a mystery of where I would find anyone. I almost ran past Tony and my brother and some of our friends. Well I actually did run past them and waved when I heard my name. I was too tired and delirious to run back the few steps. I’ve given up my goal A and goal B, but I was still focused on my goal C!

Boston Marathon 2014 (1)

The last 5K is the biggest blur of it all. Suddenly hills seemed to pop out where I don’t remember there being any. The tunnel on Comm Ave under mass ave felt like a mountain. People around me are collapsing from heat exhaustion just minutes away from the finish line. I look at my Garmin and see 3:31 just minutes below my goal C. I dig deep and begin to focus. No more walking breaks, no more jogging. The crowds on Bolyston are screaming at a new level but I don’t hear any of it. All I can focus on is the golden blue arch  that stands between me and a shaded place to sit. I must go under. And within a minute, it’s all quiet.

I’m finished and so did hundreds of runners in front of me who were just sprinting moments ago. Except now, they all seem to have forgotten how to walk and keep moving. I crossed the finish line just as they were announcing that Meb, an American won the race and that Rita Jeptoo broke the course record! The walk to exit the finish line feels forever and the medics with their wheel chairs are always so tempting. My head is spinning and I think about taking a seat down, no one will notice, I don’t have to tell anyone. Instead, I just ask a medic for a water, because my whole body feels on fire and I didn’t think I could make the walk past the blankets, and the runners who can barely take a step forward without it. With water in my hand, I zoombie crawl on for my silver cape, my baggy of food and the glorious shade on a side street.

photo 2 (4)

Total Net Time: 3:33:56

Overall Place: 10,509

Gender Place: 2678

Division: 1969

It wasn’t my best Boston, nor my worse, but I’m already looking forward and counting the days until 2015.

Boston Marathon Tracking, Fear, Terror, and Goals

I’m excited for Monday and to be running again. The weather is looking great (for now).

To get cell phone alerts of my running times, you can:

Text “14603” to phone number “345678”

I start around 10:30AM and I think there’s going to be 4 alerts between start and finish.

cell

Am I afraid?

Ever since 2:40 PM, 4/15/2013, the second or sometimes first question I get in regards to the Boston Marathon (and to a degree NYC marathon last year) is this. The answer is YES. I’m always afraid, but the truth of it all, I’ve been afraid way before last year. I don’t remember the last time I felt safe in a public crowd. Maybe some time before 9/11/2001 when I got the introduction terror first into my life. I work on a top floor of the tallest building in Boston and every time a plane or a helicopter flies by, I flinch. Every time I step into a parade, or a music festival, I think about how this is a breeding ground for not just outside “terrorists” but anyone to let their “crazies” out. Even when it’s not crowded, there’s really very little to keep someone from doing anything terrifying like many of the school and workplace shootings that seem to have become an acceptable event in our society today.

So yes, I’m afraid; but, if I let this fear, doubt and terror keep me from doing anything, I’d never leave my house. And then how else would I go for my run? 😉

What’s my goal?

When I started training for Boston, I wanted to train for a 3:20 or faster, GOAL A.

I wanted my average pace to be around 7:30. which gives me a 3:17, but I’ll need those extra 3 minutes for heartreak strokes. But then winter happened and as the Starks say, it’s coming and coming and only got worse. Okay, not exact words, but if more were alive, they would say it. Paths that I usually run on, have been covered in snow for months forcing me to share the road with cars and potential texting drivers. My weekend long runs turned slower and shorter. It was cold, but I can’t use that excuse since I like the cold, however, snow, no thank you. My work schedule ended up being a lot more demanding in March and April, limiting my peak month in those medium long runs that I believe are so valuable.

My GOAL B is to PR on the course. So sub 3:26. A lot more reasonable considering I ran a 3:22 a few months earlier. The course is mostly downhill and is to my advantage.

My GOAL C is to BQ on the course, sub 3:35

GOAL D – Let’s not go this far!

Regardless, I can’t wait! I run a ton of races a year, because I don’t want one race to make or break me; but Boston is so much more than just another race. I’m so excited to see my friends and family along the route! Collecting hugs is almost as fun as crossing the mile markers.

A mile to mile guide of the Boston Marathon from the midpacker gal

As many other runners, the taper crazies start to take over. However, one of my favorite taper past times is to analyze and over analyze the elevation profile of the race I’ll be running. Since I generally tend to never run a marathon course twice, what’s expected and what my feet actually hit always seems so different. Unfortunately, Boston Marathon is not a race I can use that excuse. Having raced on it 2 times already, and ran on it countless times, there’s very few surprises it can bring besides the weather. Weather, I can’t control, so I just let it be. Although, as I mentioned on facebook, I’m expecting it to snow this year.

Boston Marathon Snow

Five days until race day and this is what I woke up to this morning.

Anyway, I don’t like to brag about it, or even really mention it but my first Boston Marathon was a complete disaster. I ran a 5:11, well 5:10:54 to be exact. I don’t hide it, but it does put a dent into my Athlinks profile, my pride and joy as a midpacker.

2012 Boston Marathon

Well, I learned my lesson, many of them in these tips and came back in 2013 with a 3:26 before the whole nightmare occurred at 2:40PM. Did I get faster? Not really, I ran a 3:24 in March 2012, only four weeks before my 5:11. However, within a year, I did get smarter. Knowing your mistakes mile by mile, brought me hours faster to the finish line.

Run To Munch’s Mile by Mile guide to the Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon by Mile

Mile 1 – When I first ran Boston in 2012, this was the mile that killed my race (that and the 90 degree weather.) But I also learned a ton about marathon racing within this mile. The first mile is the largest elevation drop you will have on the course, 130 feet. This drop will make everything, including the flat parts feel slower and harder unless you ease into it. I’m not gonna tell you to take it easy, but I will tell you that going into tempo speed here is not a good idea. And this is coming from someone who believes negative splitting is NOT for everyone.

This is also one of the most narrow roads you’ll be running on. It will become incredibly tempting to try to pass by other runners. With the large fields, I doubt this part of the course will feel any more spacious than it did in the past. And I get it, I like to start out fast and bank on time, but the problem here is that you will waste more energy weaving between other runners, than the time you will bank. Trust me, I’ve tried it and I’m a relative tiny person whose quite talented at sliding in between people and not caring. Just try to go with the flow, until the road opens up a bit more.

And please don’t be the d-bag that takes a piss on the side of the road, I don’t care about your public urination, but I do care that you’re getting in my way and I have no desire to see this when my stomach is already in bolts from the race.

Mile 2, 3, 4 Around mile 2, you’ve peaced out of Hopkinton and into Ashland. What’s Ashland? Just another town in Massachusetts, don’t worry about it. Although, some history, the Boston marathon used to start in Ashland until it moved to Hopkinton in 1925 and became the glorious 26.2 miles of fun it is now. There’s also some kinda famous clock or something there. You’re still going downhill, and it’s fun! It feels easy, the course is starting to spread out and you’re having the time of your life!

Mile 5, 6, 7 And then it starts to suck. It doesn’t really suck, but compared to pounding four downhill miles, these little bumps in the road feel painful. Mile 5 actually have a net elevation gain, but it’s only about 25 feet and you lose it again around mile 6. This is where I set into my marathon pace. If I’m feel really good, I might go a little bit faster than marathon pace. Furthermore, just before your Garmin beep 5 miles, you can take a shot (of water) for a third town you’re entered; Framingham.

Yes, Framingham at mile 6, just like all the other Massholes, will welcome you with a bumpy start, three bumps in the road. Worry not, you go down for a lot more than you go up and lucky for you, what goes down, won’t go up since it’s a point to point course. As you run over the 10K timing mat, you can snap a photo of the Framingham train station with a ton of strangers in front of it!

Mile 8, 9, 10, 11 The Natick Miles. Everyone always talks about the Newton/Wellesley hills and the heartbreak of it all, but everyone seems to forget about Natick. If Newton is the heartbreak, Natick are the repeated strokes your heart will take before the break. This is a good time to plug-in some headphones and run to some beats. You will be running through industrial/commercial/boring areas for a few miles until mile 10 when you reach an awesome crowd of people at Natick Center at mile 10. They call these hills “minor” but I after running downhill, they still feel like mountains to me. You gain 25 feet at mile 8, drop 30 to gain 20 and 10 on mile 10 and 11. I continue with a steady effort because this is still just the start.

Mile 12, 13, 14 – You reach your next town of Wellesley, For the most part, it’s either flat or the elevation is dropping. Around mile 13, you pass by the screaming infamous “Wellesley girls” college. I mostly use these miles to bank up time and run past all the craze as fast as possible. I know the dudes like to stop and grab a kiss here, but hey whatever floats your boat.

Mile 15… Enjoy the first half, because now the race is about to start. You wrap up this mile with a climb, the first of many. conserve with a steady effort, because this is just the first of many as you leave Wellesley.

Mile 16 – This is my favorite mile. It means I’m just a 10 mile race away from the finish line. Be prepared to drop down 100 feet in less than half a mile. Since I don’t have any knee I problems, I bomb down the hill and bank up some time.

Mile 17, 18, 19 Mile 17 is my second least favorite mile and probably the second hardest one for me. You start your 55 feet of climbing. The feel of the climb only feels tougher after all the downhill. Suck in your gut and hold a steady effort. Remember this is why you didn’t waste energy weaving in and out of people at mile 1. It doesn’t help that the course gets uglier here as you run on an overpass and highway looking roads. I plug in my headphones once again for another 5K. Mile 18 is another 30 feet of climbing with a stronger but shorter incline that’s rewarded with a little break at mile 19 as you climb down 15 feet. I use mile 19 to catch my breath.

Mile 20, 21 They say your race is determined by the final 10K of a marathon. I hope that’s not true.  You remind yourself that you’re almost at 20 miles which is almost like the finish line. There’s constant debate whether these two miles share two or three or four hills. I’m going with four. The first part of this mile is steep but short hill. Then it flattens and climbs again for a second (IMO) hill. This is the number one winner of my least favorite part of the race. By the time I reach mile 20 and the actual Heartbreak hill at mile 21, I have given up on life. I often wonder why I run marathons. What kinda idiot pays to run over 26 miles. The only thing that gets your through this heartbreak are the crowds. Oh and that little kid with the Swedish Fish in a cup. Thank you! Thank you! This is so much tastier than the diarrhea GU I picked up at mile 18!

Have your mantra ready for the hills. Mine is slow and steady. I let a bunch of people pass me on the uphills. I shorten my stride and conserve some energy, but I always lose more energy going up hill on same amount of effort than I do on flat or going downhill. My strength is not in climbing and so I save it. Mile 21 of 80 feet of climbing and I probably lose 2 minutes on it. I remind myself to not stress out and that for me, it’s part of my race strategy. Slow and steady choo choo! I think I can. I think I can. I think I can… mnn candy!

Mile 22, 23, 24, 25 You know how they say, it’s all downhill from here. Totally true. This is what I remind myself of when I want to die at the bottom of each hill in Newton. This is also why I try to conserve energy on the uphill. I know my strength comes in running downhill/flat surfaces. I can make up more time here, if I don’t burn myself out on the hills. Remember all those fools who passed me on the hills, well guess what buddy! I get to pass some of your here. Somewhere in mile 23 there’s a little climb in there and I always hated that area of Brookline. When I used to bike down Beacon street I could never understand why they didn’t just flatten it out, and instead had to build upon this evil hill. Mile 23 is when I start to hate everything again. I’m feeling weary of the uphills, the downhills, the crowds and life. You keep seeing the Citgo sign of Boston in and out of the these miles reminding you that you’re so close, yet so far from the finish line. Hold nothing back! Pain is all just temporary.

Luckily for me, the final 10K is where I get to see all my friends as well! If I’m having a good race, I smile hug and run on. If it’s a bad race, an extra 30 second break to chat won’t hurt anyone right?

friends

Mile 26 – You know how you think there’s nothing left in you at mile 22? Mile 26 brings on the opposite. This magical burst of energy surges through you as if you just crossed the starting line in Hopkinton. As you make your turn onto Hereford, you forget just how far those .2 miles after the 26 mile marker are, and yet it all passes through with a blur.

You’re done. A friendly volunteer wraps you in a blanket and put a medal on you. Don’t try to sit, you’ll get yelled at. Keep moving, go get your bag of food and keep moving, there’s plenty of runners behind you so make room.

Or at least that’s my plan. What will actually happen in 2014? We’ll see on Monday. 

P.S. I used this list and my experience for my elevation numbers

9 Boston Marathon Race Day Tips

Twas the week before Boston and Liana was not running. Taper they call, but torture is more like it. So instead she came up with her Boston Marathon tips and personal approach based on the professional Liana approach.

When it comes to racing Boston there’s two approaches.

A. Attempt for a visit to PR city

B. Dance your way through a 26.2 mile party

I’m going to disappoint you and tell you that unfortunately this is not a guide on the latter (although these is nothing wrong with partying down the raceway). Sure, you want to have fun and enjoy Boston, but some of us want to also run our best Boston as well. Whether its an attempt of a PR, a course PR, or just running the best race we can on that day, it’s okay to want to have more than just “fun.”

I want to preface by saying that just like snowflakes, every runner is unique. The technique that works for me, might be a nightmare for you, so take everything I write as always with a grain of salt. And in case you don’t know me, I’m a middle of the pack runner and this will be my third Boston.

Nine Boston Marathon Race Day Tips

9 Boston Marathon Race Day Tips

9. Be very careful with the sightseeing. I know many runners are from out of town, and Boston is one of the best walking cities to visit. You can walk a marathon and barely notice it when the weather gets lovely here. But, you’ll feel it at the starting line when your legs barely want to move. Utilize the T, it’s cheaper than a cab and will get you to most sightseeing places. Alternatively, save your sightseeing for Tuesday as it makes a great recovery.

8. Try nothing new!
I’m serious! The Boston Marathon expo is one of the best running expos out there (way better than the one year I went to NYC) and you are surely to pick up something new and never tested, even if it’s just a new flavor of GU. Well, I highly suggest putting that back into your suitcase and saving it for another run.

7.  Sunblock yourself up like cray, cray, especially your right side, because being half dark and half Casper is not fun or sexy.

6. Figure out your travel arrangements & don’t stress out about the bus times
Getting to race start has never been easy given that it’s about 26.2 miles out of Boston. Add in the 9,000 (33% more) runners joining you this year means it won’t be any easier. Using the buses in downtown Boston is one of the better options as the roads close at 7AM.

My first year, I freaked out about trying to make my “designated time bus.” Even though, I barely made it, I was rewarded with sitting for 2 hours in the village before I could line up for my corral. My second year, I took a bus 30 minutes later and still had a good hour to spare before I had to get into my corral. Given the amount of runners and security logistics, I probably would still only give myself 30 minutes of lateness at best. However, if I’m running late, I’m not going to worry about it, worst case, I start in a later corral.

5. Don’t stress out about an early dinner I usually try to eat dinner at 5PM, but since most of us won’t be running until 10AM or later, I usually just eat something normal at 7PM or so. I don’t want to wake up starving and over eat on race there. Eating a little later for dinner keep me from stuffing my face silly in the hours leading up to gun time on race day.

4. Plan your race day meals – Unlike most races, it’s midday at best before you get to run. It’s not as simple as eating breakfast, driving and running.  The first wave doesn’t start until 10AM, 2nd wave 10:25, 11:00, 11:25 for the fourth and final wave. Most of us are running during a time we would normally be eating lunch and my stomach doesn’t let me forget that. I usually drink some tea at home at 7AM, I eat my breakfast, two piece of toast and peanut butter, on the bus at 8:30 when i’m entering the village. For me, two hours is far enough to digest my breakfast for 10:25 start, but close enough to start time that I’m not starving 5 miles into my race.

3. Be smart with layers – The weather you have while getting on the bus, will most likely be nothing like the weather a few hours later when you start your race. Unfortunately, with the new baggage policy anything you bring to the village will either stay with you the whole race or be thrown away. Also, while we’re worried about staying warm before the race start, worry a little bit about staying dry. The only place to sit in the village is the grass (unless you’re VIP or Elite, or both.) The grass tends to be wet, so I always bring two trash bags, one to lay/sit on, one to wear in case it decides to randomly rains.

2. Bring your own fuel. I think there’s only one Gu station at mile 18. And it’s not Gu, it’s the powerade version of it, which I’m particularly am not a fan of.

1. Remember, it’s just a race! It’s never good to take yourself too seriously 😉

BAA Boston Marathon New “NO BAG” Policy

Less than a day ago we all received news that the terrorists won, we are fully living in a life of terror and oppression even while paying high racing fees to run, all in the form of the BAA’s new Boston Marathon “no bag” check policy.

You might think I’m being a little dramatic? Yea well I’m sure the Nazis said the same thing before Hitler took over.  Okay I’m joking, I won’t compare the BAA to the third Reich but let’s review the new changes to the Boston marathon.

  • No bags will be allowed on buses from Boston to Hopkinton at all
  • Bags will not be transported from Hopkinton back to Boston
  • Bags will also not be allowed in certain areas near the start or finish lines or along the course.
  • Runners will be given a chance to check gear on Boston Common on the morning of the marathon to allow them to have a change of clothing at the end of the race.
  • Fanny pack (no larger than 5 inches x 15 inches x 5 inches) to carry food, nutritional products, medicine, identification, cell phone, home/hotel key or other similar and necessary small items

Okay, they got rid of bag check because quite frankly they’re just being lazy. Just give me a clear bag and I’ll put all my goodies in that. They already increased their registration price and with 9,000 extra runners paying up, I’m sure their funds are more than enough to figure out a better solution.

Majority of runners will be getting on the BAA buses at 7AM in Boston. Those who don’t take the buses, will be dropped off at the village around 7AM as well because they close off the roads hours and hours before the race. Unless you’re an elite, you don’t start racing until almost 10AM or way later if you’re older or a charity runner. I heard they’re going to have 4 waves this year going almost into a Noon start. Up to 6 HOURS of waiting without anything you own?

Fanny packs? First of all who owns these anymore. What is this? A 80s family road trip? Okay, say I bring this “fanny pack” with some of my stuff that a person may need, I still need to check it somewhere? Or, wait I’m suppose to throw everything out? Or better yet I’m suppose to be running with all my stuff on me? I don’t know, unlike most races, a lot of Boston Marathon runners don’t carry giant fuel belts. We paid to be there to race. I rely on the water station and my one Gu for fuel. I know that back in the 70s or whatever, races used to have no support, but I’m pretty sure they also didn’t have outrageous race fees as well. I’ve never ran with a fanny pack before and I’m not about to start. I couldn’t even tolerate those water belts that bruised my hips.

I listened to an interview this weekend with the director from this summer (I’m a little behind on podcasts). He said he wanted to keep the sanctity of the Boston Marathon and not turn it into a tribute race. However, as a friend put it the 2014 Boston Marathon is set up for people who are going to go through one marathon in their lives to cross it off their bucket lists and who just want to finish so who cares if they get enough to eat or anything else before it happens.

The Boston Marathon is usually my A race, even though it’s at a horrible time of year for me since I work in tax. I’m there to race, not check off an item on a stupid list. I got my 50 states for that.

It took me a few tries, but I finally had my list of things I need to make Boston work down. I took two pieces of toast with PB on the bus with me. I took a small snack of some chocolate. A magazine and a blanket to sit on because even with 90 degree weather, they don’t set up extra tarps. Sometimes I bring arm warmers or a long sleeve and decide as the start time approaches if it’s too cold or too warm and if I’ll need it. It’s hard to judge the weather at 7AM in the morning for a 10AM start. And no, aside from the magazine and food wrappers, I would like to keep my stuff and not throw out my racing layers. Running clothes don’t come that cheap. And no, I don’t want to run in a throw away layer. It’s wasteful and gross and just plain uncomfortable.

I’m not even sure how this new policy will affect those who use private/charity buses or those who don’t go through Boston to get to the race start.

You may say the NYRR did the same thing with NYC marathon this year with their 50,000 runners and I’ll say that’s where you’re wrong. They tried and failed and finally gave in. Instead they gave us an option. Check your bag or take the orange hood.  I did end up taking the option of the orange hood, having to shed, and donate layers and layers of clothes because I couldn’t check my stuff. Looking back, would I do that again? I’m not sure, but I can tell you one thing that orange hood is doing. Not much as it sits on the floor of my coat closet.

Dear NYRR can I return my orange hood for a refund?

I can tell you that the same thing with be happening to my Boston marathon silver hood. At least this one is less ugly?

The NYRR also allowed everyone to have a clear athlete village bag to put all the stuff we would be using in the hours we waited. And it was a lot bigger than the BYOF  (Bring your own fanny) the BAA is trying to make us do. Maybe I could settle if the BAA at least did that.

I don’t feel more secure and safe. There’s nothing out there to stop a crazy person from running into the race. You can’t guard all 26.2 miles every second of the race. Sometimes, you just need to trust your fellow runners and humanity. BAA and other security measures need to end this farce.

What do you think of the new BAA racing policy?