2013 Boston Marathon Race Recap

I’m a little delayed on posting this because how do you recap a race that caused you a week of fear and worry and many things worse for so many others? I walked by Boylston yesterday during lunch and still trembled while almost on the verge of tears (I was alone). Its hard not feeling an incredible weight of doom when I walk through Back Bay but at the same time feel an incredible amount of pride for humanity at each race or run I’ve done since.  I’m not over what happened but I’m incredibly lucky and I’m moving forward (because I was lucky enough that I can).  As terrible as things got, there were 27,000 runners who had some major accomplishments whether they finished or not.  I’ll be running in 2014 because I think it’s important to not let anyone change the lifestyle you believe in.  We own the streets.  We are Boston Strong, We will run.

This will be a race report on the race and not what happened afterwards.  If you want to help with a donation, I still believe the official Boston One Fund is the best and honest way (because I really don’t trust all these t-shirt selling/landfillers etc set ups).   If you feel my race report is wrong, I’m sorry, I have plenty of other posts you can read instead.

2013 Boston Marathon Race Report

The morning started relatively routine.  I got up as last-minute as I could.  Around 6:45 and was trying to be in Boston by 7:30 for the shuttle to Hopkinton. I planned on making coffee but in typical fashion I ran out of time.

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I did find time to hug Jack for good luck!

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Tony made me two peanut butter sandwiches to eat on the bus ride over.  I wasn’t going to make the same mistake of not bringing my own fuel for the second year.  I stand on my view that powerbars are one of the most disgusting things you can eat before a race, esp those weird ones at the village.  And one of the worst memories from 2012 was me starving so badly that I called Tony last year to bring me food mid marathon on his scooter!

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I got to the athlete’s village around 8:30/9 and met up with Colleen, whose crazy butt ran a 50K on a crazy trail at Blue Hills less than 24 hours before. The village was a buzzing of excitement, and anticipation!  The porta potty lines were crazy long and I think the reason you have to get to the Athlete Village early is so you can wait on a 2 hour bathroom line.  I contemplated peeing in a corner of a field instead but luckily Colleen’s running club had a bus with a bathroom and I spared a small population a disturbing sight.

At the starting line I also bumped into Robin who was in my corral.  We started together and I was going to try to keep up with her and a 7:30 pace.  However, it felt so good to be running faster and the downhill made it easy and all the fast runners made me feel like I should be running faster, that I completely went out of pace and ran too fast.  I don’t regret it, it felt great to be running at 7:10 pace on the downhills and I still don’t know if I believe going slower would have made me finish faster.

Boston Marathon Sign 3

Around mile 12 I saw Katharina, her daughters and awesome sign!  Team DailyMile FTW!

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She got this awesome photo of me where I think my brain was kinda like “I think I can, I think I can, choo choo!” It’s funny how when you run downhill for several miles even the flat path feels like a wall.  Luckily around mile 15 there were a nice steep downhill right before the heart attack hills started aka Newton Hills to bring your confidence up just before punching you in the gut.  Last time I met these hills was a year ago.  Funny how, I forgot how painful they could be.  Heartbreak hill didn’t break me, that was all the way at mile 20, it was the first two bumps that did the job way before that instead.  By mile 18 I couldn’t lift my legs.  They felt like lead.  I was munching on Chomp gummies hoping the sugar will help but hunger and eating was the last thing I wanted.

At mile 20 my friend Dan was going to meet me.  My phone by mile 18 was dead and I started worrying that I won’t find him but luckily I did.  The plan was that he was going to pace me for the last 6 miles at a 7:30 pace. HA!! It seemed like a perfectly reasonable place since the last 6 miles are mostly downhill.  HA!

Luckily around mile 21 I saw Ana & Melinda to cheer us on.  That got me moving for a little bit.  I regretful didn’t take a photo with them this year =(

Boston Marathon DanTony got this awesome photo of Dan telling everyone to cheer on!  Look at the excitement!

Boston Marathon 32Tony, my roommate and a few of our other friends were holding these signs, Jack stayed up all night working on.  JK Adrienne is the talent in the house.

Boston Marathon 34If you’re wondering what’s happening here? It me hoping that Dan will forget about me, keeping running and I can just roll over to the side and take a nap.  The girl on her phone won’t even notice I’m there!  I don’t remember marathons being so painful but I could barely respond in one word answers.  And I think my pace was probably more at 8:30 than the 7:30s I dreamed of.
Boston Marathon Sign 2

Another sign I ran by around mile 23 from more friends! ❤  Tony’s parents also saw me on the course too and I’m sad I missed them.

Dan giving me the stink eye as I try to justify walking.  I think the conversation went like this.  Dan – Okay next stop light, no more walking, we’re gonna run.  Liana – No response and starts walking slower to avoid getting to the next stop light.

Dan, not gonna lie, I thought about tripping you.  I had no energy to use words, but the thought was there!

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At the start of Boylston, about 1/3 of a mile, Dan left me to finish the race on my own with a warning of no walking.  I think I was so terrified that I sprinted ahead and plus I wanted to pass a few people after being passed by so many.

Boston Marathon Splits

The story my Garmin tells of my ups and downs has no real logic behind the fact that I’m a wreck of a pacer.

My official results 3:26:46
Pace – 7:54
Overall Pace – 7,553
Gender Place – 1,481

Overall I feel happy, I ran a strong race and gave it my all (Dan made sure of that).  Do I wish I have PRed? A little, but I’m more happy that I got to see so many familiar faces along the way.  Thank you BAA and all the volunteers, thank you Tony for putting up with me, thank you friends who all came out on the course and thank you Dan for pushing my lazy self for the last 6 miles.  I hope to see everyone there in 2014!

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Flying High on Boston – Marathon Goals

To keep up with me tomorrow for the marathon text “Runner” to 345678 and then reply with my Bib Number “11075”

 

I’ve been reading a lot of beautiful and elegant posts on Boston Marathon goals.  I apologize in advance, but this post will be as frantic as the thoughts in my head.

I’ve been getting lost in the excitement of the Boston Marathon.  How lost? I waited on a line for 2 hours to meet Kara & Shalane when in the past I’ve stormed off a 5 minute wait for the new IPhone.

For the first time, I can talk to friends and people around me about running a marathon distance without them looking at me like I’m nuts before reading me a repertoire of running injuries I’m going to get or better yet tell me how if I did cross fit, I’d only have to exercise for 45 minutes.  I don’t run distance for exercise, I run it for happiness.

In a weird way, Boston Marathon makes me feel normal for once about my hobby instead of an outside weirdo who should be more into hair and fashion, than running shoes.

Goals

start-finish

1. To Do Better Than Last Year – I ran/crawled/cried/hallucinated to the finish line in 5 hours and 11 minutes.  Last year I sat in the sun while waiting for the race to start, I ran 10 miles the day before, I relied on race fuel (nasty PowerBar gel that resembles diarrhea at mile 17).  And I wasted a ton of energy trying to break through the awful crowd of starting last.

2. Run on effort but don’t waste it on the start – The first few miles are crowded and messy.  Hopefully, since I’m starting this year with people who ran a 3:24 and not literally the end of the last wave, last corral, things will move a little faster.  I will not waste my energy trying to get past people at the start, I have the other 26 miles to blaze past people or pretend I am.

3. To Finish – I ran 29 miles on a snowy trail three weeks ago. Unless I get hit by the T or miss my bus to Hopkinton, I will finish.

4. To PR Sub 3:24 – I ran a 3:34 less than 2 months ago in the freezing rain and have been focusing on speed the past 4 weeks.  Last year, I ran 3:24 in March after training on a little bit higher mileage per week.  I don’t look nor feel overall fitter than March 2012, but there’s something to be said for having a stronger base and a year of marathon running under your belt.

5. Sub 3:20 – It’s a stretch! My half PR is a pace of 7:30 in slightly windy conditions.  Monday’s weather is expected to be perfect.  Can I train to a sub 3:20? Yes, have I been? Only for the past 3 weeks have I added speed works and targeted tempo runs.  I’ve been doing a good job at hitting targets, but have not incorporated them into my long runs.  To be honest with myself, I’ve had the marathon distance on the back burner and been focusing on 50 miler distance building until a month ago.  To decide last minute that I want to PR to sub 3:20 is a little silly.  I haven’t trained for it and I probably don’t deserve it, but goal A this shall be.  I have a friend helping me for the last 6 miles which are usually my bitch, whine, take walk breaks miles when I’m alone.  Maybe that’ll make the difference.

6. Have fun! This is the only time of year I get to run on a course filled with loved ones!  I will stop and hug every friend who lets me and doesn’t mind sharing my sweat!  Because those moments are more important than a few extra seconds on a PR.  I’m a lucky girl.

❤ ❤ ❤

Meeting Desiree Davila, Shalane Flanagan, Kara Goucher – 2013 Boston Marathon Expo!

Kara & Shalane Meet Up

Speechless! Utterly speechless.  I got to meet for a few seconds the three best female marathoners in the U.S.!! And in 48 hours I get to run in their footsteps. The Nissan people didn’t do a great job controlling the crowd or line or anything but the girls were really great, friendly and patient!  I want to hang out and discuss geeky running things with them and go for a run!

Meeting Desi at Boston

Before meeting Shalane & Kara, I stopped by Brooks booth to see Desi Davila, who unfortunately isn’t running Boston.  She’s still recovering from a femoral stress fracture and I hope she gets better! Desi was second in the 2011 Boston Marathon in 2:22:38, two seconds behind Caroline Kilel of Kenya. I felt like a giant in comparison with her!
Liana Boston Passport

I picked up my number on Friday but had no time to walk around and explore.  This year they did this runner’s passport thing where you get to walk around and feel special.  I got mine sign and wish I thought of the idea when I met Desi but it only came to me when I waited on a 2 hour line to meet Kara & Shalane.  It was 30 degrees outside and like 100 degrees inside, or maybe I was nervous but I got pretty sweaty.  Hope the girls didn’t think I was too stinky!

Jacked Up Boston Marathon

Yea, Jack is ready too.  He can run circles are anyone’s BQ.

2013 Marathon Shirt

This year’s swag bag had a yellow long sleeve.  It will be a nice addition to my blue one that I wear all the time.  I once was running on the Charles and there was a guy running in a yellow BAA shirt and I was pretty jealous.  So glad to have my own!  I thought about buying another one but I decided I’ll reserve my collection for each BQ I earn.

26.2 Bottle Opener

This was also a new addition to the swag bag!  Unfortunately, they cheaped out on adding a magnet, so instead of displaying it proudly on my fridge, it’s in a drawer.

Rocked my way to Boston

I stopped by the RnR Booth and since I BQed on a RnR Race, I got to rock the hat all the way home.  Since it rained on Friday, I appreciated the hair protection.

Boston Expo Swag

Other things gathered for free at the expo is similar to 2012.  Tony was with me and that’s why we have doubles.  Sometimes I hoard free samples but I promise not this time! I probably would have skipped but since I’m going hiking for a week, figured the lara bars are perfect,  Other things that were eaten before I even left was this AHHH Mazing Goji yogurt and frozen Kefir.

Expo purchase

I usually don’t buy things at expos, crowds, my impatience and fear of people usually does that.  However, I’ve been wanting to check out Injini socks everyone loves.  I couldn’t cough up the $40 for the compression socks but these shorties were only $5.  Also Saucony arm sleeves I’ve been wanting for a while and decided it was time to treat myself.  And Nuun because i’m running low and buying them at expos is usually cheaper than stores or online.

Do you ever buy things at expos?

50 Miler Training Week 14 – Pre-Taper to my Taper for Boston

The hardest part of any training cycle is the two weeks of taper.  Two weeks before race day (Boston), I tried to cut my mileage by about 20%.  For simplicity I’ll assume my regular mileage is 70 per week and thus I should be at 56 for this week.  Did I succeed?  Well you’ll have to keep reading to find out.

The hard part about the “taper” is that as your body is healing your mind begins to break apart.  You start to feel like you’re hitting  a wall within a mile of a run when last week you felt more confident than a bull past mile 20.  A pace that felt easy a few weeks ago, suddenly without warning starts to choke you.  All of a sudden you begin to freak out about all the people who can run faster or further or better than you.  It takes every bit of will to calm yourself down, to remind yourself that you love your more talented friends and that no matter what, there will always be others more awesome than you, but that doesn’t make you, yourself any less awesome.

The other part that makes this week so crazy is that it was pretty much my busiest week for work as far as the spring is concerned.  Yes, I could run before work, but convincing yourself to wake up at 5AM to run is a little bit difficult when you only came home from work at 10PM or later the night before.  In an ideal world where tax season  and marathon season don’t conflict, I would have liked to get in more 8-10 mile runs instead of scattered and repeated 5 milers, but it is what is.

Like they say, when life puts you in a box

Make a fort of it.  Okay maybe they don’t say that, but I wanted to insert a cute Jack photo to distract myself from potential more whining.

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – 10 Miles
Ran 5 miles in the morning before work with farleks of sprinting, catching breath, repeat.  7:27 average pace for a sweaty 5 miles.  I ran 5 more miles after work with a group of friends for the Marathon Sports event with Bart Yasso.

Wednesday – 5 Miles
Another early morning run where I tried to keep a pace while my eyelids barely opened.

5 Miles Wednesday

Thursday – 7 Miles
One of those hard runs that felt easy because I was fueling on stress. I ran on incline 3 between paces of 7.3 & 7.5 MPH, something I usually reserve for incline 2 and only felt a little strained.  Felt great after the run though!.  Average pace 8:25.

Friday – 7 Miles
I lost track of pace but I was on incline 2 and had to stop here and there to check email. So no fun, but I’m happy I got to see some miles to add to my tracker.

Saturday – 18 Miles
3 slow easy miles with the group run from Blog & Tweet Boston. I was going to continue running but it was too cold and I had too much swag.  Instead I retreated back home, procrastinated.  Finally dug out my hat and gloves and hit the pavement.  What face is that? That’s the crank face of someone wearing a hat and gloves in April.

Crank Face15 Miles as my final long run before Boston. Although what really defines a long run? More than 13? 20? double digits?  I can’t decide if the run was good or bad.  Things were perfect for the first 12 miles, then I hit a wall, and I went into a coughing fit.  I couldn’t decide if I was hot or cold and really struggle to pace up for the final 3 miles.  My pace before my choke down was around 7:50.  None the less, it felt good to see 15 miles in sub 2 for a training run.  I know I’m ready, just have to keep reminding myself.

Sunday -11.3 Miles
I saved Sunday for trails. The trail group I look up to does this one trail weekly at 8AM. Sadly I am nowhere near their pace and instead am determined to practice it once a week until I can keep up and am less scared of each pebble in my path. I always hate confessing this but my love for trails isn’t exactly there.  I’ve had good runs, but each step is a struggle.  I kept the pace at 12:30 minutes per mile on Sunday and felt slightly disappointed in myself.  I know patience and practice, patience and practice.

50 Miler Training Week 13 – Last Long Runs Til Boston

Yes, I know, you desperately miss week 11 and week 12 recaps.  They’re in draft form and at some point will be posted.  Life has been punching me in the face lately as my career that pays the race fees and cost of compression socks takes priority over my second love (first love knows who they are) of running and blogging about running. However, although busy I’ve still been doing many fabulous things during week 11 and 12 such as this and that of which completely transformed my runs this week.

While my ultimate goal in this year’s training cycle is the TARC 50 miler in June, I’ve had mini goals in between.  For example, the swim that was Hyannis marathon and now the up coming infamous Boston Marathon   The past week was my last round of high mileage before I start lowering the intensity for the next two weeks in anticipation of doing something glorious on Marathon Monday.

Monday – Delicious Rest

Tuesday – 15 miles (7 miles in the morning & 8 in the evening)
On Tuesday I still felt sore from my 6 hours run, but surprisingly one day off was enough to bounce me back into my normal training.  My morning jug was 7 miles alternating between 7.3 & 7.5 MPH for an average pace of 8:15 on incline 2.  In the evening I desperately wanted to run outside but the weather started to get windy and cloudy so I ran on my homemill.  I expected to be dead but pounded out 8 miles at 7:52 pace while watching Hart of Dixie which by the way is a cute show! Love Rachel Bilson.

Wednesday – 6.2 miles
My usual 6.2 miles on evil workmill at incline 3 felt almost meditative   Okay just kidding, I don’t think running will ever feel meditative; however, I did feel transformed.  Usually after 15 miles on Tuesdays, my Wednesday runs feel drained & forced but instead I felt energetic and would have kept going had it not been for the shortage of time. 53 minutes 8:34 pace.

Thursday – 5 miles
Speedwork, speedwork.  Running mile repeats, or in my case 1/3 mile repeats is painful.  It hurts and I want to puke up a lung or maybe both.  However, I also want to get faster so for the second week in a row, Thursday AM run was busting out some speed repeats.  Every time I wanted to quit and settle into a more comfortable pace, a song like Eye of the Tiger would pop on my Pandora and remind me just what I needed to do.  5 miles in 37 minutes 7:28 pace and all before work.  I had intentions of running after work but that didn’t happen =/.

Friday – 9 miles
I didn’t intend Friday to be anything but an easy few miles for the day in prep of my double long run weekend.  However, I’ve been having a rough week and the sleep deprivation (from mix reasons) was getting to me and so I took all the frustration and exhaustion and misplaced anger and completely took it all out into the run.  I ran my usual path with a mile or 2 added on at the fast speed I’ve ever been able to outside that wasn’t during a race.  My average pace was 7:29 for all of the 9 miles for a total of 67 minutes.  It even started raining on me mid-run  for a short bit, and while I may have felt a little cold, I kept running and by the end of it, I felt more normal, stable, sane and happy self again.  I also am starting to feel that if I could stomach a little more speed-work  I can get a better PR faster than just staying in my comfort zone.

Saturday – 11 miles
Trails and roads, trails and roads, the constant battle in my mind of taking on a challenge or taking it easy and putting myself on autopilot.  I get the roads, the worse thing they can do is get steep; trails however, can hurt you and hurt you in a mix number of ways!  One of which I always picture is cracking my pretty face on a jagged rock!  None the less, part of what I love about trails is the challenge   It allows me to take my running to a new challenging level without increasing my level of risk for injury like I would with the road.  Anyways, I ran about 7.7 miles on a trail with Tony that took 1hr 45 minutes where I’m pretty sure I turtle could have outran us.   Afterwards he came home and I went and got in a few road miles 3.3 to built my confidence back up.  I couldn’t fully build it up but I got 3.3 miles does at about 8:35 pace which is better than the 13 minutes + that was happening on an easy trail.  And when I got home, Tony had this little present ready for me:

mozeralla sandwich

Sunday – 20 miles

Last Long Run

I wanted to head out early but instead the comfort of my bed kept me in and I avoided running until 10:30.  I felt ashamed and guilty but I know rest is the best medicine.  This also made me cancel plans with friends but I wanted to take my last long run seriously   I debated which path to run in.  I can take the flat easy way but there’s potential for interruptions with stop lights or I can pick a more hilly area with a nice mix of gradual rolling hills.  The hills aren’t super steep but more gradual half milers that keep me on my toes.

In the end I went with the hilly area with no stop lights.  I had trouble for the first miles as my pace stuck around 8:45 but by mile 3 or 4 I was down into the 8:15 and then down to 8:10. I expected that when I reached a gradual hill for my pace to slow down but I was able to sustain the 8:10 with a mild effort. Things were looking good.  There was one challenge and that was that weather was in the 50s, sunny, and I was running without water.  Had I bought my handheld, I think I could have dipped into a faster pace with a harder effort, but I hate carrying things so I only have a small amount of regret.  I stopped running as soon as I reached 20 miles because at that point all I could think about was hydration!  Luckily I had an ice cold Nuun Lemon Tea waiting for me!  I thought about going back on the road but this little fellow distracted me!

Jacked Up Marathon

Yup, Jack is ready for the marathon too!

Total Miles – 66.2 Miles

Total Feelings – AWESOME! Aside from the struggle on the trail Saturday, the rest of my runs were spot on!  I’m exciting for Boston and now all I got to do is behave as I taper and pray to the weather gods.

Boston Marathon Photos & Sunday Run

I tried going for a 20 miler today, I really tried and I did really good for 15 miles at about an average pace of 8:15 before my left knee went “hey buddy I’m not longer having fun” and so I limped/ran the last 1.5 miles home. Its okay, I’m happy with my good enough 16.5 miler instead. B I ordered new shoes. B DailyMile says that including today I ran 850 miles in 2012. B I’m not sure how many miles this pair has since I run in 2 pairs between work and home but from sometime in Dec/Jan its most likely around 400 miles per pair. B I may be 5ft tall but I must stump around like a 300 pound 7 ft ogre. B So instead, today I got reunited with Agent Orange & the Ice Princess.

So marathon foto is slowlyB tricklingB in more photos of me so I figured I’d share. B I have to admit these photographers are pretty darn good and almost make it tempting for me to buy them but at 70 bucks a piece I rather spend the dough on another registration fee. B I’m not really big on havingB billboardB size photos of myself around the house. B I prefer to stare at myself in tiny form instead.

I don’t know how, but they even got photos of me running. B I did so little of that on Monday that I must admit I am impressed with their ninja photo skills. B That looks like after I gave Tony my handheld and stole his water bottle.

I love this! B This pretty much subs up my mood for the race. B Exhaustion and misery. B But hey the guy behind me has a white number! B Fast or slow, we all got whacked by the heat!

Another running photo, this must be near the finish line where I knew photos were getting taken so I sucked in my stomach cramps and roughed it out for the .2 miles to the finish line.

How many miles or months do your running shoes last? B I’m curious if I’m a record for shoe destroying skills.

The race I beat the fastest Kenyan – Boston Marathon Recap

I’m warning you that this review will probably sound really negative but truth is with the heat and my hunger there would have been very few things I would have enjoyed even if I was running in Hawaii. The volunteers and the organizers did an amazing job. The truth is I just wasn’t prepared for the heat or running at that specific time of day.  I got my butt handed to me by Boston. However, that’s okay. I tried to stay safe and it’s a good thing I’m already qualified for next year because I’ll be coming back in 2013 for a rematch. Boston, I’m killing you next year =). With Boston’s bipolar weather, it’ll probably snow next year.

The 116th Boston Marathon took place on Monday April 16th, 2012 with a start time of 10:40 AM. Registration was $150 if qualified $300 if charity plus $6,000 fundraising requirement. It ain’t cheap running Boston.

I woke up at 6:30 and got dressed and cleaned in 15 minutes to be out the door by 6:45. I skipped coffee and food thinking there would be some at the athlete’s village. I felt fantastic and was excited for the day even if I barely slept and kept waking up every hour thinking I missed my alarm.

I got to the Commons by 7:15 (why we had traffic at 6:45 AM on marathon Monday, I have no idea) and got on a long line to board the Bus to ship us off to Hopkinton. The line took about 30 minutes but seemed orderly given the amount of runners and anxiety that was in the air. We hit some traffic but I think we were in the village by 8:40 or so giving me 2 hours to bask in the sun of anxiety and heat. I made friends with some runners from Vancouver on the bus line and ride over there.

This photo is incredibly misleading of the scene. I think my hand covered my phone lens but there was no shade other than those tents. The field was a clambake of runners. I think it was already 70 when I got off the bus. All the spots under the tent were taken up by faster runners in the 10AM wave or their friends. So instead I took a small walk around the field and munched on a bagel. Found some sharpies and decorated myself. Luckily I had a blanket and was able to relax in the sun as I battered myself up in sunblock andB Vaseline. They had water and I took two bottles to get me through the next two hours. I was already sweating, sweating hard from sitting and it was only 70. Runner’s world claims they had food vendors there. I did not see any in disappointment. I would have gone all Hunger Games style on someone had an ice coffee been offered to me. I also wasn’t feeling the bagel or PowerBar. Powerbar did an amazing job sponsoring the fuel with no shortage the whole time but I would have given up their 8 grams of protein for 8 grams of more carbs that were not in bagel form. I left my oatmeal and pita bread at home thinking I could buy breakfast at the village. Rookie mistake # 1: Always have your own breakfast and fuel; don’t rely on the race.Finally around 10:10 my wave (3rd one starting at 10:40 was called and we slowly and painfully zombie strolled to the starting line. I made my first portapotty stop in my race history which wasn’t as bad as I imagined. I tried to be bad and sneak into an earlier corral but they kicked me back to 9. I think it took me around 30-40 minutes before I made it to the start of the race (approx 3/4 mile)

I ran my first 5K in 23:08. Some might say that was too fast but honestly I’m used to running on hills and it felt like nothing to me. I was at the 10K mark at 48:17 which some might say was too fast but I still felt good. Some guy thought he was being funny.

I rejoiced when I saw the “15” sign only to cry later when I realized it was 15K and not 15 miles. I think this was when I started to get heat exhaustion because I stopped thinking clearly. My face at realizing the 15K was not 15 miles.

When I hit 20K I was in the 1:48 territory and have started my run/walk fiasco usually reserved for mile 24. It was nearing 1PM and way past my lunch time. It’s been four hours since I munched on half of a disappointing small bagel and my stomach was letting me know that. I tried to run, it screamed I’m hungry. I tried to jog, my stomach still kicked and screamed I’m hungry. I tried to walk and it didn’t let me forget about my lack of real food. And so began some of the 15 slowest, worst miles of my short running history thus far.

I was hitting the half-point at 1:55:18 and was seriously doubting my ability to finish this race. However, I knew people were tracking me, people donated in my name to Boston Medical Center and although everyone would have understood, I still did not want to give up without a fight. Suddenly I saw my angel. A little boy handed me a cup of Swedish fish. So I found a shaded area in the spectator area, sat down and finished off my cup of pure heaven sugar.

And so began my 15 mile walk. I thought this was just like the walk for hunger (ironic name for a 20 mile charity walk to end hunger in Boston) only with no 10 mile sandwich break. I heard people were giving out hot dogs, burgers and popsicles but I guess by the time the slow runners and walkers got there all the kind souls have run out of food. There were still plenty of amazing people handing out ice and I thank everyone one of them as I chewed on some and stuck ’em in my sports bra. I was sweating boobs and it was not pretty.

With a lot of walking and sitting the miles somehow passed by. I loved seeing that “All In” posters, from Hopkinton to Ashland to Framingham to Natick. I listened to This American Life, some music and I took a lot of sit breaks. I’ve never worn a heart strap but I know the feeling of heat stroke and exhaust (in my dumber/younger days I literally passed out twice from heat exhaustion at music festivals). Every once in a while my heart would start racing again from walking and I would sit down to slow my heart rate, and drink more water.

After the annoying BC kids (sorry but they were just too loud for how exhausted and miserable I felt), my favorite part of the course began around mile 21 when I hit familiar ground. My friends! I found Tony with some of our friends Paola & Kyle who took the above and many other awesome photos!

I couldn’t run even down hill without wanting to die from side cramps. As I approached Cleveland Circle I commanded Tony to buy me a bag of pretzels. I was so hungry, very few instances in my life could compete with how starving and light-headed I felt. He walked with me for half a mile before he got too scared of all the water sprinklers being turned on for all the runners. I was left to be at the mile 23 sign with a bag full of pretzels. Needless to say, this made me quite the popular girl in the back of the pack.

At mile 24 I saw more awesome friends with a sign =)

Not pictured is Ana who was taking the photo! <333 My amazing friends somehow got my body to run an extra mile after this boost when I’ve been walking the past 10 miles.

Around mile 25, I saw Tony’s parents and I sprinted a few blocks before taking once again another sit break. I probably would have taken more sit breaks when my friends were not watching but with all the spectators there was very little room to do so in the last 5 miles.

The distance between Kenmore Square and Copley Square has never in my entire Boston life seem so far. I almost cried when I saw the finish line. It felt like I was climbing a mountain, but since I knew there was cameras I pretended to run.

I don’t know how I did it, but somehow in 5:10:54 I finished the race/walk. I’m writing Boston off a half marathon run and a half marathon walk. When I got home after eating a bag of chips, a bar and two bananas I was still down 6 pounds from when I weighted myself that morning. I stopped at almost every water station and drank enough water that I had to use a portapotty a second time during the race.

The results of my 2nd marathon are quite in contrast to my first debut last month. I went from a 3:24 finish to a 5:10.B While a huge part of me is very disappointed by my performance I don’t know if I could have done a whole lot better with the little training I had for this weather. I’m still a fairly new long distance runner. I only started running more than 5 mile runs in December. My training has been in New England winter and although mild, it was still Winter. Earlier this week, I had my heat turned out. My body is not ready for 75 degree weather, let alone 90 degrees. I probably should not had sat in the sun for the two hours I was waiting for my wave to start. I probably should have eaten a ton more than half a crappy little bagel. I probably should not have went for a 10 mile run the day before. Maybe I drank too much, but probably not enough. Maybe I drank too muchB GatoradeB and my stomach did not like it and cramped up. There’s countless reasons for my awful performance; but I finished. I finished and I earned my metal and in the end with 90 degree weather that was all that I could do. I finished standing up with my head held high and not on a stretcher.

BAA and all the volunteers did an amazing job given the conditions. A few statistics I read online.

* 427 Picked up their packets and did not start the race

* 26,716 runners registered for today’s marathon, versus 22,426 who actually started the race

* Most amazing performance to me was Jason Hartmann who finished in 2:14:31 out doing his Olympic trials of 2;16:44. His PR was 2:11:06 at Chicago 2010 which was also a hot race. I guess this guys likes it hot.

* Geoffrey Mutai who holds Boston Marathon record, dropped out in the Newton hills past the 30-kilometer mark with stomach cramps. He said in a brief post-race appearance that his stomach started bothering him at 25K. That is what I mean by beating the world’s fastest Kenyan. He dropped out, while I finished. Although he has cooler things to worry about like the Kenyan Olympic team and the London Marathon.

I’m going to stop here but words cannot express everything I felt on this day. I can’t wait until next year =)

Boston Marathon Eve & Expo

A few apologies for all the typos and horrible ramblingB of my last post. B That was horrible writing even for me (and that’s saying a lot since my normal writing is about as a good as an engineering exchange student). B I was in a rush and wanted to post my thoughts.

I haven’t been taking the smartest steps in the past 3 days. B In the words of my Daily Mile friend:

I didn’t run Friday or Saturday and with the stress of having my parents and their dog visit me, my mind and body was craving a run. B Craving! B A short 3-miler turned into 10.3.

I did make a few smart decisions on Saturday. B I went to the expo early. B Okay, correction I tried to go to the expo early but mixed up the Boston Convention center with the World Trade Center also at the Seaport. B I cursed a little at my wasted quarters in the meter and finally made it to the correct location by 8:45.

Got my number (all the way in the back of the expo since I’m starting never (aka 3rd wave). B It was quick and easy. B Awesome part was that for T-shirts they had XS for women. B THANK YOU BAA! B Nothing angers me more than race swag that doesn’t realize that runners are small and we can’t run in giant snuggys.

The expo was pretty busy at 8:45 and by 10AM it was swamped and I left. B I didn’t have time or patience to play Runner Groupie so I can’t report on seeing any of my runningB heroes or anything cool like that.

The coolest exhibit/vendor was Brooks. B They had a heaven theme. B I’m sorry that me and Brooks running shoe didn’t work out but I still love them. B Those guys always go all out! B I took a picture running with Abe Lincoln and Gandhi! B Super cool! B At the DC Marathon, they had a carnival theme and I got to play skeeball! B If you’re ever at a running expo, hit up Brooks.

I have a real camera I carry everywhere and yet I always end up using my iPhone with one hand out of laziness. B Yes, my goal is to make everyone dizzy with my blurry photos.

I don’t think there was anything too impressive from the vendors. You had your usual head bands and compression stuff B with all the usual running shoe company giants. B I was on a search for a technical version of my Old Navy tank top (I hate having my chest confined because the sweat makes me break out, I know charming, you welcome). B I needed a tank with a pocket but all the ones I saw at the expo were either fugly or were too constraining near the neck/chest area. B I guess I’ll just carry my chomps in my handheld. B Ladies, what are your favorite running tops? B My running skirt has no pockets either =(.

I did wear my new ProCompression socks all day Saturday. B Yes my parents and everyone else around me gave me some looks.

And a funny picture of the Day:

Tony put the Dog on top of Jack’s favorite stumping ground. B Needless to say, Jack was not amused and jumped up to kick Rocky of the bureau. B Yes it’s been fun making sure the kitten and the puppy don’t kill each other while my parents were visiting. B You can see why I was craving that 1o-miler now =).

Time for my charity team dinner!

I am not deferring and neither should you!

As all the runners keep refreshing their weather app (or website), we all moan a little when the high of 88 degrees doesn’t seem to budge (in fact in only went up from 86).

The BAA has been on constant email alert letting runners know that if they chose they can defer their qualification time until 2013. B It also basically told us that unless you’re very fit (whatever that means) please don’t run. That is a nice offer since for a lot of people who are not fortunate enough to live in Boston or who worked their tails off to qualify, might not always have a chance. B However, I think if you’re already living or visiting Boston and you don’t have any medical conditions I think you should still go for the race.

Here’s the reasons why I’m not deferring and neither should you

1. Not every race will be a PR and that’s okay! Many things will impact your personal best and weather is one of them. B Just because a race or a run is not going to be your best doesn’t mean it’s a worthy run.

2. BAA is not offering refunds, so you might as well try to run it! B Or turn it into a $150 walk ($300 for charity runners),

3. You’ve trained for this, I’ve trained for this and you should put it towards something. B All those 4 hour weekend runs, all those given up weekend morning sleeping ins foiled to the blare of an alarm clock. B Lets make sure that was not for nothing. B Sincerely as written by the bags under my eyes.

4. You’ve fundraised (if you’re a charity runner). B Most charity runners had toB fund-raiseB $6,000 for theB privilegedB of running the Boston Marathon. B They worked hard and their friends and family are behind them. B They will still be there whether you finish in 4 hours or 6 hours, so don’t despair! B This is a reminder to myself as well and all my amazing friends that contributed to myB my charity. B I amB surroundedB by some amazing individuals and I am very fortunate.

5. You earned your right to be on the course! B Don’t give it up. B You earned your right to take as much time as you need to complete the course! Don’t give it up. B And I know by the end of the day, you and I can finish and I’ll see you at the finish line.

With all the reasons of why I’m running, I’m still going to take a few extra precautions.

1. I’m carrying my own water. I know there’s water on the course every mile or so but I don’t know how busy it’ll be at each station and if I get desperately thirsty in between two miles. B I want to be prepared so I’m bringing my own water with a Nuun (electrolyte) tab in it. B I plan to refill it at water stations as I drink it.

2. I’m changing my running outfit and going for bareB minimum. B Sorry no compression socks for 88 degree weather, no matter how cute my new baby blue argyles look.

3. I am slowing down. Sadly this won’t be my sub 3:20 race but luckily I’ll have plenty of other races in the future to be my best (time). B Most likely I’ll finish in 4 hours maybe more with some walking involved and that’s okay. Running is more than just being your fastest. B It’s about enjoying the state of being. B Enjoy the spectators. B Enjoy the course, you’re taking part in history! B Soak in the scene and remind yourself of all the reasons you love running.

Good luck everyone! B I hope to see you all in the athlete’s village and the finish line ! B If you’re running, say hi to me. B I’ll need some company while I wait 2 hours at the village. B My number isB 25077. B I’ll be starting out in the back of the pack, but worry not, I’ll catch up ;).

Some cool Boston Marathon events

Today I ran 12 miles, two times of 6 miles each. B Two more miles than the B planned 10 but I felt too good to not run. B Taper be damned! B But I kept them at incline 2 and at whatever speed I felt comfortable at!

I wish I could attend every Boston Marathon weekend event but with my parents visiting this weekend and Tony and I closing on a house I’ll have to keep my Boston Marathon event and expo visit short and sweet. B However, on Friday I’m going to attend this event courtesy of Saucony.

Friday, April 13th, 6:30-10:30pm
The Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts (539 Tremont Street)

Hors dboeuvres & beverages, including beer/wine will be provided (woot dinner!)

Kick-off your Boston Marathon experience with Saucony. Hear inspiring stories of strong from all-star panel of athletes:

B7 Bill Rodgers: 4X winner Boston & NYC Marathon
(Find Your Strong in the Boston Marathon)
B7 Karen Smeyers: 3X world triathlon champion and Ironman Kona champion. (Passion, Perseverance & Perspective)
B7 Mark Herzlich: 2012 NFL Super Bowl Champion, Boston College All-American. (Up Yours Cancer! The Fighting Spirit in Us All)
Moderated by Sharon Barbano: National race commentator, 1984 US Olympic Marathon trials competitor; V.P., Public Relations, Saucony

A special tribute in memory of Caballo Blanco, mythic hero of Born To Run, will be given by Luis Escobar, his close friend and a renowned ultra-marathoner.

Runners are invited to try Sauconybs award-winning line of footwear; coaches and treadmills available for one-on-one coaching.

Registration is only $5 and goes completely to charity so sign up here

I also spent some time trolling the Running world forums for tips here’s a few I stole from the noble wise men and women of the forum. B Most are either direct quotes orB paraphrasedB directly from others. B My thoughts are inB bold italics.B

  • Take a roll of Duct Tape to athletes village (AV).B Use it to reinforce the seams of your checked bag and tape it shut before you hand it in.B Bags have been known to split on people.
  • Take a black sharpie and print your bib number on your gear check bag in a few places. Even though you’ll be putting your bib number sticker on the bag I have found that having your number in more than one place speeds up bag pickup!
  • Wear sunscreen. B I can’t stress this enough. B The race starts at 10am and the sun will by high in the sky the entire race. B If you’re in the 3rd wave like me, you won’t start until 10:40 and might become a lobster before the fnish.B
  • Take some plastic (or pool raft, or cheap air mattress) to sit / lay on in AV.B The grass is often wet and you want to sit down. Not sure where I’ll be getting a raft, maybe a giant garbage bag to nap on.
  • Speaking of AV, it might rain Sunday or Monday, and I heard the grass stays wet, you’ll be waiting there a while before the race starts. B I read some people bring old shoes to wear before the start that they’re okay with donating.
  • The walk from athletes village to the start line is about a mileb&.make sure you leave with enough time to get to the start line and use the portolets.
  • The line for the portolets at the start line (Colellabs market) is usually pretty long.
  • Bring extra toilet paper, baby wipes and everything that makes you feel great. B Cleanliness is godliness…
  • Take the BAA busses to AV, you will have fun talking to the person who you randomly sit with, you wonbt have to worry about getting there on time, and the sight of all the runners boarding theB busesB at the Commons is pretty cool.
  • Right after you crest Heartbreak hill you will come to this massive downhill, hold back or you will pay.B ItB isn’tB called the graveyard mile just because it runs by a graveyard.
  • High-five all the kids you will see on the course.B I hate kids but people seem to enjoy this. B The spectators at this race are beyond incredible.
  • When you make that last left onto Boylstonb&..be prepared for itb&.it is awesome!
  • When you cross the finish line, pass directly under one of the clocks, look up at the media platform that runs across the length of Boylston Street — where the Marathon Foto photographers are taking pictures — and give the victory pose of your choice for a great finisher’s photo. B And whatever you do, DO NOT reach across your chest to turn off your stopwatch or you’ll block your bib and wind up spending hours combing through the lost and found photos.
Weekend & Expo Tips
  • You wonbt like driving in Bostonb&.do as little of it as you have to.B The subway works great and is easy to use.B There is a 7 day unlimited use pass that is very reasonable in price. B Its $15, but personally I think you can walk everywhere unless you’re trying not to tire out your legs
  • There is a very cheap (on the weekend) parking garage under the Boston Commons.B The entrance is off Charles street about halfway through the park. B Although if you’re in the metro area, take the T
  • There are free posters in the Adidas booth of the expo with every runnerbs name on it.B Make sure you get oneb&.only take oneb&.they run out.
  • Try your shirt on when you pick it up, they will exchange it for you, if they can, if itB doesn’tB fit.
  • Go watch the BAA 5k and the mile races Sunday morning. Desiree Davila (second place Olympic marathon trials) will be there, and it is really neat to see the pro and scholastic mile races.B Impressive stuff, and free entertainment.
  • If you want a good picture under the finish line Sunday morning before the races is a good time.B The road is closed and everything is there. (I’m not sure this is true?)
  • If you drive home after the race wear your new shirt or jacketb&.wave to all the other runners you will see on the road doing the same. (I have no desire on buying stuff, registration fee was high enough, but if you do, flaunt it!)