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?

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.

Boston Marathon 38

I did find time to hug Jack for good luck!

Boston Marathon 37

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!

Boston Marathon 36

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!

Boston Marathon 31

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!

Boston Marathon 33

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!

Boston Marathon 35

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.