Liana – An Ultra Runner or a DNF?

I’m going to insert some parts of my email regarding my trail race in 10 days. I’m super excited. I might finish with a DNF but we’ll see. I signed up for the 50K and depending on the trail, I might not be ready (I’ve never done a trail race before). B I’m just going out there to have fun and maybe make new friends! B Tony is doing the half so we’ll stick together for the first 13 miles since I’m not really racing. B Registration was under $20 so can’t complain for that either.

“WHAT TO BRING:

Adhering to “FatAss” ultra running traditions, we provide H2O, GU Brew, PB&J, boiled potatoes and turkey sandwiches and you guys provide the rest – so we ask that everyone bring something with them for the aid station bkind of like a pot-luck feast! Just bring one item b no need to go to Costco! All leftovers go to needy folks at local food banks (and chubby RDs 😉. Please follow the table below for what to bring:

Last Name
Begins With: Item to Bring
A b J Sweet (cookies, brownies, candy, trail mix, granola bars, etc.)
K b L Fruit (bananas, oranges, watermelon (pre-cubed), etc.
M b S Salty (pretzels, Cheez-its, Doritos, potato chips, saltines, etc.)
T b Z 2 Liter bottle of soda – NO CANS PLEASE (Coke or Mountain Dew)

THE COURSE:
The course is 70% single track trail and 30% fire road and runs through beautiful thick woods. The terrain is mostly smooth with some btoe catchersb -roots and rocks b and a couple of small streams to hop/cross. There are a few modest hills but this is a fast course as trail runs go. The course layout is a10K loop which starts and finishes in the same place.

TIMING and RESULTS: In order to keep the registration fees low we do not use a chip timing system. Therefore, we will be manually recording your finish times only and will do our best to get the results posted on Ultrasignup.com as quickly as possible. Thus, if you are running multiple loops and want to keep track of your split times, plan on wearing one of those fancy watches with a split counterb&..we know you all have them! )I don’t =( B hope there’s cell signal. )
AFTERWARDS
Since we are holding four races at different distances on a 10k loop course, it affords the opportunity for those runners that finish early to see and cheer on the rest of the pack as they pass through the start/finish aid station. Trail runners are a close knit community and one of our endearing characteristics is we believe in supporting each other b regardless of our stature or speed bbecause itbs all about the personal challenge. So plan bringing a change of cloth and a folding chair and come hang out at the finish afterwards to cheer on the runners and meet some of your fellow Trail Animals b donbt worry,only our mascot bites 😉

SOME FUN:
In Trail Animal tradition, we start every race TARC hoot/holler/howl, so donbt ignore this aspect of your training! Our beloved mascot may even make an appearance.

I’m so excited I can squeal (or start howling now)! B This is the part about running & nature that I love!

I took Tuesday & Wednesday as rest days. B The heat played a number on my body and I’ve been feeling sluggish all week. B Ran a slow 7 milers on the treadmill on Thursday in 65 minutes at 3 incline. B It was sweaty, it was hot and I wanted to quit. B I stayed because next time I’m running a race and its 90 degrees, I will be ready.

Recovery – Week

The rough part about having a marathon on Monday is that there is no Sunday for rest. B Its back to work by Tuesday and good morning to you too, 7AM wake up. The good part is that it’s already Wednesday and I only have two days left before the weekend. B In typical Boston fashion its 46 degrees right now (quite the drop from the 90 on Monday). B I guess it’s time to turn back the heat and down comforters again.

So what do Boston marathoners do for recovery? B I’m not sure, but I can tell you what this half-marathoner did.

She took a lunch time walk on Tuesday. B Since I stopped running halfway I was not feeling sore at all other than my ankles from walking and my head that felt like I got trashed at a beach on cheap tequila. B I’m hoping this hangover feeling will go away as my vitals return to normalcy.

I took a stroll and sweated up a small bucket during lunch. B Not sure how I made 10 times the distance in 15 degree hotter weather. B I must have been delusional.

And just like that the final clean up was being done Tuesday. B I have some beef with BAA &B Adidas. B I took a stroll to look at the poster on the trailer in Copley; the one with all the runners’ names. B My name was not on said poster. B I checked FIVE TIMES to make sure I wasn’t blind. B I even asked for help and still no luck. B =( I guess I don’t feel too bad about throwing it out in the recycling trash by accident on Sunday night.

The streets are once again empty and the flowers were blooming.
What else do half marathoners do besides wear their compression socks in pride? B They go to Scotch Tastings held atB Towne, a high endB restaurantB in the Back Bay area of Boston. B

Some of the tasty choices I got to test. Here’s a photo of Brad our scotch guide:

B We also got to munch on some of Towne’s famous bites:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a neat parlor trick. B Next time you want to seem fancy, bring an eyedropper into a bar and add one drop of water to open up the aromas

Slainthe!

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 ;).

Relaxing & Saucony Panel event.

I’ve been taking it easy as the final days of tapering are coming in.

Thursday final 6 miles at an easy pace in 51 minutes

Friday I decided my legs felt tired and decided to opt for a 10 mile elliptical session in 55 minutes.

After work I hit up the Saucony Running Panel I mentioned before. B It was pretty inspiring to hear other runners and their stories.

There was a beautiful video montage dedicated toB B Caballo Blanco (Micah True) B with some words from Ultra Marathoner Luis Escobar.

Afterwards Mark Herzlick of NY Giants told us how he found his strong through running

Followed by Karen Smyers, a triathlete told her story. Voted most likely to get eaten by a shark by Sport’s Illustrated, B she was quite adorable and cute. B I think she might be more accident prone then me!

Bill Rodgers followed Karen. B I think he had a mild ADD attack. B He was originally going to give us tips on finishing the marathon but instead told us all the times and places he DNF on the course. B I guess it was comforting to hear that even Boston Marathon winners and Olympic qualifiers sometimes just call it quits.

A very short Q&A

Afterwards the main event opened up.

The event was calledB Find your StrongB and I personally find all my strong at the bottom of a wine glass or three.

Followed by a visit to the coolest bathroom ever:

My parents are visiting with their dog so we had a situation:

Jack meet Rocky, Rocky meet Jack… please be friends.

Do you have pets? B Cats? Dogs? Both?

Frogs Legs and Trail Racing

A couple of days ago, I asked Tony how’d he feel about driving me 2 hours south to Rhode Island so I can do another marathon two days before Boston. B He responded absolutely not. B Puppy dog teary eye didn’t work on him so I gave up. B Luckily, that didn’t deter me too much. B Instead I looked up other events in the area. B I signed up for a half May 12th that we’ll run together. B However, something loomed in the back of my mind.

Eureka! B I suddenly remembered that a dailymiler friend of mine was doing a marathon at the end of April. B I initially looked at it and decided not to do it because I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to recover from Boston (before I became the crazy addict I currently am just a few weeks later). B This race is the TARC Spring Classic.

Much to my disappointment the race was sold out (with only a $20 registration fee who can blame them); however, there was a waitlist. B Its also only 20 minutes out of Boston! B I signed up for that, and somehow signed up for the 50K instead of the marathon. B Whats a few more miles right? B I can crawl them! B Besides it was just a waitlist, I didn’t really expect space to open up.

Today, I got an email saying I’m off the waitlist and to confirm that I’m still interested. B Of course! B Who doesn’t view a 50K as the best way you can spend a Saturday morning.

So now, a month after running my first marathon, I’m doing my first Ultra as well as my first trail race. B My Daily Mile friend said the course is fairly flat and not that trail intense. B I’m putting my trust in her and hoping I don’t lose a limb on this excursion.

My work cafeteria gets creative sometimes and decided to serve something new:

Yup, frog butts in cream sauce. B It was french cuisine and that was what was in the hot station. B I guess they ran out of chicken?

Some more running motivation borrowed from Runner’s World. B I’m slowly catching up on my long list of magazines to read.

If this guy can do it at 81, me and my 25 year old bag of bones have no excuse!

I’m still amazed that until 1972 females were not allowed to run the Boston Marathon. B Nina and other runners like her are an inspiration to us all!

Have you ever ran a trail race? B Whats the biggest difference? B How should I prepare? B I know I’ll have to carry my own fuel belt and I might get some less slipper sneakers. B Any tips?