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 😉

Friday Five – 5 Things to do in Gloucester & Rockport

Although only about 40-50 minutes north of Boston, the Rockport & Gloucester area is one of my favorite day trips within my house. Spring/Summer/Fall and maybe even a sunny winter day are all great to check it out. I thought this Friday, instead of telling you what I did the last time there, I’ll list five of my favorite things to do there. Coincidentally, I tend to visit all these place every time I am there!

1. Check out the old Rockport Quarry at Halibut Point Park. Parking is free in the off season and only two bucks during the summer.

Halibut Point State Park use to be a huge granite quarry that was closed back in the 1920s but sign of the old quarries are obvious.  Huge holes in the ground that were carved out and massive chunks of granite are still just lying around everywhere.

Quary Rock

The actually quarry is now filled with water and the flat rock pieces are perfect for a picnic. You can even get some great wind protection.


2. Take a side trail for amazing ocean views in Halibut Park. There’s several beautiful less than a mile side trails for the most breath taking cliff side ocean views.

Ocean view

Great for some coffee, but a little to windy for me to sit and relax.

3. Eat a Lobster Roll at Roy Moore Lobster Co

photo (5)

Or in my case, everything on the menu!

4. Lay on a beach


Sure it might be chilly, but that’s why you gotta make sure you do number five first!

5. Run a race… you have several spring time half marathons going from April, May and June and countless 5Ks.

Run A race

Check out RunningInTheUSA for other races. Or feel free to catch up on my Twin City Half marathon (May) or Fool’s Dual 5K and Half Marathon (April) Race Recaps.


What’s your favorite day trip near your home?

2014 Fool’s Dual Race Report – Breaking the white tape

On Sunday, I once again returned for some running in Gloucester. It took me two years to make my way back, but it ended up being a worthy day!

The race is called Fool’s Dual because they offer a 5K and a half-marathon for those of us that are dumb enough to complete both races back to back.The 5K registration goes up $35 and the half at $69 while both races are $89. Clearly, its not only foolish, but economically smart to do both ;).

The 5K started at 8AM but since I still had to pick up my bib number, I decided, I should get there around 7:45 with a 40 minute drive from home. The alarm was set for 6:30 but after working so late all week, waking up so early was not something I craved on a Sunday morning. Tony even tried to convince me that it’s okay, I can oversleep the 5K and just run the half! Luckily, I told him, no way buddy, get up, let’s go!

And then I discovered at 7:10 that I had absolutely nothing to eat! Yea, ladies, if you suddenly leave for weeks and don’t do food shopping, you can expect that your significant other isn’t doing it either. I found some peanut butter and flatbread pizza bread and decided, sure, it’s carbs, it’s peanut butter, it’ll work and with a cup of tea, out the door we went.

Number pick up was super easy and about 1 minute walk from the starting line. Swagbag came with some nice sponsor samplers and a shirt that was a size too big.

And at 8AM, the “gun” went off for the 5K. I don’t have a mile to mile break down, as I feel like it all happened too fast. I read some accounts calling the course hilly, but I honestly thought it had more of a decline than an uphill net gain. I remember on the drive over, we passed by this crazy hill and I prayed to running gods that I would not be running there, but the gods answered me in a better light. We ran down that hill and came back up a more mild way.

The one thing I remember that was making everything so difficult was the wind! I don’t know what direction it was coming from, but it always felt like it was in my face.

At around mile 2, I noticed that I haven’t had any female pass me yet. I tried to look back and see if anyone was near by, but couldn’t see anyone but another dude. Things were starting to feel painful but I decided to go with it! I could tell that my Saturday 18 miler was definitely making my legs feel heavy. The only good thing about 5Ks is that the pain is over relatively quickly. I knew that with a mile to go, I have less than 10 minutes. As I approached the finish line, I saw them putting up the tape back and before I knew it, I was running across it!

Finish line

Now picture me with a white tape looking confused because I still didn’t believe I was in first place for women and 9th overall.

Official time was 20:54:7! It’s not my best time and it’s not anything special, but sometimes showing up is more than half the battle! After crossing the finishing line, I grabbed some water, bananas, and went to wake up my driver/assistant who slept through my whole glorious moment!

I quickly made my way into the changing room, aka our Prius, for an outfit change.

Fools Dual Half

I knew that by giving my all, on tired legs for the 5k, I was going to have a pretty miserable half marathon. As I waited for start time (9AM), I could feel the lactic acid building up. Luckily, I had my compression socks to help relieve some of the soreness in my calves.

As the “gun” went off, my legs seemed to forget about the 5K they just ran 30 minutes ago, and wanted to push; however, by mile 3 they started to remember. Or maybe it was the hills that went up and down, down and up.

Fools Dual Hills

The course is an out and back rolling hill party. Every time we hit a downhill, I would curse because I knew I would see the uphill on the 2nd half of the course. As mile 4 rolled in, the only thing I could focus on was to remind myself that I only had about 2 miles (I like to round down) to get to the halfway point. At mile 5.5, I saw the Welcome to Rockport sign that reminded me that I’m almost halfway there.

As I started to reach the 7 mile marker on the return, I got a second, or maybe it was my third wind… Everything seems better when there’s only a 10K left.

My original goal was to finish under 2 hours, but I slowly bumped it up to 1:50 around mile 7; by mile 9, I dreamed about a 1:45 that faded into a sub 1:40 and PR by mile 10! I think, I was reaching my 4th wind at this point.

Fools Dual Ocean

It helped that for once in my racing days, I had perfect, beautiful water with amazing waterfront views. It’s always raining when I’m racing.

I ended up crossing the finish line at 1:40:48, about 2 minutes slower than the last time I ran this course two years ago.

Final Time

Why my Garmin is calling the course short is weird to me. I remember for half the course it was saying I was .1 mile long and somehow on the second half I cut off .2 of a mile? Maybe my Garmin took a nap somewhere at mile 8 as I was contemplating taking a nap myself.

Either way, while I didn’t reach a PR, a course PR, or my last second goal of sub 1:40, the time I ran was good enough. I ended up being 4th in my age group and 3rd overall female in the fools dual, combined time of both races. I lost second place by 8/10th of a second!


The day was truly a lesson in that sometimes, the hardest part was just showing up. Sure, there are countless faster runners in Boston and north shore area, but luckily they all decided to stay home, sleep, or somewhere else. What did I win? ONE BILLION DOLLARS… of bragging rights, these cool award paper things and awesome memories. I also got three $10 gift certificates to use towards shoes at Greater Boston Running Company, a sponsor. Although I haven’t been able to confirm if I can combine them to get $30 off shoes instead.

Key race review points

PRO – Beautiful, scenic course

Fools Dual

PRO/CON – Hilly course, but what goes up must come down and I think the hills make it a more fun of a run

CON – Roads are not closed and while it wasn’t an issue at 9AM at the start of the race, it became a little bit frustrating after 10AM when a lot more cars were on the road. Since the shoulder was very small, trying to bypass another runner, or even just running alone felt a little stressful at every curve.

PRO – Reasonable Price and great value for the course, support and distance

CON – The free shirt was too large for me and the visor we get for running both races was too large as well and felt cheap. The shirt felt nice, but was just too large for me to ever run in. I personally prefer for races to charge less and not offer free shirts since they all seem to always be too large.

PRO- WELL MARKED! This is so important, especially on a winding 5K course. I never felt confused or lost at all!

PRO – Amazing volunteers, great race director and overall a great small race vibe! This year they had about 500 half marathons and 200 or so runners on the 5K course.

I would love to return to Gloucester/Rockport for more racing!

48 Hours in Atlanta, Hotlanta, Georgia

Did you guys miss me? Or forget me? Regardless, I am back!! After being MIA for about a month with the exception of 2 days I spent in Atlanta, I’m happy to get back to my “writing.”

Writing a race recap takes up more time than I currently have available with Boston training and work, so instead, I thought I would share some snapshots from my weekend in Atlanta that wasn’t running those crazy, humid hills.


We took a 7AM flight which sucked waking up for, but we got rewarded with a flight full of screaming babies and a beautiful sunrise over the Boston Harbor.

Cuban 1

After checking into our Hotel, we decided we need food because being up since 5AM makes you hungry. We were actually gonna check out a southern place I found on Yelp, but when I walked by Papi’s Cuban and Caribbean, I knew we had to eat there! I love Cuban food! And yes, this place was one of my favorite meals in Atlanta.



On our first day, we tried to walk around Buckhead, except no one in Atlanta really walks around. It got hot, and we decided getting Pinkberry was a smarter option. A day later we came back with a rental car, drove around and gawked at all the mansions. That was a tad bit more fun.


After the marathon, I felt like I could eat a pig, literally. So we went for some BBQ. Sweet Water Brew

We got some sample platter that we split at Daddy D’z BBQ Joint. It came with ribs, mac n cheese, corn bread, collard greens, pulled beef, pork and chicken. I think the tender beef was my favorite. And yes, all this meat was more than enough for the two of us.

Little Five Points

After packing in some meat, I showed Tony around some of the neighborhoods, I ran through just hours before.

Coffee Shops

Honorable mention is Little Five Points, which is called “Bohemia” of the south. They had a ton of really cute used clothing stores and I was widely impressed with their selection of dresses compared to the coldness and sweaters of the consignment stores here.

In the evening we visited the Westin, and took the elevator to the top of the Sundial Restaurant. They have an amazing view of what little skyline Atlanta has. Plus it was cool to see the old Olympic Park!

Sundial View

I thought the Ferris wheel looks a little out of place. It’s kinda just in a random parking lot out there haha.

As for dinner, we went to Alma Cocina in downtown Atlanta. I guess me and Tony prefer Latin food over anything else.

Latin 1

I want to jump into the photo and eat the guacamole now!

Latin 2

Arugula salad, since after eating all that meat for Lunch I wanted some greens.Latin 3

Chicken mole for Tony

Latin 4

Some creative ceviche for me!

Olympic Park Me 2

On Monday, we went back and walked around centennial park.

Olympic Park Me

The little area that was packed with runners 24 hours ago, was completely devoid of life as we made our way to the Georgia Aquarium.

Georgia Aquarium

There, I tried to explain to whitey the merits of why running is so much better than swimming.

Georgia Aquarium 2

I love aquariums and marine life. Although I would prefer to be suba diving instead, this is as close as I could get in the moment.

Whale Shark

The Georgia Aquarium is one of the largest in the world and houses a few whale sharks with a large amount of controversy. Entrance is also not that cheap, as its about $39 per person to enter and included a very cheesy dolphin show. Actually the dolphins are amazing, but the story line with the human actors is unfortunate at best. Either way, I decided that despite my internal confusion regarding animal life in cages, the aquarium was a worthy visit.

Mrs Mac's Tea Room

For our final meal in Atlanta, we finally forced ourselves to get southern food with a visit to Mary Mac’s tea room. I got grilled blacken catfish with fried green tomatoes and broccoli souffle that was absolutely amazing! I actually couldn’t finish it all, but I dragged it with me to the airport and it made just as stellar of a dinner.

Mrs Mac's Tea Room 2

Tony got a burger with grits and potato salad. The sides were great!

So my final thoughts on Atlanta? It was a fun place to visit for a weekend. There were so many dining options that I wish I could carry a second stomach to try more things. However, I didn’t find the city very fun for walking. Yes, there’s sidewalks, but no one uses them and it felt like a ghost town with the exception of the weekend. I love the hustle and bustle of the crowd. We started the weekend with no car, but ended up getting one after doing everything we could within walking distance in a day.