Thursday, May 31, 2012

Why Run #6

Training for a race is sort of like a metaphor for life--it shows you how important goals are, it shows you how much you are capable of, it shows you the power of dedication. 
- Ashley Cadaret

Monday, May 28, 2012

Race Report--Boston's Run to Remember Half Marathon

My alarm went off at the crack of dawn Sunday morning. MarathonMike and I were in the car and headed to Boston by 5:30am. 

The first thing I loved about this race was the convenience factor. With an early start time on a Sunday morning and our proximity to Boston, we had absolutely no traffic and it was a breeze to get into the city. The race starts at the Seaport World Trade Center in South Boston which is the second thing I loved about this race - easy and cheap parking! 

It was about 6:15am when we arrived and I was a little nervous about getting my race packet and finding a bathroom before the start at 7am. Which brings me to the third and fourth reason I loved this race - no line for packet pickup and absolutely no line for the bathroom!  There were so many (so many!) porta-potty's along the outside of the building that you could get away from the crowd and easily find an available bathroom. I was ready to roll soon after arriving with my bib on and my shoes tied. 

MarathonMike gave me the final "Good Luck" before getting into the crowded chutes behind the starting line. It was at that moment, as the race was about to begin and the National Anthem was sung, that I thought about the craziness of the last two weeks and all of my training that brought me to the start line. I didn't cry, but I got choked up with all of that swirling in my head. It was time to run and I was ready! 

Starting Line
The 5-milers lining up for their race after the half marathon start.  
There were 5,000+ runners in the half marathon which made the first few miles very congested. I almost missed the first water stop because there were so many people around me that I didn't see the tables or the volunteers even in their bright-colored shirts. All of a sudden, people were crossing in front of me and I realized it was for the water. Even though it was early in the race, the warm weather made it necessary to take advantage of every water & Gatorade stop. 

By mile 3, the crowd was spreading out and I felt like I had room to run. I tried to pick up the pace when I was working my way through the crowd and realized my watch was showing an 8:50 min/mile pace. Wait, what? How did that happen? I actually started to whisper to myself, "Slow down!" so that I wouldn't set myself up for a fast start and slow finish. I settled into a rhythm that felt comfortable and managed to stay at an 8:52 min/mile pace for most of the race.  

The fourth reason I loved this race was the scenery. The race took us past Government Center, Faneuil Hall, along the Charles River, MIT Campus, Harvard University and Boston Common. It was shady in most places and where it was sunny, a breeze was blowing that made me forget about the warm sun. It really was a beautiful race.  

I kept my pace at 8:52 min/mile until about mile 9. My legs started to feel a bit heavy and this was the "tough" part of the race that MarathonMike warned me about. This is where all of the training kicks in to get you to the end. And it did! I focused on my breathing... in 2, out 2, in 2, out 2... and coordinated it with my steps. I just kept going! 

My pace slowed down a bit, but the reality of finishing under 2 hours seemed likely at this point. In the last mile, I spotted a friend of mine from the running club. I shouted her name and she smiled and ran with me to the end. She was pointing her finger to the ground next to her or a little ahead of me as if to say, "You! Go there! Stay with me!" That little kick from her pushed me to the end right when I started to feel so tired, sore, ready to stop, and a tiny bit nauseous.

My official time was 1:58:42 with a 9:04 min/mile average pace. This was 10+ minutes faster (about 45 sec/mile faster) than my first half marathon a few months ago. 

I can't believe how much I improved in the past three months of training. Hard work pays off! I know this because it is what helped me get to the starting line and all the way to the finish. What a great learning experience for me as a novice runner. Certainly a Run to Remember!

Future plans? Take a break in June with easy runs. Rest up for marathon training in July! 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Ready or Not

It's the night before my half marathon.   

My watch is charging. 
I chose my outfit. 
I bought my Clif Shot Bloks
I studied the course map.
I talked strategy with MarathonMike. 
My alarm is set. 

And, I had the Dinner of Champions... 

Spaghetti & Meatballs

Sunday, May 20, 2012

My Comeback

As much as I tried to avoid it, I got sick! I spent most of the week blowing my nose, losing sleep and just trying to stay one step ahead. It was a tough week. I only missed 2 runs, but missing them just made me feel worse... like I was giving up. Finally, on Friday I got out for a short run and my legs were sore, sore and more sore. My plans for an 8-miler on Saturday were nixed, but I did get out for another short run on Saturday. 

And then, my comeback began!

It's time that I introduce you to my husband--MarathonMike. His birthday was this weekend and the combination of having family visitors and the fun of a birthday were major factors in getting me back to normal. We celebrated with a tasty dinner at The Cottage and home-made Blotkake for dessert made by MarathonMom--that would be MarathonMike's Mom!

Happy Birthday, MarathonMike! 

With another busy week ahead at school, I have limited times to run in the final days before my race. So, I headed out for an hour long run late in the afternoon. The first mile was not fun, but I kept going and I had a moment that only Celine can help me express...

... It's all coming back to me now! I started to feel better and restored some confidence in myself. My efforts to prepare for this race are not lost on one bad week. I'll do everything I can to stay healthy this week and take tough days in stride. Here's to the finish line! 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Why Run #5

Running is the part of my day that I own in that it is focused on my own health and happiness. 
- Pete Guild

Must. Stay. Healthy.

Timing is everything. My busiest two weeks of the school year are the same two weeks before my race. Note to self: Avoid races during concert season at school!

When the tickle started in my throat, I wasted no time in getting medicine and stopping everything to rest. I managed to get my last long run in yesterday--12 miles--before feeling groggy, tired and just... out of it today. All of the hard work is done as far as training goes, but it means nothing if I'm not healthy on race day.

I need to rest and take it easy this week. Easy to do today thanks to a continuous stream of chick flicks on TV and a soothing batch of chicken noodle soup for dinner. Yummm! 

Here's to a healthy week! 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Fun Club Run

This weekend, 50 runners came to our house Saturday morning. No joke, 50! 

I'm in a running club where I live and it has been one of the best things for me as a new runner. I can count on people to be at early morning runs which helps me get out of bed to run and stay motivated. I joined the club after I did my first 10K. My longest run at the time was 7 miles. My distance and time have improved since I've been an active member. I think it is one of the main reasons I am still running and really enjoy running. 

So, back to the 50 runners! 

Our club has hosted runs which meet at club member's homes in place of our usual club run from the center of town. My run was a Cinco de Mayo Hosted Run with three running routes, a workout for our Couch to 5K runners and breakfast afterwards featuring breakfast burritos and margaritas. It was a success! 

Race Update!
174 days until Cape Cod Marathon
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