Category Archives: Marathon

I’m Going to Run a Marathon in 3 Days

No, I’m not making this up. Yes, I am probably crazy. No, you can’t talk me out of it. No, you probably shouldn’t try this at home.

So ages ago I signed up for the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon, which takes place in my hometown, and I ran this same race in 2009. It was my very first marathon and it was amazing.

My friend (Lauren pictured above) and I decided to run it again. But then a lot of summer plans and changes started happening, and really conflicted with my running schedule. I decided to bow out and disappoint my friend. I was very sad. She was very sad. It was all very sad.

As the months passed, I kept running. Certainly not what I would have been running if I were really training, but running nonetheless. There were even some long runs sprinkled in there.

Fast forward to about two weeks ago when the crazy part of me started wondering if I could do it. I hadn’t trained like I should, but I had definitely maintained some of my endurance from my April marathon.

So I gave myself a test last weekend. I ran 16 miles at a very decent effort to see how I would feel at the end. And the result was that I felt great.  Don’t worry, like I said – that was NOT all my training. I have 240 miles logged as well. 🙂 Not nearly as much as I’d normally run, but it’s not nothing, right?

Ok – I will pause to let all you other runners yell at me (okay and my husband and parents). But I am going to give it a shot. I know people who have run a marathon with less training than I’ve put it and lived to tell the tale. And it won’t be my first rodeo – this will be my fourth.

Yes, I will admit that a huge part of me is really nervous about my sub-par training, and yes, I am yelling at myself quite a bit. But the other part of me remembers how amazing this race was, how fantastic it was to run it with my friend, and how much energy I got from seeing all our friends and family cheering for us.

So, perhaps against my better judgement (and the resistance of my family and husband), I’m going to do it. The worst that can happen is I’ll drop out. And if I do, I’m not far from home – someone will come pick me up.

But my gut tells me I can do it. Do I think it will be painful – heck yes. Do I think I may cry – it’s likely. But I’ve been through both those things before.  And at the end of the day, don’t we all have to be a little crazy to want to run a marathon at all? I think all us marathoners have some crazy in us – we love the challenge, we like to test ourselves. So I guess I’ve just upped the ante a bit, intensified the challenge.

Ok – I open up the forum. Go ahead and yell at me and tell me I’m stupid. Warn me against doing it. List all the possible problems. Or, if you’re feeling kind – tell me you think it’s possible, that if I have the drive and take it slow – I’ll be just fine. Or tell me when you’ve trained less than you would have liked and it all turned out okay – those stories always help pump up my confidence.

And stay tuned – I’ll let you know on Sunday if I made it to the end!

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Guest Post: First Marathon with a Sub 3 Hour Goal

Since I’m not running a fall marathon this year (sadness), I decided to check in with my friend’s husband to see how his training for his very first marathon is going. He is running it in October in my hometown and he has a BIG goal – sub 3 hours! Just between you, me (and the blog world) – I’m pretty sure he’s got this goal in the bag. He is super speedy and I can’t wait to see him crush his goal. Anyway, here is a fun guest blog from Bob on training for his very first marathon. Welcome Bob!

———

Thanks, Lindsey, for encouraging me to make my first foray into the world of blogging.  Hopefully this will be a bit more interesting than the usual stuff I write for work (I’m an engineer, so most of my writing material could be used as insomnia treatment).

The Mohawk-Hudson marathon in October will be my first marathon, but I’m no stranger to running.  I ran cross-country and track in high school and college and have trained moderately since then, mixing in the occasional summer road race. 

When I was younger, I figured that I would run a marathon within a couple seasons of finishing my eligibility (I finished my eligibility in ’96).  Unfortunately, the competitive side of me has been a hindrance to getting that first marathon under my belt (ironic sounding, since most people who know me outside of running would not use the word “competitive“ to describe me unless it was prefaced by the word “not“).  I’d always said to myself and others that if I was going to run a marathon, that I would do it “right” and put in some serious training.  Now that my definition of serious training has changed (I no longer feel the need to train like I’m 22), I’m finally ready.  Nonetheless, because I know that competing keeps my motivation to train higher, I’ve decided I want to not only finish my first marathon but shoot for a personally challenging time.  I want to break 3 hours.

Right now I’m a few weeks into my serious training for the marathon.  I’m actually following a workout schedule for the first time since college (I got the schedule off of the Runner’s World website).  I‘m not traditionally a huge fan of schedules and to-do lists (ask my wife), but I view it as a necessary evil.  Every week has a couple of easy runs and three tougher runs.  The tougher runs are: an interval workout on the track at paces well ahead of goal race pace, a 6-9 mile tempo run at about 20-40 seconds ahead of goal race pace depending on the distance, and a long run (14-22 miles) at a pace that is a little slower than goal race pace.    

The workouts are going okay for the most part, but there have been a couple of hiccups.  It’s been pretty easy to meet my time goals on the track workouts.  I’m usually well ahead of my goals, and I always feel pretty good at the end of the workout.  The tempo runs haven’t been too bad either.  I’m generally either at or a little better than my time goals for those.  The long runs have been the biggest challenge to date.  I’ve done five of them so far; three went well, and two went poorly.  On the two that went poorly, I finished the last few miles way slower than I had planned.  Both runs were on hot days where I didn’t pace myself very well early in the run, so mostly I chalk up the poor results to stupidity on my part for running too fast, too early in hot weather.  There is some doubt that creeps in though…maybe my 3 hour time goal will be too challenging?  Maybe I’m better at middle distances than I am at long distances (1500 meters was my best event in college)?

So far my body is holding up okay, but I do have one major annoyance.  I’ve had chronic Achilles tendon problems on my left leg for several years now.  It makes the first mile or so of every run a bit painful and gimpy (the first hundred yards, I run more like someone who’s 67 rather than 37).  Fortunately, it always loosens up. 

To make sure that my tendon doesn’t get too stiff overnight, I’ve been wearing a night-splint to bed.  The sight of me sleeping in my monstrous night-splint really makes Jess (my wife) think that I’m a lunatic for even putting myself through all of this.  Our cat, Desmond, is not a big fan of it either, since it has been the direct cause of his involuntary ejection from the foot of our bed a couple of times when I rolled over. (Similar splint/boot below in photo)

I guess there’s not too much else…I haven’t changed my diet at all really, except that I eat a little more.  It hasn’t been too tough to find time for the runs so far (Jess has been very accommodating on this front).  Running with a water belt for long runs felt a little weird at first, but I’m getting used to it now.  I like my Garmin Forerunner 405 watch.  Plus, I am definitely looking forward to the weather cooling down (especially for those after-work runs during the week).

I plan to send Lindsey a follow-up after the race with my thoughts on how it all went.  It’ll be interesting to see how everything plays out.  I’m sure it won’t go exactly like I expect, but that’s part of what makes this exciting.

 ———

Thanks for your guest post Bob!! Best of luck to you on your first marathon. I can’t wait for your race recap and Jess’s pictures of you running! 🙂 I’ll be running the half marathon that goes along with Bob’s marathon, so I should hopefully get to see him finish – although at his pace, he might pass me and finish first!

What about you (readers) – what was your biggest running goal? Did you accomplish it? How did you feel? And if you’ve run a marathon before, how was your first one? Did it go as planned?

Finally, Here Are My 7 Links

So this was kind of a time-consuming post–hence it took me a while to get it all together and up. It involved going back through the past almost two years of posts to select the ones I thought fit best into the 7 categories. I’m just going to jump right in…

Most Beautiful
I don’t know that I would really call any of my posts “beautiful.” I don’t really get very sentimental or poetic on my blog. It’s all pretty cut and dry, with maybe a dash of cynicism and humor. That being said, there is a tie for this category. My Relfections on 2009 post was surprisingly touching to re-read over a year later. It was really nice to look back on 2009 and see all the amazing times we had. You forget about all the events, anniversaries and family moments that were very special.

The second one would be my “Back from Ireland” recap post because the pictures were absolutely gorgeous and we had a beautiful time. I kind of skimped on the recap because I was too exhausted to go through each and every day. But the overall photo recap was amazing.

Most Popular
So this one was immediately evident to me. It was my Poconos Marathon Race Recap. I started my blog just after finishing my first marathon and I quickly decided to run another one and announced it to the blog world. I also announced my HUGE goal that I wanted to try to qualify for Boston. EEK! But once I put it out there, I was more determined than ever. Over the course of the next 6 months, I received so much advice and encouragement from a ton of people online that I kind of knew that my race recap would be my “grand finale” and culmination of all my hard work. The thought of all these people who tried to help me and inspired me really made me push to my limit during the race. And thankfully, I did it. My Poconos Marathon Race Recap was by far my most popular post on my blog to-date. And I still look back to read all the wonderful and supportive comments.

Most Controversial
This one was tough for me. It was a toss-up between my “To Eat Meat of Not to Eat Meat” post and my “Yucky Yogurt” post where I said that I was not a fun of the Yoplait Greek Yogurt–neither the taste or ingredients. In the end, I guess I’ll go with the yogurt post because Yoplait actually contacted me with a coupon to try their new redeveloped and relaunched yogurt a few months later. And if a blog post can get the attention of a company, then I’ll go ahead and dub that controversial.

Most Helpful
Easy one to pick. My “How I Got My BQ” post is without a doubt my most helpful post. People consistently find my blog through this post and have contacted me to thank me for my advice and candid words on the topic of qualifying. I talk about working on speed, tracking your pace, increasing your mileage and paying attention to your food, among other things. I still look back at this post when I find my endurance and speed decreasing and need to pick things up a notch.

Surprise Success
There have been a few posts that received a lot of comments and feedback that have surprised me. I guess the one with the most comments was the “Where Did All The Food Go?” post, where I talked about how shocked I am by the amount of food my husband and I consume in a short timeframe and how much it costs! A lot of people could relate. This post also included a recap of “Angela’s Ashes” so there were a lot of comments for that as well. Overall, it seemed to be a post that many people could relate to and were interested enough to comment.

Not Enough Attention
I don’t know about this one. Who am I to say that I think any of my posts really deserve more (or any) attention? I’m not going to get all serious with this one. Instead, I am going to say that my post “You Know You’re a Winter Runner When…” deserves more attention because I thought it was kind of funny and I really wanted to hear other people’s “you know you’re a winter runner” stories and commentary. I love these kind of posts that point out the hysterical but oh-so-true and ridiculous things about ourselves. I should write more of them… 🙂 Do I see a new blog post forming?! 🙂

Most Proud
I’ll say it yet, again, easy – my “2011 Boston Marathon Race Recap” is the post I am most proud of. I started this blog basically because I had this goal in my head and didn’t know how to get there. I think writing this blog really helped me get there and kept me on track and accountable. It helped me achieve one of my life goals and I am forever grateful. This post also marked my “return” to the blog world after a long hiatus, so I’m doubly proud and thankful I wrote it.


In conclusion – thank you again for tagging me Katie. It was a very nice trip down memory lane. Now I know the rules state that I have to tag other bloggers to post their 7 links, but let’s cut me a little break – ok? I am just returning to blogging, hardly anyone is reading my blog, and the chances that anyone will see this and then post their 7 links is slim to none. So instead, I will say – if you are a blogger and you have NOT been tagged to do this yet, then consider yourself tagged – courtesy of me. But don’t blame me when you lose half your day working on this post. 🙂

Question of the Day: If you’ve done your 7 links, how much time did you spend on it? And did you enjoy your trip down memory lane? Can’t imagine those bloggers with years and years of posts – how did you choose?!!

2011 Boston Marathon Race Recap

Yes, this is the latest race recap ever, but it’s finally posted nonetheless. I always try to write my recaps right after every race, when the memories are the freshest (and rawest). But it is what it is, and this will be a recap a little bit more removed.

I’m going to spare you all the race day lead-up stuff, except to say that I ran and traveled with my friend Lauren and the poor girl did a lot of traveling to get to Boston. But we were together for a lot of it, so that made it better. I will say that we stayed at The Boston Park Plaza and the location was extremely convenient. I got a great deal on Hotwire, so no complaints about the price either (although I did book the room back in May 2009!).

So anyway – we did the whole expo thing the day before and checked out some of the swag, but we were kind of tired. So we bailed early, relaxed at the hotel and then had a nice pasta dinner with some friends. Riding the jam-packed T was an experience that I’d like to soon forget, but I digress.

Anyway – on to race day! It just so happened that our old running coach (not officially our coach, but he helped out the team A LOT) from high school was staying in our hotel two doors away from us! Well, he offered to give us a ride to the start so we wouldn’t have to take the buses at the crack of dawn. Obviously, we accepted this generous offer, and so we got to sleep in a little bit. But still, it was an early morning.

We were up and took care of all our pre-race activities (you know the drill) and then we met up with Jerry (coach). We hopped in the car and away we went to the starting line. We headed straight to the start instead of the Athlete’s Village because we weren’t getting there super early and didn’t need to wait around for hours. We went right to the start area and were thrilled that we got to see the professional men and women start their race. They started a solid half hour before all of us “regular” runners.

As this was going on, Lauren and I were doing some last minute fueling with Gatorade and Gu Chomps. But we cut ourselves off early enough to hit the porta potties by the starting line one last time before line-up.

And then slowly, all the other waves began to line up and my nerves really started kicking in. I was supposed to be in one of the waves before Lauren, but I decided to just start in her Wave and corral so we could run together. As they called our wave to the starting area, we began shedding our “throw-away clothes.” I was rocking a nice Christmas sweater, previously purchase for an ugly holiday sweater party, so I had no qualms about tossing it in the bag. Plus, I read beforehand that all the clothes that are left behind are gathered and donated to the needy. I’m very glad they do that.

So in we went to our corral and started walking up the hill (yes, there is a hill you have to go up to get to the actual starting line) to reach the start. And once we crossed the line, we were officially running The Boston Marathon!!

My first thought during the first mile – “This is  mayhem!!” We were shoulder-to-shoulder and could barely move. There was no way to manuever around anyone, we were just traveling as one large mass. At times, Lauren and I were squished together or pulled apart by the crowd. It was crazy, but there were also SO many people cheering for us on the sidelines. It was so invigorating to have so much support. The first few miles were a little frustrating for me because it felt a little claustrophobic, but our times were pretty good:

Mile 1 – 8:43
Mile 2 – 8:27
Mile 3 – 8:07
Mile 4 – 7:59

However, after that fourth mile, Lauren told me to slow it down. Apparently, that is something which is hard for me to do during the first part of a marathon. I tried, but my speed just kept inching back up.

Mile 5 – 8:18
Mile 6 – 8:16
Mile 7 – 8:10
Mile 8 – 8:25
Mile 9 – 8:20

Just before Mile 10, Lauren told me that she was not feeling good at all and that we needed to really slow down. A few seconds later, we heard people screaming our names and turned to see Lauren’s two sisters and families on the sidelines. They had said they would be closer to mile 12-13, so we were not expecting to see them for a while. We all hopped around and said hello and then we took off again.

But things were not going well for Lauren–she was in pain and it wasn’t easing up.  We started slowing our pace a bit.

Mile 10 – 8:38
Mile 11 – 8:46
Mile 12 – 8:33
Mile 13 – 8:59

By the time we reached the half marathon point, she was not a happy camper. She said something to the effect of “I can’t believe we’re only half way and I feel this bad.” I felt really bad for her because we all know that feeling of pain and the dread of all the miles ahead of you. We continued to slow and I continued to try to help her to push through it.

And while that was going, I was continuing to marvel at the crowds. The Wellesley College girls were absolutely roaring by the time we ran by. It was the loudest screaming I had ever heard in my life. And for a solid 8-10 miles of the race, we must have been near someone who had “Vegas” written on their shirt because that’s all we heard was “Let’s go Vegas, Come on Vegas.” I tried to find the person, but couldn’t spot him/her anywhere around us.

Mile 14 – 8:51

Just after mile 14, Lauren said she had to go to the bathroom. In our previous races, we took water or Gatorade every two miles after about the 4th mile, but in this race we seemed to be taking water almost every mile, which I think was a little too much. We ran about another half mile and then she spotted a porta-potty and I stood off the side waiting.

Mile 15 – 9:40

After she came out, we started running again. But no long after she started experiencing a tight pain in the back of her leg. Finally, she told me that she was going to have to stop. I thought about it for a minute and realized that if I stopped again, I might not start back up. I was feeling some pain and wasn’t sure I could continue running once I took another break. I felt awful and did not want to leave Lauren. But in races sometimes, there comes a point where you and your running buddy have to make that decision. She told me she would be fine and to go. I decided that continuing on was my only option.

Mile 16 – 8:37
Mile 17 – 9:43

I said goodbye to Lauren, we made a plan for where to meet-up afterwards, I wished her good luck and I kept running. I felt awful as I left her behind, but I knew that I had to press on.

I was a little lonely running it alone, but the crowds around me were amazing. They really kept me going.

Mile 18 – 9:24
Mile 19 – 8:41
Mile 20 – 9:11

Once I hit Mile 20, I knew that there were supposed to be some major hills coming up, so I prepared myself. We started to incline and I pushed myself a little hard.

Mile 21 – 9:33
Mile 22 – 9:09
Mile 23 – 8:56

And then just like, I was passing Boston College and seeing  a sign that said it was all down-hill from there. I was so confused. The big hills I had been dreading weren’t that big at all. They were more like rolling hills . I guess having done my training in runs in Central Park on those rolling hills really paid off. I was thrilled that the homestretch was ahead of me. Just three more miles.

Mile 24 – 9:25

By the last two miles, my feet were on fire, I could feel a gigantic blister on my toe and my legs were heavy and dragging. But then as we got closer into the city, the crowds became even more intense if that is possible. It was so awesome. I looked around and took it all in.

Mile 25 – 9:19

As I got closer to the finish, I noticed that if I pushed just a bit, I could make it in under 4 hours. So I pushed and pushed ahead.

Mile 26 – 9:03
.43 (I ran it a little longer) – 3:40

For a grand finish of: 3:53:08!!

Hurray!! I ran the Boston Marathon and finished in under 4 hours! It was such an amazing feeling to finish that race. I can’t even explain it. I immediately called my husband (I had my phone around my waist in my SpiBelt) to tell him the good news. I also told him about Lauren. He was checking our status online and kept refreshing the screen until he finally saw that Lauren finished as well! I felt so relieved.

I made it through the thousands of people, got some food and snacks and then headed to our hotel to our meeting spot. After we took a quick shower at the hotel, we were then on our way back to the train station to head out. I limped my way to the station (I had an utterly nasty blister), and proceeded to eat an entire Snickers bar Lauren gave me. We made our way onto the train and back to NYC, and FINALLY up to my apartment where we crashed HARD.

All in all, it was an amazing race. The hype is well-deserved. Having only run smallish marathons in the past, the Boston Marathon was completely overwhelming and exciting and something that I will NEVER forget. I doubt I’ll ever make it back there, now that the qualifying times are changing. But that’s alright with me. Once was enough-it was a run I will cherish forever.

Boston: Here I Come!!

This upcoming race has been in the making since October 2009 – about one day after I finished my very FIRST marathon, I decided I wanted to qualify for and run the Boston Marathon. Bitten by the Boston bug, I signed up for the Pocono Run for the Red Marathon after reading promising reviews about the speedy course. Speedy it was, but also hilly and extremely draining. I gave my EVERYTHING in that race and squeaked by with a qualifying time of 3:39:35. Phew! Good thing too, since I don’t think there is ANY chance for me to attain the new qualifying standard for my age group of sub 3:35:00 for 2013. EEK!

So Boston here I come. We’ve had this date for quite some time. I hope you’re ready for me. 🙂

My journey will begin on Sunday morning as my friend Lauren and I hop on an Amtrak train destined for Boston. For those interested, my bib number is: 15729. But I will be starting in Wave 3 (10:40 a.m.) instead of 2 so that I can run with Lauren. I thought it was pretty cool to track people last year, so I thought I’d share my number. You can visit www.baa.org to sign-up to track runners.

I may try to blog from Boston, but I really just want to absorb every minute, so we will see!! Tonight I’ve got to finish up my packing, do some laundry, eat some carbs, get some good rest and start mentally preparing for the race of my life!! YAY Boston!!

So who else will be there either running or cheering?!!

Boston Is Less Than a Month Away!

I have NO CLUE how the Boston Marathon got so close so quickly, but it is a mere month away and I am in scramble mode. I’m scrambling to get all my training in, firm up my travel plans and make a dinner reservation. EEK – I can’t believe one month from today I’ll have run the Boston Marathon (knock on wood).

So I guess it’s best to provide a training update. I am rolling into week 15 of training and coming up on my second 20+ training run. I’ll briefly recap my first 20-miler that I ran with my friend two weekends ago. I traveled upstate for the weekend and mapped out what I thought would be a nice run. WRONG!! It was a disaster.

It started off okay – I ran from my house to my friend’s house and picked her up. We then headed up a gigantic hill and did pretty well. Things started to get hairy around my mile 14 or so when we moved off the main road and on to the local bike path. The problem was that the snow hadn’t been cleared yet! Without a back-up route in place, I suggested we push on. I thought the snow-covered path would probably last about a mile.

It lasted about 3-4 miles!! Although part of me felt pretty tough and Rocky-like, the other part of me just kept cursing my stupidity. We made it through eventually, but not without a twisted ankle, sore hips and a gash on my friend’s leg. It was a lesson learned.

This coming weekend, I will be heading upstate again for a 22 miler with Lauren and I will be sure to keep us off the bike path and on a clear road. This weekend was 14 miles, half of which was run with my co-worker. It really helped break up the length and make it tolerable. And then today I cheered on the NYC Half Marathon runners and hopped in with my friend Rachael for a mile in Central Park.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the past few weeks of my training and where I’m headed in the last few leading up to Boston…


As you can see, I haven’t been sticking entirely to my plan, but I still feel like my current 385 accrued mileage isn’t too bad. I think I will still be prepared.

How do you deal if you don’t hit your training targets – either in mileage or time?

Last training I would have really beat myself up. But this time around, I am feeling more flexible. Happy Sunday all – I wish tomorrow wasn’t Monday!!

March Already: Week 12 and 15 Mile Run

I really can’t believe it’s already March. I’m not exactly sure where February went, but all I recall is that it was cold, snowy, icy and not at all fun to run in. February was undoubtedly a tough running month.

Here’s to hoping that March is a better running month. With the Boston Marathon approaching quickly, it’s time for me to make sure that all my long runs happen as planned and put forth the best effort possible.

Week 12 hasn’t been all that great for me as far as week-day runs. I didn’t get out on all the days I wanted, but I definitely made up for part of that during my long run today.

15 Mile Run
Today was actually only supposed to be a 13 mile run according to my training plan. However, apparently I had some residual guilt from missing one of my long runs and decided to add a few extra miles to this run to make up for that.

I headed out to Central Park around 10 a.m. and was greeted by an absolutely lovely day outside! Before leaving, I fueled up with oatmeal, two large glasses of water and a cup of coffee.

I made my way to Central Park and encountered numerous runners heading the same way. During today’s long run my legs felt extremely heavy, but I managed to power through. Here are my stats:

Even though I didn’t feel that great while running, I am pretty happy with my stats overall. And it was so gorgeous outside that I think that played a part in me staying out a little longer. I decided I needed to take advantage of the nice day.

I headed home from Central Park and then refueled with Gatorade and Chobani yogurt with Kashi Go Lean. Now it’s time for laundry, cleaning and a bit of relaxation.

Lastly, I want to give credit to my friend Lauren who I convinced to sign up for the Boston Marathon this year through a charity program. She has been trying to raise money like crazy and she’s currently at 93%!!! She has been totally awesome in helping to keep me motivated and I’m so glad that she has nearly reached her goal!!

Wohoo!! Boston here we come. Oh and we are running our first 20 miler together next weekend. Can’t believe it’s already that time!

Now – I need some good recommendations for an Italian restaurant in Boston’s Back Bay area!! Time to book a pre-race pasta dinner. I have a feeling Boston will be crazy busy the night before the race. Any suggestions?!!