Category Archives: Travel

2012 Vermont City Marathon Recap

So here it goes – my fifth marathon race recap. When I ran my first marathon in 2009, I never thought I’d have five marathons under my belt by 2012. I guess you could say I kind of got addicted. I suppose there are worse things you can be addicted to though.

So here it goes. The 2012 Vermont City Marathon Recap. Hubby and I drove up to Albany on Friday night and stayed with my parents. We woke up early on Saturday and ran our very last training run – an easy two miles at a very slow pace. Hubby (Bill) had been dealing with an injured Achilles for the past few weeks and still felt a slight twinge after our run. But we headed out to Burlington around noon.

We arrived around 3 p.m., hit up the expo for about an hour and then headed to our hotel. We decided to stay at the Hilton, which is literally 1/10 of mile from the start and finish of the race–making it super convenient. We checked in and lounged for about an hour and then headed to the pasta dinner.

We walked from our hotel to the pasta dinner at Champlain College – it was about a mile away. On the walk there (all uphill), Bill was dealing with some major leg pain. It was making us both nervous for the race the next day.

We carb loaded at the pasta dinner. It was pretty standard at pasta dinners go. I was surprised they only had one pasta option – spaghetti with either marinara sauce or meat sauce. We ate our pasta, salad, and bread and then finished up dinner with some desert. All in all, it was a decent event. After we finished, we started the walk back to the hotel and Bill flinched with pain in his leg most of the way. Not good.

When we got home, we started to prep our gear for the next day and Bill was doing everything he could think of to make his leg feel better. I lay down for a few minutes around 9:30 and fell asleep. I woke up at 10:00 p.m. and finished getting my stuff ready and then really went to bed. Surprisingly, I slept like a rock.

Race Day
My alarm went off at 5:45 a.m. and the prepping began. I fashioned some sort of oatmeal concoction for us using the hot water from the coffee machine. Then I also made some coffee and hydrated with NUUN. I looked outside our window and saw a gorgeous view, as well as part of the course right down below.

People were heading to the start area pretty early. Bill and I began finishing up our prep and Bill snapped this pre-race photo of me.

Ready to go! And we were off. We walked to the start, which was literally right around the corner and made our way into the corral. We decided to start near the 3:45 pace group. It was super crowded. We found some space and waited for the start. The wheel chair racers went off at 8:00 a.m. and we began at 8:03 a.m.

With such a crowded start, it took us a while to really find our pace. Bill and I stayed together in the beginning as we ran through the town and then up into some neighborhoods.

Mile 1 – 8:42
Mile 2 – 8:22
Mile 3 – 8:32
Mile 4 – 8:24

About mile four, we headed into an out and back stretch down a long road. There weren’t too many spectators along this section. It was nice to get to see some of the leaders and elite runners pass by as they made their way back to town after completing the out and back.

Around mile 6-7, we both took water at a station and Bill seemed to pick up his pace a bit. I tried to stay with him, but he was just moving a little bit too fast for me. I kept him in my sights, but I knew that our joint running time together was pretty much over. I maintained a decent pace just a little bit behind him.

Mile 5 – 8:30
Mile 6 – 8:20
Mile 7 – 8:14
Mile 8 – 8:21

As we came back into town around mile 8-9, we had some spectators again and it got me pumped up. The people cheering really did help give me motivation. As we headed down one of the main streets of Burlington, a local photographer snapped this shot of me.

(source)

I’m actually looking pretty happy right?! Well, mind you, it was only like mile 9 or 10 at this point. I continued along, maintaining a decent pace as we moved out of town and into a neighborhood. I took my first Gu around mile 11 and actually really needed it.

Mile 9 – 8:29
Mile 10 – 7:59
Mile 11 – 8:19
Mile 12 – 8:41

At about mile 13, we made a sharp turn onto a bike path. Around this time, there was also a lot of switching going on with the relay teams. I had been aware of the teams switching in the race before, but this was the biggest switch. The race had two kinds of relays 1) a two person relay where they each ran half, and 2) a 3-5 person relay with all different lengths for various legs.

So as we hit halfway, there were a lot of relays changing and it was actually kind of frustrating. Here we are (the marathon runners), getting into a groove of sorts with our pace, surrounded by people going our approximate speed, and then all of sudden a whole new group of people fly into the mix all nice and fresh and some of them absolutely take off. It kind of messes with your pace. Or, on the reverse, some of the new runners are going much slower and then you find yourself matching their pace. It was a confusing time. I tried to maintain some kind of consistent pace, but it was tough.

Mile 13 – 8:12
Mile 14 -8:12

I think we came out of the bike path around mile 14.5 and then I knew what we ahead of me. The dreaded hill. This is the Battery Hill that our hotel is on. I was going to run right by the hotel – how tempting. It’s one long hill for almost half a mile (or at least that’s how long it felt). I dug in and got started.

Thankfully, the city also has these awesome drummers playing at this section and their beat totally carries you up the hill. I waved to them to thank them and kept on trudging up. It was tough.

Mile 15 – 8:28

Then, when you reach the top, you get to move on to run on a main road, with no shade that seems to go on forever. This might have been my least favorite part of this race. I kind of hated this road. As we neared mile 18, my pace slowed considerably.

Mile 16 – 8:53
Mile 17 – 8:43
Mile 18 – 8:37

Between mile 17-18, we went into a neighborhood, but then we came right back out to the road. Then we went into another neighborhood between 18-19. It was a lot of turning in and then back out.

In this second neighborhood, there were more spectators and random water stops. There was also a random lady mowing her lawn and spitting grass into the road. Why she chose that day/time to mow her lawn, I will never know. After her, we encountered a guy beating a homemade drum with hard rock music playing in the background, and then a few more houses down was a lady playing classical music – not the best “pump up” music. I was kind of happy to exit the weird neighborhood, but then found myself back on the main road that I hated so much. ARGH!

Mile 19 – 8:53
Mile 20 – 9:06
Mile 21 – 9:00

Luckily, we turned off the main road around mile 21-22 and back onto the bike path. The bike path meant fewer spectators, which was a negative, but no more main road and blaring sun, which was a positive. I took my second Gu around mile 21 -22. I had been feeling the fatigue since about mile 18, but it really started to hit.

Plus, then I started worrying about Bill and how his leg was doing. I hadn’t caught up to him, so I wanted to think of that as a good thing, but I also kept scanning the people walking or being helped on the sidelines, thinking that his injured leg could have taken him out.

From mile 22-24, it was just playing the willpower game with myself to put one foot in front of the other. I had passed the 3:45 pacer a while back and when I saw him pass me around this time I got a little sad. I didn’t really have a goal time, but 3:45 sounded nice.

The pacer passed me and then I had that chat with myself about less pressure to finish in a certain time. I reviewed the whole “if I can only run 10 minute miles for the next few miles, that’s okay, because I will still finish in under 4 hours.” You know those chats if you’ve run a marath0n – you make deals with yourself to get to the finish.

Mile 22- 8:57
Mile 23 – 9:16
Mile 24 – 9:14

And then miraculously, at mile 25, it was like something clicked. I knew I was going to make it to the end and finish in under 4 hours. So my speed began to pick up again. And then I heard someone yell, “way to go 2049 – way to finish strong.” And I knew that I WANTED to finish strong, so I pressed on.

Mile 25 – 9:04

And then finally we hit mile 26 and there were crowds of people everywhere. I started to pick up my pace even more and hurdle myself to the finish.

Mile 26 – 8:55
.33 – 2:31

Final time: 3:47:10

I finished and immediately chugged a chocolate milk they handed me. It was amazing. And then I got nervous about Bill and went to find him. I instinctively looked for the medical tent, but then I spotted a Team Chief shirt a few feet away. And there he was, just hanging out chatting with some guy from his hometown. He finished his very first marathon in 3 hours and 41 minutes! He was feeling sore, but his leg was fine! I was so relieved and happy for him.

We headed to the runner’s food area and grabbed some pizza, ice cream, yogurt, etc. and parked our aching bodies under a tree. After downing some much-needed food, we headed back to our hotel. We climbed a huge hill to get there and a hotel never looked so amazing to me.

Here we are post-race!

We did it!! It was a very fun race in gorgeous Vermont. Now on to the NYC Marathon in November!

Advertisements

Last Long Run and Tapering

Well it happened – I ran my last long training run for the Vermont City Marathon this past weekend…and I lived to tell!

With a 22 mile run planned, I was more than happy that I would be running it in upstate NY rather than around Central Park again. My last 20-miler in CP was great, but I needed a break from the park.

So I headed upstate by train on Friday and was out the door by 8:15 a.m. on Saturday morning for my last long training run.

Since my last run went so well without my waterbelt, I wanted to try that approach again. I have really been hating that belt this training season, so I planned to carry a small bottle of water with me from my parent’s house and then stop at my friend’s house about halfway through to pick up another bottle.

My run began and it was the perfect temperature, overcast, and I felt pretty good. I planned a tough route with a bunch of major hills, but at this point I was feeling ready for it.

Here was my route:

I covered A LOT of ground. From Latham to Watervliet to Loudonville and back to Latham. I felt really great during the first 12 or so miles of this run. The second half of my run was MUCH slower, but I also had some major hills, so it’s kind of understandable. Here are my splits:

I included the elevation so you can see how huge some of the hills were. Mile 13 was the biggest and that hill is slightly insane. And me not taking my water belt worked out. I carried a small (8 oz.) water bottle filled with some NUUN water with me and drank it all by about mile 8. Then I stopped at my friend’s house around mile 12.5 to grab a second larger bottle. That got me through to about mile 20.

Overall, I am pretty happy with my last long run. I was hoping to keep all my miles slightly under a 9 minute pace, but with some of the hills I added, it just really wasn’t possible.

But I finished feeling pretty strong and my parents even commented that it didn’t look like I had just run 22 miles. They have seen me looking pretty awful after some runs, so that was a good sign.

The rest of the weekend was busy but also relaxed – I got to see some family and friends. I also did a short shake-out run on Sunday (4.5 miles) to bring my weekly mileage total to a record (for me) 50.34 miles! That is my new weekly distance record. I wasn’t so sure I was going to make it, but I got there. Pretty impressed with my 50-mile week!

And you know what that means… it’s time to TAPER!! The taper has commenced this week, and as usual, I have no desire to run at all. I need to remind myself that taper does not mean “stop running altogether.” The dreary weather really doesn’t help matters, but I’m just also feeling really lazy.

I skipped out on Monday’s run and then Tuesday night I managed 4 miles on the treadmill at the gym. I’m supposed to hit 34 miles this week and I’ll be lucky if I get to 25. Ugh – my motivation is apparently lost.

I know that some runners really hate tapering and have a hard time with it, but I feel like I go the opposite way. I want to take the taper to the extreme a just take a break. I’ll have to push myself not to become a totally lazy this week.

What about you – if you are a marathon – do you enjoy the taper, have a hard time with it, or take the taper too far ever?

Happy hump day all!

Mid-Week and Mid-Mileage

Welcome to Wednesday (deep sigh). Hope you are breezing through your week. My week has been busy and moving along pretty quickly. I’ve been enjoying reading some of the Boston Marathon recaps that bloggers have been posting already. Good for them – it just might have taken more than a month to finally post my recap. Oops.

It’s good old Wednesday and that means we’re halfway to the weekend and MAYBE for some, halfway through your training week. Now, if I had actually gotten up this morning to run, I could say that was me. But nope. Tired and slept right through my alarm. So after-work run, here I come. At least it’s not 90 degrees outside today. I still don’t know how the Boston Marathoners did it. Seriously, majorly impressed with any and all finishers.  

So far this week, which is lucky number week 13 of training, I logged an 8-mile run on Monday and 5 miles on Tuesday morning. Yup – you read that right. MORNING. I don’t know how it happened, but it was a beautiful thing. I mean, I really do LOVE running in the morning. It’s not too hot, it’s beautiful, the running areas are pretty clear, and I feel great afterwards. Come one – what’s not to love? Right – not being to drag myself out of bed.  It’s just so darn hard!

Yesterday I managed because I had happy hour plans after work. A few of my old colleagues and I tried a German Biergarten called Loreley on Rivington Street. Being that it was 80 degrees out yesterday and sunny, we obviously wanted some outdoor seating. This place did not disappoint. They have a decent sized back patio space with picnic tables. If you don’t mind possibly sharing your table with a random person or two, then you should be just fine.

(Source)

We had a few beers, snacked on some pretzels, ate a cheese plate (not very good), and a basket of pork meatballs with fries. It started to get a little crowded and loud as it got later, but nothing intolerable. Overall, I would definitely go back to this place. It’s pretty unnoticeable – you would never think to stop in just based on the exterior, but I recommend it!

In other news, I am currently reading “Real Food: What to Eat and Why” after reading a recommendation and I’m really liking it so far. I will definitely try to post a review on this one. Then next on the list is “Fifty Shades of Grey” for book club and I’ve heard a lot of mixed things. Should be interesting.

What are you reading right now? Any great recommendations? I think I am next on the book club list to select a book. Ohh the pressure – help!

 

 

My 2011 Boston Marathon Memories

As  my Twitter feed was blowing up today with Boston Marathon updates, I got to thinking about my 0ne and only Boston Marathon experience last year. Humor me for a moment as I share my top 2011 Boston Marathon memories and tips…

2011 Boston Marathon Memories & Tips  

  • The excitement in the air was tangible – I cannot recall another race I’ve run where the whole city was buzzing like this (note: I haven’t run NYC yet, but I expect it will be the same way).
  • I wish I had spent more time in Boston. It was a quick in and out trip for  my best friend and me. We took the train up on Sunday, checked in, went to the expo, ate dinner, ran the race, and checked out and took the train back right afterwards. It felt rushed. If you make it to Boston – don’t rush it. Enjoy it!
  • Make reservations for 2013 like NOW!! No seriously. I tried to make reservations like a month or two in advance and was laughed at. Apparently people start like 6-8 months in advance. We did ok – we tagged along with a smart friend who had made reservations and was able to add two more people. Thankfully!
  • Don’t overeat at the Expo: I did. All the tasty goodies to try and free stuff being given out. Another bite of a yummy bar – sure don’t mind if I do. But then oh – 30 minutes later after all those random snacks are mixing in my tummy and it did not feel good. Enjoy the expo, but don’t enjoy it too much with your tummy.
  • Getting a ride to the start is AWESOME! Our friend’s father was running Boston last year and his wife was driving him to the start. He offered us a ride and at first I declined. Being the paranoid planner that I am, I figured the standard race-issued ride to the start was the safest way to go. My friend convinced me to be a little daring for once and take the ride and it was the best decision ever. We got to sleep in a little  late, didn’t have to wait for hours in the runner’s village and got dropped off super close to the start. Do it if you can!
  • I’ve never been so cramped running – I mean as in having people around me at ALL times. All my other marathons have been pretty small – 2,000 runners or less – so the amount of runners kind of overwhelmed and terrified me.
  • I don’t really remember heartbreak hill. I know that sounds crazy, but I think after all my training on the Central Park hills and the fact that I had NO clue where I was in the race made that hill seem less than intimidating. I saw the sign that said I was over the hill before I even knew I hit it. I wish I was always so lucky when it comes to hills – I’m  not. But heartbreak really isn’t as bad as a lot of people make it out to be – so don’t worry yourself sick about it.
  • I DO remember the Wellesley girls and the deafening roar they made as I was coming around the corner to their section of the race. I was dumbfounded. It was the loudest thing EVER.
  • I wish I had written my name on my shirt. With all those spectators, you really can’t go wrong writing your name on your shirt. My friend had a shirt on with the name of her charity and literally EVERYONE kept cheering for her. I, however, did not hear a single “go girl with the pink shirt.” Names matter. I made sure I had my name on my shirt for my next marathon and it was pretty fun. You feel like you have so many friends. Or you’re a celebrity.
  • I ran with my phone. And it was weird. I wore a spibelt and I’m not quite sure how I was okay with that. I’m a less is more kind of person when it comes to running accoutrements. Most days I want to fling my water belt out the window. So how I managed to run 26.2 miles with a spibelt on that held not only my phone, but two Gus, I will never quite understand. I guess it’s a testament to how comfortable the spibelt is. Kudos spibelt – well done.
  • I ate two huge candy bars after the race. I guess this goes back to my last post and my sugar issues. Obviously this sugar thing has been going on for a while. I remember first housing a snickers bar and then I think it was a Twix. I didn’t even buy the candy bars. My friend had four candy bars for some reason and was kind enough to share them with my hungry eyes. Good planning Lauren – well done. She even convinced me that a snickers bar is like an energy bar because it has so much protein. She didn’t need to sell me – I was gonna eat it no matter what. 🙂

So those are just a few of my Boston memories. What about the course, you ask? Was it hard? Did I hurt? How did I do? I supposed the course was hard, the race was hard, I was in some pain, and I did okay. But for me, the Boston Marathon was so much more than that stuff. It’s an experience I cherished and so maybe I tend to remember random things from that day more than the actual course and race details. So what.

But of course, you can get all of the nitty gritty race details in my recap from last year if you’re really interested.  Happy Marathon Monday!!

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!

Book Club, Race for Hope and a Baby Shower

Busy – that is the word to best describe my past week. Coming back from a long weekend (Labor Day) is always tough because it means squeezing a ton of work into four days.

But as busy as things were, I had to take time out to go to book club on Thursday night. We meet monthly and are each responsible for selecting a book for our month. This past month, we read The Hunger Games and you can check out my review here. But the first book was soo good, that most of us read the second and third book as well. Every month, we also try to choose a restaurant that goes along with the theme of our book. This month we thought it would be kind of tough, but turns out that Korean BBQ was the perfect choice! We went to Yakiniku West in the East Village. And soon it was time to cook our meat and veggies, just like Katniss did in The Hunger Games – okay… well kind of.

It was a great choice. We split four entrees, a few appetizers and several pitchers of beer and it was still very affordable and delicious!

With Thursday over, it was time to head upstate again on Friday evening. We drove up to Albany and got there in time to watch my cousins play in the CBA vs. Albany football game. CBA crushed them. I headed home early and went to bed because I had a race the next morning!

On Saturday morning, I ran the Race for Hope in Slingerlands, NY with a few friends. I can’t say it was the most organized thing in the world. They had one person working the table where they were handing out the tags, so the race started about 15 minutes late. But regardless, we were off and running. The course was a little hilly and pretty suburban, but it flew by.

According to my Garmin, I finished the 5k in 23:52. Not my fastest, not my slowest. That’s fine, I’ll take it!

After the race, we “raced” home to shower and get ready for a friend’s baby shower. I didn’t have my camera with me, so I have no photos from the shower, but I’m hoping friends will send a few my way. We had a gorgeous day for the shower, which was outside, and it was a lot of fun. Lots of food, fun baby stuff, ginormous CUPCAKES, and a very pregnant friend who looked fabulous. Seriously, she is eight months pregnant and so very mobile and comfortable looking.

After the shower, I headed to Clifton Park to spend the evening at another friend’s new house. She moved in about a month ago and already it’s looking pretty good. Know what else looked good? The mounds of food we brought…

…and devoured. We had so many awesome snacks, that we didn’t even end up needing to make the actual dinner foods that were prepared. To be honest, sometimes I prefer that. I love appetizers and snacks.

The night was filled with lots of laughs, girl talk, wedding talk, baby talk, and almost anything you can think. We go off on some serious tangents when we get together.

On Sunday it was time to head back to NYC, but not before stopping at Lindsey’s Country Store for some freshly picked apples and apple cider. It’s such a cute little store and I love it because they spell my name right!

We bought some gala and honeycrisp apples. Is there anything better in the fall?

And lastly, I will leave you with what we came home to on Sunday night…

Such a teaser – as soon as you go over and try to smush his stomach he tries to attack you. He’s sneaky like that.

What are you most looking forward to as fall approaches? I am torn between fall clothes, delicious fall flavored coffees, foliage, our wedding anniversary and apples. If you couldn’t tell – fall is my favorite season!

The Return of the Long Run – 15 Miles

So things are slowly getting back to normal after our vacation and hurricane adventures. And along with the normalcy was the return of the long run in my life. I ran a solid 14 miles two weekends ago in upstate NY, but this past weekend the 15 I ran with my friend really felt like the official return.

But that’s not to say it was easy by any means. It was tiring and somewhat painful, but in a good way – like “oh how I’ve missed you” way. We ran it very slow and kept waiting for the downpour that was predicted, but it never came. My friend was kind enough to let me tag along on her 20 mile run, of which I ran 15 with her. As sick as it sounds, I envied her and the fact that she had been training hard enough to do the full 20. You marathoners out there now what kind of envy I’m talking about. Or maybe not and I’m just totally crazy. But…I think you secretly do.

Anyway – the run was good in that painful kind of way and I finished feeling okay. Here are out splits:

Like I said – it was slloww. But slow and steady wins the race and avoids injuries in my book.

The rest of my weekend was busy but good. It involved some baby shower shopping, cleaning out my entire room at my parent’s house, and quality time with some family and friends. And last but certainly not least, the weekend involved lots of nachos!!

These nachos were homemade (by yours truly) and delicious. I had nachos on Friday night as well at Beff’s. What’s a girl to do? When people are interested in sharing nachos, how could I possibly turn them down. I think in the midst of devouring the second batch, I admitted that I would have put nachos on our wedding menu, if I thought that would have been acceptable. I have an unnatural obsession with nachos, yes. But at least I’m honest about it. 🙂

What’s your favorite “bad” food that you just can’t so no to? Also on my list: hugs, candy corns, mini snickers bars, salt and vinegar chips and caramels.  Not all at once of course…well not usually. 🙂 Happy Hump day!!