Category Archives: Travel

A Weekend of Fun…And Not a Photo to Show

Happy Tuesday – hope you all had a nice weekend. I had a fabulous time seeing some great college friends, but not a second of it was caught on camera. We either didn’t have a camera or didn’t think to snap a shot. So now I will artfully describe for you what my weekend entailed and hopefully my wordy description will cut it.

Saturday morning I woke up a little late and was only able to squeeze in a 5-mile run before I had to head out. I had hoped for more, but took what I could get done.

On Saturday afternoon, I headed to Connecticut to my friend’s father’s house for a delightful little BBQ. At said BBQ, we had: chicken, burgers, veggies, burger, corn on the cob, and fruit salad. If that doesn’t scream good-0ld fashioned BBQ, I don’t know what does. It was perfection.

We spent the rest of the day hanging out and catching up, watching an adorable baby gurgle and laugh – you know, all the important stuff.

Alas, the day ended and it was time to think about dinner. Anyone who knows me well knows that this is pretty much how my day is split up: When is the next meal, where will it be, what will I eat and so on. Food rules my life. We headed to my other friend Kim’s house to pick her and determine where to go for dinner.

We hit up Butterfield 8 (yes, there is one in NYC) for a casual dinner  and spent the rest of the evening chatting and catching up.

Sunday I headed home and did laundry, cleaned, etc. for the rest of the day. I finished the evening by baking some delicious Banana Bread. I only remembered to take a “before” photo though.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 1 c. mashed ripe bananas (3 medium or 2 large)
  • 1/2 c. agave nectar
  • 1/4 c. canola oil
  • A pinch of sea salt (1/16 tsp.)

Directions:

  1. Coat an 8x4x2-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Mash bananas and set aside. In a medium bowl combine whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and sea salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine egg whites, banana, agave nectar, and oil. Once mixed well, add flour mixture all at one time to banana mixture. Stir until moistened. The batter should be lumpy. Spoon mixture into pan.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 to 50 minutes. Test doneness by inserting a wooden toothpick near the center of the bread. The toothpick should come out clean.
  4. Cool in pan on a wire rack for approximately 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan and cool completely on the wire rack.

My weekend ended with Trueblood of course! I thought this week’s episode was REALLY good. And now all of  a sudden its Tuesday evening already!

Quick Trip to Florida

Hello all. How is everyone? I got back late Thursday night from traveling for work for a few days, hence the blog has been a little quiet. The company I work for has an office down near Orlando and we had a big meeting onsite. Those who know me well, know that I like traveling for personal vacations, but am not a huge fan of traveling for work.

Why you ask? Well, traveling stresses me out. Even when vacationing, I don’t fully relax until I’ve arrived where I’m supposed to and have checked in to my hotel. I have developed a little OCD when it comes to traveling over the years. I am constantly worried about being late, missing flights, etc. So the end result is that I tend to make people I’m traveling with leave extremely early and then sit with me in airports and train stations for obscene amounts of time. Boring at times, yes. But it’s worth it for them not to have to travel with a stressed out and crazed Lindsey.

What about you? Are you a laid-back travel or a worry-wart like me?

So my travel went well. I was going to post from the hotel, but then things got hectic and I ran out of time. I was pretty pleased to have my very own suite for this trip – not that I spent any time in the hotel really. But the room wasn’t bad.

All this space for little old me!? Yup, I had a full suite to myself. I barely used any of it.

Plus, this crazy hotel served a complimentary breakfast (normal) and dinner (what?). We didn’t partake in the dinner, but I could not get over the fact that they provide their guests with two free meals a day! I saw a ton of families staying there and it seems like a pretty smart plan in my book to make a trip to Orlando a bit more affordable.

Today is Saturday and I’m headed to Connecticut in a bit for a little reunion with my college girls. I am also going to try to squeeze a short run in before that. I slept until 8:00 a.m. today – I think I really needed the rest. So I’ll only run maybe 4-5 miles this morning. It hasn’t been a great running week for me, but a few miles is better than nothing.

Also – I’m very jealous of everyone who went to BlogHer and will be going to the Healthy Living Summit. For some reason, my schedule never coincides with those events, but I love reading the recaps!

Anyway – it’s a gorgeous day for a quick run, maybe some pool time at my friend’s house and then some quality friend time! Hope you all have a great weekend!

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?!!

Post From The Road

So the title is pretty self explanatory. I’m writing my first blog post from the road. We are on 87 in the worst traffic ever. Regardless, I thought I’d give blogging from the road a shot. I’m not entirely sure if I can post photos this way and I’m sure my spelling will be horrendous.

The good news of my week is that I managed to accomplish all of the goals I set for myself yesterday which were to get out of work on time, squeeze in a 5 mile run, and make a delicious dinner. Check, check, check.

20110729-043301.jpg

While I was on my run, I got to thinking about how I tend to compare myself to my “peak” of fitness pretty often. You might think it’s weird that I’ve already passed my peak and can pinpoint it. It was when I was training for the Poconos Marathon last spring. I had incredible endurance, speed and muscle tone. So inevitably, I find myself comparing my current fitness level to that “peak” and I always wind up feeling sort of disappointed. I don’t think it’s a particularly good thing to be doing, but I just can’t seem to stop it.

So my plan is to strive for a new level of fitness that fits with my current level of exercise and life. I am not training for a marathon so I have to accept that I won’t have that endurance and muscle tone that I previously had. So instead I want to strive to run 3-4 times a week and eat healthy overall. It’s hard for me to not have that marathon goal driving me and I need to create some new motivation and challenges. Maybe that will be half marathons, finding new running buddies, maybe taking some classes. But I need to stop comparing myself to that peak because it’s unrealistic and maybe a bit unhealthy right now.

What about you? How do you stay motivated and comfortable with your level of exercise and goals?

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?!!

A Short Thanksgiving Hiatus

I’m back! I was gone for a while there. Almost a week. And I’m not going to do a giant Thanksgiving recap because, frankly, I’m past that, I’m not motivated to and I didn’t even take many pictures. I just enjoyed my time with my in-laws fully, ate a lot, ran some and relaxed. I hope you all did the same!

Ok fine – here’s one dessert shot…

I made the white cake for Hubby’s b-day. It was a bit drier than I wanted. I guess I’ll just have to make another one soon! (Whenever I have my oven back that is).

Over the holiday, we also attended my 10 year high school reunion and Hubby’s 15 year high school reunion. Both were more fun than I expected, thankfully. Here’s a photo of me with a bunch of the girls from my elementary school. Oh yeah – we go way back.

It was fun to catch up a bit with everyone. I felt like most people looked the same.

Oh – and I totally forgot to brag about the fact that I got a Personal Record in the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. It’s a tradition for my friend Lauren and I to run it every year. And for so long, I’ve been wanting to break 24 minutes. I did it. I ran the 5k in 23:36!! Woohoo!

Other than that, not too much new. I did just want to end this post by sharing some information about Lung Cancer. A friend of mine sent me this email yesterday and it really touched me and made me want to get involved. Please read the article (link below) and sign the petition!!

“Friends & family,
As you probably know by now, life threw us a curve ball this year with a lung cancer diagnosis. I’m not one to send mass emails unless it’s for a worthy cause, and I feel this falls in that category.
 
Did you know that cancer incidence among women who’ve never smoked (i.e., yours truly) is one of the fastest growing of all cancers, and no one really knows why?
 
Did you know that more women die every year from lung cancer than from breast cancer?
 
Did you know that November is lung cancer awareness month? (I didn’t.) There are no ribbons or NFL teams wearing a color to raise awareness for this kind of cancer. It’s a quiet cancer. And one that isn’t going away.
 
Every year over the last decade, I’ve enthusiastically supported the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, raising thousands of dollars for this highly supported cause by asking for donations from friends and families like you.

This year, I am asking you for something different. Please take a few minutes to read the article linked below, and sign the petition. And then pass it on. We have to change the way lung cancer is talked about. By talking about it. More awareness = more dollars for research = more of a chance for a cure.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rob-densen/lung-cancer-kills-so-does_b_786081.html
 
Thanks for reading. (And I BEG you, if you smoke, get the help you need to stop.)
 
Dismounting my soapbox now!
Lots of love & gratitude,
R

November Wedding Fun!

Wow I’ve been busy. This weekend was crazy and hectic and I can’t believe Monday is already over. I’ve been a bad poster lately. I am postponing my Nobu review until tomorrow, when I will also have my recap for The Girl Who Played With Fire. Yup, I finished it already.

Instead, here are some highlights from this weekend and my friend Jess’s wedding!

All the girls! Aren’t we just gorgeous?! 🙂 Hehe

Isn’t Jess’s hair gorgeous?!! She always has fab hair, but it looked extra amazing.


Me and Hubby enjoying the wedding and looking dapper!


I had to use a flash to get this meal. It was yummy. Chicken with veggies and then there was a risotto mushroom type of bake.


I also partook in the Venetian dessert table. And totally forgot to snap a shot of the actual cake, which was chocolate and delicious. But I was in love with the other desserts as well.

Much dancing and silliness ensued with all our friends. The wedding went until 1:00 a.m. and then we headed out and I went right to bed.  Congratulations to Jess and Bob! It was a fantastic wedding and a great time was had by all, I would certainly say.

Despite the late night and partying, I felt pretty good the next morning and decided to get in a run since it was absolutely gorgeous outside. I ran a quick 4+ miles in the sun.

Mile 1 – 8:52
Mile 2 – 8:12
Mile 3 – 8:02
Mile 4 – 8:54
.32 – 2:27

Total – 4.32 in 36:28. Average pace – 8:27 minute miles.

The rest of my day was spent grocery shopping and doing laundry and then heading back to NYC fairly late at night. Hence my feeling a bit frazzled.

So it’s a quick post today, but I promise a more in-depth post tomorrow with two reviews. Brace yourself! Can everyone else believe that Thanksgiving is next week? I can’t. It totally came out of nowhere.

A Busy Saturday Upstate

Good morning – happy Saturday. I’ve got a really great restaurant review coming your way soon, but I can’t spend enough time on it right now to do it justice , so I’m holding off. I’ll just give you one teaser: Nobu.

It’s Saturday morning and I just got back from a great 10 mile run with Lauren. However, I  may have “misguided” her somehow into believing that this run was part of my training plan for the Boston Marathon. When in actuality, this run was part of my pre-training and kind of just for fun. 🙂

Here are the stats from our run…

Mile 1 – 8:48
Mile 2 – 8:50
Mile 3 – 8:44
Mile 4 – 8:54
Mile 5 – 8:44
Mile 6 – 8:34
Mile 7 – 8:35
Mile  8 – 8:23
Mile 9 – 9:38
Mile 10 – 9:00
.14 – 1:08

Total: 10.14 miles in 1:29:17.  Average pace – 8:49 min miles
 
I thought this was an awesome run overall! I felt great and even though it was chilly at the beginning, I quickly warmed up.
 
I’m upstate this weekend for my friend Jess’s wedding tonight at the Century House. Should be awesome!!
 
Time to sign off and run some errands before the wedding festivities tonight! Have a great weekend all!

Half Marathon, Marathon & Anniversary

Happy Monday. How were your weekends? Mine went by in a blur. I sort of feel like I didn’t even have a weekend.

So in immediate exciting news… I just registered for the 2011 Boston Marathon!!! Yippeee! I’m so0 excited and nervous at the same time. There were some issues with the registration page, but thankfully someone on twitter passed around a link that worked. Any other bloggers out there running Boston next April?!

Now on to some race recaps. Yesterday was the Sun Half Marathon and Bay State Marathon in Lowell, MA. I ran the half and my friend, Lauren ran the full in hopes of qualifying for Boston. I’ll start with my race first:

Sun Half Marathon
We drove the full marathon course the day before and I got a chance to see most of the half course as well. It looked pretty flat and not too intimidating. Lauren and I woke up on Sunday morning at 5 a.m. and began our prepping – eating our bananas and Larabars, drinking water and Gatorade. And rotating bathroom turns (sorry, but I’m being honest).

We picked up our other friend running the marathon, Gabby, and headed to the Tsongas Arena around 6:30 and had no problem parking. We waited inside the arena for as long as possible and then went to the start. I thought the half and full marathoners would start together, but they separated us out a bit. I was slightly behind and to the right of the marathon group. So I said goodbye and good luck to Lauren and Gabby and went to my half corral.

The race started and somehow the half marathoners got out ahead of the full marathoners. Lauren and Gabby waved to me as I passed. I started trotting forward at a slow, but comfortable 8:37 minute pace. The start of the race was extremely congested. Then about 2 minutes later I heard my name and turned to see Lauren flying towards me. I picked up the pace a bit to stick with her and we ran together for probably half a mile.

After a few minutes, I realized that Lauren was just moving way too fast for me. I had trained a little bit for this race, but I was nowhere near her speed, so I waved her on and wished her good luck. And I prayed that she would slow down a bit and save some of that energy.

All alone now, I kept chugging along. I was moving pretty fast and I had a feeling that my speed would not last. I also knew that I had two loops of the same course to look forward to… or rather not look forward to. I do not like repeating parts of a course. I like it when I don’t really know what’s coming next and we start at point A and end at point B with no repeating.

My first loop was pretty speedy. Here are my stats:

Mile 1 – 8:25
Mile 2 – 7:53
Mile 3 – 8:09
Mile 4 – 8:12
Mile 5 – 8:08
Mile 6 – 8:04

However, as we entered the loop again, I think I was feeling kind of down about the fact that I’d have to do it all over again. And my lack of training really started to show. I ran the second loop MUCH slower:

Mile 7 – 8:29
Mile 8 – 8:36
Mile 9 – 8:43
Mile 10 – 8:44
Mile 11 – 8:42
Mile 12 – 8:44
Mile 13 – 8:47
.13 – :56

Total mileage – 13.13 in 1:50:39. Average pace – 8:25 minute miles.

So yeah – as you can see, the second half was a rough one for me. But I was happy with my pace and time overall considering my lack of training. It’s actually my slowest half marathon time yet, but I’m not beating myself up about it.

After my race ended, I grabbed a few snacks and headed back to the car to change, clean myself up and put on some warmer clothes. Then I headed back to the finish area to wait for Lauren. Briefly, here’s how her marathon went…

Bay State Marathon – Lauren’s Race
As I mentioned, it was a crowded start and I think that really frustrated Lauren. She was in BQ mode and was flying past people, trying to weave around the slower runners. We met up during the first mile and then she took off just as we passed the first mile marker.

She told me that she then proceeded to run sub-8 minute miles for about the first 8-10 miles of the race. That is SUPER FAST! One of her splits was around 7:30!! Eekk.

And so can you maybe guess what happened? She used up all her energy and by the time she hit Mile 22 things started to go downhill. She became nauseous and dizzy and then she actually got sick. She tried to drink water and Gatorade and refuel, but to no avail. Her split between 22-23 was in the 11+ minute range and those last few miles felt unbearable.

I was waiting in the finish area watching as 3:40 passed and then I was just hoping that she was okay. I was so relieved when she ran into the finish area. She saw me and started apologizing for not coming in under 3:40 and all I wanted to do was hug her. Instead, I screamed that she was awesome, it was totally okay and that she needed to run her heart out to the finish. And she did.

She finished in 3 hours and 45 minutes. A personal record and a pretty freaking fantastic time if you ask me!! I know she was disappointed at first, but then she realized that now she’ll be able to watch me run Boston instead and cheer me on with my husband! She was also pretty relieved that she didn’t have to start training for another marathon in December. 🙂 I luv ya Lauren – you did awesome yesterday!!

Lastly, I do want to mention that the post-race food for the half and full was AMAZING! Soup, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chips and mini candy bars. It was the best I’ve had so far.

So that was our intense race weekend. We drove home from Lowell, MA and I arrived back at my parent’s house and ate a big bowl of homemade soup my mother had made.

Then Hubby arrived at my parent’s house and we packed up our things to head home. Before we left, we each had a piece of anniversary cake that my mom made for our two-year wedding anniversary!

Looks like a mini wedding cake, doesn’t it?! It was delicious. Thanks Momma!

Happy Anniversary Hubby – I love you and can’t wait for many, many more anniversaries to come!