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!!

Week 12: A Needed and Appreciated Cut Back Week

Week 12 of marathon training in O-VER! We are slowly inching closer to marathon day and I gotta tell ya – this warm weather is making me a little nervous. The Boston Marathon will be run tomorrow in 80 degree temps in the middle of April. What will it be like by the end of May? I am very scared that they will either cancel our race Memorial Day weekend or it will be truly torturous to run in crazy hot temps.

But, there’s no use speculating and getting myself all worked up right now. There are still 6 weeks of training to go with two more tough long 20 mile runs ahead of me.

I’m getting ahead of myself again. This post is a recap of week 12 of training, which was a much needed and appreciated cut back week, as the title says. This week I had 34 miles on my plan and I came in pretty close at 33 miles for the week. Here’s what the week looked like:

Monday: 6 miles
Tuesday: 4 miles
Wednesday: rest day (a.k.a. – lazy and tired day)
Thursday: 6 miles
Friday: 4 miles
Saturday: 13 miles

It was a pretty light week, which was super nice considering I was tired and lacking in motivation – as Wednesday clearly showed. I just came home and wanted to nap rather than run. It happens sometimes when you are in the thick of training. At least for me anyway.

But, by Saturday morning I was feeling more motivated and ready for a longish run. My plan called for 12 miles, but I ended up running nearly 13. I was running through Central Park starting around 9:20 a.m. and got caught up in some race going on. It felt weird to be running with the group when I wasn’t really in the race and I kind of just wanted to get away from them and do my own thing. Because of that, I ended up running some of those first miles faster than planned to get away from the other runners. My splits looked like this:

Yeah – it was a much faster run than I expected. But it also felt good to push it a little.

After my longish run, Hubby and I headed out to an afternoon show. At the Colon Cancer run we won tickets to a show and today was the day. We headed to the theater district to see:

It’s a new show that came over from London and I thought it was really good. It was very funny. I’d recommend it. The main character REALLY likes eating and I could totally sympathize with him – especially now during the peak of marathon training. I seem to be devouring everything and have a real sugar addiction.

How serious you ask? Well after the show, I made some homemade “healthified” nachos for dinner, and then proceeded to eat half a bag of hugs and half a box of sweettart hearts. I NEED to stop. Sugar is bad. Sugar is bad. Sugar is bad. I keep telling myself this box/bag of candy will be the last one and I last about 3 days and then go buy another. HELP!!

Anyone have any tips for cutting down on sugar and beating those terrible sugar cravings?

Easter Dinner Success!

Living in NYC and away from our family can be tough sometimes when it comes to planning for holidays. We understandably can’t make it home for every holiday. We try to go upstate as much as possible, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. When Hubby and I started signing up for 2012 NYRR races this year, we completely forgot to check what weekend Easter was going to on. So, we signed up for the Scotland run and didn’t realize it was on Easter weekend until a few weeks before it. We decided that maybe this year we would spend Easter weekend in NYC. Sometimes it’s also nice not to have travel on a holiday weekend with all the masses and crazy drivers.

This meant that the domestic and traditional side of me decided I needed to plan a nice holiday dinner. Yes, it was only the two of us. Yes, there was no particular need to go all out. But my inner Betty Crocker had some plans of her own.

After church and some spring cleaning on Sunday, I set to work to make a respectable Easter dinner. I decided earlier in the week to make ham – note that I’d never made it before. If you’ve made ham then clearly you know this was the easiest part of my meal. I don’t know what I was expecting or why I had built up in my head that this was going to be an undertaking, but it was not. I bought a ham at the store, took the plastic wrapping off, added 1/2 cup of water to a pan, put the ham on the pan, covered it with foil, and cooked it in the oven for an hour. Boom – ham done. Simple as that. I even bought a pre-cut ham, which made the whole process even easier.  

Next up on my list was scalloped potatoes. This was kind of a process. I would say my prep time took about 30 minutes for all the slicing and dicing of the potatoes and onions. Here is the recipe:

Au Gratin Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 4 russet potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 onion, sliced into rings
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Butter a 1 quart casserole dish.
Layer 1/2 of the potatoes into bottom of the prepared casserole dish. Top with the onion slices, and add the remaining potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a medium-size saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Mix in the flour and salt, and stir constantly with a whisk for one minute. Stir in milk. Cook until mixture has thickened. Stir in cheese all at once, and continue stirring until melted, about 30 to 60 seconds. Pour cheese over the potatoes, and cover the dish with aluminum foil.  Bake 1 1/2 hours in the preheated oven.

The end result? A total success! This recipe made a LOT of potatoes. We’ve pretty much been eating them all week. Along with the potatoes, I baked some asparagus. I placed the asparagus in glass pan, covered it with butter, parmesan cheese, garlic powder and onion powder, then put some foil over the pan and popped it in the over for about 30 mins. And here’s my plate:

I also threw together a tossed salad for us and enjoyed some wine. And we even used our diningroom and ate at a proper table. I know that probably sounds weird to a lot of people, but I feel like most NYCers will get it. I think that a lot of city people, with small spaces, tend to eat in their livingroom areas for the most part. A lot of NYC apts don’t even have a diningroom. And although we have one, we RARELY use it and I don’t really know why. I mean, it looks really nice and inviting, right….

So we had a very proper Easter dinner in the diningroom and everything. How fancy. And lastly we had some delicious oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

How was your Easter? Did you travel to visit family? Stay at home? Host a dinner?

And now we’re into the next week already, which is Week 12 of marathon training. This is a cut back week for me and I’m really liking it so far. I ran 6 miles on Monday night and then managed to drag myself out of bed on Tuesday morning for a quick 4 miles. I’m hoping the rainy drizzle will end by later today so I can squeeze in 7 miles after work.

It’s so strange for me to think that last year at this time I was getting ready for the Boston Marathon. It does NOT feel like it was a full year ago. What an amazing race. Of course, with the new, ridiculously hard standards, I’ll never make it back there again. So I will just relish the memories!

Who out there is running the Boston Marathon this year? Good luck to all you runners!!

Week 11, 20 Mile Run, Scotland Run and Veggie Casserole

Wow – that might be my longest, most boring title ever. But it’s a pretty accurate depiction of my past few weeks.  There’s been a lot going on over the past two weeks and I’m going to try to cram it all in this post. Hubby and I just finished up week 11 of marathon training and it was a tough one.  Here is a snapshot of the planned week vs. the actual week for running (err slightly different):

 

So I ended up hitting 40 miles, but it was NOT exactly the way I had planned it. The top white row is what I actually ran: 4 miles on Monday, 8 on Tuesday, 5 on Thursday, 3 on Friday and 20 on Saturday. But that was not at all how I planned the week out. Oh well – in my mind all that matters is the total weekly mileage and the long run. 

Speaking of Saturday’s 20 mile run…

Scotland Run & 20 Miler

I headed over to Central Park for the Scotland Run (10k) a little bit earlier than normal so I could squeeze in about 4 miles before the start of the race. Then I found my corral and a few seconds later Bill found me and we started the race together. There were more than 11,000 people signed up for the race, but I think only about 7,500 finished the race. Either way – it was a lot of people which equaled a lot of weaving around. Awesome.

My first mile was understandably tough because of the amount of people around me. I ran it in about 7:53. I tried to pick it up on mile two and managed to push it a little bit despite the rolling hills, running mile 1-2 around 7:25.  I ran mile 2-3 in 7:19. Mile 3-4 was especially tough because of Harlem Hill. It was a rough climb up that hill and my legs were feeling pretty tired after my somewhat high-mileage past weeks. Finally reaching the top of that hill felt amazing. Then miles 4-5 and 5-6 were just okay. My overall splits were:

After I finished and found Bill, we stuck around for the raffle drawing. I don’t normally do this when I have to run more mileage, but last weekend when we stuck around after the Colon Cancer Challenge, we won theater tickets! Nice. Unfortunately, this week the crowd was much bigger and we didn’t win a darn thing. After that, we dragged ourselves back onto the Central Park outer loop to run 10 more miles. Ohh yeah – it does sound like fun doesn’t it? And…it…was…tough. Taking that long break did not help and the last 10 miles of my 20 mile run were pretty painful. I made the mistake of eating too much post-race food and had a stomach ache pretty much the whole time. All in all, it was kind of a grueling 20 mile run, but at the same, a pretty good race. I actually ran a personal best 10k time – the official NYRR time was: 47:40.

So that was yesterday and Hubby and I spent the rest of the day recovering. He ran 18 miles in total and had a high mileage week as well. And now today is Easter and I am in full on Easter dinner mode. I am making my first official Easter dinner at home and I feel super grown up. But that will be my next post.

For now, I will leave you with a delicious recipe that I made last Sunday – a veggie casserole that supplied me with lots of lunch leftovers.

Veggie Casserole

It was modified from this recipe: Zucchini Herb Casserole
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/zucchini-herb-casserole/detail.aspx
Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  •  1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds zucchini, cubed
  • 1/2 cup of green peppers
  • 1/2 cup of mushrooms
  • 1 cup sliced green onions
  •  2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 cups seeded, chopped or canned tomatoes
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided

Directions
Combine the rice and water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes, until rice is tender.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a shallow 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.  Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, and cook the zucchini, green onions, and garlic 5 minutes, or until tender. Season with garlic salt, basil, paprika, and oregano. Mix in the cooked rice, tomatoes, and 1 cup cheese. Continue to cook and stir until heated through. Transfer to the prepared casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Bake uncovered 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

——

If you are looking for an easy, filling meal to help fuel your training, you should definitely give this one a shot. And that’s all for week 11 of marathon training. I can’t believe I’m already at my 20 milers. I have a scale back week this week which means a lovely easy 12 mile run next weekend, which I am VERY much looking forward to. And then it’s on to the next 20 miler. 🙂

What about you – are you a fan of marathon training plans that scale back in mileage every few weeks? I follow Hal Higdon’s plans and love that he gives those little breaks. I find my body always needs it.

Not So Sexy 17 Miles

Sometimes the best long runs aren’t the ones where everything goes as planned, but you just plain get it done anyway. I wasn’t particularly looking forward to today’s long run. My weekly running plan hadn’t worked out right and I ended up having to run 3 miles on Friday night after work. Ideally, I like to take the day before and after a long run off completely. My two days of rest for the week.

Well, since I skipped my Monday run I had to end Friday with a few miles. Nothing crazy, but I hated it nonetheless.

So this morning I woke up around 7:30 a.m. and started this process of getting ready. Breakfast was the usual oatmeal, coffee, and water with nuun. But then I could not figure out what to wear – short or capris? Long sleeve, short sleeve or tank top. For some reason I was totally unsure. The decision was made (shorts and short sleeve shirt) and run-time was inching closer, but (excuse me for sharing too much info) my bathroom visits were not over. I ended up leaving about 15 minutes later than I wanted, still unsure that I wouldn’t have to stop somewhere along my route.

But I was off and made my way to Central Park. I don’t know what it is about CP, but it spurs my competitiveness. Although, it may not be completely competitive–sometimes I just don’t like running next to a person (or way too close) for a prolonged period of time. I start saying in my head “come on, just hurry up and pass me, if you’re gonna” or “come on Lindsey, you are totally crowding this chic, keep it moving.” And then inevitably, I end up going faster than I planned to put some space between me and the other person.

Does anyone else who runs in CP have this issue or am I totally weird that I don’t like being too close to other runners?

Today’s run consisted of two large loops (12 miles – 6 mile loop each), one bridal path loop, and then another mile on the main path, with a mile run to the start and back home. And what does that equal? 17 Miles!

Surprisingly, despite the rocky start, I felt pretty good at the end of my run. Here are my splits:

And the route…

I gotta be honest, the Central Park loop, while fueling my competitive drive, is getting a little monotonous. I’m not sure how I’ll get through next week’s 18 miler and then 20 in CP. I might need to get creative.

And after all was said and done, I was still able to smile after 17 miles!

I guess that probably means it wasn’t such a bad run, right?

And now, the rest of the weekend will entail a trip to NJ for dinner with friends and then a whole lot of cleaning tomorrow, including about 4 loads of laundry!

What are your plans for the weekend? How do you handle the laundry pile-up when more than one person in the family is exercising or training a lot? Do you do it all in one day or throughout the week? I’m tempted to start the throughout the week approach…

Have a great weekend!

Spring Changes!

Hello all – happy spring…err or maybe summer? It’s supposed to hit almost 80 degrees this week. Kind of crazy for March.

But, I will NOT complain about warm weather while in the midst of marathon training. That would be absurd. I will simply say, thank you, thank you, thank you – over and over again.

Before I get into a marathon training update, I’ll explain why I’ve been gone again. There were some major changes in my life. I started a new job a little over two weeks ago – and as you can imagine – that was a pretty big deal. I had been at my last job for almost three years, but an amazing opportunity came along at an organization I REALLY love, and a position that basically rocks. After a lot of hemming and hawing, and talking over the pros and cons with my husband and family, I finally accepted the job and gave my notice.

I’m not exactly what you would call good with change. I like my routines, my schedules, knowing what’s going on, etc. So starting a new job was somewhat stressful and a big adjustment. Hence, the blogging fell to the bottom of the list. But I’ve still been reading and running, so now I’ll try to catch up. Last thing I want to say on the job front is that I’m VERY happy with the decision I made. I know it’s only been a few weeks and I still have a lot of learning to do, but so far this has been a great change! And I want to thank my husband, my friends and my family for all supporting me in making this decision, and listening to me go on and on questioning my choice. It was the right one!

And Now Onto Running
On the running front, things have been progressing. I won’t lie and say that I’ve stuck to my training plan 100%. I’m currently at around 215 miles in week 9 of my training plan. There have only been two weeks where I did NOT reach my weekly mileage goal. The first was due to illness and the second was due to St. Patrick’s day. I just completely messed up my schedule last week and left too much running to happen on the weekend, and then of course I was exhausted. But we had fun!

We hit the parade and then enjoyed a full day out in NYC – so running was kind of forgotten.

But I am trying to get back to the plan this week.  I ran 7 miles on Tuesday and 4 miles this morning. I have a 7 miler planned for tomorrow, 3 miles on Friday, and then a lovely 17 miles on the schedule for Saturday. Of course, it’s supposed to rain this weekend – the only rainy days this week.  I’m hoping the Saturday forecast might be a little wrong and some of the nice Friday weather will hold on until Saturday.

All in all, I am feeling a little bit better running-wise. My legs are finally losing their lead and I am getting back some of my speed. It’s still not feeling easy or as easy as it has been in the past, but I’m hoping I’m getting there. Hubby’s training is also going very well. He is running four days a week and has been following his plan pretty closely too. I’m hoping we’ll both have a great race on May 27!!

How are you enjoying this spring weather? Have you changed jobs in the past year – did it stress you out a lil bit? Who’s running a spring marathon – how is training going?!!

Have a great Wednesday all!

Stupid Sickness and Lead Legs

Hi there – I’ve been MIA for a bit, but that is not so unusual for me. This time thought, it was not just because I was lazy or busy, or feeling busy even though I could probably squeeze some blogging in. This time I was SICK. Sick like I haven’t been in years. I pride myself on being a pretty healthy person…and may even be a bit unsympathetic to people who are  out sick often. “Take your vitamins, eat right, exercise and you probably won’t have those problems” – I’m often known to think in my head. Yeah – I can be harsh. And probably unduly so.

But after this past week of suffering, I will certainly try to be more sympathetic and understanding when other people are ill.

So what got me down? Strep throat. EEK! Yes, I tend to run away from people when I hear this too. It’s contagious, it’s obnoxious – in short – it’s the pits. And that’s exactly how I felt for almost a full week. The symptoms started coming on last Saturday night when we were in Utica, NY visiting the in-laws. I had finished my 13-mile run earlier in the day (it went pretty well) and was feeling all legit and athletic…and then my throat got scratchy.

Like a true stubborn Taurus, I refused to believe anything was wrong and continued on in the same manner – running 6 miles in Utica on Monday when we had the day off. We headed back to NYC later in the afternoon on Monday and as I chatted with my mom on the phone, I admitted my throat issue. She saw the warning signs. She told me to go to the doc ASAP, but I kind of just listened and pretended that she was overreacting. I was NOT sick.

But then I was. I made it to work on Tuesday and through the entire exhausting day (we had an all-day video shoot that required running around and coordinating). And then on the way home I crashed. I thought about stopping into urgent care, but once again my stubborn side won out and convinced my better judgement that a good night’s sleep was all I needed.

Again – WRONG. I went to bed at 7 p.m. and woke up for work with nausea, a raging sore throat, and overall weakness. To the doc I went, and he told me what I knew but didn’t want to know – I had Strep Throat. Blah. Back to bed I went.

And so the rest of the week for running was shot. I feel like I slept for five days. From Tuesday through Saturday, I was pretty much a mess. And then just when I started to get really upset and convince myself that it wasn’t strep throat, but something more serious – like mono or cancer – I awoke on Sunday feeling…better! I wasn’t 100% and actually still don’t think I am yet, but I could swallow without wincing, I didn’t need to sleep 18 of the 24 hours in the day, and I even had a little appetite.

So I ran. Yes, I know it’s probably not the best thing to do. But I needed to get out of the house, and I went SUPER slow. And I felt better afterward. I ran 5.5 miles at an unbearably slow pace to top out at a whopping 11.5 miles for the week! So sad, but what are you gonna do?

But now it’s a new week and I have been attacking it head on. I ran last night after work and was so excited for what I hoped would be a fabulous run….and it sucked. I felt like I had lead strapped to my legs the WHOLE time. It was kind of ridiculous. I was sad after I finished the short but painful 3.5 miles and tried to cheer myself up by watching The Bachelor. Only to find myself cursing at the t.v. and telling said Bachelor how dumb he is. And so I went to bed with high hopes of a fabulous morning run.

Strike two for the fabulous run happened at 6:05 this morning when the lead legs returned. In full force. Seriously – what the heck?! It was awful yet again. I have never felt so heavy and slow in my life. Within the first few steps, I knew I was in for a tough run, so I had that conversation with myself where I try to justify cutting the run short. And then my willpower tried to overtake my fear and it was an all-out fight the entire time. When I managed to finish 4 miles (feeling still sooo crappy), my willpower won out and convinced my fear that two more miles wouldn’t be that bad.

I powered through those 6 miles this morning (it was a gorgeous morning btw), but it was a sad finish. I felt heavy and soggy and defeated…but also the slight twinge of runner’s high. And that’s why I’ll suffer through the next lead run and the next and the next…until hopefully I shake the lead out. Because at the end of the day, no matter how crappy I run, I still feel better than if I hadn’t gone at all.

But still – I want to get the lead out. How do I get the lead out? Help!!