Tag Archives: Boston Marathon

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?!!

Running Sans iPod and Boston Registrant

Good morning all – Happy Hump Day! What a dreary day out in NYC. Blah. I planned to head to the gym this morning and run, but that definitely did not happen, so the gym it is tonight after work.

Good news of the day: Guess what email I received yesterday?!! My official registration for the Boston Marathon!! They confirmed my qualifying time and then I checked myself out on their Registrant Page.

Sorry – I blocked out my last name, in case there are any crazy stalkers out there.

After receiving my Boston confirmation, yesterday turned into a pretty busy day, as it seems all days are now. But I managed to get out of work at 5 p.m. and get home early enough to go for a quick run outside before the rain started and it got too dark. I ran with my worn out and broken Garmy (his replacement band should be coming soon). Here are my stats:

Mile 1 – 8:17
Mile 2 – 8:25
Mile 3 – 8:38
Mile 4 – 8:35
.29 – 2:47

Total mileage – 4.29 in 36:44. Average page – 8:33 minute miles.

I felt pretty good on this run, like I was working hard, but not exhausted.

Sounds of Silence
I have a strange confession. I haven’t run with my iPod since before the Pocono Marathon in May. It started out that I just forgot it once or twice and then suddenly, I was just never bringing it. And to be quite honest – I don’t really miss it. I know – it’s totally weird. But when I start getting back into longer weekend runs, I will probably grab it again. For these short 3 – 6 miles runs over the past few months, I haven’t felt the need. I feel like without it, I’m more in tune to what’s happening around me. More aware of the people and the scenery.

Do you ever ditch you iPod once in a while when you run?

I think it’s a great thing to try every now and then. I also feel like I’m more aware of my breathing and exertion in general. It just seems to make for a more cognizant run overall. But – that is just my opinion. I know lots of people who would never dream of running sans iPod.

After my run, I stretched a bit and then headed inside to make some dinner. I wanted to use up a can of beans that had been lingering in the cupboard, and with us still being ovenless, the choices were limited. Hence, I had what appears to be a taco, without the taco shell.

Brown rice with beans and corn, topped with lettuce and salsa. My shell-less taco was pretty decent, albeit probably a bit strange to most people.  

I then managed to watch a bit of Glee and The Biggest Loser before passing out quite early. That’s my MO as of late. I think the change of the season is draining me, along with the weird weather. It’s super warm here right now and I switch between sweating and feeling chilly. It’s pretty frustrating.

Have a great day all!

Boston Marathon X 4?

Busy busy day here. I’ve got a work event tomorrow, so I’m just posting quickly on lunch. I wanted to see if anyone else out there who registered for the 2011 Boston Marathon, and faced registration issues, is showing multiple charges from the BAA? Right now, it’s showing pending charges for FOUR Boston Marathon registration fees of $130 each!


Source

I have to say that I was immensely disappointed in the BAA’s system and process for registration. The page wouldn’t send my completed form, then the link went dead and I had to start over. Then each time I filled out the form and hit submit, it went back to a blank form page. They’ve been doing this HOW MANY YEARS NOW? You’d think they would have it down to a science.

So my thinking is that if they show me registering four times, lord only knows how many other people have the same thing going on. Perhaps that’s why registration filled up in 8 hours, when each person was taking about 4-10 registration slots each?!

Oh my – what a mess that would be. Can you imagine it? Maybe they will re-open registration if that is indeed the issue.

Any other Boston Marathon runners out there seeing multiple pending charges from BAA?

Ode to My Oven

It’s Tuesday! I kind of wish it was Thursday though. Don’t you? I have a feeling this is going to be a pretty long and stressful week. I have two full days of training at work on Tues/Wed, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have to get my other work done. I have to figure out some way to do it all. Awesome.

I am feeling 100% after my “half mary” as Katie called it. 🙂 I like that nickname. So I am planning to run at the gym tonight, since out of nowhere it is getting dark soo early. Darn it! I’m still pretty excited about the fact that I’m all signed up for Boston (pending confirmation from BAA of course). And I found out yesterday that my younger cousin is running it as well! What’s also great, is that people are volunteering left and right to come spectate and cheer me on! That’s the great thing about a fun race like Boston, everyone actually enjoys hanging around for 4 hours waiting for you because there’s a huge party going on all around them (at least that’s what I hear anyway).

Another thing that made my day yesterday was receiving these…

I’ve never gotten flowers at work before and it totally brightened my day(and made my cubicle look totally inviting). Thanks Hubby for these gorgeous anniversary roses. 🙂

Hubby had tickets to the Yankees game three of the playoffs, so our anniversary dinner is going to be on Wednesday night.

So instead, I came home and threw together the following dinner:

I know – it’s the most random thing ever. Here we’ve got some leftover chicken noodle soup, courtesy of my mama. Cucumbers and grape tomatoes with balsamic vinegar. A piece of brown bread and apple cider.

Besides just having strange cravings, our gas in the building is STILL not working, which means outroven and stove don’t work at all. Let me tell you, when it is back on, there is going to be a flurry of cooking going on in our apartment. I am seriously missing my oven/stove. I even started composing an “Ode to my Oven” in my head in the shower this morning. We bought a hot plate, so it’s kind of like I have  stove, but it cooks things really unevenly and takes forever to heat up. 😦 I think I’m going to break out the crock pot on Thursday for some minor salvation.

Anyone have some good crock pot recipes to share?

Ok – that’s it for today. Hope you have a great Tuesday all! And remember to never take your oven for granted. 🙂 Bake something on my behalf.

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!

Caravan Dinner and 16 Handles

Good morning all – happy Tuesday! I hope everyone’s Monday was good and all the Boston marathoners are recovering nicely. I was checking the progress of my 18-year-old cousin and this lovely lady and both did AWESOME! Congrats to them and everyone who ran it!

My Marathon Monday was good. As I mentioned yesterday, I was up super early to get in a quick 5-mile run. I made a yummy oatmeal and banana morning mash-up with some delicious brown sugar on top.

Then I headed to work  for the day…just a little bit tired.

What a boring eating and snacking day at work. Mid-morning snack was a granola bar and then lunch was a salad with romaine lettuce, cheddar cheese, carrots, walnuts, raisins and chickpeas.

My afternoon snacks were an unphotographed apple and yogurt with Kashi Go Lean. And it was the yucky yogurt. I just couldn’t throw it out – it felt too wasteful. Plus, the pickens were slim in our fridge yesterday and beggars can’t be choosers right? So I sucked it up and at the Yoplait yucky yogurt.

It was loaded with cereal, which made it a little bit better.

After work I headed to the Lower East Side to meet up with my friend Katie for dinner. She suggested Caravan of Dreams, which is where I met up with a few bloggers and blog readers a little while back. I loved it then, so I happily agreed!

We decided that we wanted to share an appetizer and then split our entrees as well, we really wanted to try as much as possible. We started with the Classic Nachos and they were scrumptious!

For our main courses, we split the Shiitake Stir Fry and The Ecuador “live meal.”

They both looked delicious, but the stir fry was the only one that impressed us. The Ecuador was too much like a plain salad – there were hardly any noodles and hardly any of the dressing and pic de gallo. It was unimpressive to say the least. I wish we had ordered another of the main entrees.

I did enjoy the stir fry a lot. However, after our meal I was craving something sweet. Katie had just mentioned a frozen yogurt place called 16 Handles, which was in the neighborhood, so I decided I needed to try it.

All I can say is YUM!! The yogurt at 16 Handles was delicious!! I tried to control myself, but you get to make your own, so it’s kind of tough. Here was my creation:

Yeah, there was a lot going on in there. The frozen yogurt in my bowl is vanilla (boring), NY Cheesecake (divine) and Dulce de Leche (YUMMM). Then I topped my three flavors with a few cookie dough bites (love em), granola and shredded coconut. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.!! It ended up coming to about $4, which isn’t so bad. I’ve definitely spent more a Pinkberry.

Have you ever tried 16 Handles?

I certainly do recommend.

However, one thing got me thinking as we were leaving. I noticed a group of three high-schoolers with their yogurt containers piled high and deep with everything you can imagine. I looked at their obscenely large yogurts and then instinctively I looked at them to see what kind of health they appeared to be in. (I couldn’t help it) Two out of the three were extremely overweight. And for some reason this made me really uneasy. I immediately thought of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, which I’ve been watching lately, and about all the obese kids in high school these days. These girls were probably about consume at least 500-calorie yogurts (if not more, I’m so bad at estimating) and were likely thinking that because it’s “frozen yogurt” and they saw signs posted that said “low-fat” they were being healthy.  Or maybe they just didn’t care.

And it’s certainly not my place to judge anyone, I just know that if/when I have kids they will learn the value of their food — what it gives you in terms of nutrition and energy and how to enjoy desserts and treats in moderation. To be fair, I wasn’t much of a moderation-kid. I wanted candy, fruit rollups, Little Debbie dessert cakes – you name it and I wanted to eat it. But my mom also instilled in me the need to have three nutritious square meals a day. So maybe that helped tame my snacking a bit. That and the fact that I was always on the go – riding bikes, playing tag, climbing trees, building forts. I didn’t really discover video games until junior high and even then, I wasn’t a huge fan. So I burned a lot of the extra calories I ate through cardio activities.

Sorry for this long tangent. The yogurt place just seemed to be a perfect example of how we got to where we are today in terms of childhood obesity.

For all you mothers out there – what are some of your techniques and tips to teach your kids about nutritious foods? And do they seem to get it, and/or are they interested?

Alright all – have a good Tuesday!