race reports

I will never forget this race: the 118th Boston Marathon

What a day it was.

photo 1-2

Here I am, four days after the Boston Marathon and I still have goose bumps from that day. There are no words to describe what running on that course was like on Monday. The feeling along the entire course was ELECTRIC. As my body heals this week, I cannot help but reflect back on what was probably one of the best days of my life. My quads and hamstrings are still a little sore, but my pride is absolutely still glowing! I grew up just outside of Boston and I ran last year, it was my very first marathon. I did not get to celebrate last year, all of that excitement was taken away from me (and everyone else that day). This year I got to celebrate with my family and actually enjoy my accomplishment. There is nothing like it and nothing as sweet as crossing that finish line!

My Official time was 3:24:30!

IMG_0184

For those of you who have been reading my blog, you know I was battling some injuries this winter. I had a feeling all along that I WOULD run, but I was nervous (and didn’t want to be in pain or cause permanent injury). I had people tell me that it wasn’t a good idea, but I wasn’t willing to let that stop me. If I was to run Boston, this WAS the year and I had to do it. The good thing is, as it got closer I started to feel a lot better (thanks to my chiropractor, massage therapist and acupuncturist) and running the race was becoming more of a reality. I What’s amazing is, I took five whole weeks off from running this winter and still took four minutes off from last year! It goes to show that you don’t have to over train to run a marathon:).To be honest, I wanted to break 3:20 (my time from Chicago in October), but given the course and all that went on with my foot injury, I was overjoyed knowing that I ran a Boston PR and qualified again for next year!  I realize that not every race can be a PR and I am happy with my strong finish.

IMG_0193

Heading down the hill at Newton-Wellesley Hospital after seeing my hubby and family

The course was TOUGH for me this year, especially after mile 16! The consensus I’ve received from a lot of lot of runners is that their quads were cramping up big time around mile 16, and continued to throughout the race. Yup, this was me!

heartbreak-hill-2014-68

Going up heartbreak hill! It was the down hills that got me (not heart break)

I think I was just so excited in the beginning, that I went out too fast on the down hills and that came back to bite me. I had a great run until around 16 and things started to get cramped up. Luckily, as a last minute decision I packed headphones in my Fuel Belt pouch (I NEVER run with music). My quads were burning so badly that I threw on my headphones and it forced me to zone in. While the crowds were AMAZING and so loud, I needed to listen to music to get me through miles 16-20. Once I got closer to the city, the crowds got even bigger and that helped me through to the finish line.

3e388591026a0e4c311ac7024cf345fe

If you have ever run the Boston Marathon, you know that the best sign in the world is seeing Hereford Street, knowing all you have to do is take a right and then a left onto Boylston Street, and you’re home free! As I took that turn on Monday and ran down Boylston, all I could do was run as fast as I could, just thinking about what happened last year… it gave me the fuel I needed! With tears of joy in my eyes, I crossed that finish and it was the best feeling in the WORLD. The best part is that I also did not further injure myself by running this race!

5652862826_5e02d17984_z

 

Here are some of my favorite photos and moments from the Boston Marathon and the Marathon Expo! These are moments I will cherish forever. 

Meeting Kara Goucher and Lauren Fleshman, who were representing Oiselle at the Boston Marathon Expo on Saturday. They are so down to earth and just plain awesome! I felt start struck!

photo 2-7

My Marathon day outfit.  Thanks Oiselle for being so perfect. I loved my Strappy bra, Flyte Tank, Distance Shorts and Lux arm warmers… totally comfortable, no chaffing and super cute.  Plus I stood out in the crowd, even better!

IMG_0182

The sunrise in the Boston common at the buses and bag drop. The sunrise was beautiful and my eyes welled up with tears as I the buses drove down Tremont Street, runners waving and smiling out the windows… we were all so excited!

photo 3-5

 

photo 2-4

The excitement continued in Athlete’s Village, where I sat around for about 1.5 hours before heading to my start corral. I met a lot of nice people that morning and there was just so much JOY all around the village, we all could not wait to start the race!

photo 4-2

Seeing my husband and family at mile 16.5!

IMG_0188

IMG_0185-1

All of the volunteers (and spectators) thanking ME as a runner for running this year! I thought that was amazing… The volunteers and spectators at the Boston Marathon are truly the best!

Source-Instagram-user-maireadparade (1)

Meeting up with my husband and family in the Boston Common, just after finishing, feeling such pride.

IMG_0197

photo 2-2

I can’t WAIT for next year! #BostonStrong

Uncategorized

Friday Favorites- Marathon Edition!

e55f812091494d84931da4a84d761d93

I thought I would put a Marathon spin on this week’s Friday favorites! The Boston Marathon is on Monday and I have tons of nervous energy right now. I am really excited, but I also feel butterflies in my stomach already. The weather looks close to perfect (50’s at the start, getting into the mid 60’s by finish), which is one less thing to worry about! My body feels good and I got a massage last night (incredible, highly recommend doing this before a race). I have three days until the race and I look forward to this weekend, which includes the Boston Marathon Expo, lots of rest and relaxation (and eating lots of carbs…).

Goals for the race: I would like to beat my time from Chicago in October, which was 3:20. I ran Boston last year in 3:28 (but I also started in the last corral and it really slowed me down in the first 4 miles). I know I have been injured during this training, but my overall fitness level is extremely high right now and I am feeling great at this moment (injuries are staying at bay… knock on wood). I must give credit to my chiropractor, acupuncturist and massage therapist who helped me get to my current state.

One thing that it helping me mentally is knowing that I will be doing an Ironman in August and the Marathon is at the end of swimming and biking all of those miles.  Of course this won’t be easy by ANY means, but with the Ironman in the near future, helps put things into perspective, for me at least! (if you are interested in tracking me, I have included that info at the bottom of this post!)

Here are some of my favorites for racing in a Marathon!

Fuel Belt Super Stretch Race Belt

superstretchrace_black_1

I struggled for a while to find the perfect waist belt, and I think I’ve finally found it! I don’t carry water on me during the marathon, but this belt is perfect for holding gels, and the little pouch fits an iPhone perfectly (plus additional gels). It sits comfortably on my hips and does not ride up or move around.

PowerBar Strawberry/Banana Blasts!

powerbar_gelblasts_large_01_1_gelblasts_strawberry_banana
Since starting my Ironman training, I have switched over to PowerBar products. PowerBar is a major Ironman sponsor and all of their fuel will be on the actual course. Better to be safe than sorry! I really like the Strawberry-Banana flavor… I actually look forward to eating them while running or biking:)

KT Tape

40-5745-LME-FRONT
I plan to wear KT tape on Monday, on many different areas (obliques, left foot, knees). had been reading about the benefits of KT Tape and knew I had to give it a try. It also helped that my Chiropractor reinforced the benefits of wearing the tape during the race (and every day for that matter). I really like the bright colors too!

Oiselle Arm Warmers

arm warmers
Running a marathon is all about the layers! I have been training in Oiselle Lux Arm Warmers and I plan to wear these on race day. If it gets too warm, I can stuff them in my FuelBelt Super Stretch Belt (genius!). I love how soft these arm warmers are and they don’t slide down at all when running! I also love the thumbholes of course.

New Balance 890 V4’s

photo (19)
My sneaker of choice for the Boston Marathon. I ran in 890 V3’s during Boston last year and Chicago in October. I tried at one point during training this year to go to something different, but I was missing my 890’s! I like how they are the perfect combination between a minimalist shoe and a standard cushioned running shoe.

EFS Ultragen Cappuccino Flavor Recovery Drink

ultragen
I have been drinking EFS Ultragen after my hard workouts recently and I love it! I plan to have my husband armed and ready with this stuff after I cross the finish line. Ultragen refuels exhausted muscles and restores energy levels quickly.. and it tastes really good (like melted coffee ice cream!)

If you have interest in tracking me on Monday :

My # is 11648

1. Download the Boston Marathon App! Available on the App Store, search Boston Marathon, you’ll be able to track me in real time.

2. Text 11648 to 345678. You will get text messages as I cross 4 different checkpoints along the course.

3. Go to baa.org on race day, and you can track my progress there as well!

Thank you for your support!!

Uncategorized

Thinking Out Loud Thursday! {#3}

Thursday’s are for thinking out loud!

Here are some thoughts that are on my mind this week!

The Boston Marathon is on Monday… holy S%$#!

After lots of ups and downs with training this winter, I am ready to go for Monday and I am feeling good! I always knew I would run this year, I just hoped that when it came to April 21st that my body would be ready. I am happy to say that it feels like it is ready and hopefully has what it takes to overcome 26.2 miles.

bos start

 

Sometimes I think I don’t get enough sleep.  Actually a lot of times.  

I have always been one of those people that doesn’t require a lot of sleep. I can stay up late and wake up early, no problem. I typically get on average 6-6.5 hours of sleep during the work week, and I tend to function well with this amount of sleep. Often I wake at 5:00 AM to get my morning training session done, and I’m going to be at 10:30/11:00 PM every night. I know getting more sleep would most likely benefit me and my performance, but it’s so hard to fit everything in! If anyone has ideas on how to get more sleep as a triathlete, please share!

sleep

 

I gave up Facebook for Lent.

And it’s not the first time I’ve done this. I am not super religious, but I was raised Catholic and I always like to give something up for Lent. Giving up Facebook these last few years has really benefited my soul. I found that whenever I was on Facebook, I started to get feelings of jealousy, felt sorry for myself, compared myself to others, and worried about people whom I don’t even associate with anymore. I plan to go back to Facebook after Easter, but hopefully in ‘small doses’ Giving it up was really hard at first (for like a week) but now I don’t even miss it!

86f523f445d87e253a717a021d9ba164

 

I need new spring clothes.

Well to be honest, I probably don’t need new clothes, I just really want them! I have always been a girl who loves to shop! I really want to go through my closet and do a wardrobe overhaul. Now I just need the money to go on a shopping spree… 🙂

 clothes

 

I am loving this quote:

3aa6bde62c5357878d7b0df94992a979

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thinking-Out-Loud

Uncategorized

One year.

April 15, 2013, a date that will be forever ingrained in my memory. I will never forget that day from start to finish.

boston-marathon-black-ribbon-4.15.13

My alarm went off bright and early that morning and I was ready to run my very first marathon. My bags were packed and ready to go, and I had butterflies in my stomach. I had raised over $5,000 for the Melanoma Foundation of New England and I could not wait to run 26.2 miles in honor of my grandmother (and many others who had lost their fight). I trained my butt off all winter long and felt prepared for what was going to be the best (and longest) race of my lifetime. I grew up in the Boston area, and crazy enough, I had never once watched the Boston Marathon. All of this was going to be new to me and I could not wait to experience it!

bags

mee
The Boston Marathon starts in Hopkinton, a historic little town and goes 26.2 miles all the way into the city of Boston. During the ENTIRE 26.2 miles, the crowds are absolutely incredible… I had always heard about the crowds and the cheering, but I was simply blown away. The crowds helped carry me through each of the towns: Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Heartbreak Hill and then cruising down Boylston Street towards the finish. Throughout the entire race I remember thinking over and over again ‘this is amazing.’

happy

When I turned onto Boylston Street I started to cry… I could not believe I was about to finish my first marathon. I held my hands up in the air running that last tenth of a mile, beaming with joy and excitement! 3:28:32 was my final time and I was pumped. I needed 3:35 to qualify and I knew I beat this goal time by several minutes.

blanket

After crossing the finish line, I received my medal, Mylar blanket and food, grabbed my belongings and went off to meet my husband Todd and my mom. We decided we would meet at the designated ‘family meeting area.’ I thank my lucky stars every day that we decided to meet in this very spot (and not on Boylston street). Once I laid eyes on Todd and my mom, I felt so proud and I knew they were proud of me too.

finish2

We stood there and took some photos to capture the moment, and that is when it all happened… While in the middle of taking a few pictures with me and my medal we heard a loud ‘boom’ that I can’t even describe into words. I have never experienced an earthquake, but the ground shook as if it was one. Initially we all thought it was a gas explosion or maybe a plane?… we were wrong. Fear really set in when the second explosion went off and we knew something wasn’t right. The air started to smell like sulfur, we started to hear sirens. At this location, we were a few blocks away from Boylston St. and could not see what was happening at the finish line. Everyone was trying to use their cell phones, but nothing was working.. mass confusion. Todd’s friend got through to his cell phone and told us he thought ‘bombs went off.’ From then on I think I ‘blacked out’… Maybe it was because I had just ran a marathon and was extremely tired at that point, but I honestly draw a blank when it comes to that moment searching for a taxi cab. While walking to find a cab, what I do remember is seeing ambulances literally everywhere, speeding down streets with sirens on… such an unsettling feeling. Once we got in the cab, we heard the radio mention terrorism and I just could not believe what I was hearing. Could this be happening in my city?!

We got home that night and I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I didn’t want to eat and I just wanted to be alone. I remember not crying until a few days after the marathon. I think I was in shock for a few days. I remember walking around and doing errands feeling like my head was in a cloud, feeling so out of it. After a couple days I was home alone and just started crying hysterically. All of these crazy emotions were going on through my body. I wanted to feel joy and accomplishment, but I felt so much anger, so much guilt. Why was I so lucky? Why couldn’t I have helped people who were injured? Here I was, perfectly fine, and so many people were in hospitals fighting for their lives. Then there were the roughly 5,7000 people who didn’t even get to finish. This made me feel even more guilty because I got to cross the finish line and they didn’t. I couldn’t be happy and I didn’t feel proud for a LONG time.

Today we remember the lives that were lost. We remember the heroic volunteers, first responders and random bystanders who risked their lives to help others. Please take a moment today to think of all that was lost on that day. And while so much was lost, we all stand STRONG together, one year later, stronger than ever before.

strong2

I look forward to April 21st, six days from now, when we take our race back.  I love this quote from an article in Runner’s World today by Mark Remy:

Finally, when the time comes, we’ll join the stream of runners walking to the starting corrals. We’ll hear announcements, the National Anthem.

Moments before the start, we’ll look skyward, glance around, maybe close our eyes. Some of us might pray. Others may cry, or take a deep breath. We’ll hear the gun.

And then, like white blood cells rushing together to the site of an infection, we will run to Boylston Street.

BOSTON STRONG.

 

Uncategorized

IMMT Training Recap {Week 19}

ride 5

I love riding on country roads

The Stats:

1 Week until the Boston Marathon! (yikes!)
19 Weeks until IMMT
Total Training hours last week: 12:30

It’s hard to believe that one week from this very moment I will be running the Boston Marathon. It’s been an interesting several weeks of training. I have dealt with a foot injury, missed several weeks of running, swam and biked (a lot) but I’m happy to report I’m feeling really good and I am confident that adrenaline (and passion) will get me through 26.2 miles. I realize now that I am not a runner, I’m a triathlete, and I hope this is what carries me to the finish line. I know I am capable of running this race and I really want to be a part of it with the entire city of Boston. Tomorrow (on the anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon) I plan to write a post with a recap of last year, since I was not blogging at this time one year ago.

I am now in my ‘taper’ as of today, but last week there were some serious sweat sessions. This weekend I got out on my bike for almost four hours and it was fantastic! I had not taken my triathlon bike outside yet and I forgot how good it feels to be in aero (outside!).

ride

About to start my ride!

Besides a little mishap in the beginning, I had a fantastic outdoor ride. Apparently, I forgot how to clip out of my Speedplay clipless pedals at a traffic light (oops…) A pothole got the best of me, and it wasn’t pretty… more embarrassing than anything! It was a controlled fall into a curb, but still hurt like a b*tch! But at least everything improved from there! I was able to stop at my parents’ house (3 miles into my ride) and clean my wound… it was interesting riding with blood dripping down my leg (sorry for the nasty image) and then continued on my merry way:)

ride 2

After battling with a pothole

Here is what last week looked like:

Monday
Swim: 3,000 yds @ Master’s practice
(Distance sets)

Tuesday
Bike: Zone 2
Duration: 01:20:00 (with intervals)
Run: Duration: 35:00
Z1 T Run (1st mile Z2)

Wednesday
Swim: Distance: 3000 yds (stroke and sprint intervals)
Bike: Zone R Duration: 40:00

Thursday
Bike: Zone 2 Duration: 01:05:00
(Tempo Ride)
Run: Zone 2
Duration: 01:00:00 with interval sets thrown in:
3 X (1 mile @ Z1, 1 mile @ Z2)

Friday
Swim: 3,000 yds @ Master’s practice
Run: Zone R Duration: 31:00 

Saturday
Bike Zone 2
Duration: 03:40:00
Distance: 64 miles, Z1/Z2 ride

It was so great to get OUTSIDE on my bike on Saturday! I set out on my favorite 56 mile loop course (and added some miles at the end to get my full scheduled time on the bike). The course is compiled of lots of rolling hills through apple orchards and country towns. My total climbing elevation was 4,100 ft! Holy quadriceps!

ride 6

After the 64 mile bike ride, I took off on a 35 minute run. I felt amazing getting off the bike. It was as if I didn’t even ride prior to running (the best feeling!). I attribute this to training hard and properly all winter long AND improving my nutrition. I drank Power Bar Perform the entire time on the bike (while fueling with gels) and I had endless energy on the run. Woo hoo!

ride 3

ride 4
Run: Zone 2 T Run
Duration: 00:35:00
Distance: 5 miles (a few mile splits were 6:30, 6:40!)

Sunday
Bike Zone R
Duration: 00:50:00

Recovery Run
Duration: 20:00

 

How was your training week last week?
Ever have an embarrassing fall on your bike?