The Windy City

In three weeks I’m running the Chicago Marathon. I had the amazing opportunity to run as part of the American Development Program, starting up at the front with some of my favorites, like Amy, Gwen, Jordan, and Alexi! I’m a midwest girl. I couldn’t say no to the opportunity. I’ve done my homework. I’ve put in the work. Now it’s time to nail a few last pace workouts, rest my legs, and train my mind. Am I the only runner out there who talking themselves out of an “A” goal? I dwell on the workouts I wasn’t able to hit. I think about all the reasons my goals are impossible. I think about all those miles I wasn’t able to hit the prescribed pace. For these next few weeks I’m taking Deena Kastor’s advice, and reminding myself of why I’m deserving of a stellar performance. I’m thinking about all those times I nailed my workouts. I’m thinking about the fact that I put in the work while building a school. Success in the marathon is about consistency, enduring hard work, and raw grit. I can’t wait to take another stab at it. Full update this weekend with my key workouts, but I’ll leave you with a few photos from my favorite runs this cycle and from EQ3’s new building.IMG_0030.JPG

Sunday recovery runs with the Lady Pack!

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First cross country race since high school at the UC Riverside Invitational with the Janes!

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On a dirt road in NamibiaIMG_0161.JPG

And EQ3’s brand new home!

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Boston Marathon 2018 Race Review

The Restless Runner is back! Why haven’t I been around? This school-year has been so tough. Maybe at some point I’ll elaborate on why. Not even having time to respond to all the emails in my inbox made it feel wrong to spend my spare time blogging. I also took most of August-October off of running more than the occasional weekend run or 3 mile de-stressor after work. I was in work survival mode.

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High-School BFF Jackie and I!

At the end of September during the Boston registration window I was in a low being especially overwhelmed. I asked Brent whether I should go for Boston #4 and he didn’t hesitate and said “Yes! You love that race. We’re going any year we can.” I signed up because I really wanted something to look forward to. I love Boston. Not just the run, but the whole experience. It’s such a special race, and the training doesn’t stress me out. It brings me so much joy. But this past week when the weather report projected headwinds, rain, and cold I cried to Brent, “I signed up for this because I wanted to have fun! And now conditions are just awful!” Brent is amazing. He reassured me this was meant to be. He said that I was meant to run in the most challenging conditions because this year has been so tough and I was to take all my strength and all my grit that I had built over the year and put it into this race. He was right. I wouldn’t change a thing about this past weekend. It was perfect.

The night before the race Ellen and I were talking race strategy. It would have been really easy for us to forgo racing on Monday. It wasn’t a PR day, so why not just run a long run pace and save our legs another race? I’ll put it out there, I trained for a 2:55. Yes, I was disappointed that race conditions weren’t going to give me the opportunity to show my fitness, but that’s the beauty of Boston. The late start, the point-to-point course requiring to travel to the start hours before you start, the no pacers rule, the hills, and April in New England makes for real racing. Marathoning requires grit, tactics, and strategy. Marathoning is symbolic of life, and you cannot control all the elements. There are many races out there designed to give the perfect conditions so that you can have an ideal race and a PR to brag about. I haven’t run a PR since October 2016, but I know I’m a stronger runner today than I was back in 2016. Yesterday’s 2:59 means so much more to me than a 2:55 would on a 55 degree day with a tailwind pushing me towards the finish line. Ellen also embraced the suck and went for it. She earned a PR despite the tough conditions.

Monday morning when we arrived to the mud pit that is athletes village we all questioned why we run stupid marathons. All of our shoes were soaked and muddy before we even started. We couldn’t feel our fingers and toes. We were crowded under a tent, shivering from the cold, joking that it was an “honor and a privilege” to be at Boston and that we paid to do this. I tried to remind myself that so many runners would gladly take my place for a chance to run this iconic course. I reminded myself I had the opportunity to literally run in the footsteps of my heroes.

Around 9:15 we heard the announcers ask wave 1 to make their way towards the corrals. We began the mile “death march” towards the start, laughing at the fact that we were avoiding puddles like it was going to make a difference. Boston places you in corrals based on pace, so everyone in my corral qualified within 1-2 minutes of my qualifying time. I asked others their race plan, and it was pretty split. Some saying they were going to go for it, and others opting out of a hard effort. I decided to go out slightly more conservative but still ambitious, a 3 hour pace. I hoped it wouldn’t be a suicide mission.

I couldn’t feel my feet for the first few miles. It’s a strange feeling that I can’t even describe. My fingers were frozen before the race started and didn’t come back to life until my 20 minute post-race shower. It made fueling really hard, but I kept telling myself “Find a way to get your calories in. You’re going to bonk if you don’t!”

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Mid-race glove swap

I got in a grove and didn’t check my watch much. My arm was frozen so I didn’t feel it buzz at every mile. I looked down at the halfway point and saw I was in pace to finish under three, and prayed the second half, the more challenging half, would be good to me.

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Running with the boys.

I then got in a trance. I visualized being on the beach in Playa del Rey. I repeated over and over again “You are warm. You are at the beach. You are comfortable.” With every gust of wind I welcomed it and said “You are stronger than this wind.” I thought of my training BFF Ellen, and found comfort knowing she was running in the same conditions. I knew she wasn’t giving up, so I couldn’t.

Seeing Brent and Jackie at mile 6, 13, and 21 gave me something to look forward too. I am so grateful to spectators. I know how stressful it is! I switched out my gloves at 13 thanks to Lucy who gave me an extra pair. I only managed to grab one, so Brent sprinted to catch up to me to give me the other. My hands were so cold it took me a full mile or two to get them on correctly.

When I hit the hills from 17-21 I did what I always do at Boston, force myself not to look at my watch and run by effort. When I hit the top of heartbreak hill I got a rush. 5 measly miles. That was it!

When I saw the Citco sign I got emotional. It was almost over. My legs felt like they could run another five miles, but my body was so cold and ready for a hot shower. I took the iconic turn right on Hereford and left on Boylston. There is something so emotional about running down Boylston. I always think about the bombing, think about what the marathon symbolizes, think about how grateful I am to be happy and healthy as I charge towards that finish line. It was my fourth time, but it never loses its magic. I try to soak it all in. This year that was quite literal!

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2:59:11

This race had great flow. I didn’t run nervous. I wasn’t a slave to my watch like I have been in the past. I just ran what felt like 3 hours, and knew everything would be OK.

Fellow runners, you amaze me. I didn’t even consider quitting because all of you were out there proving that together we are so strong. You inspired me and encouraged me. Thank you! Volunteers, you deserve the biggest thank you. Standing out there for hours being splashed by water as we ran through water stands. Thank you for helping us earn our medals.

What next? Who knows. Will I run Boston again? Yes. Next year? Maybe. Just don’t be surprised and expect me to get it out of my system because just like Papa said, in the sport of running, Boston is the cultural mecca.

A few photos:

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The article Papa wrote back in the 70s when he was just starting as a reporter in Michigan. Little did he know his daughters would be self-torture clique members.

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Meeting our heroes at the Expo!

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Well worth the $$$

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Only $800 and I can have this at home!

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That time Desi’s husband made me coffee

 

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Athletes Village in Hopkinton. Waited here for a over an hour before walking to the start.

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Ellen spotted this celeb on Saturday afternoon!

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Celebratory beers sent to our hotel room from Andrea and Alaina. Thank you!

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I love Mama!

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This is GRIT.

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Post-race celebration with Lindsey, Jackie, and Brent at Alden + Harlow!

I feel like there is so much more to share. Boston really is so much more than one race, but for now I leave you with this quote from Desi. I just LOVE DESI! I was a fan before she was cool. She is so damn gritty and humble. And she trains in Michigan. SO SO SO happy she won.

IMG_0511.PNGUntil next time. Hopefully it won’t be another 10 months 🙂

Summer of Yes

This was the Summer of Yes. You might have noticed by my instagram hashtags 🙂 The Summer of Yes was all about taking a break from the norm. Alaina, Cecilia, and I wanted to shake things up a bit and switch up our routine. Yes, we worked most of the summer but we wanted to make the best of it. Summer’s kinda over tomorrow, so I’m here to report on the Summer of Yes activities.

Here we are, on the last day of school. What an amazing group of educators.

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We kicked things off with a wedding in Minnesota. Congrats Erica and Ryan!img_8257

Minneapolis requires a trip to the Mall of America. img_8230-1

And immediately off on our Euro adventure. Monday, July 3rd involved flying from Minneapolis-LA-London. 24 hours in London meant we had to go back to where Brent proposed to me. I got a good one!img_8296

Then it was off to Munich. We got to see Ana, my best friend from growing up in Germany. Here we are after our 15K hike in the foothills of the alps. img_8358-1

I am obsessed with Paris. The food. The wine. Here we are after one of our 3+ hour meals. img_8419-1

And after our food tour of Montmartre with John-Paul, who at this point is a family friend. Jackie and Alex met us in Paris for a few days.

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I came back from Paris determined to learn how to bake bread. Still working on it.

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Being back in LA also meant time for more trail running. Something about being up in the mountains. Ahh, it’s great for the soul.

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And time for exploring new neighborhoods. Gotta love the Arts District.  IMG_8440

And the meatballs at Jon+Vinny’s in Mid-City.

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I went to the top of the Wilshire Grand.

Screen Shot 2017-08-06 at 9.15.49 PM.pngEven drove to Long Beach for my favorite latte.

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But the Westside is my fav…

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Did I mention we moved up the street? Yeah, Brent wins 1000 brownie points for secretly moving us in while I was in the bay for work.

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Work took us to Bestia. Bone marrow and spinach gnocchi. Drooool.

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Ellen and I took advantage of Classpass and went boxing!

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I went kayaking in the Marina with the captain.Screen Shot 2017-08-06 at 9.17.03 PM.png

More mountain time with Meredith who came to visit from NY last week.

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Playa Provisions now rents bikes!IMG_8577

I’m working on building a garden in this patio. Purple jalapenos, meyer lemons, and succulents. Working on building my desert oasis.
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And the perfect end to summer. Beach walk with Ellen, Cecilia, and Alaina. IMG_8272.JPG

Cheers to the 2017-2018 school year. Let’s let the good times roll.