Boston Marathon 2017 Race Review

Boston, you’ve been so good to me. I love the Boston Marathon tradition. I love the city support. I appreciate the challenging course and the late start. Boston finish times are hard earned. I don’t care to run other marathons. The Boston Marathon is the marathon for me, and my third time was a charm. I feel so blessed. This was my 12th marathon. I don’t expect a cheer team, so it was a nice treat to have support from Brent, Mama, and Papa. I was also so happy to experience the race with my best running buddy, Ellen. Races are always more fun with her! I trained for a 6:40 pace, hoping for 55 degrees, a tailwind, and race day luck. Race day wasn’t ideal, although it could have been worse. Easter Sunday in Boston was 83 degrees. I started the race at 10:00 am and it was already 70 degrees in Hopkinton. The course provides little shade and isn’t known to be a fast course. It’s crowded and waters stations are war zones, again another reason I love Boston. I love the idea of killing it on a tough course.

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1st and 3rd Boston

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Ellen, Kristine, and I on the bus ride to Hopkinton

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Not a woman in sight in Wave 1 Corral 4

What I started the race I got into a 6:45 flow. It just felt right. I knew 6:45 translated to more like a 6:50 official pace because of tangents and water stations. I knew with the heat running any faster could become a suicide mission. I knew I’d be happy if I held back in the early miles. I spent the extra time dumping water on my head at water stations and drinking 1-2 cups every mile. My 6:40 pace goal got officially readjusted in my mind at mile 5. I wondered if I was giving up, but reminded myself to respect the distance and go with my gut feeling. My legs were trained for 2:55, but today wasn’t the right day.

It paid off. I ran nervous until 15. I really don’t understand how people go out too fast. I’m always soooo scared. I hold back during miles 1-15. During these miles on Monday I questioned why I run marathons, fantasized about giving up on my running lifestyle, and thought about taking it easy and being compliant with a sub-par performance. I talked myself out of that funk, told myself I’d be so upset if I ran complacent, and made a sub-3 race plan on the spot. This race was all about proving I was a sub-3 marathoner.

At mile 16 I enjoyed a downhill, and when I hit 17 I felt PUMPED. The men around me were dropping like flies. I was passing them left and right, and I thought to myself “Just a Sunday morning Beverly Hills 9 miler left.” I maintained my pace throughout the Newton Hills even though my quads were starting to tighten up. When I saw Mama, Papa, and Brent and the top of Heartbreak Hill I gave them thumbs up so that they knew I was OK (a Mama always wants to know her baby isn’t hurting). Brent yelled “I love you so much” and I cranked it up a notch and started running 6:35s. I hit mile 23 and reminded myself I just had a lazy 3 miler left and started talking to myself like a crazy person. I used my sister Carmen’s mantra saying “Come on! Come on!” over and over again. A runner stayed with me for a full mile while I talked to myself, so I guess he appreciated the free pump up talk.

At 24 I calculated that as long as I ran a 7 minute miles I’d hit sub-3, and it was at that moment that I realized I’d hit my second sub-3. Long Beach wasn’t a fluke. I did it on a hot day, on a hard course, with more pressure. I’m proud of myself for adjusting my goal mid-race. I averaged a 6:47 pace for 2 hours 58 minutes and 54 seconds, and I couldn’t be happier. 83rd woman out of 11973. The marathon is a distance to be respected, and I know I made the right call. I felt the benefit of my training, I felt the strength in my legs, and I’ve never been happier running 26.2.

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So what’s next? A break. No marathons until MAYBE Boston next year. I’d love to concentrate on speed. I think I have this whole endurance thing down, but my legs need to learn to move faster. They just don’t know how to move faster than a 6:30 pace, so maybe so a half marathon or a 10K? I have my whole life to run, and women peak well into their 40s. There’s no pressure. No need to set another lofty goal now. I’m gonna take it easy, do more yoga, fatten up, and spend more time with friends and family. It’s been a crazy 2 years of marathoning. Time for a BREAK from high mileage.

PHOTOS FROM THE WEEKEND

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At the Runner’s World Pop Up Shop with Bart Yasso!

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Saturday Shakeout with Bart Yasso!

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Scott Jurek at the Cliff Station on Boylston

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Picking up Ellen’s bib for her first Boston!

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Free cryotherapy at the expo

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Blessing of the Athletes at Old South Church

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Pre-Race Dinner at Antico Forno in North End 

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Ellen and Anna at Dinner

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Tatoo Station at Athlete’s Village

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All smiles with a mile to go

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Post-Race Dinner at Adlen & Harlow in Cambridge

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Visiting Lindsey and Baby Carter Tuesday morning

Race Nutrition

  • Salt Tablets
  • Pretzels I saved from the airplane ride to Boston
  • Salted Caramel Gus (I think I’ll pass on ANYTHING salted caramel for a while)
  • Water at every station and dumping water on my head too

Boston Tips 3.0

  • I said this last year…DON’T TRIP ON THE RAILROAD TRACKS IN FRAMINGHAM. I did it again this year.
  • Train on rolling hills. It’ll prep your quads.
  • Plan for a war zone at water stations. Possibly consider carrying a small water bottle for the first few miles.
  • Use the corner porta-poties at Athletes’ Village. The line is shorter.
  • Have FUN and think about what an honor it is on the run on such a historic course
  • Pack light. You’ll get a ton of freebies at the expo! This year was especially good. Thank you Clif and Kind for all the bars!
  • Go to Alden & Harlow in Cambridge after the race for dinner. It is so so so good. Like top 10 restaurant worthy!
  • Go to the Blessing of the Athletes service at Old South Church. Even if you’re not particularly religious, you’ll enjoy it. It is such a cool service with a blessing, prayer, and bagpipe procession!

I had such an incredible time in Boston, and I can’t wait until I’m back there again. But I also just love being a principal and was so excited to see the kiddos and staff today. It was fun being Marathon Cristina, but Principal Lowry is back and ready to end the year strong 🙂

Peak Week ✔️

img_7015.jpgBoston Marathon Runner’s Passport arrived on Friday. I finished my longest training run. Highest mileage week is in the books. I’ll be hanging out in pigeon pose for the next three weeks. ⇓Selfie I sent Marta and Ellen.

This morning Ellen, Amelie, and I ran 22 miles through Venice, Brentwood, Palisades, and Santa Monica. 1000+ feet of climbing. Worth it for this view.

When we were powering up our last hill we ran into Marta. Thank you for entertaining us for the final 4 miles. I was definitely ready to call it a day by that point. My legs were tired going into this run after running two tough workouts this week and lots of easy mileage. Wednesday I ran my Yasso 800s. The plan was to run the 800s at about 3 minutes, but I did the workout on the treadmill and running at a 10.0 on the treadmill made me feel like I was going to fly off, so I stuck to more like a 9.8. I felt great throughout the workout, so didn’t really worry about running the repeats a little slower. I’d rather not end up missing Boston because I flew off a treadmill trying to hit 3 minute 800s. FullSizeRender-6.jpg

Friday I ran on the treadmill again. This time I ran a ten tempo. I was really happy with this run. It felt hard, but not awful. I was able to pick up the pace in the last two miles.

I think it was the beet shot I took 30 minutes before the run.

In my school life, check out our cuties learning to tell time in the after-school program.

It was also Parent Conference week. Our parents are amazing. Check out Erica’s attendance sheet. 100%!

We always have a potluck on Parent Conference day. Gabby outdid herself. We’re the Unicorn and Fairy School.

And our Star Scholars for the week. I love love love our kiddos!

In not so Unicorn and Fairy news, we’ve been dealing with protests in response to our Prop 39 placement at Magnolia Elementary for next year. We’ve had three protests outside our school. Check out the coverage here and here. Oh the joy of founding a school. I understand the frustration, but I’m not trying to do anything controversial. I just want to build my little school and need temporary space until our facility is ready in Fall of 2018. Screen Shot 2017-03-26 at 7.24.18 PM.png

And in my fueling life, lately Brent and I have been loving Hello Fresh. I promise I’m not being told to tell you this, but I’m a huge fan. I love to cook.  I used to think these services were fake cooking, but it’s cooking for the person who doesn’t want to deal with the meal prep research and shopping, which takes SO much time! This week Brent made Thai Rice Noodles, and I made Steak Arugula Salad and Pineapple Chicken Tacos. Shameless plug for $40 off if you want to try. Use this code.

Have a great week 🙂

 

Millions of Miles March

43 days until the Boston Marathon. 28 days until the taper. March = Miles. Marathon training is all about trashing your legs followed by treating them like royalty before the race. This was a great week of training. I went into my long run with tired legs after lots of easy mileage and some purposeful speed. Being tired going into a 20+ mile run is the way you want to train for a full.

I’ve had two confidence boost runs lately. Last weekend I was getting all inspired from watching the Tokyo Marathon. Went out for a faster 4 miler after a failed tempo a few days prior.

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And on Wednesday this run was quite the confidence boost. Love treadmill running for teaching a pace. Just punch the number in and go. Did this on Wednesday before Ash Wednesday Mass.

I haven’t been religious about following a specific training plan. I’ve used the BAA Plan as a guide, but have focused lots of easy milage with race pace practice. For me it’s important to practice and feel comfortable with a specific pace. Convincing your mind you’re ready for the challenge is half the battle, right?

At EQ3 we had a different kind of marathon… a reading marathon. We dressed up in workout gear and read for 26.2 uninterrupted minutes. Those headbands were well worth the investment. The kids were too darn cute! Hoping to build up their stamina to when we used to read for 2 hours with our fifth graders.

That same day I multi-tasked with a baby at my desk. One of our families got into a crash right outside of school. Thank goodness everyone was OK. Baby Elijah and I hung out in my office while Dad sorted everything out outside. And yes, the best overnight oats are those made in a nearly empty almond butter jar. 

Yesterday Brent and I went to dinner in Hermosa Beach, so we took a little La La Land Tour. 

Dinner was at Baran’s 2239. We had the Romanesco cauliflower, foie gras, sweet and spicy chicken, and king crab gnocchi. Los Angeles Magazine highlighted the restaurant as one of the Top 10 Best New Restaurants of 2016. A bit on the pricey side, but we were not disappointed. 

The Tripel is still my #1 love in LA. And Brooke Williamson, the brains behind the restaurant just won Top Chef this past Thursday. I knew I had good taste 🙂 Cecilia, Alaina, and I stayed up past our bedtime to watch the finale.top-chef-7.jpgNow it’s time for a few miles up in Beverly Hills. Need to take advantage of hills and get ready for Heartbreak. Ahh! So excited for Boston!12wemarath_photo6[1].jpg