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.

IMG_0500.JPG

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!”

IMG_20180416_113217.JPG

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.

IMG_0514.jpg

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!

IMG_0502.JPG

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:

IMG_9476.JPG

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.

IMG_0483.jpg

Meeting our heroes at the Expo!

IMG_0473.JPG

Well worth the $$$

IMG_0474.JPG

Only $800 and I can have this at home!

IMG_0463.JPG

That time Desi’s husband made me coffee

 

Screen Shot 2018-04-18 at 7.18.45 PM.png

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

IMG_0462.PNG

Ellen spotted this celeb on Saturday afternoon!

IMG_0508-1.jpg

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

img_0530.png

I love Mama!

IMG_0523.PNG

This is GRIT.

IMG_0531.jpg

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 🙂

Advertisements

Chinatown Firecracker 10K/5K Race Review

I first ran with Ellen back in February of 2013. We were both Lululemon Run Club newbies and ran a four mile loop with Kathy. Ellen had run a half marathon before, but was getting back into consistent running after a recent move to LA. Sometimes being a Garmin Girl has its benefits. I found our first run together on Garmin Connect. Ellen, remember running up Doheny? You were NOT happy, but you refused to walk. You’ve been setting PRs ever since.

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 2.12.50 PM

Ellen got free entries into the Firecracker 10K/5K so kinda last minute I decided to tag along and keep her company. We raced the 5K together and took it easier on the 10K (although our last 3 miles were still 7:15s and we were talking the whole time). We crossed the 5K finish line in an official time of 21:02, Ellen’s fastest time yet, winning her 1st place in her age group on a crazy hilly course. The course came up short on my Garmin, but I’m pretty sure it was the two times we ran under the 110 that threw off my watch. Goooo Ellen! According to my Garmin we averaged under 7 minute miles, something I knew Ellen was capable of, and I was excited to pace her to accomplish that. I’m pretty sure Ellen wanted to smack me for speeding her up some of those crazy Chinatown hills, but she did it, and like any crazy runner minutes after the race was already setting new goals for her next 5K.

photo (1)

Ellen’s coworker Lauren was there to cheer us on, and after the race we met up with Anna (Ellen’s twin) and all went to the Arts District for brunch. The area is made up of a bunch of abandoned industrial buildings just east of Downtown near the LA river. It’s slowly being gentrified by artists. It’s the kind of place where you run into a bunch of people doing photo shoots. Kinda like DUMBO in New York. I always joke that I’m not cool enough for Silverlake/the Arts District/Echo Park/Los Feliz. I’m just a beach bum. Anyways, Anna did her research, and we ate at Zinc (really cool atmosphere but we weren’t impressed with service) and got scones and sweets at Daily Dose (much nicer staff, and didn’t make us feel like we weren’t cool enough to be there). Anna really wanted to try The Springs which is completely raw, every stereotype of LA, and totally her style. Organic, raw, vegan, juices, yoga on site, lofty look. I’d be down for eating there sometime. The menu actually looked pretty good, and the servers were really nice when we walked in to check it out. Yeah…I’m still a little bitter about the service at Zinc. I really wanted to like it, but they acted WAY too cool for sweaty runners. Anyways, I love checking out different neighborhoods in LA.

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 3.05.25 PM

So back to running, thinking of running this race next year? You totally should!

PROs

  • Great theme, festive and spirited. Drummers, dancers, firecrackers, music. The whole community really got involved.
  • Beautiful 10K course with views of the valley post rain storm, Dodger Stadium and Downtown LA. It was gorgeous and worth the mile long hill. Personally, I loved the challenging course.
  • AWESOME t-shirts, trail mix and granola bars in the goody bag. I love freebies!
  • Option to run both races (although the 10K started 30 minutes after the 5K, so it was quick turn around time).2015_Run-3001_50_1-Final-e1421392542478

CONs

  • There was no water right at the finish. You had to weave around and we went a good 30 minutes without water after the 10K.
  • The festival in Chinatown was so crowded. It was hard to walk around. I never really crave beer and take advantage of beer tents, but it looked packed.
  • Hilly course? That wasn’t really a con for me, but could be if you’re looking to PR.

Onto This Week’s Runs

  • Monday- Three Miles at Back On My Feet (No Watch/I’d guess 9:00 Average Pace)
  • Tuesday- Run MDR Track (2×400, 1×800, 3×1200)
  • Wednesday- Off
  • Thursday- Ten Mile Run (7:28 Average Pace)
  • Friday- Four Miles at Back On My Feet (8:35 Average Pace)
  • Saturday- Twelve Mile Run with Marta and Ellen (8:10 Average Pace)
  • Sunday- Firecracker 10K and 5K!

And other important happenings from the week…

1. Saturday we drove Alaina to Disneyland so she could run inside, ride the Little Mermaid and run back out while we ate in Downtown Disney. She has an annual pass and is doing a 30 before 30 challenge. Visiting Disney monthly is on her list. She’d been out of town a lot this month so wasn’t able to get a proper day-long visit. This is the definition of no excuses.

photo 2 (2)2. Check out our cutie Kindergarteners at their Writer’s Publishing Party on Friday. Their crowns said “Ask me about my book!”

photo 1 (2)3. I never told you about running with Ryan Vail. He was in LA prepping to run the LA Marathon. He was in Playa to pace his wife for a 16 mile tempo and was getting warmed up. He passed me in the opposite direction on the bridge and I just KNEW it was him. When he turned back around and passed me at what must have been a snail’s pace for him, I knew it was my moment. I called out, “Are you here training for LA?” He turned around and said, “Yeah, are you running it too?” I told him I was running Boston for the first time, and he was super friendly, congratulating me on qualifying and giving me some pointers for the course. He asked me if I had any advice for the LA Marathon course, which was really nice because who am I!? We ran about a mile together, before I turned off the beach path to run back home. He smiled, and said “Good luck training!” SUCH a nice guy.

4. Two weeks to help Ellen and I reach our goal. SUPPORT GIRLS ON THE RUN!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Redondo Beach 5K + Notes from Long Run #4

I don’t understand all those pre-race gear photos posted on instagram and facebook. Do people really lay their clothes out like that? I’m a pretty neat and tidy person, and this is what my pile of clothes looked like last night…

unnamedToday a few of us from RunMDR ran a 5K to test our speed. We all ran well, considering the hectic conditions. We started a good three minutes late and dodged strollers, costumes and walkers which is OK in a longer race, but in a 5K you have no time to waste. People were swerving like crazy, there was one guy who fell and was sitting in a huge puddle of water. It was like an adventure race. We were all hoping to run a sub-20, which is totally possible, but the start killed us.

10940445_10153135751636095_4136881551803514292_n

Splits are below. That first mile messed it up 😦

unnamed

Despite the obstacles, the race was REALLY fun. There is something invigorating about running as fast as you can for 3 miles. I felt really strong, and my form felt good throughout. I didn’t get that awful sprinting chest pain or feeling like I was going to throw up. When the pain started to kick in, I was almost done. Also going to rub it in that I beat all the RunMDR boys. Always fun to beat the boys, and they love being competitive 🙂 They usually kill me at 800s on the track. Unfortunately there is drama with my finish time. When I went to to go check out my results after the race they were missing. It was like I never ran the race. I’ve never had my chip not read. I told the organizers and gave them my time, but when online results came up they randomly assigned me a time of 21:11. Yeah, still first in my age group, but not my time. After a bit more investigating I’m thinking they gave me that time because it was one second after the third overall female. They probably didn’t want to strip her of her third overall finish. Annoying! I don’t even care about my place, I just want my time right. AAANNNYWAYS, I guess it just means I need to run another 5K to redeem myself. I know I was second overall so I guess that’s all that matters, right? I’m still bothered when I see the results online. Has that happened to anyone else? Ellen had a great race and an automatic PR because this was her first 5K ever. We’re excited to run them more frequently and get better at the art of the 5K. Part of it is showing up on time 🙂

Screen Shot 2015-02-01 at 3.03.07 PM

This shouldn’t bother me, right? I run for me..not for a stupid results website. 

photo (4)

I was supposed to run 18 miles today with a three mile pace, so the 5K worked out well. Ellen, Ash and I ran down the beach path back home to finish up our mileage for the day. Here’s how it went…

Saturday Dinner: Bratwurst with Pretzel Buns. They are so good! Get them at Whole Foods.

Saturday Sleep: 7 hours. Not good. Woke up twice with stomach issues. Won’t give you any details.

Pre-Race Breakfast: Granola, half a banana, some water. I felt kinda nauseous but eating helped.

Post-Race Snack: Clif bar, half a banana, some water, trail mix from the expo.

Long Run Fuel: Honey Stinger Pink Lemonade Chews

Long Run Hydration: Water fountains. It was HOT on the way home.

Long Run Outfit: Lululemon shorts, lulu swiftly tee, target sports bra, lulu socks, forgot my visor.

Post-Run Snack: Big bowl of oatmeal and getting ready to go to Alaina’s Super Bowl Partay

How Did It Feel: I actually ran all 18 today. I was thinking of maybe just doing 15, but I’m glad I did the whole thing. I was tired at the end. It was hot but I told myself, if I can run a 5K and run 15 miles in the sun I’ll be more prepared for a possible wall at the marathon. I’m also not sure how I feel about the chews. My stomach was all messed up from racing then running again, and stomach issues last night so I’m going to give them another try.

Other Notes: I did my 20 minute strengthening routine today. I am getting BACK on the bandwagon with that.

Other important news…

Marta also ran the Surf City Half today in 1:36. She is getting so speedy!!!!

I also am going to write a post on Sunday meal prepping. It’s saved me SO much time during the week. Two portions of Asparagus Mint Pistachio Pesto is ready to go! Just need to boil the pasta.

unnamed-1

AND, I am super excited to order this!!!

unnamed-1