Boston Marathon 2008

Boston Marathon 2008
Coming thru Coolidge Corner Boston Marathon 2008!

Progress towards the Boston Marathon

  • Money raised: $6782.00
  • $ needed to reach goal: $1218.00
  • Miles run since December 1, 2008: 720
  • Longest run: 26.2 miles
  • Miles run last week: 17 + Marathon Monday = 43.2
  • Days until Boston Marathon: All done!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A few updates...the beginning of a big adventure!

Hello, again. It's been six weeks since the Boston Marathon, and yet it feels like it has been much longer! I didn't think I would necessarily continue blogging, but then I realized that I am going to be away for the next 6 weeks and that keeping a blog was a way for me to keep in touch! So, here we go again. Shockingly, I am not starting to train for Boston 2010 right now... so you won't be reading much about that training for quite some time. My next bout of marathon training will probably start at the end of July and will be in preparation for either NYC or Maine. For now, I am headed off on a big adventure for the first half of the summer, and I feel like I will have plenty of updates along those lines!

In the past few weeks, I have made some big decisions. I am officially going to the University of Vermont for medical school, moving up to Burlington in the beginning of August. I have a condo and already moved my big furniture up there with my mom. Slowly, I will be transitioning out of Boston. I stopped working about a month ago (May 1 ) and have been enjoying my time off. My days consist of the Today Show, yoga, a little bit of reading (though I still have yet to finish Angels and Demons and I started it about a month ago), some other sort of exercise be it running, swimming or biking, making to-do lists, cleaning up, dinner.... those are the more consistent activities of each day.

My big adventure starts on Saturday! I head off to Colorado for ten days to visit my friend Kate. It will be trip #2 for this blog, it's the same friend I visited back in February. I am very excited and I am going to use the 10 days there to get some high altitude exercise in in preparation for my Mount Rainier climb. Then I head off to Seattle, two days before my sister is due to deliver her first baby, my first niece!!! Who knows when she will actually deliver, but I am hoping she won't come too early. Then, July 8-11 my Dad and I head to Mount Rainier to attempt to summit with Rainier Mountain Guides.

I'm excited for my adventures, I am sure those weeks are going to fly by! I will keep you updated on my exciting adventures.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Marathon Recap

First and foremost, thank you so much to everyone who has supported, encouraged, coached and cheered me on throughout this training season. I cannot describe how much it helps to know there are so many people rooting for me as I put in the hours of training and then run the actually marathon. So, thank you once again!

So, Marathon Monday... Betsy and I woke up bright and early (5:00AM). I had my coffee, a slice of toast with peanut butter and honey, and we headed down to the Boston Common to take the BAA buses out to Hopkinton. This is the first year I have made it to the buses before the huge crowds arrive. The lines were not too long at 6:15AM. Fred found us and we made it out to Hopkinton by 7:30AM. This is a HUGE improvement over my 9:30AM arrival last year, 30 minutes before the start of my wave of runners.

We headed over to the parish hall refuge, where we DFMC runners get to stay warm inside before lining up for the start. It was great to see all of my running buddies before the race. Jack Fultz gave us a little speech, Jan let us know that Dana Farber has raised 3 MILLION dollars so far from our efforts, and I got to say good luck to all of my close DFMC friends as I headed out the door at 9:40AM for the 10:00AM start.

The race itself has all become a bit of a blur. I kept reminding myself throughout the first half of what Jack kept telling us "if you don't feel like you are running too slow, then you are running too fast". I was keeping about a 7:40-7:45ish mile pace throughout the first half marathon. I was nervous that that may have been too fast, but I felt good and like I was not expending too much energy. In some ways I felt like I was risking hitting a wall, but by the time I was at mile 16 and I was still feeling strong, I decided that I was not going too fast, I was doing alright.

Mile 17-18 are when we finally hit the Newton Hills. At this point I was running with an older man who had run Boston 11 years earlier and told me thank you for running for Dana Farber because his wife had been treated there for breast cancer a few years before. I was feeling fairly strong over the hills and so I pulled him along at my 7:45/7:47 minute per mile pace over the first two hills. The "Katie" on my shirt was attracting lots of attention and I felt the crowds yelling my name throughout this section of the course. At one point, some of the runners around me looked back and said "ohhh, so you are who everyone has been cheering for!". I was glad my name was so visible.
When I finally made it up over Heartbreak Hill I was starting to feel my legs quite a bit. I hit mile 22 and kept trying to remind myself that there are only 4 more miles to go and that I was very familiar with this part of the course. The big hill was behind me, my co-workers and friends were only 1.5 miles away...all of these thoughts kept passing through my head. I had completely forgotten what mile Dana Farber was cheering from... and for some reason I had mile 22 stuck in my head. I wanted to look good for them so I was trying to stay as strong as possible until I at least got to wave to my coach and friends. After I didn't see them at mile 22 or 23 I assumed I missed them.

Coolidge corner came quickly and I got to see my co-workers and then my parents and then my AMAZING roommates!!! My brother, who is about 6'2" saw me and held up a big sign that said "I"... my mom and dad shot a bunch of pictures and I was back on my way towards the finish line. Apparently Dennis saw me and was screaming my name, but I was so focused at that point on A) seeing my family and B) making it to the finish in one piece, that I did not hear him at all.

As I approached mile 24 my legs hurt, my body ached and all I wanted to do was walk. I don't feel like I have ever felt like I wanted to walk so extraordinarily badly. I kept trying to think of Al (my grandfather in whose memory I was running) and asking him to pull me along. I kept thinking about how little 2 miles really is... but it was HARD. Just as I was coming up over the little hill into Kenmore Square I was just about to give up and walk, I was really struggling. When...all of a sudden... I hear Jan (the head of the DFMC) yelling through a bull horn : "Katie, look to your right, Katie look to your right!" Sure enough, there I was at the Dana Farber cheering zone, looking about as weak as can be... Regardless, they helped me to pull myself together and realize that I only had 1.2 miles left to go! I didn't walk, I picked myself up, and I pulled myself through to the finish line in 3:29:14! I was hoping that I could do the marathon in 3:30, so I made my goal!

After the marathon I headed over to the Dana Farber recovery zone and was able to see, and congratulate, all of my fellow runners on their finishes as well. I loved that! Yesterday I was extraordinarily sore, and I am slowly recovering into today. Now I am extraordinarily excited to take a few more days fully off and then to dust off my road bike to start a new season all over again... :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

And... I did it... It's done.

The race is over. I completed the marathon in 3:29:14. Now my legs hurt a lot, my stomach is a bit queasy, and I am more than happy I am done. Tonight I'm going out with all of my other rock star runner friends! CONGRATULATIONS TO EVERYONE WHO RAN!!!!! And, again THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS BEEN A SUPPORTER ALONG THE WAY! I will write up a race report when I have a bit more energy tomorrow.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Almost there...

So this is my final blog before the marathon. Less than 24 hours to go. Between now and the start I plan to cook dinner for my family, Fred's family and my roommates, watch a new episode of Desperate Housewives, and desperately try to get to sleep early for my 4:50AM wake up call.

I have no words of wisdom. All I know is that "the hay is in the barn", as Jack says. Between when my training began and now I have logged 4 runs of 20 miles or more, almost 700 miles total, many track practices, made many new friends, and managed to raise $6451.00 for the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge!! With all of that hard work and all of that support how could I not be ready? I'm ready... Very ready.

If you read this before tomorrow afternoon, I'm in the first wave of the marathon, starting at 10:00AM. My bib number is 10449 and my DOB is 08/04/1982 (in case you want to use the athlete tracker to track me.) I will be wearing a black running skirt, a red patterned Dana Farber Singlet and a light, bright blue visor.

Again, thanks for tracking me along the way!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pre-race jitters

As I was finishing my final run before the marathon, a short 3 miles to Cleveland Circle and back, I started to think "at this time, 48 hours from now, I will not have even reached Coolidge Corner yet, and I will have been running for 2 hours and fifteen minutes". Wow, that's soon!

Regardless of how many marathons I have run, I always get the pre-race jitters. For example, when I ran my last marathon (Philadelphia) with my old roommate Mo she was laughing at how ridiculous I was acting when it was my second marathon in three weeks and it was her first EVER. I couldn't decide what to wear -,, pants..! then two minutes before dropping off our bags I had to duck behind a truck to take off my pants and wear my skirt. Oh, and yes, Mo had to listen to me debate about whether or not that was a good choice as we waited in line at the Porto potties, where I was also kind of freaking out about the close proximity to start time and the long long line... I like to think I was distracting her from allowing herself to be nervous for her first marathon...

I think my nerves pop up because I all of a sudden realize that 26.2 miles is actually a really LONG run. Another marathon experience that helped me to understand that factor was when Fred and I ran the Sugarloaf marathon together. We were staying at a hotel at the 10 mile mark of the marathon, and the morning of we were supposed to drive to the finish line and take buses out to the start of the course. We thought we had calculated enough time to get up, changed, fed and in the car to the start line... but we kind of forgot that 16 miles on windy roads in Maine does not take 10 minutes... it can take up to 30 minutes! I have never seen Fred drive so fast in my life. We were flying around corners in order to make it to the buses on time, all because we didn't realize how far 16 miles really was - and we were about to run 10 more than that!

Anyhow, I guess this is about the time I realize that the marathon is a huge accomplishment. It is a long run and all of us have put many hours, dollars, and thought into the months, weeks and days leading up to Monday. I suppose the nerves are completely understandable.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Taper Madness...six ways I spend my extra time.

On my way to work today I started to think about all of the things I do when I am in this 'taper' time. Of course, that also led me to calculate how much more free time I really have now that I have decreased my mileage from my peak at 54 miles one week to a mere 12-15 miles this week. Between the time it takes to get ready for a run (between driving to meet up with people, rushing home, showering and changing after a run...etc) I would say that when I am in the peak of running mode I spend about 7 total hours running per week. Then add the before and after run organization and it probably totals about 9 hours per week devoted to running. I also am a swimmer, which I have decided can fall to the wayside in this final week before the marathon as I try to prescribe to Jack's saying that "less is more". So, that frees up another 3 hours of swimming and about 30 minutes of preparation... so 3.5 hours more of free time. Since I will only run about 15 miles this week, I have about 8 hours more of free time in this final week before the Boston Marathon. That is actually kind of a lot... so this morning I started to think about what it is I do with those 8 extra hours of time.

1. Sleep more - since I am not waking up at 5:30AM to swim, I get at least an extra hour of sleep a day, which has caused me to second guess why I ever thought waking up at 5:30AM was a good idea in the first place.

2. Spend more $$$- this happens in multiple different ways. First, I like the idea of shopping, and I usually don't really have the time to do it. Now that I have that extra hour after work, the idea of walking over to Copley on my way home seems even more appealing. Second, this is the time I decide I should catch up with all of those friends I have left to the wayside during these months of training. As it turns out, the best way to meet up with friends is either over lunch, coffee or dinner. Hence, spending more money along the way.

3. Worry more - I find that when I am at the heart of my training, small aches and pains come and go and I generally can overlook them, mainly because I have another training run lined up that I don't want to miss. Now that I have a week off, aches and pains actually seem to stress me out much more. For example, yesterday I decided to enjoy the beautiful, yet cold, spring day by walking to and from work and to meet up with a friend for coffee (all of which I did in clogs). At the end of the day, I couldn't stop noticing that my right shin was bothering me. I decided to ice it last night, ice it this morning...and then continue to think about it through until, well, right now. Knowing the marathon is only one week away, little aches and pains seem much more stressful.

4. Read more - I am just about to finish A Thousand Splendid Suns, (great book, btw, highly recommended). I started reading it at the end of my time in the Caribbean, a little under a month ago. I was one-third of the way through when we got off the boat... and I am finally actually finishing it.

5. Review past marathon results - Apparently this has become a new habit of mine. As the marathon approaches, I start to look at how I did in past marathons. How much time did I lose between the first and second half? How fast did I run the first 5K? What did I do the week before...? I'm not sure if this really makes me more neurotic, or if it actually helps calm me down with the knowledge that I have done this before, and I will do it again.

6. Stretch more - well, this is something I should do. I suppose I will add it to my list, and attempt to actually do it over the next... FIVE DAYS!!

OH, and in case you don't have a chance to check the weather yourself... the forecast as of today for Marathon Monday is:

Not bad, not bad at all.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Last long run down... 9 days to go!

Yesterday Betsy and I ran our last long run before Boston together. It was a great 10-mile loop out Beacon Street and back along part of the marathon course so we could have one more climb up Heartbreak Hill under our belts. I think tapering has been treating me well. I was telling Betsy during our run that Heartbreak Hill has kind of been my nemesis during this year's Boston training. In years past, I have to admit that I kind of felt like it was built up to be more than it really is. Maybe I jinxed myself and that's why it's been tougher this year. Regardless, there have only been a handful of runs this year that I have felt like I could maintain my pace up the entire length of the hill without giving into my pounding heart rate and heavy breathing. Luckily, yesterday was one of those times and it makes me even more excited for Marathon Monday!

And, on the weather note, the chance of showers in Hopkinton on Marathon Monday have gone down to 20%!!!! And the high of 56 is holding strong!

Apr 20
Cloudy - 56°/42°
Chance of showers: 20%

Saturday, April 11, 2009

10 days until the Boston Marathon means...

That you can officially start tracking the WEATHER for the Boston Marathon!! Yes, the 10-day forecast is up and running. Currently the forecast calls for 60% showers and 56 degrees as the high in Hopkinton, 54 as the high and 60% showers in Boston... Fifty-six degrees sounds PERFECT to me. Showers.. well, the weather forecast is never really accurate 10-days out, so we'll see what is says over the next week....

Apr 20


60% Showers

54° 43°

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The three most common questions as the marathon approaches:

How do you feel, are you ready?

I get this question a lot. Well, I have to say, it is 11 days until Marathon Monday and I would not be excited to run the marathon tomorrow. However with each passing day I feel a bit more motivated and excited for the run. When I look back over my training for Boston, I have logged over 500 miles since January (probably more weekly miles than I have ever run before a marathon), received over $6000.00 towards my fundraising for Dana Farber (also a PR for my fundraising efforts), and had many great running partners along the way. I have had a few nagging injuries here and there, but none that amounted to anything at this point in my training. I feel very fortunate, and I am starting to feel more and more ready for the marathon.

So, how much more do you run before the marathon?

All of us marathoners are in 'taper mode' now. When I say that to a non-marathon runner they kind of nod and smile. In other words, we are in rest and recovery mode, logging less miles than we have over the bulk of our training and allowing our bodies to get ready for the trek from Hopkinton to Boston. The funny part of this question is that when I tell a non-runner than we don't have any more long runs and that I will only run 8-10 miles this weekend, I get another look of yeah, right, that's not a long run?? However, when you put it in the context of how many miles we have been running on the weekends since January, 8-10 miles seems like a walk in the park.

This week I accidentally ran 8.5 miles in Newport on Monday because of construction on the Ocean Drive that made me reroute my run. Tuesday I did a great 4 miler with Betsy, last night, Wednesday, I did a great 5-miler with Dennis, tonight I will do 4 with Betsy with a little bit of tempo running thrown in, tomorrow-rest, Sat- 8-10, Sunday - rest.

Then next week I will try my hardest to stick to only a few short runs, mixed in with lots of reading and lots of rest.

Do you have a goal time?

I never answer this question. Mainly because I don't really ever have a goal time, I have a goal range. And, I often don't even like to admit what the range is, because most people automatically forget the range and focus on the lowest number. I will admit, I am not aiming for a PR (personal record). I am not feeling that this time around and I don't want that added pressure. This marathon is about running for my supporters and all of those people affected by cancer. My goal is to make them proud and to finish feeling strong and good!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Fire up for the Local 3!

So my leg seems to be on the mend. After a massage on Tuesday morning, taking Tuesday night off and then swimming and elliptical on Wednesday, I seem to have allowed my quad ample time to heal. Last night I ran Crossroads with Betsy. She pushed my pace, which felt good, and we ran all the way into town over the finish line of the marathon. Man would it be nice to feel that good crossing the finish line on marathon day!

Tonight Glen is having a fundraiser at Game On! for all of us to hang out before Shifter's race tomorrow at the Local Bar in Newton. The race tomorrow is a 3-miler, so Fred, Aimee, Betsy and I are going to go out and do a solid 9-mile run right before the race itself.

And the countdown continues to the Boston Marathon - 16 days, $5,301.00 raised, and $2,619.00 left to go towards my fundraising goal.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Thank you!

Thank you for all of those who came out to support Betsy and me at The Place this weekend. It was a great party and it was great to see everyone who made it out! THANK YOU! We had a great showing of Dana Farber runners (and coaches!).

I am pretty sure my tapering is beginning now. After the final really long run of the season, I think I may have minorly strained my left quad. It is not so bad that I cannot run, but it definitely hurts more than a regular sore muscle. As Jack said, the name of the game at this point is "less is more". Tonight I am going to head over to the Belmont track for the last track workout, however I think I am going to maybe jog a few miles and then just wait for everyone else to finish up and head over to 21 Nickels for drinks :).

On a side note, I have always enjoyed running because it helps me to think through different things going on in my life. The biggest topic I have been thinking about on my runs recently has been where I will end up moving in August, when I embark upon the path to becoming an MD. I have officially been accepted to three medical schools and have some hard decisions to make by May 15. Last night my interviewer from BU School of Medicine called me to Congratulate me on being accepted into their program. I also hold acceptances at (my original first choice) University of Vermont in Burlington and at the new Tufts/Maine Medical Center program (which is 2 years in Boston and two years in Portland Maine). To most, May 15 might sound like I have all the time in the world to decide - however I have been debating about my first choice Vermont versus staying in Boston since October of last fall... Regardless, I think I'll have plenty to think about in the miles ahead while I taper towards marathon week.
Enjoy the great weather today, and get outside!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Last twenty miler down! Dance for a Cure tonight!

When would you say training for Boston officially begins? Is it in October when you start to put in a few miles per week to build a base? Or is it in November, when you do an 8 miler on one weekend, maybe a 10 miler on the next? Or is it early December when you really start committing to one long run a week, building from 10 to 11.... 20... 15...20.... I think you get the idea. The only reason I was thinking about this is because I have noticed some people actually track how many miles they have put into their training. I have a training log, and have been fairly diligent about logging my miles since September. However, I have never gone beyond counting the miles I did in one week. After running my final 22 mile run this morning, I decided I would look into how many miles I actually have logged for my training for Boston...

The problem is, I don't know when I went from recovering from my fall marathons to training for Boston. If you count the second week of December (a week after the Philadelphia marathon) as my first week of training, then I have run 623 miles so far in my training. If you count January 1st as my first day of official training, I have done 480. Regardless of what I consider to be my total training mileage, it makes me feel good to know I have that many miles logged on these legs as I enter into the three week taper to Boston.

As for today, today was a great day. I was hesitant about how I would feel running 21.5 miles, after logging quite a few miles this week and coming off a "week of mai tai's on the deck" as Jackson commented on in one of my posts. Aimee, Betsy and I met up to head to the Joints in Motion bus this morning at 6:40AM. Victor, the Joints in Motion organizer, was dressed in a overweight hula dancer body suit directing us on to the bus and letting us know all about the run. There were many different charities heading out to Hopkinton to drop off their runners and then set up water stops along the way back into Boston. Children's Hospital, Team in Training, Liver Foundation and Joints in Motion are only a few of the many different support groups and volunteers who were out there with water, Gatorade and snacks for us along the entire course. It is amazing how supportive the volunteers of all of these groups are. We had water stops at every mile!

We started the run around 8:30AM, Betsy, Aimee and I, and we kept a great, consistent pace throughout the whole run! We did not take it too fast down the hills so that we were burnt out come the fire station where the real hills start. Around mile 13, Sarah Nixon showed up and ran the last 8.5 miles with us. She was super energetic and a great addition to our group, helping pull us up the hills and into BC. My legs are sore now - no doubt about that - but my confidence in running has returned. After 10-days in the Caribbean without logging even one mile in my running log, I still managed to pull out a strong effort for my last long run - a lot of that is thanks to my supporters, my donors, and my training partners (especially Aimee, Betsy and Sarah). THANK YOU!

On another note, if you do not already have plans tonight, head on over to The Place in Boston for Betsy and My fundraiser "Dancing for a Cure"!! It should be a great party, with some free drinks until 10pm and an open dance floor! Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Back from the Caribbean!

I got back from an amazing vacation in the Caribbean on Monday. It could not have been more relaxing and rejuvenating. My family and Fred headed down to Tortola to charter a catamaran for 10 full days.We island hopped every day and saw some great fish, a few sea turtles and ate at some amazing restaurants.

I even got Fred to aqua jog (also known as "zooming") with me five of the days we were down there. I think aqua jogging in Caribbean waters with amazing views is far more enjoyable (although still pretty monotonous and boring) than jogging in a pool.

Since I have been back, my fundraising has bumped up from $3700.00 to $5302.00!!!! Thank you so much for all of your support! I am so excited to have bypassed the $5000.00 mark. Betsy and I are throwing our Dancing for a Cure fundraising event at The Place in Boston this weekend, which hopefully will be a great success and a great time!

As for my training, I jumped full swing back into running right off the plane... I was feeling a bit antsy after taking so many days off. (A full 10 days!) Monday night I did 8.5 miles from my apartment. It was chilly out, but felt surprisingly good to be out running. Last night was a bit more difficult. I decided to head to the track and the workout was a bit more than my legs were willing to handle after having had some time off. My goal was to get through at least half of the workout (or until I started to feel myself really slowing down) and then to run the portion I was unable to do at a moderate pace. I was able to do just that. Aimee and Betsy pulled me along through our first six 800's and then I pulled back for the last 6. It was hard, but felt good all the same.

Today I did my first lunch run! It is BEAUTIFUL out, so I headed out to the river for a very easy 5.5 miles. I was jogging the whole way, trying to keep my pace down and just enjoy being outside and not sitting in front of a computer for an hour. The temperature seems to be going up here in Boston.

Tomorrow I plan to do Crossroads and bypass my early morning swim. I think getting a good night sleep and not overdoing my training will be the name of the game for me for the next three and a half weeks leading up to the marathon. This weekend is our 22 miler from Hopkinton to BC which I am really excited about and want to feel refreshed and ready!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Three 20 miler's down... a vacation and one to go

The name of my run this morning was poor preparation. I woke up at 5:15AM so that I would have a good 45 minutes to prepare myself to head out on my 20 miler. I was not looking forward to running at all, but the warmish air last night when I went to bed made me think the run would not be as bad as some runs over this season that have been in freezing cold temperatures.

My Internet was not working so I did not check the temperature before heading out. I assumed it would be just as nice as yesterday. I put on my running skirt, a long sleeve shirt, gloves, a hat and my camel back. I had my Garmin all set up and charged and I headed out the door by 6:15.

Everything started to go down hill after about 1.5 miles into my run. I felt tired, which of course had me convinced that I have low iron and that it had nothing to do with the fact that it was dark out and 6:30 in the morning. My legs were also FREEZING. When I stepped outside of my apartment I recognized it was cold, although I was not sure how cold it really was and I assumed I would quickly warm up. That was definitely not the case. With no sun, and bare legs, I felt as if my legs were slowly becoming ice cubes. By the time I made it up to Cleveland Circle (1.5 miles into my run), I was debating as to whether or not I should run home to change! I decided against that, in hopes that when the sun finally came out I may warm up.

The next problem I encountered was that my Garmin stopped working at about 1.9 miles. In some ways this was a blessing because I was feeling a bit lethargic and it was nice to not be able to see the pace that I was running. On the other hand, I was depending on my little electronic device to let me know when I could turn around - when ten miles had passed. Now all I had was the time, no record of distance. At that point I decided I would run out for about 1 hour and a half and then turn around. I was feeling fairly tired so I figured I couldn't have been running all that fast but that I should still be able to make it to 10 miles within 1.5 hours.

I ran out on Beacon Street into Wellesley and a little bit past a turn around point for one of the Dana Farber group run 20 milers. I decided to turn around at 1 hour 28 minutes because I assumed at that point I had to have run the initial 10 miles. My route back was directly down the marathon course, over heartbreak hill and into Coolidge corner.

The name of the game for me for the past couple of weeks has been that running has been a bit tougher than usual. I am not feeling the normal bounce in my feet. Today made me feel a bit better though. My energy level ebbed and flowed throughout the run but overall I felt pretty good. And, I thought I had only done 20, only to find out that I actually did 21.8!

At work now I am definitely feeling a bit exhausted and extremely excited by the prospect of warm weather and vacation. I'll be back in 10 days to fill you in on my last four weeks of training before the 2009 Boston Marathon!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Running is hard... (cont.) and playing in the snow is fun!

I don't think I could be any happier than I am about to go away for 10 days to a place where I will be forced to relax, chill out, and not pound as many miles into my legs as possible. Rather I will be on a boat, in the middle of the British Virgin Islands, surrounded by a lot of water and little pavement :).

Running over the past 10 days has been far from a walk in the park and I am hoping it is just because I am in desperate need of some R & R and I will feel the bounce back in my feet when I return from vacation. Here's hoping.

After my hard run on Thursday of last week, I ran an easy 3 miles on Friday morning and then headed up to North Conway, New Hampshire for a weekend of winter mountaineering with my dad. We signed up for a two day course through the Appalachian Mountain Club. My dad and I were thinking that we could get comfortable walking around in crampons and using our ice axes for the climb we are doing on Mount Rainer this summer. The guides for the course were from the well renowned International Mountain Climbing School and they were great! On Saturday we spent most of the day on the base of a rock wall working on walking in deep snow on steep terrain in our crampons and walking on steep ice. Then we progressed into sliding down the snow and practicing stopping ourselves with our ice axes. We essentially were playing in the snow in 50 degree weather for most of the day. It was great! At the end of the day we got a taste of ice climbing.

On Sunday we spent the entire day ice climbing. I had never done any other climbing than rock climbing and I thought I would be more nervous on the ice. Surprisingly I felt great and really enjoyed it. By the end of the day my arms were killing me from using ice picks as my hands to climb the ice.

We came back from New Hampshire on Sunday night and I headed straight to bed. The whole spring ahead thing is hard to adapt to. Monday morning I somehow convinced Aimee that the weather was not too bad for an early morning (7AM) run. When I checked outside at 6:30AM it seemed to only be drizzling so I saw no problem in sticking to our already scheduled pre-work run. The weather quickly detiorated within the first couple miles of our run and by the end we were being pelted in the eyes with huge snow flakes! It was quite the treacherous run but all I could think was that you practice what you play in. If it were snowing on marathon day we wouldn't stay in and call it a day. So, I like to think that Aimee and I are now that much more prepared for whatever weather is thrown at us for the Boston Marathon.

Last night's workout (on the track with Jack) was what really killed me and was a bit of a bruise to the ego. As per usual, I woke up early and did my 1.5 hour swim in the morning. It was a pretty hard workout, but nothing out of the ordinary. Then I tried to stay well fed and hydrated throughout the day in preparation for our track workout. Betsy was feeling under the weather so she had to stay in and I trekked over to Tufts on my own. The workout called for 8 x [1000m fast, 200 recovery, 200 fast, 400 recovery]. Jack said that people not doing the Bedford half this weekend only had to do 5. (I don't' think I fall into that category seeing as on Sunday I will be sitting on a boat, sun bathing). Regardless, I could hardly pull out five of those sprints without feeling really really tired, and like I had to work overly hard to make it through the sprint. I tried to coach myself through them but I just could not keep up with the crowd. I decided to just do five and then I ran 3 miles separately around the track to make up the distance.

Today I am taking the day off in hopes of having a good rest before my 20 miler that I plan to do tomorrow AM.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Running is hard...

This morning I decided I would get my weekly long run out of the way early (instead of in the afternoon) because I leave tomorrow afternoon to go to North Conway with my dad for a Winter Mountaineering course in preparation for our Mount Rainer climb this summer. All day yesterday I was kind of dreading the idea of running a long run this morning but kept telling myself I could do it and that I had to get it out of the way...

I woke up at 5:55am, had a bar, puttered around for about a half an hour and finally forced myself out the door and to the river. The run officially started around 6:30AM. As I crossed over the Science Museum Bridge I was starting to tell myself that 12 miles would be enough and I didn't really have to do that many more. I even started to think 10 miles might do it for today (mind you I was only at mile 3 of the run). When, all of a sudden... I ran into Marissa on the Dana Farber Team! I asked her what she was out running and she told me she was also getting her long run out of the way because she had plans for the weekend. Her plan was to do 14, and she was on mile 3, just like me! It was perfect. We ran together back around the Science Museum and out to Elliot Bridge (which was about mile 10 for me). At that point she went a bit further out because she would be ending at Harvard and I had to head all the way back into town. It was so helpful to have someone to run with! She definitely pulled me through and managed to get me to finish my 15 mile run at a faster pace than I had originally planned to run (we averaged about 8:22s). The river was plowed very well and pretty much clear the whole route out to Elliot Bridge, which was pretty impressive.

That said, I think my body might hate me right now. My legs are definitely feeling sore from the back to back long runs without a full week of recovery between them. Luckily, my next long run will not be until next Thursday (a full week) and the day before I head to the Caribbean for ten days! I think taking it easy this weekend will be very beneficial for me as well.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

20 miles, appartment hunting and getting snowed in at Stowe Mountain Resort :)

As Betsy commented under my last posting, it has been a full week since my last post and it is about time I gave an update.

This past weekend I ran my second 20-miler of my training from the Mount Auburn Club with Dana Farber. Aimee, Betsy and I stuck together for the entire, hard, hilly 20-miler, battling the winds on our way out and (interestingly enough) a little bit on the way back as well. We managed to also negative split (meaning run the first half faster than the second half) by a full 2 minutes! My legs were definitely not so happy about the fact I decided to push them with 2 back to back 20 milers in seven days. But having Aimee and Betsy to chat with and push me along helped me to keep going rather that turn around or stop early.

After the 20-miler I did a lot of stretching and then my mom picked me up to head up to Burlington, Vermont to do some condo-shopping in hopes of finding a place to live when I move up there this summer. It was COLD up there. And looking at apartments for two days straight can be a bit exhausting, to say the least.

On Monday, my mom and I were watching the weather channel all morning and afternoon, debating about how good or bad of an idea driving the three hours back to Boston would be. We decided we would start heading south (at least to Stowe, Vermont where a friend of ours lives) and make the decision about the weather over that hour of driving. Well, the snow started to fall more heavily and there were lots of signs along the highway warning of "severe winter weather advisories". So, we decided to play it safe and hunker down at the Stowe Mountain Lodge. We got there fairly early and it was snowing pretty hard, so my mom and I took advantage of the fitness room and she did the elliptical while I did 6 miles on the treadmill. I usually hate treadmills, but this wasn't so bad. I think I had a lot of pent up energy from apartment shopping all weekend.

When we woke up on Tuesday morning the sun was shining and the mountain looked extremely inviting! We decided to ski for a few hours before heading back south to Boston. The conditions were not amazing (though I thought they would be from the snow the night before), but it was not too terribly cold and my mom and I took advantage of the enclosed gondola for our three hours of skiing. We found a couple of runs that we really enjoyed and just kept going up and down.

We left Stowe around 3pm yesterday so that I made it back to Boston just in time for ... track! How lucky.... Last night's track workout was brutal. Very difficult and I think my skiing may have made it even that much more difficult on my legs. We did 3 x [4 x 800] with 200 recovery between 800's and 400 recovery between sets... It was a long workout and I definitely slept well last night.

This morning I did an easy swim with the BU Master's swim program and I am going to stretch out a bit tonight (no running) before I log my long run in for the week tomorrow. This week I am scaling back my long run to anywhere between 13-16 miles depending on how I feel. I head up to New Hampshire for a Winter Mountaineering course with my Dad this weekend, so I have to get my long run in before that.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Running with Christian tonight!

It is finally Wednesday (this week seems to be going by at a snail's pace). I rested on Monday and last night we had the Dana Farber track workout. I started out aqua jogging in the pool with another DFMC runner, Jess, who injured her foot recently. Jack was letting me try on some different types of zoomers for when I am in the Caribbean. After the hard run on Sunday, I decided to do a few aqua jogging intervals in the pool with Jess and then I modified the track workout and did the second half of my workout on the track. My legs definitely feel like they worked very hard on Sunday, so I was taking it easy last night in the workout.

Wednesdays are days that I like the idea of running an 8-10 mile run but that generally turn into my regular 6.5 mile loop because of time constraints between getting home later from work than expected and having to tutor in the evening. There is also that whole lack of motivation factor... which sometimes pushes me to turn over to Comm Ave from Beacon Street a few streets too early when I am alone and the weather is not so pleasant.

Tonight I have great motivation to run a longer run though. Tonight I am going running with my good friend Christian! He is the type of runner that may not have run in three weeks, but will still be up for going out for a 10-mile run (and in all honesty sometimes I think he might actually prefer the longer distances). So, he is trekking over to Brookline tonight and I am going to bring him down Beacon to Walnut Street over to Commonwealth Ave, along the course over heartbreak hill and down into Coolidge Corner. It should be a good one!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hyannis Marathon Relay

Kiirsten, Mo, me and Betsy before the relay!
This past weekend Kiirsten,, Mo, Besty, and I revisited Hyannis for our second year as a marathon relay team. Team Chicopee. We headed down to the race on Saturday afternoon and made it in time to pick up our numbers early and even see the Hoyts! (Mo's favorite racing team). After getting our numbers we settled into the Marriot and went to dinner at Not Your Average Joe's. We had an early, but very tasty, dinner in preparation for our big race.
When we got back from dinner we presented Mo with her birthday cake that Betsy, Kiirsten and I had secretly prepared the night before.

We woke up at 7:30am, got our Dunkin Donut's coffee and bagels and prepared for our race! I, as per usual, was debating about what to wear - long spandex or my running skirt. The weather forecast was for rain, and potentially snow, with a high of 41. I decided on the running skirt - definitely the right choice for me.

The race went very well. I decided I would take this opportunity to race a portion of the marathon relay and then use the rest to log in a 20.5 mile long run. This ended up working out really well. Jack had told me I should warm up before the race... and I am starting to realize I should start taking that advice. I ran the first 3 miles at a quick pace and was thinking there was no possible way I could sustain that pace over the next 13 miles. So, in my head I decided I would race the 7.2 mile leg and then use the next 13.1 miles as my long run portion. After three miles, though, I started to feel good. All of a sudden I went from being convinced I would want to stop at 7.2 miles to the realization that I definitely wanted to continue to race through to the half marathon. I ended up average approximately 7:22 min/mile for the half! It felt great. I got to the hand off station to give Mo the baton and we started off running together. It felt great to have someone to run with so that I would hold myself to doing the full 20.5 miles. When I made it to my finish line, I felt great and as though I could have kept going.
Mo, on the other hand, was not feeling so great. :( Before she started running, she was feeling a bit under the weather and the run definitely did not help. Don't mind the "I feel great" look on her face (see picture to the right). After finishing her leg she bundled up in the car and ended up having a fever! It was pretty amazing she was able to run her leg, and I am glad she made the wise decision not to continue on through the half marathon.
As Mo came shivering through the finish of her leg she handed the baton to Kiirsten, the only one of us that had to run her whole leg all alone! She took off in her new running spandex and jacket, listening to Ace of Base and "Barbie Girl"... Kiirsten is not as much of a runner as the rest of us. However, for the past two years she has been more than enthusiastic to join in on this relay and has tried to fit in the time to train for the couple of months leading to this race. (Last year her training also involved a last minute run at 4:30pm the night before the actual relay... she decided against that plan this year...) Well, her training really paid off this time. She not only ran faster than last year, she came cruising through the finish line at a quick pace with a huge smile on her face! Yay for Team Chicopee!!

Even with the bad weather and Mo's sudden illness, the weekend was a blast. After getting home we all cozied on up at Sandal's resort (aka 79 Park Street) to watch the Oscars, eat sushi, drink wine, and celebrate our second year of a great race and a great weekend!

Friday, February 20, 2009

A weekend of running ahead...

This past week has been a great training week. The last time I wrote in here I had just gotten back from Burlington and my next workout was Tuesday night track at Tufts. That workout was a challenge, but felt great. We did 5 x [1000 hard, 200 medium, 400 hard, 400 medium]. The 'medium' sections were supposed to be a kind of active recovery, where we were still keeping our pace honest (not jogging at negative speed) but just bringing down the pace from the hard effort being put forth in the 1000s and the 400s. I am clearly a distance runner, because even though the 1000s felt hard, I was able to kind of get into a rhythm and enjoy that distance so much more than multiple hard, short sprinting sets.

Wednesday night - I had NO idea it was supposed to really really snow, so I headed out my door around 6:00pm to run. When I started, it was flurrying a bit, but nothing too bad. About two miles into my run it was full on snowing. As in I had to run with my head down and I still could hardly see because of the large amount of snow coming down. It was a fairly dangerous and difficult run, but I logged about 6.2 miles.

Last night was Crossroads, and the Dana Farber running coach (Jack Fultz, winner of the '76 Boston Marathon) told me that I should run hard for the first portion of the run and then take it easy for the remaining miles in preparation for my long run/race this weekend. I did just that and ended up having one of my best crossroads runs this week. I ran hard from Woodland to Washington Square (about 6 miles) and then brought my pace down for the remaining three miles into Crossroads.

I'm feeling a tiny bit under the weather today (which is not surprising seeing as I feel as though everyone around me has been sick). Hopefully I can fend off whatever this is, at least until after Sunday. Tonight will be a short 3-4 mile run up to Cleveland Circle and back in Brookline. Then I plan to rest up tomorrow before the relay on Sunday.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Boston, Montreal and Burlington

It has been a few days since I have written in here. I have lots of updating to do! Over this past weekend I went to Montreal with Fred and some friends of ours. I have actually never been to Canada. Before heading up there, Fred and I decided to get our weekend long run in on Thursday night. My right leg had been bothering me a bit from all of the hill work I had been doing, so we did a 14.2 mile run along the river at 6:15pm. We then joined the Crossroads group who were all back from the Woodland run for beers.

I chose not to swim on Thursday morning because I figured it would make the long run too painful. So, instead, I swam on Friday morning at 7am. It was a hard workout, but nice to be in the water. Then Friday night I logged an 8.2 mile run in Brookline on the hills. My shin and my hamstring seem to be feeling better! I used my Garmin for this run and was pleasantly surprised to see that I was able to do negative splits for the run when I wasn't even thinking about it.

This past week I dropped down from two weeks in a row of 51 miles to a 38 mile week. I figured my legs could use the rest. There was no running for me on Saturday or Sunday while we were in Montreal.

While in Montreal we went to the Biodome. You might be wondering why I am posting a a blurry picture of a bird here. Well... this bird was in one of the four Biodome environments and it was AQUA JOGGING!

As you can see, it's body is above the water and it is using its feet to run. This was not a momentary exercise. This bird was doing this continuously. He would start running for about a minute and then take a little break and then start running again. It was quite amusing.

After visiting the Biodome we went into Old Montreal and explored the area. It was really cute with quaint little shops and cobblestone streets. We got crepes at a great creperie so that we could escape from the frigid temperatures for a bit.

Yesterday, on our way back from Montreal, Fred and I stopped in Burlington, Vermont, to go for a run along Lake Champlain. I am most likely going to be moving North this summer to start medical school at the University of Vermont in the fall. I wanted to give Fred a little tour of the area. We did about a 5.5 mile run along the lake for a bit and then through town, down Church Street (a pedestrian walkway with lots of shops and restaurants) and along the water front. We had lunch at the Red Onion. The sandwiches were great but HUGE. I could not actually fit my sandwich in my mouth because of the size of the bread with all of the filling inside as well. We then got desert at a new restaurant (well, new to me) called the Skinny Pancake. Stopping in Burlington for a run was a great way to split up the trip.

Now I'm "back to the grind". This morning I had my 1.5 hour swim and tonight is the track workout. I am hoping to up my mileage again this week and still run a good pace at the Hyannis Marathon Relay that I am doing with Mo, Betsy and Kiirsten on Sunday.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bowling and Beers

Betsy and I are having a fundraiser at Jillians/Lucky Strike ( tonight. There is a suggested donation of $20.00 for Dana Farber and then free bowling and appetizers from 6-8!!! Who doesn't love to bowl?? If you are free, come on by and join us. We will be hanging out after 8 as well, so if you can't make it for the bowling, come by for a drink!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sunday's Long Run

It has been a few days since I last posted. This past weekend was a great weekend for running. It is finally warming up and I was able to run my long run in shorts! Friday night my roommates and I headed down to visit our old roommate Mo in New Haven. On Saturday we had a group run in preparation for the Hyannis Marathon Relay that we will be doing together in two weeks. Mo gave us a little tour of her neighborhood and one of her popular running routes. It is great the way that running allows you to see more of an area because you are forced to navigate through more residential areas.

Sunday was our group run with Dana Farber out of the Wellesley BSC. It was a challenging 18.2 miles, with the Boston Marathon Newton hills on the way out and the big hill up in to Wellesley (which I have learned is called Grossman's Hill) on the way back. I ran with Aimee and Betsy for the majority of the run and it was great. The weather could not have been more perfect. I ended the run in a short sleeve and my running skirt. That is the kind of long run I enjoy most!

Then, after our long run, we went to one of the greatest fundraising ideas I have heard of. Two Dana Farber runners had a haircutting fundraiser at the salon Acote on Newbury Street. $30.00 for a hair cut and all proceeds went to Dana Farber. They must have raised at least a couple of thousand dollars. After stopping for Bloody Mary's and appetizers at American Joe's after our run, Aimee, Laurie, Kristan, Betsy and I headed over to the salon for our cuts. There was food, coffee and good music and we all got great hair cuts. It could not have been a more perfect Sunday.

Yesterday morning I went out for an 8.2 mile run on the river to stretch out my legs from the long run the day before. I really enjoy getting out in the sun early as opposed to waiting to run in the dark after work. The river has finally, mostly, defrosted.

Tonight we have track. Tomorrow night is Betsy and my bowling party!!!!

Friday, February 6, 2009


We have a lot of snow. I am thinking that maybe this is the worst winter I have had in Boston, or it may be comparable to my first winter in Boston. The snow is not melting and the temperatures have been bitterly cold. Today it "feels like" 15 degrees... yesterday it "felt like" 4 degrees. I broke down and decided to wear long fleece long underwear under my khakis today because my legs almost froze off yesterday in my corduroys.

I ran Crossroads last night. I definitely started the run too fast. I am slowly learning the HUGE benefits of starting out slow, warming up into a run, and then really pushing the pace towards the end. My run last night was kind of the opposite - start really fast, keep pushing, and struggle to maintain the ending pace for the last four miles... Anyhow, sometimes it is good to do that just to remind myself of how much better it feels to finish strong.

My right leg is still bothering me a bit - my shin and hamstring - so I am taking the day off of running today. I swam this morning with the Masters swim group at BU. It was a good 2650 meter workout.

Tonight I am heading down to New Hay Hay with my roommates Kiirsten and Betsy to visit our old roommate, Mo, for the night! It should be fun! We are all doing the Hyannis Marathon Relay together so we may venture out on a short run tomorrow in Mo's neighborhood if we are feeling particularly motivated. Then on Sunday I will have my second group Dana Farber run out on the hills in Wellesley. The temperatures are supposed to get up to 50 on Sunday!!! (which is hard to imagine with the temperatures today...)

Thursday, February 5, 2009


I think Thursday is slowly becoming my favorite day of the week. Thursday night is the weekly Crossroads run, where a group of us takes the T out to the Woodland T stop in Newton and runs the 8.8 miles back into Brookline to the bar Crossroads. I really enjoy the company, the pace, and having a drink when coming in from (for now) the bitter cold. It's great motivation to get a longer run in and I feel like I am able to push my pace with the crowd that I try to keep up with each week.

Otherwise, my desire to keep my mileage higher than usual is going fairly well again this week. Monday I had a 6.9 mile run on the river. It was a good run, minus the fact I woke up 15 minutes late and really had to rush in my last few miles in order to be on time for work. Tuesday I did my regular swim in the morning with the BU Masters group, and then had the 8PM track workout with the Dana Farber Team. I noticed that my right hamstring and shin were really starting to tighten up on me at the track workout. After debating about whether or not it was the direction we were running on the track, I realized that Tuesday morning we had done a swim workout with a flipper on our right foot and a paddle on our left hand. I am assuming that the flipper on the right foot for about 1600m on top of the track workout may have contributed to the sore hamstrings and shin. We did 4 by 600 meters three times. I have a really great group to work with at the track, so even when I feel like I am ready to pass out and give up, I have Betsy, Laurie, Aimee and (this week) Jess to pull me along and keep me running.

Yesterday I headed out for a, very slow, 6.5 mile run in Brookline. I am realizing that if I want to have my mileage higher, I need to take it really easy on any of the extra runs I may be adding to my weekly mileage. Once again, my hamstring and my shin were bothering me on my right leg. I decided that I should rest my legs and I chose sleep over my usual Thursday morning swim workout this morning.

All in all, I am getting more and more into my training as the weeks go by. I really am enjoying running with Dana Farber. The people are great, the workouts are fun, and the support from my donors and the people I am running in honor of are a great motivation!

Monday, February 2, 2009

What do YOU listen to while you run?

One of my biggest problems with running alone is that I mostly enjoy running to music. However, I have three mixes that I rotate through and I quickly get very sick of the songs that I am listening to, but I can never think of what new songs to download off of the Internet to create a new play list.

This is where YOU come in to help me out. I am curious to know what other people listen to when they are running, lifting, working out at the gym - whatever. If you have specific artists or songs you recommend, please comment, and I will compile a list of good music to work out with and post the list on my blog. Maybe some other people have this same dilemma, so it will not only help me with my training, but could make your workouts more enjoyable as well.

2 months 18 days to go...

At the end of last week I made it half way to my fundraising goal of $6000.00. I am very excited to be on my way towards that final goal and thank you for all of your support!

As for my training, last week was one of the best training weeks I have had so far. If my schedule would allow me to log the miles I logged last week every week I would be very excited. I managed to log a total of 51 miles. I did my first group DFMC run on Saturday. We started at the Mount Auburn Club and ran out to the top of Grossman's Hill in Welesley (backwards on the Marathon course) and then back (on the marathon course) to the club. It was so nice to start early (8:30AM), have water stops every three miles, and to run with other people. I ran with Betsy, Chris (another Bowdoin grad) and Ben. We ran a bit faster than I had planned, but it felt really good.

Yesterday and this morning I ran on the Charles River (something I have not done in quite some time). It has been warm - 42 degrees today and similar yesterday - which has been a huge treat given the temperatures we have been having over the past month. However, the Cambridge side of the river is still very treacherous. The melting ice has a layer of water over the layer of ice making it especially slippery and difficult to navigate. Though the river is beautiful in the relatively warm, sunny weather... I think I'll be sticking to the roads in Brookline for now.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Icy sidewalks, watery roads

We had our first track practice on Tuesday night. It was great. We did 4 x 400m four times. It is shocking how painful 1 minute and 35 seconds can feel. After going through our first set, I was coaching myself through the second lap of one of our 400's. As I was telling myself to keep pushing it, we crossed the line and Jack yelled out 'one minute 35 seconds'. ONE MINUTE, 35 SECONDS. Really? I am coaching myself through that small amount of time. I am training for a THREE HOUR, 30 MINUTE (at least) race!!! Anyhow, I thought focusing on how short of an amount of time it was would make it easier... it did not work quite like I thought it would. Regardless, I am glad to have that workout in my weekly schedule. It is a good group of people and it definitely helps push my limits.

Last night (Wednesday) is exactly the type of night that I wish I belonged to an actual gym. It snowed all morning and then by 1:00pm turned to rain. Then it proceeded to rain until well into the evening (stopping around 8:30pm). When the snow stopped I realized that there would not be too much snow to run in the road, and since it was raining none of the melted snow would have turned to ice. Running on wet roads has never really stopped me (even if it may be raining out and fairly cold). My next idea was that if I saw anyone else running between leaving work and arriving at my house, then I would have to run because clearly the conditions would not be bad enough if someone else was out there.

All my justification for trying to get out for a run failed after walking home from the BU shuttle in the rain and extreme slush. Walking down Pleasant street was like wading through where the waves have just finished crashing on a beach (except it was not warm, I was in boots, and my pants were soaked up to my knees). I did pass by one guy running. That was supposed to be my rationale for pushing myself out my own door, but I saw him much too early in the walk home. The rest of the walk home gave me more rationale as to why NOT to run in those conditions.

Needless to say, yesterday was a day I had kind of wished I could have walked to the gym and gotten on a treadmill for forty-five minutes. I wanted to run, but I felt as though I couldn't. In my ideal world I could run six days a week. But, with this weather, I am hard pressed to get four days of running in before the weather channel launches the next winter weather advisory.

So, yesterday was a rest day. And, in all honesty, is probably a good thing because today I have my second double session of the week. I swam this morning and I will be heading out for a 9 mile run along the marathon course with the Crossroads group tonight. The extra rest yesterday probably was not such a bad idea.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Another snow storm!?!

The weekend of skiing at Sugarloaf was great! Cold, but great.

I did not fit in any running during the weekend, but came back strong yesterday with an 8 mile run out Beacon Street and back on Commonwealth Ave over Heartbreak hill. I felt great. I think having the few days off of running and just skiing may have really helped me.

I also started up with my swimming again today. It has been two weeks and I always get nervous getting back into the pool when I have been out for a few weeks. But, it actually also felt pretty good. We swam about 3500-3700 meters. Tonight I have my first track workout with the Dana Farber Team! I am very excited. Although I must admit that I am not a particularly good sprinter. Distance is my forte, not short spurts. However, I recognize the enormous benefit there is to sprinting and I always feel good after the workout is over.

And, finally, a huge snow storm is approaching once again tonight. I hate this because now the roads are going to be covered and it is going to be impossible to run outside tomorrow...

Friday, January 23, 2009

7:00PM - 16.3 miles....

I am headed off again this weekend to go skiing. Although this time I am not flying, but instead making the four hour trek up to Sugarloaf in Maine. Hopefully I wasn't too spoiled by last weekend's skiing adventures and will enjoy northeastern skiing just as much...

Since I will be gone again, I had to fit in a long run before the weekend this time. Fred and I originally planned to start around 6:15/6:30 and run 16 miles going out Beacon Street to Woodland, and then following the marathon course back into Boston along Commonwealth Avenue to the bar, Crossroads. (The Woodland to Crossroads route is our typical Thursday night run, but we usually take the T out). Between getting out of work late, and waiting forever for the Green Line, Fred finally made it out to Brookline for the run around 7:00PM. So... we were off to a fairly late start.

I must say, running for a cause really has helped motivate me. At first I was not excited or motivated to log so many miles so late at night. But, when I got home last night I had three letters in the mail with donations and ribbons. Having the support of others and a reason for running helped push me out the door.

The run itself was good. A little bit tiring towards the end. We stopped at Crossroads around 9:15, had a beer and then had Thai food for dinner while watching this weeks episode of the Office. All in all it was a great night, and I was especially glad to have run last night so that I didn't have to wake up at 5AM this morning. :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A few extra red blood cells...

Ijust returned yesterday from five days out in beautiful Southwestern Colorado visiting my friend Kate. I had to fly out fairly early on Thursday morning, so Fred and I fit in an eight mile run from my apartment (in the freezing cold temperatures here in Boston, although it looks like the 10 degrees we were running in was actually fairly warm considering the temperatures that followed over the weekend). It felt good to get a long run in before a very long flight to Phoenix and then another flight to, my final destination, Durango.

While in Colorado, I had to miss my weekend long run for two reasons. One- the altitude kills me when I am running out there and most routes that I try to plan start on a hill and end on a hill. Hills + altitude are simply too painful and discouraging for me when I am only out there for five days. Two- I was skiing and snowshoeing the majority of my time out there, making it very hard to fit my regular runs into my days.

However, I did manage to log two runs. Saturday, after a full day of skiing at Purgatory right outside of Durango, I headed out for a 3.5 mile run from my friend Kate's house. I was kind of stuck to the side of a major road because I was trying to get my run in before dark and that was the only real option without driving a couple of miles into town from Kate's house. The 1.5 out was mostly downhill and I felt great, like I was cruising along. The 1.5 miles back were all up hill and my pace dropped significantly as I huffed and puffed back up the hill and recognized why I had thought to avoid running while out there...

Sunday I went for a beautiful snow shoe at Deer Hill (the outdoor wilderness camp I used to work for) with Kate. We bushwacked up a hill behind the base camp and sat on top, gazing out at the La Plata mountain range to our Northeast and Mesa Verde to our southwest. It was nice to get an alternative type of exercise for the day.

Monday was another amazing day of Colorado skiing in Telluride. The ticket prices are either the first or second highest in Colorado ($92.00) BUT the skiing is amazing. We skied all day in beautiful weather (a blue bird day with crystal clear skies and temperatures in the mid 40s to 50s). Definitely more comfortable temperatures than the east coast has been feeling.

Finally, I made it out for a decently long run yesterday morning in Mancos, Colorado before heading back on my flight to Boston. Mancos is where Deer Hill (the old company I used to work for) is located. I have been on many runs in that town during the summer months but never during the winter, when the open landscape is coated in a layer of bright white snow. I headed off for my run before the inauguration (at 7:30AM) up Road G. I did not completely appreciate how it really does go UP the entire way to Road 41... where I turned left on to a few rolling hills before making my way back to Road G and down hill all the way back to where I was staying. The sun was just rising and creating a glow on the La Plata Mountains and shadows along the sides of Mesa Verde. On my way back down Road G (when I really felt that I had my stride because I was essentially running down hill) I could see my shadow as I ran down the open road with the snow covered Mesa and wide expanse of land in front of me. I wish I had my camera because I would have loved to send a photograph of that into Runner's World as one of the "Rave Runs" that they feature every month.

And now I am back and hoping that my two runs, two snowshoe days and two ski days paid off in the end and that I may be carrying around a few extra red blood cells for my run tonight. If not, hopefully the rest from a long run this weekend will not hold me back but give me more energy towards the rest of my training.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Back out to the hills

Last night I had a great run with my friend Dennis on the hills out in Brookline. We met up at the Reservoir leading up to Boston College and did a loop so that we could run up Heartbreak Hill (Mile 21 of the marathon) and back into Brookline. Last night was the best I have felt so far on the hill. What makes it so difficult is specifically where it falls on marathon day, however there is something psychological that also makes it difficult for me. However, as I continue to train in Brookline, I am sure I will become more and more comfortable out there over the next few months.

Today is a day off for me. Tomorrow the predicted forecast is 11 degrees with snow at 6AM. I was hoping to fit in a run before my 9:45 flight to Colorado to visit my friend Kate for the weekend. 11 degrees is REALLY cold. Hopefully that won't stop me. It is very hard for me to run in Colorado because of the altitude. I will be in Durango which sits at 6525 feet in elevation. When I have run out there before, it takes a few days for me to adjust and even then a five mile run feels like 10. Hopefully I will be able to log a few miles - otherwise it will just be skiing for me :).

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Warming up to running in the cold

This past weekend I did my longest run so far in my training - 14.5 miles - mainly on the river. I had two nights of fairly difficult hill workouts out in Brookline last week so I thought I should run on a flat route. My roommate Betsy and I headed out early on Saturday in order to fit our run in, once again, before the snow storm was supposed to hit on Saturday night. Sure enough, the snow did come in. I was very glad about my choice to motivate on Saturday when I woke up to icy/ snow covered roads on Sunday morning.

Over the past week I have had a few people mention to me how they cannot believe I can run outside in the cold or snow during the winter. I guess a lot of runners subject themselves to the gym once the winter arrives, and spend their time on the elliptical or treadmill or whatever other machine is to their liking. To me, that is more insane and miserable that layering up and walking out my front door in freezing weather to run for an hour. I tend to feel as though the more excited you get about running, the less cautious you become with the weather conditions.

I am pretty sure one reason that I don't mind running in the cold is because I went to school in Maine and I still ran through the Maine winters, which tended to be even more snowy and cold then winters in Boston. My real motivation was so that I could gossip with my friend Katie. We would meet up at least three days a week to go on a 5-6 mile run so that we could chat and catch up on what was going on in each other's lives. I was playing squash at the time and this was well before I started running any sort of races. For Katie and I, our run was analogous to two people going out to coffee or getting a drink. Our runs were very social.

Now that I run marathons, the distances required of me make it impossible to be picky about the weather that arrives. I tend to look back on my runs up in Maine and am happy that my transition into cold weather running was so enjoyable.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Fitting in a solid run before the 'wintry mix' hits

Typical southern New England Storm today, the 'wintry mix'. This type of weather is the most miserable to run in, not only because it is really cold but also because of the enormous puddles along all of the sidewalks. They may not look deep, but then you accidentally run into one and it is ankle deep and then you find yourself running with a soaking wet shoe and your toes start to freeze...

Thankfully, I knew this was coming and was able to get out on a long-ish (7.5) mile run on the hills out in Newton/Brookline/Brighton. It was not too terribly cold and it was good to get out on the hills again after running in Florida on completely flat terrain over the last couple of weeks.

Tomorrow was also the beginning of my Tuesday/Thursday double sessions. I swim for 1.5 hours in the morning with the BU Master's Swim program and run in the afternoons. Soon I will have track workouts with the Dana Farber team on Tuesday nights and Thursday nights will be the Woodland Hill run followed by Crossroads. The first day of a double session in a few weeks definetly hit me hard. Although I am sure I will adjust again soon enough.

Needless to say, I am resting my feet today and staying out of this cold, wet weather. The rest of the week looks good.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Back from vacation - and warm weather


It has been quite some time since I have posted. I could go thru the play by play of each of the past 15 days, but that would be an even longer, tedious post than what is to come... :)

The last time I posted was after my run with Betsy in the treacherous conditions during the December 20 snowstorm. The next day I came down with laryngitis and my developing cold turned more severe and kept me off of my feet for a few days. My next run was in Savannah, Georgia, where I spent Christmas with my family and my sister's husband's family. The weather was in the mid-sixties and my sister's mother-in law's house is right on a golf course on an island right next to Savannah. It was a nice break from the snow to be down in some warmer weather. As I was recovering from my cold (and still literally had no voice), I decided I could handle getting back to running. I was able to get two runs in while I was down there. The island they lived is a gated community with many winding roads that cross each other and look exactly the same. I was able to navigate the area easily on my first run because I had company and was just following my sister's brother-in-law as he paved the way. The day after Christmas, when we were headed to drop off my grandmother at the airport on our way to Florida, I decided I could easily fit in a run on my own. No one else was willing to wake up at 7:15... so I figured I would take a map and navigate around the island, sticking to one road that circles the place. I had to be back by 8:45AM so that we could leave by 9:10 to drop my grandmother at the airport. As I am cruising along towards the last mile of my run, I started to feel as if I may have overshot the road where I was supposed to turn right. I stopped to check my map, and sure enough I had overshot the road by a good 3/4 of a mile and it was already 8:40... I had to literally sprint back in the direction I came in order to make it home in time for a five minute shower and then to jump into the car for our drive to the airport... followed by the seven hour drive down to our next destination - my aunt and uncle's house in Stuart, Florida. Miles logged in Savannah - 13.

My next run was in Stuart, Florida. It is amazing what the heat can do to you when running. Here in New England, I can run 8 miles without water easily at a good pace. At 9AM in Florida, that is not quite as easy. I ran my first six feeling pretty good. As soon as my dehydration kicked in, I dragged my feet back to my aunt and uncle's. Miles logged in Stuart, Florida - 8.5.

The following day we headed down to Hollywood Beach, Florida for the week of New Years (Dec 27-Jan 3). The weather was gorgeous everyday. And, I was sure to take advantage of this weather by logging a run every morning, either on my own or with my sister. My Dad even has taken up running as part of his training to climb Mt. Rainer in Washington this July. He has not run in over 26 years and started going on run/walks, using his heart rate as an indicator of when to start running and when to walk. He alternates in order to keep his heart rate in a specific zone. He managed to make it out on to the Hollywood Beach boardwalk every morning by 8AM... I wasn't quite as successfully at beating the heat. I made it out each morning between 9-10AM and my pace and distance was dictated by how much the heat beat me down. Miles logged in Hollywood Beach - 40.

Now, I'm back in Boston, and promise not to have any more posts this long... I did my first cold-weather Boston run of 2009 yesterday. 12 miles on the river. I definitely did not miss running on ice and snow when I was down in Florida. However, it is amazing how much farther my body can go in the cold compared to the heat. Running 12 miles without any water was not very difficult at all up here in the cold. Running 4 down in Florida without any water was painful for me.

Anyhow, that is a long synopsis of my last two weeks. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!