2014 TARC Spring Classic 50K Race Recap

In 2012 I DNFed (Side note, I laugh when I read my race recaps from 2 years ago, so young so arrogant I was)

In 2013 I DNSed, granted I was a few states away running a road marathon instead

In 2014 I rose from the ashes as a muddy phoenix

See me and the TARC Spring Classic have a long history. It’s always 6 days after the Boston marathon that destroys my quads. I’d like to think that I’ve gotten pretty good at recovering quickly. It helps when you don’t race too hard, but no matter what pace I run Boston, I’m always limping for a week or so. Don’t disrespect those downhill courses I guess.

The TARC Spring Classic course is also the site of my 2013 failed 50 miler attempt that turned into 26 miles of swimming.

Needless to say that between my complicated history with the Weston trails, my slow Boston Marathon recovery and the fact that I’ve avoided trails since October 2013 like the black plague, I was a bundle of nerves. My expectations were so low that a large part of me hoped I would oversleep my alarm and not show-up.

Luckily I didn’t, and while a little behind schedule, I got to the starting area just in time. Suddenly I was surrounded by familiar smiling faces that would accept me whether I ran 10K that day or 50K, whether I ran a 7 minutes mile or a 30 minute mile. And I began to calm down.

And then I realized my Garmin wouldn’t turn on. I was ready to turn around, get into my car and go take a nap instead. I quickly told myself to woman up and stop being a wimp. Animals that hide in a car because their running watch isn’t working, will be the first road kill. Before I had time to figure out something else, the race started and off I went, naked as the day I started running.

It’s weird trying to recap a race without any idea of what pace I ran or which mile or even my 10K splits. All I have are guesses. In a good way it was nice because I didn’t feel the normal anxiety that I do on trails because I always feel like my pace is too slow. I only had other runners to judge my pace on and since for the most part, I didn’t get passed too many times, I can only assume whatever pace I was on, was good enough.

It also helps that Weston trails are 98% most runnable trails you will find in New England.

TARC 50K 4

What else am I forgetting? O yea, this little thing called mother nature and her wrath for me whenever I am running. About 20 minutes into the race, it started to rain like crazy. The trees provided some coverage, but I was starting to get soaked.


After my first 10K, I stopped for water and at my gear to trade my wet long sleeve for my rain jacket. On my second 10K, I stopped by for some water at the aid station and a PBJ. Since I had no watch or anything, I asked a volunteer what time it was who told me it was 10:20 so at the pace I was going at about 65 minutes per 10K, My third loop felt a lot harder than the first two as I recalled DNFing on this loop two years ago. I knew there was only one way for me to not, I had to make the decision to skip the aid stations between loop 3 and 4. I grabbed some potatoes, picked up my cell phone from my gear since I wanted to take photos on my fourth loop and back out I went.

TARC 50K 3

Although I spent most of the 31 miles alone without my watch or cell phone, it really was a beautiful run.

TARC 50K 5

I even began to appreciate the mud with each new loop… JK, no I didn’t, I was having minor flashbacks.

TARC 50K 2

We did have some minor bumps on the trail that seemed to feel like mountains when you’re on your 25th mile, but for the most part, the course was really runnable and fast had I been in racing shape, versus recovery shape.

I felt really tired on my fourth loop and did a good amount of walking. While my first two loops were about 65 minutes and my second loop 70 minutes, I think my fourth loop was about 85 minutes. That’s a huge variance in a 6.2 mile loop.

But here’s the funny thing about ultrarunning (even at my minor level), you go through so many high and lows between glee and tears and this was no exception. On my 5th loop, I don’t know what exactly happened, but i felt like I was running my first. I brought an extra pair of shoes and rocks, but my Mizuno waveriders worked well enough that I felt no need to change. However, my jacket was starting to soak through, so my 5th loop, I wanted to start out fresh and dry. I switched tops and off I went like a gazelle.

Except this part

TARC 50K 6

This part still sucked… There were three muddy hell crossings, this is the 2nd worse one. Unfortunately, I was too focused on not getting my shoes sucked off to take photos at the other two spots.

And I don’t know for certain, but I’m pretty sure my 5th loop was my fastest because according to official results I ran 5:44:35, a 45 minute PR for me.

I knew this week was going to be a PR worthy week, I just didn’t expect it to come from a 50K.

As for medals and tech shirts? For a $22 race? These are the trail race medals:

Trails Races Medals

5 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas + Giveaway

To be honest, mother’s day always kind of sneaks up on me. I get lost in the busyness of tax season followed by the Boston Marathon and other post 4/15 Spring races. I know I’m selfish, but before I know it, I’m rushing around for a gift for my wonderful mother! Then comes my gift giving anxiety. I put a lot of pressure on myself because I always want the receiver to love my gift, or at least find it useful. Since I can’t always read minds, I try to think about what I would want. Luckily, since I am my mother’s child, I can rely on the fact that many things that make me happy, will make her happy.

Five Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

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Skin Care Face and Body Brush System by ToiletTree Products $39.99

Between the never-ending winter, the dryness of the heat, and the sweat that’s constantly on my face when I’m running, my skin could use some love. I was incredibly lucky with my skin as a teenager, but the latter years have not been as kind to me. While I was looking into an exfoliation system, the folks at ToiletTree offered to let me try theirs out in exchange for my opinion.

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The system comes with pulsing device, the waterproof strap, two AA batteries, a body brush, a foot scrubbing brush, a soft brush and a medium brush. You get to pick from an assortment of colors to match whatever you feel. My bathroom and sonic care is blue, so blue I picked.

What I’m loving

  • Comfortable ergonomic handle
  • How the brushes exfoliates, cleanses and softens my skin
  • Interchangeable and waterproof brush system that can be used on my face, feet and things in between
  • Stimulates skin renewal and removes dead skin cells
  • Improves overall skin clarity and appearance
  • Cleans deep to remove make-up, sunblock and other pore clogging ick
  • Way friendlier on my wallet than other similar systems

What I’m not digging

  • The double A batteries. Although mine haven’t died yet, replacing them will probably get annoying
  • There is only 1 speed available
  • There is no holder. I actually have no idea how to store in so I just hold it in the plastic it came from. It does come with a strap, but I don’t think I want to hang it in my shower. I wish it had something to hold it and charge like the sonic care toothbrush system. My toothbrush charging section would love a new neighbor.

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For my face I’ve been using the soft brush since the medium is too rough for me. I tend to get a little pink but it fades away after a few minutes. I know facial close-ups are not pretty so I’ll end it at this one.

Overall I’m loving the ToiletTree Skin scrub system. I’ve been scrubbing away at my feet all weekend, but I’ll spare you those photos since after a marathon, a 50K and a 5K in the span of 7 days… my feet are not ready for a model shoot.

To learn more about the skin care brush system and other products visit their website or other social media sites:

Twitter: @ToiletTreeProd

And because I’m loving my brush system so much, I get to give one away to one of my readers at the end of the post!

Furminator! Various price, ours was $20 Every pet owner should have this. We recently got it for our cats and they have a dog version as well. The cats are happy and I am happy because my carpets stay fur free for 3 days instead of 3 hours now.

Beauty date Various price– Everyone loves getting their nails done.

Cuisinart 3 in 1 Cooker $107.49– I know everyone and their mother owns a slow-cooker, but mine doesn’t. I’m kinda even drooling over the awesome steaming function.

Le Creuset Dutch Oven $279.95 – I know for a girl who doesn’t cook, I’m listing quite a few kitchen items, but these are my staples. It’s a little pricey, but ever since I got one, I barely use any other pot.


What would you like to get for Mothers day? (Even if you’re not a mother) I already have everything I listed above, but beauty date would be accepted. My nails really need some loving, and maybe a trip to Iceland 😉

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Disclaimer – The Amazon links are affiliate links. I also received the skin care face and body brush system for free, in exchange for my thoughts. As always all opinions for better or worse are my own. 

2014 Boston Marathon Race Recap

Monday was an epic day. Those are probably the best words out there to describe the whole seen. Actually this article sums up everything I felt and saw down to every last word. It’s like he went into my head and wrote from there.

The whole weekend I had grave anxiety. It started with the Boston Marathon Expo. Normally, I go at noon during my lunch break, pick up my bib and go home. This time, I got there at 12:02 th an expo that opened at 12:00 and waited over 30 minutes in one of the biggest but most orderly lines ever.

Boston Marathon Expo

I walked around the expo stopping by to stay hello to some of my favorites, Sketchers, Level Renner, Energybits and UCan (which I’m excited to try since I heard awesome things from my trail running friends). I also stopped by the Sam Adams booth for a 26.2 tasting. The energy level was high, but so were the crowds.

Boston Expo Beer

After somehow finding an exit out of the expo, I made my way back to work with a short bit stop by Boston Old South Church to be scarfed up.

Liana with scarf

Not the sexiest photo of my face, but be grateful there’s no boogies. The church received over 7,000 of these scarf donations for the runners from all over the world. Each one is uniquely handmade and beautiful.

Jack Scarf

Then on Sunday night, I randomly decided to stop by the pre-race pasta dinner. I don’t usually do the dinner, but I wanted to pick up the dessert. In the past, the lines for the dessert and dinner were separate. This time it was one line. I got there around 5PM and barely moved by 5:30 before giving up. The line was going all around Government Center for blocks on end. At this point, after seeing the crowd, I gave up any of hope of being able to even run a mile with the crowds.

Boston Marathon Pasta Dinner Line

On Sunday night after Easter and giving up on spotting running celebrities on the pasta line, I kicked back and prepped my breakfast and outfit. Two slices of bread, generous serving of peanut butter and a bottle of water. I packed a Hammer gel, 5 salt tabs, Imodium (just in case!) and my ID so I can get into my office to shower and change. I declined a glass of wine for dinner and went to sleep.

Marathon Outfit

When you live in a house with two cats, there’s very few things you can do without a ginger in your photo.

When I think about Boston, it always seems like a bit of an ordeal, from the buses, village, the slight hike to the starting line. Yet it always happens so fast and before I know it, it’s just another blurry memory.

The bundle of prerace nerves barely woke me up this time. I woke up at 6:30, only 30 minutes before my 7am alarm. Since I was planning on eating my breakfast on the bus, all I really had to do was get dressed. So I lazed around in bed a bit like it was any other Monday.

Luckily, Tony checked traffic before we were about to leave, because a giant trail flipped over and exploded on 93, but luckily for us (not the unfortunate drivers in the accident) we took an alternative route. We got to the buses in downtown Boston in 25 minutes vs expected 20 at around 8am.

Boston Marathon Bus loadingThis time instead of the buses being a mess of crazy lines, each a separate entity, it seem almost empty. The photo makes it look busy, but I think a lot of those are runners’ friends and family saying goodbye and wishing their friends luck. Maybe everyone decided to be an early bird. Then, I found the golden and blue arch or metal detectors as you may call them. The entry to the buses only had one access point and a small line was gathered as volunteers checked that no one has any bags, or sleeping bags or something “suspicious” looking. The whole process took maybe a minute and I was on a bus in about 5 minutes tops.

What did take a while was getting our bus full enough to leave. Where have all the runners gone? I sat there for about 15 minutes before we were full and had the green flag wave us out. The bus pick up volunteers did an amazing job on what I expected to be a zoo!

On the bus, I was a white bib in a sea of blues and yellows and I started to doubt my decision. Last night I was convinced I was okay with starting in the third wave, since my corral was in the back of the second wave. Better than waiting; however, everything changes the morning of when prerace jitters make you doubt everything!

The ride to the village was an unusually slow one. For some unknown reason, traffic built up on the Mass pike heading out of Boston and according to Waze, there was an accident. Everyone around me chatted excitedly as we all bragged or mumbled how many Boston’s or New Yorks or other marathons everyone’s done. I wondered are these my people? Are trail runners my people? Who am I and other existential thoughts. Luckily before my brain went into a song of I don’t belong here, I started chatting with a very friendly woman whose done 27 New Yorks! Runners, no matter what type, all love geeking out on running. 

And just like that, before I knew it, traffic opened up and we were turning into the Hopkington exit, a monstrous wave of every school bus in the state! I got off the bus at 9:36 (about 30 minutes later than planned due to traffic) and scurried of to find the entrance and corrals!

I was in my hobo outfit that was carefully selected from everything Tony would like to never see again. I shed a tear for my valour pants! However, within a minute I was immediately sweating as 40 degree weather seemed to have come and gone!

Boston Marathon Hobo OutfitWe walked through another golden and blue arch/metal detectors with a volunteering glancing that we all had bib numbers. Could you have sneaked in? My thoughts probably yes, but with all the marine and military volunteers at the village, I personally wouldn’t risk it.

Boston Marathon VillageWhen I got to the corral entrance, they were only letting in red bibs and then a terrible announcement was made. They claimed there was no bathrooms once we exit the village into the trail of corrals. I debated peeing in my skirt and quickly went to go look for a bush or a portapotty. That’s when I finally got a good look at the village and realized no one was sitting and relaxing, everyone was on the longest bathroom lines I’ve ever seen! I got on and one and waited for. 20 minutes barely making a dent. Luckily, a few people in the front let me go in front of them so I only waited another 10 minutes before running to my corrals just as they were planning on closing them.

I exit the village and what do I see? The bathrooms they claimed wouldn’t be there. I give out a yelp of exasperation and scurry on to try to find the 6th corral.

I walk by the usual. The friendly tent with sunscreen, gels, hair elastics and any other last minute goodies you could need. Next is the tent of drink men pushing beer and bagels in our face (that I’m sure are in good nature). I hear them saying 30 seconds to gun time just as I contemplate a second layer of sunblock and decide I ain’t got time for that. How bad could the sun be when my heating oil is still burning every night?

Hopkinton BeerAnd just like that we are off like cattle!

I’m not going to break up the course mile by miles since I already did that before. The elevation and the course hasn’t changed since I studied it mile by mile earlier in the week.

The only time I felt crowded during the race was the first four miles. I couldn’t pick up my speed above 7:45 where as last year I was around 7:15 minute miles. However, slowing down allowed me to notice more about my surroundings.Boston Marathon 2014 (2)

Like all the guides running with blind runners zooming by, or the kid on crutches that I was terrified would get trampled.

Boston Marathon 2014 (3)

I could feel the heat of the run and the drench of sweat already starting. Luckily, I wasn’t too frustrated with the slow down pace since I expected it and figured it was probably a good idea with the weather soaring past the 60s and up into the 70s. I had a long way to go before a friendly face.

Immediately, you’ll notice crowds building up along the curb early on in the race where it used to be scarce in years before. Anyone, whose anyone and was within proximity wanted to see part of the race. The kids and their orange slice, the adults cheering on. It was incredible!

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My friend took this incredible photo at mile 11!

I started sucking up salt tabs and water every 30 minutes pretty early in the race. I usually race without food or water, but today it was just too hot for me, to try otherwise. I could feel my body burning up and I slowed down my effort. Emotionally, with the pressure of trying to train for a PR, it was hard to allow myself to slow down, but I learned the lesson on what happens if you don’t in 2012.

After mile 13 or so, I started dumping water over my head every other water stop. If I saw a kid with a cup of ice, bless his heart, I wanted to hug them. Slowly but surely, I moved on! I tried to push my pace, but slowing down every time my head would get dizzy.

At mile 15, I saw a friend volunteering at the water station as I hugged her in the joy and hallucinations of seeing a friendly face again. I was dying of thirst again!

The only funny part is, that despite the heat and how much struggle I felt during the race, the hills felt smaller and shorter than ever before?

Boston Marathon 2014 (4)

Another friend got this wonder of me taking a little walking break as I look for water! You have to be very careful and not confuse them with Gatorade, as I imagine a cup of that over your head would be awful.

Despite how difficult the second half the course is, it’s always my favorite. This is where I run from left to right looking for all my favorite faces! Since security was so tight and no one was allowed to cross the route of the runners, it was a mystery of where I would find anyone. I almost ran past Tony and my brother and some of our friends. Well I actually did run past them and waved when I heard my name. I was too tired and delirious to run back the few steps. I’ve given up my goal A and goal B, but I was still focused on my goal C!

Boston Marathon 2014 (1)

The last 5K is the biggest blur of it all. Suddenly hills seemed to pop out where I don’t remember there being any. The tunnel on Comm Ave under mass ave felt like a mountain. People around me are collapsing from heat exhaustion just minutes away from the finish line. I look at my Garmin and see 3:31 just minutes below my goal C. I dig deep and begin to focus. No more walking breaks, no more jogging. The crowds on Bolyston are screaming at a new level but I don’t hear any of it. All I can focus on is the golden blue arch  that stands between me and a shaded place to sit. I must go under. And within a minute, it’s all quiet.

I’m finished and so did hundreds of runners in front of me who were just sprinting moments ago. Except now, they all seem to have forgotten how to walk and keep moving. I crossed the finish line just as they were announcing that Meb, an American won the race and that Rita Jeptoo broke the course record! The walk to exit the finish line feels forever and the medics with their wheel chairs are always so tempting. My head is spinning and I think about taking a seat down, no one will notice, I don’t have to tell anyone. Instead, I just ask a medic for a water, because my whole body feels on fire and I didn’t think I could make the walk past the blankets, and the runners who can barely take a step forward without it. With water in my hand, I zoombie crawl on for my silver cape, my baggy of food and the glorious shade on a side street.

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Total Net Time: 3:33:56

Overall Place: 10,509

Gender Place: 2678

Division: 1969

It wasn’t my best Boston, nor my worse, but I’m already looking forward and counting the days until 2015.

Five April Favorites & SuperSeedz Giveaway

April is quite the busy month for me. For one, it’s one of the biggest tax filings days of the year for me and an end of a busy crazy few months. On a more exciting note, it is also my favorite day of the year! Marathon Monday for me has been more exciting than Christmas. So besides these two days which occasionally fall on the same day like in 2013, I have to find other things that make me happy. Luckily, there’ quite a few and limiting it to just five was difficult enough.

5. Iphone apps! photo 2

Weather whiskers is my favorite new app!

4. You know how Meb won that whole Boston Marathon thing? Well guess what shoes he’s running in and guess what I’ve been running in lately?

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I would like to point out that he’s 38 and I’m only 27, so I have 11 years to become a world champion marathoner and all.

3. I’m addicted to furminating my cats!! And they’re sorta addicted to it too!

Furmenator Oliver

That’s one of the 50 clumps of fur I’ve gotten of Oliver

Furmenator Jack

Jack’s results are a little less furry, but I’ve never heard him purr louder

2. Stone Enjoy by IPA is my beer of the month

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1. SuperSeedz!!

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Super Seedz come in 8 different flavors of shelled pumpkin seed heaven

  • Really Naked (unsalted)
  • Sea Salt
  • Sugar and Cinnamon
  • Coco Joe
  • Tomato Italiano
  • Original Curry
  • Somewhat Spicy
  • Super Spicy

And lucky for me, I was given all 8 flavors to try!

If you’re wondering why there’s only 7 in my photo, it’s because a gremlin in my house with first name Tony, ate the bag while I was working late for a few days. I’m sure it was tasty =).

SuperSeedz is a company in Connecticut started by Kathie Pelliccio, a mom of 5. When she made curry pumpkin seeds for her salads and sugar and cinnamon seeds for a compliment to her breakfast meal, she noticed that her family would devour them just like I am now. Only I put them in oatmeal and yogurts.

The package says 5 servings but since I use it in addition to other things, I would say a pack lasts me a week. Besides all the benefits of eating pumpkin seeds like magnesium and protein, they are also gluten free, tree nut free, peanut free, dairy free, MSG free, vegan, and soy free.

Best part, SuperSeedz are offering a lucky reader a chance to win a package of Seedz for themselves so they can addicted like I am.

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Boston Marathon Tracking, Fear, Terror, and Goals

I’m excited for Monday and to be running again. The weather is looking great (for now).

To get cell phone alerts of my running times, you can:

Text “14603” to phone number “345678”

I start around 10:30AM and I think there’s going to be 4 alerts between start and finish.


Am I afraid?

Ever since 2:40 PM, 4/15/2013, the second or sometimes first question I get in regards to the Boston Marathon (and to a degree NYC marathon last year) is this. The answer is YES. I’m always afraid, but the truth of it all, I’ve been afraid way before last year. I don’t remember the last time I felt safe in a public crowd. Maybe some time before 9/11/2001 when I got the introduction terror first into my life. I work on a top floor of the tallest building in Boston and every time a plane or a helicopter flies by, I flinch. Every time I step into a parade, or a music festival, I think about how this is a breeding ground for not just outside “terrorists” but anyone to let their “crazies” out. Even when it’s not crowded, there’s really very little to keep someone from doing anything terrifying like many of the school and workplace shootings that seem to have become an acceptable event in our society today.

So yes, I’m afraid; but, if I let this fear, doubt and terror keep me from doing anything, I’d never leave my house. And then how else would I go for my run? 😉

What’s my goal?

When I started training for Boston, I wanted to train for a 3:20 or faster, GOAL A.

I wanted my average pace to be around 7:30. which gives me a 3:17, but I’ll need those extra 3 minutes for heartreak strokes. But then winter happened and as the Starks say, it’s coming and coming and only got worse. Okay, not exact words, but if more were alive, they would say it. Paths that I usually run on, have been covered in snow for months forcing me to share the road with cars and potential texting drivers. My weekend long runs turned slower and shorter. It was cold, but I can’t use that excuse since I like the cold, however, snow, no thank you. My work schedule ended up being a lot more demanding in March and April, limiting my peak month in those medium long runs that I believe are so valuable.

My GOAL B is to PR on the course. So sub 3:26. A lot more reasonable considering I ran a 3:22 a few months earlier. The course is mostly downhill and is to my advantage.

My GOAL C is to BQ on the course, sub 3:35

GOAL D – Let’s not go this far!

Regardless, I can’t wait! I run a ton of races a year, because I don’t want one race to make or break me; but Boston is so much more than just another race. I’m so excited to see my friends and family along the route! Collecting hugs is almost as fun as crossing the mile markers.

A mile to mile guide of the Boston Marathon from the midpacker gal

As many other runners, the taper crazies start to take over. However, one of my favorite taper past times is to analyze and over analyze the elevation profile of the race I’ll be running. Since I generally tend to never run a marathon course twice, what’s expected and what my feet actually hit always seems so different. Unfortunately, Boston Marathon is not a race I can use that excuse. Having raced on it 2 times already, and ran on it countless times, there’s very few surprises it can bring besides the weather. Weather, I can’t control, so I just let it be. Although, as I mentioned on facebook, I’m expecting it to snow this year.

Boston Marathon Snow

Five days until race day and this is what I woke up to this morning.

Anyway, I don’t like to brag about it, or even really mention it but my first Boston Marathon was a complete disaster. I ran a 5:11, well 5:10:54 to be exact. I don’t hide it, but it does put a dent into my Athlinks profile, my pride and joy as a midpacker.

2012 Boston Marathon

Well, I learned my lesson, many of them in these tips and came back in 2013 with a 3:26 before the whole nightmare occurred at 2:40PM. Did I get faster? Not really, I ran a 3:24 in March 2012, only four weeks before my 5:11. However, within a year, I did get smarter. Knowing your mistakes mile by mile, brought me hours faster to the finish line.

Run To Munch’s Mile by Mile guide to the Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon by Mile

Mile 1 – When I first ran Boston in 2012, this was the mile that killed my race (that and the 90 degree weather.) But I also learned a ton about marathon racing within this mile. The first mile is the largest elevation drop you will have on the course, 130 feet. This drop will make everything, including the flat parts feel slower and harder unless you ease into it. I’m not gonna tell you to take it easy, but I will tell you that going into tempo speed here is not a good idea. And this is coming from someone who believes negative splitting is NOT for everyone.

This is also one of the most narrow roads you’ll be running on. It will become incredibly tempting to try to pass by other runners. With the large fields, I doubt this part of the course will feel any more spacious than it did in the past. And I get it, I like to start out fast and bank on time, but the problem here is that you will waste more energy weaving between other runners, than the time you will bank. Trust me, I’ve tried it and I’m a relative tiny person whose quite talented at sliding in between people and not caring. Just try to go with the flow, until the road opens up a bit more.

And please don’t be the d-bag that takes a piss on the side of the road, I don’t care about your public urination, but I do care that you’re getting in my way and I have no desire to see this when my stomach is already in bolts from the race.

Mile 2, 3, 4 Around mile 2, you’ve peaced out of Hopkinton and into Ashland. What’s Ashland? Just another town in Massachusetts, don’t worry about it. Although, some history, the Boston marathon used to start in Ashland until it moved to Hopkinton in 1925 and became the glorious 26.2 miles of fun it is now. There’s also some kinda famous clock or something there. You’re still going downhill, and it’s fun! It feels easy, the course is starting to spread out and you’re having the time of your life!

Mile 5, 6, 7 And then it starts to suck. It doesn’t really suck, but compared to pounding four downhill miles, these little bumps in the road feel painful. Mile 5 actually have a net elevation gain, but it’s only about 25 feet and you lose it again around mile 6. This is where I set into my marathon pace. If I’m feel really good, I might go a little bit faster than marathon pace. Furthermore, just before your Garmin beep 5 miles, you can take a shot (of water) for a third town you’re entered; Framingham.

Yes, Framingham at mile 6, just like all the other Massholes, will welcome you with a bumpy start, three bumps in the road. Worry not, you go down for a lot more than you go up and lucky for you, what goes down, won’t go up since it’s a point to point course. As you run over the 10K timing mat, you can snap a photo of the Framingham train station with a ton of strangers in front of it!

Mile 8, 9, 10, 11 The Natick Miles. Everyone always talks about the Newton/Wellesley hills and the heartbreak of it all, but everyone seems to forget about Natick. If Newton is the heartbreak, Natick are the repeated strokes your heart will take before the break. This is a good time to plug-in some headphones and run to some beats. You will be running through industrial/commercial/boring areas for a few miles until mile 10 when you reach an awesome crowd of people at Natick Center at mile 10. They call these hills “minor” but I after running downhill, they still feel like mountains to me. You gain 25 feet at mile 8, drop 30 to gain 20 and 10 on mile 10 and 11. I continue with a steady effort because this is still just the start.

Mile 12, 13, 14 – You reach your next town of Wellesley, For the most part, it’s either flat or the elevation is dropping. Around mile 13, you pass by the screaming infamous “Wellesley girls” college. I mostly use these miles to bank up time and run past all the craze as fast as possible. I know the dudes like to stop and grab a kiss here, but hey whatever floats your boat.

Mile 15… Enjoy the first half, because now the race is about to start. You wrap up this mile with a climb, the first of many. conserve with a steady effort, because this is just the first of many as you leave Wellesley.

Mile 16 – This is my favorite mile. It means I’m just a 10 mile race away from the finish line. Be prepared to drop down 100 feet in less than half a mile. Since I don’t have any knee I problems, I bomb down the hill and bank up some time.

Mile 17, 18, 19 Mile 17 is my second least favorite mile and probably the second hardest one for me. You start your 55 feet of climbing. The feel of the climb only feels tougher after all the downhill. Suck in your gut and hold a steady effort. Remember this is why you didn’t waste energy weaving in and out of people at mile 1. It doesn’t help that the course gets uglier here as you run on an overpass and highway looking roads. I plug in my headphones once again for another 5K. Mile 18 is another 30 feet of climbing with a stronger but shorter incline that’s rewarded with a little break at mile 19 as you climb down 15 feet. I use mile 19 to catch my breath.

Mile 20, 21 They say your race is determined by the final 10K of a marathon. I hope that’s not true.  You remind yourself that you’re almost at 20 miles which is almost like the finish line. There’s constant debate whether these two miles share two or three or four hills. I’m going with four. The first part of this mile is steep but short hill. Then it flattens and climbs again for a second (IMO) hill. This is the number one winner of my least favorite part of the race. By the time I reach mile 20 and the actual Heartbreak hill at mile 21, I have given up on life. I often wonder why I run marathons. What kinda idiot pays to run over 26 miles. The only thing that gets your through this heartbreak are the crowds. Oh and that little kid with the Swedish Fish in a cup. Thank you! Thank you! This is so much tastier than the diarrhea GU I picked up at mile 18!

Have your mantra ready for the hills. Mine is slow and steady. I let a bunch of people pass me on the uphills. I shorten my stride and conserve some energy, but I always lose more energy going up hill on same amount of effort than I do on flat or going downhill. My strength is not in climbing and so I save it. Mile 21 of 80 feet of climbing and I probably lose 2 minutes on it. I remind myself to not stress out and that for me, it’s part of my race strategy. Slow and steady choo choo! I think I can. I think I can. I think I can… mnn candy!

Mile 22, 23, 24, 25 You know how they say, it’s all downhill from here. Totally true. This is what I remind myself of when I want to die at the bottom of each hill in Newton. This is also why I try to conserve energy on the uphill. I know my strength comes in running downhill/flat surfaces. I can make up more time here, if I don’t burn myself out on the hills. Remember all those fools who passed me on the hills, well guess what buddy! I get to pass some of your here. Somewhere in mile 23 there’s a little climb in there and I always hated that area of Brookline. When I used to bike down Beacon street I could never understand why they didn’t just flatten it out, and instead had to build upon this evil hill. Mile 23 is when I start to hate everything again. I’m feeling weary of the uphills, the downhills, the crowds and life. You keep seeing the Citgo sign of Boston in and out of the these miles reminding you that you’re so close, yet so far from the finish line. Hold nothing back! Pain is all just temporary.

Luckily for me, the final 10K is where I get to see all my friends as well! If I’m having a good race, I smile hug and run on. If it’s a bad race, an extra 30 second break to chat won’t hurt anyone right?


Mile 26 – You know how you think there’s nothing left in you at mile 22? Mile 26 brings on the opposite. This magical burst of energy surges through you as if you just crossed the starting line in Hopkinton. As you make your turn onto Hereford, you forget just how far those .2 miles after the 26 mile marker are, and yet it all passes through with a blur.

You’re done. A friendly volunteer wraps you in a blanket and put a medal on you. Don’t try to sit, you’ll get yelled at. Keep moving, go get your bag of food and keep moving, there’s plenty of runners behind you so make room.

Or at least that’s my plan. What will actually happen in 2014? We’ll see on Monday. 

P.S. I used this list and my experience for my elevation numbers

Final Week of Boston Marathon And How I kept myself Busy

Of course as the weather got more amazing, I had to control myself. The urge to run 20 miles, bike, and swim all in one day was trying to take control of me like an endurance demon, The sun was shining, calling my name, but the reminder that Boston Marathon is less than 10 days away loomed over me. I settled for a compromise with lots of episodes of True Blood and True Detective between. Plus the new season of Game of Thrones started so I had things to keep my busy.

I love seeing how everything in the city is prepping for that one day!


Weekly Recap

Monday – Too busy with work/rest day or something

Tuesday – 8 Miles 7:32 pace on incline 2. Was surprised I didn’t feel more sore from Sunday.

Wednesday – Too busy with work//doctor appointment and running go pushed away to not happening.

Thursday – 8 Miles 7:30 pace on incline 2. Another great day on the treadmill.

Friday – 10 Miles 7:35 pace, incline 2. I really hate doing long and hard workouts on Fridays, since I like to recoup a little for my weekend runs. However, with how crazy the week has been, I felt like I had to “catch-up” to some crazy amount. I also caught up on my last two episodes of Arrow as I heard new ones were coming up.

Friday 10 Run

I promise it was 10 miles, I just hit reset .6 miles into my run. Why is the fan button always next to the cool down button?

Saturday – 15.2 Miles 8:05 Pace
I procrastinated a little but doing some yard work. Unfortunately, if you neglect your leaves in the fall, they don’t disappear in the winter. Me and Jack Meower filled up 12 bags before we called it quits.

JackMeower on Leaves

And can I mention how beautiful the weather was? It actually got a little to hot for me at 70 so I waited til later in the day before I could start my run.


While the girl who loves to wear sundresses is loving the heat, the running in me was a little disappointed about how we skipped the 50s and jumped straight into summer heat. Either way, I tried to keep a steady pace. I couldn’t go down to 7:30s, my race pace goal, but I figured any long run, is a good run.

leaves and miles

Sunday – 10.2 Miles 8:17 Pace
I knew I was going to regret that yard work and surely I did. I woke up on Sunday with my legs feeling like chunky funky bags of ham from all the squatting I did with the leaves. As I stepped outside, I could tell there was less pollen in the air and the temperature has dropped down to a 60 with a barely there light breeze, but my legs, specifically the quads didn’t seem as thrilled.

Sunday 10 Run

I wasn’t even sure I could get through my run when I first started. I told myself, take your time, you have no where to rush and slowly shuffled through my first 5 miles of the my out and back path. I seemed to pick up more speed on the second half as either I was warmed up, or numb and used to the pain, or maybe so happy to be heading home to my couch and food. It was probably the latter since my roommates and I were having a breakfast dinner.

Stuffed french toast, wouldn’t you run a little bit faster to get home to this?

Stuffed French Toast


How was your weekend? Did you get a spring thaw, or just spring forward into almost summer?

9 Boston Marathon Race Day Tips

Twas the week before Boston and Liana was not running. Taper they call, but torture is more like it. So instead she came up with her Boston Marathon tips and personal approach based on the professional Liana approach.

When it comes to racing Boston there’s two approaches.

A. Attempt for a visit to PR city

B. Dance your way through a 26.2 mile party

I’m going to disappoint you and tell you that unfortunately this is not a guide on the latter (although these is nothing wrong with partying down the raceway). Sure, you want to have fun and enjoy Boston, but some of us want to also run our best Boston as well. Whether its an attempt of a PR, a course PR, or just running the best race we can on that day, it’s okay to want to have more than just “fun.”

I want to preface by saying that just like snowflakes, every runner is unique. The technique that works for me, might be a nightmare for you, so take everything I write as always with a grain of salt. And in case you don’t know me, I’m a middle of the pack runner and this will be my third Boston.

Nine Boston Marathon Race Day Tips

9 Boston Marathon Race Day Tips

9. Be very careful with the sightseeing. I know many runners are from out of town, and Boston is one of the best walking cities to visit. You can walk a marathon and barely notice it when the weather gets lovely here. But, you’ll feel it at the starting line when your legs barely want to move. Utilize the T, it’s cheaper than a cab and will get you to most sightseeing places. Alternatively, save your sightseeing for Tuesday as it makes a great recovery.

8. Try nothing new!
I’m serious! The Boston Marathon expo is one of the best running expos out there (way better than the one year I went to NYC) and you are surely to pick up something new and never tested, even if it’s just a new flavor of GU. Well, I highly suggest putting that back into your suitcase and saving it for another run.

7.  Sunblock yourself up like cray, cray, especially your right side, because being half dark and half Casper is not fun or sexy.

6. Figure out your travel arrangements & don’t stress out about the bus times
Getting to race start has never been easy given that it’s about 26.2 miles out of Boston. Add in the 9,000 (33% more) runners joining you this year means it won’t be any easier. Using the buses in downtown Boston is one of the better options as the roads close at 7AM.

My first year, I freaked out about trying to make my “designated time bus.” Even though, I barely made it, I was rewarded with sitting for 2 hours in the village before I could line up for my corral. My second year, I took a bus 30 minutes later and still had a good hour to spare before I had to get into my corral. Given the amount of runners and security logistics, I probably would still only give myself 30 minutes of lateness at best. However, if I’m running late, I’m not going to worry about it, worst case, I start in a later corral.

5. Don’t stress out about an early dinner I usually try to eat dinner at 5PM, but since most of us won’t be running until 10AM or later, I usually just eat something normal at 7PM or so. I don’t want to wake up starving and over eat on race there. Eating a little later for dinner keep me from stuffing my face silly in the hours leading up to gun time on race day.

4. Plan your race day meals – Unlike most races, it’s midday at best before you get to run. It’s not as simple as eating breakfast, driving and running.  The first wave doesn’t start until 10AM, 2nd wave 10:25, 11:00, 11:25 for the fourth and final wave. Most of us are running during a time we would normally be eating lunch and my stomach doesn’t let me forget that. I usually drink some tea at home at 7AM, I eat my breakfast, two piece of toast and peanut butter, on the bus at 8:30 when i’m entering the village. For me, two hours is far enough to digest my breakfast for 10:25 start, but close enough to start time that I’m not starving 5 miles into my race.

3. Be smart with layers – The weather you have while getting on the bus, will most likely be nothing like the weather a few hours later when you start your race. Unfortunately, with the new baggage policy anything you bring to the village will either stay with you the whole race or be thrown away. Also, while we’re worried about staying warm before the race start, worry a little bit about staying dry. The only place to sit in the village is the grass (unless you’re VIP or Elite, or both.) The grass tends to be wet, so I always bring two trash bags, one to lay/sit on, one to wear in case it decides to randomly rains.

2. Bring your own fuel. I think there’s only one Gu station at mile 18. And it’s not Gu, it’s the powerade version of it, which I’m particularly am not a fan of.

1. Remember, it’s just a race! It’s never good to take yourself too seriously 😉

Friday Five – 5 Things to do in Gloucester & Rockport

Although only about 40-50 minutes north of Boston, the Rockport & Gloucester area is one of my favorite day trips within my house. Spring/Summer/Fall and maybe even a sunny winter day are all great to check it out. I thought this Friday, instead of telling you what I did the last time there, I’ll list five of my favorite things to do there. Coincidentally, I tend to visit all these place every time I am there!

1. Check out the old Rockport Quarry at Halibut Point Park. Parking is free in the off season and only two bucks during the summer.

Halibut Point State Park use to be a huge granite quarry that was closed back in the 1920s but sign of the old quarries are obvious.  Huge holes in the ground that were carved out and massive chunks of granite are still just lying around everywhere.

Quary Rock

The actually quarry is now filled with water and the flat rock pieces are perfect for a picnic. You can even get some great wind protection.


2. Take a side trail for amazing ocean views in Halibut Park. There’s several beautiful less than a mile side trails for the most breath taking cliff side ocean views.

Ocean view

Great for some coffee, but a little to windy for me to sit and relax.

3. Eat a Lobster Roll at Roy Moore Lobster Co

photo (5)

Or in my case, everything on the menu!

4. Lay on a beach


Sure it might be chilly, but that’s why you gotta make sure you do number five first!

5. Run a race… you have several spring time half marathons going from April, May and June and countless 5Ks.

Run A race

Check out RunningInTheUSA for other races. Or feel free to catch up on my Twin City Half marathon (May) or Fool’s Dual 5K and Half Marathon (April) Race Recaps.


What’s your favorite day trip near your home?

2014 Fool’s Dual Race Report – Breaking the white tape

On Sunday, I once again returned for some running in Gloucester. It took me two years to make my way back, but it ended up being a worthy day!

The race is called Fool’s Dual because they offer a 5K and a half-marathon for those of us that are dumb enough to complete both races back to back.The 5K registration goes up $35 and the half at $69 while both races are $89. Clearly, its not only foolish, but economically smart to do both ;).

The 5K started at 8AM but since I still had to pick up my bib number, I decided, I should get there around 7:45 with a 40 minute drive from home. The alarm was set for 6:30 but after working so late all week, waking up so early was not something I craved on a Sunday morning. Tony even tried to convince me that it’s okay, I can oversleep the 5K and just run the half! Luckily, I told him, no way buddy, get up, let’s go!

And then I discovered at 7:10 that I had absolutely nothing to eat! Yea, ladies, if you suddenly leave for weeks and don’t do food shopping, you can expect that your significant other isn’t doing it either. I found some peanut butter and flatbread pizza bread and decided, sure, it’s carbs, it’s peanut butter, it’ll work and with a cup of tea, out the door we went.

Number pick up was super easy and about 1 minute walk from the starting line. Swagbag came with some nice sponsor samplers and a shirt that was a size too big.

And at 8AM, the “gun” went off for the 5K. I don’t have a mile to mile break down, as I feel like it all happened too fast. I read some accounts calling the course hilly, but I honestly thought it had more of a decline than an uphill net gain. I remember on the drive over, we passed by this crazy hill and I prayed to running gods that I would not be running there, but the gods answered me in a better light. We ran down that hill and came back up a more mild way.

The one thing I remember that was making everything so difficult was the wind! I don’t know what direction it was coming from, but it always felt like it was in my face.

At around mile 2, I noticed that I haven’t had any female pass me yet. I tried to look back and see if anyone was near by, but couldn’t see anyone but another dude. Things were starting to feel painful but I decided to go with it! I could tell that my Saturday 18 miler was definitely making my legs feel heavy. The only good thing about 5Ks is that the pain is over relatively quickly. I knew that with a mile to go, I have less than 10 minutes. As I approached the finish line, I saw them putting up the tape back and before I knew it, I was running across it!

Finish line

Now picture me with a white tape looking confused because I still didn’t believe I was in first place for women and 9th overall.

Official time was 20:54:7! It’s not my best time and it’s not anything special, but sometimes showing up is more than half the battle! After crossing the finishing line, I grabbed some water, bananas, and went to wake up my driver/assistant who slept through my whole glorious moment!

I quickly made my way into the changing room, aka our Prius, for an outfit change.

Fools Dual Half

I knew that by giving my all, on tired legs for the 5k, I was going to have a pretty miserable half marathon. As I waited for start time (9AM), I could feel the lactic acid building up. Luckily, I had my compression socks to help relieve some of the soreness in my calves.

As the “gun” went off, my legs seemed to forget about the 5K they just ran 30 minutes ago, and wanted to push; however, by mile 3 they started to remember. Or maybe it was the hills that went up and down, down and up.

Fools Dual Hills

The course is an out and back rolling hill party. Every time we hit a downhill, I would curse because I knew I would see the uphill on the 2nd half of the course. As mile 4 rolled in, the only thing I could focus on was to remind myself that I only had about 2 miles (I like to round down) to get to the halfway point. At mile 5.5, I saw the Welcome to Rockport sign that reminded me that I’m almost halfway there.

As I started to reach the 7 mile marker on the return, I got a second, or maybe it was my third wind… Everything seems better when there’s only a 10K left.

My original goal was to finish under 2 hours, but I slowly bumped it up to 1:50 around mile 7; by mile 9, I dreamed about a 1:45 that faded into a sub 1:40 and PR by mile 10! I think, I was reaching my 4th wind at this point.

Fools Dual Ocean

It helped that for once in my racing days, I had perfect, beautiful water with amazing waterfront views. It’s always raining when I’m racing.

I ended up crossing the finish line at 1:40:48, about 2 minutes slower than the last time I ran this course two years ago.

Final Time

Why my Garmin is calling the course short is weird to me. I remember for half the course it was saying I was .1 mile long and somehow on the second half I cut off .2 of a mile? Maybe my Garmin took a nap somewhere at mile 8 as I was contemplating taking a nap myself.

Either way, while I didn’t reach a PR, a course PR, or my last second goal of sub 1:40, the time I ran was good enough. I ended up being 4th in my age group and 3rd overall female in the fools dual, combined time of both races. I lost second place by 8/10th of a second!


The day was truly a lesson in that sometimes, the hardest part was just showing up. Sure, there are countless faster runners in Boston and north shore area, but luckily they all decided to stay home, sleep, or somewhere else. What did I win? ONE BILLION DOLLARS… of bragging rights, these cool award paper things and awesome memories. I also got three $10 gift certificates to use towards shoes at Greater Boston Running Company, a sponsor. Although I haven’t been able to confirm if I can combine them to get $30 off shoes instead.

Key race review points

PRO – Beautiful, scenic course

Fools Dual

PRO/CON – Hilly course, but what goes up must come down and I think the hills make it a more fun of a run

CON – Roads are not closed and while it wasn’t an issue at 9AM at the start of the race, it became a little bit frustrating after 10AM when a lot more cars were on the road. Since the shoulder was very small, trying to bypass another runner, or even just running alone felt a little stressful at every curve.

PRO – Reasonable Price and great value for the course, support and distance

CON – The free shirt was too large for me and the visor we get for running both races was too large as well and felt cheap. The shirt felt nice, but was just too large for me to ever run in. I personally prefer for races to charge less and not offer free shirts since they all seem to always be too large.

PRO- WELL MARKED! This is so important, especially on a winding 5K course. I never felt confused or lost at all!

PRO – Amazing volunteers, great race director and overall a great small race vibe! This year they had about 500 half marathons and 200 or so runners on the 5K course.

I would love to return to Gloucester/Rockport for more racing!