Less than 24 hours in Unesco World Heritage Site – Historic District of Old Québec

Like an avid traveler and professional wanderluster, visiting Unesco world heritage sites is always a gem. They almost never fail to disappoint.  Québec City is about 7 hours north of Boston and yet in the past 12 years that I called this city my home, I have never ventured up to my Canadian neighbors in Quebec City. Sure Montreal had more than enough shares of my appearance, I even ran the marathon there, but never dared to venture further to the French Canadian east. Luckily, I rectified this mistake one weekend!

On an impulse last second decision, we decided to give up our last night in Montreal in hopes of something new versus the tried and true.  With a few clicks of what seemed like a bright idea, Hotwire got us a modestly priced hotel in an area that looks like it was close enough to things for our day of adventure.

The 2.5 hour drive from Montreal to Québec City isn’t the most exciting. For the most part its flat, country road and as far as i can tell, not much in between. Needless to say that when you arrive at 10PM on a Sunday night, the city looked desolate. As we roamed from one place  to another place on Rue Saint Joseph, we got the same answer. Kitchen is closed… Luckily, there was one  place known for it’s late night food and decent enough drinks. Le Bureau de Poste was like a gastropub lodge that turned into a dive bar offering pretty much anything you  can imagine for food for the low price of 4.95CAD.

Quebec City (1)

Our bellies quieted down and sleep came way to easily. Monday morning we got up relatively  early and went through to tourist duty.

Quebec City (2)

Quebec City served as the fortress capital of New France. Much of it’s old city wall and military history seems to be preserved in great shape, earning it a place on the highly coveted UNESCO listing.  These days, it serves more as the administrative capital than anything else for Province Quebec.

But first things first. You can’t be exploring on  an empty stomach. You just can’t because  I said so. Whether  you’re in Paris, or just French Canada, the first order of business was to find a croissant, because hard as we try, American’s just can’t seem to make great croissants that don’t taste like they were made a month ago and frozen.

Quebec City (3)

We stumbled into Paiillard where the urge to order everything off the menu and the Gelato was a bit of a struggle to surpass. I think end up walking out with a few more things than I should have, because they didn’t survive too well sitting in a 90 degree car all day. Ooops.

And now it was time for the sights… While I briefly looked at a few things to do and see, I strongly believe that the best type of sightseeing is to just get lost!

Quebec City (4)

The old city walls were renovated into this really cool park trail. Not much shade, but gives you a nice 360 view of most things around you, leaving to no question as to why this was a military capital.

Quebec City (6)

Quebec City (7)

Through out the whole city, there were all types of cannons around.

Quebec City (20)

The cliff over looks the Saint Laurent River and Laurentian Mountains and by midday, a corner of it was filled with entertainers trying to earn their pennies.

Quebec City (17)

We continued wandering around and walked into the Notre Dame Cathedral. It was a nice Cathedral, but not anything special on it’s own.

We wandered into Quartier Petit-Champlain with it’s galleries and cute shops

Quebec City (19)

I’m a huge fan of hilly cities. I love going up and down the rollers to uncover new views. Quebec City also had quite the collection of these building murals. I read somewhere that there’s a good amount around town. Check out Murale  Creation for more!

Quebec City 97

the court yard area of Place Royale was a little empty for how peaceful it was. Maybe on a cooler evening day, this place get’s more packed.

11745550_10103283242886740_258402625230375382_n

You can pay $2CAD to take this railway rides up, or you can use your good old legs and do some stairs.

Quebec City (15)

Rue du Petit-Champlain is the ultimate people watching spot.

Quebec City (14)

We cozied up to Le Lapin Saute  for some lunch, sangria and people watching.

Quebec City (13)

Tony and I shared this two way duck salad (smoked duck and duck confit)  . I was still feeling a little too full from eating every pastry in the morning, but I wanted to still try everything more.

Quebec City (10)

Further down the street there is is no shortage of sculpture art to make you contemplate.

Quebec City (11)

And this mural that I thought was pretty cool combined with the church.

Quebec City (18)

We made our way down the castle city steps (we took the long road down versus the steps we found to more quickly get us back up). Marche Du Vieux Port is a little bit bigger than it looks, but definitely not too happening on a Monday. Although they had some cute jewelry vendors, some limited produce, plenty of options for olive oils and jams  and such.

Quebec City 98

We came back from the market in a mad rush to get back to the car. somewhere between here, and there, we did find something called 300 steps to Escalier Casse. Like a said before, free workout mixed into sightseeing!
Quebec City (8)

Le Chateau Frontenac is one of the famous sights in Quebec, but it’s now a Fairmont hotel. So while I’m sure the accommodations are more than lovely, they were not available to the view of the public.

Quebec City (5)It would have been nice to have another half day to explore a little further. There was still plenty more that we could have seen, but for trip, 3/4ths of a day will have to be enough.

Quebec City 99

And yes, i did return for some gelato for the road.

RRCA Coaching Certification Recap & Was it worth it?

What a weekend! Gorgeous weather, gorgeous coastal city and what did I do? Spend 18 plus hours in a make shift back room of a running store turned into a classroom. All for a better cause I would hope!

What is RRCA and what am I certified for?

RRCA-coach

RRCA, stands for Road Runners Club of America. It’s basically a club of runners, coaches, running clubs and maybe a few other things all with an overall goal of promoting distance running. You can read the history more on their website and if you belong to a running club, chances are it might be an RRCA member club,

RRCA is one of several running coach certifications. So far, they offer the one basic level of training, and they are hoping to develop a level 2 course and some continuing education options.  Other programs include USATF Levels 1 and 2, NAASFP Marathon coaching, Natural Running coaching, etc. Maybe I should go make up my own and start certifications? I’ll call it run, eat, run, run get Plantar Fascia and fall of the face of the running blog world certification. 

Do you really need it?

As far as I am aware, there is nothing in state law that requires to be a certified running coach in order to coach running. Each different organization looking for a coach can have all sorts of requirements on its own. RRCA is one of the few that is more highly recognized (at least by me) and to some degree helps you gain a network and a structured (but not specific) theory of coaching. Also, once you complete your certification, you can give yourself a title of some sorts with credentials, cause we all love credentials in this world to separate us from all the other Slim Shadys, I mean running self proclaims experts.

How do I become an RCAA running coach?

You get online.. unless you have a hook up, the class open up a few months in advance and fill up in about 30 minutes (at least anything near Boston or NY does). You sit through two days of lecture and such.  You take a test, you give more money and get a first aid & CPR certification and bam…. through effort and such, you’re not deemed worthy of being a coach.

Why I want to be certified?

Of course I love running and I mostly wanted to learn a bit to self coach myself. However, I’ve had an increasing number of readers and friends asking me for coaching advice (or at least before I feel off the face of the blog world into self depression of Plantar Fascia world). I always here’s a few things that works for me, and talk about me. However, clearly, what works for me, is not even great advice since I broke down anyways. So, I wanted to find a more structured way of advising and helping potential clients and friends, as well as being involved in community running events and I felt a little lost with all the information that is out there. So I decided the RCAA course/certification program might not be the all in all solution, but it can make me focused a bit.

Things we covered

IMG_9672 (1)

  • Coaching history – Done via video
  • Types of runners and their training needs – Novice, Experienced, Elite
  • Building a training program – This includes lots of side topics
  • Running Form
  • Small amounts of bullet points on Nutrition & Injury
  • Runner Psychology
  • Insurance – they sold their perks and reminded you to be mindful, they do happen.
  • and maybe a few things more that I zoned on in

Things I learned and focused on

  • RRCA stresses uniform usage/meaning of certain terms like cross training, tempo run, or intervals, as it relates to coaching running. As coaches, they want us to be careful with how we use these terms. Basically, each different coaching theory uses a different definition for terms like “tempo” and intervals so when we give our runners plans, we need to be very specific on what we want them to do
  • Aside from putting together a running plan, most things in regards to said runner is most likely out of our scope, which includes but is not limited to:
    • Nutrition and diet
    • Injuries and dealing with them
    • Therapy
    • Legal stuff
    • And pretty much most other things
  • “Effort days” are basically workouts that occur at a harder than conversation pace and in a good plan only include 2-3 “effort day” per week with all other runs/workouts being “conversation pace” I think this is the theory that most of your workouts should not be in that grey area and should either matter (be hard) or easy. The rest is wasted effort if you’re on a goal for something.
  • Periodizing your training where the macrocylce includes the entire training period up until the goal race, the mesocycle includes a shorter training phase within the macrocycle that is targeted towards a specific goal, and the microcycle is a short period (usually a week) within a mesocycle. Then there’s a typical infographic pyramid structure used for overall goals of each mesocycle.
  • A tempo run in their definition where its lactic treshold is your fastest pace you can go for an hour, but should be trained in 20-40 minutes according to their training philosophy

What’s next and overall impression

Next step is a 100 choice test, CPR, & First aid certification. Will I be opening up for coaching? Probably not yet. A lot of passion for running is tied to my own running and until I resolve my plantar fascist nightmare, I think taking on running clients will make me more depressed about the fact that I myself cannot run. However, if you do have any questions, feel free to reach out to me and if I ever do start to pimp my coaching for business, trust me, blogworld, you’ll be the first to know!

Is it worthwhile and for whom?

I still haven’t made up my mind if the class was worthwhile for me. I think a short pros and cons list might help.

Cons –

  • The classroom was not decided for 35 students sitting there for 9 hours a day. The classroom, essentially the backroom of a running store and was not designed for the amount of people it was holding, felt miserable to me.
  • Lecture format – I loved learning and discussing, but sitting in a lecture for 9 hours a day for difficult for me. Personally, I would rather read a large portion of what was lectured in my personal time. I’m also not a hearing/listening learning. I can sit there and focus for hours on end while reading, I can memorize things I read and see, but if I heard something somewhere, the chances of me recalling it, are slight.  Everyone is a different type of learning and the part about slides on a projection board was not for me.
  • Too short – I really wanted to have time to soak in and discuss so much more running nerdness that I almost felt like a weekend wasn’t enough

Pros – 

  • All the things I learned that I listened above. Have this in a structured format was incredibly valuable.
  • Discussions, our instructor Randy did a great job of incorporating as much discussion as possible in the limited amount of time available. I felt comfortable approaching him with questions throughout the whole week.
  • Discussion with other “students” It was great to learn about other backgrounds and experiences, from the fellow “mommy bloggers” to competitive runners and other community leaders
  • I am ready to coach individuals and groups. While I am choosing to not pursue coaching yet, I do feel comfortable workings with group runs and individuals now and can confidently say I can work with you if you’re interested
  • Free (okay not really since I paid for the course) Daniels Training book

Overall, I do plan to walk away focusing on the things I learned and benefits I took from this class and certification (once complete). If coaching if something you are seriously considering, this class is a definite must even if it is just to cover some of the more obvious things since everything else is so subjective and individualized.

2015 Wisconsin Marathon Race Recap

The Wisconsin Marathon took place on Saturday May 2nd, 2015  in Kenosha, Wisconsin – a town of 100,000 residents located about 45 minutes south of downtown Milwaukee and 1.5 hours north of Chicago.  Normally, I would go into a rant about my hatred of Saturday marathons (because who has time for Friday bib pick-ups) but since I was in Chicago on Friday, the drive to Kenosha afterwards worked out quite well. Being the eastcoast self centered gal that I am, I don’t know much about the midwest, or Wisconsin, besides the fact that they have cheese. Kenosha seemed like a relatively quaint town with not a lot going on, but they did have a few tasty joints to eat at, and a pretty waterfront around lake Michigan.

Although, the race was on a Saturday (with I think no number pick-up on race day), they made bib pick up super easy! I believe they had a day or 2 in both Chicago and Miwaukee if you’re in that area, or on Friday up until 7PM as the “expo.” The expo to be honest might have been the smallest I’ve seen yet in an expo attempt. It was in the of a Best Western, parking was easy since there was no one there. Number took about 30 seconds, picked up a shirt. They had local medal display sales person and a chiropractor there. They also had I believe Jesus people table next to the photobooth.

The issue with small races out in small towns is the lodging situations tend to be quite limited. Your options are, be local and drive, Best Western or a further hotel. Due to lack of options at all, we stayed at  Radisson Hotel, which cost way more than it was worth per night, and they didn’t allow me for late check out to 1PM, massive grossness. Plus, although Kenosha is not very large, they had some road constructions, so it took us always about 25 minutes to get to downtown area. But hey, at least it was near so outlets where you can buy expired Milano cookies and Ghirardelli chocolates. We did check Airbnb and most things were booked by then as well. late bird losses the better lodging options I guess.

The race started at 7AM and as much as I grumbled about the early start, it was going to be a beautiful sunny day so a 6AM start probably wouldn’t have hurt me too much either.

Unlike the wake up for Boston, it was a gorgeous day!

IMG_8627

So off I went to the start line, 10 minutes to 7AM. They had some roads closed, but the runner drop off area was super easy and about 2 minute walk from the start. They had a special cheese corral if you wore yellow or cheese type things. Temperature was climbing up the 50s and just waiting to burst out into the 70s.

IMG_8628

I thought about going straight to the front of the start line, but decided I’m no shape to play the ego game and put myself somewhere around the 4 hours marathon pace group, although if you do enough small races, the pace groups at the start are always together and just spread out naturally on their pace.

IMG_8631

I don’t know much about the area, but here is my concept of the course – first 10K is a circle to the right, next 10K is a circle to the left followed by a repeat to the right with an extend loop to some country roads for about 13 miles.

IMG_8632

IMG_8634

A portion of the race hit up the water front with a great view and some local beautiful homes.

IMG_8670

And while the course for the most part is flat, I did find the bumps of up and down some small bridges and bike paths to be mildly frustrating. Luckily, the second half of the marathon was much smoother and feature some dirt roads that felt a gazillion times better on my foot.

IMG_8641

And although I’m not sure if the roads were ever officially closed to traffic, I don’t think I really saw more than one car.

IMG_8638

The my emotions and energy level seemed to bounce around the same, first 10K feeling great, second 10K feeling like crap wondering how the heck am I doing 13 miles more, nice 2nd wind for the next 10 miles and dragging myself and whatever is left of me for the final 5K.

IMG_8637

This same view that I passed about 4 times seemed so friendly on my 24!

I know many runners who have been injured, or had though breaks, or even just age know this feeling, but running faster and less fit than you were before is never that fun. However, at the same time, you gotta realize you’re still doing more than lots of other people can be doing, so you just gotta enjoy it!

Either way, I already adjusted my goals from the start. My goal was to break four hours. I felt like with all going well, I could do that even if I failed it two weeks ago in Boston.

IMG_8642

The tech shirt that came with the race bib featured the same design with a full black background.

The finish area was super chill. I was a little nervous that since it was a half marathon and a full, they would run out of food, but they did have a food ticket so I was able to grab my light beer, my wurst and a cheese sample or three. I rolled around in the grass a bit, trying to stretch before I gathered the energy to walk to the car so Tony and I can continue our trip to Milwaukee! I thought I would be really sore, but after a shower and change of clothes, I found enough energy for some sightseeing.

IMG_8643

The Final Verdict on Wisconsin Marathon B+ (7/10)

Pros

  • Friendly volunteers and crowd with lots of funny little signs to make you smile on the route. They might not have the same level of spectators as a big city marathon, but the spirit of the whole race, volunteers, and locals made up for it

  • Empty roads, I don’t think the roads were officially closed for the whole races, but I found the few drivers I saw super supportive.

  • 3,000 runners, I think a few K runners is my favorite amount of runners for a race. I just really hate being packed in with other runners, but at the same time I don’t want to feel alone and lost. I found that these type of events with about 3 thousand runners always feels the best for me.

  • Well organized event – race started on time, number pick up was easy, parking was easy, food available at the end, enough water stops.

  • Flat – although bumping in the start, is a pretty flat course.

  • Close to Chicago and Milwaukee, two fun places to visit

  • Fairly affordable – Race day fee was $90, but if you signed up early it was $70. Not a bad per mile rate when you come to what you pay for a Competitor group event.

Cons

  • Limited lodging options. I heard there was VIP lodging at the host hotel, but it sold out by January for a May Event

  • Repetitive first half with a lot of turns. My garmin distance was a little bit off and while i don’t think the course was definitely long, the turns of back and forth in the first 13 miles were draining. I think we also repeated some areas multiple times in circles.

  • Small crowds

  • Rough roads at times – Wisconsin struggles with the same problem New England does. After a long winter, the roads get a bit, okay more than a bit roughed up.

  • More cheese – I kinda was hoping there would be some cheese at water stops haha

IMG_8645

Weekend, porches, music, graduations!

IMG_8849

And from the crickets on my facebook and instagram… there’s only one answer. Since Wisconsin, I stopped running. And to be honest, I’m enjoying a bit being lazy. I’m targeting a scary bike trip at the end of June and I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for me.

As far as my PF? I’m seeing little improvement, proving that whatever made my PF angry, running wasn’t the problem. I did give PT the old college try and it’s just too deep in my heel to get enough relief. I have a doctor appointment on Friday where I want to discuss a cortizone shot in more seriousness as I really think it’s a better option for me right. I want to make a dirty joke in regards to how lose my calves are after all my foam rolling, but I’ll end at that.

As for other life… it’s getting kinda warm in Boston now, so running is a hell like less tempting. Instead, I’ve been enjoying the normal days.

IMG_8869

The cats, always the cats are happy to see me around the house more. They don”t like like they care, but I promise, these furbags totally care.

IMG_8916

Tony graduated with his Master of Accounting and I promise his gown is not leather… just black with weird arm flaps.

IMG_8879

On Saturday, Somerville held it’s porchfest!

As the name implies, PorchFest is an event where musicians in a variety of genres–from rock and blues to punk and hip-hop, to name a few–play outside throughout the city. It’s completely free and with well over a hundred acts slated to hit various stages, there’s pretty much something for everyone.

IMG_8894

FullSizeRender (9)

IMG_8896

IMG_8898

I do promise that these photos look totally better in Instagram…

A few bands really did steal the show, including this Ways and Means Committee as we all blocked up traffic, but come on cars, get with it, if you’re not a bike, you should just skip Somerville!

IMG_8919

 

How was your weekend?

#REALwomenmove & Race Entry Giveaway

A few updates since I am a bit behind on things in life and general. I’ve recently been accepted as a SkirtSports Captain Ambassador. Its not shocker that I love running skirts, so much that I am that idiot who does fitness classes with mat workouts while still being in a running skirt. Looks a bit awkward but luckily, I also belong to an all women’s gym, so I don’t care much either.Plus they’re so comfy and SkirtSports are some of my favorite skirts with a ton of variety in patterns and style. With this relationship, I hope to bring discounts and giveaways.

So to start, you can take 20% of any order with code SSRTM20

Skirt Sports recently launched a #REALwomenmove campaign and I love it!

What is a real woman

What is #REALwomenmove? It’s a movement to inspire women of all shapes, size, age, ethnicity, lifestyle, marital status, family situation, etc to MOVE. It’s a movement to empower women to embrace health and fitness and make themselves a priority.

While I don’t think you need to love running, or biking or anything specific, finding movement that allows you to love your body is crucial. We are constantly smacked in the face with media showing what they want to pimp as the standard of sexy, white, skinny, tall, big boobs and non-existent waist. And if that happens to be you, amazing love yourself, and if not, you’re also amazing and you should yourself just as much. The movement is here to celebrate all women who are out there inspiring themselves, their families and everyone around them.

And to be honest, I did start running about 7 years ago to achieve the unachievable, and I probably wasted 3 of those years focusing on that and not really enjoying any of the movement or actual activity. And then who knows, call it age, call it experience, call it pride, but sometime between running my first and second half marathon in 2011, I just stopped caring.

Heck, I’m evening pimping my face all over the internet in the hopes of seeing it on Runner’s world spread. Speaking of which, have you voted yet? Good, vote again!

185424_10100384152043030_2475945_n

I’ve hiked the half dome and didn’t fall to my death

1918236_846385035450_3877844_n

Climbed questionable ladders on a trail in Peru

11053637_10103053592747460_5414765858609039703_n

And ran my 4th Boston, injury, freezing and under-trained.

But movement doesn’t have to be marathons, and crazy trips all the time

23701_855326646390_1672125_n

Sometimes a simple hike in my backyard (literally half a mile from home) is good enough.

I’ve become more confident, and even social (yes, I’m known as the smiley girl at races) and overall, I feel enriched by the people and experiences running have brought into my life. That’s my story and there’s so many more out there!

These are the Real Women. The Real Inspiration. In Real Bodies.

Join the movement!

  1. Post your active photos and videos by tagging #REALwomenmove and #SkirtSports. Share them with your community and lift up other REAL women by sharing their posts and encouraging them.

  2. For every 5,000 hashtags, Skirts Sports will donate a Get Started Scholarship to a woman who best exemplifies the REAL women traits and/or is actively trying to break her own barriers in running and fitness.  Visit the Skirt Sports #REALwomenmove page for more details and to submit your story or that of a friend.

10996081_10205461809058721_4784648891474317003_n

SkirtSports will also be hosting Skirt Sports 13er/10k/5k Local OR Virtual Race, coming up on June 14th! If you’re one of the lucky ones in Colorado, you can participate IRL (in real life), for the rest of us in more distance lands, Virtual will have to do. What is virtual? Well at first I thought I could run it in my dreams while snoozing on the couch, but I was informed that I actually need to get out and run the distance of my race. Gym, home treadmill, hotel treadmill, beach, trails, road, anywhere, any time, as long as I complete my distance and submit my results!

The race has a few different levels of entry:

Option 1: $85. Includes the virtual race skirt, the bib, and a $50 gift certificate!  Great option to try out something you have been looking at but have yet to purchase or get you started!

Option 2: $125.  Includes virtual race skirt, the bib, and $125 gift certificate! What! Yup you read it right! So, why not sign up and get some great gear to go along with it!

Option 3: $250b.  Includes virtual race skirt, the bib, and  $275 gift certificate!  This is the level that lets you really stock up on your gear!!

capture1

I get to give one of my lucky readers an entry to option 1, an $85 valued basic entry. As mentioned before the following will be included:

  • $50 gift certificate to SkirtSports
  • Race #
  • Finisher’s Skirt (Don’t Sweat It Collection pull over skirt)

Product13erSkirt_dsa

  • Sponsor swag

So take a chance and enter to win, or you could always use my discount for 20% off mentioned above!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Olives to Go & Other Fun Snack ideas

This post is sponsored by Olives to Go, all opinions are my own.

With busy season in the spring, my office had no shortage of snacks and food around. Unfortunately, the nutritional value of these snacks is less than I would like to brag about. However, we were lucky that there’s always fruit around which is nice and all. But sometimes, when the 3PM snack crave comes along, you kind of want something a little more fun.

So when Olives to Go reached out to me to try their new snacks, I was excited!

IMG_8200

These delicious little things come in  Kalamata (120 cal per cup), Black Olives (40 cal per cup), Sliced Black Olives (60 cal per cup), and Stuffed Spanish Olives (80 cal per cup).

FullSizeRender (2)

Pearls Olives to Go! are easy to open individually packed and are great for packing to add to a lunch or a snack. Plus they’re healthy and wholesome snack that’s a bit more satisfying than an apple (sorry apples, lately I haven’t been into you).

I’ve tried them with salads, humus/pita bread and my current favorite option cheese! (although cheese might be my arch nemesis lately, but so good)

FullSizeRender (3)

It’s not that I’m olive biased, but the green ones are my favorite.

If you want to learn more, check them out online (http://www.olives.com/pearls/), Instagram (@Pearls_Olives) & Twitter (@PearlsOlives)

And because they’re pretty awesome, I wanted to give one of my readers a chance to try them too! You too can receive a similar lunch pack as I did.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

And just in case you don’t win, there’s always some coupons out there:

For those of you in Boston, look for a coupon for Pearls Olives to Go in The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, The Wall Street Journal and many other Boston-area newspapers on Sunday, May 3rd!

For those of you in Milwaukee, look for a coupon for Pearls Olives to Go in The Journal Sentinel, The Wall Street Journal and many other Milwaukee-area newspapers on Sunday, May 3rd!

2015 Boston Marathon Race Report

The 2015 Boston Marathon was held on April 20th, 2015. And to be honest, I’m not sure what can I recap that I haven’t before? Like many others, I’ve gone mile by mile of the course and placed my best tips forward. The heat wave of 2012? My amazing PR in 2013 (before hell started), the joy of being back in 2014 and then there’s 2015. Cue the womp womp womp.

Boston by it’s design is my favorite race of the year. As a running nerd, I get to hype up on the competitiveness and as a local, I get to partake in one of the Boston sports I actually like. Marathon Monday for me is better than Christmas (and not because I’m Jewish).

By the time I gave in and admitted I am injured, it was March and I had two options.

1. Take time off, take physical therapy and basically give up on running Boston

or

2. Ignore my issue, go through half assed mediocre training and run Boston anyways

yea, it’s no surprise that I went with the kick myself in the foot for a longer term injury option, all for the glory of one day.

I kept my training pretty low key this year with weekly mileage 25-40 miles versus my usual 60-80 miles in prior years. And I have to admit, I miss it. I miss the exhaustion that can only come from too many miles in a week. I know some might call be crazy, but I really love high mileage weeks and it’s constantly making me on small line of depression since I stopped. However, while I wasn’t taking a break to resolve my issue, I was running every other day to try to minimize an increase of inflammation. I’m sure someone whose smarter than me would tell me all the ways I was doing myself more harm than good, but what’s ran is ran.

I took a half day off on Friday to stop by the expo and get my hair done! Nothing says marathon Monday weekend and end of tax season like turning my unintentional ombre back to my Lucius golden (slightly orange) lockes.

So the 2015 expo? Way better than 2014! I got my number within a few minutes on Friday. I sat down and immediately examined my swag and was on the verge of tears when I didn’t see my Boston Marathon Sam Adams Bottle opener. SUPER BUMMED! I don’t keep most race trinkets, but I liked hanging those up in a special Boston marathon hook I have in my kitchen. They gave us a plastic Sam Adams cup, but it’s blah.

The expo itself had some great vendors there and I made sure to leave my money at home, but I really didn’t need more running things, as much as I always WANT more running things.

There were two things that stuck out to my visit. I stopped by Topo Athletics and tried out their shoes on a True Form Runner treadmill… it’s literally a hamster wheel that was one of the hardest miles I ran.

Boston marathon 2015 (7)

They had a contest who could run the furthest in 5 minutes each day. I guess since I haven’t heard, I’m probably not the winner =)

The next VIP stop I had to make was Skirt Sports! More on my relationship with them later. Kathrine Switzer was there signing her book. She pretty amazing, and will be running Boston in 2017 in honor of her leading the way for women to run Boston. You know because before 1967, men had this theory that my ovaries would fall right out if I ran more than a 5k. Pfft men! It’s okay, now (or at least when I’m not injured), I get to run past them in a skirt.

I made a note to return to the expo and buy the book, but between a baby shower and other obligations, I never made it back to town.

Boston marathon 2015 (6)

After meeting Noelle and Nicole (owner of Skirt Sports), I had to dash to a very late hair appointment. Next time, I need to take my selfies after i get my hair done.

Boston marathon 2015 (5)

The streets were literally litered with runners and the city did a great job trying to pretend we’re in Spring, even though most of it still feels like winter.

Saturday, I did my last shake out run, a 4 miler and felt pretty good. A minute a mile slower than last year, but a run is a run.

Boston marathon 2015 (1)

Sunday went to brunch and then a baby shower that had a amazing Italian food and I tried to control myself. I have a pretty iron stomach, but I definitely didn’t want to test my limits with pounds of ricotta (no matter how badly I wanted to eat everything).

I taped my foot (excuse my gross callous. I still haven’t made up an opinion on k-tape besides that I think it’s super expensive for what it is and how many rounds I get for $18, but the added support does feel nicer on the heel.

Boston marathon 2015 (4)

And then like many others I continued agonizing over the weather as it was looking colder, wetter, windier.  I finally decided on a rain jacket for the added pockets and my favorite Skirt Sports, the Vixen.  Boston marathon 2015 (3)

A DailyMile friend said it best. It will never get NOT weird to go to sleep in my own bed, at my usual time and wake up and head into Boston, only instead of heading to work in the daily grind, I’m running a world marathon! Never.

I woke up at 7:00 and had most of my stuff prepared. My outfit, my throwaway layers (two sweatshirts from a friend and pajama pants), my peanut butter pita bread for the busy).  Left the house at 7:30 and got to the Bus loading area by 7:50 thanks to Tony. had a short little walk to get to the bus loading and was sitting in anxiety by 8am.

Boston marathon 2015 (2)

As I looked around the other runners on my bus, it was 95% women, which personally, I thought was pretty cool! The ride to Hopkinton was easy, and I was in the village by 9AM with more than 30 minutes to wait until I can start heading into my corral.

Boston marathon 2015 (1)

I usually like to roam a little, stretch my legs and see what’s there. But it was a bit chilly and wet already in the grass field. Instead I found myself a nice corner against some barrel than blocked the wind and sat/napped a bit more.

Boston marathon 2015 (15)

It’s the runner or homeless person guessing game

As soon as they told us wave 2 can start in their corrals, I went in. The bathroom lines in the village are always insane, and I know there’s some before the corral loading area so I was holding out for that. Downing a bottle of vitamin water through the bus ride was taking it’s toll.

They did set up something new this year. Usually when they start loading the waves, the corral system is kinda a free for all, where I have never been able to get to my actual corral. It’s 8,000 people! This time, they put us all in this caging area, and like us go in 2 corrals at a time so for the first time in my 4 year history, I actually made it to my corral!

Boston marathon 2015 (13)

The time in the corral flew by because before I knew it everyone around me was running!

Boston marathon 2015 (12)

The thing with Boston Marathon is that if you start with your corral, you are literally running with others at your best PR pace. I qualified with a 3:22 and so did everyone around me and they were gunning to beat it. Trying to take it easy was damn near impossible without being trampled. I stayed to the side and tried to not freak out about everyone passing me. Even with trying my best to keep it slow, my first 5K ended up being a 7:45 pace.  Last year I would have credit to be that slow as I was trying to go 7:15, this year was the opposite. I was really trying to keep an 8:30ish pace.

By 10K, I was getting a little bit more into my rhythm. I was trying my best to not get intimidated about everyone running by me. I saw a girl with crutches doing the race in worse shape than me.

Here’s the thing about Boston. We all qualify to get there at our best. What shape we show up to to actual run varies across the board. I did take walk breaks earlier than I ever would have in the past. People kept beating my back with words of encouragement. I did appreciate this spirit and on any other race, I would have dug deep and pushed on. However, on this day, I didn’t want the dig deep to push through the pain to lead to more pain later on. I know my logic makes no sense to a sane person, but it had it’s own flow to how I was justifying what I was doing.

By mile 8 it started to pour, and any time it would slow down to rain, the wind picked up. I remember after the 10K mark, just telling myself it’s another 20 mile training run. I’ve done them in more misery with less desire than today. I told myself to ignore the crowd, ignore all the other runners, and just get it done.

Sometime after mile 15, I started to get really cold and stiff up. There was a medic tent every mile and I would eye ball it each time. I contemplated stopping by for something warm, but I also wasn’t sure if I would continue if I stopped and DNF was not an option for me today. I have no shame in DNFs, but there’s just certain things you don’t DNF unless it’s life threatening. For me that’s Boston.

At mile 19, I finally saw my friend Sonia. Before that I saw my roommate at mile 7 or so and for the most part, unlike other years the race was a bit lonely. The weather made most people decide to go to work instead of partaking in day drinking. I couldn’t blame them. Hell, if I wasn’t running, I would be crawled up in bed on a day like this.

The hills of Newton came and went, and to be honest, compared to last year, they didn’t feel too bad. Don’t get me wrong, they didn’t feel like a slide either. But I guess since I’ve been struggling to get myself moving since mile 10, the struggle on the hills didn’t seem any bigger than the struggle on the flats.

Nothing get’s me happier than hitting the 21 mile mark or so around Cleveland circle. After living in the area for so long before I moved to Malden, there’s a certain comfort in knowing that I’ve walked this path soo many times in college, from sober to drunk, from friendly to a, shit the T stopped running and now I gotta walk home. I know that from Cleveland circle to Kenmore can be done. I can outline the terrain in my mind from memories alone. And then there’s the comfort of passing by so much familiarity only instead of alone, I’m surrounded by all these other strangers form all over the wrong.

around mile 23 is Coolidge corner, where I spotted a bunch of friends from the area on the left and they took this photo!

Boston marathon 2015 (8)

I may be pale, I may be tired and cold, but if I see a familiar face, I put on a good show 😉

Our other friend was on the other side because crossing for spectators was impossible. I’m excited for him, as he’ll be running his first Boston next year!

Boston marathon 2015 (9)

and then the final 5K. The final 5K is always like a scene in slow motion. There’s lots of crowds and cheers, and you want to keep putting on the show, but I never pace myself well enough to not feel like death at mile 24. I guess that’s why I keep running this race year by year. Each year hoping for something better out of myself.

I don’t know how it happened, but I somehow missed Tony and Adrienne. They were in Audobon circle and I kept looking for them. Tony had dry socks and Adrienne had her amazing cookie waiting for me. Two things I was ready to kill to get my hands on and didn’t see =(

As I was going towards Kenmore, I saw Tony’s family and group bringing me a little extra energy for that final 1.5 miles. As I went to Boylston, I searched the crowds for anything familiar as I still couldn’t find Tony or Adrienne, but to no luck. And just like that, as I couldn’t imagine how this race could be going any slower, it ended.

I crossed the finish line with many others. Just another race in the running crowd.

Boston marathon 2015 (10)

I think because of the cold, they took pity on the runners, and instead of making me walk the rest of the Boylston down to the gardens just to come back up to Clarendon, I was able to cut straight into the John Hancock tower. My office lobby was packed with runners and family. Usually they kick anyone without a pass out, but I guess the cafe saw the cold as great business so they let people hang around. I changed, sat by a co-workers space heater and slowly ventured back downstairs to meet Adrienne and Tony where I finally got my cookie, but no socks! Tony left them in the car which was all the way in Alston. We met up with more friends at Sunset so some margaritas, nachos and burgers. Because nothing says Marathon, like nachos and tequila.

IMG_8452

Net Time4:10:14

Overall 20559/26610

Gender 8595/12022 (Female)

Division 4490/6011 (F18-39 Age Group)

It’s not the best time, it’s not the worst time, but I can proudly say it’s my time and it was earned through the struggle, sweat and joy.

Twas the night before the 2015 Boston Marathon…

unnamed

And as far as my feelings go? I feel lost. For the first time since I started running, I have no idea what to expect and no real goals to hit. I have always been a heavy miles runner, even as an adult onset runner, I hit running straight into marathons and back to back marathons where I ran my first in DC 2012 and my second 4 weeks later in Boston.

So when I say I haven’t ran a marathon since early November, it scares me a bit. In the past years, I have ran monthly marathons leading up to Boston. While now, the past few months have been strange, and my emotions confused. My identity as a “fast” runner seems lost. I hit two 20 milers and I know I will finish, but the carefree running that I’ve enjoyed seems forever gone. This planter fascia battle seems a bit never ending. I get the runs done, and I make it through, but its taking it’s tool on my confidence.

Without a training plan, or training happening, I feel lost in my goals.

The nasty physician assistant at the Tufts doctor office I went to, would claim it was my heavy mileage or error in training that cause my injury. I don’t know what to believe anymore, but I try to carry on. I have years of PR ahead me, I just need to  get through this battle so I can win the war.

And at the same time I am overcome with the feelings of being gracious for all the friends, and support I am constantly receiving through social media and IRL – In Real Life.

Here’s the thing about us runners. For the most part, none of us will be athletic champions. Most of us are not elite and won’t be winning anything. But the glorious part of running, is that we are all winners simply by participating, something that most sports don’t have.

We parade in our obnoxious colored bright jackets and brag in our achievements. For a few weeks we feel special. Whether we qualified by running, or fund raised a ridiculous amount of money for an amazing cause, or are just lucky as shit and got a free entry through a hook up, saying you’re running Boston makes you feel like a hero for a little while before we return to the normal grind, even if the normal grind is being a marathon maniac.

And the other feelings circling in me, I’m a little sad and nostalgic to the old days before the 2013 marathon. In 2012, Tony joined me for about 2-3 miles of the race as I walked in heat stroke with a giant bag of pretzels sharing with other heat defeated but not given up runners.

11149515_10100431727481640_4525173025844324495_n

In 2013, my friend Dan pushed me through the final 10K (but not the finish line) to a 3;26 Boston, my best time on the course to date. Yes, if I had any more energy in me, I would have kicked him.

534025_10101421486281900_1050274780_n

And finally, the 2014… we are Boston.. we are runners.. and yet everything has changed…

1597214_10105043383775301_9078015929818599342_o

I ran the course with many more runners, 36K to the usual 27K. The rutpackers gone. The lewd drunkness in slight secretness. To be honest, I know we were celebrating overcoming the terrible act in 2013, but I felt that the spirit of the Boston Marathon from the rutpackers, to the dunk college students, to other local bandits have been lost.

In 2015, the BAA sent warning emails to no longer post your bib pre-race due to people banditing the course by stealing bib numbers. You know because clearly the victims were begging for their hard earned bibs to be stolen. You would think that with all these scares, they would change the design of the bib, but I can tell you, it looks the same as 2014, only 1 digit difference….

11052891_10103047818274550_8075377071828447865_n

My hope for 2015? normalcy.. I want safety but to be honest, the security made me uncomfortable. The constant guard dogs on course made me feel in police state and forget my opinion of how I feel about lack of bag check in the Athlete’s village. But I will continue, step by step, mile by mile to run, because I can and I know many others would love to take my spot.

The weather went from sunny high 50s to rain and crazy wind to a high of 48… but I guess it’s only to be expected from the crazy weather we’ve been having this year. I guess in some way, us locals for the first time in a while have a home town advantage. Wind, rain and just shit out of local weather.. yea that’s New England running for you. After changing my mind like 20 times about what to wear, cause you know you gotta look cute for all your hugs and photos, I have settled on taking my rain jacket with me. In a race where I’m less fit, I rather be more warm than cold.

I don’t know how a post about mixed running emotions and goals turned more political than I wish. I guess it’s the sadness that in a year where I would love to have a few steps of familiar support is no longer allowed. It takes a village to raise a marathoner and the inner circle of that village is Boston for me, the city that’s been my home for 12 years. I know many friends who are running tomorrow, but for the most part I feel a bit surrounded by strangers and out of towners. Without time goals, I feel lost, but instead I’ll keep a hugs goal! My friends can’t step on the course, but the BAA can’t stop me from stepping on the sidewalk!

And yes, when I started writing this, I thought I had my thoughts in order, but now it’s just a jumble of something that none the less I wanted to share.

To follow me simply text my Bib Number 11887 to 234567 using your phone. And if you don’t see me for a while between mile 20 and the finish line… don’t worry, I’ll get there ;).

2015 Boston Marathon Week Events

Ahhh… I filed my taxes and it’s not the end of my tax season tunnel time where I can return to the more fun things in life… like more running and more thinking about running.

Speaking of which… my favorite week of the year is about to start!

That’s right, we’re in the weather checking zone of the Boston Marathon!

10153168_834776303217364_609471294954264941_n

One day, I would love to run a PR at Boston, and do something impressive, but until then Boston is about fun for me. Always been and always should be. The spirit of running just takes over Boston and I absolutely love it! Suddenly everything is all about Boston Pride and running pride and all the fun stuff. I’m not into a lot of other sports so I miss out on the spirit of that during most seasons (Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, yea meh not my thing, except Hockey, go Bruins!).  It’s a great time to be a runner the week before and after Boston and it”s an even better time to be partaking in it all surrounded by friends and family since I’m local to the area.

The week before Boston, all the running related legends come into town and I want to put together a little weekly recap of what’s out there. If I missed anything, let me know!! If you’re planning on attending any of these, let me know!

I tried to keep most event with free stuff and free food because you know where my priorities are at. I did include a few paid events in town as well.

Tuesday, April 14

6:00-9:00 p.m. – Adidas Event: City Sports Back Bay (480 Boylston Street). Dave McGillivray, Boston Marathon Director, will speak followed by a 2-3 mile shake out run. After the run, join us for a FREE pasta party courtesy of Adidas. Limited details and other events here

6:30 PM – She Runs Boston 1st Run of 2015 and shopping event hosted by Athleta (92 Newbury Street). Facebook event deets here. I hope to stop by this one.

Thursday, April 16

6:00-9:00 p.m. – Brooks Lobster Event: City Sports Back Bay (480 Boylston Street). Stop by City Sports to celebrate the launch of the new Brooks lobster shoe. Enjoy a 2-3 mile fun run followed by FREE lobster rolls, a live DJ, and raffle prizes. All attendees will receive a special gift from Brooks. Limited details and other events here

Friday, April 17

2:00 PM – Boston Marathon expo opens! http://www.baa.org/races/boston-marathon/participant-information/expo-and-number-pick-up.aspx 

5:00 p.mAsics Store (328 Newbury St.) Bring your friends for an evening shake-out run hosted by Olympic medalist Deena Kastor and Runner’s World Chief Running Officer Bart Yasso. Evening will include:

· Fun run offered to runners of all levels
· Post –run refreshments
· Race day tips from Bart + Deena
· Chance to check out the latest Asics apparel and running shoes
· Secure bag check during run

FREE ASICS Gift Bag for the first 50 runners who attend.

Going to try to attend this too! Facebook details

6:00-9:00 p.m. – Converse Event: City Sports Back Bay (480 Boylston Street). . Join City Sports for an awesome event sponsored by Converse. Enjoy free giveaways, a live DJ, and refreshments. Limited details and other events here

7:00 p.m.Harvard Book Store and Runner’s World welcome Skechers Performance elite athlete MEB KEFLEZIGHI, winner of the 2014 Boston Marathon, 2009 New York City Marathon, Olympic Silver Medalist, and founder of the MEB Foundation, for a discussion of his book Meb for Mortals: How to Run, Think and Eat like a Champion Marathoner. The evening will be hosted by Runner’s World Editor-in-Chief DAVID WILLEY, who will be joined on the panel by 1968 Boston Marathon champion and long-time Runner’s World editor AMBY BURFOOT, TCS New York City Marathon Race Director MARY WITTENBERG, and Meb for Mortals co-author SCOTT DOUGLAS.

Lots of cool people will be there but the event is not free. $25 will get you in and a copy of Meb’s new book that I think is presigned.

Tickets can purchased online only.

Saturday, April 18

9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. – Boston Marathon expo opens! http://www.baa.org/races/boston-marathon/participant-information/expo-and-number-pick-up.aspx 

9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. – Janji Shakeout Run: City Sports Back Bay (480 Boylston Street). Prepare for 26.2 with Janji and City Sports! Join us for a short shake out run followed by refreshments and a Coach Greg McMillan meet and greet. Limited details and other events here

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Join Meb Keflezighi and coach Greg McMillan and learn the secrets to Boston Marathon success! Meet and greet from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Lenox Hotel, 61 Exeter St. at Boylston, Dome Room, 2nd floor. All attendees receive a free UCAN sample pack and autographed photo of Meb! Please register at: generationucan.com/bostonmeb  I’m hoping to stop by this!

11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.City Sports Back Bay (480 Boylston Street). Customize all of your official Adidas BAA apparel at City Sports! Limited details and other events here

12:00 p.m. – Best-selling author Christopher McDougall (“Born to Run”) will be in town on marathon weekend promoting his new book, “Natural Born Heroes: How a Daring Band of Misfits Mastered the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance.” There’s a free run involved but then a 2PM & 7PM event that require tickets. More info on Facebook event!

12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Lululemon (337 Newbury street) Marathon Mantra Henna – Running The Boston Marathon this year? Come join us in store and have your favorite running mantra (henna) tattooed on your arm! There is no better reminder to stay focused and motivated as you cruise over heartbreak hill than glancing down to see your favorite words of inspiration. No appointment necessary and tattoos will be given on a first come, first serve basis. See you there!Facebook details

2:00-5:00 p.m. – New Balance Fresh Foam Event City Sports Back Bay (480 Boylston Street). Celebrate the New Balance Fresh Foam Limited Edition Boston shoe with City Sports! Stop by our back Bay location and try on a New Balance Fresh Foam and receive a free grilled cheese from Roxy’s Grilled Cheese!

4:00 p.m. – Tracksmith: Please join us on Saturday to celebrate the release of METER Magazine Issue #01.

METER is a quarterly journal of reportage and gorgeous photography that re-establishes a connection between the sporting heritage of running and its current group of participants and fans. Meet some of the contributors and enter a raffle to win limited-edition prints of some of the featured photography.

Sunday, April 19

8:00 p.m.  – Land’s End & Runners world – Come run with the Editors of Runner’s World, including Bart Yasso and Elizabeth Comeau, and check out the new activewear line from Lands’ End! Light refreshments will be served after the run. Location:  Sheraton Boston, Backback Ballroom A, 39 Dalton Street, Boston, MA!Facebook details

9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. – Boston Marathon expo opens! http://www.baa.org/races/boston-marathon/participant-information/expo-and-number-pick-up.aspx 

9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. – Janji Shakeout Run: City Sports Back Bay (480 Boylston Street). Prepare for 26.2 with Janji and City Sports! Join us for a short shake out run followed by refreshments and a Coach Greg McMillan meet and greet. Limited details and other events here

11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.City Sports Back Bay (480 Boylston Street). Customize all of your official Adidas BAA apparel at City Sports! Limited details and other events here

Monday, April 20

It’s race day, come cheer me on! Outfit of the day will be posted to Instagram! I am starting around 10:30 and hoping for a 4 hour glory finish if all goes well. Simply text my Bib Number 11887  to 234567 using your US mobile phone for all the details as I slow down mile by mile in my usually glory.

Tuesday, April 21

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.City Sports Back Bay (480 Boylston Street). Medal engraving at City Sports! Limited details and other events here

I’m alive check in!

I’m alive!! Just taking a short blog hiatus for Mid March – Mid April for my annual tax season disappearing act!

For almost daily updates of my PF injury drama, crap I eat, running and all the ginger cat photos I know you all love, follow me on Instagram or Facebook or even sometimes twitter 

 

And if you haven’t filed your taxes yet, remember kids, it’s due 4/15, so either file them, or get your extension ready.

 

Peace out,

Your favorite lovable CPA on the run (or attempting runs lately)