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Archive for the ‘Race Recap’ Category

On May 27th 2012, I ran Boston’s Run to Remember Half Marathon.  This was the 6th year this race was happening and my second time running it.  As I mentioned before this race has a lot of significance to me since it was my first half marathon a year ago.  Now I’m back on the course 2 Full Marathons and 3 Half-Marathons later.  Needless to say I wanted to PR, I wanted to PR and race; however, with my recent mystery leg strain I was nervous about the results.  Luckily, things worked out great and number 4 half marathon is in the books!

Boston’s Run to Remember actually has two races – A half marathon (13.1 miles) and a 5-miler.  Net proceeds benefit community & kids programs of the Boston Police Runner’s Club.   I think in total there are 8,000 runners between the two courses.  Last year the race started at 8AM but this year due to the horrible heat problems in the prior year they started the race at 7AM for the half and 7:15 for the 5-miler.

Costs

The race fees start at $45 for the half & $30 for the 5-miler and gradual raise as the race approaches.  I don’t remember what I paid but I signed up relatively early so it was either $45 or $55.  Definitely a bargain compared to the BAA & Rock n Roll races.

Expo & Swag Bag

The race expo is really small.  I got my number in about 30 seconds.  There were almost no exhibits other than Marathon Sports, Odwalla samples and those weird Basement people that are always at any expo/convention possible.  They did have popcorn and a bouncy house for the kids.  I wanted to go into the bouncy house but some people thought I might cause injury to those smaller than me and should probably refrain.  You get a free T-shirt with registration but it’s cotton, white and unisex so it’ll either go to Tony or Goodwill.  The other swag included some bottles of Zinco coconut water.  Not as good as VitaCoc but free is free.

The Race Course

As a Boston resident, I think the course is pretty sweet.

The 5-miler is entirely in downtown/financial district of Boston while the Half Marathon adds its 8 miles by going across the river into Cambridge with an out and back on Memorial drive along the Charles River.  The course is also pretty flat and fast.  Aside from the ramp for the bridge to cross the river that you hit twice (once going in and once coming back) there were no major hills.   If you’re really curious, there is a driving video available of both the 5-miler and half marathon on the race’s website.

My Splits & Recap

My splits are a bit of an estimate because I don’t have a fancy Garmin (hint you know who that reads this) .  I used Runkeeper  app for the Iphone which worked okay enough but when I finished running my total mileage was 13.69.  I looked at the map and it seemed the signal bounced in some parts so I adjusted those miles by a minute or 2.  I did use the runkeeper coach tool to stay at a 7:30 pace and avoid the crash that I had at Gloucester Half two weeks ago.  For the most part it sort of worked.  My average pace for the race according to official results was 7:32.

Prerace – I woke up at 6AM and woke Tony up and out to drive me to Boston at 6:25.  I have the best bf/driver in the world!  We made it downtown in a record breaking time of 11 minutes by 6:26.  He went back home while I made my way to the Boston harbor Hotel since Fancy Hotel bathroom is way better than race portys.  Munched on a Kashi Go Lean bar and drank my bottle of water with a fruit punch Nuun tab.  It was a hot day and I wanted to skip the first few water stops so I tried to hydrate to capacity.  At 6:50 I walked over to the start of the line.  I passed a few friends who were running the 5-miler but no one wanted to run the half so I walked over all alone.  I haven’t ran much in two weeks since  Gloucester Half so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I was a bit nervous but I still excited as I am on every race day.

Mile 1-3 – 7:37, 7:33, 7:29 I ran slow and very cautious in the first mile.  There were over 6,000 runners so I had no grand dreams of leading the pack this time.  There was a very mild incline as we ran out of the Seaport District into the Financial District of Boston.  Afterwards we made way past the State House and edged around Beacon Hill as we headed for the Longfellow (a.k.a. Salt & Pepper) Bridge.  People said the first few miles were congested but I didn’t really see any issues in my pace area.

Miles 4-6  7:20, 7:25, 7:27 Miles 4-6 were along the Charles going a little bit past Harvard.  I speed up a bit since this part of the course was flat flat vs. relatively flat for the first 3 miles.  I did get water at the second or third water station.  The weather was muggy and probably already reached 70 by 7:30AM.

Some people can look really cute when they run

I am not one of those people

Miles 7-9 7:15, 7:23, 7:40 At the turnaround point on the Charles I got super excited and my pace picked up a bit.  I was ready to gun it but I started to feel hot so I stopped for two cups of water at the water stop around mile 9.  The fun part was I screamed and cheered on the runners making their way still towards Harvard Square while they cheered us for making the loop back.

Miles 10 – 11 – 7:37,  7:38 These were the miles coming back into Boston.  As we got back on the Longfellow bridge I remembered that Laura from DailyMile was going to be cheering on at the bridge.  A small part of was hoping/praying  she wasn’t on the Cambridge side of it. That’s where my walking/slow jog started and  I felt ashamed.  It wasn’t steep but I definitely felt the difference going from Memorial Drive flat to climbing up a small ramp.  Luckily, I saw her on the down-ramp of the bridge on the Boston side where I was running again.

I’m a huge DailyMile fan and I love her sign, hopefully she won’t mind me sharing this!

Miles 12-13.1 – 8:06, 7:53 I wouldn’t say I hit a wall at mile 12 but I definitely felt some regret for skipping a water station.  My legs started to feel heavy from dehydration as we went around in circle of the Financial District/Post Office Square area.  When I realized I was about a half mile away from finish I gunned it with any energy my dehydrated self had.  I heard my friends in the background about .1 mile from the finish line and my heart soared!

I was tagged in 17 MarathonFotos, these are the two best ones.  You can only imagine how bad my other ones are.

Post Race Food & Festivities

When you finish the race you empty out indoors into what looks like a warehouse of bagels, bananas, oranges, Cape Cod chips, water & Zinco Coconut water.  In reality you’re inside the World Trade Center Convention area where the expo was held.  There were a bunch of volunteers giving out medals.  I started to sweat immediately as it felt a lot more hot indoors than it did outdoors as I swayed looking for water.   I couldn’t find any bottled water but I found some cups and took 2 at a time.  Ryan, Dan & Ana, my friends who ran the 5-miler found me as I was dripping sweat.  Gross, I know but that didn’t stop me from sitting in a chair.

Results

Overall time : 1:38:46 my new PR!

Overall Pace: 7:32

Overall Place 340/5411

Division 41/1392 (Female age 19-29)


					

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Please take a second or two and vote for me to win the team refuel scholarship, thanks!  No need to watch the video, just click vote.

On May 12, 2012, Tony & I ran the Gloucester Twin Lights Half Marathon.

The race had two options.  Run the 13.1 miles or walk it.  It was a small race caped at 1,000 participants and just the size I like them.  I don’t need crowd support, I just need space for my arm pumping!

I paid $60 to register, but if I signed up early, it would have been only $45.  There was no expo, but if you wanted to be extra prepared you could pick up your bib and free tech shirt the night before at a running store in Newburyport.  I think most people grabbed their bib day of the race.  There might have been a swag bag (I’m not sure) but I didn’t get any when I grabbed my bib.  I did manage to grab a shirt which was cool since I’m starting quite the collection now.  The shirt was really nice technical wick one with a cute design.  Too bad the size small was more of a large.  I even grabbed one for Tony when I picked up his bib, who’ll probably end up using my shirt as well.  It was kind of cool how the female shirt was different from the male shirt.

Parking was free yay! However, there was a bottleneck of trying to make it into the Good Harbor beach parking lot.  Good thing we got there 45 minutes early, which rarely happens.  Not sure where the people who got there on time parked since we were pretty much at the end of the lot.

The race started at 9AM giving me perfect amount of time to sleep til 7 am and the hour drive.  By 8:30 I think the weather hit 65 degrees as you can tell by the grease growing on my forehead.  It was going to be a hot one but not as hot as Boston (and half the distance thank god).  I had no food at home so I ended up fueling with some Kashi granola bar I found in the car (those don’t expire right?) and coconut water.  I even forgot my Nuun at home.

We sang the star-spangled banner and at 9AM, we were off!

For the first 1 mile I was awesome… I led the pack (like a retard).  I was right behind the motor bike.  It was awesome… I felt so cool.. I think I reached a pace of sub 6 minute mile.  I knew what I was doing was stupid, I shouldn’t burn myself out in the first mile but it felt awesome everyone cheering me as I was ahead of the guys.  People were screaming “Go Girl!” as I blasted past the guys with smarter race strategies than me.  I felt like an elite… maybe a little Russian American Jew version of Shalane Flanagan in training.

But worry not by the end of mile 1 my glory was over.  I was ready to revert to my regular speed of 7-7:30 minute miles.  But by 2nd mile my shoelace was untied!  Rookie! Rookie! Error.  I was so angry I wanted to throw my shoes over into the ocean.  However running barefoot didn’t seem like an option so I slowed down, tied, cursed myself crazy and continued.

Mile 3-4 were strong but I started getting depressed because I realized unlike the promise I gave Tony, this course is anything but flat!  I knew that the hills I was running from mile 1 were going to be there for mile 13.  The course was in and back type, so there was no question on whether the finish was going to be easy.  I knew from the start it was going to suck.

See that hill, that’s exactly how the WHOLE course was like.  There was no flat parts, you were either going up or down.  I also didn’t realize just how much of an elevation of 100 feet is… more than the measly little bumps I run on… more than my pathetic 3 incline on the treadmill.  The sad part is, that I stopped training on incline on the treadmill the past two weeks because I thought the course was flat….

Miles 5 through 8 were fun!  Even with a horrible hill, it was still fun to run through Rockport’s center with all these crowd supporters cheering me on, telling me there was only 3 females ahead of me and that I should catch them.  However, at some point around 7.5 mile mark my legs started to feel heavy.  Luckily we had some cool volunteers.

Mile 9 I started doing my countdown.  Only 4 more miles right?  That should only be 30 more minutes.  Liana you got this!

Mile 10 things turned to being scenic again.  I’m going to use Tony’s photo because most of mine have some guy blocking me!  How dare he!  Also surprisingly unlike every other race Tony and I ran together, there is more photos of him than me.

Mile 11, I screamed only 2 more as the course flattened out.  Me and a girl in Vibrams were going head to head as she cheered everyone on.  She was awesome!  I was just trying not to die, while she was just running and cheering for all the gals out there in the lead of the pack!

Miles 12-13… actually somehow flew by… Maybe because I was no longer running up and down anything.

I started this race with a goal to be top 3 in my age group… That didn’t happen… I probably set my goal too high considering I’m still having trouble with my knee and piriformis muscle or sciatic nerve or something along those lines that causes some muscle in my butt to feel tight.  I’m working on it and trying to stretch more but it really is a pain in the butt…

Considering the issues I had going I can’t be too disappointed with being in 58th place.  Or finishing 15 in my gender and 7 in my age group.  Not fast enough to earn a medal (there was no finisher medals in the course) but fast enough to PR.  That’s right.  My new half marathon PR is 1:39:11; 1 minute less than the flat course I ran with 1:40 last September.

Tony Finished in 1:54.. Not bad for a guy who runs once every two weeks and somehow pops half marathons like they’re candy.  I’m still working on trying to convince him he should do a full marathon.

As for the post race food?  I really have to say that had I been less hot and more hungry this post race food would have been my favorite.  It came with the usual banana, bagel, some Lara bars but also pizza (I think Tony ate like 5 slices and I ate all his crusts), clam chowder, Vita Coco Coconut water, and any cookie, brownie or sweet biscuit you can think of.  seriously guys, if you want more bang for your running buck, smaller races is where the good food at!

And if you’re curious where the Clam Chowder came from (best one I have yet to try), it was from Lobsta Land Restaurant.

Overall I think this was a great race! Registration for 2013 opens up in June on their website.  I’m going to sign up… $45 for 13 miles of fun is great! Sure there were no finisher medals, but instead see all those photos I’m posting?  Notice how none of them say “PROOF”?  That is because registration fee includes unlimited photo downloads!!  I love unlimited race photos of myself!

I do have one criticism and that was that exiting the parking lot took hours, literally.  I don’t have a solution other than going to the beach and waiting out a few hours; but had I been in a hurry to leave that would have sucked. Luckily Good Harbor beach is a cool place to chill in 75 degree weather.  If you’re curious how Tony and I spent the rest of our day in Gloucester and Rockport, you can check out this post.

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First… I know this is getting annoying, but if you have time please take a minute to vote for me at Team Refuel so I can run the Philly marathon on my birthday and you can help raise $1 for charity.

I ran the TARC Spring Classic race on April 28th 2012.

The race had several options 10K, Half Marathon (which Tony did), Marathon & 50K.  I got very ambitious and signed up for the 50K.  Due to recent knee pain and being completely unprepared I DNFed the race.  I’ll go more into the reason why later.  However, this won’t stop me from reviewing and mentioning how awesome the race was!

The four races are hosted by a group called the Trail Animal Running Club.  The races were very low-key with amazing volunteers.  There was a total of 300-400 runners.  Because there was no chip system in place the registration fee was only $20.  No race expo, no selling you crap you don’t need but want, just pure simple running.

The 10K started at 8AM and the other races at 8:15.  The race was held in Weston, MA.  A place I haven’t visited before but was in awe how pretty all the houses are.  Tony and I got there at 7:45AM to get our bib numbers.  We then hid in the car trying to stay warm as it was about 45 degrees outside.

The Hobo hat came back from my closet for a visit.  You may laugh but it’s so warm!

Neither of us have ever done a trail race before.  We haven’t even taken a trail run; even though we’re two miles away from Middlesex Fells Reservation, before.    Needless to say we were nervous and excited to start.

We originally planned on staying together.  I was running with a gimp leg and figured running with Tony would be a smart pacing strategy vs. me trying to compete with everyone around me. However that did not work out.

The course was a 10K loop.  You do 5 loops to complete a 50K.  In order for the half marathoner and marathoners to get their exact distance they had a small little mini loop in the beginning of the trail.  The full marathon people did this mini loop twice.  So within 1 minute Tony and I said our goodbyes and went on our separate ways.

The course was a mix of fire roads (30%) and single track trails (70%).  What I thought was going to be an easy flat trail was anything but flat.  While there were no switchbacks and miles upon miles of decent, the single tracks were a constant up and down experience.  Lots of rocks, lots of twigs, and a few muddy creeks.

The first loop (10K) went by great!  I felt strong, I felt awesome!  I felt like a movie star running through the woods of a zombie scene.

All the photography was done by the creek or on the fire roads so needless to say I have no justice for the single track trail part.

I saw the clock said either 50-55 minutes when I finished the first loop.  I grabbed two Gu chumps from the fuel table and ran on my way.  More on how awesome the fuel/water station was later.

The second loop I think was my fastest.  I knew what to expect, I knew where to go and I felt more confident about myself.  Well almost.  Me and the creeks… Well..

I was running in new shoes and really did not want to get them too muddy!

I hit my second loop/ 20K at about 1:50.  I looked around for Tony but he was busy being a beast of his own so I grabbed two more Gu Chumps and made my way.

Somewhere in the middle of my third loop, my gimp leg/knee woke up and decided its time to stop running.  I slowed my pace and did a half run half walk type of thing.  I finished my 30K somewhere around 3:20 where I found Tony waiting for me.

This guy finished the half in 2:21!

Looking back, I probably should have signed up for just the half.  I don’t think my body was ready for the complexity of trail running to that distance.  I should not have run in Asics that are half a size too big on me.  While it’s okay to wear shoes a little big for road running to prevent some toenail losses, such was not the case with trails.  I have the blisters to prove it.

The course had a single aid/fuel station that you passed by each time you completed a loop.  The volunteers were super cool and refilled all your water bottles for you and gave you anything you needed.  Because it was a 10K trail with no water stops people were strongly encouraged to run with a water bottle.  I ran the first loop without mine but grabbed it off the grass on the second loop.  I’m used to running 15 miles without water so given the cold weather I wasn’t too concerned for just 6 miles.  I mixed water with a nuun hydration tab and mostly relied on that for hydration.

Old photo, no Try chips or Coconut water, but that’s the water bottle I ran with.

In addition to water & Gu Brew the race provided, everyone was asked to bring one snack from one type as designated by the last letter of your last name.  This created an almost trail running pot luck picnic!  After I DNFed, I munched on delicious brownies, pretzels, sweet potato chips and s’mores.  I wanted to make sure that for every calorie I burned, I took in 3x as much back into my body.

Could I have finished the race?  Yes, I think I could have finished in between 5 to 6 hours.  Although the pace would have been slow for me, it was a pace that more than half the people finished at.  However, poor Tony forgot to bring his school books so I felt bad making him wait for me as I hiked/ran 20K more.  I think judging by the blisters I got from my half-size too big shoes, it was a good idea to stop as well or at least to change my socks.  As much as it hurt my pride, I walked away and went home.  I did end up doing a small hike by my house with a friend so maybe I could mentally add that to my mileage towards the 50K.

Also how could I not forget, I got to meet two of my Daily Mile friends!  I think this was one of my favorite parts of the race.  Putting faces to people who support and motivate me on a daily basis.  I think I seem a little dazed in my internal struggle to want to run, but I really did enjoy meeting people in real life and wish I had time to stick around more.

Aside from a bruised ego I walked away with a new love for trail running.  I love the support and spirit of all the runners.  Instead of a competition, I felt as I was part of a community.  The cool part is that TARC often has small group runs in the Blue Hills (south of Boston) and the Fells (North of Boston by me) on weekends.  I intend to try to make as many of those as possible.  That way, by the time the Summer TARC classic 50K comes I’ll be ready!

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I’m warning you that this review will probably sound really negative but truth is with the heat and my hunger there would have been very few things I would have enjoyed even if I was running in Hawaii.  The volunteers and the organizers did an amazing job.  The truth is I just wasn’t prepared for the heat or running at that specific time of day.  I got my butt handed to me by Boston.  However, that’s okay.  I tried to stay safe and it’s a good thing I’m already qualified for next year because I’ll be coming back in 2013 for a rematch.  Boston, I’m killing you next year =). With Boston’s bipolar weather, it’ll probably snow next year.

The 116th Boston Marathon took place on Monday April 16th, 2012 with a start time of 10:40 AM.  Registration was $150 if qualified $300 if charity plus $6,000 fundraising requirement.  It ain’t cheap running Boston.

I woke up at 6:30 and got dressed and cleaned in 15 minutes to be out the door by 6:45.  I skipped coffee and food thinking there would be some at the athlete’s village.  I felt fantastic and was excited for the day even if I barely slept and kept waking up every hour thinking I missed my alarm.

I got to the Commons by 7:15 (why we had traffic at 6:45 AM on marathon Monday, I have no idea) and got on a long line to board the Bus to ship us off to Hopkinton.  The line took about 30 minutes but seemed orderly given the amount of runners and anxiety that was in the air.  We hit some traffic but I think we were in the village by 8:40 or so giving me 2 hours to bask in the sun of anxiety and heat.  I made friends with some runners from Vancouver on the bus line and ride over there.  

This photo is incredibly misleading of the scene.  I think my hand covered my phone lens but there was no shade other than those tents.  The field was a clambake of runners.  I think it was already 70 when I got off the bus.  All the spots under the tent were taken up by faster runners in the 10AM wave or their friends. So instead I took a small walk around the field and munched on a bagel.  Found some sharpies and decorated myself.  Luckily I had a blanket and was able to relax in the sun as I battered myself up in sunblock and Vaseline.  They had water and I took two bottles to get me through the next two hours.  I was already sweating, sweating hard from sitting and it was only 70. Runner’s world claims they had food vendors there.  I did not see any in disappointment.  I would have gone all Hunger Games style on someone had an ice coffee been offered to me.  I also wasn’t feeling the bagel or PowerBar. Powerbar did an amazing job sponsoring the fuel with no shortage the whole time but I would have given up their 8 grams of protein for 8 grams of more carbs that were not in bagel form.  I left my oatmeal and pita bread at home thinking I could buy breakfast at the village.  Rookie mistake # 1: Always have your own breakfast and fuel; don’t rely on the race.Finally around 10:10 my wave (3rd one starting at 10:40 was called and we slowly and painfully zombie strolled to the starting line.  I made my first portapotty stop in my race history which wasn’t as bad as I imagined.  I tried to be bad and sneak into an earlier corral but they kicked me back to 9.  I think it took me around 30-40 minutes before I made it to the start of the race (approx 3/4 mile)

I ran my first 5K in 23:08.  Some might say that was too fast but honestly I’m used to running on hills and it felt like nothing to me.  I was at the 10K mark at 48:17 which some might say was too fast but I still felt good.  Some guy thought he was being funny.

I rejoiced when I saw the “15” sign only to cry later when I realized it was 15K and not 15 miles.  I think this was when I started to get heat exhaustion because I stopped thinking clearly.  My face at realizing the 15K was not 15 miles.

When I hit 20K I was in the 1:48 territory and have started my run/walk fiasco usually reserved for mile 24.   It was nearing 1PM and way past my lunch time.  It’s been four hours since I munched on half of a disappointing small bagel and my stomach was letting me know that.  I tried to run, it screamed I’m hungry.  I tried to jog, my stomach still kicked and screamed I’m hungry.  I tried to walk and it didn’t let me forget about my lack of real food.  And so began some of the 15 slowest, worst miles of my short running history thus far.

I was hitting the half-point at 1:55:18 and was seriously doubting my ability to finish this race.  However, I knew people were tracking me, people donated in my name to Boston Medical Center and although everyone would have understood, I still did not want to give up without a fight.  Suddenly I saw my angel.  A little boy handed me a cup of Swedish fish.  So I found a shaded area in the spectator area, sat down and finished off my cup of pure heaven sugar.

And so began my 15 mile walk.  I thought this was just like the walk for hunger (ironic name for a 20 mile charity walk to end hunger in Boston) only with no 10 mile sandwich break.  I heard people were giving out hot dogs, burgers and popsicles but I guess by the time the slow runners and walkers got there all the kind souls have run out of food.  There were still plenty of amazing  people handing out ice and I thank everyone one of them as I chewed on some and stuck ’em in my sports bra.  I was sweating boobs and it was not pretty.

With a lot of walking and sitting the miles somehow passed by.  I loved seeing that “All In” posters, from Hopkinton to Ashland to Framingham to Natick.  I listened to This American Life, some music and I took a lot of sit breaks.  I’ve never worn a heart strap but I know the feeling of heat stroke and exhaust (in my dumber/younger days I literally passed out twice from heat exhaustion at music festivals).  Every once in a while my heart would start racing again from walking and I would sit down to slow my heart rate, and drink more water.

After the annoying BC kids (sorry but they were just too loud for how exhausted and miserable I felt), my favorite part of the course began around mile 21 when I hit familiar ground.  My friends!  I found Tony with some of our friends Paola & Kyle who took the above and many other awesome photos!

I couldn’t run even down hill without wanting to die from side cramps.  As I approached Cleveland Circle I commanded Tony to buy me a bag of pretzels.  I was so hungry, very few instances in my life could compete with how starving and light-headed I felt.  He walked with me for half a mile before he got too scared of all the water sprinklers being turned on for all the runners.  I was left to be at the mile 23 sign with a bag full of pretzels.  Needless to say, this made me quite the popular girl in the back of the pack.

At mile 24 I saw more awesome friends with a sign =)

Not pictured is Ana who was taking the photo!  <333 My amazing friends somehow got my body to run an extra mile after this boost when I’ve been walking the past 10 miles.

Around mile 25,  I saw Tony’s parents and I sprinted a few blocks before taking once again another sit break. I probably would have taken more sit breaks when my friends were not watching but with all the spectators there was very little room to do so in the last 5 miles.

The distance between Kenmore Square and Copley Square has never in my entire Boston life seem so far.  I almost cried when I saw the finish line. It felt like I was climbing a mountain, but since I knew there was cameras I pretended to run.

I don’t know how I did it, but somehow in 5:10:54 I finished the race/walk.  I’m writing Boston off a  half marathon run and a half marathon walk.  When I got home after eating a bag of chips, a bar and two bananas I was still down 6 pounds from when I weighted myself that morning.  I stopped at almost every water station and drank enough water that I had to use a portapotty a second time during the race.

The results of my 2nd marathon are quite in contrast to my first debut last month.  I went from a 3:24 finish to a 5:10. While a huge part of me is very disappointed by my performance I don’t know if I could have done a whole lot better with the little training I had for this weather.  I’m still a fairly new long distance runner.  I only started running more than 5 mile runs in December.  My training has been in New England winter and although mild, it was still Winter.  Earlier this week, I had my heat turned out.  My body is not ready for 75 degree weather, let alone 90 degrees.  I probably should not had sat in the sun for the two hours I was waiting for my wave to start.  I probably should have eaten a ton more than half a crappy little bagel.  I probably should not have went for a 10 mile run the day before.  Maybe I drank too much, but probably not enough.  Maybe I drank too much Gatorade and my stomach did not like it and cramped up.  There’s countless reasons for my awful performance; but I finished.  I finished and I earned my metal and in the end with 90 degree weather that was all that I could do.  I finished standing up with my head held high and not on a stretcher.

BAA and all the volunteers did an amazing job given the conditions.  A few statistics I read online.

* 427 Picked up their packets and did not start the race

* 26,716 runners registered for today’s marathon, versus 22,426 who actually started the race

* Most amazing performance to me was Jason Hartmann who finished in 2:14:31 out doing his Olympic trials of 2;16:44.  His PR was 2:11:06 at Chicago 2010 which was also a hot race. I guess this guys likes it hot.

* Geoffrey Mutai who holds Boston Marathon record, dropped out in the Newton hills past the 30-kilometer mark with stomach cramps. He said in a brief post-race appearance that his stomach started bothering him at 25K.  That is what I mean by beating the world’s fastest Kenyan.  He dropped out, while I finished.  Although he has cooler things to worry about like the Kenyan olympic team and the London Marathon.

I’m going to stop here but words cannot express everything I felt on this day.  I can’t wait until next year =)

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On March 24th, before the horror of going through my first home inspection in the house buying process (which on a sidenote is really so not cheap!) I ran a 10K.

Malden Rotary 10K is an annual race that’s held every year in my humble city that’s within the Boston Metro Area right off the subway =)

There’s also a 5K which is a lot more popular and by popular I mean 187 runners vs. 117 runners.

I woke up at 8AM, annoyed that the race didn’t start until 11:40.  I have a deep hatred for late start races that break up your day and give you fours hours to eat crap before your run.  By the way, in case you didn’t know; giant apple turnovers are not ideal pre-race fuel. Even if they’re homemade and even if you’re only running 6 miles.

I thought about doing a long 20 mile run and ending with the 10K but I wanted to race my friends so I stayed home and grazed to harvest that energy in my legs (or so I used as my excuse).

 

I had this silly idea that it was warm and sunny outside.  12 hours ago I was walking around in flip-flops and a dress; how much different could weather be a night later.  Also, P.S. although it may look that way, I promise I do not live in a ski lodge!

I was so excited for this race that I convinced 5 other runners and nonrunners to sign up; 4 of which ran!  I have a deep appreciation of local events.  Tony skipped out because he wanted to be on time to our house inspection.  I decided if I run fast enough, I can do both =).

Chris & Steph ran their first 10K with me and I think I have some serious local competition!

My two other friends ran the 5K.  Because the 5K started 20 minutes after the 10K I missed seeing them pre-race.  However, I saw Ana at the 3 mile mark where the 5Kers met the 10Kers before I kept running.

Being a local race, the organization was the not the greatest.  There were two different start times 11:30 and 11:40 listed. The actual race started at 11:35 so to be safe we shivered a bit at the starting line.  I ended up running with the Puma long sleeve the whole time with no regrets!

This is the number one reason why I love local races, besides the lack of driving, I can feel special!  Two minutes short of first place and I kept up with that crazy fast girl for the first 3 miles and then I got lazy.  Can you hit a wall at mile 3 if its a 10K?  Steph finished right behind me!  Last year I ran the same race in 51:34 so I can’t be too upset with a 7:30 minute improvement on a 6 miler.

After the 10K, the draining inspection and a much-needed shower, my night only got better.  Tony’s parents took us all out for a belated Christmas present at Alfresco in Davis Square, Somerville.  I got the seafood linguine cooked to perfection.  None of the weird fishy after taste, no closed shells, just pure delicious perfection!

Sadly, there was no leftovers, but I still had plenty of room for desert!  Especially when its homemade baklava.

Also I forgot to post this earlier but while I was sweating it up at Bikram in a studio, this was happening outside:

I think Lululemon hosted yoga on Friday night at Copley square.  I love their colors, too bad Marshalls doesn’t carry Lululemon =( Dear Marshals, please rectify that immediately!

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On Saturday March 17th, 6:20 my alarm went off. I muttered a slur, rolled over and got up. 6:20 seemed to be a good compromise with a goal to leave the hotel at 7AM.  My thoughts were; how much priming would a race require? If I wasn’t so nervous, I would have set my alarm for 6:40; if I didn’t have an insane fear of oversleeping.

I made a list the night before. Wake up, brush teeth, sports bra, tank top, running skirt, socks, (yes, I’m that paranoid; I take no chances in forgetting to wear pants), yoga underwear (a few runs I would forget and lets just say that hours of running and lacy thongs don’t make the greatest experience for those areas.), remove all jewelry, headphones, metrocard, black tea (I need caffeine, but coffee makes my tummy unhappy if I’m running), sunblock (weather report said it was going to hit 75), bodyglide (I have never ran in this outfit before and wasn’t sure how some things would rub me. I was not impressed with bodyglide at all and will say more on it later), and most importantly two Immodium pills (Not to be gross, but I wasn’t sure how those empanadas from this place that was only one level up from a street food cart; eaten the night before would make out on a 26 mile run, and theycertainly did not seem to want to make their way out when I woke up (I tried and I know I’m gross)

I grabbed a full sized plain Pita Bread (secured the night before from Roti) to eat on the train.  We made it out the house by 7Am and were set to arrive at the armory around 7:20.  However, the metro decided to foil our plans.  The train we were on broke down!  We were stuck in a packed train full of runners for over 30 minutes.  By the time i got out of the train it was 8:03.  Tony went to bag check since we run at different paces.  We made our goodbyes and I set out in search of the starting line.  I knew Rock & Roll races were huge, I didn’t realize how huge… I was suppose to start in coral 4.  I have never ran a race that had corals or this many runners.  I was dumbstruck.  There were 20 something corals, by the time I made it near the starting line coral 18 or something was starting.  I was stuck in a swarm of slower runners.  My body went into fight mode and I just felt the overwhelming need to get out of the crowd.

I don’t know what took over me; but I just had this overwelming need to get past the crowd so I pushed myself forward. At mile 2 the first hill came and I cringed a bit inside.  However, somehow by mile 6 or 7; I found the 3:40 pace group.  That was probably that only thing that kept me from cringing as the hill at mile 6-7 was greater than expected.  My ultimate desire to get away from the swarm of sweating runners propelled me forward.

I don’t remember which miles I drank water on.  I know I tried Gatorade at one stop just to remind myself how nasty it is and stuck to water afterwards.  I usually run 10-15 miles without water at home so during the race I only got water every third stop or so.  However, when I do get water, I make a full stop, stand to the side and gulp it down before restarting my run.  It takes a few extra seconds but is slightly more pleasant then running while drinking amist a sweat/drip of other runners.

Around mile 9, there was GU.  I grabbed the first one I saw, some kind of orange flavor and took a small bit into my mouth.  Not my favorite to say the least.  My instinct was to spit it out (I don’t usually fuel on my run, I’m either hungry or not).  I kept 1/3 of the pack in my mouth for it to slowly dissolved and chucked the rest of it to the side of the road.  Around this time I decided it was a good idea to send some text messages/Facebook tweets while running.

I finished the half at 1:38:30 which is a new unofficial PR for me compared to my 1:40 finish before.  Yes, there was a giant hill at mile 13 as the half marathoners were wrapping up.  No, it was not fun.

After the split-off the crowd got sparser and I felt more at ease.  Runkeeper tried to convince me I was at a 7:05 pace.  Clearly wrong since it also told me that I was 14 miles in.

Around mile 15 was where I started to lose interest in running.  However, I still felt strong.  I’m not sure but I think I was kicking it with a 7:35 or so pace.  It was around this point where I had this crazy idea I can catch up to Skinny Runner.  I was starting to feel real modest about myself.  The fact that RunKeeper kept trying to convince me I was at a 7:06 min pace didn’t help my modesty as all.

Then mile 20 hit.  I was at 2:31:46.  Images of BQ flashed through my brain in a happy dance.  But little did I know, this is where the course ran out of places for us to run through.  We started doing this random half mile runs just to come back that same half mile.  We ran up and down stupid highway ramps.  I wanted to die.

Lovely die face right there.  At mile 21 there was a second Gu stop.  This time I had a grape jelly one.  I held onto it for about a mile, until I finally was able to force 1/3rd of the packet into my mouth.  This one tasted much better, but still not that pleasant while running.  The rest of the pack went to the trash.

Then mile 24 came.  My legs, my body, my mind all decided they had enough.  I hit the infamous WALL at the bottom of another giant rolling hill.  I was sick of the crappy route, I was sick of the highway ramps, sick of the rap bands (I thought it was rock n roll, not rap marathon?) giving me migraines.  I started compromising myself.  Jog 3 minutes, walk 1 minute, walk up hill, sprint downhill. Somehow, the two miles came to an end and I started to see the finish line.  I tried to sprint, but my legs refused to go faster. I also didn’t realize that marathon and half had there own finish line.  There was no one around me and I was convinced I ran on the wrong side of the finish line!

Confused, ultimately confused and yet somehow I made it. When I crossed the line, the clock said 3:31 or something like that.  Never did I imagine that I could run the fast.  I later found out that my net time was 3:24:15.  I felt out of my element in a good way!

Tony ran the half marathon which he enjoy.  He finished in 1:58:37.  His slowest time to date but still an awesome job for a nonrunner!

At the finish line they had fake greek yogurt, bagels, bananas, apples, snickers marathon bras, some other organic granola bars and chocolate milk.  Definitely enough food to feed your hunger.  One tip, if you’re running with friends, pick a meeting spot before the race.  The phone signals were jammed and I couldn’t make a single phone call in the area after the race.

Overall, if you ran the half, the course was a lot of fun.  Hills are fun!  For the first 13 miles… afterwards not so much.  You run by the capital, brush against the Mall, hear some tunes, hear the crowd and are constantly in a rush of runners.  The second half gets a bit rough but overall was still a good race in my book.  If you’re interested here’s the course map and elevation chart.  Although I think the elevation chart is very deceiving as sometimes you go through several rolling hills in one mile!

Course Map

Elevation Chart

If you’re curious what I did after the race or the day before the race, here’s some recaps.

Washington DC Day One
Washington DC Day 2 Post Marathon

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