Race Recap: Charles River Marathon

The TL;DR:

I had one of the best races of my life! With very few goals in mind other than to nail my BQ, I walked away from yesterday’s race with a 3 minute PR, a BQ with a 9.5-minute cushion, and a second place trophy. It was a magical day and the result of a sweaty, exhausting summer of hard work. I’d say it was by far the best I’ve ever felt before, during, and after a marathon.

The backstory: 

This whole story starts back in April, after the craziness that led me to drop out of the Boston Marathon at mile 21 (more on that here). I knew I wanted another shot at that finish line in 2019, which meant that I had to find another marathon to run before 9/10/18 (more on the insane Boston process is here if you’re unfamiliar). I started hunting for early fall races and came upon the Charles River Marathon, a super-small local race on a 10 lap course. It sounded perfect, but it was sold out. I emailed the race director to see if I could squeeze in, and he told me if I could raise  $150 for charity within the next couple of days I was in. I sent some frantic emails around and within 24 hours–I was ready to roll!

This was my summer.

I spent the next month working with my PT and getting my knee situation under control. In the meantime, I did some poking around for local coaches. I love the coach I’ve worked with in the past, but I thought I could use a push and a change. And I needed someone to agree to coach me to a BQ in just 12 weeks–most people do at least a 16-week buildup. Luckily right around that time I saw that Anoush, a speedy local runner, was taking on new coaching clients. We emailed back and forth and I jumped into a two-week trial. I was all-in after that–her workouts were challenging but doable and she was 100% behind getting me to my goal.

Just as I dug into training, a couple of things happened that could have thrown me off–first, we bought a house, and second, we had one of the hottest and muggiest summers on record. The easier choice would have been to give up–sleep in, skip workouts, and not push hard in the heat. But I didn’t go that route. I stuck to the plan, I stubbornly sweated it out day after day, and I executed. I wanted to know I had done everything I could to get to my goal.

The race:

As race day approached, I knew the weather was going to be good–and it turned out to be one of the coolest mornings of the summer. It was cloudy and in the low 60s and a little bit humid, but breezy. The race started at 7am and I had already picked up my bib, so J and I drove to the start with about 45 minutes to spare, which was just enough for a couple of bathroom trips and some pre-race photos with my teammates. At the start line, I sidled up to the 3:27 pace group so that I could see who was there–with just 200 people total, I wanted to have a sense of who I might end up running with. At a few minutes after 7, we took off on a little added loop before hitting the first full loop of the course. The 3:27 and 3:32 pace groups immediately shot off ahead of me. It was tempting to hang with them, but I had a solid race plan and I knew one of the cardinal rules is that you can’t bank time in a marathon–going out too fast almost always leads to disaster! So I hung back and promised myself I’d keep the pace above 8:10 for the first two loops/first 5ish miles. Splits came in at 8:11, 8:14, 8:10, 8:09, and 8:10.

I grabbed my handheld water bottle from J along with my first Gu, and revved the pace up a bit faster for the next couple of laps. I got a little bit overexcited but could tell I was moving a tad fast, so I pulled back to keep it right around an 8-minute pace. In my head, I was telling myself to keep it steady and even and easy. I quickly overtook a few folks in front of me and clocked the next few miles at 7:46, 7:36 (oops), 8:08, 8:00, and 8:02. After more Gu and hydration (I carried my water every other loop or so–a huge perk of the looped course) I was ready to amp it up just a little bit more.

Loops 5 and 6 I was aiming for a just sub-8 minute pace. Again, I wanted to keep it feeling fairly comfortable and easy. I was mostly by myself at this point, so I focused on getting from Jeremy on one side of the loop to the Oiselle cowbell crew on the other. It was SO incredibly helpful to be able to see my cheer squads every mile or two! These miles came in at 7:53, 7:46, 7:48, 7:48, and 7:40. I didn’t have my watch give me individual mile splits, but I did know my overall average pace for the whole race, so I was able to run by feel during each mile while I made sure the average was where it needed to be. Loops 7 and 8 I held and kept it nice and steady–thing were starting to feel hard, but I got a big boost from a bunch of new and fun surprise spectators! It was so fun to see my friends Cait and Bry out on their long runs, and my parents had shown up with some fun signs 🙂 My splits for this section were 7:45, 7:53, 7:47, 7:31, and 7:40.

After having spent most of the race myself I found myself in lockstep with another female runner. With just a few words back and forth, we decided to stick together to get through what we could. We ran loop 9 together and it was so nice to have someone next to me (thank you, Shira, and congrats on your BQ!). I think marathons really start during the last 10k, so I kept it at what felt like a doable sub-8 pace. We ended up at 7:47, 7:49, and 7:48. As we crossed the start line into our last loop, I felt a rush of adrenaline and knew I had a little left in the tank. Then I heard someone yell out “you’re the third woman!” and something in me clicked into gear.

I set my watch so that I couldn’t see my pace and poured my heart into my legs–that last lap was for ME. I pushed through at a faster clip and as I turned the corner into the last mile, my brother appeared sprinting next to me. He gave me my time minute by minute, trying to push me to get to a sub 3:25 (next time) and then peeled off before the final sprint to the finish. I gave it everything I had left and blasted through the finish, grinning hard and feeling strong. My paces were 7:20, 7:12, 7:11, and 6:51 for the .2.

The next hour or so was a blur–lots of sweaty hugs and kisses, a flurry of excited texts, tons of water, and accepting my second place plaque–it was just surreal. This race took a village, and I want to thank Jeremy, my rock and #1 fan, for supporting me every day in this crazy endeavor and for being the best race crew out there. A big thank you to Anoush both for pushing me and pulling me back so that I could get across both the start and finish lines strong and healthy (if you need a coach, check her out here!) Lots of love to Alexa, Cait, Dana, Sarah N., Sarah D., Kelly, Amanda, Michelle, Jess, Nora, and the rest of my Oiselle Volee for being such amazing running buddies and the best goddamn cheer squad out there (seriously). And to my parents and brother for always being there.

I have another post coming along about what I did differently this training cycle that I think made it so successful, but I wanted to get these thoughts out there while they’re fresh.

On to BOSTON 2019!

TNF Endurance Challenge Race Recap (and my week!)

Hello my friends! This was such a fun week of running–I ran a ton with friends and family and had some exciting adventures and experiences. Also! My big life news of the week is that WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!!! Anyone who is local knows the Boston real estate market is bananas right now, so this was a huge deal for us and the result of literally years of research, scrimping, and saving. We’re moving just outside of the city, which is a little scary for me (I’m an urban girl) but I’m excited to explore my new town and of course have already researched the local running club 🙂 We don’t actually move for a week or two, but it’s super duper exciting to make it official.

Back to the week, I took Monday off and easy and then headed out for some solo speedwork Tuesday morning. This was a tough workout for me–I’ve been running with pacers at track, so I had a hard time regulating my paces. But I got it done and I know these are the workouts that make me mentally and physically stronger. Wednesday I went to an event for Global Running Day hosted by our local Lululemon store. It was set up like a silent disco–we all wore headphones and listened to a couple of yoga teachers leading a moving meditation while we ran loops along the Charles River. It was a little cult-like and weird to be in such a big group all in matching tank tops (they were free for the event) but a cool and different experience.

Thursday I set up a run and happy hour for Oiselle Volee teammates–we went on a 5 mile run and then had tacos and margs at a fun spot. We had a great turnout and an awesome night! I love these women, I always learn a lot from them and being a leader has been an honor and a blast. Friday I did some very necessary yoga before we met with our attorney for our official house closing–so, so many papers to sign.

Saturday was the big adventure of the week! My brother had noticed that the North Face Endurance Challenge MA race was offering half off for their marathon relay, so we jumped on it. The hubs, big bro, and a teammate trekked out to Wachusett Mountain, a local ski area, for a day of fun, sun, and dirt. The race was set up on a 6 mile loop pretty much straight up the mountain and back down again.

We had been warned that the course was very challenging and very, very technical–both of which proved to be true. Bib pickup was a breeze–we got bibs for each team member and an ankle tracker (nicknamed the “Martha Stuart” ;)) that we swapped off between legs. J took the first leg up the mountain, and the rest of us hopped onto the ski lift to see him about 45 minutes later at the summit. It was perfectly timed so that you could head up, see a teammate, and then meet them back down at the bottom.

When Jeremy got down we swapped out our tracker, handed off the handheld water bottle, and I took off up the trails! The run started out pretty easy–I held onto a cruising pace as I kept my eyes down for roots and rocks. The trails were super well-marked with colored tape for each race (there was also a trail marathon, a 50k, and a 50 miler–woof). The terrain quickly stopped being run-able and I took it hand over foot up some major rocky climbs, taking off at a jog again to wave to my teammates at the summit. The way down was a fair amount easier but there was a big rock scramble that I took fairly slow to avoid wrenching my ankles. I was mostly by myself, so I happily chatted with a fellow participant as the trail flattened back out and turned up a fire road towards the finish. I wrapped up feeling strong and happy to be done! There were some good snacks (fruit, rice krispie treats) along with free water bottles and medals. After I wrapped up J and I beelined it to the recovery tent to hang out in the Normatec boots–it was his first experience and he was smitten 🙂 There were also ice baths, which we left to the 50k and 50 mile finishers. I also loved that this was a “cupless” race–everyone got a lightweight collapsible cup to carry and fill at aid stations.

While the rest of our team finished, we grabbed some food in the ski lodge and chatted with the folks nearby. I even got to see a couple teammates who had completed the 50k–so impressive! All-in-all, it was a really awesome day. There were barely any all-female teams so hopefully my teammates and I can kick some butt in that category next year.

Sunday I wrapped the week with a 10 mile easy run with another teammate–it was lovely to catch up with her and shake the legs out. A super social, excellent week!

Weekly total: 30.7 miles

  • Monday: off! Did my PT and core exercises.
  • Tuesday: 15 x 1 minute at 6:45 pace, 6 miles total
  • Wednesday: 3.5 meditative miles
  • Thursday: 5 miles + strides with the Oiselle gang
  • Friday: 90 minute yoga class
  • Saturday: 6 trail race miles
  • Sunday: 10 mile long run with Sarah

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap (hosted by Hoho Runs and Taking the Long Way Home).

Weekly recap: back to marathon training!

Guess what, guys? I ran FIVE days this week, including a speed workout and a long run in the double digits! I feel like I’m finally back in the swing of things and am comfortable saying I’m actually in training for the Charles River Marathon. I felt surprisingly good after last weekend’s trail race, so I hit up the track this week and really felt like I was flying at the end of a tough workout. I won’t be on the track as much once I’m digging into distance training, so this was a fun treat. Wednesday I think some soreness caught up to me and I felt pretty yucky during my easy run, but it was my last chance to run with Denise while she was in town.

Thursday I wanted to get in an 8 mile run, but I just wasn’t quite there yet. I did get in 6.5 miles and strides, which is the most I’ve done on a weeknight in ages. Again, it was hot and humid, so I was really happy with this run. Saturday I was trying to wait out the humidity and ended up running in the rain for about 4 miles. I felt pretty good and ended up with some strong tempos (7:37, 7:22) on a hilly route. Coupled with an awesomely challenging hot yoga class, I slept like a baby Saturday night 🙂 Sunday I woke up to PERFECT running weather and breezed through a solo 11 miler. I think it’s safe to say I’m getting back to it!!

I also have a couple of big things in the works running-wise and life-wise. Life update is coming next week–sorry for the teaser, but I promise it’s super exciting and that I’m not pregnant 🙂 Running-wise, I’m doing a trial with a new coach! I’ll have more on that soon, but it’s someone local which I think could work really well for me.

Weekly total: 30.6 miles

  • Monday: off (post-race rest day)
  • Tuesday: Track!! 4 x 200, 2 x 400, 2 x 800, 2 x 400, 4 x 200 for 3.9 total
  • Wednesday: AM-4.1 easy miles, PM-75 minute hot yoga class
  • Thursday: 6.5 hot miles with strides
  • Friday: PT exercises and foam rolling
  • Saturday: AM-75 minute extra steamy hot yoga, PM-5 tempo miles in the rain
  • Sunday: 11 mile long run

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap (hosted by Hoho Runs and Taking the Long Way Home).

Pinelands 25k trail race recap (and weekly wrap)

Happy TuesdaythatfeelslikeMonday, friends! I’m back from a chilly but awesome weekend in Maine, and I have another race recap to share. Back in the fall, three of my running besties and I signed up for our first 50k. Then, life happened. Boston happened. One friend got a stress fracture and was out. The rest of us regrouped and decided to swap from the 50k to the 25k. I knew this was still a stretch for me post-injury, but I was determined to run it smart and enjoy the day. My goal was to finish injury-free and with a smile on my face, and (spoiler alert) mission accomplished!

My running buddy Denise (who had flown in from Cali) and I were anxiously watching the weather all week leading up to this race. We definitely both had some PTSD from Boston. We made our way up through Portland on Saturday, stopping off for some lighthouse views and lobster rolls (#basic). Amazingly, it only rained for an hour or so, and we were treated to this stunner of a sunset up at the cabin. All signs were pointing to a successful day on Sunday!

In the morning, we drove the hour or so to the race start in New Gloucester. We parked, grabbed our bibs (which were marked with white tape to indicate we were swapping from the 50k to the 25k–shame!), and met up with our friend Danielle and her friend Rachel for the start. Everything was smooth and easy, and the whole start/finish area felt like a big party. Right on time, we took off across the start line together. My plan was to run the flats and downs and hike the uphills, but the first few miles felt pretty breezy as we chatted and ran. Turns out those first few miles were mostly downhill, so that makes sense 🙂

The course twists and turns through grassy fields and up and down dirt trails–definitely not many rocks and roots, but it was a roller coaster hill-wise (as you can see!). We all stayed together through the first half, when Rachel and Denise drifted ahead. I encouraged them to go on and tuned into my body, letting myself start to hike the uphills to catch my breath.

Once I was on my own, I kept my eyes on some of the runners around me, aiming for a steady effort. The cool but humid weather had me feeling toasty with all that effort! The second half of the race was a LOT of climbing, but it evened back out near the end, and I was able to keep up a steady run through the finish. I crossed the line feeling spent but strong–pretty darn good for my longest run since the marathon by 10 miles!!

After we all finished, we changed and made a beeline for the post-race BBQ–which was probably the best post-race spread I’ve ever seen. Burgers, salads, desserts… YUM! I loved that the race provided the basics and the rest was potluck-style. So many great homemade treats (including lots of gf options). Pro tip–spectators can join for $6 a plate 🙂

We settled in and chatted with some of the other racers (holy moly the people doing the 50k and 50 miler–so impressive) while we listened to a fantastic bluegrass band and chowed down. I had always heard that trail races have the best atmosphere, and I’d say this one was pretty darn fun. The race swag was pretty phenomenal too–mini cowbell keychains (full-size for the 50k), metal water bottles, and Darn Tough socks (the best!)

Overall, I loved this race and hope to incorporate more trails into my routine going forward. I’m so glad we did the 25k, too–I may run a 50k someday, but this wasn’t that day. The 25k was really fun and plenty challenging for now. The rest of my recap for the week is below–the big highlight being my first track workout post-injury. It was hard but good. I’m definitely itching to start building up that mileage again!

Weekly total: 26.2 miles

  • Monday: off (post-race rest day)
  • Tuesday: Track!! 800, 400, 200 x 3, 3.5 total miles
  • Wednesday: AM-4.2 easy miles, PM-75 minute yoga class
  • Thursday: rest day
  • Friday: 3.5 mile shakeout, PT exercises and foam rolling
  • Saturday: pre-race rest day
  • Sunday: 25k trail race!

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap (hosted by Hoho Runs and Taking the Long Way Home).

Great Bear 5k race recap (and my week!)

I’m so happy to be back writing a race recap! This was a particularly fun and meaningful one, and not just because it was my first race and by far my fastest run post-injury. J and my mom and dad and I all ran the Needham Great Bear 5k, which has raised over $100k for prostate cancer research. It’s organized by a friend of my dad’s from college. And, it was my dad’s first organized 5k since the 80s!!

This morning we all piled into the car for a quick and easy ride to the start. The race started and ended at a local middle school, and bib pickup and bathroom stops were a breeze. We took a half mile jog up and down the street, and then easily lined up in the corrals, which were informally marked out by pace. J and I started together between the 7 and 8 minute corrals, figuring we’d see how we were feeling (he ran 10 miles yesterday!)

Once the race started, the first mile was relatively quick, coming in at 6:58. I was feeling good despite the heavy, humid air, so I kept it up for a 7:01 in the second mile. I then turned a corner into a solid uphill climb for the third mile, and I held the effort steady and managed to pass a few folks at a 7:33 pace. Turning into the finishing chute I gave it my all but didn’t have too much in me, so I let the other woman nearby kick it ahead of my across the finish line. I was breathing hard and heavy by the end, but ran the .1 at a 5:44 pace. It felt so amazing to run hard again, and I’m so proud of my 22:20 on basically no speed training!

After I finished J and my dad finished pretty soon after. My dad ran just over 30 minutes, and placed a strong second in his age group! My mom power walked it in and then we stopped by the awards table–I was pretty shocked to have taken home 1st in my age group! Pre-injury I was hoping to crack top 3 women at the race, and I ended up 7th, which I’m more than happy with. After some post-race snacks (lots of fresh fruit and gf options!) and photo ops, of course, we were on our way.

This was such a fun and rewarding morning, and the details were seamless. The course was easy to follow and 3.1 miles on the nose, the volunteers were helpful and friendly, and the trophies were a super nice touch. Plus, there were tons of kids and parents running together, which is the cutest! Does anyone else love small local races??

See below for the recap of the rest of my week! I don’t have a ton to say other than I’m feeling much better and stronger, and trying to ramp up carefully with lots of cross training. Onwards and upwards!

Weekly totals: 15.2 miles

  • Monday: PT (lots of hips)
  • Tuesday: 3 minute run/1 minute walk intervals for 4.2 miles
  • Wednesday:AM-3 minute run/1 minute walk intervals for 3.8 miles, PM-75 minute hot yoga class
  • Thursday: 25 minutes on the elliptical + lifting, core, and PT exercises
  • Friday: Trial 5k with no stops! 3.5 miles total
  • Saturday: 75 minute hot yoga class
  • Sunday: Great Bear 5k! 3.6 miles total

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap (hosted by Hoho Runs and Taking the Long Way Home).

Weekly recap: recovery and the return to running

Hello there, long lost blog friends! I’m here to report that things are finally turning around for me and I’m so excited to back writing a weekly recap. I’ll be the first to admit that after the marathon I was in a pretty dark place and I chose to stay away from the running world (both online and IRL for a few weeks). It didn’t help that I was in a fair amount of pain–for the couple of weeks after the marathon even walking around was painful, in a sharp, uncomfortable way, not in a “hurts so good” way. Here’s the quick and dirty on what’s been going down in terms of recovery:

So… what the heck happened? It’s still a little bit of a mystery, but after lots of conversations with my amazing PT (more on that below), we think it was a bit of a perfect storm (pun very much intended). The weather conditions had me leaning a bit more than usual into some bad habits, namely over-relying on my quads and underutilizing my posterior chain muscles (glutes and hamstrings). Basically, a lurking injury that I has been doing a really good job avoiding flared up, likely due to the fact that I was running with terrible form on unsteady footing with cold muscles for 2+ hours. Bam, tendinitis in both knees. Fun, right?

Yikes. What are you doing about it? Oh man, this was a journey. After a LOT of time on the phone fighting with my doctor’s office (and being told by an awful orthopedist that there was nothing I could do except take 3-4 weeks completely off, no PT necessary), I argued my way into getting a PT referral. Thank goodness! I ended up at Joint Ventures PT, and my new bestie Garrett and I took an in-depth look at my stance and mechanics to determine best next steps. We’ve been working hard twice a week to strengthen and activate my glutes and hammies, and I’m graduating to just once a week pretty soon.

What about running? Obviously, the questions of the month! Basically, the first thing on the docket was to get the inflammation in my knees to calm the heck down–so nothing super impactful, lots of ibuprofen and ice and rest as needed. And lots of PT exercises, strength work, and cross training (hello elliptical…) My first run back was some very timid walk/run intervals on May 5, almost 3 weeks after the marathon. It went pretty well, so I’ve graduated to 2 minutes on/1 minute off run/walk intervals and today’s run was pretty much pain-free! I’ve found that letting myself run at the paces that feel natural to me works better than forcing myself to go extra slow, since it keeps my stride more natural.

With that, here’s this week’s recap! You’ll see there’s a mix of running and cross-training with lots of PT in there. I’m trying to be patient and do this right, but suffice it to say I am JAZZED to be back at it. Injuries and DNFs are really, really hard, but I’m hoping I’ll come out of this a stronger runner.

Weekly totals: 10.6 miles

  • Monday: 1 minute walk/1 minute run intervals for 2.5 miles
  • Tuesday: AM–40 minutes elliptical, 20 minutes lifting and PT exercises, PM–75 minute vinyasa yoga
  • Wednesday: PT (lots of hips)
  • Thursday: 2 minute run/1 minute walk intervals for 3.3 miles
  • Friday: PT (lots of core)
  • Saturday: 75 minute hot yoga class
  • Sunday: 2 minute run/1 minute walk intervals at a push pace for 4.7 miles total

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap (hosted by Hoho Runs and Taking the Long Way Home).

The Boston Marathon that broke my heart

Yesterday, at my first-ever Boston Marathon, I withdrew from the race at mile 22. I was soaked to the bone, shaking from the cold, and dealing with shooting knee pain that left me barely able to walk, let alone run. The wound is fresh and I’m sure it won’t ever fully heal. While I’m disappointed, I don’t have any doubt that I made the right choice. I let my brain win out over my stubborn heart.

I had the typical weekend leading up to Boston–trying hard to rest up while being tempted by all of the running fun to be had around the city. I met up with the Oiselle gang to spectate the 5k, visited all the pop-up shops and spent too much money, and took a million photos at the finish line. As the weather reports got worse and worse, I spent hours going back and forth on outfit choices–not daring to believe that a trash bag would end up being the smartest way to go. Something felt off for me all weekend. It’s hard to say what it was, but it never felt like I was really about to run Boston. As it turns out, my gut was right.

Monday morning my running partner Denise and I woke up to frigid temps and whipping winds. Undeterred, we donned our throwaway layers and heavy-duty trash bags before getting a ride downtown to the busses that would take us to athlete’s village. The start area was chaotic and muddy–the huge tents were strewn with mylar sheets and heaps of discarded shoes and clothing. I had a wristband for my charity team that was supposed to get me into a heated indoor space, but no one knew where to tell us to go. Undeterred, we used the facilities and squatted on an old shower curtain while we pulled on our dry socks and shoes with shaking hands. My best-laid plans of warming up, carefully hydrating, and leisurely eating my last pre-race snacks quickly went by the wayside and we strained to listen for the announcement that it was our turn to join the parade of figures in ponchos trudging to the start.

At the start line in suburban Hopkinton, I had a decision to make–either stick with Denise, who had no time goals and wanted to run for fun, or to push for the 3:25 I had trained for. As the first gust of wind whipped the rain into our eyes, I told Denise I would stick with her and we would get through it together. The first few miles we kept our spirits up, dancing along with the music being blasted from inside homes and under tents along the way. The crowds were thin but enthusiastic, screaming encouragement from the sidelines. We made a few bathroom stops but kept up a fairly steady pace as the rain pounded down, soaking through every layer.

We stopped into a med tent in Wellesley when my mittens had gotten so heavy and cold that I couldn’t move my fingers, and a helpful doctor worked my numb fingers into a pair of rubber surgical gloves. At mile 13 I saw Jeremy and gratefully accepted the poncho he had ready and waiting. Just after that, we got a huge lift in Wellesley when we heard that Desi won! What a gutsy and well-deserved win from one of my favorite runners!

The happiness carried us down into Newton, where I handed my soaked gloves off to my dad and trucked up the first of the Newton hills. Then out of nowhere, I felt a sharp, stabbing pain under both kneecaps. I gritted my teeth and trailed behind Denise before finally admitting to her that I needed to stop and see what was going on. Being the amazing friend she is, she immediately hooked her arm under mine and we hobbled together to the med tent at mile 20. The tent was teeming with runners convulsing from cold, their heads bowed under heat sheets and blankets. After manipulating my legs and seeing my grimace, the doc in the tent quickly concluded that it was likely patellar tendonitis, and handed off what he said was his first ice pack of the day. Denise was insistent that she wanted to stay with me, but I knew in my heart that I wasn’t going to make it and told her she needed to finish the race.

Alone in the tent, I put my head between my knees and sobbed–through the haze of tears, promising the volunteers that I wasn’t sobbing from the pain in my knees. It wasn’t the first round of tears and it won’t be the last. After 15 minutes of ice I was numb enough to give it one last shot, even though my gut was telling me it wasn’t smart. I knew my friend Bry would be volunteering at mile 21, and by the time I hobbled up to her, we both knew my day was over. She walked me to a church nearby that was open as a warming station for volunteers, and with wet and trembling fingers I called my dad to get a ride home.

I am still in the midst of processing everything that happened. I pride myself on being fairly in tune with my body, and as I sit here icing my tender, swollen knees I am 100% certain that I made the right choice to stop. In fact, 23 elite runners made the same choice. I have had a fairly charmed running journey up to this point, and there were always going to be bumps along the road. I’m not sure what exactly caused the knee issue, but I’m sure it has a lot to do with 2+ hours of running hunched over against the rain and wind on slippery and unstable surfaces. That was the single hardest run of my life and I’m proud to have made it as far as I did. I’m not yet a Boston Marathon finisher, but I will be. Congratulations to everyone who gutted it out to the finish yesterday–you all are beyond amazing!

The list of thank you’s is too long to include here, but it’s coming. Huge VIP shout outs to Denise, Bry, Jeremy, my parents, and everyone who reached out yesterday. I have the most fantastic support system.

Because I take my advice from the best, I will keep showing up. I will finish the race. Thanks for being here–the journey is far from over.


Boston training: week 18 (ONE WEEK!!!)

Greetings from taper town! This was a bit of a ho-hum week of training, but I’m going with the adage that a mediocre taper can lead to a great race. Things overall just feel a bit heavy and tired, but I think cutting back even more next week will give me the pep and zing I need on race day.

Workouts: Both my HMGP miles and my MGP miles this week felt harder than usual. I did them without music and hit my paces, but it took effort to get there. I ran the MGP workout way too fast and my stomach was not cooperative, so my goal for this week is to run my marathon pace miles at true marathon pace and to let them feel easy breezy.

Skiing: Since spring doesn’t seem to be arriving any time soon in Boston, we made our way up to Vermont for a day of xc skiing on Saturday. It was such a pleasure! The conditions were near-perfect (I kept having to remind myself it was really April 7th), and it felt good to take a breath and be out in the woods.

Long run: Since Jeremy is ramping up for the Old Port Half Marathon in June, he agreed to join me for my for 10 miler. It was so nice being able to share my last long run with him! He is totally embracing this crazy running thing… my bad 😉 It was his longest run since the fall and he rocked it!

Be Race Ready workshop: On Sunday, I did a restorative yoga/mental race prep workshop with one of my favorite marathoners/yoga teachers, the lovely Cara Gilman. It was a great opportunity to breathe, relax, and practice some meditative strategies for race week and race day.

That’s all for now, folks! I’ll be back later in the week with a gratitude-filled post about the people who have influenced me most in my running. If you need me, I’ll be resting up and chowing down on my favorite marathon lasagna from Run Fast Eat Slow. One week to go!

Week 18: 34.3 miles

  • Monday: 2×2 at HMGP for 6 total
  • Tuesday: 4 recovery
  • Wednesday: 10 at MGP
  • Thursday: Rest day
  • Friday: 4 easy
  • Saturday: XC skiing!
  • Sunday: AM: 10 easy with J, PM: yoga and meditation workshop

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap (hosted by Hoho Runs and Taking the Long Way Home).

Boston marathon training: week 17

First taper week is done done done! This was a super duper busy week/weekend, so I was grateful to be able to carve out time to get all of my workouts in. Monday started with easy miles, and then Tuesday I ran a really strong workout. I’m taking advantage of the lighter evenings to do some of my harder runs later in the day–much as I love to get my runs out of the way in the morning, I definitely do better when I’m fueled and rested. I hit the first set of these half marathon paced miles at a 6:58 average and the second set at a 6:50 average. I felt so strong and steady during this workout–which was definitely the high point of the week.

Wednesday I was supposed to have an easy run but my stomach was really off, so I gave myself an early day off. Thursday I was still feeling a little funky by I got through my 6 easy miles. Friday I forced myself to get my run in early, and then I descended into holiday madness for the rest of the weekend. Friday night was the first Passover seder at our house, Saturday we went to the second seder at a friend’s house, and Sunday was Easter brunch in NH with Jeremy’s family. It was all so fun, but the heavy, salty food and copious amounts of sugar and wine made my Saturday and Sunday runs feel like garbage. I did my long run with my brother and the last 6 miles at MGP were a little bit slower than I was hoping for, but again, chalking that up to not setting my body up for success.

I’m SO ready to head into the taper and get this show on the road! I generally cut back on the booze and sugar in the two weeks before a marathon, so that should help get everything into ship shape for marathon Monday. Commence all of the weather stalking…

Week 17: 42.8 miles

  • Monday: 4 easy
  • Tuesday: 2×3 at HMGP for 8.2 total
  • Wednesday: Rest day
  • Thursday: 6 easy
  • Friday: 4 easy
  • Saturday: 10 easy, 6 MGP for 16.4 total
  • Sunday: 4 easy

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap (hosted by Hoho Runs and Taking the Long Way Home).

Boston marathon training: weeks 15 and 16

Well, well, well–back to weekly recaps after a little bit of a break! As I mentioned in my race recap, I’m home from an incredible 3 week honeymoon and diving right into the peak weeks of marathon training. I was pretty nervous to pick right up where I left off with training after running infrequently on our trip, but the past couple of weeks have been good and I’m actually feeling way less fatigued than I normally would at this stage of training. I’m recapping a funny half week together with this week, where I reached my peak mileage both for this training cycle and my highest mileage ever!

Backing it up to last week, we got home from NZ on Wednesday night and I had taken Thursday off to rest and recuperate. I slept, did laundry, and also hit up a yoga class to stretch out from the 29 hour trip. And I did my first workout back, which was a full hour at marathon pace. I was worried this one might not be in the cards after such a long travel day, but I got it done. Friday I was happy to rest, and Saturday I met up with my Oiselle friend Sarah for a bus ride to Hopkinton to tackle the first 22 miles of the Boston course. I can’t say this was easy, especially as we treated ourselves to a little Heartbreak Hill action after mile 20, but it was great practice for Boston. Sarah has run Boston multiple times and had great tips for race day (she is training for London where she’ll get her six star medal–so impressive!) We did have a tailwind for this run and it was amazingly helpful. I would like to order another for race day, please!

Sunday I wrapped up the weekend with an easy recovery run with J, and then Monday I split my easy miles into two runs since I had gotten a crappy night of sleep. Tuesday was just a fabulous run! I felt like I was finally 100% back in my groove–it was one of those “I could have run forever” nights. However, it was followed by a really tough workout the next day–3×2 miles at HMGP. I got it done, wrapping the last set up at 6:59 pace, but it hurt.

The next day I had planned to run with my brother, and I pushed the mileage a bit beyond what was planned since I wanted to hit 60 miles for the week. My brother has an amazing sense of direction (it’s an occupational asset) so we ran a fun route, including running through the middle of a train station. I think people thought we were sprinting for a train 🙂 It was fun to run with him, especially since we’re both gearing up for Boston. Friday was off, and then Saturday was the big “last long run!”

The last long run is a really special day in Boston–most folks grab a bus out to mile 5 and run the last 20 miles of the course. All of the charities and sponsors are out, there are cops to help direct traffic, and it feels like a big party. This year was no exception, and I started the morning with my OG gals Alexa and Danielle. My plan was to run the first 10 easy and the last 10 at MGP (7:40-7:50). We all stuck together at a slightly fast pace until the Newton Hills, when we split up. I totally locked into what felt comfortable and was able to pick it up and get faster up and over the hills, wrapping up 21 miles at a 7:55 average. This was one of my best long runs to date and a HUGE confidence builder going into Boston! Sunday I followed that up with an easy recovery spin and a short yoga class. I’ll leave it there since this is already a novel, but more honeymoon pics are coming soon!

Week 15: 37 miles

  • Monday: 3 hour hike down a mountain
  • Tuesday: Driving around New Zealand
  • Wednesday: Flights on flights on flights
  • Thursday: 90 minute AM yoga; 1 up, 1 hour at MGP for 9.4 total
  • Friday: Rest day!
  • Saturday: 22 mile long run
  • Sunday: 5.5 mile recovery run

Week 16: 61.5 miles

  • Monday: 4.5 miles AM, 3.5 miles PM
  • Tuesday: 7 easy
  • Wednesday: 3×2 miles at HMGP for 10 total
  • Thursday: AM mini band work + core, PM 11 miles
  • Friday: Rest day, best day
  • Saturday: 21 miles (10 easy, 10 MGP + fast finish)
  • Sunday: 60 minute vinyasa yoga AM, 5 easy miles PM

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap (hosted by Hoho Runs and Taking the Long Way Home).