Sugarloaf marathon week 14: the taper begins

Greetings from the first week of taper mania! I have to say that despite the mileage going down, this week didn’t feel particularly easy. I think that has something to do with the fact that it was a really busy week outside of running. I always make a concerted effort to see friends once classes wrap up for the semester, but I’m very guilty of making plans every night and burning myself out. I’m also feeling a few of the mental demons sneaking their way in, so I want to really cement my mantras and mental strategies during these final two weeks before race day. Here are my goals for the taper:

  • Run my marathon pace runs at MGP, not faster.
  • Carb load in a smart, gradual way and take it easy with the sugar and vino.
  • Really give myself a mental break and take time to chill the eff out.

On the logistical front, I started rotating in a lighter pair of sneakers that I plan to use on race day–and they feel great! I usually run in Asics GT 2000 4 and my newer shoes are the Mizuno Wave Rider 20. I have done speedwork and racing in the Wave Rider 18 and these are a great new version. I have super narrow feet, especially in the midfoot/heel, so my sneaker options are limited to those that come in a 2A width. If there are any other tiny footed people out there looking for shoe options, these two work well in rotation for me. I plan to get about 50 miles in on the Wave Riders before race day. I did spend a silly amount of timing deciding whether or not to return a pair of Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 33s–does anyone have thoughts on these?? I’m all ears!

Also, Denise and I are planning to run Sugarloaf together! We run really similar paces and are totally in sync with our race strategies, so I think it will be great to aim to stick together–of course with the caveat that we’ll both need to run our own races and do what we need to do to take care of ourselves day-of. We ran a really strong long run together on Sunday so I’m very confident about our plan. I am starting to think throgh nutrition planning and race strategy also–more to come on those 🙂

Week 14: 45.3 miles total

  • Monday: 6 easy + strides
  • Tuesday: 4 “watchless” easy miles, banded strength circuit
  • Wednesday: 8 MGP miles, fast finish
  • Thursday: 6 easy
  • Friday: 4 easy
  • Saturday: Rest day
  • Sunday: 10 easy, 6 MGP for 16 total at 8:20 average

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap (hosted by Hoho Runs and Miss Sippipiddlin), with Eat Pray Run DC for her training linkup, and with the Jess’s (Jess Runs ATL and The Right Fits).

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Sugarloaf training: week 13 (peak week!)

Y’all–peak week is over and the mini-taper officially begins!! I’m so, so proud to have gotten though four 50+ mile weeks in a row, topping out at 214 miles for the month of April. I’m also grateful for the lovely comments last week about not getting too caught up in the numbers. While this wasn’t quite my highest mileage week of training, I know I nailed both of my key workouts and kept the easy miles nice and easy. In fact, I didn’t even bat an eyelash when my “20 miler” was actually 19.58 miles. Who cares?? GPS watches are never 100% accurate and that extra .42 miles running up and down my block wouldn’t have added anything to my training.

The week started out pretty misty and rainy, which I actually kind of love. I turned off my podcast during an easy, foggy run just to spend some time in the mist and the quiet. I nailed a hard workout on Tuesday with two sets of 3 miles at HMGP–it felt really hard, but good, to see 7:28 for the first set and 7:23 for the second set! This week also had a bunch of easy/recovery miles, which I happily took extra easy given the tough workouts that were sprinkled in there. I especially loved that J and I managed to fit in a recovery run together on Wednesday–he’s killing his 15k training and mentioned that he might even consider a half soon!! Proud fiance alert!

Once the week cleared up it got really warm, so I pushed my long run from Saturday to Sunday and opted for a yoga class instead. I really miss my practice when I’m marathon training and can’t fit it in–I was soaked and sore from this one but it felt soooo good to get back to it. Sunday my girl Alexa was BACK and like a true badass, she joined me for 14 of my 20 mile workout–which included 2×3 sets of MGP miles. I’m so proud of her for running a strong Boston despite the weather, and love having her back on runs.

If you missed it, I wrote a post this week about working on my mental game with “I am, I can, I will statements”–it’s an amazing technique and really helped me get through the last set of MGP miles on my long run today. T-minus 3 weeks from today I’ll be done with Sugarloaf–I’m so excited to put all this hard work to the test!!

Week 13: 55.1 miles total

  • Monday: 8 easy
  • Tuesday: 2×3 miles at HMGP, 8.5 total
  • Wednesday: 4.8 recovery miles with J
  • Thursday: 8.1 easy
  • Friday: 6 easy
  • Saturday: 90 minute sweaty yoga
  • Sunday: 20 (well, 19.58) mile long run! 8 up, 3×3 miles at MGP, 1.5 down

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap (hosted by Hoho Runs and Miss Sippipiddlin), with Eat Pray Run DC for her training linkup, and with the Jess’s (Jess Runs ATL and The Right Fits).

TOL: I can, I will, I am

I have probably mentioned my fangirldom for Tina Muir here on the blog before. If you haven’t, I highly encourage you to check out her new venture at http://www.tinamuir.com–where you can learn more about her Running for Real podcast. One of the latest episodes features Dr. Cindra Kamphoff, who is an expert on the psychology of success. You can listen to the episode here.

Strike a (power) pose!

One of the mental strategies Cindra suggested really resonated with me–so much so that I shut off the podcast and spent most of my run quietly thinking about it. The strategy uses the power of statements starting with “I can, I am, and I will.” Sometimes I find mental tools a little bit too murky and hard to implement, but I love how this frame allows you to be so positive and forthright. I decided to take a stab at my own “I can, I am, and I will” statements below:

I can:

  • I can do hard things
  • I can persist despite discomfort
  • I can run fast
  • I can finish strong

I am:

  • I am ready for this
  • I am fast
  • I am strong
  • I am confident

I will:

  • I will trust my training
  • I will follow my race plan in order to be able to finish strong
  • I will do the best that I can on race day
  • I will be proud of my accomplishments, BQ or no BQ

I would love to hear your thoughts! What “I can, I am, I will” statements would you make? Any other mental strategies you use for running/racing?

Linking up with Running with Spoons!

Sugarloaf marathon training: week 12

I think this might be one of the quietest weeks in the Boston running world. I knew this was coming, but it’s strange to be ramping up when it seems like everyone else is in recovery. I’m definitely getting ready for the taper, but I’m not there quite yet–this was a big week with my longest long run and next week will be my “peak week” of training. Either way, I’m less than a month out from Sugarloaf, training smart, and feeling strong and healthy! WOOT. Also exciting: I only have 3 more classes left this semester, so after May 2 I have a glorious 2.5 week “break” before race day.

My mileage looks a little bit deflated this week since I threw off my schedule by skipping a rest day last weekend and taking it on Monday instead–meaning I ran all 7 days last week. Phew. And of course, my “day off” was Marathon Monday, so I was on my feet screaming and yelling all day 🙂 Sometimes I find myself getting a little bit too caught up on the numbers, but I know it’s about the bigger picture–and last year at this time I peaked at 43.6 weekly miles compared to the 50+ I’ve been running consistently this year, so I’m truly more ready than I’ve ever been.

A few weekly highlights were:

  • Seeing the Boston documentary! While there were some unnecessary tangents, it was really inspiring and fun to watch with lots of other running nerds.
  • A really strong tempo workout on Thursday, hitting a 6:47 at mile 8 of a tough run.
  • The March for Science on Saturday! Despite my legs being shot from my long run, it was amazing to get out there and protest–and the signs were HILARIOUS.

    Marching for science!

My training buddy/neighbor Denise, who is also running Sugarloaf, proposed that we do a “time on feet” run together on Saturday morning. This basically meant that we would run for 3 hours and 15 minutes at an easy pace, focusing on time vs. distance. Despite some cold drizzle, we had a great morning and did a little sprint in for 22.22 miles total. I felt a couple of little niggles near the end, but overall this was a strong run and I couldn’t have been happier to have the company.

Week 12: 49.6 miles total

  • Monday: OFF
  • Tuesday: Tempo day! Workout was 3 at MGP, 2 at HMGP, and 1 at 10k/threshold. Paces were 3 miles: 7:55, 2 miles: 7:29, 1 mile: 6:47 (!!!) for 9 total.
  • Wednesday: 4.6 recovery miles
  • Thursday: 5 easy miles + 3 at MGP for 8 total
  • Friday: 5.6 easy miles in the rain and a much-need massage
  • Saturday: Longest long run! Run by time for 3:15, which worked out to 22.2 miles.
  • Sunday: OFF/Vinyasa with deep relaxation yoga class

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap (hosted by Hoho Runs and Miss Sippipiddlin), with Eat Pray Run DC for her training linkup, and with the Jess’s (Jess Runs ATL and The Right Fits).

5 tips for charity runners (from a professional fundraiser)

Hey guys! This is a little deviation from a straight running-related post, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about charity runners. My first marathon was NYC, which I ran for the Celiac Disease Foundation, and I learned a ton from that experience. My not-so-secret leg up is that I have been working in the fundraising field for close to 7 years, and a lot of the basics of what I do at work were really helpful to me when I was fundraising for my race. As lots of folks gear up for the fall marathon season, I hope these tips are helpful!Image result for pearl i want my money

  1. Give yourself your first donation: Have you ever gone to someone’s fundraising page and before doing anything else, peeked at the donor scroll to see how much other folks have given? We all have! Setting the bar high is really, really powerful–if your potential donors see gifts of $5-$10 they won’t dig as deep as if they see gifts at higher levels. Also, no one wants to be the first one at the party. So stack the deck in your favor by giving yourself your first gift and making it a relatively generous one. It’s a lovely way to show that you are digging deep to support the cause out of your own pocket.
  2. Make a personal connection to the cause: It’s no big secret that many of us fundraise as a way to get into a race we otherwise wouldn’t be able to run, but it’s not particularly inspiring to give to charity just because someone thinks it would be fun to run Boston (or New York, or whatever). Even if you don’t have an immediate personal connection to the organization, find one! It can be as simple as sharing some basic facts/stats that show why the organization’s work resonates with you. Make sure every communication you send out says something about the cause itself in addition to updates on your training.
  3. Cast your net really, really wide: Especially if you’re on the younger side, your friends may not be able to give you large enough gifts to get you to your fundraising goals. Consider who in your networks might be able to give you a boost. I’d suggest starting with current/former colleagues, immediate family, extended family, and family friends. My parents have an amazing network of close friends who are pseudo-family to me, and many of them have been generous supporters of my charity runs. Be creative!
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask: My number one piece of fundraising advice is that you get 0% of the gifts you don’t ask for. Your friends and family are infinitely more likely  to give to you if you reach out to them directly, which can be via email, mail, or phone. Also, posting on social media DOES NOT count as an ask!! I’ve found sending emails to be really effective–just keep them light, personal, and fun. And make a connection to the cause! See tip numbah 2 🙂
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask AGAIN: Two main tips here. First, the reason someone didn’t respond to you the first time probably has more to do with the fact that they saw your email and totally forgot about it than them not wanting to support you. It can take 3+ touches for someone to actually give! So keep nudging people–they’ll be grateful for it. Also, some of your strongest supporters might be those who give to you more than once. It can be especially helpful to re-solicit your supporters when you’re close to your goal. For example, if you have had 50 people donate and you’re $250 away from your goal, you can send them all an email letting them know that if they each give $5 they’ll put you over the top! This is a really effective to help you “sprint to the finish.”

BONUS! You’ll notice that there are two big things here that I don’t recommend. First, fundraising events–these take a ton of time and effort that you probably would rather spend on your training. And they don’t yield as much cash as you might imagine since they cost a fair amount to put together. Second, fundraising via social media isn’t super effective, even if you have a ton of followers. Folks don’t generally give all that generously via social channels, and they definitely don’t give money to anyone they don’t know IRL. By all means, use social media to provide updates on your progress/training, but leave the solicitations to more direct outreach.

Phew! Lots of words there, but I hope this is helpful–please pass this along to your friends who are running and fundraising. Anything I missed? Other tips and tricks?

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Linking up with Amanda for Thinking out Loud Thursday and with  Lacey, Meranda, and Rachel for the Friday Five 2.0.

Sugarloaf training week 11: Boston Marathon weekend!

Expo testing (v. serious)

Well kids, the most magical weekend of the year in Boston is over and it certainly didn’t disappoint. I had so much fun with friends old and new. Read on for the play by play!

Monday-Friday: Some pretty kick ass training, if I do say so myself. I was really happy to hit this mileage without feeling beaten down or sluggish. The highlight was definitely that little guy over there on Thursday–3 sets of two miles at my half marathon goal pace getting faster with each set!! These workouts absolutely feel hard as heck, but I know they’re going to get me to my goal. So, worth it. Friday I hit up the Boston Marathon expo with Alexa–the expo is a BLAST and I was tempted to buy all of the things. But I didn’t.

Saturday: I met up with one of my running pals, the lovely Megan! She moved to Philly about a year ago after running an incredible Boston last year as her first marathon. Megan is the loveliest person and we just jump right back into it whenever we see each other. We decided to run the BAA 5k, which was sort of insane and frustratingly so crowded we couldn’t do much more than jog the whole time. Pro tip–if you want to RACE this race, get as far up in the corrals as possible! Either way, Megan and I spectated, laughed, and insta-ed our way over the marathon finish line and then of course headed to mow down on some brunch. After we parted ways I wandered over to the Strava popup store to pick up my free socks for completing their marathon week challenge, and got a quick peep of the elite women’s invitational mile around Copley Square. Never a dull moment on marathon weekend! The rest of the day was studying, grocery-ing, and meal prep. #adulting.

Sunday: The weather was supposed to climb into the mid 80s (WHAAAAT) on Sunday, so I got up at an ungodly hour to meet big bro for an 18 mile fast finish long run. We took the shadiest route we know of and sweated it out–it was a little bit of a sufferfest but I was grateful for the company and even more grateful to be training for a spring marathon–last August, we did this every.freaking.weekend. Post-run I was pretty depleted, but made it to a fun Easter brunch in NH with J’s family.

Marathon Monday: Like last year, I signed up to volunteer at the mile 21 water stop with a couple of running pals. If you’ve never volunteered at a distance event, DO IT! It is such an incredible honor to support the runners who have done so much work to get to race day. As I’m sure you’ve all heard/read, it was a tough day weather-wise but I am so proud of all of the amazing finishers for battling it out. Especially Alexa, who gave me the best giant hug of the day. It was also super incredible to see so many of my favorite elites up close and personal (Meb! Galen! Desi! Jordan!)

Week 11: 56.3 miles

  • Monday: 7 easy + strides
  • Tuesday: 8 mile hilly progression run (last 3 at 7:54, 7:41, 7:19)
  • Wednesday: 4.6 slow recovery miles
  • Thursday: Tempo! 1 up, 3×2 miles at HMGP (sets at 7:30, 7:27, and 7:19) with 3 min recoveries, 1 down
  • Friday: 4.6 easy
  • Saturday: Easy BAA 5k with Megan! 3.9 total
  • Sunday: 18 mile fast finish long run (last 6 at 8:04, 7:57, 7:57, 7:54, 7:56, 7:28)

Also! One of my grad school pals wrote a post about part-time MBA students with full time jobs who run marathons. Check out my ramblings here.

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap (hosted by Hoho Runs and Miss Sippipiddlin) and with Eat Pray Run DC for her training recap linkup. Also, joining the Jess’s (Jess Runs ATL and The Right Fits)–congrats on a strong Boston, Jess!!!

 

My Boston 2013 story, and why I want to BQ

Visiting the old homestead on the marathon course!

If you’ve been following along for a little while, you probably know that I love, love, LOVE my hometown. Boston is a wildly imperfect, occasionally uppity, student infested, cold, beautiful little mess of a city. I’ve lived in and around Boston my whole life, and most of that has been within spitting distance of the marathon course. As a kid, I literally watched the race from my bedroom window. I was, however, a dedicated non-runner until about 6 years ago, so the notion of running Boston (or any distance over a couple of miles on a treadmill) didn’t really cross my mind.

Fast-forward to 2013 at my first “real” job, when a project fell into my lap–to coordinate our organization’s Boston Marathon team. For those who don’t know, thousands of Boston runners every year gain entry by raising money for nonprofit organizations. I had just started running myself, so I was stoked to land such a fun project. We had a small and mighty team of 6 runners, and my coworkers and I were cheering our heads off at mile 23 when I started getting some funny texts from my friends that something had happened at the finish line. I ignored them at first, figuring it was some small shakeup, until word started to spread that we needed to move away from the route and head home. I managed to shoot off a text to J and my parents that I was ok before cell phones signal shut down. The next few days were a bit of a blur–confusion, lockdowns, and all the rest.

The site of the bombings
An eerily empty Boylston Street
The makeshift memorial at Copley Square

Everything really clicked for me when I took a walk downtown during the days following the bombing. It’s still a little bit hard for me to look at these pictures, but I was so moved to see how fiercely my communities–both the community of runners and the Boston community–came together to shout our love for each other into the void of hate that had shown its face.

Even though I didn’t fully realize it at the time, it lit a fire that was somewhere deep down in me. I was fully and completely a runner. I started to take my running more seriously–I cut my half marathon time down from 2:12 to 1:36 and ran my first marathon in New York City in 2015. For the first time in my life, I had found an athletic activity that I enjoyed and that I was actually pretty good at.

Slowly but surely I came to the realization that not only could I run 26.2 miles, but I might be able to do it fast enough to qualify for Boston one day–not only to run, but to earn the right to do so by committing to taking myself seriously as a runner. My brother’s scary experience at last year’s race only served to stoke the fire–this community is so strong and supportive even during the hardest times.

I’m close. I’m doing the work. I’m going to have an amazing time this weekend, and I’m going to be a little bit jealous. Because that jealousy will just fuel my drive to earn my spot on that starting line in Hopkinton. So to those running this year–you are amazing. I can’t wait to celebrate with you and support you and keep you nice and hydrated. And I’ll be focusing on Sugarloaf and fighting with every muscle fiber to for the opportunity to toe the line with you.

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Linking up with Amanda for Thinking out Loud Thursday!

Sugarloaf marathon training: week 10

Well, the Boston marathon is 1 week away and things are buzzing! I absolutely love living in such a mecca for runners and the atmosphere around the marathon is super special. This year, my goal is to let it feed and inspire my running, instead of letting myself fall prey to the jealousy monster. If all goes well, next year I’ll get to be a true part of the madness!

This week was another mileage test for me–I ran 52.9 miles total and truly didn’t feel any sluggishness at all! My major lesson learned in terms of adding mileage is to skew the additional miles towards easy/recovery runs. I’m really thriving with some harder workouts on Tuesdays/Thursdays, long runs on Saturdays, and keeping the rest nice and easy pace-wise.

I did hit the track this week–and of course, it was in the high 40s and pouring rain for our workout. Thank goodness for my girls and their gosh darn positivity for holding me accountable! It’s never ideal, but there is something about running in the rain that makes you feel like a real badass. Plus, you never know what kind of weather race day will bring–gotta be prepared for anything!

Another major highlight this week was really nailing my fueling during my first 20 miler of this training cycle! I got 3 gels down with no GI distress and felt perfectly hydrated throughout (thanks in no small part to adding Enduropacks to my water). I also ran the last 10 miles of this one solo, which was a good mental exercise for me since I’ve been doing most long runs with friends. On Sunday Alexa and I went to a really lovely workshop called “Be Race Ready” with one of my favorite yoga teachers/runners. We did some gentle yoga and meditation using mantras and other calming techniques. It really helped me to focus on trusting my training–I’m working so hard and it’s SO important to keep my mind in the game along with my legs!

So what’s on tap for my marathon weekend? First off, lots of runs in shorts this week–it’s going to be lovely out! I’m also planning to head to the expo with Alexa on Friday, Saturday I’m running a fun BAA 5k with my friend Megan who is visiting for the weekend, and then I’ll be volunteering at the mile 21 water stop yelling myself silly on marathon Monday. Can’t wait–best of luck to everyone who is running! You are all AMAZING!!! Also, happy Passover if you celebrate–go carb load with some matzoh balls 🙂

 

Week 10: 52.9 miles total

  • Monday: 7 easy + strides
  • Tuesday: Rainy track day! 7 miles total, speedwork at 6:56 (details here)
  • Wednesday: 5.1 recovery miles, banded strength circuit
  • Thursday: 1 up, 6 at MGP, 1 down–8 miles at 8:00 min pace
  • Friday: 5 easy with J
  • Saturday: 20 miles!
  • Sunday: “Be Race Ready” yoga/mental prep workshop with Cara

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap (hosted by Hoho Runs and Miss Sippipiddlin) and with Eat Pray Run DC for her training recap linkup. Also, joining the Jess’s (Jess Runs ATL and The Right Fits) for their weekly recap linkup!

Sugarloaf training: week 9 (my first 50 mile week!)

Guess what you guys? It FINALLY feels like spring here in Boston!! Also, (brag alert) guess who has two thumbs and ran her first 50 mile week ever… this gal! I was super duper jazzed to finally get past this mileage hurdle feeling strong. Rewinding to Monday, this week started out with a nice rainy easy run, during which I ran into my mom and her gal pals powerwalking around Jamaica Pond. #squadgoals.

Tuesday I had the first of two hard workouts–during which I finally managed (sort of) to program my Garmin for interval training. I was running 4 2k (1.25 mile) intervals at a 10k pace. The wind was kind of crazy during the back half of this one and I couldn’t figure out how to see my pace during the workout, but I managed to run pretty even splits at goal pace just by feel! It’s cool to trust my body to know what I want it to do… sometimes. Wednesday I did another easy run over to my book club meeting–nothing like a run that ends with guac and red wine! Thursday was the second hard workout–5 minutes easy running alternating with 2 minutes hard for 7 miles. I actually had trouble with this one. For some reason I kept feeling jolted in and out of the intervals and didn’t find my rhythm–but I got through it and the back-and-forth made 7 miles fly by! Friday was a few early miles before…

We got hit by another noreaster. With snow. In April. UGH! I took this one in stride because it didn’t actually accumulate, but it was pretty nasty while it was happening. J and I had a really nice Saturday of yoga, errands, and celebrating my Dad’s birthday before heading to an all gluten free dinner party!! This was a pretty big deal for me–usually dinner parties are minefields of breadcrumb hell, so it was super cool to be able to eat everything. Because carbloading? Yup! One of every dessert pls.

Denise is boxing, I am laughing.

Sunday morning things were looking up! The roads were almost completely clear, and my friend Denise (who lives on my block and is also running Sugarloaf) and I hit the roads for an 18 miler. We ran an out and back on the marathon course, with the first 12 miles easy and the last 6 at MGP. This run felt really, really strong, which I totally needed after last week’s crampy mess. Denise is a great, steady pacer and she’s super fast, so it’s fun to challenge myself to keep up 🙂 After the run we scooted out to support Alexa at her marathon fundraiser–which was a really intense boxing class. The boxing was actually super fun but it was laughable how little I was able to do after 18 miles.

Also, a TV crew came to film some of my coworkers pretending to be cheering during the marathon. I barely make it on camera, but my ponytail did. The little teaser video came out really well (ponytail is famous around 7-8 seconds in).

Onwards and upwards–7 more weeks til race day!

Week 9: 50.2 miles total

  • Monday: Easy 7 + strides
  • Tuesday: 1 up, 4 x 2k at 10k pace (7:35, 7:16, 7:06, 7:10), 1 down for 8 total
  • Wednesday: 5.6 “watchless” easy miles
  • Thursday: 7.3 mile fartlek (5 min easy/2 min hard)
  • Friday: 4 easy
  • Saturday: 90 minute yoga class
  • Sunday: 18 miles! First 12 easy, last 6 at MGP (7:56, 7:58, 7:50, 7:50, 7:50, 7:29)

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap (hosted by Hoho Runs and Miss Sippipiddlin) and with Eat Pray Run DC for her training recap linkup. Also, joining the Jess’s (Jess Runs ATL and The Right Fits) for their weekly recap linkup!

Friday five: my favorite races

Hello hello and happy Friday! As we gear up for another snowstorm (yup, happy freaking April to us), I wanted to think back to the warmer days and talk about my favorite racing memories. One of my favorite bloggers/podcasters, Ali on the Run, did an episode this week on her favorite races and it got me thinking about some of my own favorite races and racing memories.

I came up with this list without considering races of different distances, but oddly enough, it ended up including a 5 miler, a 10k, a half, a full, and a relay. I truly loved all of these races for very different reasons, so I’m going to list them from shortest to longest instead of ranking them, which I can’t bring myself to do 😉

Harpoon 5 Miler: This uber-popular race takes place every May, starting and ending at the Harpoon brewery. I had avoided it for years because I can’t drink beer and that seemed like the main reason most people ran (#celiacproblems). But I decided to give it a whirl last year and it was SO much fun!! The course is flat and wicked fast, you can run as part of a 6 pack team (you run individually, but your results count for team awards). I loved this race mostly because it was the first time I felt like I could really run fast, not just long. Also, I got to drink cider afterwards with J and a crew of our pals! Harpoon is the weekend of my marathon this year, so I won’t be running, but I can’t wait to be back.

Tufts Women’s 10k: I think this was one of the first race recaps I ever wrote! It’s also oddly the last 10k I did (back in 2014) so I need to fix that, stat. This is a fantastic, fast, all-women’s race that has been happening for the last 40 years (!) in Boston. I didn’t have a watch at the time, so I ran totally by feel and just enjoyed myself and ran for fun. Everyone was super encouraging and the 10k distance was the perfect challenge at the time. I really hope to get back out for this one soon!

Cambridge Half Marathon: I think this was the first time I’ve ever run an inaugural race, and it was so awesome! I was coming off of the frustration of just missing my goal time in Chicago and went into this local race with no goals other than to run hard and see what I can do. I was SHOCKED to run a 1:36! The course was perfectly varied and not too crowded, and it was so fun to run through a couple of my old neighborhoods. I am crossing my fingers and toes that this race happens again this year!!

NYC Marathon: I’m 1000000% biased on this one because NYC was my first full marathon, but oh my goodness is this one magical race experience! The crowds are wildly supportive and it’s so incredibly cool to run through every borough of NYC. I experienced pretty much every emotion in the book during this race and honestly don’t know if I would run it again (it’s expensive and kind of a logistical nightmare) but I think every runner should have this one on their bucket list. Once in a lifetime for sure.

Ragnar Cape Cod: First of all, a HUGE thank you to my amazing friend Megan for making this happen. She got a group of our coworkers and friends together for this insane, sweaty, exhausting 200 mile relay down the entire length of the Cape. I don’t know that I ever would have thought to do a Ragnar on my own but it was such a fun experience, mostly due to getting to run with an amazing group of ladies. You can read more in my recap, but suffice it to say that if you ever have a chance to do a Ragnar, say YES.

What are your favorite race memories? Got any tips on races I need to add to my bucket list?

Linking up with  Lacey, Meranda, and Rachel for the Friday Five 2.0.