Boston marathon training: week 6

Man oh man, it’s hard to believe I’m already on week 6! This was a pretty textbook good training week–I completed every workout as planned and felt strong and solid as I inch up towards 50 miles. Monday morning I was up bright and early for hill repeats, which were at 5k effort up and jogging down. I really like these workouts because they force you to measure pace by effort vs. by the numbers–although I feel like my favorite hill is a little too “easy” for these workouts? Hard to tell! Either way, I’m huffing and puffing by the top 🙂

Monday night we had our official kickoff for my charity team for Boston! ICYMI, I’m running Boston for the Bowdoin Street Health Center Healthy Champions program, which brings health and wellness programming to kids in the Bowdoin/Geneva neighborhood of Dorchester. (I would LOVE for you to learn more about this amazing program and consider supporting me here!) It was really fun to meet the other runners and to hear about the incredible work our fundraising will support. Plus, I snagged my official Boston jacket–can’t wait to rock this guy after the race!

Tuesday the weather had finally cleared up so I opted for an outdoor run–it was definitely slushy and there were lots of puddles, but it felt amazing to be comfortable outside. Wednesday I stuck to the the mill and did 3 easy miles–during which I checked the clock about every 30 seconds. UGH. I did get a nice little strength circuit in with some solid corework, so that was a plus. In the evening I got a much-needed massage–I carry a lot of tension in my upper body when I run, and it was painful but great to get it worked out. Thursday was a fun tempo (outdoors again, yay!) with MGP miles. I kept the pace in check on these and was really comfortable between a 7:40 and 7:45 pace–right on track for race day. Those mid-week 9 milers are tough but necessary! Friday was a rest day (and a cocktails with friends day–hurrah).

Saturday the weather was a little crazy–starting in the 60s and ending in the 30s during a 2 hour run! It was awesome to run with my pal Denise–she’s moving to Cali and I want to get in as many long runs as possible. Luckily she’ll be back for Boston–we ran Sugarloaf together and she’s the best marathon buddy. This morning I was moving slow after we went out to a fun concert, but J and I got out for some chilly but nice recovery miles together.

Onwards to another cold week–hopefully no more snow any time super soon!

Week 5: 45.9

  • Monday: Hill workout! 10 x 60 second hill repeats for 6.5 miles total
  • Tuesday: 7 easy miles
  • Wednesday: 3 recovery dreadmill miles, mini band strength circuit
  • Thursday: Tempo! 2 up, 6 MGP, 1 down for 9 total
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: 15 hilly easy-paced miles
  • Sunday: 5 easy

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

Boston marathon training: week 5

Greetings from the tundra! I am so, so glad the cold snap is ending this week–this was a tough one with temps in the single digits and a 14 inch dump of snow on Thursday. We definitely have stretches like this most winters in MA, but this one was early and it was HARSH. I was glad that I was able to stick to the plan this week and really pleased to see my first 40+ mile week since October.

Basically, this was a week of taking advantage of whatever indoor or daytime miles I could snag. On New Year’s Day J and I managed to get a run in together–I love when we can coordinate our easy runs and pass the time chatting. Tuesday I gratefully hit up my favorite morning track workout, and Wednesday I squeezed in a run commute on a busy day. Sidenote–I have a 2.5 mile run to and from work and would love to use that to my advantage more often. Does anyone have tips on run commuting? Tips on backpacks that don’t bug the heck out of you?

Thursday was the big blizzard (or the “bomb cyclone”) so I was all set to head to the gym in the morning until I discovered that it hadn’t started snowing yet! So I suited up and got my run done just as the flakes were really starting to fly. It was a little bit rough with the wind, but kind of magical to be out there in part of the storm.  Our local yoga studio was open all day, so J and I took a trudge through the snow for a nice warm class. Luckily I had Friday off anyway, but the frigid temps Saturday morning sent me indoors for my long run. I ended up taking two back-to-back classes at Heartbreak Hill Running Company’s Run Studio–it’s definitely still treadmill running, but way more entertaining than toughing it out alone. Boston folks, I highly recommend checking these guys out if you need an indoor option for your runs! I even ran into a couple of Oiselle teammates, which is always a nice surprise.

Sunday morning was freezing again, but I waited it out and managed to get my run done outdoors before J and I took advantage of the snow for a little bit of XC skiing. I even strapped on my skate skis from high school and took them for a spin–what a humbling experience! Skate skiing is super, duper hard but really fun–highly recommended for a good challenge 🙂

I can’t wait to hit the roads this week as the temps soar to the 30s and 40s–bring on the heat wave!!

Week 5: 42.4 miles

  • Monday: 6 easy miles
  • Tuesday: 1200, 800, 400 x 3 (track workout) for 8 total
  • Wednesday: 2.5 recovery miles (run commute)
  • Thursday: 6.8 easy pre-blizzard miles, 90 minute vinyasa yoga
    Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: 14 treadmill miles
  • Sunday: 4.6 easy and 5 miles of XC skiing

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

Boston Marathon training begins: week 1 recap!

Well, well, well–here we are, back again for a new series of weekly training recaps as I gear up for Boston 2018! I wrote these recaps during my training for Chicago and Sugarloaf, and it was a fun way to connect with other runners and to keep a journal of my training. This time, I’m starting super early since I’m being very particular about building a strong base for my training.

My goals for this first week were to run at least 30 miles across 5 days, which I did easily. I am following a generic plan from Coach Dan until my custom plan from Coach Laura starts in January (more thoughts on coaching are here–please feel free to be in touch if you have any questions at all!!) This week included two abbreviated speed sessions, one of which I did with the Heartbreak Hill Running Company crew in the South End. It was a super short workout since a lot of folks were tapering for a 5k this weekend, but it was nice to get moving around a track again. I’m generally not an evening workout person, but I like having this option on Thursdays to get through the darker days.

This weekend was a busy one! I got in a nice, relaxed 10 miler in the snowbefore heading to my local yoga studio for my initial work-study training. I’m hoping to take on a weekly shift to get more connected with the community and to save myself some $$ on my yoga habit. Then I hit up two holiday parties, spending most of the evening with the Oiselle gals! It was a lot of fun, as always–and now I’m seriously considering running CIM next December. Anyone else looking at it? It’s only $99 if you register now… crazy. Also crazy–the elite field for Boston this year is freaking STACKED. Hype hype hype!

I wrapped things up on Sunday with a much needed rest day (after one too many glasses of vino–oops) and a friend’s baby shower. I can’t wait to meet her little guy! Happy week one to anyone else running Boston–I look forward to keeping these updates going as training progresses!

Week 1: 31 miles

  • Monday: 5 easy + strides
  • Tuesday: 12 x 1 minute at 10k pace, 5.3 miles total
  • Wednesday: 90 minute vinyasa yoga
  • Thursday: Short speed workout–4×200, 4×150
  • Friday: 6.4 miles easy
  • Saturday: 10.2 mile long run
  • Sunday: Rest dayyyy

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).

My next BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal) + Boston training thoughts

Looking back, my running journey has followed a fairly linear trajectory. I’ve constantly been shooting for goal races that are longer or goal paces that are faster than what I’ve done before. After 7 half marathons I ran my first full marathon. I pretty quickly decided that I had more in me and that I wanted to quality for Boston, which I did this past May. This fall I focused on shorter races, setting PRs in the 5k, 10k, and hopefully the half marathon in just a few short weeks!

With Boston training kicking off around Christmas, I’ve been itching to set myself another big goal. Boston is a bit of a tricky animal to plan around–the course is really challenging and the weather is unreliable. Basically, as much as I would love it, it’s not the best course to re-qualify for the 2019 race. I’m also going to be away for three weeks of training when we are on our honeymoon in New Zealand (!!!). So, basically, my thoughts for Boston are as follows:

  • Train for a PR (3:25), while letting myself relax and not worry about missed runs while we’re on our honeymoon.
  • If it’s a perfect day weather-wise, I’ll shoot for a PR and BQ time.
  • If my training isn’t what I had hoped and/or the weather stinks, I’ll toss my watch and run the thing as a victory lap–complete with lots of high 5s, hugs, tears, and smiles.

Given that I probably won’t be able to ace my training and/or get a perfect, weather day, I wanted to have something else on the horizon that I could aim for as my next BHAG. Cue my impulsive registration for… my first 50k!! Thanks to a well-timed email discount, I jumped the gun and registered for the Pinelands 50k in Maine. This race appealed to me for several reasons:Pineland Trail Running Festival 2018

  • It’s 6 weeks after Boston, meaning I’ll have plenty of time to recover but (hopefully) not enough to lose my fitness.
  • It’s on the way to my family’s cabin, so I have an easy place to chill before/recover after.
  • The course isn’t technical–according to the website, “trails are level, wide (12′), and non-technical with no roots or rocks, but very hilly. Although there are no major climbs the rolling terrain is unrelenting.” Good thing I’ll be training on the Newton hills all winter!!
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I’m working on recruiting a few friends to come and run it with me, which will be super duper fun and helpful (woo Danielle for already registering!!) I do have some outstanding questions, mainly along the lines of:

  • Do I want to hire a coach again?
  • How will I make the transition between Boston and this race?
  • What gear do I need/want?
  • Can I actually run more than 26.2 miles?
  • How the heck long will this race take me?
  • How do I fuel for 30 miles??

Etc, etc, etc… 😉 Mostly I’m just really excited to see what it’s like to run a race where it’s really more about completing the distance than it is about pushing the pace super hard. Ultra people/trail runners–give me all the tips!! Total newbie here and I can use any advice I can get!!

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 5

Hey y’all! Coming in a little bit later than I had planned with this week’s recap. I’m on break from school this week (meaning I’m *just* working 8:30-5, so relaxing) and honestly am having a little bit of trouble making myself do anything in particular. I very much thrive off of being busy, which is why I love training for races, but sometimes I can swing over in the other direction when I need a break. Luckily this was actually a great week of training, despite my laziness!

I kicked things off with my usual Charles River loop and caught an incredible sunset. I love that as the days get longer I get these amazing city views and sunsets on my after-work runs. And while I’m generally a morning runner, I love having the flexibility to run after work if it works better for my schedule that day.

Tuesday I tackled a fun but challenging tempo workout. Coach Laura has been putting a number of half marathon paced tempos into my plan as I gear up for the New Bedford half in a couple of weeks, and I felt really strong during this one, hitting below my goal pace for all of my tempo miles. I am not necessarily aiming to PR at New Bedford (honestly, if my PR from the Cambridge half is my forever PR I’d be pretty damn happy), but I would like to break 1:40, which would mean an average of about 7:37/mile. We’ll see how things go!

Wednesday I nailed my goal from last week of committing to strength training with a tough 20 minute workout using resistance bands to add some intensity. These little suckers don’t look like much but the really up the ante in terms of basic strength moves like clamshells and leg raises! I also got a massage on Wednesday and definitely need to keep up with the at-home rolling to keep my back nice and loose.

Thursday and Friday were fairly uneventful, although it was really nice to run with J on Friday after work! He’s running the 15k at Sugarloaf (and he’s gonna CRUSH it)–it’s so cool to see him learning to like running and I’m hoping we can keep running together at least once a week during training.

One week apart. WTF?

In a crazy change of events from last weekend’s 70 degree run, this weekend was FRIGID, with temps in the teens. I procrastinated and pushed my long run off on Saturday but Sunday wasn’t much better–the wind was howling and the real feel was 1 degree when I started! I got through it, though, and nailed all my paces (see details below). I need to work on starting out slower during these kinds of workouts, because I was cooked by the end of 14 miles.

This week I’m STOKED for a 17 mile long run (yes, you read that right) because I’m heading out with friends to do our run as a point-to-point on the Boston course thanks to this cool free event hosted by Boston Road Runners! Boston runners, check it out 🙂

Week 5: 37 total miles

  • Monday: 5.4 easy miles
  • Tempo Tuesday: 1 up, 2 miles @half MGP (7:30, 7:19), 3 minutes easy, 2 miles at half MGP (7:23, 7:24), cooldown
  • Wednesday: 20 minute banded strength circuit (similar here), 60 minute massage!
  • Thursday: 5.1 easy hilly miles
  • Friday: 60 minute yoga class, 5.6 easy miles with J
  • Saturday:Rest
  • Sunday: 14 hard miles! Workout was 6 up, 4 miles of 1 minute at half MGP/1 minute recoveries, 2 miles easy, and 2 miles fast finish.

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!

Volunteering at the Boston Marathon–and my brother’s viral story

IMG_8689Fun fact: I grew up so close to the Boston Marathon route that I could watch the race from my bedroom window. Other than the years I was away for college, I’ve spectated at pretty much every race. Even before running became a part of my life, I knew there was something really special about Marathon Monday. So when I had the opportunity to participate in this year’s race as a hydration station volunteer with my marathon training buddies (hayy Boston Fit!) I jumped on it. A cool free jacket and a chance to be part of the big day? Yes please!2016 marathon team shot

Our day started bright and early with a green line trek out to Mile 21 of the race, where our station was located. This is a really cool part of the course, since runners have just finished climbing the famous Heartbreak Hill. After a quick pep talk, we separated out into Gatorade and water tables–my buddy Bry and I decided to take one for the team and man one of the Gatorade tables. Nothin’ like a dousing in sticky Gatorade to get you up and moving!

After setting up and filling several hundred cups, we took a quick break to chow down on our packed lunches and then lined up in front of the tables. We knew once the runners started coming they wouldn’t stop, so we had to be ready to roll! Each long folding table had two volunteers handing out cups to runners and one person in back restocking the table. I was super impressed at the organization of the whole operation–everyone was fantastic and our volunteer coordinators were true pros.IMG_8698

The rest of the afternoon was a busy, crazy blur–it was really hot and windy out, so our jobs were even more important than usual. We had a blast alternately cheering and screaming “GATORADE!” so many times the word lost meaning. Word to the wise for my fellow runners–when you’re going for a cup of water, try to point and/or lock eyes with the hydration station volunteer so that they can put the cup right into your hand. You’ll be much more likely to actually get your hand around the cup on the first try!

IMG_8686Overall, volunteering was incredible. You get to be up close and personal with the race participants (I saw pretty much every runner friend I was looking for–definitely a first) and you’re providing a critical service. Everyone was so lovely and appreciative of our help!!

As I alluded to in the title, my day took a turn and I had to leave my volunteer post a bit early. My brother, who is an incredible athlete and had been gunning for a sub-3 hour race, collapsed just before the finish line and was carried over by a couple of fellow runners. He was brought to the ICU and is being closely monitored there–but things are looking good and hopefully he’ll be out soon.

IMG_8696The nutty part is that the photo of him being carried across the finish line went viral via a tweet from Meb (!!!) and then all over pretty much every news outlet and more including on the front page of the Boston Globe. Here’s more of what went down from his perspective. I think that the moral of the story is that we all are fallible, and it’s really important to listen to your body. We’re so appreciative of the amazing runners who helped Ari finish the race, and are especially grateful for the care he’s receiving at Tufts Medical Center. Thanks to those who have reached out for your support!IMG_8699

All in all, it was a hectic day but I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to be a BAA volunteer and of course that my brother is gonna be ok. Like Ari said, “I’m glad that there will be 30,000 people [running] next year and whether I’m one of them or not, so be it. I hope I am. If I’m not, I’ll be out cheering on the sidelines.”