November 5, 2008

Race Report - Nike Women’s Marathon - 10/19/08

I’m going to try and be as specific as I can with this report, because there were a couple of race reports from last year that really helped me prepare, so hopefully this will help future NWM runners! Grab yourself a beverage, sit back and get comfortable - this is longest race report ever!


I first learned about the Nike Marathon back in February from an article at Runner’s World – Marathons You Should Do In 2008. I did some online research - finding some race reports and reading reviews at Marathon Guide. It sounded fantastic, so I tried to get into the half through the lottery, but wasn’t chosen. Not one to be defeated, I knew I could participate through Team in Training, so I contacted them and asked to be put on their mailing list. I went to an informational session in April, and signed up – for the FULL MARATHON. No, I don’t know why I checked that box – I guess I figured if I was going to try to raise $3895 it would be better advertising to tell people I was going for 26.2. I am so happy to say I raised $7682 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Thanks to my wonderful friends and family for all of their support!

Race Morning

I woke up around 2:50 am and didn’t really go back to sleep. We had the alarm set for 4:00 am, so when it went off I got up and had a bagel. My coffee arrived around 4:20 – very important! We left the hotel around 5:15 and headed to the Palace to meet Julie & Kellie. It was pretty chilly out but I wasn’t cold at all even though I just had on my singlet. Note: The Team in Training singlet has to be the most horrible piece of clothing ever produced. It’s way too short and even though I had an XL tummy roll #1 was showing too much. Not happy. Horrible photos.

After meeting them at their hotel we walked over to the corner of Post Street where the early start had just begun, so we saw some walkers/runners pass us by. It didn’t really seem like there were very many – maybe a few hundred. We headed over to Geary Street where we were going to line up.

Now, at the Expo there were pace bracelets that you picked up in order to seed yourself. The options were:

6:30 – 8:59
9:00 – 9:59
10:00 – 11:59
12;00 – 14:59
15:00 – 16:00+

I had read that last year there were a lot of walkers at the beginning of the race, so even though I would do some walking eventually, it wouldn’t be right at the beginning. I picked up the 10:00 – 11:59 pace bracelet. I would recommend for future NWM RUNNERS – even if you aren’t that fast, take the pace bracelet for 6:30 – 8:59. I could not believe the number of walkers we had to get around. It was pretty annoying, and tiresome.

The first mile went by really quickly as we headed to The Embarcadero. At that point Julie & Kellie said they needed to go to the bathroom. The lines before the race were ridiculous – Kellie waited in line for something like 20 minutes and didn’t get to go. Just a note about the porta potties – the lines were crazy long during the first half of the race. I needed to go about 8 or 9 miles in, but knowing I was pushing the time limit to reach mile 18 ¾ I didn’t want to take the time to wait in a long line. After the split from the half-marathoners there were a ton of porta potties in Golden Gate park and no lines, so that’s where I stopped.

I decided to keep on going without Julie & Kellie because I knew they would eventually catch up with me. It took longer than I thought – I think it was almost to mile 7 before they found me. We took a photo with the GG Bridge in the background, had some water and I ate a protein bar. I had been running about 1.5 hours at this point. After walking for a bit we started running again, and that’s when they were gone. I just couldn't keep up with them.
A lot of this is a blur now. The bad hills were between miles 6 – 9. I remember an awesome downhill stretch after mile 10. Golden Gate Park wasn’t that bad, but miles 11-15 are a fairly steady climb. Something to not forget! This was the part that killed my legs.

There was the split for the half marathoners, and I saw the Mile 14 marker, but still had to go into the park and get to the turnaround point. I saw Kellie and Julie as they were on their way back from there. I know I was pretty much exhausted at this point. My legs were killing me, but I kept going. I did a lot of walking. My friend Stacey had said she would try to meet me at mile 15, so I kept moving and finally got there. I didn’t see her. There was an aid station, so I took a few minutes to sit down at the First Aid area because I needed to pull off some tape that had shifted on my little toe. I got my sock and shoe back on and started moving again.

Mile 16 was where the half marathoners joined the full course again, and then broke off to the finish. That’s when I heard Stacey yell “ANNNNNDDDDRRREEEAA”. I was so happy to see her – I gave her a hug, and really thought that’s all that there would be. I’m not sure how she got around the barrier – but she started walking with me, and then I saw Jerel on the other side of the road. He had on his sweatshirt and also my hoodie. It was freezing – the wind was whipping off the Pacific Ocean.

He walked with us for a few minutes, but since he was holding stuff for Julie & Kellie I was worried they would be finished and looking for him so he headed back to the finish. Stacey, on the other hand, stayed with me for until the end. I could not believe it. If it wasn't for her, I would not have finished. I would have headed for the finish at 18 3/4. I owe her BIG TIME!

So, this was where the hard part really started. The Great Highway is a piece of crap. I don’t know how to describe the road. The asphalt is mixed with some sort of rock/gravel crap, and let me tell you, my tired and aching feet could feel every pebble.

I don’t think I ran very much at all from mile 16 – 18 ¾. I used the bathroom again around mile 17. There were some people behind me, but no one was really passing me. As we approached mile 18 ¾ (30 km) one of the volunteers told us about the choice we could make – turn around and head to the finish without crossing the 30 km mat. I heard her say we had until 2:30 pm to cross the finish line and receive our Tiffany necklace. This was about 12:15 pm, so I had about 7.5 miles to go. I knew I wasn’t going to make without running some more. I didn't even hesitate as I crossed the 30 km mat.

We headed around Lake Merced – which I didn’t think was all that bad, but it’s probably because I wasn’t trying to get around anyone. They had the right lane of the road closed off for runners, and I can see how it would get pretty tight if there were a lot of people bunched in together. Again, most of this is a blur. The aid station at mile 21 was already closed, and the chocolate mile was packed up but they still gave Stacey some.

It was around Mile 22 that a TNT volunteer joined us. She asked if I had passed any other TNT runners recently. Not that I had any idea, so I said no. Well, she stayed and walked with us. Now, she was very nice, but I so wasn’t feeling perky and chatty. She started saying something about me being the last TNT runner and how loud the cheering would be for me. Well, thanks but no thanks. We started running again, so we got away from her. She said she wasn’t a runner – she was a walking coach. I did quite a bit of running after we got back on the Great Highway and passed several TNTers.

By the time we got to mile 24 they were starting to take down the mile markers. They waited until I passed at Mile 24, but Miles 25 and 26 were already gone when I got there. Luckily they were marked in chalk on the ground so I was able to know where I was!

Around this point I started passing a large group of TNT coaches, and a TNT sweeper wearing angel wings. Now, I’m probably one of the most open huggy kissy people you’re ever going to meet. This woman proceeded to put her arm around my shoulders and hug me close to her. Holy fucking crap lady – get your damn hands off of me. I’m covered in salty sweat and I know I stink, my legs are aching, my lower back hurts and by God my trapezius muscles are aching too. Stacey said the woman had probably never run a full marathon before, because she would have known that I really wouldn’t want to be touched at that point of the race!

I started running again at Mile 25.5 and kept running to the finish line. At Mile 26 Stacey headed back behind the barriers, and a couple of TNT coaches came over from the finish line. They ran toward the finish with me, and I heard the announcer say something about “here comes Andrea, there’s 2.5 minutes left before we close down, will she be the last finisher?” One of the TNT guys sort of pushed me toward the finish – it actually helped me go a little faster. I ran through a bunch of TNT people and crossed that damn finish line at 2:27:55.

I barely remember one of the tuxedo guys handing me the Tiffany box, I stopped and one of the volunteers cut the timing chip off my shoe. Jerel took this photo of me. Stacey was there, and then suddenly Julie & Kellie were there too. I was so confused and tired, and really was feeling a little nauseous. I had actually started not feeling very good around mile 24. I knew I wanted to get my finisher’s t shirt, so I headed over to the tent, where everything was all packed up. Seriously – tumbleweeds were about all that was left! The girls were telling me there were only size smalls left, but if I got one I could go to Niketown the next day and trade it in for a bigger size. So, we were standing there and one of the volunteers came from out of nowhere and gave me an XL. I couldn’t believe it. Of course – it’s still too small for me. I mean, it fits, but its way too tight to wear in public. Tummy roll #1 you know.

We walked over to the TNT tent where I had to check in, and I got my 26.2 pin. I grabbed a PB&J sandwich and a peanut butter cookie. Jerel found me a chair so I could sit and eat, and he found me a bottle of water. I sat there for a little while – Stacey had to go, I remember hugging her, and Kellie and Julie had to take the shuttle bus back to Union Square. I felt like I had so much to say – I wanted to give details about what I had been doing, feeling, over the last 7 hours. Our TNT coordinator Caroline came over to see me, and she said she took a good photo of me headed toward the finish line. I remember telling her some of what had happened, but exhaustion was taking over and I needed to get back to the hotel.

Jerel and I had to walk what seemed like forever to get to the TNT bus – I was barely moving, and was starting to get cold. We got on the bus about 3:15 pm and didn’t get back to the hotel until 4:00. That sucked. There were a couple of other hotel stops before they got to ours. The hardest part was trying to get down the stairs of the bus!

I was happy to get my shoes and clothes off – I ended up with a really odd blister on my left big toe. I didn’t even feel it forming. I took an ice bath, then a nice hot shower. We ordered room service for dinner, which was some of the best food ever! I had lobster bisque, cheeseburger and fries and a big piece of chocolate cake for dessert.

I had trouble getting comfortable, but I think we were both asleep by 9:00 pm. When I fell asleep I remember thinking I would never do this again – but when I woke up on Monday morning, and could still walk once I started moving – I knew I would do another marathon.

It took me about 3 days before my legs didn’t hurt anymore – which I don’t think is too bad at all.

It’s now over 2 weeks later, and I am still basking in the glory of finishing the marathon. I wear my finisher’s necklace and get compliments on it all the time.(after getting a longer chain from DeScenzas – 16” is just too short – felt like I was being choked).

Yes, I am proud that I finished, but depending on who I’m talking to, feel embarrassed when I tell them it took me 7:11:20 (official time). Yes, I wish I had finished in 6.5 hours, but now I have a goal. I need to lose some more weight (about 50 lbs), which can only help me be a better runner.

What’s next? I have quite a few small races scheduled, including the Route 66 and Disney’s Princess Half Marathons. As for the next full – May 3, 2009!!

October 21, 2008

Nike Marathon...

I know you're DYING with anticipation, and I am truly sorry it's taken me SO long to post. Last night I was so sore and tired I couldn't sit at the hotel desk to use the computer (no wireless), and today I've been busy getting a rental car, visiting one of my good friends in Orinda and driving up to Sonoma.

I also don't have a real race report written yet, but I want you to know that YES...I FINISHED THE NIKE MARATHON!!!

Oh, but wait...don't get too excited. It freaking took me 7:11:20 to cross that damn finish line. The only reason I finished? I hope you're sitting down, because you're going to be totally blown away by this.

RBR did the last 10 miles with me. That's right. Someone who I "met" on the internet, who I've only met in person ONCE, took hours out of her Sunday, drove up to San Francisco, waited in the freezing cold wind near the Pacific Ocean for me to haul my fat ass to mile 16 and proceeded to keep me company and give me incentive to keep going those last 10.2 miles.

I cannot put into words the appreciation I have for her and her support. Thank you Stacey!!

I will work on a real report, because I know you want the dirty details of my pain and suffering. I will tell you that even though there were moments that completely sucked I am ready to run again, and will entertain the idea of doing another marathon. Don't even mention this to my husband.

October 18, 2008

Day Before My 1st Marathon

This is going to be quick, because I need to get everything together for tomorrow morning. I have been SO bad at not keeping this blog up to date. If you're really interested in what's been going on the last 2 months, please visit me at my other blog.

If you're short on time too - here's a brief catch up. August - good. September - horrible, thank you Lehman Bros. I work in finance - in securities lending. The last month has been a nightmare. Even worse, DH's mother passed away on 9/19, and his grandmother passed away a couple of weeks ago.

Running has been okay - have had bad ITBS issues, so started seeing someone for Graston's and ART. Doing MUCH better. I ran in the Maine Coast Half - much hillier than I expected, the BWS 5K - great race, met Jay from last season's Biggest Loser, and the Tufts 10K. I have a full week of vacation after tomorrow, and my computer, so hopefully I will be able to post some race reports.

Oh, yes...tomorrow I'm running in my first marathon. I am feeling PRETTY DAMN NERVOUS!

August 18, 2008

Respect The Distance

Last Saturday’s long run was “just” a 12 miler – at least thats the way I kept looking at it. I mean, what’s 12 miles when you’ve run 14.5 and then walked a couple more miles home, right? Wrong – especially when you add the hills of Newton. Oh my goodness – the last time I was that sore was after the Boston Run to Remember. My feet were dragging toward the end, and my glutes and hammmies, well, they were dead. I really worked hard though, and made sure to run up all 3 of the hills on the way out to our turnaround point. However, on the return there was plenty of walking.

Went home, took an ice bath and rested – I was actually able to take a nap for once. I slept for about 1.5 hrs and didn’t really ache too much when I got up. Yesterday I did 6 miles recovery, then stopped at the gym and stretched and foam rolled. Today is a day off, but I’m going to the gym to do the same thing. It will help to keep me loose!

Yesterday afternoon we took advantage of the Massachusetts tax free weekend and ordered our iPhones. We will be the proud owners in 7-14 days. Sweet! An early birthday present for both of us.

Afterward I had a much deserved manicure and pedicure. My feet were quite happy!

This week’s workouts are a little different than normal because I won’t be seeing Tara tomorrow. She’s out for the day, so I think I’m going to run tomorrow morning (hills), strength train on Wednesday, run on Thursday (speedwork), strength train on Friday and on Saturday we have a 15 mile long run. Sunday is 5 miles recovery.

My run buddy Julie is on vacation this week, so she won’t be there to run early with me on Saturday. I might just do the whole thing myself without stopping in the middle to run with the group. I could get started at 5:30 am and be finished by 9:15 or so, although it looks like they are changing the course around. I’m going to have to get more details before I make that decision. Depends on how hot it’s going to be too. Looks like we’re finally going to get a nice, sunny week. It’s about time!

August 14, 2008

Another One Bites The Dust

Another toenail, that is!! How ironic that today's Take It and Run Thursday over at the Runner's Lounge is care and feeding of your feet. It's like they knew.

Well, if there has been anything that's been affected by new love of running, it's my poor feet. I lost 2 toenails after the Boston Run to Remember half, and then for the longest time I was getting bad blisters on both insteps of my feet. So, I went up another 1/2 size in shoes, and have tried 4 different brands of running socks - Thorlos, Balengas, Wrightsock and finally, Sole. I love the Soles and my blistering has healed up - of course, it could be the hot and humid weather diminished, which help! I also started taping with Leukotape.

Now, I have always prided myself on having some very nice feet. I remember when I was younger my mother had the most God awful looking feet - all white and crusty looking on the heels - thick yellow toenails. Blech! I swore I would never have feet that looked like that! So, I get very frequent pedicures - every 2 weeks in the summertime and every 3 weeks in the winter.

Other than big thick callouses on my big toes things with my feet have been okay. I stopped having my pedicurist do anything with those callouses because not having them was making my toes hurt during my long runs. However, a few weeks ago I ended up getting a couple of blisters on the toe next to my big toe on my right foot - of course, that's one of the toenails I lost in May. Well, the blister was actually underneath the nail, and when I drained it the nail started sinking into the nailbed, which started hurting.

So, last night I pulled out the rubber tub and filled it with water and Epsom salts and stuck my feet in for a nice soaking. Once the nail had softened should stop reading now if things like this gross you out...I pulled the nail off. It did feel better, but since it wasn't really ready to come off there's a section that's still tender. As my friend Jen's mom says "it's angry".

I made sure to spray it with antiseptic spray and popped a bandaid on it, and didn't have any trouble with my run this morning. I'm sure it will be fine in a couple of days, and soon I'll have a brand new toenail. I wonder if Jeanine will give me a discount when I see her on Sunday for my next pedicure? I mean - I only have 9 toenails to paint now!

Oh, so advice.

1. Make sure you have shoes that fit! Your feet WILL swell - so don't be shy about going up 1/2 to a full size from your regular shoes. Your feet will thank you.

2. Don't even think about wearing cotton socks. WICKING is the WORD.

3. Treat yourself to a pedicure. Maybe not as often as I do, but your tootsies are working hard, they need some love. Give it to them.

August 12, 2008

How Are Lunges Like Jello?

Because there’s always room for more…at least that’s Tara’s philosophy! Nothing like 25 stationary lunges on each leg while holding 20 lb dumbbells, followed by 15 single leg presses at 25 lbs, followed by 25 more stationary lunges on each leg while holding 20 lb dumbbells, of course followed by…you guessed it…15 more single leg presses at 25 lbs. May I say…Holy Crap! I’m so glad I have 3 days to recover before I hit the hills of Newton on Saturday.

We also did a new chest press move and my pecs are seriously aching, and she added about 4 more core exercises that I need to start doing. I got my money’s worth today, that’s for sure.

Did I mention that one of my TNT coaches signed up to do the Maine Coast Half on Sept. 21st? I’m so excited that there will be someone else I know there. I’m also trying to get my running buddy to sign up too.

Julie & I are registering for the Falmouth in the Fall Road Race on November 2nd. I had thought about doing the Manchester Half that day, but wasn’t quite sure I would be ready for a half so soon after the full – it’s only 2 weeks after Nike.

Tomorrow morning's run - 6 miles. It's supposed to be a fantastic day - finally - here in Boston!

August 11, 2008

Just Awesome!

Have you ever had one of those days where you feel just incredible? That’s me today!! No idea why, I just feel fantastic. Everything just seems like it’s falling into place. Running is going great, the scale is finally moving downward, & my pants are fitting better. Sure, it’s raining today, but since it’s my rest day, it doesn’t even matter.

Yesterday I woke up around 6:15. I really thought I would sleep longer, but I guess not. So, I got up and had a bite to eat, and then decided to go ahead and get my recovery run out of the way. I headed over to the Esplanade after a bit of stretching, jogged a little, but then walked over the Arthur Fiedler bridge. Once on the Esplanade I stretched a little more, retied my shoes and then started running. I didn’t run very fast – around 14:30 – but get this. I RAN FOR 3 MILES WITHOUT STOPPING!! That’s right – I just kept moving. I am really working on the whole mentality of running right now, to just keep going. It felt SO AWESOME!! I even had to sprint across the street a couple of times because I didn’t want to have to wait for traffic. I’m still not quite over the fact that I can put in 14 or so miles one day and still be able to run the next!

Get this…so far this month I’ve run 45.5 miles!! I’ve almost beaten last month’s mileage of 46.9. That is INSANE!

So, workout plans for this week are:

Tuesday – personal training with Tara
Wednesday – 6 miles
Thursday – 7 miles
Friday – strength training
Saturday – 12 miles long – and hilly because we’re going to be in Newton, running on part of the Boston Marathon course
Sunday – 5 miles recovery

I'm convinced this is going to be a fabulous week!

August 9, 2008

Almost Able to Envision 26.2

So, I'm going to try to keep this blog more updated rather than just posting race reports. Not sure if I'll do a good job at keeping 2 blogs going - more than likely I'll just rehash my posts from EP.

I know you all want to make sure I survived a 14 mile long run. Yep, I sure did!! In fact, I felt so good afterward I decided to walk the 2 miles home.

It was a perfect day to run - nice and cool, low humidity. My run buddy Julie & I rocked the first 7 miles. We met the rest of the group and started the second half around 8:00 am. It always takes me a little bit to get started again because my right knee needs to be reawakened.

We finished the last 7.5 (what's another .5 when you're doing 14?) a little before 10, and I was still feeling pretty good, so decided to walk home. I knew from using Map My Run that home is about 2 miles from the Mass Ave. bridge. I figured a nice walk would be a good way to cool down and keep my leg muscles engaged. So, Garmin total for today is 16.38. Calories burnt - 2052!!

Which is where my title comes in. Yes, today is the first day that I can envision actually doing the whole 26.2 miles. I can envision it - but I can't say I would physically be able to do it. I'm still trying to work out my feet issues. I've been wearing toe protectors on a couple of toes on my right foot and I think they are doing more harm than good. Legwise I think I could go the distance, but my little feet just end up aching. I am sure though in another 9 weeks I. Will. Be. Ready!

I took an ice bath when I got home, had some lunch and then tried to take a little snooze. I think I slept for about 10 minutes and that was it! Those endorphins are just flowing too much for me to sleep. I did rest in bed for a couple of hours though, and am happy to say my legs aren't feeling achy at all.

So, 4 miles recovery tomorrow.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!!

July 23, 2008

Race Report - Stowe 8 Miler - July 20, 2008

I can't remember where I first learned about this race - maybe on - I think it was one of their featured races. Since I had never been to Vermont before I figured this was a great opportunity to run and visit at the same time.

Jerel and I left on Saturday afternoon to drive up to Stowe (about 3.5 hrs from Boston) around 11:30. We stopped for lunch in Lebanon, NH at Panera Bread (Emily, our fine Nuvi GPS told us where it was). Next door to the Panera was a Birkenstock store - so I had to go in. I bought a great pair of Birks with a unique pattern - I'll have to take a picture and post it since I can't find them online. Just a little of my Birkenstock history - I bought my first pair in Florida way-y-y back in 1992 in Clearwater, Florida. I only had enough $$ for a tattoo or a pair of Birks, so I went with the Birks (the tattoo came later). I still have them - last year the cork on the side of the straps started to crack so I need to get them repaired. Of course, as with most things in my life other than exercise, I just haven't sent them out to be fixed yet. Anyway, the new pair are awesome. My feet love them.

We continued on toward Stowe, and as we were driving we hit a huge rainstorm. I hadn't driven through anything like it probably since I lived in Ohio. It was massive. Luckily Jerel had just replaced the windshield wipers with some new fancy ones. It lasted about 10 minutes until we drove out of it.

Had no trouble getting to Stowe and finding the Town Event Field for race packet pickup. I picked up my tshirt, # and the world's biggest Champion Chip - or at least the biggest I've ever seen!

We then headed over to the Topnotch Resort, checked in, unpacked and took a little snooze. We had dinner and went to sleep around 10:00. We got up around 6:00 and got ready - since it takes me about 10 minutes to tape up my feet and toes, and had breakfast at 7:00. I usually like to finish eating 2 hours before a race but the restaurant didn't open until 7. Luckily they were able to serve me my usual pre-race english muffin and peanut butter.

It was looking pretty cloudy and dreary, so when we got to the event field and parked I decided not to bring my iPod. I haven't run a race with it before, but thought I would try it out this time. I made a good decision not to bring it!

The lines for the portolets was quite long, so even though I didn't really need to go I figured by the time I got to one I would have to. I ended up chatting with a really nice lady and telling her all about the Nike marathon and Team in Training. She said she had a friend who was training for Nike with them too.

I had Jerel take a pre-race photo of me.

We gathered for the start of the race a little bit before 9 - I headed all the way to the back. They played the Star Spangled Banner and then let the wheelchair racer (I think there was just one) have a 2 minute head start. The announcer then yelled "GO" - I just thought it was funny, as did a couple of people in the back with me.

I started off slow and steady and actually passed a racewalker and her friend. I heard her say something about being happy with who she was - I think because she was the only one walking. It didn't matter because they ended up running at the end and passing right by me!
We passed by some cows right at the beginning and I snapped a quick photo:

That will be the end of photos during the race, because right after that it started raining. And raining. And raining. It rained the entire race. Not torrential, but fairly steady. It was actually pretty refreshing. I was glad I was wearing a hat because it kept the rain off of my face.

Even though it was raining this was still a great race and the scenery was lovely. It really reminded me of Norway - so lush and green. And of course, the fog hanging in the valleys!
I kept pretty good pace with a couple of people ahead of me. There was a woman I really wanted to catch and kept her in my sights pretty much the whole time until about the last 2 miles. There were some hills - I ran up most of them, but there was one that was on a curve up to the next street and it was steep, so I walked the second half of it. Of course, since there were hills up, there were some great downhill moments. I ran mile 3 in 12:24 because of the awesome downhill! I will have to post my splits - I don't have my Garmin on me right now. I was really happy because the mile markers up until the end were right with my Garmin.

I did end up passing an older gentleman who had started walking, and I passed an older couple were were walking - they weren't as friendly as most folks. I said hi as I was passing them and the woman looked like a drowned rat (it's all about the hat). Of course, they passed me during the last mile because they started running again.

A couple of miles were dirt road with stones embedded into the dirt (if that makes sense). Not loose gravel, but the stones were fairly good-sized. Since it was also muddy from the rain I had to slow down because I have a pretty big fear of falling. Now mind you, I haven't fallen for a couple of years, but I think the fear comes from being so heavy and unbalanced in the past. I have much better balance now especially with my core being so much stronger, but still. Anyway, the uneveness of the ground also caused my left ankle to tire out and I think the downhills were rough on my right knee, because it was seriously aching toward the end of the race. In fact, I remember passing Jerel as I ran toward the fnish line saying something about - "my knee, my knee, my knee is killing me".

So, as for my thoughts during the race - I really didn't feel like I was in the groove of things until 2.5 miles in. I guess I'm going to have to run a couple of miles before a race starts like everyone else I've seen and thought were crazy. Although, I'm sure for longer distances I won't need to be doing it!

I also don't think I'm very competitive toward the end of the race. By mile 7 I was plain tuckered out, and the first half of mile 7 was all uphill. Geesh! That's when the older couple who had been walking zipped right by me. Then as I was back to running toward the final turn to the finish line the race walker and her friend passed me. They ended up finishing about a minute ahead of me.
Luckily it was a nice downhill all the way to the finish line. I saw poor Jerel standing there in the rain snapping a couple of pictures.

As I was nearing the finish line I saw the clock click over to 1:49 and I was SO psyched that I was going to finish in less than 1:50. Really, I thought it was going to take me 2 hours. My chip time was 1:48:46 which is an average of a 13:36 mile. I know the last 2 miles took me over 14 minutes each. I am happy to say I wasn't last...I was second to last. The older man who I passed finished in 1:48:53. According to the race results he's 71, so really, I truly am a penguin. I take no pride in being faster than a 71 year old.

Anyway, after crossing the finish line I talked to the race walker and her friend a little and we congratulated each other on a great race. They said they had worked on catching me the entire race. I said I was glad I could help them out!

Since it was still pouring we didn't stay for the promised ice cream (I know Laura, that's just wrong) and we headed back to the hotel for a much needed shower. Then it was back to Boston.

I would definitely do this race again and hope for better weather. It was great to cross another state off of my list of states visited (I think I only have 9 left), and add another state that I've now run in.

Speaking of 9...this was my 9th race since my very first one in April!!

May 26, 2008

RR – Boston’s Run to Remember Half Marathon – Boston, MA

Hell yeah!! I ran a freakin’ half marathon yesterday, and I can still walk!! I think that’s the most impressive thing!

Woke up this morning at 4:58 am – had the clock set for 5:00 am. Wow – that seems like it was a lifetime ago! Started up the espresso maker so I could have a latte, and for breakfast I had 2 whole wheat English muffins with PB, a banana, and 2egg whites. Breakfast definitely kept me feeling full for most of the morning, unlike a couple of weeks ago when I was hungry before the M.O.M.’s 5K even started!

Got dressed and got everything together – I decided to wear my Nathan hydration pack since it was going to be on the warmer side today and I filled up the water bottle with ice. That worked out perfectly because I was able to have a little water if I needed it, and there was actually still some ice when I finished my run.

We left the house a little after 7 and took the train. We didn’t want to mess with trying to park near the Seaport where the race started and ended. We got to the Silver line (which is actually a bus) in record time, but after waiting for about 20 minutes I started to get antsy, so we left South Station and grabbed a taxi. We made it to the Seaport about 10 minutes before the start – enough time to get a before photo.

There were pace markers set up so I made sure to stay toward the back. Obviously a lot of people didn’t know they were there because I got passed a whole lot the first mile! Either that or people started late because they couldn’t get the Silver line bus!

Anyway, it was a picture perfect day to run. About 70 degrees, nice cool breeze. Nothing like Boston in the springtime. I felt fantastic for a majority of the race. I ran all the way to the first water station, which was about 1.5 miles into the race. Supposedly there were aid stations every 2 miles, but I think that was a crock. Seemed like forever between the first and second stations.

I remember walking up some of the Longfellow Bridge, but running down the other side and under the underpass onto Memorial Drive. I may have taken a walk break every once in awhile, but I really ran a lot of this race. I was averaging a 12:30 mile according to my Garmin. About halfway down Memorial Drive – 45:00 minutes or so into the race – the elite runners were on their way back. I think the winner finished in 1:14:24 – a 5:41 pace. Geesh!

The turnaround point was around Mile 7 and I was able to see that there were actually quite a few people behind me. Once again there were a guy and girl doing the walk, sprint past me, walk thing again…the whole time I’m just running my penguin pace, slow and steady. At some point I lost them – until the “mistake” happened.

All was going well, I was feeling great – albeit “knackered” along about Mile 10. By then I was back in the city and running down Charles Street. We got to run through the Back Bay which was really nice. I’m sure it will be much more crowded during the Corporate Challenge next month – not really excited about that. Anyway, at Mile 11 there was an aid station and someone was on a stretcher with EMT’s. I couldn’t see who it was. Oh, and within the first few miles on Memorial Drive there was a girl sitting on the curb who looked like she had rolled her ankle.

So, I get to Boylston Street – where they have already opened up the streets to traffic. Now let me tell you – that sucks, and don’t think I won’t be writing to the race organizers. Even more galling – Jerel tells me they stopped announcing the finisher’s names at 2:25. That’s ridiculous!!

Anyway, between trying not to get run over and keep moving, the “mistake” happened. Yes, I missed the turn onto Washington Street and went 2 blocks past it. I would still be wandering Chinatown if it hadn’t been for a bike cop who told me I was going the wrong way – along with another girl who was following me!! That totally threw me for a loop and really mentally crushed me. As I was headed back to where I was supposed to be I saw a bunch of people that I had passed earlier going down Washington and there was no way I could catch them. It was also about this time that my right foot started to hurt, and my left toes were feeling smooshed into the side of my shoe again. I also never saw the Mile 12 marker.

I kept on going though – I even got to run down Water Street which is next to my office and I waved! Too cool!!

It had been my personal goal to finish in 3:00, and I really pushed toward the end to make it happen. I felt like I ran down Seaport Blvd for hours though. If it weren’t for the people there cheering me on I don’t think I could have ever done it. Finally, finally, I got closer to the finish line and tears just started welling up in my eyes and falling down my cheeks. I had actually done it – run a half-marathon. Jerel ran up next to me and spurred me on to the finish. I crossed the finish line at 3:02:55 (chip time 3:01:34), which was a 13:51 minute mile average. According to my Garmin, I ran 13.55 – so I went quite a bit out of my way when I missed the turn.

Jerel was right there at the finish with some water for me, and a hug. I was so full of emotion that I had actually done this – and I was also thinking there is no way I’m going to be able to run a full marathon! Luckily I have 5 months to train!!

I headed inside to drop off my chip and pick up my finisher’s medal – my first!!

Jerel had done some recon and found out where the Silver Line was (we don’t spend a lot of time in the Seaport area), and while we were standing waiting for the bus Jerel asked me what was on the toebox of my right shoe. “Um…looks like blood”, I said. Oh yeah…I remembered that my foot was hurting.

We finally got home and the first thing I wanted to do was take an ice bath – but I was flipping out when I took my shoes and socks off. Talk about war wounds!! I had 2 huge blisters on the instep of my right foot, and on top of the toe next to my big toe. I mean – it is huge and purple. On my left foot, I have a blister at the bottom of my fourth toenail. It’s almost like the toenail has been rubbed out of the toebed. My manicurist is going to freak out when I see her on Friday.

So, I took my ice bath. I was going to stay in for 10 minutes, but I moved the wrong way and I suddenly had a weird spasm in my left oblique. I figured that was enough and took a shower. After I got ready we went over to Pops for our usual post-race brunch. Oh, my Garmin said I burned 1700 calories! After brunch we decided to take a little snooze, but my legs were, not really aching, but they felt like I was still running. Not sure if that makes sense. I did snooze for about 20 minutes, but then got up and surfed the net, did some laundry, etc.

I’m not in too much pain. My lower back and hips are a little sore right now, but my legs seem to be okay. We’re going to take Tigger for a walk in a few minutes – I want to stay loose. Of course – tomorrow and Tuesday might be an entirely different story!! I am supposed to see Tara Tuesday morning for training, but I have a massage booked for Tuesday night. Nice!

May 17, 2008

Penguin in the House

May 17, 2008

I's about time I actually got around to making a post here!! I have officially begun training for the Nike Marathon (10.19.08) with Team in Training, so now is as good a time as any to start writing.

This morning we met at the crack of dawn - 8:00 am - over at MIT. My hubby drove me over and waited for me in the car for over 2 hours. What a guy! The first 1.25 hours was a shoe and clothing clinic with a rep from Marathon Sports. I've been fitted there and actually just bought another new pair of shoes the other day, and I have plenty of non-cotton running clothes. Finally, around 9:20 we headed outside to do our 2 mile run.

And, that's where the title of this post comes in. I am a serious penguin when I run, because I am damn slow. We took off, and almost eveyone passed Andrea within the first few minutes. You know what though - I don't care. I run for me and yes, I run slowly, but by golly I CAN run. It's hard to believe that 20 months ago I weighed 300 lbs and couldn't even walk up a flight of stairs. (Go here if you're interested in my weight loss story).

So, I ran. I ran over the Mass Ave bridge and down the ramp to the Esplanade, and I ran until I reached the spot where the TNT folks were there waiting for the turnaround. I turned and ran back to the ramp, ran up the ramp, back over the bridge all the way to the MIT building we started from. I RAN the whole thing. My Garmin said I actually ran 2.11 miles - without stopping!! Even better, I felt great. I am officially labeling myself a penguin though!

I plan on tracking my training over the next 5 months with this blog, so feel free to stop on by and see how I'm doing. I'm going to need all the help I can get!!