Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Boston Marathon 2013

I've thought about writing about the marathon for months and just never got all that far.  I'm registered for the 2014 Boston Marathon, so I've been thinking about the training and that day a lot lately.  I planned on writing about the marathon a lot.  I thought about it the days before and during the race. I tried to remember different things that happened and at which mile, when songs came on, crowd signs, etc.  While this isn't the post I had planned on writing, this was my experience.

So let's start with this information- I had not run for two weeks before the marathon.  I have no good reason and no explanation for this.  I worked out. I mean, I taught my classes.  But no running.  I was sick for a bit and couldn't get to my 20 miler (chest cold) and then just... ya know  Nothing.  

Friday, April 12th, I drove into Boston to pick up my race packet. 

Nerves setting in.

So busy...

The finish line

Aaaaaah! It was just three days away!

I spend some time walking through the expo.  I bough an official Boston Marathon sweatshirt and stuffed unicorn (a kid in a stroller told me that that one's name was "Ralph").  I looked at different socks, shirts, stickers, shoe charms... so many things.  I needed to get myself a new sparkley blue headband and a super hot fanny pack.  You know how they tell you never to try anything new on race day? They even mean headbands. I'll get to that later.

Spike! Oh.. um, Ralph.

You can see the fear in my eyes. 

That weekend was spent worrying, setting my stuff out for race day, checking it 2000 more times, seeing a show, and eating carbs (so many carbs).  The night before, I tried to get to bed early, but I didn't sleep very well.

I got up nice and early that morning.  I wanted to make sure I had some coffee and some breakfast and some time to relax before heading to Ram's "Magic Bus" with the Shamrock running club. It was an early start, but my wave didn't run until... 10?

Winston has no idea why I'm awake.

Breakfast of champions...? I ate more on the bus, don't worry

I got dressed... posed for a picture (it might have taken a few)

That's fear.  And awkwardness. 

And we headed out for the bus.  It was a little cold (better than hot!) and I bundled up and settled in.  I was pretty nervous, so I spent a lot of time looking at my phone, checking Facebook and texting with friends to keep my mind of the miles ahead... even though we were all just talking about... the miles.  So many miles.  We made it to Hopkinton!

So many people!


I hung out on the bus until I got word that my teammates (Brad and Kristin) had made it in from Boston.  We stretched, we chatted, we waited for our wave to be called.  We slowly made our way up to the starting line.  There were people outside on their lawns giving out hair ties, vasoline (chaffing), water, and sunblock.  There were people already clapping and cheering us on, people holding signs.  I was already starting to get emotional.  And I was cold. SO cold.

We made it to the start line and just had a few more minutes to wait.  Brad, Kristin, and I wished each other well because we knew our speeds would be very different.  And we were off!  We were running the Boston Marathon!  For the first mile or so, I saw more people peeing on the side of the road and in the woods than I have ever seen in my life (this is presented without comment).  

I knew I had some people that would be cheering me on on the side. I wondered if I would actually be able to find them.  Right away, I saw Anthony and Lisa Huntington (who snapped the picture below).  I waved and heard "You go baby girl!" from Lisa and almost started to cry again.  :)  

I'm the one turning around.  And smiling because it's only been, like, a mile.

So it turns out, the best non-running advice I got was the write my name in big letters on my shirt.  I know it sounds silly, but nothing makes you feel more like a superstar than the Boston Marathon crowd cheering your name as you pass. (and it took until mile 15 before I got my first mispronunciation (it was Shana).  Pretty impressive.)

The first ten miles honestly flew by.  I recognized the streets of Ashland, Framingham, and Natick as we ran through. I remember some of music that played (Kate deLima's suggestion, "Thrift Shop" turned out to be a good one, because it was pretty fuckin' awesome).  

You know what's hard?  Pacing your high fives.  So many adorable kids and encouraging adults.  That was some other advice I was given, "Don't high five every kid in Hopkinton".  It's hard advice to take.

Do you want to know the weird thing that happens when you run at my pace? You will eventually get passed by all of the people in costumes.  Somewhere around mile 9 maybe, a whole bunch of hamburgers started to pass me (a gaggle?).  Dora the Explorer and I spent most of Framingham and Natick taking turns passing.  At some point, I was passed by a banana holding up a speaker.  I sort of snapped this picture because, I mean... come on.

Just before the halfway point is, what I think was, my favorite part of the marathon, Wellesley College.  I had heard about it, but there was really nothing that could have prepared me for the amazingness that is the ladies of Wellesley.  The signs! The screams!  The high fives! The kisses being offered!  Signs that read "Kiss me I'm____" ("in a long distance relationship", "Italian", "a lesbian", etc) and "Finally some men around here!"

Right after Wellesley, I remember thinking "I like half marathons".  It's a respectable distance that doesn't disrupt your life and you still get a medal and snacks.  And I would have been done.  And my toes were really starting to hurt.  I said to a couple around mile 15 "This was a terrible idea!"

Random words of advice and wisdom from other runners flashed through my head.  "When you see the fire station in Newton and make the turn, that's not Heartbreak Hill".  Ok, so there was the fire station and then some hills.  My details start to get fuzzy here, but I know I started to be offered some beer.  I know I saw my friend Katie.  And I saw the awesome people from Stoneham Theatre.  That took me a couple of seconds to sort out.  I heard them and I heard my name and waved, but it took some time to register that I actually knew them!  The hills continued.  I took a little walking break here and there (more than just the water stations) to pace myself for Heartbreak Hill.

I have to admit that I didn't run Heartbreak Hill before that day.  I should have, probably.  There are a lot of hills in Woburn and Winchester on my normal routes, so I reasoned that I was doing a pretty good job of training for the hills in the marathon.  I still had nightmares about it.  In those dreams, I came to pretty much a wall of a hill that I had to climb on all fours.  It kept getting higher and I rarely made it to the top.  I kept going up the hills in Newton that I thought preceded it and thought "Wow, this is a little bit further away than I thought".  I looked over to my right and saw a sign that said "YOU MADE IT UP HEARTBREAK HILL!"  I stopped and asked the young guy holding it "Wait. SERIOUSLY!?"  "..... YEAH!"  I cried.  I was going to finish.  I kept running.

The Boston College area is a very close second to Wellesley.  They are excited and they have beer and they are so proud of everyone!  A lot of them were yelling out "name on shirt, I love you!"  I'm pretty sure that I always yelled back that I loved them, too. I needed to.  I was tired, I was so sick of my peanut butter GU and Gatorade and water and I really wanted their beer, but I knew it wasn't a good idea.  I kept running.

Very very soon after Boston College, the police officers on the route started to look different.  They weren't nervous, but they weren't watching the runners.  They were diverting us on to the sidewalk.  One of them said "We're stopping the race ahead".  I was so confused and SURE that I heard him wrong.  I kept running.  Another officer said the same thing and that's it.  I stopped to ask a concerned (and quiet) on looker what was going on.  "There was an explosion at the finish line".  Surely I heard him wrong.  There were still spectators.  We were all still running.  He must have been mistaken.  I took my phone out of my running belt and it was dead.  Keep running.

"We're moving the finish line" said another officer.  "What happened?!" another runner asked.  No answer.  I passed a woman and a soldier on the sidewalk offering use of their cell phones.  I took them up on it.  I tried to call Kevin, but his phone was also dead.  I tried my parents, but cell service was just stopped.  I didn't know what to do.  My plan was to run for as long as I could because people that I loved were at that finish line and I had no idea how to find them or if they were ok.

It was a few miles of "We're going to stop ahead" before they actually stopped the race.  I was just before Kenmore Square where I knew Corey and Sarah and the Lynn crew would have been.  We just were stopped. No other instructions.  I looked around and saw a Whole Foods across the street.  I knew that I was going to have to eat something and get some water.  I was so grateful for my fanny pack running belt and last minute decision to through $20 and my credit card in.  Whole Foods let me use their phone.  Still no answer from Kevin, but I left another message.  I managed to get a hold of my sister at my parents' house.  I could barely hold it together.  I asked her to please post on my Facebook wall to let everyone know that I was ok and to see if anyone had heard from Kevin.  She said that James was acting as a point person and posting any news he received.  She had read that Kevin was with Aimee and friends and was safe a little while before.  I told her I was going to try to walk back and find a meeting area.

I walked up to the bridge into Kenmore where an officer told me that I would have to go around another way.  I was shivering at this point.  It wasn't all that cold, but I had lost a lot of water and was covered in sweat.  I was just in capris and a tank top with wet hair and no mylar blanket.  I walked around a little more and ran into another officer that told me and another runner there would be buses running up Comm Ave to bring us to a meeting area and the buses with our bags at the Common.  He gave me a long sleeved t-shirt and apologized for not having a sweatshirt.  The other runner, George from Florida, and I walked up to Comm Ave.  He was up from Florida and needed to get back to his family at his hotel.  He spoke with them and knew they were ok.  We got to the bus stop and waited a few minutes.  "They're not coming", he said.  "We've gone this far, want to just walk?"  We walked.

It was long, and man it was windy.  We still didn't really know what was happening.  We were sore, we were cold, we were scared.  On Beacon Street, people were sitting outside of their apartments offering people a place to rest, a phone to use, and something to eat and drink.  We passed some other runners walking the other way with their yellow bags who told us that the buses were now on Newbury St.  George and I parted ways as he went back to his hotel and I went to the bus.  The volunteers at the buses gave me back my bag, but told me they were planning on setting up a family meeting place at the Common still.  I put on all of the clothes from my bag and took a mylar blanket and kept walking to the Common.

I was pretty disoriented and I can't imagine what I looked like.  I was tired, I was crying, and limping a little.  People I passed randomly offered use of their phones and help, but I really didn't know what to do.  I got to the public gardens and a swat team was surrounding a school bus.  No one knew anything about a meeting area.  I made it to the Common and wandered around.  When you are lost and scared EVERYONE looks like someone you know.  That day, everyone looked like Kevin or Corey Jackson (for some reason).  Every time I realized it wasn't them, I cried, but kept walking.

I decided to find a place to stay put because I wasn't sure I could keep walking.  I made it to the Panera Tremont and decided that I would call Kevin and hope that he was going to find a charger for his phone.  What's funny is, I was so confused, that I really thought that even with everything going on, Panera wouldn't let me use their phone if I didn't order something.  Of course, they let me make a call and asked what else they could do.  I tried Kevin's phone and it rang.... but no answer.  I tried once more and he picked up!  I could barely form words, but it turned out he was right down the street.

He parked his car, practically on the sidewalk, and ran in.  I have never been so relieved in my life.  I broke down, we hugged, I'm sure we made people uncomfortable.  The manager teared up and asked if we were ok, if there was anything else we needed.

We got in the car to drive out of Boston and I was able to charge my phone.  As soon as it powered up, it was ringing.  I called friends and family back and could barely hear what they were saying because my phone kept beeping with text notifications.  I answered all my texts, all my Facebook messages and posts, and emails.  I felt so bad for not being able to do it sooner.  I checked in with friends I knew had been there and they were all ok.

We didn't know what to do, so we went to Chili's for food and beer.  Seriously.  Chips and beer, that's all I wanted to think about.  The televisions in the lounge were all silently replaying the events from that afternoon.  I learned more about what had happened.  Our waitress noticed my BAA sweatshirt and asked if we had been there.  A neighboring table overheard and bought us a round of beer.  They didn't want us to know who they were, so we made a big cheers and thank you gesture hoping they would see.

The rest of the week was kind of a blur.  Kevin and I both took Tuesday off to spend together.  I went back to classes Wednesday (completely unable to participate).  I saw Stoneham's production of Millie featuring one of the our runners, Brad.  I can't believe he was able to to the entire show that soon after.  Here's something to compare it to:  He did the entire show full of dance numbers as if he had not run (and finished) a marathon two days before.  I groaned when I stood up at intermission. We got together with friends for dinner and drinks.  We were grateful that people we knew were ok.  We weren't part of the lockdown area that Friday, but we stayed in, glued to television and Facebook to make sure people we loved were alright.

The next week, the BAA organized a place for people to pick up their bags and medals.  Part of me felt strange about it, but I wanted to go in and get the medal.  I went in, unsure of what to expect.  There was a room full of yellow bags and about five volunteers checking off numbers and handing out medals.  They had a mini finish line and insisted on placing my finisher medal on my neck and then taking a picture.  I cried and one woman told me she was the "Official hugger".  The BAA is a wonderful organization.

I'm really honored and excited that they are letting us all run again next year.  I only know a little bit of what to expect.  I know a little bit more about how to train and about what not to do.  I know that I'll probably cry a lot.  And I know that we're all going to finish.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Training, eating, and stuff

I had hoped to be blogging more often, but the summer went by so fast!  Quick recap:

Fiddler on the Roof at Reagle Music Theatre of Boston:

Frumah Sarah
Frumah Sarah and Gramdma Tzeitel
Mr. Dan Sullivan, my bottom/better half

Water bottle dance?

Insanity Certification! 

New favorite class to teach!

 I've subbed a couple of times, plus did a one time class at Shad.  It's the first time I had people actually lay on the floor in the middle of a work out.

I ran my first 5k! I know it sounds weird, but I was pretty nervous.  I'm not all that fast and I'm always afraid I'll finish last.  I just wanted to finish in under 30 minutes, and I did.  28:59 to be exact.  It was a small race, so I even got a prize in my age group.  It was a fun event.

Right now, I'm training for the BAA Half Marathon on October 13th. It sold out in under 15 minutes, so I'm very lucky to have a spot.  It'll be my first time running this race, so I'm not sure what to expect.  Kevin and I are also signed up for the Massachusetts Rebel Race on October 26th.  I'm a little nervous about this one.  We signed up for the 15k, so that means 3 times around the course and a lot of obstacles.  I'm fairly certain I will just hang from the monkey bars George Michael Arrested Development style, but I think I have a fighting chance at the climbing and crawling through the mud.

Ok. I have to admit, again, eating habits have not been all that great for a while.  I recently had two really great weeks followed by one really terrible one and it's gone a little like that for quite some time.  This time, I'm physically writing down my points and activity, and that actually is helping me stick to the plan a little bit more. I'm definitely struggling and it's really just the food.

Oh! And I get to run the Boston Marathon again :)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Oh, hey!

It's been a long time.  Since the last time I blogged, I finished up my long training runs (missed the 20 because of injuries and a bad cold), ran in the marathon, and ran a half marathon.  I plan on writing separate blogs about the Boston Marathon and about the Run to Remember (half).

So here's what's new... since I last blogged, two shows opened and closed (A New Brain with Moonbox productions and Legally Blonde with NextDoor Theatre), I've been cast in three shows (Fiddler on the Roof as Fruma Sarah with Reagle Music Theatre, A Little Princess as Miss Amelia with Fiddlehead Theatre, and Company as Amy with Moonbox).  I started teaching a new club- Shad Hall at Harvard Business School, plus I'm still at the North Suburban YMCA and Today's Fitness.

A New Brain.  Just a typical day. Tutu,
spinning plates, dude dressed as a frog in a blazer.

Ok. I have to admit, I've been struggling with tracking and staying on plan food-wise.  It's not hard. I know it's not hard.  I've done it before, I'm just having some trouble.  I've put some weight back on, and it's coming back in different places than it used to!  This ends. Now. Seriously.  I know I need to get back to meetings and that will help a ton.  I keep thinking back to what one of our meeting members in Woburn said about becoming lifetime and staying at goal.  Once you hit lifetime, you only have to weigh in once a month, but Frank said he goes every week and weighs in because otherwise, you're just "playing games with the scale".  He's totally right.
I was on plan yesterday, and I'm on track today!  I'm going to go to a meeting this Friday in Burlington with my favorite leader from the now closed Woburn location.

To inspire myself, I bought a new cookbook, Appetite for Reduction: 125 Low Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Last night, I made:

I promise, I'm wearing shorts.
 Delicious!  Toasted cumin seeds will soon make their way into other things I cook.  Also, I made way too much quinoa, so there will be a lot of quinoa dishes this week...

I tried a hot yoga class yesterday!  I was the first one to sweat. Like... before class started, already sweating.  I'm going to add it to my routine.

I'm also training to teach Insanity this weekend!  I'm terrified.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

16.2 miles!

16 miles in one day.  I guess, if you want to be all technical, I did do the Walk for Hunger when I was in high school.  It was not a good day.  My dad dropped me off at a friend's house and I was wearing jeans, crappy  sneakers, and a t-shirt.  I was not an active kid, but I didn't really realize how much walking 20 miles would be.  Oh! I did bring an extra pair of socks because someone in our group recommended it.  He said at the half way point, we would all stop and change our socks.  (he wasn't wrong)  So, 20 miles is a long way.  It's even longer if you only walk from class to class and home from the bus stop and then one Sunday decide to join your friends for a 20 miles walk.  It was a long time ago, but I remember my hands swelled up to twice their size, changing socks halfway through was a wonderful idea, I got a ride home from a friend of a friend and could barely get out of their car, and then next day walking class to class was torture.  14 year old me would not believe that 32 year old me would run a marathon.

So, snow again last weekend.  I did end up running my long run on Thursday again.  I woke up with a bit of a stomach ache (totally not from ice cream the night before, why would you think that?) and slept in a little bit.  Plus, the dog seemed tired and I didn't want him to sleep in alone.  (he is currently asleep under my feet near the space heater)

Something I really need to keep in mind is just how long long runs take.  Getting up late and then running for 3 hours or so is really going to put a dent in your day.  Just FYI to future me. 

Because I felt better after some extra sleep and because I knew schedule and snow-wise that this was the only day I could really make this all work out, I packed up my GU, mixed up some Gatorade, and went for it.  I am always amazed by how quickly time can pass when a run is feeling really really great.  I really enjoy my running route and have come up with various modifications of it so that I can use the basic loop for almost any distance.  The sidewalks were still not amazing, so I stuck to the side of the road when I needed to.  The weather was beautiful and the wind wasn't too bad.  I made it maybe 6.5 miles and decided I should probably eat some GU.  Now, I hadn't really thought about the combination or flavors, but do yourself a favor and get peanut butter GU and grape Gatorade.  It works.  You're welcome. One more suggestion- make sure you buy regular Gatorade and not G2.   It's good, but I probably could have used the extra stuff in the regular kind.

Too low

Just don't look at it while you eat it.

Something else I've noticed about running later in the day- all of the pizza places are open for business and smell amazing.  And they are everywhere.  Winchester and Woburn are full of pizza places, funeral homes, and cemeteries.  I'm not kidding, check it out.

I made it through about 11 miles with only breaks to walk on the snow and ice and then a couple of stops for traffic lights.  Nothing too crazy. I decided to mix a little walking in now because of the "walk before you think you need to" advice.  It's a hard thing to gauge.  

I really felt great during this run for about 14.2 miles.  Then (as I said on DailyMile) I wondered if I could call a cab.  Is that allowed?  My toes were sore, knees have seen better days, and I had stepped in a big puddle around mile 12.  I was out of Gatorade and water and the wind picked up just enough to make things a little annoying.  I made it. It wasn't pretty, but I made it.  I got home and had to take the dog out.  If any neighbors were looking out the window at the idiot in running tights trying to clean up after her dog, they must have had quite a laugh.  It was an ordeal.  A long and painful ordeal.  

I got home to stretch and "foam" roll.  Oh! So, the roller I bought wasn't quite enough.  I got some advice from my boss at the YMCA and bought PVC pipe.  No kidding.  


It works. It is 10x more effective (for me) than a foam roller.  I'm not a doctor or an expert, so please don't do anything I say without checking in with one!  I will say, it's a little weird to get used to because it's more slippery AND it's staticy, so there will a hair/fur situation.  Also, your dog will try to put all of his toys on your lap as you roll your hamstrings.  

Thursday afternoon and night was little tough.  Not as bad as I thought, but not super comfortable.  Plus I had to face these at rehearsal:

COME on!

This week is a little step back week, so my long run is only 12 miles.  That sounds wonderful.  This week, the snow is supposed to come tomorrow and Thursday, so I may even get to run on the weekend.  

Please don't forget- you can donate here!   

And March 9th is the long awaited return of Close Enough!  All of the cover charge goes towards marathon fundraising.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Oh the weather outside is weather...

Something I hadn't thought too much about when I signed on for the marathon was what the weather was going to be like during training.  I know I live in New England and it's winter, but it was just so mild last year that I didn't think about it too much.  I've run in the winter before, but I wasn't really training for anything, so if it was bad out, I'd go inside and run on the treadmill or use some other machine.  I took a lot of Spin classes instead of running.  There's really no way around running outside in the winter if you're planning on a marathon in April, though!

There's nothing wrong with treadmill running.  In fact, I've read that if you set your treadmill on a slight incline, you can duplicate a little bit of the effort of running outside.  My problem is, I can only run for about half an hour indoors before I want to scream.  I vary the speed, I listen to music, I even watch TV and I just can't mentally do it.  3 miles indoors is my mental limit, so long runs are out of the question.  I feel like a 10 mile run outdoors goes by way faster than 3 on a machine.  

Last week, I ran longer than I ever have in the past- 15.5 miles!  I've run two half marathons and run one long 13 mile training run, and at the end of all of them I thought "Yeah, that's enough", so I wasn't sure how this would go.  In my last entry, I talked about the group 13 mile run in Boston.  There were ups and downs and at the end, I was pretty done.  The week after that was a 'step back' week in the long run miles, just 10 (just).  It was fairly uneventful.  I did it on Thursday instead of waiting for the weekend because we had some ("some") snow coming.  I practiced adding in some walking per the advice of my new running friend at the gym Bob.  He's run 16 marathons, so I feel like his advice is worth listening to.  He said that if you add in some walking as the mileage goes up, recovery after is a little easier.  Sold.  PS- there was quite a lot of snow, so it turns out that was a good plan.  

Winston is not a fan of the snow.

Ok- back to last week's 15+ miler.  I'm really really trying to not worry about my speed.  I'm not fast to begin with, and that's fine, but I need to remember that my goal is to finish this time around.  15 miles felt pretty good.  I did it on a Thursday again because, wouldn't you know it, we had more snow on the way.  It was beautiful out, but the sidewalks sucked. I tried to stay on them for the first few miles, but after slipping a few times, I just ran on the side of the road.  The streets on my route are pretty wide and I got back to the sidewalk when I could, but it was much much safer this way.  I walked a bit here and there (some of it was because of snow or ice, some was intentional).  I can't decide how I feel about the walking.  Cardio wise- the walk isn't needed (slow, remember?) but I wonder if it is helping my knees/legs/feet at all.  Sometimes the short walking break is welcome, but it's harder to start back up again at the miles get higher.  

Also- I faced my fear of geese.

They're plotting something.

I had one hiss and chase me last year, but it was with a bunch of little baby geese.  I kept my distance, but man they're mean!  These guys just moved out of the way all three times I passed them. (most of them moved to the left, but one of them just kept running forward in front of me for a while until it figure it all out). 

Overall, the run was great.  (I did sink into some snow trying to hit the "walk" button at an intersection.  I figured it out for the second and third pass)  I actually enjoy the long miles by myself.  I was worried I would go a little crazy just running for that long, but it's weirdly relaxing.  You can't really do anything else but run, enjoy some music (if that's your kind of thing), and take in the scenery.  Since it was a long run, it did require my super sexy Fuel Belt and some GU.  That stuff totally helps, but wow the last thing you want to do is down something that tastes like frosting while you're working out.  Some people seem to be into those jelly beans, but I feel like I would bite my tongue while I tried to chew and run.  

So this week, the long run is 16.  I'll probably do it tomorrow because I hear there's more snow coming. Awesome.  

Monday, February 4, 2013

What, no medal?

I am at the point now where I'm not 100% sure how I am going to run 13.1 miles twice in one day.  I know that I have weeks and weeks (and miles and miles... like almost 300) of training left to do, but wow.  I love a good half marathon.  One. Just one a day.

This week of training was not without its challenges.  Wind, cold weather, longest long run so far, getting a little sick, and insomnia for some reason.  Tuesday's run was still a little snowy.  Wednesday and Thursday were just right into the wind.  Wednesday was a 6 miler and the first half was just awful wind-wise.  When it let up, it was perfect.  Thursday, more of the same, except the wind never let up and it seemed to come from every direction.  

Saturday was my first group training run.  I did not get much sleep the night before.  Friday, I had a pretty relaxed day and didn't go out at night so I could rest.  I ate pasta, I laid out my clothes and watched a bunch of Stabler heavy episodes of Law and Order: SVU with Winston.  And then ate some pita chips. And then some baby carrots.  And then probably more pita chips.  And, for some reason, a whole bunch of mushrooms.

I had a hard time getting to sleep.  I'm not sure if I was nervous about the distance, running with new people, maybe being the slowest person, getting lost, not waking up in time, would I be the only one with a Fuel Belt? 

I was woken up at around 5am (an hour before I wanted to get up and have breakfast) with some terrible ear pain. Awesome.  I laid in bed for about an hour trying to get a little bit more sleep and then just got up to eat. 

Again, Winston had no trouble sleeping

I decided to take the T in since we were meeting at MGH and I didn't know how much parking there would be.  Seemed like an awesome idea.  I'll get to that later.

I left my coat in the car, pulled on my hat, strapped on my iPod and Fuel Belt, stashed my keys, parking ticket, credit card, license, Charlie Card, GU, and some cash in my pockets, and headed in.  It's not too long to MGH from Alewife and I bumped into someone else heading over to run at Central, which was good, because I had no idea how to get to the actual meeting spot once I got there.  

There were about 10-15 of us, I think?  It seemed like a pretty nice and straightforward route a little over 13 miles.  Around the Charles from the Longfellow to the North Beacon Bridge in Watertown and back.  This is the longest distance I've ever run, so it was familiar, but it would be pretty tough still.  


We got started and right from the beginning broke out into groups of similar paces.  I ended up running most of the time with a group of four other ladies.  At least one had run the marathon last year, one had run 22 miles last weekend (what?  I'm fairly certain I had heard that right), and this would be the first for the other two.  I really had a great time running with these ladies.  There was some great conversation, I think I pushed a little harder than I would have by myself, and I realized that I am not alone in all of my training and fundraising worries.  The first half of the run flew by!  I had set my Nike+ app to just a basic run so it wouldn't alert me at every mile.  We got to a stopping point around mile 6 or so when we realized we didn't know where the rest of the group had gone.  There was a point to run back around the Charles, but we hadn't got to the North Beacon bridge.  We also couldn't tell where we should cross the street or even which street to follow... we decided to run back towards MGH and make up the miles at the end (two of them had those GPS Garmin watches).  

This is where we should have ended up.

Smooth sailing still, beautiful scenery and great company!  Then around mile 11- hip and knee pain!  I kept going because every now and then (for me) something that is just a little sore feels alright if I push through.  I decided to walk every so often to see if that helped.  I did, however, have to catch up to the group because I wasn't totally sure where we were headed or how far we had left (the Nike+ app can not always be trusted).  I felt a little better around mile 12 when one of the ladies said "My body is done".  I was glad to not be alone!  We finished a little over 13 miles and said our goodbyes.  

WHY does it have to be outside?!

Back to the T.  The one plus about running at home is I just have to walk up my street in the cold after I'm done (to cool down a bit) and then I can go take a nice hot shower right away.  In Boston, I have to wait for the train, get to my car, drive home, and THEN I can take a hot shower.  My running gear is super warm before and during a run.  It's great until you sweat for a couple of hours and then you stop moving.  Especially when the T stop is outdoors.  My fingers were freezing and three of them started to tingle a bit.  I put my mittens back on, but they were wet and it just seemed to make it worse.  The ride back felt twice as long as the ride to MGH that morning.  My parking ticket was bent and sweaty from being in my pocket, my hands were still tingly, and my legs were killing me from the run and from the cold that was totally on it's way.  I got off the train at Alewife and walked up the stairs hoping to get rid of some of the soreness (didn't work).  I got back to my car and cranked up the heat. I just sat and let my hands warm up before I started home.

My first finger is the color it normally is... the other three are kind of corpse-y.

I showered, I ate, I got some coffee and ibuprofen, and then I napped.


Winston also napped

I purchased a foam roller that evening, too.
This one.

Or was it this one?

I think the foam roller helped because I felt pretty good on Sunday.  Only sick/cold achy, not ran a half marathon the day before achy.

I also discovered/already knew that running a bunch of miles isn't really a good reason to eat whatever I want.  Don't get me wrong, I need to eat more than I would if I were to not run a bunch, but maybe I don't need to eat pizza, for example.  It's tough because I do find that I am considerably hungrier than I am when I am not running as much, but I just need to be sure I'm eating the right foods- foods that will help in recovery and performance.  

This week is a step back week for the long run- just 10 miles (10 years ago, I would never have said "just 10 miles).  I'm not sure if it's Saturday or Sunday for the group run.  If it's Saturday, I can't go because of my Zumba class, so I may be on my own.  Anyone want to run 10 miles with me this weekend?  Kind of slowly?

I have two fundraisers coming up.  There will be more details as they become available, but the first one is a Zumba class at Stoneham Theatre on February 23rd at 12pm!  The second is a Close Enough show at Dockside Restaurant and Bar in Malden on March 9th at 9pm!  Facebook events and emails will go out soon and I hope to see people there!  

This is what I learned this week:

1) Wind + running = not a whole lot of fun
2) I hate the T after a long run
3) Running in a group is awesome!
4) Cut the crap with the snacks
5) Foam rollers are totally a good thing
6) I can still take a nap after drinking a venti coffee

Monday, January 28, 2013

So much running gear...

Here are my official Stoneham Theatre Boston Marathon pictures taken by the lovely and talented David Costa!  Don't forget to donate! Tell your friends! Click here!

I totally always smile like this when I run. 

You can't tell, but my butt is frozen to the front step of the theater 

Marathon training continues and my thighs hurt. 

I finished my long run (12 miles) and then some yesterday, just not when I planned.  I know I had said I was going to the group run, and I totally planned on it, but got almost no sleep on Saturday night. I was very good at the party (just one beer, though I may have consumed my weight in pita chips), but I just stayed up too late and then didn't really sleep well when I finally did get to bed.  I "called in" to the run but knew I would have to get the miles done that day regardless. It was also my niece's 4th birthday party, so I had to work around that. 

We were all pretty sleepy after the previous day's events (cleaning and setting up for the party, final performance of Sunset Boulevard, and the party), so I did sleep in a bit after letting the group know not to wait for me.  Naturally, I had trouble getting back to sleep because I felt guilty for missing the run.

Winston had no trouble getting back to sleep.

I decided to run after the party.  I was pretty sure the route I was going to take was well lit, and I didn't think I needed to map it out to be sure of the distance, I'd just do my 5.3ish loop twice and then let my Nike+ guide me through the last bit.  It was chilly, so I was happy to try out my knew running mittens, socks, balaclava, hat, and pants.  Plus, it was going to be 12 miles, so why not throw on my super sexy Fuel Belt?

Worst ninja ever.

First- I am never running in the cold without all of these things again. I took the advice of an associate from Marathon Sports in Melrose and got some of these socks and this pair of Saucony mittens. Amazing. My feet were never cold and they weren't too sweaty.  The mittens are SO much better than gloves.  My hands got a little sweaty, but it was fine.  I decided on both my hat and the balaclava.  It turns out breathing is easier when you're not freezing your mouth and throat with the cold air.  Go figure. 

It got dark kind of quickly.  First run through the loop was pretty light, second, not so much.  It turns out the only part of that route that is not well lit is the cemetery, so that was fun. I certainly picked up the pace for that part. 

The run felt great overall.  After the second loop through, I decided to run through the center to finish it off.  I was definitely feeling the cold on the last mile or so and was ready to stop.  Turns out, though, that my Nike+ wasn't totally accurate (it's not the GPS kind, so I usually map it out first and then calibrate it after) and I ran an extra half a mile. Eh, there are worse things that could have happened.

It was cold.

I am glad I got the run in.  In order to finish all 26.2, I'll need to be sure I get everything in in the next couple of months, plus, people are donating money for this! I need to finish as strong as I can!  

Next weekend, I don't seem to have anything set in the mornings, so I should be able to join up with the group for the long run - 13 miles!  

Friday, January 25, 2013

SURPRISE! You're running the Boston Marathon!

So I'm running the Boston Marathon.  In 12 weeks.

Let's go back... at the beginning of December, one of my Tabata participants told me that her son was Stoneham Theatre's marathon team captain.  I mentioned that I had wanted to run it with them, but thought it was too late.  She urged me to try anyhow.   I contacted the theater and found that they had just given away their third and final number.  Ah, well, next year.

Cut to last week.  I have a voicemail from Lynne at the theater asking if I still might be interested in running because a number may have become available.  Ah! Ok, yes, sure. I have a couple of days until they are sure of what's going on.  I take a look at the calendar- 12 and 1/2 weeks.  The training program I had planned on using was 18. Ok, I've been running a bit, but nothing crazy. 3-5ish miles when it's not crazy cold outside.  What would the longest run I would have had to run if I had been training? 10 miles.  Ok. That's more.  I figure "let's just run the 10 this weekend, just in case".

Last Saturday, I ran 10 miles!  It wasn't the fastest 10 miles I've ever run, but I was able to do it.  This is how it went down- Miles 1-7 amazing.  I tried to think of fundraising ideas, I took in the fresh air, I waved at runners I passed, it was great.  I did my 5 mile rout and decided that I would explore another way instead of running it again.  I go through Woburn center and run until I hit a rotary involving 128 and turn back.  I must have been at around 7.5 or 8 and that's when the wind kicked in. Holy crap it was cold.  Still felt ok... not too much longer to go... SO WINDY!  I made it. I even ran up the hill at the end of the run.  I felt pretty good.  I was fine the rest of the day and just needed to stop a couple of times to stretch.

10 miles is kind of a big deal for me. The first time I ran 10 miles all at once was in 2007.  I had just started running the fall before that and was training for a half marathon.  It was a struggle.  I remember getting home, walking up to the second floor (because of COURSE that's where I had to live that day) and just lying on the floor. I wanted to shower, I wanted to drink water, and I wanted to throw up, but I didn't think I could do any of those things so I just stayed there on the floor.  I think I stayed there for about an hour and a half.  I eventually got up, drank water, and showered (I did NOT throw up).  Luckily, that has not happened again.

Me after that first 10 miles

The farthest distance I've ever run has been a half marathon.  I do wonder if there will be a new distance that causes the "I'm just going to lay here on the floor for a while" method of recovery.

Tuesday is when I was told the last number for the Stoneham team was mine and Thursday, I went down to the theater to officially fill out the paperwork.  I'm running this thing.  For real.  Sunday will be my first ever group training run.  I'm terrified.  It's the morning after closing night of Sunset Boulevard and we're hosting the cast party. I think that means I'm drinking soda and going to bed while the cast party continues in my living room.

One other thing that terrifies me is the amount of fundraising I will need to do.  If you are able or know anyone else that is, please feel free to donate!  Stoneham Theatre is such a wonderful place!  They are the leading professional theatre north of Boston and were voted as the fifth largest performing arts organization in Greater Boston.  At Stoneham, you can see musicals, dramas, concerts, and an amazing youth company education program!  Please donate to help them continue to bring the arts to this area!

CLICK HERE TO DONATE! And check back for updates on my training!

"Woman's World" from The Full Monty at Stoneham Theatre

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Check in. (even though it's only January 2nd)

It's pretty easy to keep resolutions this early on, right? Well, regardless- checking in!

I had an awesome time at Trina's Starlight Lounge with some great friends on New Years Eve.  Great company, snacks, and drinks.  I slept in yesterday, but then I ran 5 miles.  It was not the best five miles I've ever run.  It was not the most fun.  But I did it.  The snow and ice certainly slowed my pace (as did my headache) but it felt good to be out there.  I can't remember if I mentioned it before, but I finally got some compression tights, good socks, and a running jacket (The jacket was part of my Halloween costume).  It's really amazing how much better you feel when you wear clothing that is appropriate to what you are doing.  I also replaced my running shoes.  You don't want to know how overdue that was.

Today, I taught Tabata, ran a mile on the treadmill (on an incline), and did 10 minutes on the stairmill.  I'm feeling inspired by something two friends (the fabulous Jess and Josh) did last year which was run every day one month. Even if it's just a mile. The stairmill is just an old goal. I hate it. But I know it's good for me.  I will say, it's been, at the very least, 6 months since I've stepped on one and it was a lot easier. It is still pretty boring, though.

Food has also been going well. I tried salmon for the first time and it was delicious!  The waitress dropped it first and I had to wait for a new one... but it was worth it!  Sticking to points and feeling pretty in control right  now. Also, my Keurig (Christmas gift) has really been aiding my coffee habit.  It's so easy... and delicious.