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Progress & A Plan

April 1st, 2014 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (4 Comments)

I wanted to wait at least a week or two to post until I was sure, but, I’M BACK TO RUNNING! I’m still not 100% confident to say the tendinitis is healed completely, because I’m afraid it’ll come back at any time if I’m not careful. So I’ve been easing in gently, paying attention to any signs of tenderness and soreness, continuing to see doctors regularly for treatment, icing, stretching, foam rolling, and the works.

On March 18th, my foot had been absent of pain for a few days. I had a doctor’s appointment scheduled for the next day, and wanted to test it out on a short run so I could at least report back on progress, pain-free or not.

I headed to the East River Path for a super windy, sloooooow 3 mile run. Unsurprisingly, I lost a ton of fitness after 3 weeks of no running and minimal cross-training. Surprisingly, my foot felt great. I couldn’t wait to get to the doctor and share the good news!

So, I’ve been alternating days of easy running with cross-training for about 2 weeks now and my foot is still feeling good. My doctor advised I stick to regular mileage and nix any speed work, tempos, or specific hill work as they may re-aggravate the tendinitis faster.

Blocked out my address, don't stalk me please

Blocked out my address, don’t stalk me please

Since we’re now less than 3 weeks out from Boston, I have a loose plan to get me to the starting and finish lines healthy and with a bit more endurance. One of my doctors, Marisa, asked me what I’d like to complete as a long run pre-Boston in my “dream world”. Prior to this injury, I had only gotten up to a long run of 17 with a weekly mileage of 53, and it sounds scary but I really wanted to be able to get in a 20 miler for a mental and physical confidence boost. However, I would rather stay healthy and out of shape than re-injured after running too much.

My goals for Boston are to enjoy the day, have fun, and to complete the race without pain and without re-injuring myself. I don’t care about my time, and am actually excited to be able to take in the day’s atmosphere more than I would if I were gunning for a PR, similar to my race in 2012.

She put together a plan that focuses on long runs, since that’ll be key for getting in some endurance prior to the marathon to ensure that 26.2 miles isn’t a complete shock to my body. It’s a bit more aggressive than I’d probably choose myself, but I trust her and think it’s reasonable in the limited time I have before the race.

Basically, I can run easy every other day (3-6ish miles) with a long run on Saturdays– starting at 10 miles this past Saturday, 15 miles this upcoming Saturday, and 20 miles on the following. I should stick to cross-training or rest on the days I don’t run.

I’ve been continuing to go to BodyPump at NYSC once or twice a week and love the difference I’ve noticed in my overall strength and ability to increase weights. Last week, I took advantage of Soul Cycle’s free community rides on Tuesday and Thursday for my cross-training. Since I can’t afford to pay $35 for a class now (or ever, really…) these have been a nice treat while I have the flexibility in my schedule to head over to the West Village studio at noon. Even the shoe rental is free! I totally missed signups for this week, so maybe I’ll try again next week. I find I can’t motivate myself to get in a good workout while biking on my own, so a class is really helpful for me.

In non-running related news, I turned 27 on the first day of spring and had a great birthday week celebration with friends and family.

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Judging by the color of my tongue, I certainly enjoyed our wine

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A dance-filled birthday fiesta

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And a tasty lunch at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park NY with my mom

26 was my year of injuries, so I’m hoping 27 is my year of getting back to consistent training. And, if I’m lucky, perhaps it’ll bring a shiny new PR on October 12th.

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3rd year registering, hopefully my 1st time to start the race!

 

Sidenote: I see the above but still haven’t received any official confirmation email. Did anyone else think submitting a time qualifier separately from the application via email was extremely convoluted?

Hopefully I’ll be back with continued good news on the running front following this weekend’s 15. Need all the positive vibes I can get!

 

 

Hoarding beers

I’m back with some good news– I’m running! Without pain!

As I mentioned back in November, my stress fracture was lingering around slightly longer than expected and I ended up taking off a little over three months total. Three months without any exercise means starting my Boston 2014 training cycle from scratch. While not ideal, I’m very excited to finally get back on the roads and kick off 2014 on a good note.

CentralPark

This was in the fall when I couldn’t run, but you get the point.

 

2013 was likely my lowest mileage year-to-date, and I never stayed healthy or uninjured for longer than 3-ish months at a time. By the time I got in a groove, I got injured again and had to take time off. It’s difficult to continually start from scratch every few months, especially since the first month or so of getting back in shape is the most challenging. However, I am optimistic that 2014 will be a year of consistent, healthy training! Even if that consistency doesn’t pay off in the form of PRs this year, I’m confident that it will eventually.

We’re only 90 days away from Boston 2014, and I’ve got all my fingers and toes crossed that I can make it to the starting line healthy! I think it’s too early to determine an accurate goal time, 3:05-3:10 sounds safe. While I’m still chasing sub-3:00 or even just a PR in 2014, I want to be realistic and gentle with myself considering the circumstances. We’ll see how the coming weeks go…!

I recently started using Running Ahead to map out a training plan and log my data, after my friend Veronica recommended it. It takes a bit to set up, but is super easy to use once you set up your calendar! Here is my dashboard (below) that summarizes my training data/upcoming planned workouts, my (tentative) training plan to help map out my daily mileage and weekly build up, and my calendar that shows my actual runs-to-date coupled with planned runs.

Training Dashboard on Running Ahead

Training Dashboard on Running Ahead

 

I like that you can also view others training logs to compare runs, workouts, plans, etc. and it tracks miles on each pair of shoes to know when to retire them. I’m definitely guilty of over-wearing sneakers way beyond their mileage! You might also notice I added a little widget to the sidebar here on the blog that automatically uploads my latest runs.

I’m a few weeks into actual training and hit 35 miles last week! The injury-prone, nervous voice in my head thinks I’m still running too much, too soon. I’m only running 5 days a week right now, which has helped, but will go up to 6 soon. I’m also spending a bit more time stretching, foam rolling, and doing strength work. Knock on wood (or, knock on healed bone?) it keeps me healthier.

This past weekend, a group of friends and I trekked out to Long Island for the Sayville Running Company 10 Mile Run to the Brewery. This is the second year we’ve done it and it’s a blast. It’s pretty flat and ends at Blue Point Brewery for unlimited beer! I didn’t fully run the race last year as I was in the midst of my weird knee/IT issue and pathetically ran/walked a few miles out and back. I had very low expectations this year as I hadn’t even run 10 miles consecutively or done any tempo work to date.

10 Mile Run to Brewery 1/18/14

10 Mile Run to Brewery 1/18/14

I ran mostly with my friend Kristen and we had planned to run the first half easy and pick it up from there. Once the gun went off, we found our ‘easy’ pace a lot quicker than anticipated! However, I just rolled with it and got into a groove and started picking it up around mile 5. I was definitely working hard to hold 7:00 and under pace, but felt really strong and steady. I could feel my competitive drive coming back as I focused on picking each girl ahead of me off one by one.

When the pace felt really difficult or I wanted to just slow down, I kept steering myself back to positive thoughts. While it sounds cheesy, I reminded myself that I was so grateful to be out there running at all. I wasn’t able to do this race last year and just spent the entire last quarter of 2013 on the sidelines. I was now on the roads able to hold 7:00 pace off minimal running and workouts. While small, what an accomplishment! The thought of running a marathon at that pace in a few months is a bit daunting, but this is a pretty exciting starting point.

Hoarding beers

Hoarding beers

photo 3 (1)

Winners get growlers & pint glasses

photo 4 (1) photo

With a little more time on my hands these days, I hope to be able to post here a little more frequently. I have a feeling I’ll sound like a broken record over the next few months, but I’m excited and motivated to start fresh and get back in shape. Let’s see what April 21st brings!

Back to the Bridle

July 4th, 2013 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

This might be the first positive post I’ve written in 2013! After a weird knee injury and getting hit by a cab, January through May were pretty bleak. For the bike accident not being too serious, I was surprised and humbled by how long it took my back to heal. I did zero activity for a good month, which was kinda awesome. I love running, but I also love extra sleep.

Finally, on May 19th, this happened:

It was a great (albeit rainy) day. I eased in gradually, and it even took a few weeks until my mileage was high enough to make it to Central Park, do a short bridle loop, and go home. I’m a big believer in coming back from time off very slowly and cautiously. Three weeks into running consistently, 6 miles was a ‘long’ run for me. I officially started keeping a log of my training the w/o 6/10– marking the 4 month count down to the Chicago Marathon– which you can view and/or stalk here.

It makes me so happy to be back into the routine of morning runs in Central Park with friends, which helps the miles fly by and get me out there before the temps rise (though, this recent humidity is a different story.)

Not taken while running.

Whether I’m running with friends or going solo, my morning run is easily one of the best parts of my day. It’s early and I’m half asleep most days, but it’s relaxed, peaceful and selfish ‘me’ time. After not being able to run too consistently for nearly a year, I love being able to create that time to do something good for myself most days. No distractions or stress, just time for good conversation while our feet hit the bridle (and, drip in sweat– ugh, summer running.) It makes me happy to kick the day off with something that I love and brings out the good in me. It might be cheesy, but it motivates me to get up each morning, knowing my mood and sanity will benefit from it. Plus, it feels good to get in a routine and work towards some goals again.

Speaking of goals… I’m still figuring them out. While I’d love nothing more than to PR or break 3:00 in Chicago this fall, I’m trying to be realistic and easy on myself. While I’ve said many, many times in the past that the competitive spirit in me hates racing unless I’m going to PR, I acknowledge I’m in a different mental and physical state right now and that’s okay. It’s been over a year since I’ve done Boston 2 Big Sur, and I just need to get back to racing… whatever form that takes.

So, I’m just trying to enjoy the journey and see where this summer takes me. It’s incredibly difficult and humbling to get back into shape, but it’s also a rewarding process that I like seeing unfold. My workouts so far have been incredibly slow (for me), but I know that I just need to keep putting in the work– no matter the pace– and it’ll slowly get easier and better. It can be frustrating to see the paces and think about where I used to be or where I should be, but I also know I don’t respond well to unnecessarily stressing out or over-thinking it and don’t want to hit a breaking point like last summer. Re-reading that post reminds me of the stress and sad funk I got myself into.

Life is slowly but surely getting in a better place. More focus and support at work, less travel and more time with friends and family, more time to relax and destress, better sleep throughout most nights, and more days running than not. While I’ve got a long road ahead of me ’til Chicago, it’ll be a different journey I’m looking forward to.

And now, I’m off to hang and enjoy beautiful NYC this fourth of July– happy running, all!

The Game Plan

November 21st, 2012 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (5 Comments)

As I write this, I’m somewhere 30,000 feet above Newark and Phoenix, en route to sunny Santa Barbara, California for Thanksgiving. (edit: And now posting on my layover in Phoenix!) I booked my flights with a combination of frequent flier miles (all that work travel pays off, somehow!) and credit card rewards points, since Thanksgiving travel is outrageously pricey. It was an equal number of miles to book economy or business class for my outbound flight, so of course I chose business class and was pleasantly surprised upon check-in to have been upgraded to first class. What? Me?! It made the 6:30 am flight time (and 4:30 am wakeup call) slightly more bearable. Now I’m just waiting on my complimentary breakfast and booze…

Anyways, thanks so much for the kind welcome back to blogging. It always amazes me that anyone actually reads this, and actually cares about my ramblings of running mile after mile (or, more recently, not running). It’s awesome and I truly appreciate the support!

While I’m still in the stage where I’m running however long I want to, when I want to, I’ve been looking towards the future and mapping out a racing calendar to get motivated. In fact, I haven’t raced since Boston or Big Sur in April. Before my big goal race in March, most of these races below will serve as training workouts to get me back in the racing game, mentally more than physically.

January 5th: Joe Kleinerman 10K

  • Because I hate racing 10Ks and can’t think of a better way to torture myself after the holidays and New Years. Self-inflicted hazing?

January 19th: Sayville Running Company 10 Mile Run to the Brewery

  • My friend Veronica actually won it last year (badass!) and mentioned it’d be fun to do. My friend Terence lives in Sayville, so a few of us are going to go out to his house and make a weekend of it. A race that ends at a brewery with free beer…sign me up! (Says the girl who is supposed to be avoiding gluten, whoops.)

January 27th: Manhattan Half-Marathon

  • ‘Cause what’s more fun than paying to run 2 loops of hilly Central Park in the winter? I kinda bandited part of this race 2 years ago when it was 14 degrees as part of a long training run, willingly, because I was so crazy sick of running alone. Will probably be my first really ‘long’ tempo effort.

Something Awesome in February

  • I want to run the Cherry Tree 10 Miler again in Brooklyn, but I’m pretty sure it’ll fall on President’s Day weekend when my friend Ely is getting married back at Villanova (!!!!!), which is 10x more fun than any race. Open to suggestions for something else fun during this month!

March 17th: NYC Half-Marathon

  • Quite simply, I love this race. Haters can hate on NYRR and the ridiculously steep price tag (my bank account sure does), but I have such happy memories associated with this race and can’t wait to do it again, especially with a new (hopefully faster) course since I last did it in 2011. I didn’t run it last year because I got back from a work trip reallllllly late the night before, and was in the midst of Boston training. This will be my big Spring 2013 goal race. It just feels right. My story…
    • It was my very first post-collegiate race (and first half-marathon!) back in 2010. After 8 straight years of training and competing regularly in high school and college, I was still in that weird “kinda burnt out on racing and don’t know if I want to do this anymore” phase. I hadn’t raced in almost a year, and had never raced anything over a 6K in my life, so I didn’t do any workouts and went in with minimal pressure on myself. While I ran 1:29 and accomplished my goal of auto-qualifying for the NYC Marathon, more importantly, I found I really did love racing and competing again. Running was something I wanted to challenge myself with again.
    • In 2011, I had one marathon under my belt and had gotten more serious about training. I knew I could take down my 2010 time easily, but I totally underestimated myself and ran a 1:24:23, which still stands as my PR. I negative split that race and still remember how awesome it was to drop a sub-6 mile down 7th Ave and into Times Square, smiling and pushing my way down the West Side Highway. I can only hope I’ll be able to recreate that experience in March, this time a little faster.

While I haven’t signed up for the majority of these races (with exception of the NYC Half, booyah guaranteed entry), they’re on my radar and I plan to sign up as soon as registration opens, barring any work/personal plans that arise. Just mapping things out has already created some direction and re-sparked motivation that’s been lacking for quite some time. I’m not sure what’s on the horizon past mid-March, but I’ve got some ideas brewing depending on how the next few months go including (re)attempting Chicago in October if I’m feeling up to it.

While looking ahead to these races and how I’ll get fit again and train to PR, I’m trying very hard not to get frustrated with the health problems I’ve been having. I know my body and myself and can tell something has been off for a while. I had a good visit to an endocrinologist at NYU last week, and while it means multiple blood tests to look into a few things, I’m hopeful we’ll get a little closer to figuring it out once the results are back. I want to get back to competing at my best, but my body isn’t at its best right now. And honestly, it feels a bit out of my control to get it back to its best until I figure out what’s medically wrong. Until then, trying not to Google-diagnose myself with a billion different things…

No, but really.

Happy Thanksgiving, all! I’ll be enjoying a few well-deserved days off work with the family, eating turkey and drinking wine to my heart’s content. And you should, too!

What’s on your racing calendar? Any other fun NYC-area races you’d suggest I look into?

I love running, but sometimes, I love not running even more. It’s hard to believe it’s been just about a month since the Boston “Speed Can Kill” Marathon, and about 2 weeks since I trudged through the Big Sur Marathon to complete the Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge. In effect, besides those two days of running 26.2 miles, I’ve run exactly 6 times, only 15-30 minutes each, in the last month. Yay!

Less running, more drinking with friends!

I am a strong believer in periodization of training cycles. Part of this has to do with competing through high school and college. The seasons were clearly defined: Cross Country, Indoor Track, and Outdoor Track. We always took about two weeks of rest in between, give or take depending on practices. Breaks were natural, built-in, and welcome after a hard season or race.

After my LAST college race. I took a whole 3 months of NO exercise after that, and it was glorious.

It’s a little more difficult in the ‘real’ world of running, where there are fun races just about every weekend to sign up for, and no coach setting your competition schedule or telling you when to work out and when to rest. Unfortunately, I think too many runners get caught up in racing and training year-round without a break in between cycles and no real concept of periodization, and ultimately end up burnt out or injured. I get it, there are so many awesome races and marathons to sign up for…it’s easy to want to do them all and do them all right now.

But that’s also the awesome thing about the ‘real’ world. YOU control your training! YOU control your rest! YOU control your goal races. I know everyone is different, so I’m not saying you’re doing it wrong if you don’t split your training into cycles. Everyone’s bodies handle training differently, and everyone has different motivations for running and racing.

However, I really don’t think most people benefit from racing week after week, almost entirely year round, never allowing themselves to peak for a smaller handful of goal races. Instead, it’s just a steady stream of mediocre races at less-than-your-full-potential. I don’t think it’s physiologically or psychologically possible to be in your prime racing shape year-round. Of course, the type of races you do will influence this: training cycles differ in duration if you’re running 5Ks versus running marathons. I do firmly believe that periodization allows me to perform at a high level, while keeping enjoyable and injury-free. I love to race, but I love to race fast more. That means being patient and having 1 or 2 kickass races a year, over dozens of mediocre races.

I’m not a coach, so I’m not going to tell you how to structure your training. Again, it depends on the timing and length of what you’re racing. Google “training periodization” for a better guide than I’d give you. But from my personal experience over the past 3 years of post-collegiate racing, I select a goal race and build my schedule leading up to that. For a marathon, I start to focus on building my base about 4+ months out from the race. As the weeks pass, I steadily increase my mileage. I might schedule in a few races during training, but I use these races as workouts or fitness indicators, not goal races. About ~3 weeks from the marathon, I begin to taper. After the goal race, I take as much time off as I feel I need to recover: physically and mentally. Entirely ‘off’ is key: no physical exercise of any type (besides walking, that’s kinda inevitable..) Sometimes I need a little less than two weeks, sometimes it’s a month.

If you’re not longing for a break after a really hard few months of training or an awesome PR in a race, you’re probably not training and racing hard enough. If you’re back rocking workouts and long runs a week or two after a goal race, I don’t understand you. I’ll be chilling on the couch, not lacing up my running shoes until I’m fully longing to run.

I wouldn’t still be head over heels in love with running after 11 years of competing, chasing PR after PR, if I didn’t rest. It’s one of the most important pieces of the puzzle, and an often neglected one. If I trained hard, all year round, I’d never be able to peak accordingly to run a 3:03 (and soon, sub-3:00) marathon.

Another great part about not running? You get to focus on other areas of your life that got a little less love during your hard training. Like friends, family, and work! Lucky for me, my busy work season just started to kick in after Big Sur. Between personal and work trips, I am traveling every. single. weekend. in May and June. Bring it on, and see ya never, friends!

Sun Valley, Idaho for the Idaho Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics Association Conference

Boulder, Colorado as a sponsor of the Blend Retreat. Gorgeous view from our hike!

After Boulder, I was lucky enough to hang out in Denver for about 2 hours with my college roomie Emily before jetting back home!

And then I went to Dallas for the Team USA Olympic Media Summit

...Where I got to meet Bernard Lagat and was a HUGE runnerd.

And get to hear the First Lady Michelle Obama speak!

Yeah, it’s been busy, and I’ve come to appreciate my bed at home more than ever, but I wouldn’t have it any other way right now. I’m in a very exciting place in my career, and though traveling to events primarily on the weekends isn’t the most awesome way to maintain a normal social life, I absolutely love my job. I’m working more than ever, traveling more than ever, and sometimes I can barely keep my head on straight, but it’s so rewarding to feel so challenged and get the opportunity to do some very cool things.

I’m traveling to San Francisco the next two weekend, but for FUN! This weekend is my sister’s college graduation (wahhhh how do they grow up so quickly?!), so I’m looking forward to a weekend of celebrating with the family. Then I’ll return to CA for Memorial Day Weekend with three friends for a little Napa Valley getaway. At least there’s a bit of fun squeezed into my schedule. And maybe some running, too….maybe.

What’s your viewpoint on periodization in your training? Do you like taking breaks after races, or are you more of a year-round racer? Favorite place you’ve been lately?

Never, ever, did I think the day on which I ran my slowest marathon would be one of the happiest.

But Monday was exactly that: a new personal worst time and a new favorite marathon experience. I can honestly say I have never been as happy during or after a marathon as I was on Monday. In fact, I don’t think I’ve been this purely happy at a race since college. I think I’m still glowing from it (but more likely, it’s the sunburn).

Ignore my awful form & lack of abs. Pay attention to my smiling, happy face!

It’s no secret: I like to run fast. I am internally competitive and incredibly driven by time goals. Sometimes I think a bit too much of my happiness depends on my running goals, but that’s a story for a different day. You all know Boston was my big race to break 3:00…believe I mentioned it in just about every post for the past two months. I thought I’d be heartbroken if I didn’t; what could possibly be wrong with me if I couldn’t pull it off in a race? For the 2nd time?

On Sunday before the race, I readjusted my expectations. Well shit, I likely wasn’t going to run under 3:00 or close to it. I didn’t want to be an idiot in this heat, run too fast, and suffer for it. Quite simply, I had to respect the weather and accept the fact I couldn’t control anything but my mindset. I could choose to soak in the experience and remain positive, or dwell in the disappointment and frustration. I chose the former.

We have to run the whole way back?

I met Alex and her friend Neal to board the buses to Hopkinton around 6:20 in the morning. My hotel was a quick 2 minute walk to Boston Common so I didn’t have to travel far. The bus ride was long, and I realized we’d soon be retracing our route by foot. The entire pre-race experience was so much more mellow than my experiences the last 2 years at NYC– the village was calm and non-herd-like, bag check was in close proximity to the waiting area, porta potties weren’t crazy, and we were just fine getting into our starting corral with 10 minutes ’til race time. The relaxed atmosphere certainly soothed any nerves pre-race.

Once we left our shady resting area in the starting village and hit the sun, I started getting hot and nervous. Before bag check, I made the last minute decision to race in a sports bra vs. my CPTC singlet. I’m aware that this sounds really vain, but I didn’t feel comfortable racing in sports bra. Despite being in my best marathon shape running-wise, I’ve gained about 8 pounds since I started this training cycle..and it’s not all muscle. I don’t worry about my weight too much as I always tend to gain during marathon training, and I’d rather be faster & stronger but a few lbs heavier, but this is the highest weight I’ve ever been at in my life. I’m not sure what’s going on (or it could simply be more drinking..ha), but probably warrants a separate post. Anyways, a soggy, heavy singlet felt like it’d be a burden so sports bra it was. And now, I hate every one of my race pictures but will post them on the Internet anyways.

I’m currently without the USB to plug in my watch to get all of my splits, so we’ll just have to go off the official race splits & pace at each of them for now. I’m also too lazy to calculate each individual 5K split so the paces are cumulative.

“Welcome to Hopkinton, It All Starts Here!”

  • 5K- 21:36 (6:57 pace)
  • 10K- 43:23 (6:59 pace overall)

The gun went off and as soon as we crossed the starting line, I started smiling. This was so cool. Seeing the packed crowd of runners ahead trail down the narrow street was so surreal. The streets/bridges are so much wider in New York City, I hadn’t ever witnessed anything like it. I was running the BOSTON MARATHON! Everything about it was so novel.

Alex and I decided to keep the early splits steady– with a few under 7. We clicked off mile after mile and I felt comfortable aerobically. It took a bit to shake dullness from my legs, and I noticed sweat starting to pour down very early on. We ran through Ashland and Framingham, simply taking in the sights and grabbing fluids at just about every stop. When people are already walking at mile 4, you know it’s going to be a long day.

We're running a marathon in 86 degree weather! This is so much fun!!!

“Entering Natick”

  • 15K- 1:05:30 (7:01 pace overall)

At mile 10, Alex told me she wasn’t feeling great and needed to back off a bit. I didn’t want to leave her since I wanted my running buddy, but she urged me to go ahead. So into the sun and heat I went solo: comfortable, confident, and happy. I knew I could continue to click off that pace easily, since we never really ‘red-lined’ the pace early. I wasn’t in the hole, I was cruising. My pace at 15K was pretty on par with the 5K and 10K marks.

Around mile 11, my stomach really started to bother me. I kinda had to pee when I started and the feeling hadn’t dissipated like it usually does. And the sugary Gatorade was not sitting well. I’m not used to taking in so much Gatorade and sugars while running, but I knew I needed the extra electrolytes to keep hydrated. I started to notice there weren’t very many portapotties along the course and hoped the feeling would pass.

“Kiss me I’m  ________”

  • 20K- 1:27:39 (7:03 pace overall)
  • Half-Marathon- 1:32:59 (7:05 pace overall) – bathroom stop @ mile 13

As we approached the shady streets of Wellesley, someone said, “Can you hear it?” I tuned in and took in the deafening sounds from ahead. It was incredible. As we approached, I drew right and stuck out my hand, high-fiving the entire throng of girls with a ridiculous grin on my face. I actually think I was laughing at this point– were the signs really funny, was I having a blast, or was I already delirious? All three, probably.

After the deafening screams, I still couldn’t shake the uncomfortable feeling and had to stop to go to the bathroom right before mile 13. I have never stopped during a race before- it’s always been my biggest fear. I was a bit bummed that I lost around 45 seconds, but better to have a happier stomach on a non-PR day than one where time mattered.

Quads, meet hills.

  • 25K- 1:53:33 (7:07 pace overall)
  • 30K- 2:13:37 (7:10 pace overall)

As we wound through the downhills, my quads started to feel a bit off. I knew it was only going to be a matter of time until the steady pace started feeling a bit harder to maintain. I tried to stay controlled on the downhill to keep my quads intact, but my pace was slowing to around 7:15. I wanted so badly to cruise down the hills, but I knew it was smarter to hold back. There were hills ahead!

My mom was supposed to be stationed at mile 16, but we completely missed each other! I looked for her on the sidelines, but it was so packed and we had pretty poor planning. Once I hit the gel stations at 17, I knew I definitely missed her. My pace slowed as we climbed the Newton Hills, but I just focused on making it up and staying as relaxed as possible.

Hills are not my strength and never have been. Maybe it was the slower pace, but I didn’t think they were too bad. Yeah, they come at a sucky time in the race right after some steep downhills that kinda rip up your quads, but they’re relatively spaced out to allow enough recovery between. I was expecting more back-to-back hellacious climbs.

And all of the sudden, we were on Heartbreak Hill. People were stopping. Spectators shuffling alongside runners, offering water and ice. I just focused on powering up and passing people. Suddenly, I reached the top and broke into the BC crowds and instantly felt a wave of relief! The worst was over.

Almost home, rockstar.
  • 35K- 2:36:28 (7:11 pace overall)
  • 40K- 2:59:22 (7:13 pace overall)

The crowds at BC were my absolute favorite. Heartbreak Hill was over and I powered down a sweet, steep downhill. The college kids made you feel like a rockstar. I high-fived and smiled this entire mile and recall clocking a 6:55 down it. I had a second wind!

But that spurt was a bit short-lived, as I continued to coast until I finally hit the wall around mile 23. My quads had been fading bit by bit up until that point, but 23 was where my body really started to shut down and feel the heat. My run felt like more of a shuffle. 7:20 and 7:30 pace was harder to maintain. I tried to grab a gel from my pocket, but my hands & shorts were all wet and it slipped from my hands…and I was too tired to stop and pick it up. I kept pushing forward bit by bit. I saw my CPTC teammates around mile 25 which gave me a boost. I felt myself trying to push the pace, but struggling in frustration to do so. I actually made the conscious decision to stop trying to push faster and simply relax and get to the finish. Time was out the window, so why make it stressful? Relax. Breathe. Enjoy the sights.

Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston…

The turn onto Hereford felt like an eternity, but I started smiling the moment I hit Boylston Street and saw the finish line– there’s my silly grin in the first picture up top. I did it. Here I was. I could still break 3:10? What’s happening? Why do we have to move to the left side? Why can’t I run in a straight line? Should I throw my hands up when I finish? How many guys can I outkick? Why is this the longest .2 miles ever?!

Finish. 3:09:28, 7:14 pace overall. 58th female finisher, 994th overall finisher.

My slowest marathon by 5 minutes. Off my PR by 6, and off my goal time by 10+. I know it could have gone much worse. Even now, I don’t know how I still managed to run this pace in the conditions. Without the stupid bathroom stop, it would have been in the 3:08s. I am proud to say that I ran a smart race. I started conservatively and kept my head on straight, focusing and soaking in the experience: something I don’t always do when I’m gunning for a PR. I’m also proud that my hard training paid off in some capacity.

In 2011, the 58th female finisher ran 2:54; In 2010, 2:56. I realize this comparison is unsubstantiated, but I wanted to see how my performance, relatively, would have fared on an average day. I am confident that a 3:09 in Monday’s conditions is easily a 2:59 or under. While it is a bit frustrating to not have been able to cash in my training and hit that time on Monday, it’s simultaneously very comforting. It confirms that I’m right there, just like I knew I was. I am fit now, and I can be fit again for Chicago in October. My confidence is actually boosted, given what I was able to achieve on Monday and what could have been achieved, speculatively, on a cooler day.

See ya in two weeks, Big Sur Marathon! Love, Lindsay & Alex.

I suppose I only have my two experiences at NYC to compare to, but the crowds in Boston were incredible. Like no other.  I preferred the atmosphere of Boston over NYC. Maybe it was the heat of the day, but I loved the throngs of supporters- from little kids with ice pops to the fire department’s cooling tunnels. Everyone came together to make it a race I’ll never forget. I couldn’t have done it without the incredible spectator support, offering ice cubes to stick down my sports bra and cold sponges to soak over my head. Their water was colder than the sun-soaked cups at the aid stations. For a really well-written description of the race atmosphere on Monday, check out this article on Boston.com that sums it up beautifully.

Thank you to those who cheered on Monday & spotted me, including Susan (who wins best spectator as she saw me in 3!!! spots!), KellyLizzy, Lauren, Brenda, the CPTC gang, coworkers Kara and Emily, Erica, and I’m probably forgetting more. And reader Freddie who spotted me at the finish! I could not have done it without your support on the course. And everyone for tracking from afar, and texting, calling, Facebooking, Tweeting, Instagramming and any other method of communication. I felt very, very, very loved and supported before, during and especially after.

On Monday, I reminded my overly stubborn self that running is about so more than PRs; I run because I love it. That pure love and sheer enjoyment drew me into the sport and has kept me here for 11 years. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. I hope I haven’t become too robotic and numbers-driven to forget that. I am so proud of my 3:09, and happy to say it’s not always about the numbers. Sometimes, it’s simply about enjoying the run. 

And of course, celebrating with drinks & friends after.

And now, decompressing for a week before jetting out to CA for the Big Sur Marathon as part of the Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge. Big Sur’s hilly course is not conducive to a PR, so I won’t be gunning for sub-3 there as a redemption/’B’ race as a few friends suggested. Even if it was a flat, fast course, I’d still just run it relaxed. My body needs a break and I don’t care how slowly we run it. I probably won’t even run more than once or twice before the 29th. If I can steal a memorable quote from the BAA, “this is not a race, it is an experience.”

Thank you again for continuing to follow me along on this journey! While for a different reason than originally planned, Boston 2012 will have an incredibly special place in my heart.