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In less than 20 hours (fingers crossed), I’ll be making a right on Hereford and left on Boylston. I’ll see the finish line in the distance and hopefully cross it in one piece.
For the last year+, I’ve had my sights set on breaking 3:00. It’s only been over the last 2 months that I’ve really started to believe — truly, confidently, believe —  I could do it tomorrow at Boston. I’ve spent the final miles of recent runs visualizing those last few miles, knowing I’m running 2:5X:XX, and actually felt the butterflies, excitement, and adrenaline. I worked hard for this. I earned this. I proved to myself, most importantly, that I could do it.
But no matter how hard and how long you train, some things are simply out of your control. Like tomorrow’ weather forecast.

 

90 DEGREES. 

 

In April, 70 would be HOT. 90 is just cruel. I didn’t really start worrying about the forecast until Friday morning, as I woke up to an email from the BAA warning about heat stroke. Yesterday, we received the official announcement that they were adding a deferment option, extending the course time, and signed off with a warning that “speed can kill.” Yes, really.

 

Reality check.

 

I’m not sure how to adjust my race strategy, but I’ll need to. My plan was to start out a tad slower than goal pace, around 6:55-7:00, feeling relaxed & comfortable on the downhills. I’d cruise until we hit the uphills, working a consistent pace, and then use the energy I banked by starting out conservatively to kick it the last 5-6 miles and bring it home under 3:00. The one thing I’ve heard, over and over, is to start conservatively or you’ll pay for it later.

 

I hate the thought of entirely discounting my goal before I even toe the starting line, but I can’t pretend I’m invincible either. The heat is going to affect me and everyone out there tomorrow. Yeah, I’m hydrating, packing in electrolytes, and will be sure to focus on taking water & gatorade at every stop I can, but it’s a fact that heat imposes real physical limitations on performance. BAA’s email today said: “You should adopt the attitude that THIS IS NOT A RACE. It is an experience.”

 

Just like thousands of others here in Boston, I am incredibly frustrated and disappointed. I’m in the best marathoning shape I’ve ever been in and success could be totally out of my reach tomorrow. I’ve had people tell me to just throw all goals out the window, run easy, and just finish. But I don’t train for months on end to simply finish, and it’s really, really hard for me to accept anything less than the finish I’ve been dreaming of.

 

But you know what? It’s BOSTON. My first! And more than likely, not my last. Every training cycle and race has it’s purpose. If I don’t break 3:00 tomorrow, I will be disappointed, but it’s just more experience under my belt that’ll lead me to a 2:5X:XX when the time is right. Maybe it’ll be Chicago in October, and maybe it won’t. But I’ll keep believing I can and working towards it.

 

So I’ll hit the streets in Hopkinton with my game face on and play it by ear. I’ll still start out conservatively and see where the race goes. For all of those who would like to track me, by bib # is 3752! I hope to wear my orange Central Park Track Club singlet, but I might strip down to a sports bra if it’s already warm in the morning.

 

 

And if anything, I’ve had a fabulous weekend so far in Boston– driving up and checking out the expo with teammates, dinner and exploring with my Mom, and just taking in the energy in this city pre-Marathon Monday. Hopefully it’s sunny and warm (but not THIS warm!) next year– I’d love to come watch!

 

Of course, I bought the requisite Boston jacket (& pint glass– because I’ll need a cold brew after this one):

 

Well, I don’t know if tomorrow will be ‘wicked fast’, but I’ll do my best to make it wicked fun.

 

THANK YOU for all of your support over the last few months especially, and for continuing to follow me along on this journey. I know you’ll all be rooting for me out there, and I’m happy to have made it this far healthy, happy, and fit. Boston, here we go! Good luck to everyone racing, let’s do this!

<1 Week!

April 10th, 2012 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (11 Comments)

It’s race week! And oh goodness, what a relaxing weekend will do. This sounds silly, but I haven’t woken up well-rested, without an alarm, or without some semblance of a hangover both weekend mornings in …a long time. Between working or traveling on weekends, rising early for long runs, and going out late, it just hasn’t happened. A week before the marathon is enough time to reset and refresh, right? Right.

Sunday Easter brunch & Central Park walk w/ Mom: The key to happiness!

This week I’m focusing on sleep, sleep, and …more sleep. By nature of my job, I’m ‘on’ and connected to social media all day long and find it hard to disconnect at night and fall asleep. Not complaining, just how it is. I’m trying to make a concerted effort to focus on work but shut down a bit earlier. Some things can wait until the next day. This week, sleep cannot.

But more important than sleep, I’ve been working to mentally prepare myself for next Monday. I touched on this last week, but given the successful training cycle I’ve had, I kinda expect to show up in Boston and break 3:00. I really have no right to be so cocky, so I’m trying to shake that mindset because I know it’s going to be hard as hell and I’m going to have to earn it. Marathons are extremely humbling and if I don’t prepare myself for it, I’m going to fall apart.

I wrote about this in my third Boston.com post yesterday, but at this point it’s really all mental. Grinding out a fast pace over 26.2 miles is hard and there’s going to be highs and lows. Each low point is going to wear down that mental layer bit by bit. I need to be sure I’m equipped with strategies to overcome those trying times and keep everything in tact and push through.

Last Thursday was a good time to practice staying strong mentally. We did a continuous 6 miles: 2 at marathon pace, 2 at half-marathon pace, and 2 back at marathon pace. For a final workout with the majority of it at marathon pace, this probably should have felt easier, but I was right on mentally. Yeah, our paces were a little faster than they should have been, and I think my watch was off a bit from Alex’s, but it’s interesting to see my heart rate didn’t drop back down much once we transitioned back down to marathon pace. Figure this will be similar to the final miles in the race…oof.

While this weekend is a busy one between work events, I’ll make sure to find a way to keep my head above water and rest up. Oh, and don’t worry. I’ve got the carboloading part down pat.

I’ll be nibbling on this all week. This speedy bunny surely has transformative properties. Right? Thought so.

Best mental strategies to prepare for a race? Anything else I should be doing to prep this week? Help! Advice! 

Less than 2 weeks to go, and the taper is on! Except my legs feel like lead and I’m exhausted. Not surprisingly, given a busy work trip, 10k race, and late nights this weekend. I’m going to try to make sleep a priority this week, lay low this weekend and hopefully I’ll be a bit more refreshed leading into race week.

About Saturday’s 10k race. All things considered, 40:38 is pretty good. It’s only 2 seconds off my (very weak) PR. I didn’t exactly have the best race prep, but since I was down in Charleston for a work trip (Chobani was a sponsor of the race), I had to make sure work was a priority. Racing was simply a nice perk.

Here’s a link to the full stats for the race, using the Polar RCX5 I’m wear-testing for Boston.com. If you know anything about heart rate training, I’d love your insight! Is an avg. of 181, max of 190, right for a 10K race?

Can you tell where the bridge was? Ha.

I hate to play the ‘excuses’ or ‘what if’s game, but bear with me. Under the right conditions I really believe I could have broken 40 minutes. Here we go:

  • My pre-race prep sucked. I spent Thursday & Friday entirely on my feet, shuttling & lifting cases of yogurt, and eating samples from booths at the expo for lunch and dinner (Muscle Milk, Blue Moon, fruit snacks, ice cream, and Atkins bars…)  Gross. Except all the Chobani, of course :)
  • Since I was offsite during the day, I had to catch up on work when I got back to my hotel each night after 9 at night. Combined with early wake ups, I slept about 5-6 hours each night– which is not enough for someone who needs 8-9 on average!
  • I had to get blood drawn on Friday (long story), so since I didn’t have a car, I ended up running to and from my blood test, while trying not to pass out, cry, or die on the 3 miles home. I felt really drained the rest of the day and into Saturday, unsurprisingly.
  • The race was delayed by an hour (!!!!) due to issues clearing the bridge, so it was even hotter. We stood around on our feet, not knowing when the gun would really go off, as the sun rose. Pretty sure it was over 80 degrees and this little Northerner was dying.
  • There was a massive, never-ending bridge for about 1.25+ miles, up which I hit blazing splits of 6:45 (started at the end of this mile) and 7:18. Combined with a whipping headwind, WTF. I shouldn’t run those splits in a 10K…
  • My legs weren’t exactly rested, nor trained to run a 10K. It doesn’t make sense that my 10K pace should be the same as my half-marathon pace, but it is. I’ll definitely drop time once I kick the high mileage & focus on ‘speed’.

Ok! Excuses, excuses. I know it’s like saying “well I definitely could have PRed if I was half-Kenyan/on a bike/magically had a tailwind/stopped a mile early!”, but I’m simply trying to put it in context of things I could and could not control. End complaint session.

On my 2nd Boston.com post this week, I wrote a bit about the race and loosening up a bit. After I finished and reflected on last year’s NYC Marathon, I made it a goal to become more flexible in training & racing. I was so ingrained in my routine, getting super stressed out when I had to stray from it. Everything about Saturday’s pre-race prep typically would have made me crazy anxious and defeated. “But I didn’t get 8 hours sleep the night before the night before the race! I didn’t eat my favorite oatmeal for breakfast! We’ve been waiting on the start line for an hour and I have to pee!” But this time, I just rolled with the punches and did the best I could, given the day. It was what it was. And obviously, the situation will be much different for Boston.

This training cycle, I’ve worked hard to let go, stress a lot less, and still live life. Through this, I’ve maintained a better running/life balance, and while everything hasn’t been perfect, I’ve been so much happier with myself, my running, job, friendships, life, everything. My post on working hard & playing hard just about sums it up. I firmly believe that keeping it fun and balanced will ensure a long love affair with running…and hopefully snag a few PRs along the way.

The remainder of my Saturday is a good example. Despite being exhausted from the race (and working the finish line event for about 2 hours post-race…in my sweaty glory), I still had time to grab some burgers and margaritas along the water with some coworkers before boarding my flight back to NYC. I passed out for a quick hour on the flight, got home around 7:30 p.m., pulled myself together (and threw back a 5 Hour Energy), went out to dinner with Terence as I missed his surprise birthday party while down in SC, and then went to Gian’s birthday where I drank (too much) and danced until 3:30 in the morning.

Again, it’s no surprise why I’m tired. While breaking 3:00 is THE goal and will make me feel incredibly happy and accomplished, spending time with friends and going out is a priority, too. Again, it’s about balance. I’ll just reel it in these next two weeks and hope I can “have my cake and eat it too.” Wishful thinking? We’ll see.

And now, sleep. sleep. sleep. And a little bit of running thrown in there, too.

On Sunday, I trekked down to Brooklyn (/got a ride there so I wouldn’t have to take the subway, thanks Alex & Steve!) to run the Cherry Tree 10 Mile race. I didn’t really have a plan going into it beyond getting in at least 18 miles for the day and having the race be my workout for the week. I’m definitely not in racing shape and after traveling during the week, I was a bit beat.

The later 10am race start in Prospect Park was nice, so I woke up at 8, ate a decent breakfast & drank coffee (a must!) before heading down to the school to pick up our bibs and do a quick warmup.

We covered around 2.75 miles before heading to the start– my legs were really tired and just felt heavy. We started off the race a bit further into the crowds, with plans to start out conservatively and go from there.

Cherry Tree 10 Miler, Prospect Park Brooklyn, 2/19

Alex & I ran together the entire race until she pulled away from me the last time up the hill– it was so nice to have company! Our splits were relatively steady around 6:45, with a few quick ones on the flat/downhill miles and slower on the uphills. Honestly, I don’t mind Prospect Park at all, and don’t think the hill is that bad compared to Central Park. Sure, it’s long and I kinda wanted to die the 3rd time up it, but the rest of the park’s terrain is pretty forgiving.

My final chip time was 1:06:13, for an average pace of 6:38ish. I’m pretty happy with this effort considering how heavy my legs felt and that I wasn’t well-rested. But, sure does make doing 16.2 more miles just 10-12 seconds per mile slower sound really, really daunting.

A big CPTC crew ran back over the Manhattan Bridge, making the cooldown go by much faster than if we logged another few loops in the park. I covered 18.25 miles total for the day and rehydrated with the team a few hours later:

CPTC @ Loreley's

All the sudden I found myself extremely drunk before 8 p.m. on a Sunday. So much for taking it easy this weekend :)

I had planned this week to be a cut back week in terms of mileage, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to take it or not. I want my schedule to be flexible depending on how I’m actually feeling vs. what I planned, and what if my legs were feeling good? Well, my legs were still sore into Wednesday due to the race and wearing flats, so a cut back week it is.

I’d like to get in around 40 miles still including a long run of 18, with no workout this week. Someone asked why I don’t step back my long runs, too. For me, I’d rather gradually build up my long runs linearly (14, 16, 16, 18, 18, 20, 20, 20) instead of breaking them up with a scaled down long run. With only so many weeks ’till Boston, I want to try to get in as many long runs as possible, and stepping it down to a week would take away from that, you know? Instead for my cut back week, the long run is essential but I take a few more rest days and nix the workout to give my legs a break. Maybe that’s wrong, I’m open to suggestions :)

I also wanted to use this week to catch up on sleep and recharge my body to get me through the next 4 hard weeks until the taper. Unfortunately for my body, but fortunately for me, work has been keeping me super busy between meetings, projects, presentations, etc. so I haven’t slept and relaxed with ‘me’ time as much as I’d like. But I am so lucky to be doing something I love, and I definitely focus better when I’ve got more on my plate. No complaints.

After this cut back week, I hope to hit totals of 60, 60, 65 and 65 before backing off for the taper. Maybe more, maybe less. 4 weeks of hard work ’till Boston…April 16th, are you here yet?

2012 Goals

January 4th, 2012 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (22 Comments)

Happy 2012, everyone! I spent New Year’s Eve in South Beach Miami doin’ the whole club/table/bottle thing and had a blast. I left the trip on such a high (natural one, promise) because I had so much fun with our group of 10.

Honestly, I was a bit unsure of how the trip was going to go, as going on vacation to spend NYE with an ex isn’t ideal. But I kept positive the entire time, focused on letting go and just tried to be myself and have fun. Maybe it was all the booze, tanning on the beach, or nonstop dancing on NYE, but I felt content and simply happy. 

What a way to ring in 2012! I have a feeling it’s going to be a good year.

Now that it’s January 4th, I’ve had a few days to think about my goals for 2012. Last year, most of my 2011 goals were concrete and measurable. I know the standard approach to setting goals is to make them S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, timely), but I’m feeling mostly abstract for 2012.

2012 Goals

  • Break 3:00 in the Marathon
    • Yep, this is concrete. I’m a bit nervous to say this given my motivation for Boston 2012 is lacking (more on that later), and I’m split on registering for a fall marathon. But I need to go big here and remind myself I can and will achieve this.
  • Break 1:24 in the Half-Marathon
    • I’m not currently signed up for any half-marathons (I didn’t register for the NYC Half, one of my favorite races), but I want to lower my PR of 1:24:23 set last year March.
  • Complete the Boston2BigSur Challenge
    • I’m registered for the Boston2BigSur Challenge, running Boston and then Big Sur two weeks later. I dropped the $$$ to do this, but need to hold myself accountable and not back out from either.
  • Live alone
    • This is something I’ve been thinking about more recently. I’ve lived in the same apartment since June 2009 with two fabulous roommates that I love. I love the Upper West Side, my room is huge, it’s affordable and has an elevator and laundry in the basement. I don’t mind having roommates at all, actually enjoy the company, but really think that living alone would be a good thing for me. In NYC, studios are pretty $$$$ so I need to hold myself accountable at the end of August when my lease is up, and not stay because it’s cheaper & more convenient. Not excited about dropping major bucks, but I’ve been saving and want to do this for myself.
  • Stop biting my nails
    • Same as 2011. Maybe one day….?
  • Be more spontaneous
    • I was going to say “do one spontaneous thing each week”, but planning spontaneity is a bit of an oxymoron. I want to say ‘yes’ to doing and trying more new things, like “Yes Man” style but not as intense. It’ll widen my experiences greatly. First up- said YES to joining an Intramural Dodgeball League, which should be interesting.
  • Live in the moment and be more ‘present’
    • Simply taking a few moments to look up from my phone and experience what’s going on, taking off my iPod while walking around and starting to actually listen, stop trying to distract myself/pass the time and enjoy the present.
  • Strengthen friendships
    • Make a better effort to hang out with friends more often, whether for a night out, quick coffee, or run. Call friends who live far away to catch up. Travel to see friends who live far away. Surround myself with the friends that make me happy, and hopefully meet new ones, too!
  • BE HAPPY.
    • I want to be the best version of myself. I want to be continuously inspired, remain optimistic, keep my head high, look at the good in situations, remind myself that there’s always tomorrow, not take myself too seriously and laugh often. I want to go with the flow and be more flexible and proactive. It’s silly to think I’m going to be happy 110% of the time, all I’m working towards is having a smile on my face more often than not and feeling good about the decisions I make.

And now, for a few inspirational pins from my newest obsession, Pinterest. Cheers to 2012, friends!

‘Tis The Season

December 23rd, 2011 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (5 Comments)

TGIF! It’s Friday and I finally headed out of the city back home to NJ for Christmas this afternoon. It’s starting to feel like Christmas time which I love. I’m thankful to only live a 35 minute train ride out of the city, as braving the crowds of Penn Station was torturous enough. I’m excited to spend a lot of QT with my mom and sister, relaxing and enjoying the holiday after a pretty busy week.

On Monday, my colleague and I rented a ZipCar and drove 4-5 hours to upstate NY for a meeting at the Chobani plant in South Edmeston. We stayed at the cutest hotel in Hamilton, NY called the Colgate Inn, which is about 30 minutes from the plant.

Chobani Plant

On Tuesday, I got my first tour of the plant which was so cool! I didn’t know what I expected, but it was a lot different than what I’d pictured. We got to go into the depths of the plant, and the coolest part was seeing where they strain out the whey. The plant has expanded a lot in the last 4 years as the company has grown, but it’s still hard to believe that it’s all produced right there in farm country.

I was pretty beat from the weekend, travel, and driving so I didn’t run at all Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.  The weather was so unseasonably warm yesterday, I had to hit the roads. In a t-shirt and shorts, nonetheless!

Hello first day of winter. While my pace was pretty good, I struggled aerobically which indicates I’m terribly out of shape and have no base. I should probably start running more than twice a week, oops?

Last night, I went on a little dinner date (yes, a date!) at the newest outpost of The Meatball Shop in the West Village. It’s just as cozy and small as the Lower East Side location, but luckily we only had a 5 minute wait for dinner around 6:30. Since I can’t commit to just one ball (ha), I got the sliders (spicy pork w/ spicy meat sauce, veggie w/ mushroom sauce, and special lamb meatballs with pesto sauce) along with a market salad with pomegranate seeds!

And of course, we just had to split an ice cream sandwich with the specials of the day: Gingerbread ice cream with chocolate peppermint cookies. Yummmmm. The food was good, but I have to say, the company was even better :) As you know, fall was a little rough in the love department. I am happy to report that I’m finally actually enjoying this whole ‘being single’ and ‘dating’ thing. I’m in a really good place right now, unsure of the future, but couldn’t be happier about it. A few months ago, I never thought I’d feel this way.

One of my goals for 2012 is to strengthen my friendships and surround myself with people that make me happy. I mentioned this before, but I’m so lucky & thankful to finally feel like NYC is home, largely due to the old & new friends I’ve made here. I want to keep in touch with friends near and far more regularly, appreciate them more, and spend more time with them. To kick off the holiday season, I’m headed out to Casey & Matt’s house in NJ tonight to hang out with a small group of college girlfriends. On Monday, I’m heading back out to my old town Basking Ridge for a little reunion with high school friends, and then Wednesday I am off to Miami for New Year’s Eve in South Beach with a big group of college friends. Lots of plans, lots of fun!

Highlight of your week? Plans for the holidays?! Thoughts on Facebook Timeline? I just updated it and I kinda love it.