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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!

Goodbye, 2012!

December 31st, 2012 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (7 Comments)

Hope you all had a great holiday season! I enjoyed a nice longgggg week at home with the family in NJ. It was really good to kick back, relax, and spend some time on the couch. I finally caught up on some sleep, destressed, and got in a few decent runs.

Home with the fattest cat in the world, Sushi

I came back into the city yesterday afternoon and headed over to Alex & Steve’s apartment for a few drinks before the 2nd Annual CPTC Ugly Sweater Party! I missed it last year, and was excited to don my festive vest I purchased for 99 cents on eBay.

And now, I’m ready to spend New Year’s Eve in NYC with friends; I haven’t spent NYE here sine ’09/’10 actually. Because I tend to feel a little bit more introspective around New Year’s, I’ll do another “reflections post“. I enjoy looking back, reading these, and seeing how things have changed (or not).

At the end of 2010, a lot had changed in my life and I felt weirdly in transition– as do most 23 year olds bridging the gap between college life and ‘real’ life. And 2011 brought even more changes, as I started a new job, joined CPTC, ran my 2nd marathon, and re-started and subsequently ended a nearly 6 year relationship. It was a hard year, especially from October-December, but I was happy and excited to grow with all the changes and challenges.

As I kicked off 2012, I was in a really good place. New Year’s Eve was great and I set a lot of goals for 2012. For the first half of the year, I was incredibly optimistic, being more spontaneous and putting myself out there in ways I probably wouldn’t have done before. I was kicking butt in running, work was going well, and I was having fun. And then somewhere along the way, I got a little lost. 

It kind of happened gradually, and I didn’t do much to stop it. I got overwhelmed with work. I didn’t know how to properly manage my stress. I was trying to do too much, and not sleeping nearly enough (I need a lot of sleep). I was trying to marathon train while traveling ‘Up In The Air’-style and not taking care of myself. I was away from home more weekends in Spring/Summer than I was home. I wasn’t happy with how I looked and really didn’t feel like myself. I developed bad habits that just made things worse.

After feeling crappy all summer, I got multiple rounds of blood work done in the fall and while my cortisol (stress hormone) was elevated and I showed a gluten sensitivity, follow-up visits to doctors and endocrinologists were pretty inconclusive. While of course I’m happy that nothing is terribly wrong, a small part of me wanted to hear that there was a diagnosis or reason why I feel so weird. I’ll admit it, it’s easier to place blame on something than accept it yourself.

A lot of the year was just a blur; I don’t know what I did or how I really felt. I was passive in my own life, not doing things or just putting them off for when I felt better. Old pictures, blog posts, conversations, memories serve to remind me how unhappy, frustrated, and void I was…or am.

But I think that’s dumb, and I’m over feeling that way. It’s stupid to wish for stuff to happen but not actually take the steps to make it happen. It’s ridiculous to expect things to just get better overnight. I need to stop complaining about things that are wrong if I’m not doing anything to actively CHANGE them.

Wake-up call, Lindsay. Stop doing the same stuff and expecting different results.

I was (am?) in a funk. I’m realizing that I can’t control a lot of what stresses me out, but I can control how I let it affect me or how I deal with it.

Stressed out about how busy work is? Stop checking Facebook & Twitter every hour and focus instead of staying late. Overly tired and need more sleep? Don’t stay up an extra hour to watch my DVR-ed episode of Teen Mom 2 (guilty). Feeling left out of plans? Go ahead and initiate hanging out with people for a change. Unhappy with how out of running shape I am? Step out of my comfort zone and start getting back into workouts and races. Frustrated at the weight I’ve gained? Just eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full, and stop mindless eating out of stress or boredom. Feeling like there is no time to do everything? Relax and breathe, not everything needs to be done right away, right now. And maybe stop wasting the time I do have on Facebook, seriously.

I’m unsure of the point of this post, besides being a bit stereotypical “New Year’s Eve reflections-esque” (is that a phrase?) and overloaded with positive quotes I found on Pinterest, but I’m ready to start changing how I interpret, act on, and manage things in life.

I know in the grand scheme of the world my problems are insignificant; people suffered great tragedy and much worse in 2012. But this is my life and I’m going to feel the way I feel. And I don’t like the way I feel, so I’m going to take it day-by-day and step-by-step to make it better, instead of sitting idly wondering why things aren’t changing.

“Without action, you aren’t going anywhere.”

Well I’m lacing up my sneakers and I’m ready to hit the ground running in 2013. Cheers!

I know it’s a bit belated, but (obviously) I’m back from spending Thanksgiving in Santa Barbara, CA and still can’t get over how amazingly relaxing and fun it was. I turned off my work email the second I boarded the plane on Wednesday (at 6:30 a.m. OMG early) and didn’t turn it back on until Sunday night right before I took the redeye home. I didn’t set an alarm the entire vacation, and slept the best I’ve slept in… a long time. Feeling rested, tuning out and truly being ‘present’ really allowed me to destress and turn off my brain for a bit. It was lovely.

For the third year, we stayed at the Hotel Oceana which is located right on the beach. I began each morning with an easy run along the beach path, usually around 30 minutes, and ate a leisurely breakfast outside in the sun. I just wanted to kickstart my day with a little sweat, but mostly just to take advantage of these gorgeous views.

We’d then go over to my aunt and uncle’s house, spending some quality time hanging out with the whole family, and (regrettably) teaching my Grandma how to use Facebook and Instagram on her iPad. Yup, needed a few glasses of wine during and after that lesson…

The whole family

Now that my sister and cousins are over 21,we enjoyed a fun night out in Santa Barbara on Friday…followed by a tipsy walk home along the beach.

Yes, I am short. I also think I was the only one not in heels.

We had an incredible Thanksgiving, followed by 2 days of leftovers. Which basically meant a full Thanksgiving 3 days in a row…and it was amazing. I think I could eat turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie and drink wine 365 days a year and be perfectly happy.

But now I’m back to reality in chilly NYC, trying to get back into the routine of getting myself out the door to run most days. Since it’s been a while since I’ve followed any sort of ‘plan’, I’m kind of struggling with running 5-6 days a week again and getting my mileage up. Lately, I’ve been doing around 4-5 days a week but at least 1 or 2 of those days is something easy like 2 miles before I pretend to lift at the gym. Somehow I can’t even seem to get to 30 miles per week, a relatively low number that always has been pretty easy to exceed.

Quite honestly, it’s just so much nicer to sleep in or be lazy or let early mornings/late nights at work get in the way. I need to remind myself that generally, I feel better after starting my morning with a few miles. It’s true, I rarely regret getting up and out the door. I’m more awake and feel better throughout the day. But my runs have been really slow and drag on, and I sometimes wonder how I’ll get back to the point where hitting 50+ mpw with workouts and long runs ain’t no thang.

Most of my runs have been pretty unremarkable, hovering around a comfortable 8:00 min. pace (which I’d like to work on bringing down), but there have been a few good days here and there!

The day before I left for Thanksgiving, I worked from my house in NJ and went for a nice mid-afternoon run to break up the day. I ran one of my favorite routes through a few parks and started pushing the pace without realizing it. 8 miles later, I hit an average of 7:21 pace with the last 3 miles at 7:09, 7:08 and 6:55. It was hard, but in that awesomely-uncomfortable way that I haven’t felt in a while.

And on Thursday of this week, I decided to attempt a solo workout just to get my legs moving a bit. It was nothing special, I just did 2x 1 loop of the Central Park reservoir (~1.58 miles) with .5 jog between. I hovered around 6:45 and 6:40 pace, which is a bit depressing since I used to be able to maintain that for 8 mile tempos (lolz) and I wanted to die after just 1 loop, but any easily-digestible workout is good right now.

And today I did my longest run in quite a while! I started out with Veronica and Meredith, then hopped back on the bridle after they peeled off, running into Nicole and Sarah for a few more miles. The run ended up flying by, ending up at my apartment 11.25 miles later. Running with people will always beat running solo.

My goals for this upcoming week include:

  • Unpack my suitcase from last week (I know, I know…)
  • Get my couch delivered (Friday!) and find a coffee table
  • Buy a real Christmas tree and lights, and decorate my apartment
  • Run at least 30 miles and rest up before a busy weekend that includes not one but TWO! friends’ Christmas parties, Ely’s bridal shower, and volunteering as a running buddy at Girls on the Run 5K!

Hello world, are you there? It’s me, Lindsay.

It’s been about 4.5 months since I’ve posted, which means a lot has passed and I’m not sure where to start.

Though the race happened a month ago, I guess it’s worth sharing that I didn’t run the Chicago Marathon. 

Guys, this summer was crazy. Crazy busy, crazy exciting, crazy stressful. I don’t know how else to really convey it. When I last updated, it was mid-June and I had spent the majority of that month and the one before traveling. And I was tired and slowly getting into shape, but that was just the start of the end. I spent the better parts of July and August traveling, including weekends. I was away more days in August than I was actually home. When I was in the midst of it, I knew it was crazy and I was all over the place, but I don’t think I fully wrapped my head around how intense it was until I looked back at it.

I’m used to having a lot on my plate. I tend to thrive on it, actually. But I don’t always handle stress well. When it gets too much, I internalize it instead of working through it. I feel like I stew in my own thoughts and get paralyzed to take action, which only makes things worse. I felt like I never had a solid night’s sleep because I was constantly having stress dreams. It’s a good problem to have when your company is growing so quickly, there’s SO much (too much!) to do and tackle– and I want to make it clear that I’m not trying to complain about that, because I 110% love my job and wouldn’t trade it for the world, I’m just stating that it was hectic. Most everyone at my company experienced the same whirlwind…that still continues.

To give you an idea of the crazy excitement: in the span of just one week we opened a retail store (Chobani SoHo–you must go!), debuted our Olympics commercial and put on a huge local community celebration in Central NY (yes, exactly like the Olympics commercial), hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony w/ elected officials at the store, and I left to go to London for 2 weeks…for the Olympics.

Oh yeah, I went to the Olympics for work and it was the most amazing experience and one I will never forget. Maybe more on that later…

Right. So why didn’t I run Chicago? I’ve always held a full-time job and marathon trained, NBD. My training log in June and July pretty much tells the story. “Tired” might be the most frequently used adjective to describe the bulk of my runs and “workouts.” There are some “terrible“s in there, too. I was doing OK at hitting my weekly mileage, but the time I left for London was when I needed to start bumping it up.

Before I left for London, I told friends and family I wasn’t sure how I felt about doing Chicago. At that point in time, my body needed the extra hours of sleeping, not hours of running. I wasn’t excited to lace up my sneakers and run, and that’s usually the biggest red flag for me. I decided I’d use London as a test: often times I actually enjoy running more when traveling more because I love running in different cities and schedules tend to be a bit more flexible out-of-office.

Well, you can see how that turned out. I had been getting weird knee/IT pain that wasn’t debilitating, but awkwardly affected my gait. I was staying up way too late to tackle work on NYC time, then waking up 4 or 5 hours later to get my run in before starting the day’s events on London time. I. was. exhausted. Something had to give, as I mentioned back in June, that something wouldn’t be my job.

I remember the moment I was walking on Knightsbridge going from one meeting to the next, rushing to make it. I had struggled through my planned 8 mile run that morning and could only do 4 miles at a ridiculously slow pace. I called my mom and said “I’m not running the Chicago Marathon” and simultaneously burst into tears and felt a wave of relief rush over me. I couldn’t help feel like I was giving up on myself, but I knew it was the right decision.

Yeah, I could have still done the race and finished. But for me, that’s not why I race marathons. I know myself, I know I’m competitive and I’m not going to toe the line for 26.2 unless I know I’m able to give my all. I signed up for Chicago to break 3:00, and it just wasn’t going to happen this year.

I accepted it, and I moved past it. This year wasn’t my year, and I can say that with equal parts heartbreak and acceptance. I still continued to run lightly when I got home from traveling. I was in such a funk from being away from home for 16 days, I felt like if I stopped running entirely, I’d dig myself deeper into a funk. For a good month or so, I only ran to meet up with other people since that was the only time I was excited to run. Weirdly, that ended up being workouts and long runs, not easy runs. Fine by me, I just needed to get back to the point where running wasn’t another stressor in my life and I looked forward to it again.

I had mixed feelings when October 7th rolled around. I was in Philadelphia for work as I tracked my friend and training partner Alex, who rocked her way with a slight negative split to 2:58:41. I was so excited and proud of her! A 5 minute PR! Once that sunk in, I was naturally bummed I wasn’t there racing alongside her like we planned, and then I got a bit hopeful because I know I’m capable of that too…one day.

It’s hard to describe, but for quite some time since early summer I just haven’t felt like myself. I attribute most of this to the travel and lack of routine. I can confidently say I severely underestimated the effects both stress and lack of sleep have on my body. I’ve gained a good 12 pounds from my normal weight, which is a lot for me since I’m only 5’3″ and my weight typically stays within the same ~5lb. fluctuation. I got bloodwork done and I have an extremely elevated cortisol level (which is a hormone released in response to stress), for which I’m going to see an endocrinologist next week to start to figure out. My primary care doctor said elevated cortisol can often lead to weight gain, among other things.

The blood test also showed a high intolerance to gluten. I don’t have Celiac disease, but I’ve since cut out gluten from my diet for about 1.5 months now, and I already notice a positive difference. I had been getting really terrible and unusual stomachaches, but assumed they were from weird or rich foods from traveling, and my thoughts were constantly foggy/not cohesive, which I assumed were from lack of sleep. Both of these things have pretty much subsided now. I’d also say part of the reason I’m feeling better is because I’m eating less processed foods/desserts (gluten is in everything), but I’m going to keep consistent at it anyways. It’s not too hard for me, and I do notice a positive difference so it makes it easy to continue.

So what’s next? Since the middle of August, I’ve just been running however much I want to, when I want to. Some weeks, that’s around 30 miles, and others, it’s around 10. I haven’t even been keeping a log. I’m working at losing the weight I’ve gained, which isn’t going too successfully because I’ve never tried to lose weight before. I’m running by myself more frequently. I’m even going to the gym to lift and do core work! And most importantly, I’m starting to get excited about lacing up my sneakers again, and that’s all I can ask for at this time. So thanks for continuing to read (if you’re still out there!). As I get back into blogging, I’ve got some exciting news to share next time about some winter/spring races I’ve registered for already…yay!

Back At It, Slowly.

June 21st, 2012 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (14 Comments)

Last time I posted about the importance of taking a break, I suppose I needed one from blogging as well as running. Let’s be honest: without much running happening around these parts lately, I haven’t felt inclined to write, nor have I had the time. And if I don’t want to write it, trust me, you don’t want to read it.

But with <4 months until the Chicago Marathon, I’ve slowly but surely started easing back into training. I had been running on and off in late May, never more than 30 minutes or so. I gave myself until Memorial Day weekend to run only when I wanted to, and then started keeping track of my mileage and forcing myself out the door more diligently.

Running in Seattle. Easy to rise early with a view like this!

Getting back in shape is …humbling. It’s extremely frustrating to struggle through easy runs, and tempting to just sleep in when a few miles at a sluggishly slow pace doesn’t seem worth lacing up for. Most days, I don’t even bother to wear my Garmin because I don’t care to compare my pace or distance.

But I’m used to this period, and know that being diligent and getting in a base will pay off. Soon enough, runs will become easier and my pace will get faster. I’ll dive right back into workouts and feel strong instead of wiped out. Getting back into shape can be discouraging but I just try to push those thoughts aside and continue to put in the miles, no matter how slow. Consistency and working through this tough phase is key. I think this is where newer runners get discouraged and quit. And I totally get it, running really sucks when you’re not in shape!

I’ve started to build out my Chicago Marathon training plan loosely, but still need to work out a few details. Here are the nuts & bolts:

  • One rest day: Running 6 days a week, with 1 total rest day, works well to give my legs & mind a break
  • Cut-back weeks: I found that cut-back weeks every 3/4 weeks really help build up mileage without becoming too fatigued or overwhelmed. I am going to try to time these around busy work/travel weeks, if it’s possible to sync up.
  • Peaking at 75+ miles: Slowly but surely, I’m increasing my mileage loads. In college, it was 50-55 or so. For NYC 2010, I peaked at 66.5. For NYC 2011, I peaked at 70.5; For Boston, 72. I am hoping to get in a good solid weeks at 65-70 and then cap it out at 75. While this isn’t a lot compared to other marathoners, honestly, it comes down to not having enough time (& energy!) to do much more.
  • Structured Mon-Sun weeks: I used to always chart my weekly milage like a traditional calendar, Sun-Sat. This made swapping long runs between Saturday and Sunday each week tricky, as the weekly totals would be wacky. Adding my weeks Mon-Sun just makes it simpler. Rocket science.
  • Strength Training: I know I say this every training cycle, but I am going to make a more concentrated effort at strength training and core work. I know it makes me feel (and look!) better but it’s the first thing to go through the window when my mileage increases. I need to stop making excuses and just do it. Thanks, Nike.

Honestly, I’m a little nervous about squeezing in a solid block of marathon training amidst a busy summer. My weeks and weekends are just about booked up until mid-August. Whoa. Work is incredibly excitingly busy (thanks, Ali) and most days I’m extremely overwhelmed and overtired and stressed. But I’m finally doing something I love and am so passionate about, the long hours, insane travel, and demands are so worth it. I’m someone who does not function well on little sleep, and I’m already feeling the effects. Something has to give.

And that something can’t be my job. I recently got an exciting promotion (yay!) and will be slowly transitioning onto more of a PR role versus straight digital communications. Of course, the two will always be intertwined but I’m excited to start to handle more day to day media relations. There’s so much opportunity to grow in my role which is tremendously exciting and terribly overwhelming at the same time. I have faith that I’ll figure it out and still have time to pursue other goals of mine: like running and maintaining a good life balance.

So I hope you’ll keep coming back and checking in, even though posting might get a little less frequent. I barely have time to do laundry most weeks, let alone write a substantial post. But I enjoy writing as an outlet and way to track my training and connect with others, so I’ll still be here!

Next week, I’m headed to Houston for about 24 hours and then straight to Eugene the 27th-2nd– that’s right, a perk of my job is being lucky enough to get to work at the Track & Field Trials. A runnerds dream. I’m excited since it’s my first trip to Eugene, and while I’ll be tied up with work most days, I hope I can catch a race or two, or at least get to hang with some college friends who are racing. Stay tuned as I make it my goal to stalk some Olympians. Kidding. Kind of…

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.