Twas the night before the 2015 Boston Marathon…

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And as far as my feelings go? I feel lost. For the first time since I started running, I have no idea what to expect and no real goals to hit. I have always been a heavy miles runner, even as an adult onset runner, I hit running straight into marathons and back to back marathons where I ran my first in DC 2012 and my second 4 weeks later in Boston.

So when I say I haven’t ran a marathon since early November, it scares me a bit. In the past years, I have ran monthly marathons leading up to Boston. While now, the past few months have been strange, and my emotions confused. My identity as a “fast” runner seems lost. I hit two 20 milers and I know I will finish, but the carefree running that I’ve enjoyed seems forever gone. This planter fascia battle seems a bit never ending. I get the runs done, and I make it through, but its taking it’s tool on my confidence.

Without a training plan, or training happening, I feel lost in my goals.

The nasty physician assistant at the Tufts doctor office I went to, would claim it was my heavy mileage or error in training that cause my injury. I don’t know what to believe anymore, but I try to carry on. I have years of PR ahead me, I just need to  get through this battle so I can win the war.

And at the same time I am overcome with the feelings of being gracious for all the friends, and support I am constantly receiving through social media and IRL – In Real Life.

Here’s the thing about us runners. For the most part, none of us will be athletic champions. Most of us are not elite and won’t be winning anything. But the glorious part of running, is that we are all winners simply by participating, something that most sports don’t have.

We parade in our obnoxious colored bright jackets and brag in our achievements. For a few weeks we feel special. Whether we qualified by running, or fund raised a ridiculous amount of money for an amazing cause, or are just lucky as shit and got a free entry through a hook up, saying you’re running Boston makes you feel like a hero for a little while before we return to the normal grind, even if the normal grind is being a marathon maniac.

And the other feelings circling in me, I’m a little sad and nostalgic to the old days before the 2013 marathon. In 2012, Tony joined me for about 2-3 miles of the race as I walked in heat stroke with a giant bag of pretzels sharing with other heat defeated but not given up runners.

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In 2013, my friend Dan pushed me through the final 10K (but not the finish line) to a 3;26 Boston, my best time on the course to date. Yes, if I had any more energy in me, I would have kicked him.

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And finally, the 2014… we are Boston.. we are runners.. and yet everything has changed…

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I ran the course with many more runners, 36K to the usual 27K. The rutpackers gone. The lewd drunkness in slight secretness. To be honest, I know we were celebrating overcoming the terrible act in 2013, but I felt that the spirit of the Boston Marathon from the rutpackers, to the dunk college students, to other local bandits have been lost.

In 2015, the BAA sent warning emails to no longer post your bib pre-race due to people banditing the course by stealing bib numbers. You know because clearly the victims were begging for their hard earned bibs to be stolen. You would think that with all these scares, they would change the design of the bib, but I can tell you, it looks the same as 2014, only 1 digit difference….

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My hope for 2015? normalcy.. I want safety but to be honest, the security made me uncomfortable. The constant guard dogs on course made me feel in police state and forget my opinion of how I feel about lack of bag check in the Athlete’s village. But I will continue, step by step, mile by mile to run, because I can and I know many others would love to take my spot.

The weather went from sunny high 50s to rain and crazy wind to a high of 48… but I guess it’s only to be expected from the crazy weather we’ve been having this year. I guess in some way, us locals for the first time in a while have a home town advantage. Wind, rain and just shit out of local weather.. yea that’s New England running for you. After changing my mind like 20 times about what to wear, cause you know you gotta look cute for all your hugs and photos, I have settled on taking my rain jacket with me. In a race where I’m less fit, I rather be more warm than cold.

I don’t know how a post about mixed running emotions and goals turned more political than I wish. I guess it’s the sadness that in a year where I would love to have a few steps of familiar support is no longer allowed. It takes a village to raise a marathoner and the inner circle of that village is Boston for me, the city that’s been my home for 12 years. I know many friends who are running tomorrow, but for the most part I feel a bit surrounded by strangers and out of towners. Without time goals, I feel lost, but instead I’ll keep a hugs goal! My friends can’t step on the course, but the BAA can’t stop me from stepping on the sidewalk!

And yes, when I started writing this, I thought I had my thoughts in order, but now it’s just a jumble of something that none the less I wanted to share.

To follow me simply text my Bib Number 11887 to 234567 using your phone. And if you don’t see me for a while between mile 20 and the finish line… don’t worry, I’ll get there ;).

2015 Boston Marathon Week Events

Ahhh… I filed my taxes and it’s not the end of my tax season tunnel time where I can return to the more fun things in life… like more running and more thinking about running.

Speaking of which… my favorite week of the year is about to start!

That’s right, we’re in the weather checking zone of the Boston Marathon!

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One day, I would love to run a PR at Boston, and do something impressive, but until then Boston is about fun for me. Always been and always should be. The spirit of running just takes over Boston and I absolutely love it! Suddenly everything is all about Boston Pride and running pride and all the fun stuff. I’m not into a lot of other sports so I miss out on the spirit of that during most seasons (Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, yea meh not my thing, except Hockey, go Bruins!).  It’s a great time to be a runner the week before and after Boston and it”s an even better time to be partaking in it all surrounded by friends and family since I’m local to the area.

The week before Boston, all the running related legends come into town and I want to put together a little weekly recap of what’s out there. If I missed anything, let me know!! If you’re planning on attending any of these, let me know!

I tried to keep most event with free stuff and free food because you know where my priorities are at. I did include a few paid events in town as well.

Tuesday, April 14

6:00-9:00 p.m. – Adidas Event: City Sports Back Bay (480 Boylston Street). Dave McGillivray, Boston Marathon Director, will speak followed by a 2-3 mile shake out run. After the run, join us for a FREE pasta party courtesy of Adidas. Limited details and other events here

6:30 PM – She Runs Boston 1st Run of 2015 and shopping event hosted by Athleta (92 Newbury Street). Facebook event deets here. I hope to stop by this one.

Thursday, April 16

6:00-9:00 p.m. – Brooks Lobster Event: City Sports Back Bay (480 Boylston Street). Stop by City Sports to celebrate the launch of the new Brooks lobster shoe. Enjoy a 2-3 mile fun run followed by FREE lobster rolls, a live DJ, and raffle prizes. All attendees will receive a special gift from Brooks. Limited details and other events here

Friday, April 17

2:00 PM - Boston Marathon expo opens! http://www.baa.org/races/boston-marathon/participant-information/expo-and-number-pick-up.aspx 

5:00 p.mAsics Store (328 Newbury St.) Bring your friends for an evening shake-out run hosted by Olympic medalist Deena Kastor and Runner’s World Chief Running Officer Bart Yasso. Evening will include:

· Fun run offered to runners of all levels
· Post –run refreshments
· Race day tips from Bart + Deena
· Chance to check out the latest Asics apparel and running shoes
· Secure bag check during run

FREE ASICS Gift Bag for the first 50 runners who attend.

Going to try to attend this too! Facebook details

6:00-9:00 p.m. – Converse Event: City Sports Back Bay (480 Boylston Street). . Join City Sports for an awesome event sponsored by Converse. Enjoy free giveaways, a live DJ, and refreshments. Limited details and other events here

7:00 p.m.Harvard Book Store and Runner’s World welcome Skechers Performance elite athlete MEB KEFLEZIGHI, winner of the 2014 Boston Marathon, 2009 New York City Marathon, Olympic Silver Medalist, and founder of the MEB Foundation, for a discussion of his book Meb for Mortals: How to Run, Think and Eat like a Champion Marathoner. The evening will be hosted by Runner’s World Editor-in-Chief DAVID WILLEY, who will be joined on the panel by 1968 Boston Marathon champion and long-time Runner’s World editor AMBY BURFOOT, TCS New York City Marathon Race Director MARY WITTENBERG, and Meb for Mortals co-author SCOTT DOUGLAS.

Lots of cool people will be there but the event is not free. $25 will get you in and a copy of Meb’s new book that I think is presigned.

Tickets can purchased online only.

Saturday, April 18

9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. - Boston Marathon expo opens! http://www.baa.org/races/boston-marathon/participant-information/expo-and-number-pick-up.aspx 

9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. – Janji Shakeout Run: City Sports Back Bay (480 Boylston Street). Prepare for 26.2 with Janji and City Sports! Join us for a short shake out run followed by refreshments and a Coach Greg McMillan meet and greet. Limited details and other events here

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Join Meb Keflezighi and coach Greg McMillan and learn the secrets to Boston Marathon success! Meet and greet from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Lenox Hotel, 61 Exeter St. at Boylston, Dome Room, 2nd floor. All attendees receive a free UCAN sample pack and autographed photo of Meb! Please register at: generationucan.com/bostonmeb  I’m hoping to stop by this!

11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.City Sports Back Bay (480 Boylston Street). Customize all of your official Adidas BAA apparel at City Sports! Limited details and other events here

12:00 p.m. – Best-selling author Christopher McDougall (“Born to Run”) will be in town on marathon weekend promoting his new book, “Natural Born Heroes: How a Daring Band of Misfits Mastered the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance.” There’s a free run involved but then a 2PM & 7PM event that require tickets. More info on Facebook event!

12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. - Lululemon (337 Newbury street) Marathon Mantra Henna – Running The Boston Marathon this year? Come join us in store and have your favorite running mantra (henna) tattooed on your arm! There is no better reminder to stay focused and motivated as you cruise over heartbreak hill than glancing down to see your favorite words of inspiration. No appointment necessary and tattoos will be given on a first come, first serve basis. See you there!Facebook details

2:00-5:00 p.m. – New Balance Fresh Foam Event City Sports Back Bay (480 Boylston Street). Celebrate the New Balance Fresh Foam Limited Edition Boston shoe with City Sports! Stop by our back Bay location and try on a New Balance Fresh Foam and receive a free grilled cheese from Roxy’s Grilled Cheese!

4:00 p.m. – Tracksmith: Please join us on Saturday to celebrate the release of METER Magazine Issue #01.

METER is a quarterly journal of reportage and gorgeous photography that re-establishes a connection between the sporting heritage of running and its current group of participants and fans. Meet some of the contributors and enter a raffle to win limited-edition prints of some of the featured photography.

Sunday, April 19

8:00 p.m.  - Land’s End & Runners world – Come run with the Editors of Runner’s World, including Bart Yasso and Elizabeth Comeau, and check out the new activewear line from Lands’ End! Light refreshments will be served after the run. Location:  Sheraton Boston, Backback Ballroom A, 39 Dalton Street, Boston, MA!Facebook details

9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. - Boston Marathon expo opens! http://www.baa.org/races/boston-marathon/participant-information/expo-and-number-pick-up.aspx 

9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. – Janji Shakeout Run: City Sports Back Bay (480 Boylston Street). Prepare for 26.2 with Janji and City Sports! Join us for a short shake out run followed by refreshments and a Coach Greg McMillan meet and greet. Limited details and other events here

11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.City Sports Back Bay (480 Boylston Street). Customize all of your official Adidas BAA apparel at City Sports! Limited details and other events here

Monday, April 20

It’s race day, come cheer me on! Outfit of the day will be posted to Instagram! I am starting around 10:30 and hoping for a 4 hour glory finish if all goes well. Simply text my Bib Number 11887  to 234567 using your US mobile phone for all the details as I slow down mile by mile in my usually glory.

Tuesday, April 21

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.City Sports Back Bay (480 Boylston Street). Medal engraving at City Sports! Limited details and other events here

I’m alive check in!

I’m alive!! Just taking a short blog hiatus for Mid March – Mid April for my annual tax season disappearing act!

For almost daily updates of my PF injury drama, crap I eat, running and all the ginger cat photos I know you all love, follow me on Instagram or Facebook or even sometimes twitter 

 

And if you haven’t filed your taxes yet, remember kids, it’s due 4/15, so either file them, or get your extension ready.

 

Peace out,

Your favorite lovable CPA on the run (or attempting runs lately)

2015 Great Stew 15K Race Report

Speaking of historical races, there’s also the Great Stew 15K in Lynn with it’s 41st year in action! Yes, that’s right before I was running very sick and weak (for me) half marathons, I had a great showing at a 15K.

The 2015 Great Stew 15K was originally scheduled in Mid-February as it usually is. Being New England, we always expect cold, wind and general crap weather. What we didn’t expect was 100 inches of snow that were beyond most humble cities’ ability to remove with many more inches in the near future. So the race director did what many others tried and rescheduled for data that would allow a city to recovery a bit, clear up it’s roads and recruit more volunteers!

And that is how we found ourselves on Sunday March 8th with a race at 10AM.

The race is only $15 and $20 on race day, so a great local option for those on a budget. There’s no medals, and there’s no race shirts, the roads are not closed, but there’s a dedicated race director, and an amazing group of volunteers making it a great event. There’s also Stew at the end, but I’ll get back to that.

Race morning I woke up and felt the usual lazy Sunday feeling I’ve grown accustomed to this winter. I wasn’t sure if the race was going to go on or not, so I ran a tempo 10 miler Friday and did a snowshoe walk Saturday.

As I was making my way through my Costco size jar of peanut butter for breakfast, my friend Dan stopped by to pick me and another friend to the race. And that was that for breakfast… I should really get back to a routine.

We got there an hour early to make sure there was parking. As promised, there was a warm place to hang out before the race start at the Knights of Columbus in Lynn and real bathrooms. Nothing is better than real bathrooms before a race with minimal lines. Not sure where the other people went.

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As Dan went to warm up for the race, Sonia and I stay back as I covered by the heater. Eventually it was 3 minutes to start of the race and I decided now would be a good idea to hobble over.

As the race started, I kept a moderately conservative pace. I heard the race was hilly and I wasn’t sure what to expect.

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The weather was in the 30s and although I expected to be way too warm in a long sleeve, I decided to run with it and in actually ended up never really warming up. The wind and overcast clouds did not make it feel any more like March!

The race starts on a side street and continues to on a relatively busy road. While there’s power in number of runners around you, I didn’t feel save enough to wear my headphones so I just carried them I guess for decoration. The hills many mentioned were nowhere as bad as Amherst and the only really lung killer for me was around the 4-5 mile mark.

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I really have no idea what I’m thinking here, maybe gee I’m thirsty but I’m too cold to drink water.  Or better yet, I was feeling the joy of the downhill portion.

Towards the last 3rd of the race (it’s only 9.3ish miles) I started to pick up my pace and feeling in a good running spot. I even got to pass a few dudes which always makes me happy!

However in the last mile I started to loss my pace as the mile wouldn’t end! My garmin had me a 9.55 distance versus the 9.3 official distance.  My kick was weaker than I would have liked but I was excited as I sprang through the finish line. For a short moment I regained the joy of running I seem to be struggling with this year!

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And nothing catches you heel handed as these photos demonstrating part of the what’s probably causing my PF!

After the race, I enjoyed some Great Stew as the race name indicates. Although I did put my foot in my mouth as I rambled about not really being a fan of stew and then loving the one they had at the race as I downed two bowls!

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They had a meat and vegetarian option as well as cookies, bananas and hot beverage. I think there was a cash bar too if one wanted to.

There was an awards ceremony afterwards that seemed to be geared more towards the older age groups. They got some small packs and hats I think. It went top 5 in gender as overall winners and then age group winners starting at 40+ going in 5 year increments. So basically the the 1-39 age group and overall winners was one group. I was about a few seconds off from 5th place. If only I didn’t give into the voice for walk breaks up that hill in the middle!

Finish Time 1:08:59

Official Pace 7:25

Division Place – 6/37

Overall Place – 38/173

Overall, for $15 it was a great small race and hope to participate next year!

2015 New Bedford Half Marathon Race Report

As a Boston runner, there’s just certain iconic road races that come to mind. Boston Marathon, of course. Falmouth Road Race…which is pretty much the celebrity running party of the year, and New Bedford Half Marathon. The 38th annual New Bedford Half Marathon was held on March 15th, 2015 at 11AM. Race registration started at $50 and goes up to $70 the week of the race. The race generally sells out and there is no race day registration; however, this year the race director made an exception.

The race calls itself a fast course, but I think that might be because some of the fastest local runners are running it that day as part of the USATF competition, and it’s an optimal Boston marathon prep race.

For a while, many of us wondered will the race go on? As mother nature and global weather change dumped 100+ plus inches on Boston, races were dropping of the schedule one by one… in fact another race that was rescheduled for the same day in NH, was cancelled instead. New England runners have just become accustomed to race day cancellation disappointments. Luckily for me and all the other runners, New Bedford race director, volunteers and the City of New Bedford were fully dedicated to putting on this race! Cancellation was not even a thought that crossed anyone’s mind.

But first the beginning:

Back in January with my eyes full of hopes and dreams, I added New Bedford Half Marathon to my schedule as a goal A race… I really thought that with decent speedwork and dedication, I could focus on a major PR for my half marathon time. Then my plantar fascia drama started and I just tried to hold onto any fitness I have. The snowstorm after snowstorm did not help my training. And because I’m just THAT lucky, a few days before the race I happened to catch my annual cold nightmare of the year. I drank cups and cups of tea, honey, lemon, orange juice and rested hoping to get better by race day.

So there I am on race morning trying to convince myself I’m not sick. It worked for about as long as 8AM when my friend came to pick me up for our drive to New Bedford where I asked if we can do an emergency pharmacy run as I loaded up on more advil, sudafed (already had) and nasal spray before our drive down south. New Bedford is about a 70 minute south of Boston from us and for the most part on that day we hit no traffic going there or coming home. I proceeded to cough medicine myself up to the point of being a zombie.

We got to the New Bedford YMCA where number pick up was really easy. I expected it to get a bit crazy with so many runners, but the race volunteers had multiple tables set up based on race number for pick. The race had strong security but not overwhelming and annoying. They quickly scanned through all bags that would go into the Y and were only allowed in the locker rooms and not the gym part. The locker room was toasty to say the least, but there was a good amount of lockers in there for the girls. We showed up about an hour early as due to snow there was limited parking and we wanted to make sure we had no problems. Got lockers, changed, got bibs and were all set and ready to run. They had many bathroom options from the YMCA indoor to porta ones outside.

10 minutes before the start, Sonia and I left the safe warmness of the Y and walked the two blocks for race start that was already packed with runners. I know the race had pace groups, but it was hard to find as the excitement took over. We took a photo and parted ways.

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At this point, I still had delusions that I could run a decent race, not a PR race, but a decent run. And then the gun went off. Immediately I felt like a cliche in a movie… you know that scene where someone busts their face on the floor and slows down to slow motion… well don’t worry I didn’t fall, but every step from the start felt (and was) in slow motion for me. My limbs and mind just felt fogged as the days of lack of eating and drowsy meds took it’s tool.

Within a mile, I changed my goal from time to just trying to finish. There was the option to drop out, sure… but here’s the deal, I love running races and even when I’m not racing per say, I like finishing. The idea of dropping out just because I knew my time was going to be terrible felt ridiculous to me.  The other things that went through my head was the city and volunteers put a lot of time and effort into clearing the snow off the roads so we could all run, so of course I should take advantage of the offer. And most importantly, this was 13.1 miles, only half the distance of a marathon and if I was ready to drop out, what am I going to do next month when the Boston Marathon comes up? There is not enough time to train and catch up. It’s just not possible for me this year. The only thing I could do is embrace the suck, endure and get it done with. The pain and perseverance is what makes us runners, and ultra runners sign up for things that most people consider crazy. Or maybe it’s the masochism.

The course is quintessential New England. It has rolling hills, crazy winds and a beautiful seaside view. However, unlike many New England small races, the course is closed to traffic. The locals and police were super encouraging! Even when I was half crawling in my walking break, the police would stop traffic to give me priority.

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New Bedford as a town/city has its charms and troubles. There’s lovely old architecture with cobblestones, churches and other signs of how historic the city is. And then there’s the uneven road and giant potholes that turn parts of the race into obstacle courses with fast food chains that can be anywhere middle America.

The course is a single loop from what I can tell and a good chunk of miles are on the ocean side. This helps balance out some of the rolling hills that hit you in the first and last few miles, but it will not serve as much protection from the wind.

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Aid stations were every 2 miles with water, but I didn’t see anything that looked like calories/fuel. I did see a medic table at many of the water stops, so I’m sure if I needed something I could have asked. I didn’t feel hungry (or pretty much any thanks sudafed!) but it would have been smarter had I carried some fuel for this race.

I kept my run walk method where every mile or so I would need to walk to catch my breath… as runners would run by me and pat me on my back telling me I could do this. I must have looked really pathetic? Or runners are just that friendly. It was great to spot many familiar faces from TARC events and other running events! Makes you remember just how small our running community is even in a sea of so many faces!

I don’t know how, but eventually I got to the final 2 miles and I said to myself, there, that wasn’t so bad! Except the final two were on a hill with a headwind! With enough panting and determination, the finish line came in and I pushed my little heart and lungs and stubby legs all the way across.

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I ended up finishing 1:57:12, 27 minutes slower than my January goal and 20 minutes slower than my average half marathon time leaving me completely wiped out for the next two days.

The post race food was pretty neat. The city is known for fishing so the post race fuel included clam chowder and fried fish sandwiches.

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and the race shirt was neat, as green is my favorite color when I’m not wearing pink.

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Overall while I would rate my own performance a C, the race would be an A in my group. It has great swag, post race food (although I would have liked a non-fish option), seltzer! (polar was a sponsor), closed roads with supportive police at intersections, small but big feel (local race with many runners!) and an overall great vibe. Sure, I would like to flatten most of the hills and create a wind barrier from the wind, but then it wouldn’t be a New England race. Plus if history means anything, it’s one of the few races that we can rely to not get cancelled due to weather with full local support! Something that’s getting a little rare lately, (yea looking at you Hampton beach, Hyannis, Salem and all the other canceled races).

Hopefully next year I can run a redemption!