Tuesday, April 14, 2015

One Week Away! – Kristina

Wow! I cannot believe that the Boston Marathon is one week away. I have a million thoughts running through my mind. Did I train enough, did I train right, have I eaten right, am I going to be able to do this, I feel like I just started training, I can’t believe how many miles I have logged since January 1 (somewhere around 200), I wish this winter was better, what is the weather going to be like on Marathon Monday, and the list goes on and on. Deep breaths, deep breaths, that is what I keep telling myself.

This whole tapering thing seems odd for some reason. It just doesn’t seem right to not have to run 20 miles on a weekend day. It feels like I am almost slacking, but I know this last week with the short runs is what my body needs in order to fully recuperate and be ready for race day. I did run a 10k this weekend that was supposed to be in March and it felt great to be out in the nice sunny weather running along the course. The funny thing was it was only 6.2 miles and I had planned to use it as a relaxing run to just find my pace legs, but the competitor in me always seems to kick in. It was hard for me to stay in my pace and I actually ran it faster than I could have imagined. Not at all how I wanted to prep, but sometimes you just have to follow where your legs will take you.

I look forward to the week ahead! I can’t wait to experience the expo next weekend and do all of the touristy stuff that goes along with the Marathon. This is my first marathon and it is even more amazing that it is the Boston Marathon. I wish the best of luck to my teammates at NWH and to all of the runners hitting the course next Monday. This has been an amazing journey and I am so happy that I have been able to experience it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Almost There – Gabe

It feels so close to race day, and I know these next two weeks are going to creep by.  After I finished my last 20-mile run, I was thrilled. No more high mileage jogs, no more sore knees, just easy sailing until race day. Like many things in my life, I was so wrong. I thought I was on the road to tapering, my training schedule would be a few 3 or 4 mile “light” jogs and I would ease into April 20th – unfortunately, I did not look ahead.
This past weekend, I ended up doing 15 miles. I was visiting family in NH for the holiday, so it was nice to get away from the course for a change of scenery again, but the hills were killer. Getting out on some of the more remote roads, my GPS watch failed, as did the timer on it, so I had no clue how far I had gone. When I got back to the house, I realized I was a few miles short; I headed back out to complete my last three miles. It ended up being one of those runs where I got it done, but didn’t feel like I really pushed myself. I had a hard time finding my pace on the run. I also think because I was off on my schedule last week (did my long run from the weekend on Wednesday, sprint day on Thursday and no tempo run), that coming back Saturday and putting in 15 miles was a poor decision.
In these next two weeks leading up to the race, I want to make sure I have everything straight. Eat clean, run on the scheduled days, the correct distance and pace, and focus on getting my mind straight for the big race. I am so excited about the last part of the challenge. These past few months have been really wonderful, and I am excited to see how my hard work as paid off.

It’s the Final Countdown – Gabe

So since my last 20 miler, the distance tapered a little bit. I was glad to get the chance to re-charge the batteries, and allow my knees to recuperate a bit. While I felt lousy after the long distance, on my upcoming recovery runs, I felt like I was getting my wind back. Maybe it was the nicer weather, but I felt a new zeal for getting out and putting on some miles. Then, last week I got to have a change of scenery.
My family was nice enough to join me while I went to a CME conference in St. Maarten. Our hotel was right on the water, and was in an absolute gorgeous setting.  Per my training schedule I was due for another 20-mile run while on the trip, and I packed all of my supplies for a long distance run with the full intentions of accomplishing this feat. But the hills were pretty intense, as was the heat, and the most I did on any day was 5-7 miles. But man oh man, was it a gorgeous place to run.  Out of our hotel, I was able to cross from the Dutch side of the island, to the French side. Then, hugging the ocean I had spectacular views for my entire jog. My runs would start at sunrise, and there was typically an early morning sprinkle before the run would start, making the roads a bit slick. The hills were so intense that literally, your feet would slide out from underneath you, so pacing was a bit slow. 
When we returned, well rested, it was time to get after that second 20 mile run.  After the airline found my bag, and delivered it a few days later, I was laced up, hydrated, prepared with my Gu gel and ready to go. I went east on the course, and felt wonderful.  The sun was out, it was in the low 50s, and I felt especially motivated to accomplish this run. I followed the course, through Newton, up Heartbreak Hill, left at Cleveland Circle onto Beacon St, through Brookline and into Boston, got onto Boylston, and ran to the finish line. I purposely went around the finish line and did not cross it, as I want to save that for the 20th of April.  Turning around, I headed back towards Newton.
I find that miles 13-17 are tough miles for me. I think the novelty of a distance run has worn out at that point, and my excitement wanes. But at 16 miles, I know the end is near, and get it back together. I really tried to focus during this last long run to keep a consistent pace, and stick with it, and by the end of the 20 miles I was happy with my time. I had shaved 10 minutes off my last 20 miler! Maybe it was I actually prepared for this one by pre-hydrating, eating smartly and getting a bit of sleep, or maybe it was just the excitement of being in gorgeous spring weather. Either way I was pleased with my time.
I had a few more workouts this week, and a quick run in addition to another 15 miles this weekend. But after that, it’s time to really taper those miles. My knees and ankles are really excited.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Better than Christmas! – Kristina

When I arrived home on Monday, it felt like Christmas. Waiting for me on the kitchen table was my official Boston Marathon Passport! Words cannot describe how excited I was. Reality is now setting in; I can’t believe the Marathon is right around the corner.

It felt so good to be somewhat back to normal health. Although a cough has been lingering, I did not let it slow me down. The weekly work outs went as well as planned. I was a little short on energy while still trying to recuperate but I was still able to get out there!

The biggest accomplishment in my training so far came Sunday. I participated in the Eastern States 20 mile road race. The race took place along the scenic seacoast from Maine to Massachusetts. My fellow race buddies were participating in a half marathon that day so it was just me and the road. I was determined to make it longer than the previous week (14 miles) without walking. I am proud to say that I was able to successfully complete all 20 miles without walking! This was the farthest I have ever run in my lifetime without stopping. This race gave me the much needed confidence boost for Marathon Monday.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

20….20….and Well Almost 20 – Kristina

Four weeks to go! Yikes! I still can’t believe I am doing this! Really me, I am running the Boston Marathon! This week may go down in the books as not the best week yet. Throughout the beginning of the week I was battling a stomach bug but still managed to get a few good workouts in, but then Thursday hit and so did the cough, cold, chills and bed. Due to not feeling well I ended up taking off three days from working out, something practically unheard of for me, but I could barely breath just sitting, never mind running. Then Sunday rolled around and so did our long run. I met the other two amigos at NWH for our normal weekend long run, and a long one it was. Sunday it was 20 degrees, with 20 mile per hour winds and our goal was 20 miles. The run started out pretty good, I was struggling a little on the hills but doing fairly well for feeling like I only had half a lung. I ran past the Citgo sign and saw the actual Boston Marathon finish line for the first time in my life! These were definitely the highlights of the day, but the rest I am pretty sure I would like to forget. After about 12/14 miles my body started shutting down. The last six miles back to the car was an extreme struggle, consisting of some jogging and mostly walking. I just could not get my legs to run even if I tried. I tried running from street sign to street sign, then I went to running on the down hills and walking up hills, to eventually just running when I can and walking the rest. Although it was probably one of the worst workouts of my life, now looking back I can’t believe I did it! It may not have been pretty, but this is the most distance in anything I have ever done before in my life. I ended up completing 19.30 miles, which is about 5/6 more miles than I have ever done before. As much as I am not looking forward to doing another 20 miles this upcoming weekend, I am looking forward to attempting another 20 miles! I know I know, that must not make any sense, but I am looking forward to bettering myself and improving on my experience from Sunday! This upcoming Sunday I am competing in the Eastern States 20 miler and I am looking forward to seeing how it goes! My goal is to focus on spreading out hydration, adding in more nutrition and keeping my head held high!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Longest Run Yet and Lululemon Event! – Kristina

Well it has been a crazy two weeks! I have been logging miles and lifting workouts during the week per usual. But last weekend was my longest run yet and boy did I test my body! Although it was only 14 miles (two less than I was hoping for) it truly put my body to the test. This was one of the first runs that my body had given out and I had to run/walk the last two miles, which is not something I like to do, but the key point here is listening to my body. I tend to push and push and push and run my body till it can’t take anymore. With marathon training this is something that I can’t do because whether I like it or not I have to get back out there the next day!

My Friday run after working two jobs, although only five miles, made me feel a true runner’s high! It was my best run to date. I beat my normal time by about 0:30 seconds per mile and I felt amazing after! I have not felt this good after a run in a long while and it truly brought the spirits up!

This Sunday’s long run was one that skipped right by me. I had an overnight shift the night before and was planning on meeting my running buddies Sunday morning, but my body had other thoughts in mind. The good thing was I listened to my body and sat the day out to sleep. If I ran that day I probably would have vomited and I probably would have put my body into complete exhaustion. With more and longer running workouts I am learning how much my body can handle and although I am pushing my body to extremes, I am allowing it to rest when needed.

One amazing event that my running buddies and I were able to attend was an event held by Lululemon, the athletic clothing store. This was an event for all Marathon runners in the area to get to know one another and hear each other’s stories as to why they are running the Marathon.  The staff was amazing and helped us try on clothing, allowed us to shop around for some swag and made us think about our future goals and dreams. I could not be happier to have been a part of such a great group of people. It is amazing how everyone in the room was running for a different cause yet we are all running together!

Radio Silence – Gabe

So a few weeks ago I got hit by a truck, not literally, but after 48 hours of the flu that’s what it felt like. I guess being around all those sick people caught up with me.  I lost a week of training from it. The symptoms started over the weekend, and I missed a long run, then sprint day. By the day before my tempo day I was feeling much improved, but I decided to lay low and get back to 100 percent. That weekend, I had 15 miles planned, and back on the treadmill I went. Previously, I had run 17 miles for my longest run, and felt pretty good.  But after a week of convalescing it turned out to be a bit of a battle. I completed the run, at the pace I had hoped for, but I was more fatigued than usual. It’s taken me awhile to recover completely from being under the weather. Getting back to my usual Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday routine has been tough.

But with the change in weather, there’s been the opportunity for snowmelt, and with snowmelt comes outside runs. Tuesday, I got in a few mile repeats outside, and man did it feel good to get some Vitamin D.  This past week, my training schedule called for a 20-mile run.  It’s the first of two of the longest runs planned through my training. I was excited for this run; I looked at it as a good gauge to see where I stood in my training regiment. I had planned to get out over the weekend, and tackle the run outside, though after looking at the weather report I made the executive decision to go out a day early. I was actually dressed and in the car headed to go skiing, when I turned the car around and came home, threw on my sneakers and GPS watch and hit the pavement. 

This last minute decision to run was questionable decision making on my part. I probably should have prepared for a run of this length a bit more. Typically Thursday and Friday, I try to start pushing fluids before my longer runs. I also make sure when I wake up (since I usually run first thing in the morning) I eat a good breakfast. I did neither of these before my 20 miler. I packed three Gu energy gels, two 9oz bottles of water and headed west.  I went down Washington St, past the Hospital, continued on Rte 16 to Rte 135 and went out to almost the Natick/Framingham line. I turned around at the 10-mile mark and started heading back.  At around the 15-mile mark, I was pretty tired, and at 18 miles I was gassed. I trudged on, and finished the 20 miles. My pace was slower than it had been inside on the treadmill, as expected, but what I didn’t expect was how taxing those extra miles were physically. 

Now, I’m not sure if it was the lack of preparation in the days before the run, or the change in running environment that made those last miles so much harder, or a combination of both, but I am trying to stay positive about the challenges I faced.  In the end I finished the run, I survived. I know I can do it. I know I can push myself a few more miles.