Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Long Run Postponed - Maureen

So on the advice of a few seasoned marathoners, I decided to postpone my last long run of 18-20 miles to this Saturday instead of running it this past weekend when many others did. I really want to get one good, long run under my belt so if it means an extra week's rest for my hip and knee, so be it! Two-plus weeks will still be a decent amount of tapering time for me, I think. I replaced my long run this weekend with intervals on the track, 6x800, at 5K pace. I was aware of my knee throughout, but my pace remained strong. I have short runs planned for today and Thursday. I'm hoping I continue to feel good before Saturday's adventure!

I was doing a little internet surfing about what to expect the day of and found a couple of things that I'm totally going to do...

"Write your name on your shirt or wear something unique. Hearing your name and the cheers makes a huge difference." – I definitely plan on making a race shirt that says "Go Moe!"... I'll need all the encouragement I can get!


"High-five at least one kid every mile. Tons of kids and people line the streets of the course. This will help keep things in perspective whether you are having the race of your life or you are crawling to the finish." – This piece of advice made me smile. Even if I don't actually high-five a kid at every mile, I'll definitely make sure to get to a few!

Three Weeks Left! – Andrew

Well…I took an entire week off to let my right leg heal. My guess is it was a high grade pulled muscle. It is still not 100 percent but at least I have been able to get back to running again. I ran 8.5 miles on Saturday including four loops around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir. I love that run. It was fairly cold but I was able to complete the run without my leg giving out. I ran 4+ miles on Monday and another 7 miles today. I am at the point where I am supposed to start tapering my runs, which I plan to do. I just need to get one more long run in on Saturday, and the rest is downhill from there until the marathon. The weather is supposed to be nice this weekend. I can’t believe there are only three weeks left. Part of me is trying not to think about it and part of me is really excited!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Taper Time – Tom and Sylvie

Let the taper begin! Marathon gurus say physiologic training is mostly complete at this point and we should start to taper mileage in preparation for the marathon. I take all this advice with a grain of salt since the articles rarely distinguish between athletes and the rest of us. Still, it's nice to know that I can cut down the mileage each of the next three weeks. If I understand correctly, intensity of runs should remain the same but mileage should decrease about 20 percent this week. I've gotten used to eating whatever I like and whenever I'm hungry so I'll have to cut back there a little too.

Yesterday, Sylvie and I went for our 20-mile run. It wasn't easy. We designed the run so there were several hills after mile 18, and I really had to slow down on the hills. My heart was OK but my legs felt heavy and wouldn't go as fast as I'd hoped. On race day, I'll have to be smart prior to turning the corner at the fire station on Comm. Ave. and climbing the Newton Hills. We're sticking with our plan of not running the course before the Marathon. I've run parts of it during training runs that start at NWH, but I always start up Beacon St to Newton Center and run Commonwealth Ave in reverse. In reality, I've lived here long enough to know the course from NWH to Boston. I practiced eating gel and drinking on the long runs, even though I haven't been getting very thirsty. I can tell that I feel better after the long runs when I do drink and eat so I'm hopeful it will help for those last six miles.

My back/chest wall muscle pull is definitely better, but Sylvie will need some attention this week for a knee problem that started yesterday. Newton-Wellesley Hospital Physical Therapy staff are great. I'm there weekly; the physical therapist is excellent and I'm doing all the exercises and stretching that is prescribed. It's a tremendous benefit for the NWH runners and I'm so appreciative of the expertise and professionalism of the staff.

This week will be three to four days of running: none today, an easy run tomorrow, a longish run Wednesday or Thursday and then "only" 14 miles on Sunday. What a new perspective on 14 miles! Thanks again to everyone who gives me an encouraging word during the week. It makes a difference.

The challenge is to peak at the right time – not too soon, not too late or not at all (!). When training for a major run, I have always found this to be tricky and often hit or miss because there are so many variables. Then, assuming one has peaked at approximately the right time, the next challenge in the final weeks is to not overdo it – not easy if you belong to the school of "more is better." In any case, even if everything goes according to the master plan, I remind myself that when it comes to running a marathon, there are no guarantees. If things do not pan out, I still have the benefits of the many months of training... so, regardless of the outcome, one comes out ahead.

Recognizing My Potential – Annie

I've had yet another great week of training, and am so thankful to have escaped pain/injury/discomfort aside from my little knee flare up a month or so ago. Coming out of my highest mileage week, I feel a bit sore (especially when going up and down stairs) but pretty strong overall! The Stretch class with Meera at the Shipley Fitness Center has been a welcome addition to my routine and I look forward to another session today.

A high moment of the past week came on Wednesday, when I had to run 10 miles and simply ran home to Harvard Square after work - combining my commute with my training! The sun was out, as were many other runners, and it was a thrill to be home by 7:00 and already have completed a long workout. The other two midweek runs, five miles apiece, were back on the treadmill, trying to push for some speed.

For my longest training run, 20 miles, my sister and I headed up to Kittery, ME for the Eastern States 20-Miler on Sunday. What a day! We left Cambridge around 7:30, arriving an hour later at Hampton Beach to drop our car off and be shuttled up to Kittery with many other excited runners. It was a really fun atmosphere, with about 1,000 runners all crowded into a school gymnasium, limbering up, moving through their pre-race rituals, assessing layers. We all walked to the starting line in downtown Kittery and were off at 11:00 am! The course wound through the town and back roads for a while, then around mile 4-5 we were running on the coast, following Route1/1-A south. The vista was incredible, with bright sun glinting off the waves and salt spray in the air. It was tough for me for the first 7-8 miles, as I kept getting passed by other runners, which was disheartening. I had the mindset that this may have been a race, but it was still just a training run, and I was trying not to get too caught up in going fast or all-out. Also, given the small field of entrants, everyone was all jumbled together at the start and it took many miles before different paces settled out, so of course speedy people were passing me! Nonetheless, I didn't like it.

But around mile 10, everything shifted, and I found a bit more of a groove and began to pass many people who I had been keeping in my sights previously. I really picked up the speed on the downhills, and didn't lose any ground as I dug in on the uphills. One thing that I love about races is the ability to zero in on someone ahead of you and resolve to step it up and pass them, picking off runners left and right as you methodically and strategically move forward. It's so satisfying! From mile 10 to mile 15, I was really in the zone, continually passing people. Around mile 15, the runners around me had thinned a bit, and we were mostly all in a single file line, separated by some distance. Picking off those people ahead of me would require a little more determination, as well as patience.

The final two miles were straight along the seawall at Hampton Beach, directly into a strong headwind. We had been battling the wind for most of the whole race, but those last two miles were brutal - head down, powering through. Thankfully I had sunglasses on, with all the sand whipping around! In one of the windy stretches earlier on the in the race, some guy was running literally over my right shoulder, two feet away from me, benefiting from me blocking the wind - NOT cool. Talk about being too close! But I say thanks to that annoying runner, because be prompted me to pick up the pace and leave him in the dust. I passed about four or five people on that last two-mile stretch, and pushed it into a sprint the last 50 yards or so, for the big finish!

To my great excitement, I saw that I had completed the race in 3:25:35 - a full 25 minutes faster than I had anticipated. Seeing those results fueled this "I can do anything!" attitude, and made me think, if I did this so much faster than I thought I would, the Marathon is completely surmountable! It was just a fantastic day, with a good crowd of people and I loved having the opportunity to really check in on where I am in my training and recognize my potential.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Goals – Tom

I'm happily back on the road this past week, recovering from a chest wall muscle injury. Reading the other Marathoner blogs, I commiserate with the runners working through aches, pains, muscle strains and some real injuries. It was hard to take time off – I felt guilty going home directly after work. It was harder still to get back to it. The first two runs were especially difficult and worried me – how could I lose so much fitness in one short week? The good thing is that I started slowly, concerned mostly with finding my rhythm and running without aggravating the injury. I also readjusted the training schedule and goals.

This past Sunday was a slow, steady 18-mile run. The day was perfect for shorts, no gloves or hat! Sylvie and I ran through parts of Lincoln, past the Decordova museum, along a dirt road with meadows and a horse farm, into Wayland and then Weston. Past the Campion Center in Weston, back to Conant Road into Lincoln and then to the Cambridge Reservoir abutting the Waltham Office parks. The final push was an uphill climb on Trapelo Road to Lincoln center and home.

We both recovered well after the run and this week is going fine. I did a short run Tuesday, and plan an 8 to10 miler this afternoon after work. Next Sunday is the final long run – 20 miles and then we'll start to taper.

So, what are my goals now? For my first marathon, I hope to be smart at the start and find a comfortable pace to hold for the race. Sylvie has run 3:50ish marathons so we'll start together. I hope to finish under four hours. My dream would be to finish under my qualifying time (3:45) but I'm not sure that's realistic any longer – there are too many variables, so finish is the key word.

My Joints Are Plotting Against Me – Maureen

The past couple of weeks have been a bit of a challenge for me... my left knee and right hip seem to have formed an alliance and are plotting to keep me from running this marathon. Needless to say, my initial goal of staying healthy throughout training has been tough to maintain!

I had a good run with my uncle on Saturday, March 13... a little over 18 miles! He definitely helped keep me going during the moments when I really didn't want to. We followed the Charles River from Watertown Square to the Museum of Science and back. He strategically planted water bottles along the route prior to our run, which was so nice and worked out great. Granted it was a bit of a monsoon outside and I got tidal waved by a car on Memorial Drive but that just added to the fun! My hip and knee, however, were not amused and gave me some trouble during the last 7-8 miles. I was able to run the whole time but I ended up being sidelined from running the rest of the week. Luckily it doesn't hurt to do other forms of exercise so I was able continue cross-training on the spin bike.

My next run was my long run this past Friday. The weather was amazing and I ran just under 15 miles but had even more knee pain than before. It's so frustrating because I have the endurance to do these distances but my joints just aren't cooperating. My knee only hurts when running – the pain goes away almost as soon as I stop. That's a bit of a problem considering running is the one thing I need my body to do! I know a huge part of this training is psychological and I have to not let myself get down about it all, but it's been hard. I have my longest run – 20 miles! – scheduled for this weekend so I've been mentally preparing myself and hope it goes ok.

I'm continuing to stretch, foam roll, ice, take ibuprofen... I've also been entertaining any idea that sounds like it would help (i.e. using arnica cream, taking fish oil supplements, using a knee strap, etc). Even though my weekly mileages have been lower than I planned for, I'm still on track with my long runs and cross training, which I'm happy about. With or without injury though, nothing can take away my excitement to run this marathon!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Little Longer Than Planned! – Donna

For those of you who know me well, you can agree that I have no sense of direction. I have lived in Newton over nine years and still get lost driving around. I find it funny that I have a GPS and it's still an adventure when you ride with me! I started out Sunday late in the day around 5:00 pm for what was planned to be a simple 10-mile loop on the marathon route and ended up doing a total of 14 miles.

The day was beautiful and I tried out my new running shades. Feeling rested with the sun on my face and enjoying not wearing all the layers I started what would be a simple loop. A little over an hour and a half into the run I realized I must have missed my five-mile turn around marker. I'm finding the longer runs to be more and more difficult to do alone. Usually I enjoy the peacefulness of running alone, but after five miles my body and mind begin the internal struggle. My legs start to ache and the battle begins. For the next several miles I play the game of telling myself "just get to marker X and then you can walk". Once I arrive at the marker I convince myself that it wasn't so bad, that I can run to the next marker, and so on until I've completed the mileage I had set out to do.

I'm planning on attending a marathon workshop later this evening, hopefully I will pick up a few tips to help me get to the finish line.

An Absolute Favorite – Annie

This past week has been just spectacular weather for doing just about anything – especially running! I feel like it was the elements saying "we're sorry" for the absolutely horrible windy, rainy few days prior. I pounded out my shorter runs on the treadmill before work on Tuesday and Thursday, but enjoyed a sunny, balmy nine-miler on the marathon course/Comm Ave. on Wednesday, a quickie three-miler on Friday afternoon in Cambridge, and then a spring-like, energizing 14-miler yesterday morning in Worcester along the Holden Reservoir with my sister. That Holden Res route is an absolute favorite, with incredible views of the water and woods, some wildlife, little traffic and pine needle aromas.

My new running shoes have been great, and thus far I have encountered zero blisters! Today I am going to try a stretching class at the Shipley Fitness Center, which I think will be a welcome addition to my routine, as I find running to definitely be a tightening kind of activity. I'm certainly feeling sore today! I'll make sure to post how it goes. I need to stretch more in general, and having a class targeting this specifically will be helpful.

My sister and I signed up, like Sabrina, to do the Eastern States 20-Miler next Sunday! It's going to be a big day, but just seems like such a well-planned event and great way to get through that longest of long training runs. It should give me a good sense as to what I can expect (and shoot for) in terms of my race pace, in general. And you can't beat running along the coastline, right? I am really looking forward to it.

Less glorious weather this week, my highest mileage training week. For my midweek 10-miler on Wednesday, I plan to run from NWH home to Harvard Square, so just hope for no rain then! Lots of rest and good nutrition for me this week, as we enter the final month of training...

Long Run in the Mountains - Sabrina

My fiancĂ© and I keep a camper year round in Twin Mountain, NH – to be close to the mountains that we enjoy in so many ways. I haven't been to the Whites since my marathon training began, and I really needed to get up there. My long run this week was scheduled to be 17 miles, but in part because of The Eastern States 20 next weekend, I moved my mileage up this week so next weekend wouldn't feel like such a stretch. I reduced my midweek mileage by a couple of miles to accommodate a longer weekend run.

For anyone who visits Bretton Woods, you know the stretch of Route 3 from I93 through Twin Mountain is very beautiful, and it’s a drive we often take. We met up with many hiking friends in Ashland, NH on Friday night, and I was envious of everyone's hiking plans, but was looking forward to my run. A friend offered to leave me a cache of water in the back of his pickup at the trailhead he'd be parked at Saturday, which was a big help.

I started off at about 11:00 am, many hours after Michael had left to make first chair. I ran from our campground to Route 3, then out to nearly I93 – a 9.3 mile one-way distance. It was a beautiful sunny day, but there was a headwind, so I was relieved to have reached my turn around point!

It was hard to believe that I had been running for two hours and was just reaching halfway – but I continued on, taking in the scenery. Towering pines line the road ways, their bark decorated with mosses and hanging lichens, and I passed several beaver ponds. I watched for moose, but didn't see any this day. The snow is gone at the lower elevations but is still present on the mountain tops. When I crested the hill at about mile 14, I was rewarded by an amazing view of the white capped Presidential Range and a clear view of the observatory towers on the summit of Mt Washington.

When I reached mile 17, I chuckled to myself as I became aware of the contrast between the quaint main street of Twin Mountain versus the hustle and bustle of mile 17 on the marathon course. The last two miles were tough, but I was rewarded by the cheering crowd of my fiancé, Michael, and four of our friends, as I made my way down the dirt road at the campground, completing 18.6 miles in 3:55 minutes.

Sunday I skied for three hours, and managed to get 15 solid runs in before my legs said, "Ok, that's enough, please".

Injury Report – Andrew

On Friday, March 19, I left Newton-Wellesley to do a 10-mile run. Around mile four or five the front of my leg starting hurting. I slowed my pace and finished the run. It was a loop run, so I had to get back to my car. I am guessing it is just a sprain. It does not feel like a shin splint. I am guessing it is the extensor digitorum longus. I was very disappointed, because I was supposed to do a 12-mile run on Saturday, which I thought was the most beautiful day of the year so far. I have been resting, icing, compressing and elevating my leg over the entire weekend. It still hurts and I am still limping. I hope this resolves soon because I need to get back on the pavement. I do not want to lose what I have already gained in my training thus far. I had some great runs last week…until Friday. Ugh!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Rain, Rain Go Away – Sabrina

This Sunday I ran 16.1 miles on my treadmill in my basement. Three hours and ten minutes is a long time to spend on a treadmill, but I tried to make the best of it. After all, I was inside and dry. I had a 100 song playlist on my IPOD, and a Warren Miller extreme skiing video to pull me through. And I made it. The next day, I felt surprisingly good! Monday's a cross training day for me that consists of a 50 minute Pilates class followed by a 50 minute spin class, more indoor work outs.

Tuesday brought the return of the sun along with an extra hour of daylight after work. I strapped on my trail runners, whistled for my dog, Terra, and headed out to our favorite local conservation land for a four-mile run. We headed up the old ski hill first, pausing to take in the view from the top before heading down the dirt road and then into the woods. The run off from the recent storm combined with the downed trees made for a great outdoor adventure run. We hurdled huge mud bogs, leaped across small streams and ran several laps quietly through the old pastures. A short loop around a dirt service road, and we were closing our loop. I looked at Terra, her white legs black with mud. I looked at my new replacement Vasque Velocity trail runners, black with mud. Clearly, there was only one solution...we ran another loop. Life is good!

This weekend I am planning my next long run, a 16 to 18 miler, to take place in New Hampshire. I am thrilled at the prospect of quiet, long run along country roads. March 28 will be my last long run, and I have registered for the Eastern States 20 Miler. The course runs along the seacoast from Kittery, Maine to Salisbury, Mass. I can't wait to finally not run alone!

Running in the Rain! – Donna

On Saturday I woke up and put on my running shoes and thought to myself, this is crazy…why would anyone get out in this weather to run. Since I took a few weeks off due to health issues I knew I needed to get the run in regardless of the weather. I planned out a 10-mile loop up Heartbreak Hill, down to Cleveland Circle and then back home. As always the first three miles are the toughest for me, but once I can get past it I usually start to loosen up and enjoy it. It was also a nice surprise to see so many runners out on Saturday given the weather conditions.

The run itself was a good one and I actually didn't mind the rain once I got started. I tried sports beans for the first time and found them to be a little hard and ended up dropping several trying to eat while running. I'm not the most coordinated person so for water stops and fuelling, I usually need to move to the side and walk. I think I'll stick to the gel shot blocks instead since I've used them in the past and had success. I will have family around mile 18 and I can grab some more from them on race day so I won't have to carry much with me the first 17 or so miles.

I can't believe it is just 4 WEEKS AWAY!

A Great Run – Annie

The sun has come back to us, but all the heavy rain made for a pretty soggy long run on Saturday. I was out in Worcester, running with my sister and we made sure to leave by 7:00 am on Saturday to try to avoid as much of the rain as we could. We ran 18 miles, from Worcester out to Holden, then back along the beautiful Holden Reservoir - a favorite route. The final four to five miles were pretty rainy, but we were running in just misty morning air for most of it, luckily. I really like getting out earlier on the weekends, as the run does not completely dominate your day and you have more time to enjoy that feeling of accomplishment!

Last Wednesday I had one of the best runs thus far in my training - a perfect, sunny nine-miler from NWH along the course to Boston College, and back. I felt strong and encountered many other runners and walkers out and about. I am looking forward to a similar run tomorrow, when it is supposed to reach 60 degrees! Amazing.

I also got a new pair of running shoes last week, at long last. They are identical to the ones I'd been running in, and it's fun to do a side by side comparison. The old ones have seen many miles and it was high time to retire them. I may grab myself another pair to make sure I have appropriate gear both at home and one of my other favorite places, the Shipley Fitness Center.

Just under five weeks 'til Marathon Day and I am feeling great. Very excited and still a bit incredulous that I am actually going to be running the Boston Marathon!

When It Rains It Pours - Andrew

I left my apartment around 2:30 pm on Saturday hoping to do the 17.1 mile loop around the Charles River. Despite the rain, I needed to get in a long run today. I headed to the North Beacon Street bridge and then on over to the Mt. Auburn bridge near Watertown Square. There were strong head winds the first half of the way, and several times I contemplated bailing out...but I kept going. The wind was at my back on the return loop, but it didn't seem to matter because I was soaking wet. Now I know why it is so hard to train for the Boston while living in Boston. I guess I am glad that I only have one more long run left before the marathon.

It’s About the Experience – Donna

I've finally shaken the cold, the family is healthy and everyone has fallen back into our daily routine. I underestimated how not running for two weeks would affect my training. I started running again this past Sunday and the first day out was a struggle. I planned to do an easy five miler with a friend and ended up only running four and walking the rest. It was an eye opener and for the first time I started to doubt if I could do the marathon. After getting a pep talk from a few friends I reminded myself why I was doing it in the first place, it was never about the time but the experience. So I just need to focus on putting one foot in front of the other until I cross the finish line. Over the next couple of days the runs have become easier and I'm slowly getting the mileage back up.

I am not a morning person and most of my running is done in the evening after my children have been tucked into bed, but I thought I would try and get a long run in on Saturday morning before the weekend gets too busy. After reviewing the weather forecast, this Saturday's run looks like it's going to be a long, wet and windy one. I'll take the rainy training runs in hopes that the weather will be sunny and cool for marathon day.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Everest - Sabrina

Every year I throw my name into the Boston Marathon lottery at work. I never expect to win. One day I returned from lunch and there was a message to call Public Affairs. I had recently participated in an employee video, so I assumed it was about that. I returned the call, and was stunned to find out I'd been chosen to run in the marathon for Newton-Wellesley Hospital. "Uh, ok...um...yes, I still want to do it" I stammered. I was pretty numb.

"So, you think you want to run a marathon" I googled. It's amazing how many hits there are. I had 13 weeks to train. Gulp. That's not alot of time for a novice runner. I came across Hal Higdon's site. I had a vague idea that he was some kind of running guru, and he looks pretty fit in his headshot, so I checked it out. Hal's Intermediate II Marathon Plan would get me to a 20 mile continuous run a little over a week before the marathon. That's pretty ambitious, but I told myself that with the base running I've maintained over the years, hiking, spinning, pilates, skiing - that I had the overall fitness level to attempt this program. I thought, ok, just one run at a time, just follow Hal's plan and keep checkin' 'em off. You don't need to run fast. You just need to finish it. And finish it running. Ok, call me crazy.

So, it's the middle of week seven. I've run 181 of the ~375 miles that will get me to and through the marathon. I've run a 14 mile long run, and have a 16 miler planned for this Sunday. I've run Heartbreak Hill. :-) Transitioning from primarily treadmill and trail running to asphalt has been a shock, but I’m finally adjusting and ran a 9 mile midweek run yesterday and recovered quickly.

The marathon is a huge commitment that becomes more real each day. Every day there is a plan that is based around the run. Food - what it is, how much and when it's eaten has an impact on the run. Sleep and stress, they impact the run. Every run leads to the marathon. Pretty soon it becomes clear that each choice and each action is ultimately going to effect the marathon. It's not an obsessive realization, it's a calm and deliberate one. It's just being mindful about the impact of each action. It's understanding through each running experience, what's worked and what hasn't. What to do next for a better outcome.

Last night I dreamed for the first time about the marathon. I dreamed about not being able to finish it. I think this was influenced by a blog I read (another first time marathoner). It was quite sobering. Up until now I have worked hard to push all limiting thoughts out of my psyche. I know through enduro-hiking days that one foot goes in front of the other, one breath goes in and out again, and that one can stay calm and quietly focused on a goal until its reached. I've done several one day mountain range traverses spanning up to nine mountains and 19,000 feet of elevation change, generally covering 26 to 30 miles in 10-12 hours. It's not easy, and that's why I do it. The marathon will follow the same path. It's a wildly personal journey that one experiences with 25,000 strangers. When I think about it, the marathon has become an ultimate goal. It's not just helping me fill a gap of time when I'd otherwise not be hiking. It's not just keeping me motivated or pushing me to the next level. This marathon represents a huge personal challenge, and a huge personal opportunity for me to get to know more about myself. This marathon just might be my Everest, in that sense.

Any Long Run Ideas? - Andrew

The weather was amazing! It was slightly cool on Saturday morning, March 7, but perfect for a long run. I started at 10:00 am at Alewife Station and ran along the minuteman bikeway through Arlington, Lexington and ending in Bedford. I ran out to the end of the pathway and back, a total of 20 miles! I am not sure I will run another 20 miler before the marathon, but now I know what it feels like. I struggled the last couple of miles, but managed to finish. I was very sore afterward and in desperate need of a massage, which I never got. The best part of the run was the sunshine and the smell of pines trees along the trail. There were lots of people out on the path enjoying the weather. Unfortunately, I lost my running gloves and favorite running cap somewhere along the trail. I had wedged it under my fuel belt, and at some point it fell out. Aside from that, it was a good training day.

Yesterday I ran home from Newton-Wellesley Hospital. What a great run! It was cool again, but the sun was still out. It was a total of eight miles and I did it under an hour! What surprised me is that I had not run since last Saturday, when I did my long run. I started running along Washington Street and then turned right at Comm Ave. I ran along Commonwealth Avenue, up heartbreak hill, and then turned right just past Boston College. I headed down to the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, looped the reservoir, and then down Lake Street back home. I felt pretty good afterwards, unlike after my run on Saturday. I will probably run again today, take Friday off and then another long run on Saturday. Any ideas on where I should do my long run this Saturday? So far, I have run a different course for each long run every Saturday.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Running for a Cause – Tom and Sylvie

Last week, I was in such a good place. Sunday, February 28, Sylvie and I went for an 18 mile run (that turned out to be 19). We tested our ability to drink and eat gummy bears and both felt strong at the end of the run. I've been running four days a week, with two cross training days and a day of rest. Then, out of the blue I was hit with upper back pain this past weekend. Once I figured out it wasn't my heart or lungs (not as young as I used to be), I thought I could keep running. Sunday was a 15 mile run, as we had planned to cut back for a week to recover. It wasn't a bad run once I loosened up, though my energy level was low. The weather, however was magnificent. We ran in shorts and felt much lighter and warmer. But Sunday night was painful, with half the night spent in a recliner. There's no way that I can run right now. It seems to be a muscle pull/tear on the right side of my back/chest wall – who knew such a thing could happen? Many thanks to the Newton-Wellesley team: doctor and Physical Therapy who saw me right away and are helping me back to form. I'll do some cardio on the Shipley Fitness Center bikes, stretch and rest for this week. No long run this weekend but I plan to be back in action again next Tuesday. Hopefully, I remember to cut back a little on meals this week – you really do eat more with this amount of running.

Thanks to all the people around the Hospital who stop me to recount a marathon experience or give me words of encouragement. Of course, a few tell me how glad they are that they ran the Marathon when they were 25 (and not at your age, they seem to imply) but I can take it. It's great to have the support. I remind friends outside the Hospital that we're running to benefit an important community program, the Vernon Cancer Center at Newton-Wellesley. I'll look forward to seeing that sign for inspiration on April 19.

This spring, I am trying to train “by the book,” taking a more scientific approach – Tom’s influence. In the past, because of my yearly high mileage base, I tended to wing it when it came to running marathons. I guess I am training smarter, we shall see. But, for me, it is a fine line: I like to keep it simple – it is the beauty and poetry of running – just put on my shoes and head out in the fresh air. I am a loner as a runner: I run best by myself, lost in my thoughts. And I don't like to bother with the fancy technology - the complicated watches, the heart monitors, the training logs, even the running jargon. What is nice though is to run for a cause, because running often feels like it is all about oneself. As Tom has mentioned, there are ups and downs, but for me, who loves to run, if I am out there in motion, it is a good day and I am glad to be alive.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Need More Pockets! – Maureen

Less than six weeks to go!! Still so surreal. Although as my long runs get longer, it's slowly sinking in that I'm actually doing this. I went out early this past Sunday and was loving the gorgeous weather. I ran part of the marathon route – from Newton-Wellesley to Coolidge Corner and back, just about 15 miles. I only had minor hip pain throughout and actually felt stronger during the second half of the run, which surprised me because that's usually when my limping kicks in. I attributed it to the weather, my new neoprene water bottle holder with the hand strap that my mom found for me and the updated running playlist on my iPod. I like to run to songs that match my cadence (about 180 steps/minute)... there's nothing like a great, upbeat song to keep you moving when you really just feel like stopping! I've also stepped up my stretching, incorporated my new physical therapy exercises and I never leave home without my tennis ball (aka my portable hip massager).

Aside from my hip, the only problem I've been having on my long runs is that I carry too much stuff in my one available pocket... I have my bag of jelly bellies, a packet of Powerade gel (that I actually have yet to experiment with), my house key, chapstick, my backup nano (ridiculous, yes; but sometimes I forget to fully charge my Touch) and my gloves (if I get too hot). Knowing me, the one time I decide not to bring something will be the one time I actually need it.

This Saturday I'm planning on doing 17 miles along the Charles, from Watertown Square to the Museum of Science and back. I'm excited because I'll have a running partner for the first time! My uncle, who has a lot of marathon experience, has kindly offered to run with me (even though our pace will probably seem like a fast walk to him!). Yay, more pockets to hold my stuff!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Could Have Kept Going – Annie

There's been one big change in my training this past week – I started driving to and from work every day. Previously I had been commuting via bus and T, which I quite liked, but it's been hard to sandwich the increased running hours into a day that is already full of work, commute, rehearsal, social engagements – the list goes on. I figured I could control my schedule a bit more, and chop off at least an hour of commute time by driving, and thus far it is proving to be true! It's much more doable for me to get my workouts done in the morning when I can cruise over from Cambridge in 20 minutes flat, AND snag a primo parking spot for making a quick getaway at the end of the day. I miss my reading time and a carefree, traffic-less existence, but it's been a good choice for these months of training.

My knees had been hurting me last week, but that went away about midweek. I've ordered myself a new pair of shoes, identical to those I ran Chicago in and have (still – eek) been running in, and they should arrive in the next few days, which is great. Proper footgear is key!

I went out to Petersham, where my parents live in central MA, this past weekend for a little break from city life and a change of scene for my long run! My sister and I were due to run 12, and with the fantastic weather, I feel like I could've kept going! We had some killer hills mixed in, which was excellent – I want to get more hill workouts incorporated into my training. It felt like summer weather and was one of the absolute most pleasurable long runs I've ever had.

I'll be doing 18 this weekend in Worcester, and it looks like rain, so the memory of Saturday's idyllic, sunny run may have to hold me over!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Hills of Newton - Annie

I am beginning to realize the increasing importance of sleep while training for a marathon. The long runs will wear you out, and adding the cold, inclement weather to it takes you to another level of exhaustion! My sister/training buddy and I drove to NWH on Saturday morning and ran in on the race route to Fenway Park, and then back out for a total of 16 miles. Serendipitously, we encountered Administrative Fellow Andy Wurtzel and his wife Lauren out for a run also, and they generously provided us with water on our way back! Thanks Andy and Lauren! We ran through a snow squall that later turned to rain in the last few miles - tough. I loved getting out on the course, though, and experiencing those infamous Newton hills. Honestly, they are not too bad, though I may be singing a different tune when I charge up them at mile 20! It was also great to be out running with many other people who were training for Boston, and on their long runs. Definitely a major feeling of runner solidarity.

The weekend before last we ran our 15-miler out in Worcester, where my sister lives. It was a gorgeous spring-like day and we had a great route, into Holden from Worcester and then back by the beautiful Holden Reservoir.

I need to incorporate more stretching after the long runs. I had some knee weirdness at the end of Saturday's run, but it went away - though enough to make me aware and perhaps chat with some of the Physical Therapy/Shipley Fitness Center folks. I also definitely need to get a new pair of running shoes, which will hopefully help things!

This weekend's long run will take place out at my parents' bucolic place in Petersham - quite a change of scene! I look forward to it.

My Recent Runs - Andrew

Saturday, February 27
It was difficult to get motivated today, but I set off on a 17.3 mile run. I wanted to do 18 miles, but the map said otherwise. I started in Brighton again. I ran through Watertown, Belmont, Lexington and Arlington. I ran out past Great Meadow, Whipple Hill and the Mormon Temple. It was a nice run, weaving through all these different neighborhoods. It was a lonely run though. I am sure that Beacon and Commonwealth get much more runners on the weekend. I try to pick a different route each week to mix up the scenery. One of these days, I am going to run out to the beach. The weather was OK today. It was cool and cloudy and I finished before light snow and rain started. Overall, it was a good run. If all goes well, and weather permitting, I will try to do 18 or 20 miles this next Saturday. I have some low back pain, but my legs feel pretty good.

Monday, March 1
I ran 6.5 miles in the gym this morning on the treadmill. Did I ever mention that I don't like running on treadmills. Well, I don't. At least it permits me to stay dry and warm while the weather outside is cold and wet. Again, I am looking forward to warmer weather and more outside runs. Good luck Team NWH on your training!