MarathonMaiden's Blog

September 20, 2010

I Made It

Filed under: Race Report — Tags: , , — marathonmaiden @ 08:04

First of all: thanks to all the heartfelt congrats and wicked nice thing y’all said yesterday.  Maybe it was the endorphins but I smiled and laughed on all of them and teared up on some as well!  You guys are so supportive and nice!  You totally know how to make a girl feel good too 🙂

And now what you’ve been waiting for!

I really wish this song had gotten bigger than it did.  Because I am still a fan.  A huge fan. Like I’m smiling big watching this and listened to it the entire time I wrote this post.  Or I could still be on a high from the race  😀

So by now you’ve probably already seen my quickie update from yesterday where I said my watch time was 20:01.94. Which, don’t get me wrong, is a fantastic time.  But I just had my eyes on something bigger — or faster as the case may be.

Which according to my


official time I did hit it. Thank you very much 🙂

I was 206/5977 and 23/1974 in my division (Women’s Open 34 and under)

For those of you who are not as mathematically inclined as I that is top 3.4% overall and top 1.2% division.

Yes I’ve been smiling ever since they posted it.

Now let’s back up.

Pre-Race (I always take forever to set up the actual race hahah!)

The morning started by me waking up on my own and to a really pleasant morning: the temp at the start was probably mid-to-upper 60s and the sun was SHINING bright.  1115 start time + living in a small city = no early wake up calls.  I got to eat a leisurely breakfast and do some work.  Since I had been so scared (not totally terrified but more than a little nervous) I set about the apartment doing some research stuff for some things that I’m planning in the future (which — tangent — might just be the BEST thing about not being in school).  I basically was trying to make the day as “normal” as possible.

If only because I had two schools of thought on how the race was going to go.  Despite anxiety dreams on both Friday and Saturday night, in which people were telling me that I’d fail, that I couldn’t run well etc., I did think I had a shot at doing really well.  Some of you had thrown around the sub-20.  I’m not going to lie and say that it wasn’t something that I disregarded as out of this world.  But, like most races, I thought it was either going to go REALLY well or REALLY poorly.

I warmed up for about 3.5 miles.  Maybe a bit much but I really didn’t feel my legs “click” until I started doing my strides around mile 2.5.  After a mile of that, which was on the last mile of the course, I made my way to the starting line.  I was happy I chose to run on the course but it definitely brought back memories of how hilly Providence is.  AKA the final quarter mile was uphill.  And not just a gentle uphill: like UPHILL.  But at least now the fact that it was there was fresh in my mind.

Since I registered the day before and NOT online I was a really high bib number.  And since this is such a large race they put people in corrals according to said bib number.   I remembered from last year that bib numbers correlated to the approximate time you say you’ll finish when you fill out the online application.  Since I was shooting for a fast race I headed toward the front of the pack.  One good thing about this being a big race is that, the closer it got to gun time, the less people were checking bib numbers.  So I did get up closer to the front.

After about 5 minutes of a wait (while an announcer introduced famous runners that were there — like Joan Benoit Samuelson, Sarah Hall and Molly Huddle who is a local and the 2010 winner and I think the announcer said the current 5k American record holder? I guess this race is a big deal?!) the gun went off.

The bad thing about big races is that the start always is awful.  I felt stifled and ended up running on the outside of the pack which, when you take turns into account, probably added some distance to my race. But here’s the splittage breakdown (according to my watch) and some commentary from what I can remember during the race


Mile 1: 6:33

Not bad at all when you consider all the weaving I had to do.  I never found a rhythm because there were too many runners around! Normally this wouldn’t annoy me (because I’m a longer distance gal and there’s plenty of time to make up that stuff there) but in a 5k I need all the advantages I can get.  I do remember thinking, as I passed the mile marker, gahhh there’s still 2 more?! And then a few moments later holy #$%@! It’s really 2.1 miles more!

Mile 2: 6:25

This was probably the most painful mile.  It was the fastest but I think it was tough because from about mile 1.5 to 2.5 I was picking it up then slowing it down then picking it up.  My mind wandered A LOT during this mile too.  I was thinking about anything and everything.  Some race related but mostly not. Which is weird that it ended up being my fastest split.

Mile 3: 6:31

I got to see some cute middle/high school girls dressed in bumblebee costumes somewhere during this mile.  It lifted me a little (especially since I had passed them during my warmup and they cheered for me then!) From mile 2 to 3 I kept thinking about how I had run this portion of the race during the warm-up and kept thinking that the end had to be near. But in a 5k, and at this point in a 5k, it’s not.

My legs definitely threatened to shut down but the thought of passing other runners (another perk to a big race!) kept me going.  I could actually feel my legs being sore.  I guess this is a good sign that I was running fast because I’ve never gotten this feeling in a race before.

last .1: 0:33 (5:30 pace?!)

I hit mile 3 with my watch saying 19:29.  I freaking took off.  I wanted that sub-20 sooooooooooooo badly at this point.  The harder I pushed the more I thought my legs were going to collapse and I honestly thought I was in danger of vomiting right there on the race course!  I didn’t of course but I’m not going to lie: it could have happened.

CVS Caremark Downtown 5k: 20:01.94 (according to my watch) which is a 6:27 pace. And according to official results I ran a 19:59 which is a 6:26 pace

Post Race:

After the race I remember wanting to puke.  Like I know I joke about it but I think this is the first time it was actually in danger of happening.  I walked and got some water and then somehow I ended at the end of the racing area.  I’m not going to say I blacked out (because I never have and I think if I had I would have ended up in the medical tent. Another good thing about big races is that there are tons of medical people around so I’m sure if anything serious had gone down I’d have been in good hands) but I don’t really have a recollection of the 10-15 minutes after I crossed the finish line. I do know that I ate a banana and a package of trail mix as evidenced by the trash I held in my hand.

Then I headed home and waited in agony for official race results to be posted.  Agony.

Overall Thoughts

My plan to go out hard and hold it (which actually I stole from Lacey who is my coach and running partner in crime here!) worked.  I went out hard and didn’t falter (although I really don’t run 5k races so to me the paces being all within an 8 second range seems good. Yes?).  Yes I wish I had gone out harder or at least not felt like I was doing the whole slow-down-speed-up routine in the middle.  Especially since I was able to kick that last .1 miles at such a blistering pace! And considering the speed session I had been doing were around that pace.

As far as my official time is concerned I spent the large majority of Sunday trying to convince myself that running a 20:01.94 was good and okay.  Once I saw my official time I was literally screaming and jumping all around my lovely apartment.  Crazy? Maybe.  But it just felt SO GOOD!

Whew.  That was long and since I ran it by myself I don’t have any pictures.  And by now I’ve probably posted all my racing pictures in the past! Whoops.  I know I love pictures in posts so I feel bad.  Hopefully my racing made up for it?! 😛

But this is a picture of the area where the course is.  Which was really nice, despite being uphill at the end.

Thanks google images

And, I think that I should say that this race is incredibly well organized and if you’re ever in the area next fall you should check out this race.  I ran this race last year as my debut 5k and if I made it my second 5k ever then you know if must be good. Plus, since CVS is the sponsor, the stuff they give in the race packet bags is really nice — and actually useful.  I got a toothbrush, face wash, almonds and trail mix, allergy tablets, sunscreen and air foam inserts just to name a few. And a hideous orange technical shirt.  It’s actually more burnt-sienna, but hey, I shouldn’t have gotten a technical t-shirt as I registered race day (those were reserved for the first 5,000 racers).  The non-tech ones were a nice red.  Oh well.

Moral of this post (because I got sidetracked in the last paragraph):

Clearly I am a faster runner than I give myself credit for. And it might still take a while to get used to changing my mindset.  Butttttt This is exciting. The Tufts 10k is MINE 😀

September 7, 2010

I’ve Got The Magic In Me

Filed under: Race Report, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 08:00

aka Elijah’s Race aka the Swanzey Covered Bridges Half Marathon

2010 Edition

Thanks for all the kind words on my quick recap after the race.  Y’all are great and I’m glad you had faith that I’d run well.  Be still my heart! 🙂

So I guess by now you guys know that I spent the long weekend up in NH with Lacey doing fun things like racing.  So I’ll just jump into the race report?

Since we were staying really close to the race I got to get up at 0715 on race day! It felt really good to be able to sleep.  Because A) I’ve been a bit sleep deprived lately and B) race day.  I ate a light pre-race meal and then we were off to register and race. We listened to this, which was in my head all 13.1 miles.  It was fantastic.  And no, that’s not sarcasm.

Annoyingly I can’t get the official video.  Oops.  But the song is still awesome regardless!

We wandered about the start / registration area a bit and while Lacey did some dynamic stretching in the gym (at the school where the start was) I contemplated what my race strategy would be.  It’s obviously not a secret that I wasn’t “trained” for this race.  Sure I have a bunch of miles under my belt butttt does that mean I was ready? I certainly had hoped so.

(Sidenote: I think the fact that I hadn’t trained for this race made it so that I could run it well.  I definitely have shown up to…I want to say all…my races overtrained.  Not the case here.  It was just my body)

The weather was really amazing for running that morning too.  Hurricane Earl didn’t hit us, like, at all.  But the rain left FALL weather.  The temp at the start was probably 55*.  Ah-maz-ing.

My MO for races is to start out slowish and then progressively get faster.  Lacey’s MO is to go out HARD and then hold on.  I opted to go with her strategy today.  I wasn’t sure how long I’d be able to hold a really quick pace from the get-go but it was worth a shot.

I mean, as of last Wednesday of last week I wasn’t sure if I was going to even be racing this race or not.

The gun went off and we took off FAST.  Like way fast.

Yay first bridge 🙂

Here are the splits with a little commentary:

Mile 1- 6:56 (whoa there!)

Mile 2- 7:29 (on a dirt path — definitely the best part of the race. Part of me wishes that we could run the race backward and END with the path).

Mile 3- 7:23 (just trying to keep up with Lacey — my thought process was keep to her because it’s easier to keep up a hard pace than try to make up ground)

Mile 4- 7:07 (off the dirt path and onto the scary highway)

Mile 5- 7:14 (the hills start here, and continue through mile 11. Pretty basically a really mentally hard stretch!).

Mile 6- 7:05 (this is where Lacey and I split up.  Major props to her for pacing me SO WELL and getting me started to just go! And check out how the rest of her race went HERE.  Not a spoiler per se but she did pretty effing awesome too.  A real bamf!)

Mile 7- Unknown but likely somewhere between 7:00 and 7:30 (I tagged along with some guys that were running fast and clearly were good runners.  We all pretty much took turns leading and lagging over the course of now until the end.)

Mile 8- 7:13

Mile 9- 7:24

Mile 10- 7:00 (Really thinking a PR was possible and a great one at that.  Before this point I still was doubting.)

Mile 11- 7:08 (Ouch my quads really hurt.  Like a lot.  Tomorrow is going to suck)

Mile 12- 7:12 (ummmmm hello major hill.  But I managed to power up it.)

Mile 13.1-6:55 (I’ve got the magic in me. I TOOK OFF)

Hello finish line! And despite looking pretty good, if I do say so myself, my first words when I crossed the finish line were "OMG I want to puke"

A PR by 7 minutes and 59 seconds.  If I had known I would have hauled a little more ass to get an even 8 minute PR!

  • 4th Woman overall (out of an unknown amount)
  • 3rd Just re-checked online and FIRST in my age group (out of 15)
  • 32nd place overall (out of 201)

(stats according to what was posted when we left the race) Apparently I found out after later that night that I WON.  But Lacey and I left after thinking neither of us placed or won anything.  Oops.  I feel like such an ass hahah. And an result reading loser because apparently double dipping does NOT occur with races and therefore the women who placed top 3 in the overall category do not place in the AG ones.

I guess if I really did win then I get a prize. I like prizes 🙂

Lacey awarded me one instead (edit: and we both emailed the race director who is WICKED nice and we’ll both be receiving our prizes shortly.  Courtesy of pick up by Lacey’s mom. Thanks so much!)

I guess I won one round of mini-golf at TwinkleTown!

But race thoughts:

So my splits were kind of all over the place.  But the course is really hilly so I’m not worried about it / didn’t worry about it. Of course the average like I said yesterday was 7:10 for the whole 13.1 miles 😀

We had driven the course the night before which was both good and bad.  Bad because I realized just how long 13.1 miles is.  And that hill at mile 12? Definitely is not present when driving because neither Lacey nor myself felt that it was there despite remembering it from years past. But good because I was mentally prepared for that looooooooooong rolling hill stretch from miles 5 to 11.  It really was tough and hard to stay “on”

As far as my racing strategy went I’m very pleased with it.  I’ve always been a self-doubter to some degree despite y’all and others trying to tell me otherwise.  So I race that way I guess. I go out slower because I don’t want to crash and burn and I want to get faster over the course of the whole course.

Apparently no matter what pace I start at I go faster throughout.  Something for me to think about.

I also think that I might have been able to go harder.  Sure I wanted to vomit when I stopped but I think I could have held that pace for another couple miles.  Maybe that’s just me being on cloud nice post-race though hahah.  But my legs don’t actually really hurt either.  I still consider myself a racing newbie so I’m not sure if that’s good or not.  But no real soreness.  I did ice down my shins after the race because they were bothering me a little from the hard effort (when was the last time I raced that hard?!) but nothing really says to me that I ran an 8 minute PR. Go figure.

After the race we chatted a bit with some of the other runners, congratulated those that we “knew” (Lacey actually knew them but I just did from tagging along with them this race) and then jumped into the local pond.  It wasn’t really that cold but it felt good regardless and then we headed back to Lacey’s parent place (where we were staying over the weekend) to eat lots of pancakes, go apple picking, mini-golfing, drinking champagne while icing our legs then celebrating at a bar.

Whew. Here are the highlights in pictures.

On the wagon out to the field.

Reeeeeeeeeeeeach! And yes those are the socks I wore.  Clearly I wasn’t thinking when I headed up to NH and didn’t bring pants.

Yay apples 🙂

FYI: I am a terrible mini-golfer. I think I’m too impatient for it.

I love us. And celebrating.

A very full and fun weekend!

July 4, 2010

Minuteman Classic: 2010 Edition

Filed under: Race Report, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — marathonmaiden @ 14:16

You can’t more patriotic than this (even though it’s not really a Happy Birthday America kind of song ahah)

Love my man Toby 🙂

Hmmm taking Saturday off of studying might not have been the best idea.  Now I don’t want to study at all anymore! Oh well.  It was really nice to be able to go out on the water (I live on a pond) and lay on the dock with a good book.  Very relaxing.  I should do it more often 😉

As I didn’t end up going to NH on Saturday (boooo for that test making me miss all the rides up!) I did decide to race the local 5 miler in my hometown on the 4th.  I’ll be honest: I really didn’t want to.  I’m the kind of person that if I don’ t have a shot at being the best (or at least doing really well relative to me) then I kind of don’t want to do whatever it is.

But my alarm went off at 0730 and I was driving my sister to volunteer at the race.  So I figured why the hell not. This would only be my second race of the year (I’m not really counting Eastern as an actual race haha) I’d give it my all and if I fell flat on my face, well I can always tell people that I ran Boston 😛

And, as a tangent, normally when I race I wear whatever.  I try to make it color coordinated and at least look somewhat runner-y.  Today? I chose to wear my booty spandex and my blue sports bra with my red-ish racing sunglasses.  (I wanted to wear a red sports bra but don’t have any? Boo.  Blue isn’t exactly fierce but still patriotic) I felt bamf.  My thinking was that if I looked the part maybe I could run the part.  Never underestimate the power clothing has on attitude.

After coming back from the race. Hot mess.

I have a love/hate relationship with local races.  On one hand, they’re cheap, easy to get to and small (today was *maybe* 200 runners).  On the other hand, they’re small so you see people that, well, you might not want to see.  It’s awkward being at the starting line with people that I went to high school with and being like “well I really didn’t like you back then.  But good luck!” And the race usually ends up being a rematch of old high school teammate rivals.  I did see a girl that I occasionally run with who is really nice and fun which was great to catch up with her because otherwise I’d have been surrounded.

I warmed up (although with the temps being in the 80s already who really needs a warmup) with some laps around the track, which reminded me of why I love/hate the track.  There’s something that pulls me to speed / sprint work and makes me feel bamf.  But sprinter workouts hurt. I may be old and out of high school for awhile but I do remember repeat 100 and 200m hurting like hell.

Anyway: 1 mile easy, followed by 1 mile of ins and outs (where you jog the curve and “sprint” the straight).  Not going to lie though: the easy mile made me question why I was out there.  I mean, I just pulled off a 500.5 mile month of June and now I’m going to try and run 5 miles really fast?  The ins and outs went better and my legs finally gave me some reassurance that, at the very least, this would work out to be a good tempo run. (My initial goal was to beat last years time (35:32) which is average pace of 7:06 or so but wasn’t so sure during the warm up if that was attainable)

But then again, I ‘ve surprised myself before (Hello Boston Marathon) so I didn’t really know what I was capable of.  Sometimes my brain and body say two different things.  Confidence issues I guess.  I’m working on it 🙂

What’s really cool about the race is the start.  I live in a very historical area and part of the race tradition is to fire old colonial muskets to start the race.  So the muskets went off and the runners took off as well. And let me tell you: muskets are no joke.  I think I lost my hearing.

Mile 1: 6:29

Okay.  The race starts downhill so I was expecting the first mile to be fast.  Looking back, this is roughly what I ran the first mile in last year so I guess I’m consistent? The pace didn’t actually feel too bad and I definitely thought that as long as I didn’t slow too much I could PR this thing.  I saw my sister (who was volunteering) directing runners where to go and I gave her a wave as I ran by.

Mile 2:(13:45) 7:16

Hill.  Basically the whole thing was a hill.  Funny because I KNEW the hill was there.  Not only have I run this race before but I’ve run this area before.  Oh well.  Not a bad split but annoying.  It was also during this mile that some man was really struggling.  Not struggling as in I thought he was in trouble but breathing really hard and heavy.  I’m the type of runner that is easily influenced by that stuff so I kicked it up to A) get away from him and B) salvage a little bit of the time I lost on that hill.

Mile 3:(20:45) 7:00

Better.  I started picking some people off who were slowing down which boosted my confidence.  I knew it was way early to be thinking about a kick but I knew there weren’t that many females ahead of me.  I wasn’t keeping track or anything but I had the feeling that I was up there.  Again, small race so it’s not like there were that many people in general.  But I saw the girls XC coach (who always wanted me to do XC in high school and tried to recruit me every year haha) and he shouted out that I was looking awesome and to keep it up.  A check mark in the pro column for small local races 🙂

Mile 4:(27:42) 6:57

Jeez is it over yet? Over the course of this mile I played a terrible game with myself: I slowed down then corrected myself and speed back up.  Not intentionally of course but it’s late in the game.  My legs are tired: from the race itself and not training at all (running or resting wise).  But as soon as the guy with the watch said “1 mile to go” I was like “CHRISTMAS MORNING” and I kicked it up.

Mile 5: (34:15) 6:33

I passed So.Many.People. It was awesome and just fueled me to keep picking it up.  I don’t really remember much about this mile just because I think the only thing I was thinking was “keep going.  Almost there.  Pass that ^#$%#$” I finished strong and didn’t feel myself slowing down.  Always a good thing.

I left after doing a 2 mile warm down so I didn’t get to see the winners and prizes being handed out.  As I crossed the finish line I saw the high school track coach (whom I had sought advice for Boston in the spring) and said “That was hard” to which he replied “Well it’s a bit too hot for this tomfoolery. But great job.”  It was about 90* by the finish.

Since it’s a local race, no chip time and I think that’s what the clock said (34:15) and it’s what my watch says too.  Results haven’t been posted and Just checked ’em and official time is 34:14.  2nd in AG (out of 13), 4th female (out of who knows) and 36th overall (out of 222).  The winner of the entire race ran a 26:22 (!) and the first female (and winner of my AG) ran a 30:30.  Maybe not the fastest race out there but surely fun.  Faster than me anyway.

Anyway I know this is getting long (when are my posts not?!) but overall I’m really happy with how I did.  Like always, I think I could have gone faster but the average pace breaks down to 6:51.  Faster than my one (and only) 5k race.  I’ve gotten that racing bug again though because I had a blast.  Sure the actual running kind of sucked.  But running really hard and really fast is always going to suck.  It’s the afterglow that I live for.  The pride in knowing that I want to vomit but I’m not going to (partly ego there but partly because I can’t run with food haha).  That I left it all out there.

Pretty basically a lot of fun.  God I need to race more!

Hmmmm. I thought I took more pictures.  Oops. It’s the least I can do for subjecting you through reading this — and putting up with my shameless self-promoting past RR links 🙂  So I’m going to utilize google some more 😛

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY (and stay safe 8) )

April 20, 2010

Boston Marathon 2010: Race Report

Filed under: Race Report — Tags: , , , — marathonmaiden @ 09:00

Warning: Very long. Like beyond normal long.  Haha.  But I’m trying to type a lot of this up Monday night.  My eyes are bleary (so sorry for any typing / grammatical stuff — although correct it as it’s going as a race report link!), 24 is almost on but I want to get lots of this out while it’s still fresh.  And clearly I have a lot to say. Like always 🙂

BUT thanks for all your support.  I really feel like you guys have my back, have felt my pain and felt my good times too. Y’all are awesome! It was so amazing reading your comments here, FB messages, RWOL comments and emails.  Granted I read all of them post race but I felt so loved and cared for!

So many emotions going through me right now.

And somewhat surprisingly disappointment isn’t the first.

Sheer happiness and exuberance is. I don’t think I’ve smiled or had as much fun as I did today. Seriously.  I was smiling the whole damn 26.2 miles. No joke.

But let me back up and make you read my report before you see how I did.  Although I know many of you from other networking sites so you likely already know. Especially since there were many who decided to let it out how I did before me. Jerks.  Can’t be too mad though because it just means everyone was excited 😉

And sorry for the lack of pictures.  I think I set the bar too high after my expo post.

Last night was pure hell.  Mentally I was playing games with myself.  Not that I didn’t train hard enough (obviously that wasn’t the case given my monster monthS) but that I trained too hard.  My doctor and I have concluded that I am WAY overtrained and that along with the culmination of my shin splints (an obvious overuse thing given how late they cropped up) made me worry.  And I’m not going to lie, as I was packing my stuff and laying out my race outfit I was thinking that I really shouldn’t even run. For real.  Those thoughts crossed my mind.

But they were just fears and there was no way I was NOT going to run. So I set my alarm for 0514, ate some saltines, hopped into a hot shower to shave then hopped into bed at 2200.  Later than I would have liked (I wanted time off my feet), but even then I had to read for 45 minutes or so before I was anywhere near ready to nod off.

The 6 or so hours that I was asleep passed uneventfully.  A good thing unlike a week ago when I had a dream that the ax was coming down from my doctor and I had to pull out.

I pretty much jumped out of bed and set about getting stuff 100% ready to leave. And I also committed a racing sin: I tried something new on race day.  Actually a few things food-wise but this was number one: I ate a *slightly* different breakfast.  I wasn’t worried though because, although my stomach is finicky, it’s mostly annoyed with timing rather than the type of food.  So as long as I finished eating ~2 hours before the start I knew I was good.  Plus my bowels have been wicked regular lately thanks to a hefty dose of antibiotics.  Oops if TMI there.

Unlike many runners I was lucky to get mi madre to drive me to Hopkington. I live ~40 minutes away from it so it made more sense than traveling into the city only to travel out of it. We needed to leave by 0615 in order to make sure she got out of the town before the roads got shut down.

Oh and I made a pre-Boston mix.  I made it a bit on the long side but these are the songs that I listened to on the drive:

  • Walk This Way. Aerosmith
  • I Got A Feeling. Black Eyed Peas
  • Mr. Policeman. Brad Paisely
  • Crazy Bitch. Buckeye Cherry
  • Crazy Dreams. Carrie Underwood
  • Rocky Road to Dublin. Dropkick Murphys
  • Crazy Town. Jason Aldean
  • Tik Tok. Ke$ha
  • Bad Romance. Lady Gaga
  • Electric Feel. MGMT

And as I left the comfort of my mom’s car I was signing that last one.  Which I am obsessed with at the moment so it was a good thing.

I didn’t bring my camera with me (too paranoid about me losing it) so I don’t have any pictures of the Athlete’s village.  Nor did I think to bring any magazines seeing as how I got there so early.  But it was okay.  Time actually passed pretty quickly.  Surprising given how cold I was.  I was very happy I layered up! Note on the weather: ~42* at the start.  ~58* at the finish. Slight tail-wind.  Partly cloudy.  Couldn’t have asked for better weather.

Around 0930 Alison and Donna, whom I know from RW, showed up and we hung out (mostly in the bathroom lines ha!) until race time.  It was awesome to meet them after so much chatting on RW!

Around 1015 we headed to the start (I was in wave 2 with the 1030 start).  I decided to jump back a corral to hang with Alison.  It’s chip timing so I wasn’t worried about my time and both of us were nursing injuries and planned to start out conservatively. And I remember joking around how the elite women were likely halfway by then HA.

The first mile was 8:45 which is faster than I went out last year in Providence.  But no pain from the shins and I was feeling good.  Mile 2 was about 8:10 which felt good but I knew that it was downhill.  At this point Alison and I parted ways and I tried to soak up the experience. I still wasn’t sure what I could expect from myself but I knew that I needed to actually race like I wrote yesterday.

Miles 1-10 were about the same.  Just trying to lock in a solid pace that would put me in a good position to stay strong throughout.  There were the typical early mile doubts of whether I could do it.  Nothing to make me seriously consider pulling out or anything.  But knowing you have so much left isn’t comforting.  At all. I don’t have the splits but I did check my watch after every mile which isn’t something I normally do.  I know I passed mile 10 in 1:23.xx.  Right on tap to BQ again. Which was a pleasant thought.

Around the halfway point I passed through Wellesley.  And man, everything they say about those girls is right.  It was AWESOME to have them SCREAMING at you.  And to read some of their signs was hilarious.  All variations on the same theme “Kiss Me I’m…” My favorite? “Kiss me I’m not going to tell your wife”

So they gave me a boost.  And knowing you’re halfway there is a boost in and of itself.  My split at the half? Roughly 1:48.  Slightly under BQ pace.  Excellent.

Post-Wellesley I don’t remember much until Newton. Until mile 17. And the only reason that sticks out is because Powerbar was giving out gels. I don’t do gels but it was a reminder to take a small Larabar for fuel.  I wasn’t sure if I needed it but it was late in the game and figured an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  The flavor I had was Lemon Zest.  And it tasted pretty good.

And yes, this was food mistake two.  I trained pretty improperly but never taking in fuel or water during any of my training runs.  But granola-like substances have always been good to my stomach so when I packed them I wasn’t worried.

Then came Newton.  Apparently there are 4 of them that start at mile 18 and culminate with Heartbreak at mile 21.  I honestly didn’t notice the first one until the guy next to me said “One down 3 to go”.  The next one wasn’t really a hill in my eyes, at least the uphill.  The downhill was rough.  I blame it on the lack of hills in my area and relying on the TM for ’em.  No downhills on that sucker.  The third was a bit tougher but it was the Comm Ave hill that I ran with Lacey back in January. Which was cool that I’d already done it.  Even Heartbreak wasn’t that bad.  There was a guy with a mike up at the top celebrating all of us for getting to the top which was cool.  (And Lacey: bummer you missed me! And that I missed you! I was so looking forward from miles 15-20 to seeing you and having you help pace me.)

And he telling us that the rest (~5.2) was all downhill from there.  Lies.  Because any slight incline was agony to me.  Not any type of sharp pain but the aches that come with running 21 miles and running them hard.  I don’t have mile splits for these guys but glancing at the mile clocks was telling me that I was around 8:00-8:30 pace.   And I know that at mile 20 my time was 2:45.xx.  Which made me happy.  Sure I pretty much knew that my “A” goal was unattainable but I was fairly confident that if I could hold pace or slightly increase then a PR was possible.

But those last 5.2 miles were agony.  I took a Peanut Butter Cookie LaraBar around mile 23 and just gutted it out.  I have no idea if I slowed down / by how much but the effort to keep going was so great.  My hips were starting to get really sore and it became a mental game of “just get to the next mile” and “only X left. You’ve done this before and it was only a fraction of a typical run”.

I don’t really know what mile you see the Citgo sign but anyone who tells you that it’s a sign from God is lying.  Maybe it’s because I’m not familiar with the Boston course but it was like it was taunting me. But the crowd support in Boston rocks (for the entire course too) and that was a boost.  I definitely received a bunch of high-5s.  And I could tell that the party had definitely been going on for awhile with some of those college students ha!

Eventually there was a marker that said one mile left and I tried to turn up the heat.  Although I didn’t increase my speed much (if at all) I definitely didn’t lose any.  I just went for it.  At this point a PR was a legit possibility even though 3:29.59 was out of the question.

As I turned onto Boylston Street (and could actually see the finish at this point!!)  my dad (whom I hadn’t seen) starts BELLOWING my name.  LOVE IT.  Although I didn’t love the fact I almost took a spill trying to turn my head and wave.  But it was awesome to see him and have that lift to gut out the last few hundred meters.

Because my friends (the 3 out of a billion who said they were going to show up) and my mom and sibs missed me.  They were all standing on Boylston near the end and MISSED me.  Haha.  My mom was really worried that my shins were acting up and when I called them after getting my bag my sister was like “uhhhhh you’re done?” hahaha.

But the finish!  I pushed so. freaking. hard.  I didn’t look at my watch.  Just focused on the crossing that line and throwing my hands up for the camera.  Hopefully a good ass picture comes out of it because my mom sure as heck didn’t get one 😉

I knew based on the clock time that I BQ’d again.  And according to my watch I PR’d.  But I didn’t know by how much until I got home.  And the result is


Holler atcha girl 🙂

And from the website here are the 5k splits if you’re into that

  • 5k        26.17
  • 10k     52.21
  • 15k    1:17.53
  • 20k   1:43.40
  • Half   1:49.11
  • 25k    2:08.45
  • 30k    2:34.20
  • 35k    2:59.52
  • 40k    3:24.48
  • DONE 3:35.53

Pace: 8:14

Overall place: 8512 (no idea out of how many)
Gender: 1957
AG:  1459

I haven’t run the 5k splits all the way but it looks like negative splits.  My MO.  And I like it 🙂

Post race my legs were shaky.  I found the medic tent and got both shins wrapped in ice.  Down a full water bottle (food/fuel mistake 3: no water all 26.2 miles.  Going to have a WICKED dehydration hangover tomorrow!).  Got wrapped in a mylar blanket.  Grabbed my post-race goodies.  And headed to the buses to get my checked back.

I so needed to keep moving.  Standing still was not an option as much as it sounded to attractive.  Unfortunately I had to stand still in the bus line.  And I started to get woozy.  Luckily I was able to avoid hitting the pavement but I was seeing starts for a minute.  Totally rectified after I got some carbs into me.

I found my mom and sibs and chowed down a bit.  We needed to catch a train back home so we couldn’t stay long and I almost missed seeing some of my friends who were looking for me.  They were troopers and walked us to the T so we could chat and they made me a wicked cool picture:

We made it back to the house really easily although I did NOT want to sit down on the train.  But the conductor made me.  Blah.  Once we got home my mom made my favorite meal and then we all went out for ice cream.  When I walked into the house though I saw this:

Plus I decided to skip my 0830 class tomorrow so I could sleep in Tuesday / not have to drive back to school Monday night.  I emailed both the TA (who teaches Tuesdays) and she was cool with it as long as I checked with my professor who was also cool with it saying it was a “special exception”.  So yay 🙂

AND I’m getting a short blurb in my local newspaper 🙂

So a pretty freaking awesome day.  And as I type this it’s late Monday night and I have yet to take off my medal OR the jacket.

And I’ll leave you with the one picture that my mom did take post race

October 12, 2009

Tufts 10k

Filed under: Race Report — Tags: , , , — marathonmaiden @ 19:42

Perfect fall day for a race! It was wicked chilly when I got up this morning but it warmed up pretty quickly and I think the temp when the horn went off at 1200 was 55*.  Wonderful. I wore my “cute outfit” but it wasn’t warm enough to actually feel comfy in a tank so I wore my Tufts 10k shirt from last year.  I still looked cute heh.

I got another great night sleep last night, 9ish hours.  I can’t remember the last time I got so many solid nights of sleep in a row.  Definitely making me feel not ill at all, I think I’ve finally kicked the virus.

In any case I hit the road to meet up with Lacey, her sister Amy and Elliot before the race and head into Boston together.  I am so glad that she offered to do this because it was sooooo stress free. We took public transportation in and got to the Commons about an hour or so before start time.  I had to get my race number, shirt and goodie-bag and the line was sooooooooooo long.  It seriously took me 40 minutes to get my number.  Sheesh! At this point I lost Lacey but I was hoping that I would catch her at the start.

By the time I checked my bag, used the porta-potty and actually headed to the start it was almost go-time! I didn’t have time to warm-up or even line up with the correct starting line (7 min/mi pace).  I think I was wayy back with the people aiming for 10 pace. Oh well. And as a little aside to how much I LOVE the running community, in order to get to the start on time me and another women had to hop a fence rather than wait in the bottleneck at the gate.  Seriously this fence was high and had spikes on it.  But we helped each other over.  Camaraderie right there.

So with all that chaos, it’s needless to say the first mile was a little slow to go.  I knew immediately that it wasn’t going to be my day to PR and I just set out to “run the best race I can”. Seriously, I am a dork and actually said that to myself. Heh.  It was also hard because there were SO. MANY. WOMEN.  Someone said 10,000 but I think about 7,000 actually ran it. Still a huge number of women.  Even some men.  I was happy that I painted my nails hot pink last night because I was so proud to be female.  Totally dorky but hey whatever.

Each mile after that first one felt great.  The ab cramps that I was feeling (stitch-in-side but on BOTH sides) disappeared as my body warmed up.  I was passing people left and right and it felt *good*.  I wish I could give you a play-by-play for each mile but the more time that passes, the fuzzier the details.  I do remember telling myself to enjoy it: great weather, great atmosphere and great people! I was also totally beasted by a girl running barefoot. She was moving sooooo fast.

I ended up with pretty good negative splits:

  • 8:16
  • 7:32 (15:48)
  • 7:52 (23:40)
  • 6:58 (30:38)
  • 7:00 (37:38)
  • 7:02 (44:40)
  • 45:55

The first 3 miles were tough and I needed to get into a rhythm.  Not quite sure why mile 3 was so slow, but oh well.  I’m extremely happy with how the last 5k went.  I finally was able to kick it into high gear.  Mentally there was a lift too.  I’ve said this in the past but running is so mental and I think there was too much “junk” going on in my head during the first 5k and I was able to buckle down and focus. At this point I started trucking and feeling really good.  I think, upon reflection, that I’m a looooong distance person since once I get warmed up I feel like I can go on foreverrrr.  Or maybe it’s just indicative of me actually needing to warm up for quite a bit before jumping into it.

Around mile 5 I found Lacey and Amy running hard and fast! I recognized them as I was coming up because of their cute shirts.  Major props to both of them, especially Amy as it was her very first race. Whoo-hoo!

So the overall time was :25 off my PR! I’m kind of upset because I know that if I was at the correct place at the start I could have beat that.  But I wasn’t and I ran the best race I could with what I had.  I’m also extremely proud because of how sick I was at the end of last week. However, this is the first race ever that I haven’t PR’d so that kind of stings.  But the hanging out with cool people and a cool race makes up for it.

Final numbers:

  • Time: 45:55
  • Avg Pace: 7:24
  • Place in AG: 105/1473 (Top 7.13%)
  • Place overall: 232/6020 (Top 3.85%)

After the race the three of us hit up and stuffed our bags with the freebies and all the food.  We made out like bandits! Sadly I was unable to go out to lunch with them so we parted ways.  But I was so happy that I got to chill with them.  Hopefully since we don’t live far away at all, and we’re even closer when I’m in my hometown, we can meet up at some other race or whatnot.  Unfortunately we’re entering winter and in NE there isn’t much in the way of winter races.  I’m sure there are some more fall ones but with Lacey running her first marathon next week I’m not sure how into racing she’ll be after that haha.

But we will definitely run this race again next year.  It’s such a great race and experience and I can’t wait for it.  Plus I want to really race Lacey 🙂

P.S. I didn’t take any pics, like usual, but she took a bunch and will prolly put them up on her blog later tonight or tmrw.

P.P.S. What a surprise I had when I walked back into my room and my school decided to turn the heat on today.  I think it was literally 90* in my room. Sheesh!

September 20, 2009

A PR’s a PR, right?

Filed under: Race Report — Tags: , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:55

So I’m not really sure where to begin with this. I guess I’ll start at the beginning.  That’s always a good place right?

The original plan: run with some friends, have fun ( and kick that punkass kid’s ass too).

Somewhere between yesterday afternoon and this morning every single person who was going to go with me bailed.  Yup, every. last. one.  So I had to revamp my plan, not to mention figure out how to get there as my ride opted out of going to as well as nix the picture idea because there was no one to take pix and I didn’t feel comfortable leaving my camera in my car.  So right there? Not such a good start to the morning.

It was made a little better because of the fact that it was 44* when I got up. Since I thought I was going with a big group of ppl I slept until 0800 (the race started at 1115).  If I had known I was driving myself I might have left a little earlier as parking was sure to be a mad house.  Ate my standard pre-race breakfast: pb & banana on an english muffin with a big bowl of cheerios and the remaining banana slices.  Yummy.  At least in theory, because I was now anxious about going to the race by myself I wasn’t really able to enjoy it.

So there was little traffic and decent music on the ride down there.  By some miracle I got one of the last free parking spaces by the State House.  I picked up my t-shirt (no smalls left boo! AND only the first 1000 pre-registered participants got race bags — LAME) and headed back to my car to drop off my backpack and take off my warm clothes. By this time the weather had warmed up to about 60*.

Alright so long wind up to the race itself.  I warmed up about 45 minutes before the start.  I jogged for about a half hour or so and then did some strides.  By the time I got to my corral (2nd one baby! They did it on “projected times” and I had listed mine as a 22 mins) there was about 5 minutes until the gun.  Perfect timing. Not to mention I was lightly sweating and feeling good and also nervous. This is also the location where I ran my first (and only so far) marathon last spring and there were some good memories related to that.

The gun went off and it took me about 30 -45 seconds to cross the starting line.  Grrrrr. I mean, with lots of ppl there it was a very fun atmosphere but it made the first 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile really congested and I was weaving in and out of ppl. In all honestly, I think I ran more like a 3.2 or 3.3 mile race with all the in-and-outs I was doing to keep my pace.

At first my legs felt kind of tired and I thought “holy moly I think my warm up was too aggressive and the 10.8 miles I ran yesterday were a bad idea”.  Only more explicit.  I am a trucker/sailor trapped in a 22 year old female’s body.  And yes, I did run 10.8 miles yesterday.  It was cool and nice and my legs felt great.  At the time.

I don’t know what my 1 mile split was (I don’t know if there was no marker or if I’m just blind) but my 2 mile split was (on my watch) 12:42.  Holy moly! I was flying! Unfortunately my realizing how fast I was going caused a little crash and burn.  I think I’ve blocked out what I hit the 3 mile marker at because I know I looked but I cannot for the life of me remember.  The last .1 was uphill and it sucked.  A lot.

[Edit: Interesting to think about that after my half 2 weeks ago I wrote a post-race post about not going fast enough at the beginning and being too conservative.  Clearly not the case here.  Must find happy medium!]

So if you stick through all that whining that comprised this race report you deserve the stats:

Final time (official chip time): 21:32.  6:56 pace.  76/1810 in the F0139 age group — which for all you non math ppl is top 4.2%. 431/5365 (top 8.03%).

When you look at the final stats, it’s not so bad.  I mean, I just lost my 5k virginity here ppl!

But I can’t help but feel disappointed.  Even though I claimed my goal time was 22 mins I was hoping for less.  Granted, I did go faster than that but I was hoping for smoking fast. I also don’t really have anything to compare this too.  And not just compare vs myself.  I honestly have no idea where 21.32 fits in the grand scheme of running? Good? Average? Bad?

I think a lot of my mood also is dependent on how all my so-called friends backed out and I was left going alone.  Don’t get me wrong, racing is fun even when traveling by myself but a 5k isn’t really justification for me to go to a race myself.  Especially since the atmosphere was so fun and positive there.  And there were so many people.  Having someone there to share it with would have been really nice. So I can’t really tell if my disappointment is in the race itself or the treatment of my friends.

Since I didn’t have anyone to hang with after the race I didn’t bother cooling down in Providence.  I drove home, ate lunch with practically the only friend who I can depend on to keep their word and then went for a head-clearing cool down.  I know that it was, like, 2.5 hours after I had finished but I felt I needed to run again.  My legs were a little achy at the beginning but by the end all the gunk in them was shaken out.

And woah.  Long ass post. Thanks for reading it all (assuming you did and didn’t just scroll all the way down).

Just as a final note, I’m totally not fishing for compliments here (which I was accused of when talking about my disappointment to someone).  I know a lot of you are type-A’s too so I’m sure you can understand what I’m going through.  As the post is titled: a pr is a pr.  Plus the disappointment in this race should give me fuel to go at it harder for the next one 🙂

September 6, 2009

Swanzey Covered Bridges Half Marathon

Filed under: Race Report — Tags: — marathonmaiden @ 14:57

was great.  At least that was the overall impression.  Definitely moments where I was questioning why I wanted to do this.

But let me back up. I had everything packed last night, put out my race day outfit and climbed into bed early. Since I knew that I wasn’t going to fall asleep early enough to get 8 hours so I watched some NCIS.

0321: Had to make a bathroom trip.  First thought “Time to get up?” Then “Ugh I’ve only been asleep for 4 hours?!” followed by “2 hours til the alarm!”

0519: Alarm goes off (and yes it was 0519 not 0520 because I’m weird and can’t stand waking up on on an even time).  Song is “Shipping up to Boston”. Although it’s early, not a bad way to wake up.  I jumped out of bed and was wide awake immediately. Finished making some food for post-race and hit the road by 0554.

I got to NH and the race site around 0715 and registered no problem.  Got my shirt and chip and medal.  Kind of weird getting the medal before the race starts.  And I like the races that give out the shirts at the end too, makes me feel like I really earned it. I hung out in my car for the next hour or so because it was FREEZING.  Well I exaggerate but it was 10* colder in NH at 0700 than it was at my house 1.5 hours south at 0530.  For reals. But this also meant that it was nice and cool for the race. Perfecto!

I also ate my packed breakfast: some cheerios and milk.  Just enough to give me a boost but not enough to sit in my stomach funny.  As it neared 0900 I hit up the (real) bathroom (a locker room in the H.S — yay no porta-potties!) and then stood in the sun to warm up a bit because there was no way I was covering up my cute new racing tank.  Yup, I am that vain haha.

Promptly at 0900 the gun went off.  I lined up near the front moreso because I headed over to the start at the first call rather than because I thought I would kick ass or anything.

I did go out a bit fast but not too fast.  But that brings me to another point: while the course was described as flat, it is better described as rolling hills.  My splits were all over the place! Especially for the first few miles while my legs were warming up (these were the moments where I was wondering why any sane person would want to race this kind of thing).  Now, I don’t have a garmin but I was wearing a watch so here are my rough splits (and while the numbers in my head are the overall times at each mile I was nice and calculated the min/mile for you)

  • 1: 740   (740)
  • 2: 1556 (816)
  • 3: 2354 (758)
  • 4: Unknown as I missed the marker
  • 5: 3932 (? Because I missed #4)
  • 6: 4720 (748)
  • 7: 5510 (750)
  • 8:   6300 (750)
  • 9:   7100 (800)
  • 10: 7840 (740)
  • 11: 8620 (740)
  • 12: 9400 (740)
  • 13: 101.15 (715)

Final (chip) time: 101:56 (1 hour 41 mins 56 seconds).  A 7:47 pace — whoo! I was the seventh female overall and the fourth in my age group.  Overall I was number 71 (stupid boys — errr men — being faster). So percentage wise I was top 14% A.G, top 25% overall.  No way to report my percent for all females unless I want to count the numbers.  And I may be nice but I’m not that nice 🙂

And I guess to be fair my splits don’t look that bad and miles 10,11,12 were dead on even.  It was just a little disheartening to see some 8 splits and to see my pace go up and down — even if it was only 10ish seconds each time. My previous PB was an 801 pace so I was afraid that one +8 split would snowball.I had wanted to lock into a pace and stay there so seeing not even splits made me feel uneasy.  I really wanted to set a PB.

Oh that’s another thing.  I smashed my old PB by a full 3 minutes.  Didn’t think that it would happen based on the first few miles but, like my marathon, after I relaxed my pace started improving and I started trucking. It is always a great feeling to be passing people in the last few miles.  Makes me feel strong! And it’s amazing how all those doubts I had in the first few miles dissipated once I started feeling strong.

Just a note on the race itself: well organized, nice shirt design, good crowd (although I think they were all volunteers) support and great BBQ afterwards .  I’m not a big bbq fan so I grabbed a bunch of waters, ate my PB&J & banana then hit the road for my 1.5 hour drive back home.  My legs are feeling pretty good right now.  I was thinking of hitting up a nice 3 to shake out that drive but the call of the shower was too great 🙂

Now I’m just putting my feet up, eating some good food and watching the L&O: SVU marathon.  Going to have to do some work later but for now I’m just basking in the post-race glow.

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