Thursday, April 21, 2016

BOSTON MARATHON! The longest, wordiest blog post EVER.

As usual, after the months of training and anticipation the actual marathon weekend was over in a snap. SO FAST. I've needed a couple of days to process and to attempt to come up with intelligent thoughts about my experience (don't get your hopes up.)
(and, as usual it has taken me days and days to pull this together. if I had begun to contemplate good writing it would have taken years so, there's that.)


It's interesting, over time how I have changed my view on what makes for a successful race day. It used to be ALL about hitting the goal pace, come hell or high water or sickness.
.....that was then.....
I had a couple of goals for this race.
1: A solid training cycle (DONE- best in years)
2: Weather permitting, a 3:30 (or, 3:31:30 since I refuse not to stop for 90 seconds in Newton.)
3: Be smart not dumb and run a well paced, healthy, successful race
Bottom line, it takes a bit of fortitude to make it to the start of Boston.
I know how to screw it up! I wasn't really feeling like doing that again.

Honestly. just getting here is amazing. Finishing is even better though!
I think anyone who follows the weather notice the warming trend and, while not terribly concerned I knew I had to adjust my goal time and so I did. I had a solid plan and was quite determined to stick to it! I know how it feels to go out "comfortably" in Boston just to find yourself dead on the street 15 miles later and it sucks, SUCKS. Not doing that again!
I also know that the best laid plans do not always work. The marathon is a sneaky beast who can mess up your day in any number of ways.
So basically I was like, whatever! I'm going to shoot for a 3:40 and hope for the best in the end.

Eric and I drove back to Mass on Sunday evening and had a really nice family dinner with a great collection of Aunts. Uncles and cousins. We had great food and fun, always a great way to kick off a marathon!

I awoke to some very nice race day weather and went through my normal routine of getting my food together, having a coffee, slapping on the first layer of body glide and sunscreen and praying to the GI gods to limit my porta potty time.

Eric dropped me off close to the Common just after 7:00 and the temps were already climbing. Before I even got on a bus I dropped off my most outer layers and drank most of a bottle of water. I was hoping to make friends with my bus buddy but not only did she speak zero English but then she fell asleep. GAHD.

Everyone is already overdressed
I hopped out of the bus in Hopkinton and it was 7,000 degrees so I tossed all my extra layers and prepared for a beach day.

THEN the fun part of the day began. I found my FRIENDS!

Danielle's FIRST BOSTON!!!
Danielle and I spent two hours in various porta potty lines. SO. Much. TIME. We figured out many of the world's greatest mysteries like how to use snapchat filters to make bathroom selfies more fun, and why one has little fatty armpit bits that stick out and get sunburned. (I think without them you wouldn't have a good wingspan.... who knows...)
We also snacked, drank a shit ton of water and found more friends!

Leslie is tall. I stood close because she casts a tall shadow. #stayingcool
Basically, whenever I saw people I knew, it was a photo op. You must take advantage of seeing ALL the people, and on such a nice day there is no excuse not to pull out the phone and take pics and snaps to your hearts content.

Friends. Crows. TWINS.
Athlete's village was MOST enjoyable this year and the quality of the company and weather had a lot to do with it. I was also feeling 100% not stressed out because I had a plan and it felt solid. A lot can happen in 26 miles but I felt like I could avoid many disasters by playing it safe/smart. Maybe..

After watching wave one and two run away (into the pre-long-walk corral area) it was finally our time. Other than the sunscreen walking off on us, leaving us to potentially get horrific scalp sunburns and head cancer we all were as ready as we could be. (and I was basically double fisting water and gatorade on the walk to the start.)

And a long walk to a long run begins.....
All my extra hydration, of course, meant one more disgusting porta potty and ONE MORE amazing pic!

YAY!! SO EXCITED!! And a random photo bomb.
Right at 10:50 the gun went off and obviously, I was not in my corral. There is no need to rush these things. You always get in.

The gun went off. I'm out HERE.
Per the norm the first mile was very much downhill and exciting, so many runners and happy spectators and general excitement. I put my handbrake on HARD so HARD and it was really difficult, I'm not going to lie. I was all rested up and ready to fly but I was not going to pull shit in mile 1 that would haunt me at mile 20. UGH boring adult choices.

I realized early on that it wasn't going to be a great day for steady, sensible tangents. I was trying to run in the shade as much as I could and I also picked up drinks at 22 water stops. Yes, 22 of them. I REFUSE to get dehydrated, damnit!

You got used to running on cups. Lots of cups.
So yeah, I moseyed along for the first 10k and hit it in 51:59, an 8:21 pace.
It merits mention that I did have my watch on but set on watch mode, I still do not feel any reason to look at my watch while running. At all, ever. It can't tell me anything that I don't already know.

The first 6 miles of the course were noticeably and remarkably hot. I was prepared for this and expected it to be 70 from Hopkinton to Wellesley, mid 60's into Newton and then cooling off to about 58 coming into Boston.
This was all completely factual.
What I wasn't expecting was the fierce headwind that picked up around the 10k mark. It didn't take me long to be very, very thankful for this wind! Yeah, it was kind of a bitch to run into but it was nice and cool and it dried off some of my nasty sweat. I was very #thankful!

The pesky Natick hill was still there but I was busy thinking about other things (who knows what) so it wasn't much bother this year. There were a lot of people, some bouncing on trampolines which I found very entertaining.
Of course, not long after Natick comes Wellesely which is a lovely distraction and is something that I think I enjoyed more this year. Maybe I have started to get used to VERY LOUD WOMEN!

The first of many screaming ladies.

Anyway, after all that running through 70 degree headwind and after consuming approximately 12 cups of gatorade and at least as many of water I came to the half in 1:48:42 (slight increase of pace here to 8:17)

Yes, I am predictable. No matter what race I'm running there is always a bit of time around mile 14-16 or so that I get a bit like, ughhhh I make baaaad choices whyyyyy do I run??? The mopey time was brief and I was thankful for that because nobody likes a whiner. I had a couple extra snacks around this time and planned things to do (text my Dad to tell him when I got to mile 17, then see my Dad at 18.5 then make it over the hill, then see more interesting things, take some snaps, etc, etc.)

Just running along taking all the snaps.
Indeed at mile 17 I texted my Dad that I was on my way. Then I had to run over the stupid overpass that goes over 128 and there was a green Hulk right there that I really didn't care for. He was like, a badly timed Hulk. Nope.

Finally! I got to mile 18.5 and was so excited to see my Dad and Aunt and Uncle that somehow I did not notice the literal carnage happening all around. Apparently people were being hauled off by the ambulance full after succumbing to cramps and there were stretchers and what not everywhere.
Marathon tunnel vision at its finest.
Anyway, I enjoyed my 93 second pit stop and got re-sunscreened, got a bag of cheezits, took a selfie, forced everyone to hug my sweaty body and then I ran away, whoooooo!!!

 Right after that was the 30K which I hit in 2:35:49, right back on my 8:21 pace.

After the lengthy 93 second rest stop, clearly I was rejuvenated and prepared to tackle the hilliest part of the race. It was hilly, as usual but I chugged along. I was glad that it was somewhat cooler. I was GLAD that I had strictly monitored my pace in the beginning because I was still moving forward in a reasonable way and I was EXTRA glad that I had cheez-its because they are really tasty.

At the 35K I was at 3:02:15 and the hills hadn't hurt me much because I was still at an 8:22 pace.

Weirdly, with 5ish miles to go my left ankle and foot began to feel all broken. This was strange and prompted a lengthy converstion between myself and my ankle. This is the kind of crap that can only happen after one has been running for a long time.
Me: WTF ankle, this is not something normal for us
Ankle: What do you mean? This is my thing. This is what I do.
Me: SINCE. WHEN? I use you daily.
Ankle: Well. I'm broken. So kindly fuck off.

I ignored it because, seriously. That didn't mean that it went away though and I was honestly most uncomfortable for the last miles of the race. But who isn't.

Around this time I heard a voice calling my name (it was other Sarah) but I couldn't find her! She did get a pic though.
Right around then I ran through the 40K, at 3:27:56, yep, an 8:21 pace.

See me on the left? Looking right like "I hear my nameeee!"

I'd like to say that my last couple miles were a snap because of my logical pace. I certainly was not completely depleted but I was tired. Boston has a way of making you feel very unfit, I always question people who say it is an "easy" course. In what world?? I have yet to finish Boston feeling fresh as a daisy- if anyone has, please let me know what you eat for breakfast because I want some.
I did a lot of looking and listening during the last two miles. I never take running Boston for granted and you never know how many times you are going to make that turn from Hereford onto Boylston.
I really tried to take it all in, and it was amazing.
But I was also damn tired and just wanted to be DONE already so I hustle-gimped thru the finish,
In 3:39:13. DUH, an 8:21 pace.

Right away I felt fine. Body, fine. Stupid ankle, fine. I was pleased because I thought I might have to swing through medical for some ice and I was glad that I didn't and could simply make my way through the masses.

SO crowded.
I saw a glorious big dog and basically freaked out, as one does.

Gotta add cute frames to 170 pound dog pictures.

Shockingly, I didn't cry at all or even have a particularly emotional run. I expect this was because due to the tough conditions I really put the lock down on the feelings, in order to save my energy to make it to the finish.
I did, however enjoy my race very much. Coming in slightly below my Plan B pace, only 9 minutes over my "ideal day" Plan A pace was nice and I was really happy.

Mostly, I was happy that I felt great. No puking!

I found Eric and then quickly found my family for a nice chat and race recap. It's always fun to see people at the finish and I was coherent enough to enjoy hanging out.

Post race with my wonderful husband!
I was SUPER happy that all of my running friends (Danielle, Jamie and Leslie to be specific here) finished strong races on a hot day. We were all basically within minutes of each other which is awesome. A good day for all of us Crow Maine girls!

Eric and I wrapped up the day with a burger and beer in an Irish pub. Being able to go out and about almost normally was a nice change from last year when it was too much of a monsoon to do anything!

A 26.2 Brew!
I was a bit sore but overall feeling good. I know that I can run a faster time but I was very content with my execution and enjoyment of most parts of the race. Boston is always going to be a favorite of mine, thus far I haven't seen anything that matches the excitement and crowd support and overall feeling of this race.
Is it wrong to say I'm already looking forward to next year? :-)


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Boston training week #13 and Expo Day!

99% of the time the final week of taper isn't even worth mentioning.
Typically I run about 15 miles for a Sunday race and I faff around. Very dull.

This hasn't veered too sharply from the norm except in one area.

Last Saturday (so, like last week) the 10 day forecast became available and it looked warm. Definitely a tick up from the 25 degree runs that I had been having.

65 is the median temp that has been predicted. Okay.

There's not anything you can do about the weather. So, I said "whatever" adjusted my finishing goal time and proceeded to run the remainder of my training runs dressed as though it was 15 degrees.

See, I'm not lying.

Sara, are you cold... "No I'm sweating my balls off"
It was NOT warm this week in general but was around 50 a couple days (definitely shorts weather) so the neighbors must think I am nuts. When it's like, 42 I run in shorts so this is a strange outfit adjustment for me.

I am a strange kid
Let's be honest. Will this forced acclimation experiment pay off? Who knows! Probably not because the air has been so nice and chilly and dry. But it was amusing and, to be honest, very uncomfortable. Perhaps a good study in discomfort survival.
Just to give you an idea, I have been wearing the following:
-long tights
-winter socks
-other pants
-warm shirt
-some kinda sweatshit
-some vest, puffy or fleecy
-hat. gotta have the hat. and a visor because #sun
-big fuzzy gloves

History has proven that I'm not the most able bodied warm weather runner but that, with a logical plan that I can finish healthy and happy just not super quick. I'm planning to execute a smart plan and enjoy my day, get my medal and enjoy my race! And I'm going to snapchat SO MUCH!!

And it will be nice to be back in shorts... Seriously, I have never sweat as much as in the last 10 days. SO MUCH LAUNDRY.

So! My Dad, Eric and I headed to the expo yesterday. It opened earlier than last year and I had to work until late morning so we headed off and got there around 2:00.

LOW crowds! My DAD!!
 The lines for numbers and shirts were non existent. I walked right up which was nice.

Basically the only one here. And yeah, I know better than to post a pic with my number... So no number pic...
It was a little busy in the expo area but NOTHING compared to Saturday at Noon! While I wasn't too excited about the official merch this year I still managed to drop a mint since a sweatshirt now runs you a sweet $100. Ouch! But I bought it so obviously the steep prices aren't slowing business any...

We moseyed around, saw Meb, picked up some odds and ends and OBVIOUSLY a tiny beer!

Sam Adams is our most important stop!

Today's strange story:
I was checking out some new shoes, I go through a lot and am always interested in checking out new brands especially if they are a local company. At this booth I had a rather odd experience! While inquiring about their product to one worker,  an employee (who I later found out did not even work in that booth) cut in and was like "you know what shoe you would really like? HOKA'S!" This led to a lengthy chat (mostly him chatting) about the merits of Hoka's, which I mostly agree with and know all about. (keep in mind- I was NOT at Hoka.) After a period of time I basically had to cut him off and say "I came over here to look at THESE shoes but now I'm pretty sure I just need to go back to Hoka- WHO do you work for?" The whole thing was odd. I did not buy any shoes.
(I actually plan to contact this company and let them know this happened and try to get actual good information from them. I feel like they make a good product but wow- what a strange thing to run into!)

We happened to still be in the expo for a moment of silence at the time the first bomb exploded in 2013. I don't talk much about how that has affected me because I certainly was one of the lucky ones. However, I think that everyone who was there in 2013 was impacted by the events of that day. I still feel incredibly fortunate because I know how close my family was to being right in the line of fire. I am thankful every day that I don't have a story to share, I am one of the lucky ones.

 Anyway. Enough feelings.

On our way out we ran into Danielle, who looked calm and collected and ready for race day. She had just wrapped up her run and ran INTO the expo to say hello, which was great!
It's her first Boston and I'm really very excited for her!

It is ALL HER FAULT that I run marathons. <3

After all the excitement my Dad and I took off and left Eric in the city to fend for himself since he was staying to run the 5k this morning. (and he stayed with my cousin and cousin in law, THANKS for hosting you guys!! so he wasn't just cast out...)

This year we did not have to valet park so we did not lose the car which was good.
We drove back to Maine in ALL kinds of traffic and since arriving home I have been pretty much straight out busy ever since. I'm about to call it a day and say what's done is done, and if it isn't done it's not gonna get done! And get off my damn feet for good.

So kids! This is it. Feel free to follow my musings on the Instagram for the next couple days because I certainly won't resurface here for a bit.

TWO DAYS!! GAH. How did this come up so quick? Anyways... Send me good thoughts, fast feet and cold rain! (and may the sun shine on the spectators, may the wind fucking ALWAYS be at our backs, may your sunscreen not be expired and may your chafing be minimal.....)

Good luck runners. Have a kickass day. Get yourself a damn unicorn!!

Next time I see this will be MONDAY!!!


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The 10 Commandments of The Boston Marathon

I think that everyone will agree, that with 3 (almost 4!) Boston Marathons under my belt I am in a good position to dish out advice willy nilly.
This is basically all the info that you need to have a great day, obvs.
I'm going to leave it to the actual experts to tell you how to run, what to wear, etc.
But this! This is the stuff that you NEED to know. Much Expert here.

Thou shalt not forget to bring thine own TP.
Believe me, not only will your bung hole thank you but so will random strangers who ask if you can spare a square.
Pro tip: if you think you might use a porta potty or *ahem* a tree on course stick a couple napkins in your pocket. You need half as many napkins to take care of things, trust me on this....
Also, you might cry and napkins are great for wiping your glasses/face/snotty nose. (not that I'd know.)

VERY VERY Important. This should have been #2 hahaha.
Thou shall trust the pace of thy corral despite its seemingly sluggish pace.
Duh, you're all tapered and ready to rumble. You wanna RUN!!! WHY is everyone so SLOW??
Relax home slice. You're in with your peers. Roll with it and soon the road will open up.

Your view for a few miles. Just go with it. This isn't the time to make a move....
Thou SHALT NOT forget to apply, liberally, thy sunscreen
Seriously on this one. SERIOUSLY. Want a blistering sunburn? Slack off on the application. Have fun with that. The sun is relentless and unless you really wish to look like a lobster you'll heed my words. Every year I still miss a spot, and that spot sucks.
If you happen to have friends on the course ask them to bring extra and reapply. Pack lip balm with a high SPF too.
(friends, I am packing two different kinds of sunblock and I'm happy to share.)
Takeaway message: Don't burn. It hurts.

Thou shalt not underestimate the amount of time thou shalt be spending in travel/waiting and thus, thou shalt bring entertainment!!!
I hate being bored. And no matter what you are looking at MANY hours of bus time and athletes village time. Even if you have a ton of friends you might want to plan to chill for a bit with a nice game of candy crush to get your head together. So bring a charger. (buy a cheap one from Walmart and toss it, guilt free.)  Or maybe junk mags are more your style? (admit it, nothing like a good entertainment weekly!) Bring a couple, it's another good way to make friends. I've seen people playing cards which seems clever too.
Also, as fun as it is to wander around and take *so* many *candid* pics of you and your friends oh-so-casually jumping in the air, now is not the time for using up your energy. So bring stuff that requires you to sit and chill.

I only allow this to enter my life on planes, or at race starts. (it's like crack)
Thou shalt not be "that guy" who forgets her food and is rendered starving and helpless...
OK no explanation needed here. You are going to be running through lunch. THROUGH LUNCH. In my world, this is not good. Bring a crap ton of food. I'm not kidding. I won't share mine!!! (I will)
Last year I saw this poor poor woman going around asking for some very specific food items because she ate all of hers pre race. This sucks, learn from her.
Suggestions: Two sandwiches (I prefer PB & Honey) some little snacky things like cheez-its or pretzels, one old fashioned Dunkin' donut (no shit, every race every time) some potatoes and maybe, if you feel really picnic-ey a slab of Thanksgiving turkey.
I don't cope well with being hungry, so I plan ahead.

Me. NBD.

Thou shall expect to feel a bit overwhelmed.
Or not, if you are a cool cat and don't react to insane crowds, the nervous energy of 10's of thousands of runners and general mayhem. If this describes you I am jealous!
If you get a bit *edgy* in crowds then practice your calming strategy! It's not cool to be the kid that runs, screaming off the bus ;-) (it's not that bad....) (almost though) (I'm so chill.... except not)

Me, running off the crowded bus. Just kidding, my hair is way better than this.
Thou shalt not underestimate the first half of the course:
Why? Because it can fuck you up. This is the only piece of actual race strategy that I'm going to offer. Everyone dreads the second half of the course and most people are at least vaguely familiar with it. But treat the first half with care. If you do, the second half is doable.
I mean, who talks about the Natick hills right? But it's there. Don't be the dummy who runs up it like a lunatic. 
(also, don't underestimate the shit mountain that one must climb over Rt 128.)
Please refer to this honest map for some good info:

This map is good
Thou shalt not fear dressing like the homeless:
"I wear your Grandad's clothes... I look INCREDIBLE!"
That's me, every year at the start. You'd better hope you need some throwaway layers, if it's too warm for them you're straight fucked and simply should continue straight to the #2 commandment  and await further instructions.

#thriftshop chic, thanks.
Thou shalt not accept cups (and expect water) from:
a: the party animals on the WAY to the start
b: the BBQ extravaganza on runners left around mile 2
c: the Boston College kids (if it's a hot day you'll find me here)
d: from anyone handing out something that looks like beer, or shots because it is.
So while you might want to avoid taking said *hydration* from these people GO for it if you want to party! Every year I see people pounding PBR's on the way to the start given to them by the aforementioned party people. If you just want to have fun, and maybe barf a little you go for it and get down with your bad self.
Since it's gonna be a hot one this might be me!!

Not water but maybe not a bad choice!
Thou SHALT NOT delay in purchasing thine very own FANNY PACK!!!
Because, clearly, my fanny pack game is strong.
Yeah, it's a bit of a mystery why the BAA approved fanny pack is an less of a security hazard than, say a clear plastic bag. But whatever, when else can you bust out a sweet FANNY PACK?
Embrace it bitches. You can fit a ton of shit in one of those bad boys. SO many things.
Last year I forgot about the fanny pack until the Saturday before the race and I was sad because a: it was lame b: I had to ask my Mom to get it for me in the manner of a small child and c: I also paid like $22 for it which is offensive.
Anyway. I have an awesome one for this year and this is the most exciting thing. Obviously.

Oh YES. This is my fanny pack for this year. You're jealous, that's ok.

So there you have it kids. The 10 essential commandments of the Boston Marathon. If you heed my words then you are bound to have a fabulous race day experience!


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Week 12 of Boston Marathon Training: Taper edition

The past week was all about the taper. I always wish that I would notice my mileage reduction in a really obvious way, like suddenly having many more hours for sleep or recreation. However, this week only brought enough extra time to clean the house sufficiently so as to not need flip flops inside. #win

I was trying to think about my feelings regarding this years Marathon and, as promised last week I have basically nothing. Clearly, I'm very excited to be heading to the start line again. This year's qualification was earned at a time when I was mentally struggling with marathon training/marathoning/running so even though that seems so very long ago (it was in 2014 after all...) I still appreciate the work and struggle it took to get where I'm headed in a a week.

There is NOTHING easy about qualifying for Boston. Nothing. Perhaps I tend to get more emotionally involved in the races that I run to earn qualification and I view running Boston as a reward and the icing on the cake. Boston is one big party and it is so SO exciting to be part of the crowd that is lucky enough to experience the event. I'm really looking forward to it this year! I tend to feel all the emotions while actually running but not before. I feel fine now, normal, busy at work and I want cookies and pancakes and a steak but that is par for the course.
(I know I said I had nothing and then I wrote two paragraphs. Still, less than I see in a hot minute from complete strangers on instagram, hahah!)

So how was week one of tapering?
It was fine. I am good at tapering.
No, I'm not kidding.
I forgot to take pics this week so this blog is boring.

Bitch Hills, in 25 degree snow showers. Like, steady freezing cold snow.
My lips were blue by the time I got home. Cute...
This was a good solid workout and one that I won't miss skipping for a few weeks!

Wow. Really cold.

5 miles, easy pace, in 28 degree wind. Why is it winter again? WHY? At this point I was like, well, it had BETTER be 35 on race day or I am fucked.

Off. Time to clean the house and do 5 loads of laundry!

Rest day beer: Foundation Brown is great
6 miles, mostly base pace with about 3 at marathon pace.
The weather for this particular run was amazingly similar to what we dealt with in Boston last year. 48 degrees, pissing down rain and wind! It was quite an exciting run and very wet. Sometimes it's rather fun to head out in the most crap of conditions. (really.)

We were sopping wet.

Off day, time to see the Chiropractor.
It hasn't really merited mention but I have had a series of rather nasty issues with my back for the past 8-10 weeks. Non running related obviously, but serious enough to impact my daily life, sleeping and comfort. Because my chiro is a magician I am already feeling much better!

Today I could finally look at the 10 day forecast and I hated what I saw. 65 degrees and blazing sun sucks giant hairy ballsacks. I was not amused, and continue to feel unimpressed.
There's nothing that can be done and I refuse to look at the forecast again until like, next Sunday. I refuse to let the damn weather piss on my cornflakes. I won't have it!!

After recovering from the shock of thinking about going from 25 some odd degree running weather this week, to 40 degrees warmer next I headed out for my last real workout prior to race day.

Of course, it was barely 40 degrees with freezing cold wind so hardly good for acclimation. Oh well.
I ran 10 mostly MP miles (a few slow, a few fast) I felt fine, it was a solid run and if a marathon was 10 miles in ass freezing cold weather I would win, each and every time.

I felt a little icky after but I'm pretty sure it was just female issues. Another situation this winter that didn't really merit mention was that (through no fault of my own) my birth control situation got completely screwed up. Hence, so did I. I'm at the tail end of the issue and it was dumb and a strain on my ovaries and what not. Seriously, I'm  an old woman and I don't need to be put through hormonal trauma, thanks. I was pissed, and my doctor was pissed and it was just a giant hassle. #rantover

6 suuuuuuper easy recover miles on a nice brisk 45 degree day. All was well.

With just over a week to go I'm feeling ready and excited. This year will be a fun new experience because I have SO many friends running and we are ALL in the same wave! It's going to be amazing. I'm so used to being allllll by myself for 100 hours before the race that having friends to talk to and take a ton of selfies with will be a fantastic change.

So what am I hoping for at this point?
-That the weather doesn't decide to get crazier.
-That I have a calm week at work. This weekend was a borderline shit show.
-That I continue to feel good.
-That I find everything that I have ever wanted at the expo and that it is all half price!!!!
-That I remember to take more bad selfies because, without those, this blog is nothing.


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Boston Training Week 11: The last of the high mileage weeks.

Another big week done and with that, the taper begins!!

The reason for the last 11,987 days of training!
I should probably do a full recap post on how I actually think this training cycle went, now that it is done and dusted. History proves that I probably will not and taking this into consideration here are a couple thoughts (and perhaps next week, with fewer things to say I will delve more deeply into this- but I wouldn't get my hopes up.)

In a nutshell this was my strongest training cycle in years. There is a distinct possibility that a little research might prove this to be my best training cycle ever but a: I don't have time to do this and b: honestly, it doesn't matter!

I feel more fit than when I ran a 3:25 in 2013 and given the challenge of Boston's terrain I imagine this will translate to a 3:30.

I said, with great sarcasm earlier today that what happens now is "in the hands of the Lord."
I'm not a religious woman so what I actually meant by this is that the only thing that can screw me is the weather, and that's out of my hands entirely. I refuse to worry about it. What will be will be. (and I am lying a little bit. of COURSE I am going to worry about the weather. who do you think I am?)

So, let's recap.

Monday: I was stuck on the treadmill because it was 35 degrees and just pouring buckets and buckets of rain. Nope. I did 3x2 mile repeats at 7:55 and it was totally decent. Not particularly thrilling but not particularly horrid. Quite sweaty though.

Look at the sweat. Eric was shocked that I'd post such a gross pic. I thought he was past being shocked about anything.
I forgot to mention that Eric bought me a new GPS watch which I think is just the cutest! (both my exclusive husband's ability to gift me and the watch.) It's a tomtom and other than having it tell me how long I ran for I use none of its features and never even look at it. I give zero fucks about what my watch says, other than the total accumulation of miles. As I have said, my watch can't tell me a damn thing than my legs haven't already spoken up about. However, this is more reliable source of data than my unreliable phone so I am enjoying that, and how cute and adorable it is.

I discovered that heavy rain activates the "lap" button. Useful.

Tuesday: 7 miles, easy.
It would have been easier if we had not been dealing with 40MPH wind. It was quite an adventure and I blew hither, thither and yon which was rather entertaining.

Literally, holding on to my hat
I decided that this was a good day to take my Hoka Claytons for a test drive and see if they lived up to all the hype. Spoiler: they did not.
I have not made a final decision on whether or not to keep them but I'm leaning towards no. However, I'll probably give them one more chance to impress me before I box them up for a return trip. 

They look cool. They feel "meh" Side note: look at them skinny ankles, haha!

ALSO on Tuesday Mr Bradlowski and I also enjoyed quality time together. In separate locations on separate computers but appreciating the shared experience of standing in virtual lines to sign up for a race (which sold out in like, an hour.

How we bond
Wednesday: Bitch Hills. It was a touch warmer (54) but since I run on the late side the sun was below the trees so I was quite comfortable.
I was completely whipped by the final mile and, while it was gross, it is more or less what I expect after running seventy bazzilion training weeks. The workout itself was still a good success. Despite pulling the pace back from last week it was still probably the second fastest I've ever run the route so that says something. (like it's time not to run bitch hills for a week or two.)
I get home from bitch hill day late which is key because I can take artsy phone photos of sweet sunsets. I know you all read just to admire my artistry. Obviously.

Maybe I should consider the use of filters for a more dramatic scene.
Thursday: Off. Thank THE LORD. As you can see, I may have welcomed Jesus into my life. If it's a nice day on the 18th you can thank me and my fervent prayers ;-)

Thank the sweet baby Jesus for a heaven sent rest day IPA
Friday: Typical Friday crap. A few easy miles, a few base miles and uphill back home.
THIS was GROSS. My legs just couldn't be bothered. Okie dokie.
This was, by far, the warmest day I have run on this year. Temps were nudging 70 and with the rain the humidity was cloying. A good reminder that sudden increases in temp are my Achilles heel and that is why I have a race day plan B. I'm not too sharp in the heat. (and heat is relative at this time of year. 60 is heat.)
It also thundered.
And poured down rain.
I got threatened by menacing Pomeranians and wild turkeys.
It was a very odd run.
I was none too pleased
Saturday: Long run, 16 miles over rolling hills with the second half being entirely uphill. (about 800 ft of elevation so not too impressive but still a decent number of little hills.)
After the YUCK of Friday this was quite nice. The temps were a perfect 48, the skies were cloudy and drizzly and the rain was light. Basically, my ideal running conditions.
This was a fine final long run. My pace was steady at 8:40's, I more or less zoned out the whole time and I finished feeling good.

Done! Happy!
Sunday: Rest day, and I was not too sad about this because it was another dumb windy day AND the treadmill is on the fritz. Good thing it is April!

Next week I'll be pulling back the mileage to 35 or so miles depending on how I feel. There are sill a few hard workouts in there but with the mileage reduction perhaps I will stop needing two dinners a day. PLUS over a dozen eggs a week PLUS two loaves of bread AND a whole thanksgiving turkey to keep me from getting hangry like a jerk.
We shall see.

The weekly wrap up:
Miles: 50 and change (March total: 222)
Favorite TV: 2 episodes of Chopped which were very good
Favorite beer: I had an Foundation Epiphany and an Afterglow, both were excellent
Low temp: UGH, it was cold AF on Sunday. Like, 25 with 40MPH wind.
High temp- 68 on Thursday which would have been great if running wasn't a thing...
Favorite food: My Mom made a Turkey Pot Pie out of the Thanksgiving turkey that she nicely made so that I would not die of no food. This pot pie was really good. (and the turkey was made recently, not at Thanksgiving. But it was LIKE Thanksgiving so that is nice.)
I also had an Amato's Italian after my long run which is perfect post run food.
Basically, I will eat anything/everything now. ALL of it. ALL.