Monday, April 24, 2017

The aftermath!

It was a very typical post Boston marathon on a hot day week.


Most days were in the upper 30's and raining. 
If that doesn't help a runner to acclimate for Summer, than I don't know what will!! *sarcasm*

On the bright side, I recovered splendidly. Running 26.2 is an effort, no matter what the pace. However, my heat related system failure at the race,  reduced my speed enough to allow for some fun running last week. 

Notably, I enjoyed several rainy, sleety, extremely windy miles with my friend Danielle. 

I don't think we have had a run together in years, so it was nice to catch up about all things running. We should probably plan a long run sometime, since we basically hit the tip of the iceberg in the catching up department!!

Our run coincided with a fundraiser for our friend Sarah who is battling the ultimate bullshit, breast cancer. She's a remarkable woman who shares my love of running, ducks, and terrible photos on the internet.... It was a good night full of laughter, tears, a million donuts and excellent positive energy. 

Kicking cancer in the fucking FACE. 
The rest of the week consisted of a few runs here and there, dodging more rain drops, and bird watching. 

This will be the only bluebird we see this year. 
Winter, as determined as it has been, does seem to be spluttering out. 
As I type this, it is actually 60 plus degrees! 
I did notice, that despite the dank weather of last week, the snowbank is shrinking.

Saturday. Not warm. NOT WARM. 
As I reflect upon the aftermath of Boston, I am happy to have finished up nice and healthy. 
The whole training cycle went down really well, and I'm a big fan of the journey so that's a big deal!!

A few things that went much better during the lead up to Boston in 2017:
-I never let the house/laundry/mess situation get to the brink of disaster. That shit drives me crazy, and I prioritized keeping more order in my everyday life.

-Eric and I ate in a way that was considerably better than in the past. We have never been junk food eaters, but we consciously consumed much healthier calories. My energy levels have never been better (although I never "lost" what I thought was my "too many carbs" little belly. but that is a story for another day. no, I am not preggers.)

-I hydrated much better, and was very mindful of alcohol consumption. I drank 100% more water than in the past, and still enjoyed my beloved beer. 

Hashtag LOVE

-And..... I actually managed to do enough core and strength work to avoid the "I am in the WORST shape ever!!" feeling that comes at marathon time, haha!

So despite a less than stellar marathon, I feel very positive about the last 4 months. Many good runs, many good and positive life choices. 

Weekly stats: 
Miles run: Good lord, I actually have no idea. 
Longest run: 26.2 whoot!
Other: Core workouts, twice (go me!)
Wildlife sightings: Bluebird. Cardinal. Ducks, both wild and domestic. Deer. Dogs.... 
Low/High temps: 30/76 BECAUSE WTF???
How am I feeling? Very, very good. 
Beer of the week: Everything Trillium, but Summer St specifically. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Boston Marathon 2017: A sweaty slog

Summer ARRIVED with aggression.

The day before. DOOM. 
The day prior to the marathon had us in the 90's. It was completely bananas.
On the drive to Boston the fan in the car, and therefore the AC decided to die. We made the best of it, because what else can one do? With two blocks to go, it fired back up. Well, played AC.
(and weirdly, this little theme was played out again in a different way the next day. read on.)

Anyways. We made it! All was well and Boston was wonderfully bustling with runners, and the weather was just perfect for shorts and flip flops and it was really quite delightful.

Saying a quick hello to the finish!
Eric and I made a quick run to the expo to exchange an item, and made a pass by the finish.
Then, we had a little R&R back at the hotel. Gotta stay off the feet in the heat!

Top floor of the Revere
Marathon DAY DAWNED........

Yes. It was cooler on Monday. Sort of.
I jumped out of bed at 6:00, our close proximity to the Common allowed some very luxurious sleeping in. (it was pretty amazing!)
I got to the Common at about 7:45 and proceeded to stand in a potty line...

Out of the potty line! Into the bus line!
I was on a bus and on my way at 8:20, whoot! (and it was already 67... so there's that.)

I had a nice ride to Hopkinton, and my bus was a PARTY BUS. So many people in good moods!

Things moved very quickly at that point because I arrived somewhat later than usual.
I hung about in a portable potty line, and had just made it out of the crapper when my wave was called to the corrals.

Leaving Athlete's Village
I made the walk to the Corrals, which is always a hike, as well as a good way to get loosened up after the long bus ride.
I had been drinking quite a bit of water to keep up with the rising temps, so I hit up the potties one more time. So much time in the toilets....!

As I made my hike to Corral 1 (which is wayyyyy up there!) I felt it getting really, stupid hot.

I have never been in 1 before! 
As one would expect, the general murmurings from the crowd were all "wow this is hot" "the sun is crazy" and so forth.
Also, not even as much as a puff of wind. Temp: 69 degrees.

Summer running in Corral one
I had a pretty reasonable plan regarding race execution. I concluded that I would run similarly to last year (easy, especially first half) and then evaluate. It seemed as though, at the half way point or so, that some clouds might roll in and that we might have more of a side wind, making the final half more tolerable.

I rolled on out at an 8:30/8:35 pace and maintained extreme composure.
Until the mile 1 marker when I took a 4 second pee break. My bladder. So much water.

Let's reflect quickly.
My warmest recent long run (and the high temp for the past few longs) was 40.
The most water I have consumed in a long run is 16 oz.

By mile 5, I had consumed much more water than I am used to. Ick. I was doing the tiny sip thing, in order not to become sloshy but my belly still felt full of water.

Other than feeling like a camel, things were going well and my pace felt extremely easy and pedestrian. One cloud came over the sun around mile 8 or so, and then it left.

The first half was generally uneventful, lots and lots of cheering spectators, lots of sun, not a lot else. I was trying to stay pretty focused on hydration, finding shade, fending off collisions in the water stop stations, and sensible snacking. Marathoning is busy work, clearly.

I ran through the half in 1:53ish and just after, walked through a water station because the crowds were just too thick to run through.

And then... Something bad happened. My legs decided to be done. Just like that. No more legs.

"Well" I said to myself " "I guess this isn't totally unexpected since it is hot af"
*but seriously, having another 12.8 miles to go seemed daunting*

Temp: 74. Clouds: none. Wind: at our backs, generally unnoticeable for the first half. And the second if we want to get real here.

The heat from mile 14 to mile 17 was the most intense. I imagine, that with the staggered wave start, that not everyone will agree with this. However, at the time that I was running this was the case, and as I ran over the 128 overpass it felt like the sun was burning  hole through my skull. LOVELY.

I found my Dad, and family, at mile 18.2 and I was basically useless. I looked at my pre-cramp leg shakes and said "YIKES!!! I better get outta here!!"
Which is exactly what happened. I am terrible company.


You know what kids? Sometimes things are hard. Hard marathoning is a very privileged and first world problem, indeed.
However. This was a hard marathon for me to finish.

I saw some wonderful Crows from my running group along the way which was great. The crowds were fantastic. Lots of good stuff.

But I HURT. And I also sucked it up and kept going.

Getting close
So. As fate would have it, at the 40k mark the clouds rolled in and the wind picked up.
And as I said to the car AC on Sunday: "WELL PLAYED" and "too little too late!!!"

Eric, Danielle and my family were all at mile 26.1 and I did a hell of a job looking fresh and happy for them!!

Fashion on point though
My friend Sarah screamed at me from the grandstands but at that point, I was apparently beyond hearing. Waste of space me!!!

Thanks to Sarah for the pic!
I finished, with a remarkable personal worst of 4:12:08 which I honestly gave ZERO fucks about. I was just so happy that I finished!

I basically felt ok upon finishing. I was not (too) stupid and there was no barfing or crying. But Holy CRAP was I ever sore. My legs, my BACK, my shoulders. Forget it. OUCH.

I met up quickly with Eric and a few family members who had braved the crowds to hang with me for a hot, sweaty minute (I was glad to see all of them!!)

I skedaddled off to shower promptly (hotel living was truly a luxury) and then I became more human.

All my clothing was wicked salty. CLEARLY and SHOCKINGLY I must not have yet had an efficient cooling system. NO CRAP.

And the next day.
IT WAS COLD AS FUCK. Not that I am mad or anything.

45 degrees. ONE DAY LATE. 
The day after the marathon was indeed cold. UGH. Two years in a row!!! RUDE.

What can you do, right? I really enjoyed my training cycle and came out of it fit and healthy. I ran the best marathon that I could, on that particular day.
And I was well enough on Tuesday to hike across the city and buy beer, which made me very happy.

YAY!!! YAY!!!
So here is the moral of the story.
A few years ago on Boston, it was hot and I had a terrible race and I was pretty bent out of shape about it.
This year, it was hot, and I ran nowhere near to my ability but it's ok. I was happy to be there and happy to finish. Happy to be healthy and to have family there to support me. I am lucky. And I feel fine about how it played out. I'm excited to get out, and run more miles, and I'm lucky to have run 26.2 in Boston.

And I'll be there next year.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Week 15: Go time.

Just like that, training is really over. Like over, over.
Or, as we always like to say at this point (yearly)

Game. Over. Man. 
Quick recap, since I am the middle of packing for the big weekend. 

Last Monday, it was a nice day! Warm and sunny, muddy and melty. 
Eric and I enjoyed a few miles together. 

Current state of the big snowbank
I ran a few more Tuesday miles, with a few pickups thrown in so that my legs don't think they are on permanent vacation.
I did not run over the bitch hills this week, so instead, I give you pictures of rushing brooks. 

This brook is no more than a trickle in the summer
I had a rest day on Wednesday, but it might have been the best day of the week.
Because my amazing BAA approved fanny pack arrived, and it is fucking majestic. 
I am so excited to keep my items in this lovely thing, for all occasions. 

Fucking. Majestic. 
On Thursday I had a tiny, baby "workout" or 4x800. 
It wasn't too warm, so I added some extra layers to try to prep for a too hot marathon day. I don't have many options when it comes to forcing acclimation, so the best I can do is overdress like a dork. 

Friday was EXPO DAY!!! EXPO DAY!!!
Possibly my favorite day of the year. 
My Dad and I got off to a nice early start. My original barn helper for the day came down with a vicious bug, so Eric got to step in as guardian of the horses. 

It was busy at the expo but not like, Saturday busy (thank the lord.)
We basically zipped in, spent  million dollars, and zipped out. 

This was the least awkward shot. Still so awkward. 
I really had wonderful luck getting everything on my list. Some years are like that, it's like you follow the dots to exactly what you want/need. 
I got gifts for friends, one of the houndstooth jackets for myself, and a pair for the new Hoka slides which are SO comfy. Dorky, but they give you footgasams. 
And, of course, we made it to Sam Adams for a teeny tiny beer!!

Lee and Sara adventures for the win
We managed to avoid ALL the normal traffic on the way home, so we had time to stop in at Austin Street for the Beer of the week!!!
A REMARKABLE DIPA. Perfection. I plan to fill my growler with this ASAP. 

Jesus, just LOOK AT IT.
And that brings us to today. 
The first day in (wait for it) a three day warm spell. Of course. 

Overdressed, again
Because this is my blog, I am going to say it. 
I'm a little bummed that for the second year in a row, I nailed a training cycle and, due to the too hot (for me) weather, I won't be able to test myself. 

Now don't get me wrong!! I have not thrown in the towel at all, and I am planning to run my best race and there is NOTHING more exciting then participating in the Boston Marathon. 

But for fuck's sake. On Tuesday it will be 47 frigging degrees. WHY CAN'T THAT BE MONDAY??

Ok, whining over. Gotta suck it up. Gotta be brave and zip it. 

Since it is the SAME weather (or a touch warmer) than last year, I have a plan. *sigh* 
Safety first, plenty of water, and an easier pace than I had hoped for because the temp will be 28 degrees warmer than my warmest long run. 

Boston marathon day is a great day, regardless of the stupid weather. I'm looking forward to the whole weekend and will blog endlessly about it (in about 3 weeks, haha.)

Anyway! Wish me luck, and good luck to all my fellow runners!

Weekly stats: 
Miles run: After tomorrow, 20
Longest run: 5 hahaha
Other: A little stretching, a little nothing...
Wildlife sightings: Nothing! How boring. 
Low/High temps: 25/68 BECAUSE THAT IS NORMAL
How am I feeling? Nicely tapered. Good. 
Beer of the week: Austin Street DIPA, basically a perfect 10

Monday, April 10, 2017

ONE WEEK TO GO!!! And training from last week.

One week to go until Boston!!! (which means summer showed up today, duh.)

Summer also showed up last Monday. It was fifty two degrees which (honestly) felt like a boiling hot heatwave. Eric and I stripped down to summer duds and ran a recovery run together like lovahs.

The snowbanks were still ridiculous, so in order to properly document the melting process here is a lovely photo. (April 3rd, first t-shirt run, big fucking snow pile, the end.)

I was WISE and had planned to take Tuesday off. The forecast called for 8-12 inches of snow, which was downright appalling. By some stroke of luck, we only got a couple inches, but the whole day was a sleety, stormy, wet mess. GROSS.

Honestly.... I started double extra strength praying for a cold rainy marathon day, SINCE THAT KIND OF WEATHER IS MY LIFE.

COME ON.....!!!!
Wednesday was my final foray into Bitch Hilldom. It was not warm, and 38 degrees and clammy certainly isn't preparing anyone for impending summer.
But.... I had a quite good run. There were Sheriffs driving all over town, which was both interesting and confusing. I was very curious about what they where up to, but one can't exactly flag them down and ask them. So, my questions went unanswered.

Bitch Hill on April 5th. STILL SNOWY.
Thursday was my other pre planned rest day.
OBVIOUSLY for  more weather related reasons (it pays to plan your whole training week around the forecast! be like me and let the weather report be your guide!)

So yeah. No running but plenty of Expert Water Relocation. This is what one does, when flooding is not something you want to see happen. Plus, it is fun. Playing in mud is terrific.

It is hereditary. I see mud, I want to move it around. I AM MY DAD OMG. 
Back to it on Friday, with some mile repeats. I am pleased to say that the repeats felt easier than they did a month ago. I planned to run close to a 7:40 pace and I stuck to that. My legs felt like they could have done better, but with the marathon drawing near, there's no point in pushing my luck.

Mile repeats, done. Still cold enough for a vest...
Saturday was the final double digit run.
10 miles at an 8:35 pace, in 40 degree gusting wind, ominous swirling clouds, and sleet pelting down for the first three miles.
Very exciting.
I saw a female fisher cat, and was excited to see some high water in the stream.
(I like nature and crap, and enjoy high water, watching the ice go out and such. I am a proper Mainer who drives around after a big storm to see what kind of chaos Mother Nature threw down. *apparently* not everyone does this. weird. )

And then on Sunday, another super easy run.
And then, I celebrated the FINAL can of my favorite beer of the winter....

I must buy more....
And then I took a look at the psycho forecast.

(BTW, today was Monday the10th and it was 72... HELLO) 
And YES.... I have looked at the extended forecast for Marathon Monday and while it is not terrible it is not wonderful. Right now Sunday will be 72 (BAD!!!! BAD!!!!!!!!!) Monday will be 61 (Better.... But for shit's sake, still so much warmer than ANYTHING I have trained in. TYPICAL.) Tuesday FORTY SEVEN. GRRRRR. Give me some 47!!!! BUT, I will take 61 over 72!

Sigh. I'll make the best of it no matter what. We all know that the risk of a Spring marathon is that random warm day and, for SURE, it could be worse.
I plan not to even bother checking again for a few days. It helps that I am quite busy this week.

Anyway. Here are the stats.

Weekly stats: 
Miles run: 34.6
Longest run: 10
Other: TWO full blown core/strength days plus one abs/hips day and stretching. 
Wildlife sightings: One Fisher Cat
Low/High temps: 30/52 and snow and sleet and all kinds of crap
How am I feeling? Totally decent. 100% better than before Hartford (which does NOT mean I will run faster. not at all. but I feel great which counts for a lot.) 
Beer of the week: My FINAL Trillium Mettle.... So delicious. So gone 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Week 13: The final big week! Dogs! Hills! Eagles! 'Murica!

March..... Don't let the door hit you on the way out! 


This completely sums it up
Confession time: I prefer training in horrible bogus March weather than boiling hot August weather. I might not have been warm, but I'd rather layer up than die a horrible heatstroke death. 
The never ending snowstorms, however.... They can bugger off. 

Last week was a BIG week in the training department.  A big week, at the end of several big weeks (as one would expect.) While this week didn't host my longest long run, there were several workouts that were very challenging. (possibly the MOST difficult of this cycle.) So, by the week's end I was pretty pooped . 

Bitch hill snow.. It has not changed much!
I ran the most difficult hill workout of the entire training cycle. It was my first run of the week, and my last day of dealing with the cold that I had picked up the previous week. I wasn't feeling my best but I got the run done, and I did not really suffer too much. 
So what makes this a challenging workout? I charge up and down the hills twice (about 4-6%, one hill is .75 mile and the shorter one is .45) While much of the elevation comes from that stretch of road, the remainder of the run would be called impossibly hilly by any self respecting flatlander. 
The total elevation of the run is about 750 feet. 

Feeling better, even after a tempo run
I ended up moving Friday's rest day to Wednesday to give myself a day to recover and shake off the remaining cold symptoms. 
The day off did the trick, and on Thursday I went out to run a challenging speed workout.
I did a total of 10 miles, 8 of which at what was once known as marathon pace... but is now just fast.. So, an average speed of 7:59 over very rolling terrain. It was one of those workouts that was both tough, and doable. It wasn't the hell of maintaining 5k pace but it was most certainly not easy. 

I did have an adventure during this run.... One of the neighbors has a Great Dane, a GIGANTIC beast of a creature, who is usually tucked in nicely behind her fence. 
As I ran past her home, I heard her husky bark oddly close to me... And there she was, out and on the move. 
I froze. I don't know this critter, but I know not to run from large dogs, as they will chase you down and then (at best) knock you over to "play" and straight up accidentally kill your ass!!! Fuck!!!
I shouted for a while, in an attempt to shoo her away/alert her owner, to no avail. I tried to stay calm, serene and confident. All the while looking at this dog who was shouting at me and was also at least 80 pounds bigger than I. 
She crept up within arms length from me and stood there, warily, barking and saying "you SHALL NOT PASSSSSSS!" 
I texted Eric to ask what he thought I should do! (when in doubt....) (he offered to come help)
After 5 minutes of being held hostage, her dad finally rescued me. 5 minutes is FOREVER.
I was like "ummm yeah, can you get your dog? because she is scary!"
Anyway, her name is Leisel and she is on the same shit list that Vader is on...

Friday I ran a total of 8 more, with about 30 minutes of speed play with a minute of "fastish" running and a minute of easy running. 

Then on Saturday.... We got a foot of snow. 

Cute, April... Well played you dumb ho bag. 
So WTF?? April came roaring in, all pissed off and angry and deposited a full 12" of heavy, wet snow onto the mud. LOVELY. 

I am lovely too. 
I had no intention of doing my long run in such a mess. Nope. No way. Not gonna take months of training and jeopardize it in slippery, disgusting conditions. 
So, to the treadmill I went. For 6 easy miles, which were actually rather enjoyable. 

I pulled off a decent final long run on Sunday, after a pretty long day at work. 
I made a very silly mistake pre run (I ate an apple, and that spells doom. Actually, it spells poop.) So, I had a minor amount of GI trouble early on, but it was brief. 
The whole run was really decent enough but had a few funny issues that kept me from getting into the "zone". 
First, I had eaten that apple, so......
Then, Vader chased me for a while. Jesus.. (today, he was tied! win!)
THEN, a solid 2 miles of my route was unplowed. While it wasn't dangerous it sure was slimy.
AND THEN, I saw a bald eagle in her (her?) nest and it was amazing! I had to stop to look!
After THAT, I saw my friend Gardner so we had a little chat.
WHEN SUDDENLY, I discovered I had lost my gloves and I had to retrace my route to locate them...
Anyway, it was a fine run. Nothing life changing, nothing horrible. Pretty tired legs. 
Sometimes my final long runs are just God Awful, sometimes they are fucking majestic. This was neither.   
Post long run snowbank sitting...
Upon my return home (and after showering, duh) I noticed that both Eric and I were looking pretty damn fancy. So pictures were taken. HAWT. 

So I did it!! I have made it to taper time and it was a good training cycle. They are all different, and this one was no exception, but I certainly put in the work. 
The marathon is in 2 weeks and we'll just let the chips fall where they will. Much depends on the weather, which is anyone's guess. 
I'm just looking forward to having a great day, running whatever race I have in my legs, and finishing strong and healthy. Because who wishes to finish sad, ruined and barfy, right!? 

Weekly stats: 
Miles run: 50
Longest run: 16.5
Other: TWO strength workouts. MUCH skill. 
Wildlife sightings: Fucking LEISEL..... And a bald eagle. 'murica
Low/High temps: 22/45 and a foot of snow, because why not?
How am I feeling? I felt great all week, and a bit tired on Sunday. 
Beer of the week: Well, this is where I dropped the ball!! I'll try to have 2 next week, haha.