Thursday, October 31, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

Detroit Marathon Results

I did it. I finished out my year of racing just the way I had hoped to and celebrated my birthday the way most marathon runners would want to.

I wanted to push hard and keep up my streak of Boston Qualifying marathons. If you read my previous post, you'd see my goal was 3:35 on my 35th birthday. That would give me a 5 minute padding to my BQ time of 3:40 for Boston 2015 (I'm already registered for 2014). I definitely did just that and then some.

Let's start at the beginning though.

Friday evening a small group of us headed downtown to the expo to pick up my race packet, poke around for a bit and go out to dinner.  My friends Jeff & Kristin have a baby 6 months younger than my daughter and they are both named Anna!  Of course we had to get a picture of them with the countdown clock.

Future BFF's and marathon runners (my Anna is on the left)

me, Jeff and my dad

Packet pick it up quick, as usual. And the expo was like trick or treating for adults. I left with all kinds of free sample sized Lara bars, granola, pop corn, etc... I picked up a container of PB2. I never tried this stuff and figured it was worth the $5. I also purchased a hooded sweatshirt from the official marathon gear area.

After the expo, we all headed over to the Eastern Market district for Thai and Sushi.  I've never been to the restaurant Jeff chose, Sala Thai but it was very good!  It was so nice to get the expo out of the way on Friday so that I had my Saturday free since Sunday was the marathon.  I spent Saturday visiting my niece and then carb loading on pizza with my dad, step mom and my son & daughter.  We had a slumber party back at my house since it would make Sunday's logistic easier on everyone.  I laid out my race day outfit and hit the sack by 9:30pm. 


Sunday morning we were up by 4:15am and to Jeff's house by 5:15am.  We made it downtown and in a structure within a half hour.  We parked next to the Compuware building in Campus Martius.  The Compuware building is open the morning of the marathon so you have a place to hang out, use indoor rest rooms, meet up with other runners, etc... So nice!   We took a quick group photo and headed to the start line at 6:30am for a 7am start.

missing from the photo is my dad, he was in the restroom doing his "thing".  LOL!
We started right on time.  I felt good, even though we were off to a quicker pace than we had planned.  When I am feeling good, I like to just go for it.  Why hold back?  One of my favorite parts of the marathon comes within the first few miles.  We cross over the Ambassador bridge into Canada.  Depending on the weather and when you reach the bridge, you can see a really pretty sunrise.  We ran along the Detroit river in Windsor and enter the tunnel at mile 7 to head back into the US.  This is another favorite part of the course.  You hear people chanting "USA, USA", its a nice downhill into the tunnel and you are running 1 mile under water!  it does get pretty warm in there though.  I had my gloves off and sleeves up by the time we made it out.  The course then takes you back into Detroit, through Mexican Town, Corktown and back towards downtown where the half and full split.  Miles 13-18 are the most boring to me.  I do like the MLK High School band and I enjoy looking at the unique homes in the Indian Village portion (miles 16-18).  It was a breezy day and I really felt that head wind from mile 18-26.2.  I knew I had a great pace so I made sure to focus and keep pushing.  My left hamstring was a bit painful, but I was able to not let it get to me.  I felt strong mentally!  I made the turn on to Fort Street, heard "Go Stephanie, Happy Birthday baby, you got this" and saw my friend Susie who just ran a 3:37 in Chicago the week before.  I smiled, waved and crossed the finish line in 3:29:50!  I beat my goal by 5:10 and BQ-ed by 10:10!  Happy Birthday to me!!  My dad crossed just behind me in 3:30:35.  He also BQ-ed by 19:25!!!  
I managed to meet my goal and stay strong however, once I finished the pain set in. Oh the pain...  My legs were cramping up pretty badly.  I sat down, had my dad rub my legs out and then rub his out.  We collected our post-race food, took a quick finishers photo and headed straight to the car!  I was cold.  I  just wanted a hot shower and warm sweats.  
Detroit ended up being a great way to celebrate my 35th birthday.  I aged up this year too.  I am now in the 35-39 age group.  Time to go scope out my competition.... lol
Official Results:
Time: 3:29:50
Pace: 8:00
Age Group Place: 6th/318
Gender Place: 40th/1,898
Overall Place: 304th/4,291
Oh and just because, I had to share with you my birthday cake.  We get this every year for my husbands birthday, my son's birthday and my birthday.  It's a 5lb double layer frosted chocolate chip cookie cake.  Yes, that is Dora the Explorer.  :-)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Detroit Free Press Marathon is THIS Sunday!

Sunday, October 20th, is the 36th annual Detroit Marathon.  This will be my 5th marathon this year (6th if we count my 50K, which I usually do).  I signed up for the marathon almost immediately when registration opened.  You can beat the early registration fee! I think I paid $65?  That is really inexpensive compared to most marathon fees.  And, since the event is held on my actual birthday, what better way to spend my 35th birthday than to run a marathon! 

Over the last couple weeks, I was starting to have my doubts on how well I will be able to perform bit now I am super pumped about this race.  The last time I stepped foot on this course was October 16th, 2011.  I ran my 2nd slowest marathon (3:45:30) but it didn't matter.  I had SO much fun that day!  I had carried my camera, took tons of photos along the course, didn't feel bad at any point in the race and, little did I know, I was 7 weeks pregnant!!

Running in the Ontario part of the course

Rick, myself and Jeff - my running friends I ran with that day

Me, my mom and my stepdad
My goal is to run a 3:35:00 or better.  Every road marathon I have run since having my daughter Anna back in June 1012 has been a BQ time.  I want to keep my streak alive and finish out this year with another BQ.  My marathon times have been the following; Grand Rapids Marathon in October 2012 was a 3:39:02, Boston Marathon in April was a 3:29:46, Pittsburgh Marathon was a 3:33:16 and Ann Arbor Marathon was a 3:30:26.  I know I can pull off a 3:35:00, if my legs feel good.  I've put a lot of miles on my legs over the summer with various races including a trail marathon & 50K, running 220+ miles in July, etc...  So hopefully I don't show up Sunday with dead, heavy legs.  If so, I will have my dad there to pull me along like he does best. 
I've been trying to make sure I get a little bit more sleep than I usually do, as well have increased my carb intake.  I will be resting my legs Friday and Saturday so that they are fresh on Sunday.  The weather is seeming to cooperate too.  I've done the work, now to push hard and hope for the best. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Heroes on Hines half marathon results

Saturday was the Heroes on Hines half marathon and 5K race.  The proceeds were to benefit a memorial for fallen first responders.  I decided to make this race Anna's first race in the jogging stroller which my dad and I were going to run together.  Since I knew I'd be taking it easy, I didn't eat right the night before or morning of the race.  Well, mother nature wanted Anna to sit this one out.  It was raining, humid and just not the ideal conditions for a 16 month old to be pushed in the half marathon.  So, I opted to sit her out.  This meant I would now have to run hard. 

We made it to the start line with only a couple minutes to spare.  Which was just long enough to meet a local blogger that I follow named Michelle.   We said hello, wished each other good luck and then we were off.   From the start, my dad pulled away.  I'd say by mile 3, there was no chance I'd be able to run with him.  He was cruising!  It was also at that time I was told I was 2nd female overall.  Not what I needed to hear.  That messed with my mind along with the side stitches, stomach issues and the fact I felt completely zapped of energy.  My friend, Dave, kept trying to encourage me but nothing seemed to work.  It wasn't that it physically hurt, because my legs felt OK, but I just couldn't get into a groove.   I felt like I had zero energy and hills were really taking a toll on me.  I forgot how hilly this end of Hines Drive was.   At mile 8.5 I was 3rd female overall, by mile 9 I was 4th female overall and when I crossed the finish line I finished 6th female overall and 2nd in my age group.  Clearly not my day.  Not only did I get progressively slower with each step, but I ran a disappointing time of 1:42:18.  I know that may not be all that slow of a half marathon, but it's not what I am used to seeing.  I am used to seeing 1:40 or faster.  At least over the past couple years.   I am really trying to not let this get to me, but I have a marathon in 13 days and I am stressing over the fact that this could happen then too!  All my races this year have just come so easily.  I've put up some great times and I do not want to crash and burn on the 20th.  I hope I was able to get out all of the crappy race stuff done and over with this past weekend so that my marathon is as successful as the others I have ran this year. 

Official Results:
Finish Time: 1:42:18
Pace: 7:48
Age Group Place: 2nd/51
Gender Place: 6th/292
Overall Place: 30th/595

My shirt, medal and age group award (water bottle)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Speed work, prepping for marathon #13

October 20th marks the day of my 13th marathon (well, 10th 26.2 if I do not count the 50K's but I have been lumping marathons & ultras in one category).  I've been running some high mileage weeks with lots of tempo runs but have not been doing any speed work.  at all. 

I recruited my friend Dave to do some speed work since I am horrible at pacing on the road or track.  I usually do speed work on the treadmill since I can set the paces and just change with a touch to the screen as needed.  So,Tuesday morning a few running friends and I hit the road to run some Yasso 800's.   My goal for the Detroit marathon is to run a 3:35 or faster.  I know I can do it.  All my road marathons this year have been 3:33 or faster.  There is one thing that has me worried and that is how fatigued my legs will be come race day.  I have run some high miles this year.  Will my legs still be 3:35 quality?  I probably should have focused on speed much sooner too. but hey, I haven't been one to really do things the right way when it comes to my training this year.  So better late than never???

Anyway, we were shooting for at least 4 - 5 800's.  I needed to run each 800 in 3 minutes & 35 seconds.  Remember how I said I am horrible at pacing?  Here are my splits for 5-800's:

800 #1: 3:19 - too fast...
800 #2: 3:20 - wow, maybe the first 800 wasn't too fast.  let's see if I can maintain this pace for the rest of them
800 #3: 3:25 - ok, I am not in 3:20 shape
800 #4: 3:27 -  at least I am getting closer to my pace I was supposed to run
800 #5: 3:27 -  yep, definitely started out too fast but at least I stayed consistent with #4

Positive splits.  Not how I am supposed to run this work out.  Oh well.  It felt good.  With warm up and cool down I ran 9 miles.  I will do this again next week, with a goal of 6-7 800's (you are only supposed to increase 1 each week and do the last work out at least 10 days prior to the race).  I also hope to run the correct pace and not go out too fast.  And if I do go out too fast, try to maintain the fast pace for each repeat. 

I'll report back....  :-)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Dances with Dirt 50K results

Another successful DWD, new 50K trail PR of 5:41:22 and 1st in my age group!  

Dances with Dirt offers 3 events; 50K ultra individual, 50M ultra individual or 100M relay.  The main draw to the DWD events are the relay teams.  There was just over 100 runners in the 50K and 50 runners in the 50M.  There were about 50 teams in the relay. 

This is my consecutive year running the 50K.  In 2011 I ran with my dad and our friend Mike, finishing in 6:16:56 and was about 5 weeks pregnant at the time but didn't know it.  Last year in 2012, I ran this with my dad along with my running friends Dave P., Mike, Dave Z. and Angie and we finished in 6:20:50.  I had just given birth about 3.5 months prior so we expected it to be a slower time. 

This year I really wanted us to beat the 2011 finish time and would love if we went under 6 hours.  We started out with a group of 8; myself, my dad, Dave Z., Dave P., Mike, Jessie, Angie and Brandi.  We planned to stick together the entire race. In the end, only 4 of us finished together.  That was me, Dave P., Angie and my dad.  Even though we didn't finish as a group of 8, we all still managed to cross that line in under 6 hours! Not only did we all come in under 6 hours, we all placed in our age groups.  5 of us to 1st and 3 took 2nd!  Definitely a great day overall!!

This was my last race being in the 30-34 age group.  I move up to the 35-39 age group on October 20th.  I'll be celebrating the new age group by running a marathon that day.  :-)

Official Results:
Time: 5:41:22
Pace: 11:00
A/G: 1/6
Gender Overall: 5/38
Overall: 20/115

Angie, Dave P., my dad and me with our awards (beer buckets and pilsner glasses)

Mike, Dave P., Brandi, my dad, Jessie, Dave Z., Angie and me

Another group shot

Friday, September 13, 2013

She's amazing! Run Emz that is.

You must watch this. NOW!

Run Emz is well into her 24 treadmill run to raise money for education in India.  She's amazing.  This is her 2nd time doing this.  Serious badass!  Love her!

You can donate by going here.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Monday, September 9, 2013

I'm a winner!

I did something this weekend I never thought I'd ever do.  I WON A MARATHON!  The Woodstock trail marathon to be exact.  The field was very small with only 47 females and 67 males.  They also had a 5 mile race, half marathon (very popular), 50K, 50 mile, 100K and 100 mile.  Its a hippy themed weekend full of running and camping. 

I went into this race with the intention of using this as a training run for Dances with Dirt 50K on September 21st.   We ran the first loop in about 2:07/2:08.  I don't have the exact numbers since I forgot my Garmin.  Which ended up being a huge blessing!  I was able to run by how I felt versus being absorbed in the numbers showing on my wrist. While out on the 2nd loop, we came to an aide station and I was told I was 3rd female overall.  That is all I needed to hear.  I kicked in into high gear, dropped my dad and focused on pushing hard these last 8 or so miles. 

I crossed the finish line in 4:13:44 with a 9:41 pace.  Not bad for a trail run, that's for sure.  I was then told I was first female overall!!  I knew I had passed a few females out on the course, but I didn't pay attention to which event they were running.  I had to wait to receive my trophy since they needed to verify it.  My dad ended up finishing 20 minutes after me.  This is unheard of!  He is SO strong on trails, so for me to finish ahead of him was a big surprise, let alone it being 20 minutes ahead of him!  He ended up taking a nasty spill on a downhill and jammed his shoulder into a downed tree.  He was feeling a little rough after the race, but is fine now. 

I had one of the BEST trail experiences ever!  I felt fantastic out on the trail.  I had fun!  I didn't fall, which is always a plus when trail running.  and I FREAKING WON A MARATHON!! 

Here are my official results and a few photos from the day.

Finish Time: 4:13:44
Pace: 9:41
Age Group Place: 1/7
First Female Overall: 1/47
Overall Place: 10/114 - yep, only 9 men finished in front of me!  How sweet is that?!

me with my trophy

me & dad


close up of the tag on the trophy

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Revised 2013 race calendar and races in 2014

I've, once again, revised my calendar for 2013.  Originally I planned to run the drumstick double (or whatever it's called) on Thanksgiving in downtown Detroit.  Instead of running the 5K and 10K, I will be running a group 20 miler instead.  A fellow runner from a facebook running group; Southeast Michigan Runners, is organizing a group Turkey Twenty at Willow Metro Park.  I've run the turkey trot for quite a few years and figure what the heck.  I can get a good, long run in and save time and money.  I am glad I didn't sign up for the Turkey Trot!

I am also signed up for my first 50 mile race.  I will be running the North Country 50 Mile trail run on August 23, 2014.  I am really looking forward to this race.  I hear the course is tough but beautiful and I am always up for a challenge.

Boston Marathon registration opens on September 9th.  I get to register on the 11th since I am sub-11 minutes on my BQ time.  I feel confident that I will earn a spot with that BQ time.  So add that to 2014 as well. 

Of course I will be running the Dances with Dirt 50K in September 2014.  It's just a fun event that I refuse to miss out on.  Plus Jeff is making this his first 50K and I definitely won't miss out on running with him.

I am also researching late fall marathons for 2014.  I really want to train hard and shoot for a 3:19 marathon.  I need a flat, fast, fall course.  I am open to suggestions, within reasonable traveling distance! 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Somerset Stampede Race Results

Saturday, August 17th I ran the Somerset Stampede half marathon.  This was my 4th time running this very hilly and challenging course.  It is a very small race field.  I finished 3rd female overall, so that shows you  just how small it is.  All I hoped for was a course PR.  I knew a distance PR was not obtainable. 

Here are my previous years finish times:

2009 1:46:26, 8:07 pace 3rd in age group
2010 1:40:02, 7:38 pace 2nd in age group
2011 1:44:24, 7:58 pace 1st in age group

Official Results for 2013:

Time: 1:39:00
Pace: 7:33
Age Group Place: 1/16
3rd female overall
Overall: 16/140

Monday, August 12, 2013

Run thru Hell 10 Mile race results

Saturday, August 10th, was the annual Run Thru Hell 10 mile & 4.8 mile race.  This is an event my dad's uncle has been putting on for over 30 years!  In fact, my Unc just turned 81 years old on the day of the event.  He still runs a 5K or two every weekend.  I hope I am still running at that age!

This year the course gave me same as it always does, lots of challenging hills.  You get a nice variety of hill running; steep climbs, small rolling hills, hills that you think you've reached the top but really you haven't, steep down hills, etc...  I am not very good at hills and wasn't sure how I would do this day.  We had to be up at 2:30am so we could be out the door by 3am, to be to the race site by 4am so Chris could help set up the water stops.  I brought older shoes on the verge of retirement with the intentions that I would just treat this as a work out and not race it.  I actually felt good when we took off and was able to run harder and faster than I thought I'd be able to.

I finished in 1:15:11, good for 2nd place in my age group and a new course PR.  It's also a distance PR but I've only run 3-10 mile races and they have all been Run thru Hell.  Maybe I'll try a flat 10 mile race and see what kind of time I can put up?  Chris, of course, beat me again for the 2nd week in a row.  He's just so darn strong at hills!  He finished in 1:13:50.  We have a hilly half marathon on the 17th, which I fully expect him to finish before me.

A handful of my running friends ran this race as well.  It's always so much more fun when you get to run and race with friends!! 

Official Race Results:
Time: 1:15:11
Pace: 7:32
A/G Place: 2nd/21
Overall: 81/438

Here are a few photos from the event.

Hell Creek Ranch, where the event takes place

Running in towards the finish line

Anna & my dad watching us finish

Mike, Anna & My dad (on the right)

Anna at her first Run thru Hell race

Chris, myself, Dave (5am runner), Adam (Dave's son who ran a 6:58 pace!) and Angie (5am runner)

Chris & I with our awards

Angie, Adam and myself with our awards - the 3 of use placed 2nd in our age groups

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Clark Lake Run 12K race results

Saturday, August 3rd, was my 3rd time running the Clark Lake Run 12K.  7.456 miles for those who care not to do the math. :-)

It's a challenging course with lots of rolling hills.  My goal was to start out fast and hang on for as long as I can. May not be the smartest race day strategy but whatever. 

I really, really wanted to run a 7:10 pace.  This would give me a 53:26 finish time.  My first two miles were negative splits; 7:05 & 7:02  Great!  Now to hang on there. Well, that didn't happen.  After the first two miles, my splits were all over the place with one of the remaining miles at 7:24! I think that may have actually been mile 3, then they fluctuated between 7:13-7:16 through the rest of the course. 

I ended up crossing the finish line in 53:50, 7:13 pace.  I am satisfied with those results.  It gave me a new 12K PR and course PR.  Downfall?  My husband beat me by 10 seconds.  He's not a runner.  He's extremely fit, but not a runner.  He lifts weights and has big muscles, while running is MY thing.  He is so strong at hills though.  I wish I could run hills the way he does.  He makes it look so effortless!   We are running 2 more hilly courses over the next couple weeks; Run thru Hell 10 mile on the 10th and Somerset Stampede Half on the 17th.  I may have to quit running if he beats me at these 2 races.  Not really, but I am extremely competitive.  I don't like when he beats me.  My dad made a good point though, I have been so focused on distance running that I don't know what its like to run a short, fast race (like the 12K last weekend).  Here's to hoping I can push it hard at Run thru Hell.

So, my 53:50 finish time at Clark Lake was good for 2nd place in my age group.  They always give out a nice award too.  The previous years I ran, we received tall ceramic mugs.  This year we received pilsner glasses.  I love when I receive an award I can actually use!

Official Results:
Time: 53:50
Pace: 7:13
A/G Place: 2nd/17
Overall: 45th/256

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


My totals miles for the month of July.  265.90 miles!!!!  My highest ever!  That averages out to be 8.5 miles per day. 

How did I do this?  I, along with 5 of my running friends, challenged ourselves to run everyday for the entire month of July.  We would rise in wee hours of the morning (sometimes 4:30am) to run various distances, do hill repeats, etc... Together, we were able to motivate each other and stay dedicated to this challenge.  Together we were able to hold each accountable for our daily run.  Together we managed to run a total of 1,412.84 miles for the month.

I love my 5am run group.  It's such a great group of talented runners.  I am honored to call each and every one of them my friend!

Monday, July 15, 2013

What I've been up to; running, future races, new shoes.

Running, running and more running.

After the Ann Arbor Marathon, I decided to take the entire month of July off from racing.  It has been marathon training and marathon racing January - June and I needed a break. 

That break didn't last too long...

I created a self challenge and the recruited a few running friends to join in the "fun".  Run everyday for the month of July.  So much for "taking it easy".  It's been fun, so far and for their efforts, I will give the person with the highest mileage for the month a little runners good bag. 

We started on July 1st, which was a Monday (perfect for me since I prefer to have my weeks go mon-sun).  Yesterday was the last day of week #2 and I am currently at 110.90 miles for the month so far.  Week #1 was 53.95 miles and week #2 was 56.95 miles.  I wish I had paid closer attention to my totals so that I could have made it an even 54 and 57 for each week.  Anyway, this weeks goal is to hit 60 miles.  If I can keep this up, July of 2013 will make my highest mileage month ever. 

I have also finalized my 2013 race calendar.  I still need to register for a few of these, but once I know I plan on running a specific race, I never back out.

Here's what I have for the balance of 2013;

August 3rd: Run Clark Lake 12K
August 10th: Run thru Hell 10 mile
August 17th: Somerset Stampede half marathon - my cousin will be coming to town from Illinois and this will be her first half!!
September 7th: Run Woodstock Marathon (trail) - running this as part of our 50K training.
September 21st: Dances with Dirt 50K (trail)
September 29th: Brooksie Way half marathon
October 20th: Detroit Marathon
November 10th: Monroe half marathon
November 28th: Detroit turkey trot drumstick double (5K & 10K)

I need a second job to start funding my race addiction!

Thanks to my loving husband, I recently received my 2nd pair of Adidas Energy Boost.  I love these shoes.  My last pair has over 650 miles on them (and 3 marathons!) and they just now began giving my aches and pains.  Adidas has put out some fun colors for the new models.  I love how bright these are!

 I am also considering the Adidas Bostons as a shoe to add to my rotation.  They are a neutral shoe and light weight.  I would use them for hill work and easy paced runs, while running the Boosts on speed days, faster long runs and races.  For years I have spent all my time running in a support shoe.  I needed it when I started.  I over-pronate.  The Energy Boost are a cross between neutral w/ some support for those who over-pronate.  When I run in my other shoes, they feel bulky and uncomfortable.  Should I be going neutral?  Who knows.  Only time will tell once I start phasing out my others while adding the Bostons.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Ann Arbor Marathon Results

Real quick, just to get this down on paper!

Garmin distance: 26.44
Garmin Time: 3:30:36
Pace: 7:58

Official Results:
Time: 3:30:26
Pace: 8:01
Age Group Place: 2nd / 24
Gender Place: 6 / 141
Overall Place: 44 / 402

I met a reader on the course and I wish I had caught her name.  If you are reading this, thanks for saying hello!  I hope you had a great race. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Happy National Running Day!

I celebrated, did you?

My 5am running group!  My favorite early morning runners. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Pittsburgh Marathon results and review

Sunday, May 5th, marked my 7th marathon (9th including my 2 ultras); The Pittsburgh Marathon.  I knew going into this race that the course would be difficult.  Lots of hills.  I was still coming off a runner high from how well I ran Boston and had hoped that feeling would catipult me into a fast finish in Pittsburgh.  Originally my goal was to run a nice and easy pace, finishing around 3:45.  But as the day drew near, I had this crazy idea of trying to PR.  Could I do it on this hilly course?  I thought, sure, why not?  I just ran a 3:29 in Boston, felt great and could have pushed the pace faster then I did. 

Bridges in Pittsburgh.  The half marathon and marathon course ran across these.

Anyway, we hit the expo the day before the marathon.  I ate and drank my way through the expo.  I sipped on various protein drinks, tried every protein/meal replacement bar, etc...  Was that a good idea?  Probably not but I had no self-control.  We left there loaded down with a couple bags of samples and freebees.  There were so many tributes to Boston.  Everywhere I looked someone was wearing something in support of Boston.  GNC had a wall for runners to sign, which I made of signing on our way out.  I also made sure to find my name on the Dick's Sporting Goods wall.  It listed all the registered runners.  Chicago marathon does this as well.  it's fun trying to locate your name and then relocating it when trying to take a picture! LOL!

 Part of the Boson wall
I signed the ribbon, just under the word "strong"

It took me 4-5 times to relocate my name.  I'd find it, pull out my phone and lose it again. haha!!

After we left the expo, we headed over to Primanti Bros.  My mother in-law HAD to eat there.  She has seen it on Food Network numerous times and had to eat at this popular Pittsburgh restaurant. 

Menu board

Anna all smiles at Primanti Bros.
The table split an order of the Smallman St Fries; french fries topped w/ bacon, chili, cheese and sour cream.  I ordered the turkey w/ everything except onion.  I wasn't really thinking about what I should and should not be eating the day before a marathon.  I should have.  More on that later.
After lunch we headed to my brother in-law, Tommy's office.  He works for Adidas and then to his house to relax for the remainder of the night.  We fueled with a pasta dinner and ice cream topped w/ butterscotch peanut butter.  :-) I finally called it a night around 9:30pm. 
I was up off and on through out the night and finally out of bed at 4:45am.  We (myself, Chris - running the half, Kate - my sister in-law - running the half and Tommy - my brother in-law - injured and spectating) got ready and headed out the door by 5:30am.  We made it to Pittsburgh, parked, used the port-o-potty and was in corral B by 6:30am. 

I wanted to start with the 3:25 pace group but I never saw them. In fact, I started in the 2nd corral (B) and was behind the 3:40 pace group. I'd have my work cut out for me if I were to try and catch the 3:25 group, where ever they may be.

Start line, in corral B
The national anthem was sung, we had a moment of silence for Boston and were off promptly at 7am.  The start was SO congested!!  I was pushing hard and weaving in and out of people, passing the 3:40 and 3:35 pace group.  I caught the 3:30 pace group and figured I would hang with them.  About 2-3 miles in my stomach was really bothering me.  I kept going back and forth on whether or not I should stop and use the restroom. I've never had to stop during a race, let alone to use the restroom, so coming to that decision was really tough.  Just past the 6 mile marker, I saw 4 potties in a row, with one being unoccupied.  I ran straight inside, thought I locked the door, did my deed, was just getting ready to pull up my shorts when the door flung open.  Oops.  Guess I didn't lock it.  Luckily, I wasn't in the port-o-potty too long and easily caught back up to the 3:30 pace group where I stayed until about mile 12.  Then this happened....

As we ran up hill for what seemed like an eternity, I watched the 3:30 group pull further and further away.  I was ok with that.  I knew trying to PR was a lofty goal, even breaking 3:30 after running Boston 3 weeks prior was ballsy.  I reevaluated my goal and decided I'd be ok with anything up to 3:45, but nothing slower.  We were only have way through and I was already starting to play the head games.  At mile 16 I finally did something I NEVER do in a race. I put in my ear buds.  I needed something to help me get my head back into this race.  I listened to music from mile 16-24 and just tried to enjoy the run.  I took my ear buds out at mile 24 since the crowd was getting thicker as we were back in the city and getting very close to the finish.  At mile 25 the 3:35 pacer came running up next to me.  I ran next to him for a very short time before pushing past him.  I tried to run as hard as I could straight into the finish.  Once I crossed, I was so happy for it to be over.  I was beat.  I got my medal (which is HUGE), some water, a banana, space blanket and called my brother in-law.  By the time I found Chris, Kate & Tommy I was in tears.  My legs were cramping so bad.  We went into the Dick's Sporting Goods tent so that I could get a massage.  I ended up being stretched out by a chiropractor prior to receiving my massage. I felt so much better afterwards and was so thankful that we actually had to walk a ways to the car.  I've experienced this cramping/pain before.  it was after the Bayshore marathon in 2011.  My current PR marathon. 

Kate & Chris both did well in the half marathon too!  Kate finished in 1:48 and Chris finished in 1:43. 

A friend of mine asked if I would run this event again.  As of now, I am not so sure.  It was very tough both mentally and physically.  Although, I must enjoy the abuse because I have another ridiculously hilly marathon on June 9th in Ann Arbor.

Chris, Anna and I after the marathon/back at my brother & sister in-law's.  Anna's shirt says "my mom ran 26.2 miles, what did yours do?"

Official Results:
Time: 3:33:16
Pace: 8:09
Age Group Place: 25/354
Gender Place: 99/1,918
Overall Place: 579/4,831

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Marathon #9 done!

Another BQ! 3:33:16,8:08 pace

More to follow once we get home from Pittsburgh.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Boston Marathon 2013

The Boston Marathon. 

The marathon I had my sight set on since I ran my first marathon in 2009. 

After attempting to BQ in the fall of 2010 and failing (missed by 4 minutes), I tried again in the spring of 2011.  BQ-ed by over 11 minutes (3:28:29)!  Registered to run in 2012 but found out I was pregnant.  Due to the heat, the BAA offered deferment options as long as your bib was picked up.  Lucky for me, my dad was there to run and claimed my bib.  I had my daughter in June 2012, ran a marathon that following October and BQ-ed again for 2014 by less than a minute (3:39:02).  fats forward to April 2013.  Finally, my day has come.  I will be running the Boston Marathon.  The super bowl of marathons. 

Friday April 12th-Saturday April 13th

We, and when I say we I mean myself, my husband, my son, my daughter, my dad and my step mom, all piled into my dad's van and made the 12 hour drive to Massachusetts on Friday, April 12th.  We ended up staying in Framingham, just outside of Boston.  We found a decent hotel for half the price of the rooms downtown.  We left late Friday night in hopes my 10 month old would sleep through the night.  She did amazing!  Slept almost the entire way and when she was awake, was not fussy at all.  We arrived to Framingham around 11:30 Saturday morning but were unable to get an early check in.  We went to grab a bite to eat and drove to Hopkinton State Park to do a "dry run" for Monday morning.  my husband would be dropping my dad and myself off at the park to catch the buses the morning of the marathon.  Once we were able to check in, dad and I headed out for an easy paced 4 miler.  Our last run before Monday's main event.  We were so beat from the long drive, that we all opted to stay in and just order pizza.  We wanted to be up and to the expo as early as possible Sunday morning.

Anna & I at a rest area just after entering Massachusetts

Sunday April 14th

We didn't get as early of a start as we had hoped for, and when we arrived at the expo around 11am it was packed!!  We quickly made our way to claim our bibs and get our shirts, then headed into the expo.  I had purchased my jacket, hat, t-shirt and hoodie prior to marathon weekend so I bypassed the chaos in the Adidas Boston marathon gear area.  I did pick myself up a black sparkly sweaty band.  I really wanted to purchase a BIC band since they donate to charity, but was unable to locate the booth they were being sold in.  Anyway, we ate a ton of samples; Clif bars, Gatorade chews, Hawaiian rolls, fresh fruit made into a creamy frozen treat (wish I had purchased one of those machines), etc... After the expo, we made our way to the famous spot on Boylston...  The finish line.

After taking a few photos, we headed down into the Copley Center subway station and caught the train to Quincy Market.  I was starving by then and starting to feel a dull headache coming on.  I ended up having a lobster roll that was so, so tasty!   Since we had spent so much time in the expo and didn't want to be out late, we didn't get to do much of anything else.  We left Quincy Market after about an hour, give or take, and hopped on the subway back to the Copley Center station.  We made our way to the parking structure at the Hynes Convention Center and headed back to the hotel.  Our plan was go out to dinner to the local Olive Garden.  Yes, we drove 12 hours to eat at OG.  Hey, I know it would be safe on my stomach the night before the marathon.  Unfortunately, I never made it out to dinner.  My headache had progressively gotten worse to the point that all I could do was lay down a cry.  I was so upset that I was feeling so awful.  This was not supposed to happen.  I was in Boston to run the Boston marathon!!  My dad, step mom and son went to dinner, while Chris stayed back with me to take care of Anna while I slept.  My dad brought me back something to eat, which was consumed at 9:30pm.  I immediately crawled back in bed after eating and passed out.

Monday April 15th

The alarm went off at 5:30am.  We needed to be dropped off before 7:30am since that is when they close the roads in Hopkinton leading to the state park.  Chris snapped a couple photos of myself and my dad, I gave him a kiss and on to the bus we went.  It was long, maybe 5 minutes, and the bus began to move.  We had a short ride to where we were being dropped off.  If you take the bus from the state park, you are dropped off about .70 miles from athletes village.  If you take the buses from Boston, you are dropped off in athletes village.  Since we were staying in Framingham, it only made logical sense to be dropped off at the state park.  The weather was great, breezy but sunny!  The high for the day was to reach 52 degrees.  Perfect running weather. 

On our .70 mile walk to the village, we came upon this.  Now THAT is a lot of port-o-potties!

Athletes Village
Dad resting before the start 
We waited around athletes village for our time to drop our bags and head to the start.  We were in wave 2, so we dropped our bags and head to the start for our 10:20am start time. 
Making our way to the start area

We started on time and I immediately felt the pull of the downhill.  I told myself to run by feeling and not to look at the Garmin.  Dad and I were cruising.  The spectators were lined up and down the streets from start to finish.  I wish I could break the race down mile by mile, but I can't.  I had a smile on my face the entire time and the miles just kept going by so easily.  Wellesley College was just what I had imagined.  The girls were so loud and had some really funny signs.  My dad had warned me that once we get into Newton (mile 16-ish) the hills would start.  I don't know if it was the adrenaline of the race or the fact I trained doing all long runs on hills, but they didn't slow me down.  Even Heart Break hill didn't break my heart. haha!  I was clipping along up HB hill and a runner asked if I had done this before.  I told him "nope, but I am loving it!"  It was about heart break hill where my dad began to feel the pain of running harder than we planned.  If I got too far a head of him, I made sure to slow up until he caught up.  I still tried to push the pace a bit because I knew we were close to getting a PR for my dad and a BQ for us both.  The last 3-4 miles were simply amazing.  I had a permanent smile and even began to tear up a couple times.  I now know how an elite runner feels when you have all these people screaming for YOU!  It was one of the running moments I have ever had.  Ever.  My dad and I crossed the finish line at the exact same time at 3:29:46, with an 8:01 average pace.  This was a new marathon PR for my dad and gave us both another BQ for 2014! I immediately took out my phone, snapped a photo of me & dad and then called Chris to tell him we had finished.  He had seen us.  He had been standing at the finish line watching and taking photos (the same spot the first bomb went off).  We told him to find a place to wait for us, and we would call once we made it through the finishers area.
Seconds after crossing the finish line

making our way to the blankets/water/medals/drop bag claim

After making our way to the buses to retrieve our drop bag, I called Chris to find out where him and Josh (my son) were at.  There were on the corner of Berkley & Newbury, one block up and one block over from the actual finish line.  Berkley actually crossed the finishers area and was partially used for drop bag buses.  We found them within a few short minutes. 
Chris and I at the corner of Newbury & Berkely

We snapped a few photos and by 2:40 we made our way to the Arlington subway station, located exactly 4 blocks up from the finish line, to get on the green line.  Chris had parked our car in Newton and took the green line into Boston earlier that morning.     
The circled area is finish line/finishers area, the other two spots highlighted are where we met Chris and where the subway station was. 
I want to say we were in the station for maybe 10 minutes, when all of a sudden the transit police were telling us to evacuate the station.  Someone asked why and we were told all T lines were shut down. We went up to street level and you could hear sirens coming from every direction.  I knew something bad had happened.  it wasn't long after and we over heard someone on their phone say there was an explosion at the finish line.  No sooner did we hear that, and I started to receive text messages from friends.  We called my step mom to let her know that the transit system was shut down and we had no idea when or how we would get out of the city. Our car was parked in Newton at the T line station.  We had been checking our phones and start to realize how bad it really was.  In the meantime, the sirens had not stopped.  They were still coming from all over.  Ambulances, police cars, unmarked police cars, etc... flying by from every direction.  We didn't know where to go or what to do.  So we started walking.  We walked and walked and walked.  A local who had ran the marathon over heard us talking and asked where we were trying to get.  We told him that our car was parked in Newton and needed a way out of the city.  He told us to try the Backbay station.  It houses the Amtrak train and orange line.  Maybe we could get on one of those to at least get out of the city and then try to find a way to Newton.  As we were approaching the station, a man asked where we were headed.  When we said Newton, he said "oh, if it were Newport, I could help you.  Sorry I can't help you."  Dang.  so close to having a ride out of the city.  Chris suggested that if we can't get out through the Backbay station, maybe we could hitch hike on I-90.  Um, no. 
Anyway, once in the Backbay station, we began asking if anything was running (T lines) and if any of them could get us remotely close to Newton.  One of the T line employees was super friendly and helped us.  She made a phone call and said the green line has an outbound only train running, but we needed to make our way to the Hynes subway station.  While in the station I observed a police officer with a bomb sniffing dog.  And on our way out of the station I saw a man with blood splatter on him.  He was trembling.  I'll never forget what he looked like. 
We left the Backbay station, headed across the street to the mall, cut through the mall and it was then that we saw the news coverage on TV.  It was then when we actually saw what was going on.  We exited the mall in hopes of crossing the road, but it was taped off.  The street was filled with ambulances, police cars, SWAT team vehicles, etc....
We began to walk down the sidewalk to find where we could cross.  We needed to get to the other side of this street.  Eventually we were able to.  There were 2 runners walking in the opposite direction who had clearly not been able to finish.  They were freezing, trying to wrap up in pieces of garbage bags found on the ground.  Luckily I had held on to my "blanket" from the finish line and wrapped one runner up while my dad wrapped the other in his.  We offered runners along the way food, water, etc....  No one wanted anything except to know where they should go and how they could get to their hotels or vehicles.  We ended up finally reaching the Hynes station but it was closed.  One of the T line employees told us our only hope to getting west of Boston was to walk to the Fenway station.  There is one single train running outbound only.  That is what we needed.  We needed an outbound train heading west.  Riverside is the last stop of the green line and is the green line station in Newton.  We needed to get on that train.  So again, we started walking.  We walked and walked and walked.  We ended up picking up a family of 3 who barely spoke english.  They, too, needed to get to Newton and asked if they could follow us.  We were still hearing sirens.  I was receiving phone calls and text messages from just about anyone who knew I was in Boston.  After what was about 3 hours of walking and trying to find a way out, we arrived at the Fenway green line station.  I asked one of the police officers if there were any trains running and he said "outbound only".  That is just what we needed to hear!  We hopped on the train when it pulled in and once it was full, we were on our way out of Boston.
I can't believe what once started out as the best Boston experience I could have ever asked for, instantly changed.  I feel so badly for every one affected by this horrible turn of events.  Will this keep me from running Boston again?  Absolutely not.  I fully intend on running it in 2014! 
And the man I saw in the train station?  Well, I saw him again a couple days later.  He is the man wearing the cowboy hat in the photo of the young man being raced down the street in a wheel chair, missing both of his legs.
If you are interested in donating to the victims, here are a few ways you can help.
The One Fund
BIC Bands; $12 headband and 100% of the SELLING PRICE will be donated to the One Fund.
Adidas Boston stands as one T shirt (mens only, hoping they release more womens)