boston marathon 2012: pre-gaming

Alright-I know this post is way overdue!! Been a busy couple of weeks 🙂

So even though the final time was not what I had hoped for, everything else about the Boston Marathon and the surrounding events lived up to the hype. And then some.

Instead of one long-winded post, I decided I’d break it up into 3, like I did for my first marathon…I think it deserves that respect 🙂

Saturday, April 14

Time to make the train trip up to Boston!  Was Amtrakking it-nice and easy.  And a coupla other Flyers were on my train too…not surprising 🙂

Trip was pretty much drama-free, but in the time between New York and Boston, the B.A.A. had sent us all an email that included the following:

We are now making the recommendation that if you are not highly fit or if you have any underlying medical conditions (for example-cardiac disease, pulmonary disease or any of a number of medical problems), you should NOT run this race.

  • Inexperienced marathoners should not run.
  • Those who have only trained in a cooler climate and who may not be acclimated (for at least the last 10 days) to warm weather running conditions should also consider not running.

Highly fit?  Yeah I guess.  Inexperienced?  Hells no.  Cool climate and not acclimated…oh yeah.

Not to mention:

Due to the unusually warm weather forecast for the Boston area on Monday, the B.A.A. will defer the entry of those official entrants to the 2013 Boston Marathon for participants who decide not to race.

Wow, now that is huge.  I know it was a controversial decision by the B.A.A., but I think given the conditions, something had to be done to cover themselves.  But I wasn’t considering deferring, I worked too hard to get here.  But I had the premonition that Monday was not gonna be a normal race day at all.

Anyway, got into Boston with no issues and got to my hotel-which was right around the corner from the Back Bay train station!  The hotel was not the most glamorous, but in terms of location, couldn’t be beat-within walking distance of both the finish line and Boston Common (for the bus to the start.)  Also another cool thing was that the BAA was located in the same building!  So after dropping my stuff and getting settled, was time to head to the expo.  Which apparently was in a different place than normal-the Seaport World Trade Center as opposed to the Hynes Convention Center.  And I didn’t find it too much of a pain to get to-Orange Line to Silver Line (or a shuttle)…no different than heading from the UWS to South Street Seaport 🙂

i'm all in-the expo!

the scene at number pickup

 

Expo time.  I was looking forward to this-I’m such a kid in a candy store at running expos 🙂  (Especially since I had some extra spending money from finishing in the money in not one, but TWO March Madness pools!)  But before going shopping, first things first.  Gotta go get the bib.  Being handed the bib, I’m thinking “oh boy this shit is real!  i’m doing this!!”  Then time to get the bright orange bag and race shirt.  Really nice shirt-blue long-sleeve with yellow accents.  But they said we could try it on and I’m glad I did-in keeping with the warnings that they ran small, I had to swap my small size shirt for a medium.  (Hey Adidas-do you assume that all female Boston marathoners have no boobs to speak of? 🙂 )

look what i got!

 

Time to hit the booths!  As I had visited the expo last year when I came up to spectate, I knew what to expect and it didn’t disappoint-great variety of booths-if you want something, they got it!  Expo tip-if you want to get Adidas stuff, go to the booth that is closer to the entrance-NOT the one thats by the number pickup (unless you really want one of those T-shirts)-the booth closer to the entrance is less crowded.  And even though I already had the jacket, I also picked up a hat and sports bra…thought of getting the stuffed unicorn but passed on it 🙂  Did a lap around the expo, picking up other things I “needed” ;-)…then made one last stop at the Adidas booth before I left.  This time I got a pair of flip flops which felt great on my feet (I’m wearing them as I type!), thinking they may come in handy in a couple of days 🙂  And of course I ran into some Flyers-HM (her first Boston too!) and DM (Boston vet, this year just up to cheer.)  After some gabbing I headed back to my hotel to rest up before dinner…

HM and I, shopping til we drop!

 

So I met up with Flyer DK and a friend of his in the North End-aka Boston’s Little Italy.  And he showed up already wearing the Boston 2012 jacket…”Boston jacket etiquette….ur doin it rong!”  Though he did it on purpose to irk me 😛  Anyway, good company, great pasta and merlot at Al Dente-highly recommended!!

So after a long day, headed back to Back Bay for some much-needed rest…

Sunday, April 15

Knowing I wouldn’t get a lot of sleep this evening, I made sure to sleep in 🙂  And for brunch, seeked out my traditional day-before-race pancakes…finally wound up at Five Napkin Burger with a nice outside seat.  Yep, nice day for sitting outside…for running, not so much!!  And I even got a Bellini with my pancakes (don’t worry, I had lotsa water too)-figuring that any “racing” plans for the next day were out the window.  So after brunch, I hit up Newbury and Boylston streets for a little sightseeing and shopping.

At Niketown, I put a little shoutout to the Flyers on the wall.

I also got a sneak peek at the turn onto Hereford….

does this remind anyone else of that "hill" in the last mile in Chicago?

 

and Boylston…

view down Boylston, from Hereford. So close, yet so far away...good to know for tomorrow...

 

And of course, a pic at the finish line.  But I wouldn’t cross it yet-had to wait til the next day! 😉

Soon enough, was time for the “Last Supper”  aka pasta dinner with the Flyers 🙂  We had it at Papa Razzi, which we’ve eaten at before in previous years and this year I took the lead in organizing.  I booked this in February, but the best I could do was 4 tables of 4.  At first they had us all split up, but there was another party that was willing to switch tables with us so they could be near their friends…and vice versa.  (what were they thinking with the seating arrangements in the first place!)

one-half of the Flyer pasta party

 

So again, food and company were great, all exchanged expo chronicles, me and EA had eyes for the cute waiters…and of course conversation turned to this latest email we got from the B.A.A. today:

The weather situation continues to be a significant concern for Boston Marathoners. We have determined that the race will occur in a “red zone” which is considered an increased risk but acceptable for high-level elite runners.  However, it is not considered safe for unfit and novice runners.

We strongly recommend that unless you have met qualifying times for this race that you accept the deferment option from the B.A.A.

Anyone who has not run a qualifying time should also very strongly consider the deferment option.

Again, if you have any medical problems or if you under-trained, then please do not run this marathon.

Those who are running the race should run much slower, adding several minutes to your per mile pace.

Also important, please be sure to complete the emergency medical contact information on the reverse side of your bib.

Remember, unless you are acclimated to the weather conditions forecast for Monday, you should not run.

For those very fit athletes who decide to run, you should take significant precautions.

So while a couple of us (not me!) were debating whether or not to still pursue their original goals, others (including me) were discussing what the revised goals should be.  And reminisced on Chicago 2010-as me, EA, DK, JS and NPT were all Chicago 2010 survivors.

As I said before, deferring wasn’t an option I was considering.  But given that several peeps were making sure I was aware-via Facebook, email, whatever-of this deferrment option, it kind of made me wonder…and I asked Coach T via email “Am I a total idiot for not taking the option to defer?”  His response?  “Run this race.   Your training is in. Relax. You cannot control what the New England weather will be, but you are fit, and tough. Good training trumps bad weather, every time.   Yes, I’ve seen the forecast. I trust your conditioning, and your courage. And you must as well.”

And that’s just what I will do.  There have been other occurances beyond Chicago (e.g., LTR in the Heatpocalypse) that showed that I do know how to be smart when the heat is on.

So after a bunch of good luck phone calls/texts/emails, and laying out the race outfit…

Flyer top, Lululemon shorty shorts, Brooks PureFlows. bailed on the pink compression sox due to the weather.

 

…and all my other necessities for the next day, was time to get my beauty sleep for what will prove to be a helluva day…

Race day to follow in the next installment!

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i am a boston marathoner

I’ll always remember my first Boston Marathon.  Not only was it my first, but it saw record-breaking heat.  But hey-I earned my stripes with this one.

3 stripes, as a matter of fact.

As for the race itself, I proudly clocked my slowest marathon evah.

I’ll have a more detailed report later, but in a nutshell, the heat struck me like a ton of bricks.  A hot marathon in October is NOT the same as a hot marathon in April.  Acclimating makes such a difference, it’s insane.  Anyway, if there was ever a day to put ego aside and just embrace the day, this was it.  I wanted to finish in good spirits (unlike NYC) so it meant taking mucho walk breaks, staying on top of hydration, keeping the pace dialed back, and spending a few quality minutes with the Flyers at their cheering station at mile 17.3 for some much needed TLC.

Congrats to all who ran on Marathon Monday-we are all a part of history 🙂

entering red territory

Seems like red is a good color to sum up a lot about the 2012 Boston Marathon:

the official jacket for this year is red…

I guess I have to include them…the Red Sawx…I mean Sox :-p

And the weather forecast for race day?  Red hot.

You know, in a way I’m not surprised.  I had a feeling we were going to pay for the mild winter somehow.  But dear God, couldn’t it have waited for the summer and another Heatpocalypse? 🙂

And it’s just the final installment in the comedy of errors this training cycle was.  Between training not going as well as I had hoped, not to mention fighting a cold with a week to go (thankfully almost all gone!), now the weather gods joined in.  I’m sure someone out there thinks it’s karma for something I supposedly did or probably will do someday 😛

In a crazy way, it’s also coming full circle.  Remember Chicago 2010?  The marathon that earned me this ticket to Boston in the first place?  Also a scorcher.

Unlike the week before Chicago, I’m not freaking out about the forecast.  (it’s throwing my race day outfit for a loop, but that’s a whole other story :-p )  Only thing I can worry about is if the officials decide to black-flag the race at all.  Besides that?  It’s on me to be smart.  And I felt for the conditions, I ran a smart race in Chicago and will definitely tap on that experience during Marathon Monday.

In a way, this kinda lessens the expectations…and will most likely make me do what everyone has been telling me to do in the first place…treat Boston as a victory lap.  Embrace it.  This will be one for the record books and will have good battle stories to tell.  Those post-race drinks will just taste even better.  All in all, I’m looking forward to a fun weekend with teammates and other friends.  Which will start tomorrow at what is totally my candy store-the expo!!  A girl can never have too many running clothes 🙂

And on the topic of running clothes, my mom said to me before “after all this, it’s going to be too hot to wear the jacket!”

Don’t worry, mom.  I’ll have plenty of opportunities to wear it.

To all running this weekend (from mile to marathon), safe travels, good luck, etc.  And to those cheering, either with me or from afar, I thank you all in advance!!  All she wrote til I cross the finish line on Boylston St…

finish line pic i took last year. now it's my turn!

pumped up kicks

And on the topic of pumped up kicks, I haven’t had a shoe post in awhile!

Well first off, a warning out to those who love the Adidas Adioses as much as I do.  I heard awhiles back that the “upgrade”-the Adios 2’s-would be more of a lightweight trainer and less like a racing flat.  Not wanting to deal with having to deviate from the perfect racing flat, I immediately stockpiled a few pairs, which should last me til next year I think?  And it was a good thing, because I actually got to try out the Adios 2’s a coupla weeks back when an Adidas rep came to our workout.  My suspicions were confirmed-felt like a totally different shoe…more substantial and not as flexible.  (of course, this was also 2 days post-NYC Half…)

And my marathon shoe?  Well even though I talked about the Brooks Launch here as being my marathon shoe…i dunno, for whatever reason I fell out of love with them.

Enter the Brooks PureFlows.

I had heard very good things about Brooks’ PureProject line, and I actually had my eye on these shoes even before NYCM (but figured it was too late to switch then)  These felt awesome from the minute I tried them out-like how they had the feel of a racing flat but are substantial enough for a marathon.  And yes, these will be my Boston shoes.  Well not this pair exactly…as I had to get a fresher pair for the big day and so I had to go with the color update…

I guess these shoes won't clash with the hot pink socks? 🙂

And of course, one of those shoes will be wearing my lucky Yankee charm on race day 🙂

Shifting to running fashion-I got to give a shout to lululemon for my new favorite shorts-their Shorty Shorts.

yeah, this obviously ain't me.

These have the stamp of approval to be my marathon short-I wore these on my Palisades 20-miler and they worked liek a charm-I had wanted a pair of fitted shorts with pockets, and these have 5!  (well actually 7, but I don’t quite trust the 2 on the front of the legs)  Plus they did not ride up once (thanks to some grippy silicone at the bottom.)  So I got the shorts and shoes-jury is still out on the pink socks-if it’s warm I may ditch them, just gotta decide on the top.

And I have my post-race apparel all ready to go…right now just hanging up in my closet, waiting 12 more days to be worn 🙂

and just like that, it’s taper time again

Yeah, was it really only a few months ago that I was tapering for some other race?  Where does the time even go?  I guess I have the mild winter to thank, as I was afraid it would drag on forever, hasn’t really been the case.

So since I was lagging in talking about training, here are the last few weeks in summary form:

  • 2/20-2/26: ok week, ended with my first 20 miler of the cycle.  Pretty much averaged 9 on the dot for that one
  • 2/27-3/4: sort of a crap week.  My Monday run the day after my 20 was a disaster, as my legs were dragging and therefore got dropped by the group I was running with not even one mile in.  I even had to cut my run short and stop after 3 miles.  Had an encouraging tempo workout a few days later, but the 16-mile long run didn’t go well.  Felt slow the entire time, had to make a pit stop after 12 miles, and really struggled for the last 2 miles.  Was seriously questioning after this one if I really deserved to run Boston…
  • 3/5-3/11: Ok track workout, struggled on some repetitions later in the week.  My second 20-miler was this weekend…maybe not ideal timing with the NYC Half the week after, but I had to get it in.  I just purposely held back a lot with the pace and I think it went OK
  • 3/12-3/18: NYC Half week!  Read all about it
  • 3/19-3/25: Highest mileage week, last 20-miler.  I braved the Palisades for that run, figuring I needed the hill training.  I had run it twice before-in 2006 and 2007 but this would be the first time with the Garmin.  And I’m telling you, having the info is very interesting.  Though I pretty much averaged around 9:30-9:40 for the run, the mile with the crazy evil hill took me 11 minutes-and no, I wasn’t walking.  It was a nice run though-even though I had to do it solo (due to having to get an early start and of course, being too damn slow) I didn’t need the iPod once.  Though damn, my quads and butt were still feeling this a day or 2 later…

This week?  Cutting down the long run, still keeping the speed for now to try and keep things sharp.

And I got this nice little treat in the mail last weekend! 🙂

It’s when you get the official documents and the bib number, it starts to feel real 🙂

And I really like my bib #-17764.  Number one, two lucky 7’s, 6+4=perfect 10! 🙂  As for corral placement, I made it into wave 2, but the last corral.  (And no, I am not complaining about being in wave 2…unlike this lovely occurrence. )  I actually like this placement-I think I’m better off being at the back of wave 2 instead of the front of wave 3.  I’ve been warned about how overzealous Boston newbies go out too fast in the beginning, and I figure having others in front of me will sort of prevent that.  Also, this isn’t like NYCM with their stupid “honor system” that lets 5 hour marathoners into wave 1-this is seeding by actual time, so there most likely will be other 3:40-3:43 types around me.

17 days to go!  Only a few more days before the weather obsessions can begin again!

winter training and me

So I received a nice little reminder in my email inbox today.

Thanks for addressing me as a Boston Marathoner. Thanks also for reminding me I have less than 10 weeks left to train.

Oh the irony that the B.A.A. specifically says they hope that “everyone’s Winter training is going well” because honestly, all I’ve been thinking over the last couple of weeks is that if I didn’t have this to train for, I wouldn’t bother making any goal races for earlier in the year, and save them for the summer (yes, you heard that right) and the fall.

As for the mileage, with the exception of the one week that was derailed by illness, I’ve been on track, getting it all in, getting the intervals, tempos, hills, long runs done.  The problem?  I don’t seem to have the speed I had last summer.  My intervals and tempos are definitely slower than usual.  What was supposed to be a fun last 5 miles on my long run last weekend as a group run to City Bakery turned out not-so-fun when I got dropped because I couldn’t speed up to anything faster than a 9 minute pace (which last year was my go-to-long run pace, mind you.)  And mentally it gets to me.  These speeds aren’t worthy of a Boston Qualifier.  What right do I have to be running Boston?  How the hell did they ever let me into the race in the first place?

That aside, I do feel that in many ways, winter training just does not agree with me.  I know a lot of you love running in the winter, but hear me out.  And even with this winter being milder than normal, it’s still not ideal weather for me.  Outside of running, in the spring and summer, I like to be out and about.  Cold weather makes me want to hibernate.  Which leads to less sunlight which leads to vitamin D deficiency which leads to tired and cranky me.  And I’ve noticed it’s much easier to eat better in summer (love watermelon and berries that are plentiful and in-season in the summer!) whereas now we gravitate towards more comfort foods and hot chocolate (or in the case of City Bakery, a melted chocolate bar.  I did run 15.5 miles to earn that though!)

Motivation?  With the exception of my speed/tempo workouts on Tuesdays and Thursdays, it’s been a struggle to force myself out the door, even for long runs.  I miss all the organized long runs of last summer, and I’m not looking forward to doing all my 20’s on my own.  (Or even I have 18 on tap this weekend, which won’t be a picnic either.)  One disadvantage to our “hometown” marathon being in the fall I guess…

And just to add to my complaint list :-p  The fast stuff has been tough, my lungs do not deal well with having to breathe in cold, icy air, which is an issue with interval workouts and short races.  Guess the Cherry Tree relay in a week and a half will be interesting, huh?  Ideally I’d pass on all short races for a couple of months, but I got my arm twisted into this one, as I was originally planning on yes, the 10-miler as a training run.  Maybe this is why I got all my short distance PRs (the 4 and 5-milers) in the summer last year?  Hell, even my 5K PR was a summer race…

And maybe it was just too soon after NYCM to jump back into training.  Coach T has even said it himself, that the fall-then-spring marathon thing takes a lot out of you and he wishes most people would take the spring off after a fall marathon cycle (well not take it off, but not have a marathon as a goal race.)  And honestly, had I not already been registered for Boston, I would have had no desire to run another marathon in the near future.  But this may be my one and only chance, so I had to take advantage.

I know what you all are thinking, getting into Boston and running it is my dream, why aren’t I more excited?  Believe me, I am excited, I really wish I had a DeLorean to skip forward to April 16th 😛  It’s just all the putting in the work to get there.  There’s a difference between just going through the motions and stepping it up a notch, and I feel my training so far has been the former.  I am adjusting my goals, I don’t think I have a realistic shot at a PR or re-qualifying, but I do respect the distance, and would like to at least have a respectable performance that doesn’t end like it did in NYC.

For all of you who thrive on winter training…how *do* you do it?  How do you beat the winter blahs?

will run for fashion

So remember that long run I was supposed to do last Sunday?  Yeah, that didn’t happen.  Let it be known that NyQuil is evil when you need to be somewhat productive the next day.  But again, given that I was really trying to get rid of that damn cold ASAP, a long run may not have done me any favors.  The one downside to winter training-seems like it takes longer to shake out illness than it does in warmer temps.

So I threw myself back into it this past week.  Coach T took a little mercy on me on Tuesday and had me do 600s as a “rust-buster” type workout instead of the 1000s that the others were doing.  Which was perfect, my lungs did not feel up to 1000s.  My original plan was to try and run before work as there was the annual Flyers Chinese New Year celebration, and given that it was the Year of the Dragon (my year!) I sorta had to go 🙂  The snooze button won out but I was still able to get my workout done, and me and my workout-mates made it to the festivities in time (well…maybe a little fashionably late!)

Happy Year of the Dragon! Words to live by...and others that I can hope are reality?

 

And then in the middle of the week, the word was out that a certain coveted jacket was available on the Adidas site.  And of course inquiring minds had wanted to know for a while…what will the colors be?  Will it be embroidered or not?  And the answer is…

Once again, a departure from the traditional Boston blue/yellow, but I’m really loving this color! 🙂  I can’t wait to get mine…though I know I won’t be able to wear it til the afternoon of April 16th…bad luck!!

So I guess making sure I will be able to wear said jacket was what got me out the door on a rainy Thursday evening for a tempo which I felt I came up short on, but all things considered, was just glad to get it in.  And even though I got a late start today due to not being able to tear myself away from the Australian Open final, still banged out 17 and change miles (including not 1, but 2 loops of the Harlem Hills.)  Though dear god, if I am as tired after 17 miles in 11 weeks as I was today, the Newton hills are gonna be a world of hurt.

Busy week this upcoming week with final preps for the Flyers awards gala Saturday.  I expect to see lots of Flyers (myself included!) out running long runs Saturday…if last year was any indication, a long run will definitely not happen on Sunday.  In fact, I predict Flyer attendance at the Gridron Classic will be quite low…