randomthoughtrunning

Running 13, 13.1's in 2013 and the thoughts along the way!

Running Boston in 2014

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Nope I will not be running Boston in 2014. This post is probably not what you think it is about and may even get some people upset. I apologize in advance. This post is in no way shape or form to discredit those that have dedicated hours, donated food, or just offered a helping hand. I think this post could be applied to any major tragedy and the public response verse those who were actually touched by the tragedy.  As someone who is from Boston, the recent events have drawn alot of attention to the city. Attention that I would never want on our city and yes the outpouring of support is amazing, people from near and far are “Boston Strong”. What does Boston Strong mean? That you will wear a shirt for a few months or say that YOU WILL RUN BOSTON next year? Again don’t take this the wrong way if you are someone that truly feels Boston Strong, but step back and think about what Boston Strong really means.

I have been asked multiple times since the marathon if I will run Boston next year. As someone who has run it twice and I still view it as one of the most special days of my life, the Boston Marathon means alot to me and I do hope to run it again someday. I would love to run it next year, but I can’t jump on the bandwagon because of what happened, I want to run it when I feel ready. Part of what makes the Boston Marathon so special is the prestige, the history, and the spirit it brings to Boston every Patriots Day. For those that have said they will run it next year, think about what that really means…not just crossing the finish line on Boylston, but the hundreds of miles and hours of dedication that you will need to put in. The Boston Marathon is serious, don’t take your number for granted, and focus on the whole marathon experience. From lacing up your sneakers in January to the final moments down Boylston, it will be worth it if you truly commit to it.

When the national attention fizzles away and the fundraising efforts move on, this is when you need to be Boston Strong. There is still a city here, healing from something so unexplainable, trying to return to normal, when really Boylston Street will never be the same.  Boston Strong means not dwelling on what happened but watching our city become stronger and move forward. It means wearing that shirt you may have bought on April 15th in 10 years with as much pride as you wear it today.

So while the ribbons, Facebook statuses, and “I will run Boston” comments are flying around, just take a minute and really think about what Boston Strong means.

Run On-

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5 down…8 to go! Wallis Sands Beach Half Recap

So begins my month of half marathon madness! Wallis Sands kicks off the first of five half marathons I will be running over the next 5 weeks. I am dealing with muscle tightness in the back of my right leg, which is making me a little uneasy, but I decided to take it “easy” with these races and listen to my body and not focus on time. Hopefully after a good massage on Thursday,  I will be back to 100% and ready to break that 2 hour mark!

photo(4)The Positives

The weather for this race was PERFECT! All of my sub zero races and training runs were worth it for the weather I had yesterday. It was amazing. The course started and ended at the beach, it was 48 degrees at the start of the race, blue skies, and no wind! To make this day even better, the course was flat and scenic. I had not realized how hilly all of my races have been to this point and enjoyed every mile of this course. Mile markers were clearly marked, with water stops about every 2.5 miles. I broke my own rule and wore my fuel belt, so no stops for me.

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I was surprised how much better I liked not having to stop and walk through the water stops. It didn’t help my time much, but still I think I might continue wearing it as it was much more comfortable than my usual Nathan Shadow pack that I used for my Gu and keys.While I didn’t stop at any of the water stops, they were very festive. I found out this morning there was a contest for the best water stop. The groups really did a great job and gave it that big race feel for a small race.  The race was broken into 5 waves with about 100 runners per wave. I thought this was great! It really thinned out the runners and allowed for cars to pass safely.  My friend was running a race in a town near by so I was able to meet up with her after and enjoy a few beers. It was a perfect day for a few beers outside after a good run. Have I mentioned how great the weather was???

The Negatives

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Not much to complain about, overall well organized and nice people, both runners and organizers. This was a no frills race, which I always enjoy but the bib numbers they had were like billboards! While it was a nice touch to have my name printed on the front, they were made out of a card stock and felt super bulky. I generally like to crumple my numbers so they move with you while you run, but it was not possible with this one!  A very minor complaint, but sometimes its the little things that can drive you bonkers for 13 miles!

Back up to Gloucester for the Twin Lights Half this coming Sunday. Looking forward to it!

Run On-

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Thinkin’ on Thursdays

Looking forward to catching up on some rest after last weekend of wedding celebrating. The early addition! Here is what I am thinking…

Back to the Half Marathon challenge, I think going forward races are going to feel a little more special. This weekend is the Wallis Sands Beach Half Marathon in New Hampshire. Looking forward to having number 5 in the books.

Is it really almost May?? The weather hasn’t been too spring like, so I keep forgetting that its only a month to Memorial Day?!?!

I will be running a half marathon every weekend for the next FIVE weekends, a little nervous how the body is going to hold out, but lots of stretching and a few massages will hopefully keep me going!

Beginning to plan my Cinco de Mayo dinner menu, behind St. Patricks day this is one of my FAVORITE holidays. I am definitely in need of a fun event to focus on. 

Loving my new Jeep Compass, it has been so nice to have a fully functioning car. Anyone in the Boston area, I highly recommend Baystate Chrysler/Jeep in Newton. Great experience!

Enjoy your weekend!

Run On-

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Running On

I think it is going to be a while before I feel completely ok to write about my random running thoughts again, but I know I need to start getting back into the swing of things and at least try to feel normal. I was fortunate to have a happy event to focus on this past weekend by being in my sister-in-laws wedding in New Jersey. She had a perfect day and her and her husband were so happy, it was great to see two people so excited about starting their new life together. It reminded me that there are still many good things happening and  to stay focused on them.

Today being back in town has been tough, I am tired and feel off, but I had a great 5 mile run this morning, and look forward to teaching Spin tonight. I know, like so many other runners, the only way to cope with last weeks events is to run on. For me it makes me feel better, stronger, and each run begins to feel a little bit better. While I have used running to help me through this event, looking back I have used it in many sad times. It really is my coping mechanism.

We all handle sad situations differently and for me my first reaction is to grab my sneakers and run. Usually its a tough run, like I need to beat my muscles up a little, but it feels comforting. So simple and easy. People usually look at me like I am crazy when I tell them I am going for a run in the midst of a sad event, but I really do feel it clears my head and while the sadness is still there when I get back, I feel I can at least be in the situation with a level head. Some may think I am running away from the situation, but really I am just running on…

Run On-

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Thinkin’ on Thursdays

Its Thursday, but I am not sure I am ready to do my normal Thinkin’ post. I am thinking that I still feel really sad and have not fully accepted that this happened in my city. I am thinking that while we are all going to feel this way for a while, we need to stay looking ahead. I am thinking that there are still positive things happening in the world and in our lives and that is what we should focus on. I am thinking that we should all take a deep breath and be thankful for what we have. Boston Strong.

Run On-

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Run Strong

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I am not going to put up a long winded post about what happened yesterday. This is not out of disrespect, I just feel we each have our own thoughts on it, and what it means to you are your thoughts. When something like this happens this close to my home and close to my heart, this mornings run took on a little deeper meaning.

For the victims, families, and 2013 runners, I am thinking of you and hope that everyone continues to run strong.

Don’t try to explain it, just breathe in, breathe out…

Run On-

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Thinkin’ on Thursdays

I don’t know about you but I am ready for Friday now! A fun weekend ahead with NOTHING planned. Sometimes it is nice to have an open weekend and just see where it leads, especially with the next few weeks packed with events! Here is what I am thinking…

Pina Colada Friday tomorrow night, can’t wait. I have to brag and say I make a pretty good Colada. I will try to remember to write the portions of each ingredient to share with you. Generally, its just eyeballed. 

Going car shopping Saturday, I hate car shopping. I have only done it once before, but the whole experience is not something I enjoy. Here is hoping I find a nice used Jeep Compass!

Went for my first run in a T-Shirt yesterday, it was awesome and felt great, I could have run all afternoon (and I HATE running in the afternoon)!

So I didn’t get to finish What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami but definitely this weekend! A few late nights at work equals falling asleep as soon as I get home. 

3 day weekend ahead of me, while I love all 3 day weekends, this one is extra special as it is Patriots Day here in Massachusetts. A day where we celebrate the Revolutionary War AND watch runners take on Heartbreak Hill completing the Boston Marathon. Good Luck runners! Hard to believe it has been 5 years since I completed my first marathon.

Enjoy your weekend!

Run On-

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What am I doing Wednesdays?!?

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I thought it was about time for another addition of What am I doing Wednesday? The other day a trainer at my gym told me he is determined to have me change my routine, while I was a little frustrated that he would say such a thing ( I never do the same thing at the gym, and most times I am running outside, so how would he know???), I did take a few minutes to think about ways to change things up. My 13, 13.1 goal proves to be challenging in bringing new exercises or challenges into the mix. I am running a half marathon about every two weeks, not allowing for much time for fun new exercises. With that in mind, I have decided to bring back a little more of the cross fit style workouts and focus on the timing of these workouts in regards to my races.

  • I am registered to participate in Tough Mudder Boston this June and thought this would be the perfect event to force me to work outside of my normal scheduled runs. From what I have read and heard from past participants, its going to be tough (no pun intended) and a lot of upper body strength is needed. As someone who depends on primarily their legs for their workouts, this will be new to me. I am determined to do one unassisted pull up by June. Yes, you read that correctly, I cannot do a pull up at the moment, but come June 2nd, just you wait! Here is how I am working on it:
    •  3 sets of assisted Pull Ups: 10 reps using 100lbs assistance, 8 reps using 80lbs assistance, and 6 rounds using  60lbs of assistance. I weight about 150, while it may not seem like a major challenge to some, it is working great for me!
    • I then head to the pull up bar and hang for 20 seconds focusing on grip strength, followed by 10 seconds rest. I repeat two more times, for a minute and half. 

      ◦  Last year, push ups were not my friend, I was able to do a few but nothing I was proud of. Similar to this years pull up goal, I set out to complete 50 push ups, which I accomplished and continue to bring them into my workouts all the time. I never get sick of them! For my Tough Mudder workouts, I have added a walk out/in push up. Basically standing tall, bend forward placing your hands on the floor, walk yourself out to push up position, perform a push up, and walk yourself back up to standing position. Repeat for 3 sets of 10. 

      I also mix in various Biceps, Triceps, and Back exercises, but these 3 exercises have been my focus and will be for the next few weeks.

  • I am bringing back foam rolling once a week into my routine. I know I should do it more, but I know I will set myself up to fail if I try to do it more than that in a week. If you have not tried foam rolling, you will feel pain, ALOT of pain, but it does work in rolling out those extra tight spots. My massage therapist encourages me to foam roll every muscle possible, while I wish I had the time to do this, I find the most useful foam rolling for runners is IT Band, Glutes, and Quads. Of course this is all dependant on your flexibility, but for me I make sure I at least hit those 3 areas. 
  • As far as the nutrition side of things, I have 2 snacks that I cannot get enough of! While I am not a big fan of prepackaged snacks (I.e. 100 calorie packs and what not) because of the unnecessary packaging and they are usually overpriced, these 2 snacks have me hooked. Both are protein packed, a little high on the sugar side (12 grams), but with not much other sugar in my diet, I am ok with it.

100 Calorie Cottage Cheese Doubles

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I am  big fan of cottage cheese, but after eating it for years, I needed to spice it up somehow, and these doubles by Breakstone did just the trick. They are 10 for 10 bucks at my grocery store, so you can beat it and just the right amount for a morning or afternoon snack.

Chobani Bites-Coffee with Chocolate bits

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I buy yogurt on and off for my husband and I, but lately we have been shying away from Greek yogurt, I think we went overboard with it and have now gotten sick of it.  I decided to take a chance with the 100 calorie Bites by Chobani and now I can’t get enough of them. They are the perfect dessert when you are craving something sweet but don’t want to over indulge. The only bummer part is I have only found them in 4 packs so they go quick!

What are you doing this lovely Wednesday?

Run On-

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4 down…9 to go!

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There was a taco truck…my husband was thrilled.

Fools Dual is in the books, number 4 checked off! I feel this challenge has been off to a slow start, but by the end of May I will have doubled my races, so I just need to be patient.

This race was a 2 part race where runners had the option to run a 5k, return to the starting line, and then run the half. I opted just for the half as I didn’t need to know if I could run 3 extra miles before the race. Props to those that did it, but just with the amount of races I am doing, it didn’t really interest me. I do have to say that this race did seem to have alot of what I like to call “over the top runners”. If you have been reading my posts, you know I am no frills runner. I like to run and all the hoopla that comes with running just is not my thing. I have been fortunate with my first 3 races to have runners similar to my style, they are there just to enjoy a nice run. This race had a bit more of the runners that “Gear” up for about an hour before the race and look like they are going to outer space rather than running a half marathon. There were foam rollers, fuel belts, and compression socks galore. Again, to each his own but just not my thing. Maybe it was the two race aspect that attracted more of this type of runner, I really don’t know what it is…I just enjoy a race where runners talk to strangers while waiting to start rather than talking about their most recent PR.

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This was right after a fellow runner coughed all over me…

Fools Dual Half was a good run overall. Personally I did not feel my best between gear (by gear I mean my ipod and sunglasses) malfunctions and my body just feeling “off” but the race it self was good. It was a hilly course with plenty of hills to keep you challenged the whole time, but lots of things to look at. While I have had cows at my last two races this one might take the prize for most unique spectator as there were scuba divers coming up from a dive standing on the course. Full gear and tanks on…it was entertaining to say the least. There is not much opportunity for spectating at this race as the streets are so narrow, but the start and finish were at the middle school with plenty of parking, port-a-jons, and indoor area to change after the race. There was not a ton of race support along the course and it was narrow with a few close calls with cars. I do get frustrated with races that just leave it to the runners to fend for themselves on the course. While I understand there cannot be police and volunteers every inch of the course, having some type of support to direct traffic would be helpful.

I loved running along the ocean and there were plenty of scenic views, the weather was great. I was hoping for a few degrees warmer to shed my long sleeves, but no such luck. I did end up with wind burn because it was strong wind the last 6 miles of the course, but other than that it felt great to run in capris with no hat and mittens!

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Overall I am happy with my run, and I know with each race the weather will be just a little bit better along with one step closer to my goal of 13. 2 weeks till my next race, can’t wait!

Run On-

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Athletic Supporters

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So…how’s it going?

Nope this is not about a sports bra or jock strap…its about those that support my running efforts. The other day I was just telling someone that I actually feel bad when people come to watch me, because I know how painstakingly boring it must be to wait around for a few hours while I am out running! But while it might be painstaking for them and I do envision them high fiving each other after I run by if they do actually spot me in the crowd…I need them. Not at every race, but knowing that I have a group of people waiting at the finish line (usually with a tasty beverage) gets me through some of the low moments of races.

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My Mom might be reviewing my race day plan or looking for a bar…who knows

This adventure of running 13 halfs this year will really test my supporters, but they have been great so far and I will probably have to buy them all alot of drinks when I cross the finish in September at number 13 to thank them. So for the spectators out there, this post is for you. If someone you love has decided to take on a long distance goal…here are a few pointers to get you through those mind numbing  exciting hours on race day.

Before a race I have a routine and I need to do certain things at certain times…my supporters don’t question this routine. Going through the port-a-jon line 12 times in a row…don’t ask, just needs to be done! I also like to have a spectator plan…when they will hand Gu to me and where they will be standing. Reviewing this plan at least 3 times is a must. Again, don’t ask- just let your runner go through it with you, even though you will have plenty of time to make it to your “watch” spot.

Almost every big race I have run, I find my supporters before they see me. I am ok with this, they have been staring at unfamiliar faces for at least an hour and they probably are starting to see images similar to Magic Eye (remember those?) popping out of the crowd, so be ready for your runner to come running at you like they have not seen you in years. I also wear VERY bright colors, which helps with finding me. Know what your runner is wearing, so anytime anyone in the same color runs by, you get a glimmer or hope that it is them….Motivating signs are always a nice addition as well as a giant sign with your number on it helps runners see their spectators from far away. In my case, my crew holds up a Patron bottle on a stick and I know they are near. Whatever works right?

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Blood Mary break

I also like to take care of my spectator crew by packing them a “snack bag” with various things in it from puzzles to nips of alcohol. My crew is very resourceful in finding bars in between viewing spots to quench their thirst. More power to them, someone should be having fun on a Sunday morning while I am grinding out 26.2. If you are not familiar with the area that the race is taking place, scope it out the day before, so you know where bathrooms, food, and if you are into drinking, where drinks are served. Its a long day, you are going to be happy you planned ahead.

After a race, a meeting spot is key. With cell phones, it is not as challenging these days, but in Chicago my cell did not have service after the race so I was thankful for having a plan ahead of time. A lot of times, runners finish far away from where spectators can be, so if you think your runner is going to run into your arms as they cross the finish…think again. You will probably see them in about a half hour as they stumble towards you in a fog of complete happiness and exhaustion. Be thankful for this half hour…its gives your runner time to wipe the sweat and stink off of them from the hard race they just ran. Who really wants to hug someone who just ran for a couple of hours?

Congrats, you just survived your first race! 2 bits of caution: Don’t ask your runner if they are going to run another race right after they finished. (I knew the minute I finished my first marathon, I was going to do it again, but some people just lose it when they are asked this) The other word of caution: You may have do this all over again, when your runner decides to take on their next race!

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To my athletic supporters, I can’t do it with out you. To all those spectators that I don’t know, but stand out at races and clap for hours-Thank you. Keep supportin’

Run On-

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