Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014, a pretty damn good year

In just a few hours, we'll be saying good bye to yet another year. It blows my mind thinking about how fast 2014 went by. There were many highs this past year, and a few lows. But overall, 2014 was a pretty damn good year. 


One of my favorite experiences of 2014 was Ragnar Cape Cod in May. This was the first time I had done a Ragnar Relay, and definitely won't be the last. I walked away from that weekend with so many great memories and ever better, so many great friends. 

some of the best teammates a girl could ask for

Another unforgettable experience in 2014 was going to South Korea. I got to see and do so many different things I never could have imagined. I also successfully kept up with marathon training while in South Korea.

long run along the Haan River

2014 was also the year that I became a member of the Oiselle Volee Team!! Sometimes I still can't believe it. I am honored to be among so many incredibly talented women. I'll never forgot that phone call with team manager, Kristin, when I accepted the offer to be on the team. I also can't forget the jumping and dancing around my apartment that followed. I have met so many new friends and teammates over the past year and I am so grateful for every one of them. 

Team meet up before the NYC marathon

steamy fall 5k...honored to wear this singlet

A few other favorite 2014 memories in no particular order: 

moving to Boston in June
being a maid of honor in my best friend's wedding in July
a new 10k PR at the BAA 10k in June
a new half marathon PR at the Smuttynose Rockfest Half in October
trips to NYC and Philly with wonderful teammates and friends 

so much fun in NY spectating the NYC marathon

take me back <3


The Vermont City Marathon. While I love VT, and the marathon itself was beautiful, my personal experience was not. Instead of crossing the finish line under 4hrs, I crossed the finish line well over that and found myself in the med tent. It was a very scary moment for me, and one that I hope to never experience again.

My very first DNF at the Philadelphia Marathon. While my actual experience in Philly was one of my favorites of 2014, the DNF was not. Not the best year for marathons for me obviously. 

so thankful I had these ladies to help me through the disappointment in Philly

I learned a lot about myself this past year and I had the opportunity to do and see so many incredible things. I'm looking forward to a new year and the clean slate that comes with it. I have new goals, a new plan, a new coach, and wonderful people to continue this journey with. 2015, I'm coming for ya!


Saturday, December 6, 2014


"You're not a true runner until you have a DNF under your belt" 
- Rebecca Trachsel, Oiselle teammate and friend

Well, after DNF'ing the Philadelphia Marathon, I guess that means I am now a true runner...according to Rebecca anyways. It's taken me a long time to find the motivation and the desire to write about what happened. I tried forgetting about it. I tried drinking tequila to numb the sadness. I tried looking on the bright side and focusing on what's ahead and not on what's in the past. But my mind keeps returning to those miles in Philly. Those miles that didn't go as planned. Those miles that lead me to the finish line of the half marathon, not the full. Those miles where I doubted everything, including myself. Those miles when my body felt like it was fighting against me. I wish I could go back and rewrite a different ending...but since I obviously can't do that, I'll write about what happened in hopes of being able to move on.

The weeks leading up to Philly went exactly as planned. Training was going great and I was feeling ready. I honestly believed I was going to cross the finish line and see 3:5x:xx on that clock. I believed I was capable (and still do). In the days leading up to the race I was feeling on edge. More so than usual before a big race. I was nervous, but excited. I had a million different thoughts and emotions running through me, and I just couldn't wait to get to that starting line.

in the midst of one of my freak outs
my incredible friend, Beth, sent this to me...
so thankful for friends who are always there to help when I need it most 

I left early on Friday morning to head to the airport where Stacey was already there waiting for me. Our flight took off at 6:30am and we were on our way to Philadelphia. Thankfully the flight wasn't full and I was able to move my seat to sick next to her. It was a quick flight and before I knew it we were landing in Philly. Danielle was there to pick us up and bring us back to her house where we would be staying for the weekend. 

Philly here we come!

Friday was spent hanging around, shopping, eating, and visiting the expo. Seeing the city helped change my nerves in to excitement. I could feel the energy and was excited to see more of the city on Sunday. It was on Friday that I started to notice a little feeling of fatigue when walking up the stairs in the subway stations and at Danielle's. It's a weird burning feeling in the muscles in my legs that I've felt before. I tried not to let it freak me out, and hoped by Sunday I would be feeling better.

Stacey and I after getting our bibs at the expo

By request, Saturday was perfectly low key. We relaxed on the couch for many hours of the day, went for a short run, then got ready to head to dinner with some other Oiselle birds who were running that weekend. It was so much fun seeing and chatting with some familiar, and some new teammates. After dinner we went back to Danielle's and I went to bed pretty early knowing Sunday morning would come quickly.

hanging with my legs up the wall trying to get 'em ready to run a marathon 

carbs, wine, water, and birds

Sunday morning my alarm went off around 4:30am. We planned to leave around 5:45 to get to the start, drop off our bags, use the port-a-potty and be ready to go by 7:00. My stomach was very uneasy all morning, but I chalked it up to race day nerves and hoped it would pass. I had decided to carry a water bottle with me and shoved my shot blocks and phone in the pocket. I've never carried a handheld during a marathon before, but thought I would give it a try. It was a cool, but perfect morning for a race. The temps were in the high 30's-low 40's. I wore my singlet, stride shorts, and gloves. I was cold waiting in the corral, but I knew I would warm up quickly. Just as the sun was coming up, it was time to go. 

waiting in the corral

Danielle was amazing and got up bright and early
to come to the start with us, ready to cheer

Stacey and I ready to go

My plan was to keep my pace around 9min miles for the first half or so and then depending on how I felt focus on holding that pace, or speeding up if I could. I was debating whether or not to wear my watch, but in the end I decided to wear it to keep myself from going out too fast. I kept an eye on my pace for the first couple of miles to make sure I was on track, then I switched the screen so I would only see the time of day. I didn't want to focus on what mile I was on or how many I had to go. A few miles in I started to feel a little cramp in my left side under my rib. Luckily, I don't usually have to fight with cramps, so this caught me by surprise. I tried to focus on my breathing, and trying to relax so hopefully it would go away. This cramp kept fighting to make its presence known. As a last resort, I ate a margarita shot block, thinking the extra salt might help? It did seem to least until I felt another dull cramp creeping up on the other side. My stomach still didn't feel right either. I tried to switch my focus and look at everything around me, the crowds, the buildings, and knowing I would see Danielle at mile 6. 

Each time my watch would beep and display the pace, I would look at it to check to see if I was still on target. For the most part I was, but these early miles were feeling a lot more difficult than they should have. I was worried. I saw Danielle and got a short burst of energy and confidence. It didn't last long though, and each step began to felt more and more difficult. There were a couple of hills around mile 7 and 9 I believe. They took a lot out of me. I couldn't believe how badly I was feeling and I wasn't even through the first half yet. It was hard not to feel a little discouraged. My legs felt like they were fighting against me, instead of working with me as I had trained them to do. I began to slow down slightly. 

It was around mile 10 or 11 I think when Nicole ran up behind me and said hi. We hadn't actually met before that, but it was so nice of her make an effort to check in on me. She asked how I was feeling. I couldn't find any words other than not good. She gave me some words of encouragement and then ran off in to the distance. It was at this time when the thoughts of not finishing started to fill my mind. I felt awful. I don't really know how to describe exactly how I was feeling. I felt heavy...tired...drained. I felt a million times worse than I should have only 10 or 11 miles in to a 26.2 mile race running what should have been a very comfortable pace. It didn't make sense, and I couldn't believe this was happening. 

I knew Danielle would be at mile 14. Suddenly I had a very difficult decision to make. I could either go left, get myself to mile 14, throw any hopes of finishing under 4hrs out the window, focus instead on just somehow getting myself to the finish, and praying to the running Gods that Danielle would have some incredible words of encouragement to carry me through the remaining 12 miles. Or, I could turn right, and cross the finish line with the half marathoners...finishing 13.1 miles less than planned. I wasn't ready to handle a repeat of Vermont. I didn't want to suffer though a walk/slow jog/death march for 13 miles again. I already felt so terrible, I knew the second half would only be much much worse. Without even really realizing it, I found myself running to the right and seeing the finish line chute. I couldn't bring myself to look around at all the cheering spectators. All I could focus on was ground in front of me, knowing soon it would all be over. I crossed the finish line feeling more defeated than I ever have before. 

I kept walking, trying to fight back the tears. I got my bag and then started to contact Danielle or Stacey to let them know I stopped and figure out where to find them. Of course, my phone decided that would be a good time to stop working. Cue panic. Just as I was about to try to figure out how to walk over to mile 14 to hopefully find Danielle, I heard someone say my name. I turned around and saw Stacey. She gave me a hug and I burst in to tears. I was so thankful she happened to find me in that moment. My emotions took over and I couldn't hold back the tears. Thankfully Stacey had her phone and was able to get in touch with Danielle. We made our way over to her and Carolyn, who also ran the half marathon. My mind was all over the place. I was so happy for Stacey and Carolyn, who rocked their races, but so sad about what happened to me. I went back and forth between confusion, anger, defeat, and then pure sadness. I was in shock.

After standing around for a few minutes, we all started to get pretty cold and decided to make our way over to a restaurant for brunch. Bloody Mary's and mimosas (yes, plural) were just what the doctor ordered. In those moments of raw emotion, sadness, and disappointment, I was SO thankful for friends who let me try to process it all. I really don't know what I would have done without them. 

love these ladies

The rest of the day was spent on the couch watching TV, drinking tequila, and eating all the food. We met up with Abby later that night for Mexican food, and margaritas. Abby also ran, and rocked the half marathon earlier that day. While I was still really upset, and trying to figure out what happened...that day was probably one of my favorites spent in Philly. Good friends, good food, and good doesn't get much better than that.

So...what happened? I have no idea. If anyone has had a similar experience, or has any ideas, please share them with me because I am completely clueless. It sucks.

What's next? Well, I think I will be taking a break from the marathon this spring. Instead, I will focus on shorter races and improving my half marathon time. I'm definitely stronger in the shorter distances, and I feel like I have some more untapped speed in these legs I'd like to explore. I'll probably pick a goal half for the spring and run some more 5 and 10k's leading up to it. I also plan to make and appointment to see a doctor for some blood work to try to figure out if there's something going on with my body I can work towards fixing in hopes that this won't happen again.

Am I done running marathons? Absolutely not. Most likely I'll make my return in the fall of 2015. Believing that I haven't reached my potential, is what keeps me going. Bad races are just as motivating, if not more so, than good races. I'll be back.

"Find inspiration in the place between where you are and where you want to be" -Lauren + Ro 

time to look forward to brighter days.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I got this

With just 3 days to go until I'll be running through the streets of Philadelphia, I'm feeling many different emotions. I'm excited to get another shot at the marathon, and I'm confident I had a great training cycle, but mostly I'm anxious and nervous at this point. I've been trying to keep busy and focus on other things, but my mind always ends up thinking of what's to come.

I had a good week of training last week, which helped calm my nerves temporarily. I had a couple of workouts to do and a long run on Sunday, but overall my mileage greatly decreased.

November 10 - 16

Monday: Rest.

Tuesday: 6 x 800 @ 10k pace. I averaged around 7:45 pace. Total = 6.5 miles with warm up and cool down.

Wednesday: 40 min easy, which ended up being about 4.2 miles. I keep my easy runs very easy, especially at this point.

crazy morning fog and a pond full of geese

Thursday: Rest. I had to move Thursday's run to Friday because I had to be at work at 5:30am and had an interview right after, which left no time to run.

Friday: 6 mile tempo between marathon and half marathon pace. This has been my nemesis. For some reason I have always struggled with the tempo miles. Looking back I think it's because I build it up so much in my head, which causes me to tighten up right away and struggle. I really think it's been more mental than anything else. So, obviously I was a little nervous going in to this, but I was also determined to get it done. I've been doing a lot of mile repeats and 2 x mile this cycle, so I knew I could do it. I needed to prove it to myself. I was able to stay calm by thinking of all that I've done leading up to this workout. I got through all 6 miles right on pace averaging 8:30/mile. Nailed it.

Saturday: 30 min easy, 3.2 miles

Sunday: 14 mile long run. 10 miles easy + 4 @ MP. I felt great during the easy miles, but my legs felt a little heavy during those at marathon pace.

last long run before Philly!

Total Miles = 36.6

This week I had one final workout on Tuesday, which consisted of 2 miles @ MP, 2 miles @ 10 sec faster than MP, 1 mile at HMP. This workout went very well. I hit all my paces and felt strong throughout. Now, it's all easy runs from here on out until Sunday. 

I don't think I could get tired of this

Some final thoughts... 

I'm not really sure how to describe how I'm feeling. I feel more on edge this time around. I'm not really sure why that is. Maybe it has something to do with my last marathon experience. Or maybe it's because I know deep down I'm capable of so much more. My ultimate goal this time around remains the same. I want to finish this marathon feeling good about my experience. That wasn't the case after the last two because I put so much pressure on a time goal. Of course, I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to cross that finish line less than 4hrs after I start. 

Deep breaths. It's almost go time. 

thank you Amanda for this amazing card!

Monday, November 10, 2014

peak week

Last week I peaked at 50 miles. I realize for many this isn't all that much, but for me it was a huge step forward. I finally hit the big 5-0 and ran my highest mileage week ever. It felt great.

Here's how it went:

November 3-9

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 10 x 200 on, 200 off at 10k pace w/ 15 min warm up and 10 min cool down. I enjoy these types of workouts and felt really strong. All 200's were at or under 10k pace with the last one being the fastest. Total = 5.5 miles

my happy place

Wednesday: about 57 min easy. Total = 6 miles.

getting to be as many leaves on the ground as in the trees

Thursday: 4 x 2 miles @ MP with a 10 min warm up and cool down. I wasn't sure how this one would go, but to my surprise it went great! My paces looked like this: 8:50, 8:45...8:48, 8:53...8:34, 8:37...8:32, 8:26. The last 2 sets were faster than MP but I felt good so I went with it. I kept reminding myself to stay calm and picture myself running smoothly around the track. For some reason that helps me and this run was no exception. Total = 10.5 miles.

playing with the flowers in between mile repeats

Friday: about 57 min easy. Friday's are typically rest days for me, but I had to work Saturday and then had some friends visiting from NH. So I moved the run to Friday. Total = 6 miles.

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 22 miles. This is the first time I've done 22 miles in a training cycle. My goal was to keep it slow and just get through the miles. That's what I did. For the most part I felt pretty good. My legs started to feel tired about half way through, but I wasn't surprised considering this was my highest mileage week. Thankfully I lucked out with a beautiful day, which made the miles that much better. I was beyond happy when I finished this one.

beautiful day to run 22 miles

this incline is so gradual it's hard to feel, but the elevation chart always makes me laugh...
and feel a little badass 

Total = 50 miles

With two weeks to go I'm feeling prepared and ready to run the marathon I know I'm capable of, which is my number one goal this time around. I've been thinking a lot about how I plan to attack this marathon mentally as I know that's my biggest obstacle.

And now we taper.

Monday, November 3, 2014

NYC + training last week

Cheering for all the incredible runners who ran the NYC marathon this past weekend was one of the most fun and inspiring experiences I've had recently. I made the trip with Stacey and we spent the weekend with Beth in her apartment (a huge THANK YOU to Beth for letting me spend this amazing weekend with her). I'm not sure I can capture the incredibleness of this weekend in words, so I'll try to do so with pictures. 

Let the good times begin...enjoying some wine on the train on the way down with Stacey.

We spent the first night ordering dinner, chatting about all things running, planning our route for our long runs Saturday morning, and enjoying some wine in Beth's apartment. Saturday morning we got up early to run. I had 20miles to get through before noon when we planned to go to the Oiselle team meet up. It was so fun seeing some familiar faces, and finally meeting so many fellow birds. 

I loved running around central park

Beth, myself, and Stacey at the start of 20 miles

I got to see the infamous Little Red Lighthouse

Oiselle meet up
So many fabulous women in 1 room

After the meet up, we went and checked out the expo for a bit, and then finally made out way back to Beth's to order dinner, enjoy some more wine, and put our feet up in preparation for some serious marathon cheering the next morning. 

We woke up Sunday bright and early to squeeze in a recovery run before breaking out our cowbells.

love these ladies

yay running!

After our run we made our way over to 100th and 1st to cheer for everyone running the marathon.

lead pack of men

heading to the next spot to cheer

Enjoying central park one last time before catching the train back to Boston.

I had so much fun cheering and ringing a cowbell until my arm hurt. Experiencing the NYC Marathon as a spectator was amazing. Seeing everyone who ran in the incredibly windy and cold weather was inspiring. I definitely feel the fire burning a lot stronger after this weekend for the Philadelphia Marathon. With three weeks to go I'm feeling pretty confident that I'll be prepared to do my best. Training last week went really well and it was capped off with a great weekend of running in New York.

October 27 - November 2

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 2 sets of 1000 @ MP, 800 @ HMP, 600 @ 5k pace, 400 @ mile pace w/ 3 min jog recovery between everything plus 15 min warm up and cool down - 7.2 miles total. I felt pretty good throughout the whole work out. I hit all my paces except 5k. For some reason I tend to struggle to hit that pace. But otherwise I felt strong.

Wednesday: about 58 min easy - 6 miles. Easy recovery run. 

Thursday: 70 minutes on hilly terrain - 7.2 miles. 

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 4 miles easy, 4 @ MP (8:48, 8:52, 8:46, 8:51), 5 miles easy, 3 miles @ HMP (8:03, 8:03, 8:03), 4 miles easy - 20 miles total in NYC. I was super nervous for this run and about hitting the half marathon paces from miles 13-16. I was beyond happy when I finished it exactly where I wanted to be. I am also so grateful for the ladies who helped me get through this one. I couldn't have done it without them.  

loved having the opportunity to run around NYC

Sunday: 5 miles easy along the Hudson River 

Total Mileage: 45.5 

I can't believe there's only 3 weeks of training left until the marathon. I'm feeling more ready after this weekend and inspired by all the runners who finished the NYC Marathon. Here's to an amazing weekend and another great week of running! 

thanks for a great weekend, New York

Sunday, October 26, 2014

four weeks to Philly

Four more weeks until I will be running around the streets of Philadelphia. This is both exciting and terrifying. While I don't feel ready yet...I do think I will be with a few more weeks of miles under my legs and Hokas. I finished this week at 47.4 miles total. While I'm not 100% sure, I am pretty confident that is my highest mileage week ever. It definitely is the highest of this training cycle. I felt pretty good all week with the exception of Saturday's long run. I managed to catch a pretty good cold at the end of last week, just in time for a planned 20 mile run. Other than that small set back, I had a really great week of training. I'm hoping more miles will equal more confidence come race day.

sometimes you just have to stop and take a picture
of the leaves and your matching hokas

I haven't been posting a whole lot about my training lately, but I thought with four weeks left to go, I'd post a recap of each week leading up to the Marathon. So, here we go:

October 20-26

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: 10 x 1 min on, 1 min off @ 10k pace with 15 min warm up and cool down - 5.4 miles total. I always like this workout. I did all 10 slightly faster than 10k pace.

Wednesday: 40-50 min easy on the schedule. I ran 56 min easy for a total of 6 miles. My coach told me if I feel good on these easy days that I can go a little longer than what's on the schedule. I've been trying to do this whenever I feel up for it.

Thursday: 8 x mile @ MP with 1 min rest - 11 miles total with warm up and cool down. I was a little unsure of how this one would go. I had to work early that day (5:30am-2), which meant I'd have to run after work. Running after work is not something I enjoy, and typically feels pretty sluggish. It was also rainy and super windy that day. I told myself I have no idea what the weather could be like on race day, and if I got through this workout in unfavorable conditions, it would only help me if the weather on November 23 isn't the best. I've also been feeling like I've had a bit of a mental block or something during marathon pace workouts. They always feel harder than I feel they should, and I'm usually left questioning myself and my ability. I've been doing some longer track workouts this cycle at MP, which have been going really well. I told myself if I could do 1200's I was capable of doing these mile repeats (just one more time around the track is how I mentally prepped myself). In addition to everything mentioned above, Thursday was when I started feeling my cold coming on. I planned to start slow with my warmup and see how I felt. I knew I could stop at any point, and I would if need be, but I wanted to give it a try. After a lot of mental prep, I slowly ran out to one of my favorite places to run, Horn Pond, and started my workout. I felt amazing. Every mile felt better than the last. Even as the wind and rain continued to soak me from head to toe, I was so happy to be out there, killing this workout. Huge confidence boost after that one.

one of the trails at Horn never disappoints

Friday: OFF - Friday's are typically rest days for me, but I was especially happy for this rest day because I woke up feeling pretty sick and run down. I stayed home from work and spent the day on the couch.

sick day on the couch made better by the delivery
of these amazing moto lesley tights 

Saturday: I wanted to do my long run on Saturday because we were going to a wedding in NH Saturday night. I knew a long run on Sunday would be out of the question. I got up at 5:30 to try and get through 20 miles before we needed to leave. I hardly slept that night for some reason and woke up sneezing and sniffling like crazy. I took some DayQuil and prepped like I normally would for a long run. I figured I'd give it a try and if I wasn't feeling it, I'd cut it short. The first few miles felt tough, but then I got in to a bit of a groove around miles 6-12. Then suddenly at mile 12 I knew 20 would be a stretch that day. I slowed my pace way down and got through 18. I was disappointed I didn't make it to 20, but my body forced me to listen.

Sunday: 40-45 min easy on the schedule. Thankfully I felt much better today, though surprising considering I danced the night away Saturday night at the wedding. I wanted to run a few extra miles to make up for what I couldn't do Saturday, so I would still end the week around 47 miles. I felt a little tired, but generally good. I kept the pace slow and enjoyed a beautiful fall day in New England.

Right now I'm feeling ready to go in to the next 4 weeks. I'm excited to get another shot at a 20 mile run next weekend (IN NEW YORK!) and 22 miles (YIKES) the following weekend. I feel like I'll be more prepared for this marathon and I'm loving the training process. I really feel like some good things are to come.

Sunday funday beautiful rainbow

Monday, October 13, 2014

next stop...PHILLY!

After a not so great first half of the year racing, the second half has been a big improvement and a big confidence boost. I've ran a couple PR's, most recently at the Smuttynose Half Marathon, and training has been steadily improving. All good things! Now I've just got to keep this train moving forward for 6 more weeks and I'm golden. If only it were that simple.

flying high at the Smuttynose Half

I've decided not to race anymore between now and November 23. I feel like this will allow me to really focus on my training and make sure I get enough long runs in as well as ample recovery time. This is something I didn't do for Newport RI or Vermont City. I'm hoping it will help me feel more rested, prepared, and ready to fly come race day. 

Why Philly? 
I've been asked this question a few times recently. When Vermont City didn't go so well, I initially thought I would take some time off from running marathons. I scared myself when I finished overheated, dehydrated, and landed myself in the medical tent. However, it's amazing how just a few days rest can get you thinking about the next one. 

My first thought was that I would run something new, but close to home. I thought about running the Baystate Marathon, which is known for being flat and fast. It sounded like a good idea. But the more I thought about it, the less excited I became. I felt like I wanted something a little later in the year (Baystate is actually this weekend, October 19). The slight possibility of a warm day in October was enough to steer me away. I couldn't handle another unexpectedly warm weekend like VT. I also felt like I wanted a little extra time in between marathons to feel more mentally prepared. 

During the time I was trying to decide what to do, I saw some chatter on twitter from a few Oiselle teammates who were running the Philadelphia Marathon or Half Marathon. This got me thinking. I've been wanting to travel for a race, and while Philly isn't too far from Boston, it would require me getting on a plane...or getting comfy in a car for many hours. I would have the opportunity to race with, meet, and spend time with some birds I've met IRL, and others I've only "met" through social media. I quickly became very excited about the possibility. I reached out to Danielle, who was one of my amazing Ragnar teammates back in May, and who also happens to live in Philadelphia. So Danielle, when you said I was welcome to come visit anytime, you really meant that, right? Ok good. After a few emails back and forth, and the reassurance that Philly was Danielle's favorite marathon, I clicked register and started searching the internet for flights. I was fired up and ready to tackle the marathon once again.

Carolyn, myself, and Danielle...can't wait to be reunited with these ladies next month

The next few weeks of training look pretty intense, complete with two 20 mile runs, and a 22 miler. I was admittedly terrified when I first saw that. After some time to digest and think about it, I'm more excited than terrified, and I know I will be much more prepared this time around. I'm coming for you, Philly! 

Have you ran the Philadelphia Marathon? What was your experience like?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Smuttynose Rockfest Half Recap and a new PR

I didn't think I would write this post tonight, but as I sit here waiting for the Patriots to start while the bf is asleep on the couch, I can't help but continue to relive my race at the Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon this morning. I am too damn happy.

Let me rewind a bit. I set a pretty lofty goal at the beginning of the year to PR in every race distance I ran in 2014. I knew it was a possible goal, but a big one. I also knew when I set that goal that my half marathon PR would be one of the toughest to break. My current PR (at the beginning of the year) had been set in May of 2013 at Boston Run to Remember. I had tried to surpass that number of 1:46:48 multiple times, with no luck. Just as it's larger counterpart (the marathon) the half can be a tricky one. However, I knew I had it in me. I knew I was capable. I knew I could do it.

Today started as every other race morning does. I had to drive about an hour to get to the starting line. I played some music loudly in my car to get pumped up, and of course had to make a bathroom pit stop on the way. When I got to Hampton I met up with my friends who were also running, warmed up in their car, waited in line for the bathroom, and eventually headed to the starting line.

My friend Lori was running the race and we briefly talked ahead of time about starting in the first wave of people who hoped to finish under 1:50. She had never finished a half under 1:50 and that was her big goal. I was secretly hoping to PR, but would have been happy with a sub 1:50 finish. We found each other at the start, she nervously chatted while we waited for the green light, and I listened while trying to keep warm. It was cold in the shade and the wind. Maybe 45 degrees. My legs and hands got pretty cold while waiting. I tried to keep them warm, but it was tough. Before I knew it it was time to go and we were running.

beautiful morning for a race

I thought maybe I should start a little slower than my planned pace of 8:10 to get my legs warmed up because of the cold.  However, as I started running a bit I felt ok and decided to go with whatever pace felt manageable, no matter what it may be. I think the first mile beeped right at 8:10. OK. I'm ok, I thought. Lori and I were running very close together and it was helpful to have her in my sight.

When I ran Boston 13.1  a couple weeks ago I felt amazing through the first 10 miles. I was riding a high and felt like nothing could stop me. I believed I could PR. Then mile 10 hit and I crashed. Hard. Today I didn't feel that same high, I didn't ever feel like I could run forever. I knew I would have to fight for it, but I was ready.

As the miles went on I managed to run at a consistent pace... 8:00, 7:59, 7:59. 7:58, 8:00... I felt strong, but it didn't feel easy. I made mini goals for myself. I pushed. Lori was a step ahead of me most of the time but it kept me fighting and motivated to stay with her. The first 10 miles went by relatively quickly and then mile 10 hit like a brick wall...again. I kept trying to do the math in my head of where I was and how fast I had to run to finish under 1:46:48. It kept me motivated knowing I was well within reach.

Mile 11-12 felt the longest and most painful. I tried to embrace the pain and not fight it. I knew if I slowed down and gave up I'd regret it. I kept pushing. Once I hit mile 12 I knew I could do it if I could just hold on. I kept wishing to see the finish line, and when I did I had just enough left in the tank to pick up my pace. I crossed that finish line at 1:45:27. I almost couldn't believe it.

PR's all around

This race is extra special because not only was it a physical PR, it was a mental PR as well. I still have a lot of work to do in the last couple miles, but overall I was mentally stronger in this race because it physically felt more difficult. I could have, and wanted to at some points, slow down and give in but I didn't. I fought hard for that race, which gives me a lot of confidence going forward.