Sunday, September 14, 2014

Boston 13.1

This morning I ran the Michelob Ultra Boston 13.1. I had kept pretty quiet about this race leading up to it for a couple of reasons. One being that I've been caught up in marathon training, so this race wasn't a main focus. Another being the fact that the last time I ran a half marathon was in February and it was an absolute disaster. Of course I wanted the chance to redeem myself, but I couldn't help but feel a little bit of fear that it would happen again. The final reason was because I knew I wanted to do well...but I was afraid to put it out there. I was afraid of announcing my goals, only to come away defeated again. I know, I know...I shouldn't think that way...confidence and believing in my abilities and myself is something I'm still working on (more on that later in the post). So, I quietly went in to this race with only myself knowing my A, B, and C goals. 

This morning started as every race morning does. Alarm set early, breakfast, coffee, Nuun, too many trips to the bathroom, bags packed, water bottles filled, Oiselle singlet on, Hokas laced up, out the door and on my way. The race was in Revere, MA, which is only about 20 min from my house. I got there about 45 min before the 8:15 start. Plenty of time to get my bib, and make a couple trips to the porta potties. 

Jill and I pre race!

We lined up just before it was time to go and right at 8:15 we were off. The weather was perfect, 50's and no humidity. The sun was out, which kept me warm, but a strong wind every few miles kept me from getting too hot. I had never been to the area in Revere where the race was, so I enjoyed seeing a new part of town and really tried to soak it all in. We started out twisting and turning around some neighborhoods, and then did a small loop around Belle Isle Marsh Reservation. To my surprise, this area wasn't paved. It was a fairly narrow, but groomed path. I had to weave my way around some other runners by running on the grass. The area was beautiful though, and a welcome change to the typical pavement miles.

After going through the marsh, we ran back through some neighborhoods, and made our way over to the beach. We ran close to 6 miles on Revere Beach Blvd. Out one direction, turned around, back the other direction, and then turned around again before making our way towards the finish. It may sound a little repetitive, and maybe it was to some, but I loved it. I love the beach, and I love running along the beach. Since we did a couple of out and backs, I got to see the leaders twice, along with many other people...twice. I find it a great distraction being able to watch the other runners, as well as a huge motivation to see the leaders in front of me. 

confusing course map

I felt great for the first 10 miles. Great. Better than I have in a while. I felt strong, confident, and actually believed I had a PR in me today. And then came mile 10 and slapped me in the face. I struggled to hold on. I knew if I could hold on to my pace I would PR, or be pretty damn close to it. I couldn't hold on. When I realized I wasn't going to get my A goal, I switched focus to my B goal, which was still well within reach. I couldn't let that one slip away. I walked through a couple of water stops, sipped some Gatorade and focused on putting one foot in front of the other. I had slowed down considerably. When I saw the finish I tried to push harder, with little effect. I finished my 12th half marathon at 1:49:05 on empty. I reached my B goal of finishing under 1:50 for the 4th time. I finished happy. Happy to erase the memory of February's struggle. Happy to feel like I'm making forward progress.        

pretty cool bib complete with the Zakim Bridge

A few side notes:
This course was FLAT. I loved it.

this is what it looks like on the website...

and this is what it looked like on my Garmin...definitely one of the flattest I've done...
I think I like it here

Splits. It's pretty clear how I was feeling in the last 3 miles. Not good. Something I still REALLY need to work on. I must stop dying at the end.

Well this says 1:49:02, my official time said 1:49:05...
either way, the last 3 miles are sad. Need to fix that. 

And lastly... I mentioned above that confidence in myself, and well self-love really, is something I am currently working on. I've been using some positive affirmations to help me on this journey. Last week's was "I am capable" and this week's was "each step is taking me where I want to be." I said both of these to myself at many points throughout the race to keep my head in the right place. I also decided in the early miles of this race that it was going to be kind of a competition between myself, the person full of doubt, full of self-consciousness, full of disbelief...and well, myself...the person who believes I am capable, confident in myself and my abilities, and the person who loves who I am. Cheesy? Maybe. I don't care. It worked. The right person won this race and I'm already looking forward to my next half October, 5. Another chance to prove I AM capable and I AM taking steps that will get me to where I want to be. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

floating on a runner's high

This weekend was one that every runner needs every now and then to remind us why we love running. To remind us why we wake up at the crack of dawn to squeeze in a run most days of the week. To remind us why we continue to push ourselves through the good days and the bad to reach goals that sometimes seem insurmountable. Weekends like this one make it all feel worth it. Weekends like this one leave me flying high and ready for more. 

My weekend actually started on Friday this week. I worked on Monday, Labor Day, in hopes of taking Friday off so the bf and I could spend the day together (he worked Monday too). I wanted to do some exploring and find an outside adventure we could enjoy. In my search of "things to do on a hot day in Boston" I found a beach that was about 20 min away from us, in South Boston. We hadn't been to the beach this year yet, so I guess the first weekend in September was as good of time as any! We packed our bags and a cooler and headed to Carson Beach. It was an absolutely perfect beach day, 90 degrees, sunny, a slight breeze, and not crowded at all. I was a pig in shit. 

watching the'd never know you were right outside the city

Saturday morning I had plans to run with Kristin. Kristin and I met first through social media, and only recently realized we live just a few miles from each other. She's an amazing runner, newly crowned IM finisher, and a super sweet person. Maybe someday I'll actually be able to keep up with her! We met at Minuteman Park, which is this beautiful area of trails that start in Lexington. This was the first time I had been there, and as Kristin warned, it may just be one of my new favorite places to run. I had 50 minutes easy on the schedule, so we went out for about 25 minutes, then turned around and came back. The trails were wide and mostly groomed, the scenery was beautiful, and on an incredibly hot and humid day, the trees offered some welcomed shade. I ran hard trying to keep up with Kristin, but felt pretty good overall considering the hot and humid conditions. Not quite sure what I would do without my running friends.

Post run, super sweaty and smiling...totally unplanned twinning.

This morning's agenda included a 16-17 mile run, split between the beginning miles with Stephanie and the final 6 miles with some of my fabulous Oiselle teammates who also live in MA (some of us had met before, most of us had not). Stephanie ran over to meet me on the bike path in Lexington. We ran 3.5 miles out and back one way, and then another 1.5 miles in the other direction before I had to turn around to make it back in time to meet the Oiselle birdies at 8:30. By the time I met them I had already completed about 10.3 miles. I was surprised by how good I felt and was very ready to continue on with these incredible runners. We continued down the bike path, 3 miles out and back, sharing stories, and getting to know one another better. I finished the day at 16.34 miles, my longest run of this training cycle, and feeling great. After our run, we planned to have brunch at a place called Lexx. We had delicious food, bloody mary's, and mimosas and continued to talk like we've known each other for years. It was perfect. 

follow the spike bags
photo credit: Amanda

birds at brunch

Now, as I sit here on my couch, watching the Patriots and reflecting on this weekend, I can't help but smile. I am so grateful for the friends and teammates I have made through running. I am grateful for their support and encouragement, and how they pick me up when I am down and questioning my abilities. I am grateful for all of them, all over the country. I am grateful for this weekend.