Thursday, April 17, 2014

THANKS. AGAIN.


As most of you know, a marathon training cycle is typically about 4 months long.  Four very long, often physically brutal, and for this particular cycle, painfully cold, months.  Wait, why do I do this again?  Kidding.  (sort of).  When I get to this point, just a few days before the race itself, I tend to look back and reflect a bit.  Because for all of the workouts that were so hard, where I found myself frustrated and wanting to throw in the towel, there were an equal number of runs that made me feel like I was a superhero.  A feeling that is not only amazing, but is likely one of the main reasons that I continue to run these crazy ass races over and over again.  I also like to take a moment at this stage to recognize how unbelievably lucky I am to have such an incredible support system, without which I would never make it to the start line (knock on wood).  So, here's to you.  All of you.

~ To my husband, who is my biggest supporter.  
~ To my kids for their patience and understanding when mom was too tired to deal and their readiness to step up when this was the case.
~ To my extended family & friends who consistently checked in to see how it was going.
~ To my coach, Lowell Ladd (of 2L Coaching) for his guidance and support.
~ To Kirsten, my good friend and running partner, for dutifully joining me for most of my long runs.  Bless her.
~ To my Oiselle teammates for their amazing bird love.
~ To Oiselle (the company itself) for keeping me both stylish and comfortable, 24/7.  Not an easy task.
~ To NUUN for keeping me hydrated.
~ To RUNNERBOX for all the goodies and new products that I've gotten to try. 
~ To Yurbuds for always keeping the beat, and NEVER. FALLING. OUT.
~ To Spotify for being my music oasis.
~ To Saucony for the 3 pairs of Rides that carried me along.  Literally.
~ To the Loopsters for being so damn cool.
~ To my LHS runners who keep me inspired day in and day out.
~ To the great city of Boston.  Just because.
~ And finally, to you, dear readers, for allowing me to document this crazy nut-job experience and your willingness to be along for the ride.

So, again, THANK YOU.  On April 21st, I'll be running Boston with all of you in mind.  And I am forever grateful.

Listen to this:
Keep On Running - Andy Bull  


* Congrats to Tom S., winner of the RUNNERBOX Race Day Survival Kit.  May you always be ready.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

GIVEAWAY: RUNNERBOX RACE DAY SURVIVAL KIT


You are a runner.  Doesn't matter how fast or slow, whether you run 3 miles a day or 60 miles per week, whether you love it or you do it because you have to.  You run.  And that is all that matters here.  It's a week before your race.  The one you signed up for a year ago, or the one you snuck into last week because a friend persuaded you to join them.  Maybe it's your first marathon (holy crap) or the 5k you've never tried but have always wanted to.  Again, doesn't matter.  All that matters is that race day is approaching and you want....no, you need to be prepared.  So close your eyes.  No, really.  Close them.  And you think to yourself, "how nice would it be if someone went out and gathered all the best race supplies; everything I could possibly need (and might not necessarily think of myself), put them all together in a neat little box and dropped them on my front door."  To which I would then respond .... ABRACADABRA and ALAKAZAM.... (yes, I have always wanted to do this)

....VOILÀ.  Just like that, your prayers have been answered by, the one and only, RUNNERBOX.  Their Limited Edition Race Survival Kit has magically appeared in your mailbox.  Ok, fine, I sent it to you.  But, I like the magic version better.  Seriously, though, spring is race season for many of us and thankfully, RUNNERBOX has got us all covered.  With this Race Survival Kit, they will make sure you get to the line with everything you need to start smart and finish strong.  They've got you covered for your pre-race training run, through the race itself and to your post-race recovery.  All of it in one fell swoop.  Or, I should say, in a neat little box.

RUNNERBOX SPRING RACE SURIVIVAL KIT
You can see why I love this company so much, right?  Click here to see a list of the specific items in this box of amazingness.  I wish I had one of these kits for all of you, but, alas, I only have one.  Enter below to win this baby.  It's quick, easy and freakin' awesome.  Not into contests?  I get it.  If you still want to get your hands on this puppy, head right over to therunnerbox.com and enter RWMRB13 at checkout to get 10% off your order.  It's a win-win.  Huge thanks to the RUNNERBOX crew for helping us all survive.  This contest is short and sweet so don't wait to enter.  I'm guessing a lot of you have races coming up so I want to get this puppy out ASAP!  Good luck.  Now, hurry.  GO!!!

Listen to this:
Happy - Robert DeLong  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, April 13, 2014

LET'S RUN

"We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, 
and when we find someone whose weirdness is 
compatible with ours, we join up with them 
and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love."
~ Dr. Seuss

About a month ago, a woman named Kelly reached out to me via Facebook.  She explained that she'd gotten my info through my ambassador profile on Oiselle.com.  Turns out, she runs on a team that is affiliated with the company, she's admittedly obsessed with their clothes and she has recently applied to be an ambassador herself.  Check, check and check.  Like me, Kelly is an avid runner and a mother of two young girls.  In a nutshell, she let me know that she lived pretty close by, that she would be running the Boston marathon and that she would be in the same wave and corral as me.  Crazy, right?  But that's not all.  She then mentioned that she would be running the last 10 miles of the course with a friend in a couple weeks and asked if I'd like to join them.  I gave it a thought for about 12 seconds and then replied, "hell, yeah!"  So, we exchanged numbers and agreed to be in touch as the day of our run got closer.  This past Thursday, I told my husband my plan for the next day.  In so many words, I let him know that I'd be driving in to Boston, parking by the finish line, hopping on the T with two ladies that I'd never met, riding out to Newton and running back to Boston with them.  "Wait," he said, "you have no idea who these women are and you're spending the morning with them?"  To which I responded, "Well... um... yea."  He looked back at me and said, "Cool.  Have fun."  Confirming, once again, that nothing even remotely bizarre in my running-related life phases him anymore.  On Friday morning, I headed off to the city, thinking, for a brief moment, that it was indeed a bit odd that I had agreed to hook up with complete strangers to go for a long run.  Though, clearly, I wasn't too concerned about it.  At one point, I called to check in with Kelly and let her know I wouldn't have my phone but that I had blonde hair and was wearing a purple shirt and that I'd be waiting in front of Marathon Sports so it would be easy to find me.   As I waited, I had a very lovely conversation with Shane O'Hara, the manager of the store, who had just run into the city himself.  Though the store was closed, he was getting ready to do an interview about the marathon and he kindly offered to let me wait in the store for my running partners.  It was chilly out and I was in shorts, so I gladly took him up on the offer.  Kelly eventually arrived with her friend Carmela and after a brief intro session, we headed off to the train.  Stupidly, I had only brought a $20 for my T pass and, unless I wanted to carry 16 dollar coins back in my pockets for 10 miles, I was going to need to borrow a couple bucks from my new friends.  Talk about an easy ice breaker.  We headed out to Newton, chatting the whole way about our families, our jobs, our hobbies and whatnot and by the time we got off the train, it was not the least bit strange that the 3 of us were headed out for a 10 miler together.  Our run was awesome.  We tackled the entire hill section of the course, including Heartbreak, talking through some of the miles, and quietly enjoying the scenery through others.
We even stopped in front of the Johnny Kelley statue for a photo and did a brief interview with Channel 4 news in regards to how we felt about the blue and gold flowers that were blooming along the course.  (Symbols of Hope).  Eventually, we eased our way back into the city, ending at the finish line, which is already in the process of being set up.  I got some serious chills and took a moment to myself, thinking about how unbelievably intense this scene was going to feel in 10 days.  I also made a mental note to stuff some tissues in my pockets on race day.  Finally, we grabbed a sandwich, Carmela treated me to a chocolate milk (bless her) and we all hugged goodbye, agreeing to find each other at the expo on Saturday before the race.  And with that, I was off.  With two new friends/fellow runners to boot.  The running world is such weird, crazy, beautiful place.  It's so different than anything else I am part of, in a good way.  I often feel like I'm in la la land when I am amongst runners....a place where we are all friends, even when we are strangers, where we all support each other, and where we all feel both welcome and comfortable on any given day.  Call me crazy, but I love it.  And I'm guessing many other runners out there feel the same way.  And to all of them, as I did to Kelly, I'd probably say the same thing..."let's run".

Listen to this:
White Lies - Max Frost  

Thursday, April 10, 2014

TAPERING (AGAIN): A TOP 10 LIST


For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while, you might recall that I get serious ants in my pants during taper time.  And, who doesn't, really?  On April 21st, I'll be running my 9th marathon in Boston and, as expected, the ants are in full force.  It's all good.  I've learned that it's just part of this crazy marathon process and I have to do my best to roll with it.  I will say that this particular taper feels a bit more intense than most.  This race has been on my mind in some way, shape or form for the entire year.  Last April, I watched the day unfold from St. Augustine, FL, where I was on a short vacation with my husband.  We did our best to enjoy the week-end but we found ourselves stopping and staring in horror every time we passed a television.  It was impossible not to.  At one point I looked at him, ready declare that I would be doing everything in my power to be on the line in Boston the next year and before I had a chance to speak he just nodded his head as if to say, "Yes.  I know, I get it." So, here we are, a year later, and now, especially during this taper period, the Boston marathon is all.....I...think...about.  Literally.  Okay, I'm also thinking about my family and my job, but you get the point.  This is the big Kahuna, the one I have been talking, writing, and thinking about for months, and I am so insanely thrilled to be a part of it, especially as a runner. Once again, I am trying to fill the extra time with some fun and/or interesting things that I don't typically get to do when I'm training.  Here's a few things I've come up with.  Any other suggestions, send them my way.

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO WHEN TAPERING FOR A MARATHON (AGAIN)

1. Grab coffee and/or lunch with friends whenever possible, particularly those I haven't seen in a while.
2. Go get my nails done.  I'm thinking blue and yellow?  Thoughts?


3. Watch all of the Oscar nominated movies from 2013.
4. Read the two books on my night stand:
5. Take some long walks in the woods with Lucy. (she's 12, so we go slow and steady)


6. Pack my kids and myself for our upcoming trip to Florida. (this will take all of about 4 minutes, maybe less....but it's something to do).
7. Shop for the Easter Bunny.  Mmmm.  Jelly beans.


8. Turn my 3rd floor bedroom, which is currently an American Girl doll oasis and fort for my kids, into a guest room for my in-laws. (not really fun and/or interesting, but has been on my "to-do" list for months)
9. Take some time to go back and listen to my non-purchased music.  Long overdue.
10. And last, but not least, spend some good, quality time with my girls.


Listen to this:
Big Deal - Dream Machines