Reinvigorating My Running

My runs lately have been less than inspired, just checking them off of the list of things I have to do each day.  Sometimes that happens, and its okay but it was nice to be able to have some time to give myself a kick in the pants today.

It started with the email I got last night…

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So that was pretty exciting, very far away, but exciting!

I spent some time this morning before heading out for my run reading Runner’s World which always inspires me and actually spent a decent amount of time stretching (go figure).

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And guess what? I had a great run.  It was hot and humid and by the end of 10 miles I was ready to be done, but it was a good one.  It is crazy how much taking 30 minutes to prep your mind and body to hit the road will make a difference in how it goes!!

I know I won’t take as much time before my long run tomorrow but I will certainly take more time than it takes to shove a banana down my throat.

Good luck on your long runs tomorrow everyone!!

Crazy Week

Last Wednesday we had friends come in to town and the rest of the week was a whirlwind.  We didn’t really do any thing too exciting but spent a lot of time hanging out and going to the beach.  I was lucky enough to get a few good runs in the mean time.  But to catch up with random tidbits…

1.  We went to a restaurant called Leon’s on far upper King Street and I dove in to a fried chicken sandwich (after a 9 mile pace run of course) and it was fabulous and so worth it.  I especially appreciated the side of cucumber salad instead of fries, HUGE winner in my book.

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2.  We took Scarlett to the beach with us one day and she had so much fun.  We haven’t taken her at all this summer, but I prefer to take her in the fall anyway when there are a lot less people around.

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3.  Sunday was the first day of football!  My fantasy team got crushed, Eagles won, we all ate, drank and were very merry on this first day of a new season!

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4.  My run yesterday was incredibly eventful including this…

The hawk caught the squirrel and it was still moving while I was taking this picture

The hawk caught the squirrel and it was still moving while I was taking this picture, real life Animal Planet

…then I fell.  And shattered my ipod. Got the skin of my hand stuck in the shattered screen.  Got glass stuck in my hand.  Had to put alcohol sanitizer on it all day.  Big fun!

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My shoulder is actually the worst, I must have tucked and rolled but I couldn’t get a good shot of it.  If you have read for a while these pictures may look familiar because my cuts are all almost in the exact same places, right over top of the old scars.  Running is actually becoming hazardous to my health.

5.  I officially registered to go back to Boston today!!  Quite a few of our friends are going with us this time which will be awesome, I am so excited to share one of the best experiences of my life with more people I love!  Still haven’t registered for my race in November.  What is wrong with me?!

That pretty much sums up the high lights.  Hope your runs have gone better than that one!

 

How I Ran Negative Splits at Boston

I have never run negative splits in a marathon, and especially nothing as hard as the Boston Marathon.  There is no exact science to this I don’t believe but what you have likely heard in the past is true:

“You run the first third with your head, the middle third with your personality and the last third with your heart.” ~Mike Fanelli

splitsRun the first third smart: The lady I was running with had made an awesome pace bracelet that was adjusted for the course and to give an even effort with elevation accounted for without negative splits.  You could set these parameters online for even pace, even effort, negative splits, for your specific course, etc to let yourself know right where you needed to be.  I stuck with her for the first 14-15 miles and I REFUSED to let myself get more than 5 seconds ahead of any given mile pace.  This is especially difficult in Boston with so much down hill at the start and more adrenaline pumping through your veins than you have ever felt in your whole life.

Run the middle third sassy: This is where I played hard ball.  I knew to cruise until mile 16 knowing the hills were coming and really sticking to my first third mentality.  When it came to miles 16-20 I just ran with a fierceness.  I wanted to show those four hills, heart break especially, that they had nothing on me.  I taped into all the runs that nearly killed me in Atlanta when I first got here and said, “I am bigger than this hill.”  And I was!

Run the final third with heart: For this, I not only had my own heart but the heart of a million people cheering me on.  I pushed myself for them, for the ones that couldn’t run, for the ones who lost their lives.  I pushed myself for this country and for what we stand for.  In this race, I had a lot more heart than I ever have had and probably will have again.

In my future races, I won’t have as much to fight for.  There won’t be as much emotion behind it, but I will still be the same girl behind the effort and hopefully that will be enough.  But when it’s not, I will remember what I ran for on the 21st of April, 2014 and hopefully I will be able to dig a little deeper, push a little harder and finish a little stronger.

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Best Day of My Life

Yesterday was quite possibly one of the greatest days of my life. I can hardly believe it really happened. Not only did I have my best race I will probably ever have, I truly, honestly enjoyed every minute of it.
The day started with a 5:50 am wake up call where I was for sure I missed my alarm. Apparently the sun rises a lot earlier in Boston than in Atlanta so it was actually light out at 5:50 which was scary. I got all decked out in my outfit and blanket (which was amazing) and headed out the door with breakfast of a bagel, banana and PB in hand. I picked up a quick cup of coffee and headed to the T.
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Once I got off and hit Boston Common, I immediately became overcome with emotion. Standing in line waiting for the buses I actually cried I was so overwhelmed.
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This quickly passed when I got on the bus and met my new friends for the morning. Michelle, Maryann and Renee took me in and I stayed with them all morning in Athletes village. Renee and Maryann were veterans and filled me in on everything on the bus. What to look for, what you had to see, when to speed up and slow down, literally everything they could think of.
After getting off the bus, we staked out some territory in Athletes village to wait out the next almost two hours. We had an incredibly emotional moment of silence and a flyover by Charlie Company helicopters that flew over the entire course (in 15 minutes no less).

With my new friends in Athlete's Village

With my new friends in Athlete’s Village


When the time finally came for us to line up for wave 2 my stomach actually dropped. Renee and I got up, she attempted to calm my nerves and we began the half-mile trek to the start line. People were already lined up along the sidelines this early on, it was remarkable, but still didn’t prepare me for the rest of the course.
At the end of the walk, corral 7 and 8 split and I said goodbye and good luck to Renee before making my way to the actual start line. Before I knew it we were off!
I hadn’t gone 1 mile before I heard someone call my name from behind; it was Renee!! I was so excited to see her and to have my new friend to run with, especially because she was such a veteran and could point out everything I didn’t want to miss.
The miles just slipped by. Never once did I count down how far I had left, which is an insane rarity for me. When I say there were people along the entire course, I absolutely mean it. From the crazy biker bar at mile 2, to all the residents of every town, to the people jumping on trampolines, to the Wellsley girls (that is an actual real life wall of sound), to the kids of Boston college and all the incredible spectators in down town Boston.
Running through Wellsley at the half way mark was the only time I actually shed a tear during the race. I couldn’t hold it in, it was such an overwhelming amount of support there was just no other way to react. However, I knew once we made it through here, there was one mile left until the hills were going to start.
This is where I thanked god I trained in Atlanta. I am not going to say it was easy by any means but I will say I wasn’t sure if what we did was “Heartbreak Hill”. I knew there were a series of four hills but I wasn’t sure which ones were counting. Once I asked another runner and he confirmed it I knew it was smooth sailing. I was elated, and we were cruising downhill. A guy in mile 20 even said, “You aren’t even sweating, but it’s nice to see you are having a good time.” I had a huge grin plastered across my face ear to ear, I just know it.
Mile 21 was where the magic happened for me. I felt good, like really good so I thought why not, lets just go. Then I started high fiving BC students like it was my job. When I say I was giving high fives for a half a mile, it is absolutely no exaggeration. The skin on my right hand and arm was red/purple. I had to give up eventually because it was wearing me out, but not until I had put in a 7:30 mile.
I still felt good, and the miles kept slipping by in the 7:30-7:40 range. The crowd was getting louder. There was a slight breeze finally cooling me off and I was at the very end of the Boston marathon. At mile 24 I was actually so sad it was almost over. I had two miles to go and was bummed I didn’t have more left. Rounding the corner to Hereford, I knew I was in the home stretch. After my watch beeped mile 26, I ended up with 0.41 to go and averaged a 6:16 mile. That is 100% due to the most incredible crowd, city, law enforcement, service members and volunteers cheering me on harder than I was running. I feel like the crowd literally picked me up and threw me the last 6 miles, I hardly even felt like I was running.
I crossed the finish line in 3:24:24 with over a 6 minute PR. Walking through the shoot I was nothing short of delirious, elated, ecstatic and all the other words that mean the-happiest-I-have-ever-been-in-my-whole-life! I stumbled through and got my medal and fancy foil jacket and just as I was grabbing water saw Casey on the sidelines. Then I happened to run in to the sister of a girl I was on the beach patrol with back home in Delaware, small world.
When I finally met up with Casey we headed back to get my stuff from the gear check, took a few pictures and kinda had to get a move on to be able to catch our flight. People everywhere were congratulating me, I felt like a pro-athlete.
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3:24:24


Boston Strong, WeallrunBoston

Boston Strong, WeallrunBoston


My greatest supporter!

My greatest supporter!


Waiting to shower back at the hotel

Waiting to shower back at the hotel


My results and 5k splits

My results and 5k splits


I cannot possibly explain what an absolutely remarkable experience this was for me. The city of Boston was so overwhelmingly welcoming, the crowd support was incredible and the memory of those who lost their lives and had theirs forever changed lived on in every mile. I would say you have to live it yourself, but I don’t know if any other year will quite be like this one. Boston came back with a vengeance and I can’t believe my own two feet allowed me to be part of it.
I want to say thank you to my family, my friends and Casey for supporting me and encouraging me endlessly not only this weekend but always. I want to thank Boston for being an incredible host. I want to thank everyone who ran today, in years past and in the future for making the Boston Marathon what it is today.
Sean Collier, Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell and Lingzi Lu we ran for you today, I hope we made you proud! We all run Boston! BOSTON STRONG!

Boston: Day One

We don’t have wi-fi in our room (unless we want to pay $15 for it) so I am hanging out in the hotel lobby to give a quick update.
Yesterday we made it to Boston around 11:30, took a shuttle to our hotel to drop our stuff of and headed right out to the Red Sox game. We are so lucky to have the T (Boston Transit) right near our hotel so we walked over and a really fantastic man helped us figure out what passes to buy, told us where to go eat, where to not go, things we should do, etc. And he had a thick Boston accent which was fun.
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Subway Station All Decked Out!

Subway Station All Decked Out!

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The game was awesome but I totally sabotaged any good eating eating before a race rules. Oh well, we are experiencing Boston and it was completely worth it. I think I had the best hot dog of my life there (and I don’t even like hot dogs).
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After the game we wandered around trying to find the T for a while before finally getting on and heading to the North Side for some dinner. It was gorgeous up there and we ate in this cute little Italian restaurant (which is all that is up there) and then bought 8x more desserts at this bakery than we could ever dream of eating before heading back to the hotel room to make our stomachs hurt. The desserts were amazing but they were so decadent we could only have a few bites of each thing before giving up. Left overs for tonight and the trip home I guess!
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So now we are off to find some breakfast and head to the expo then wander around and see what we can find to do today! I can’t believe at this time tomorrow I will be in Hopkington waiting to start!

Beware of the DVT!

So sometimes my inner physical therapy student has to come out.  This happens to be one of those times.  Knowing that I will be finishing Boston and getting on a plane within 4 and a half hours (so crappy, but the best I could do) this concern became very real.  This isn’t something well known or talked about (unless you are in PT school) and I know that I am not the only person in this situation.

DVT stands for Deep Vein Thrombosis.  What that means is that a blood clot forms (commonly in the leg, especially in runners).  This is bad, then have that blood clot break free and travel to your lungs and this could become a deadly pulmonary emboli (PE).  If this should occur, death often occurs within one hour of the event and half of the individuals who die wouldn’t be suspicious of this (aka, runners).

Though there are many risk factors associated with poor health that can cause a DVT and subsequent PE, there are a few particularly relevant to traveling runners.  The two most important are prolonged immobilization during long periods of travel and injuries to the leg. Your body treats the trauma from running a marathon as an injury.

So what can you do about it?

  • Walk around post race as much as possible
  • Stretch it out
  • Foam Roll or use “The Stick”
  • Hydrate
  • Get up and walk around the plane
  • Perform isometric muscle contractions (just squeeze your muscles without moving your body segments)

What are the signs of a DVT?

  • Swelling of the extremity
  • Pain
  • Sensitivity over the area suspected of clot
  • Warmth
  • Redness
  • Tenderness and pain when squeezing the calf muscle

If you are ever suspicious of this, it is important to get to the emergency room ASAP!

This was not the post I was expecting to write the night before I leave for Boston but I thought this was kind of important to share.

In other news, Casey is here.  We are all ready to go.  I took my last practice exam that I am going to take before boards tonight and did very well on it, helping me to feel better about going away for the weekend and not studying the weekend before boards.

I will try my best to be up on Instagram throughout the weekend and post when I can.  Catch you in Boston.  Bring on Marathon Monday!!

Sources:

Hillengass E.  Essentials of Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy.  Elsevier Saunders.  St. Louis, MO.  2011.

Giles S.  PT Exam: The Complete Study Guide.  Scorebuilders.  Scarborough, ME.  2013.

What to say

Before I could think about how to approach this post, I had to go back and read my post about Boston from a year ago today.  Reading that post helped remind me the exact feeling I had immediately after hearing it and the gravity of what happened to Boston.

I have spent the past year thinking about this race and what it means and I still can’t quite find the words that express what this means to me, and to the world.  This is a dream I have had since my first race, but in this past year I have spent endless time and energy to have the opportunity to qualify and then to be at my best on race day.  I have to run my best, to honor all of those that have run before me, all those that will run after me, and all the heros that sprung to action after the events of last year.

From the Boston Marathon Facebook page

From the Boston Marathon Facebook page

I am ready to be a small voice in the monstrous scream that runners are going to give the world next Monday.  I am ready to join the force to say, “We are runners, you can’t stop us, we are Boston Strong.”

Crossroads of My Life

Well, I am getting dangerously close to the crossroads of my life.  With my inservice presentation tomorrow, Boston only one week away now and boards 16 days from now each moment in my mind is fairly unstable.  I can go from feeling totally normal like any other day, to getting so nervous I feel like I may throw up.  Earlier this week I actually did make myself throw up (sorry for the details) getting so freaked out.

I finally feel like I have mellowed myself out after a successful weekend studying, winding down my training and spending some time doing yoga to settle my mind (and any linger aches in my body).  I even did some baking today to really be true to myself.

I found this on pinterest last night, (late at night) while I was trying to calm my mind before going to bed.  I felt like it is so true of my life now, and always really.

Run It OffIn other news, my GPS thought I needed a confidence boost during my 6 mile tempo run yesterday.IMG_1220Not only am I going to run Boston next week, I’m going to win and set a world record apparently!  As much as I want to believe you Garmin, I am going to have to call your bluff!  I have no idea really what happened with that and it worked perfectly fine today so who knows!  I just really hope that doesn’t happen during the race.  Oh well, if it does, I’ll just run it off!

Also I found a new yoga for runners routine that I really really like done by Lululemon.  It throws in strength and yoga into one to make sure you are getting it all in, in only 30 minutes!!  Really hits all the good areas and made me feel really refreshed!

Workout Recap:

Strength: resting up for race day (some in the yoga routine)

Yoga: 39 minutes (2 sessions) + 18 minutes I am going to do after this post (another Lulu sequence)

Running: 35.27 miles

This week will be all about nutrition, hydration and gentle (very gentle) yoga!  Please bear with me the next two and a half weeks until boards.  I will do my best to be consistent, especially with the race coming up!!    Thank you all for the love and support through this crazy time in my life!

Trying to be Smart and other tidbits

Today’s training assignment was 8xhills with 3 downhill. I have grown to not despise these work outs as much and was actually looking forward to this last hill work out before Boston(well, last official, every day running in Atlanta is a hill work out). However, I had a discussion with myself during the warm up about the fact that my hip flexor is still nagging me a little bit. On one shoulder sat: “If you just do this last one really hard you will feel so good and be so ready for this race,” on my other shoulder sat: “This run is not going to make one shred of difference in how you run in Boston, unless you push it too hard and really make your hip flexor mad, then it will make a huge difference and not in the I-am-going-to-nail-this-race kind of way.” So I decided to opt for Hill Pickups rather than Hill Intervals. I still pushed them hard, but I didn’t make the goal to see how fast I could possibly do it without landing on my tail like I usually do.

Now to catch up:

1.  After being forced to drink water infused with strawberries and blueberries during my long run Saturday (rough life right) I decided that I needed an infuser pitcher to help me hydrate the next two weeks. It has been amazing and I have definitely increased my water intake (and my frequency of potty breaks).

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2.  My dad and step mom gave Casey and I their time share for one week for graduation so we will be heading to Florida for a week as soon as I get out of this god-forsaken (to be explained later) place called Atlanta.  We have no solid plans about what we will do when we get there but hanging out together and relaxing will be a must and maybe a day or 2 at Disney since Casey has NEVER BEEN!!

VFMLID=57948473vaca1You will find me in that lazy river most of the week!  It is going to be the perfect decompression after the insanity that is the next three weeks.

3.  I am dealing with absolute stupidity right now!  I was not going to share this on here because its just not that fun of news but it got so ridiculous I had to at least share a little.  I bumped someones bumper in traffic about a month ago and VERY long story short I found out from my insurance company today the other party submitted a two day hospital stay claim.  These were the cars post “accident”:

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That’s right peeps, not even a scratch.  After the rigamarole these people have put me through I am glad to find out they have taken it to such an extreme because now I don’t have to be worried at all.  I have a police report, an annoyed police officer and these photographs (thank you mom for telling me to take them) to back me up.  It is a stress in my life that I don’t need at all right now, but I have a feeling it is really going to work out in my favor.  So I hope you can laugh along with me at how ridiculously out of control this has gotten and how comical it is at this point.

So thats an update on me!  Hope you have had slightly less drama in your lives!!

 

Successful Yassos!

So crunch time is by no means fun but it is going.  I have been solid getting work in but I can’t help but feelings like time is slipping away and I can’t jam all the stuff I need to know for this exam in my head!  At this point the people at Starbucks all know me by name and are super friendly which I 100% appreciate; plus they only charge me the refill brewed coffee price which is awesome.  Fifty cents for 2 hours of solid study time and avoidance of Atlanta traffic = double score!

I had my hardest round of Yasso 800’s tonight and was able to do all 8 under a 6:55 pace which is supposed to mean that I will be able to PR in my race.  During reps 4 and 5 I had some horrible side cramps (first on the left, then the right) because it is now 80 degrees when I am running and I am not hydrating effectively yet.  I’ll tell you though, you only have to get those side cramps a few times before you start guzzling water all day long!

On another note, it seems that my friends all know I am slowly going crazy and they are taking turns reminding me that the end is near and that I have amazing support from all angles!

At dinner Saturday, Lindsey and Jenna gave me this beautiful bracelet which I love.  I never ever want to buy things like this but once I have them, I wear them all the time.  I love it and love looking down and thinking of them both every day, getting me one day closer to Charleston.

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Then today in the mail I got an absolutely touching card from my friend Megan from home with two Alex and Ani bracelets that have immense meaning in our lives.  One is living water which is so appropriate because we met on the beach patrol and will forever have the ocean calling us home (as cliche as that sounds).  The other one is called “because I love you friend.”  She also wrote an amazing message to me that put some major kick in my pants to live up to the person my friends think I am!

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Time to get to bed so I can do it all over again tomorrow!!