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.
3:24:24

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!

Im a Squeaker, But I Qualified!

This weekend has been a whirl wind!!  Yesterday we went to the expo at the Bethlehem Steel Stacks.  The place was amazing!  It was the number one producer of steel in the US at one point but now that it has shut down they have done amazing things to use the space.

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Had to capture this, Yuengling is brewed in this area, not a bad claim to fame!

Had to capture this, Yuengling is brewed in this area, not a bad claim to fame!

 

Sweet sculpture!

Sweet sculpture!

 

When we got home, we lounged around outside with everyone drinking and having a good time (I was crushing Gatorade/Water).  Once it got dark we made a fairly large fire and hung out until I left around 10:30 to get ready and get some beauty sleep.

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I have to say, I got the greatest night of sleep pre race I have ever had.  I have no idea how I got so lucky!  I woke up feel refreshed, well as refreshed as you can at 4:54 am (4 is my lucky number but I couldn’t bring myself to get up at 4:44).

Before leaving!

Before leaving!

 

There was insane traffic at the exit and we were moving so slow so finally at 6:25 I just got out of the car.  Thank goodness Casey came with me so he could just take the car and head back.  I sped walked over to get a quick potty break in and check my bag before heading to the starting line.  Luckily the race was small so it only took 15 minutes to go to the bathroom, check my bag and get to the start.

Potty line

Potty line

The race went fantastically (stay tuned for my post tomorrow or later tonight about the race itself).  Moral of the story, I QUALIFIED FOR BOSTON with a 3:30:32!!  I PRed by 12 minutes and 9 seconds averaging 8:02 min/miles.

Me and my love post race!

Me and my love post race!

 

Stay Tuned for race dets!!

 

How to Deal with a Disappointing Finish?

95 degrees, feels like 101.  Thats what my accuweather app read at the start of the fourth in the Race the Landing 5k series tonight.  Not exactly the recipe for a PR.

After a ridiculously hot past few days I knew this race was gonna be a doosie.  Walking up to the start, my friend and I were literally dreading it.

I started out feeling okay but didn’t make it far before realizing this wasn’t going to be my best.  At about 3/4 of a mile in I started to really feel the heat.  My legs felt fine but I felt my heart rate racing (up over 190 bpm according to the monitor) and knew I was doing the best I could with what I was given.  By mile 2 I settled in (to a much slower pace than I have been running) and was back and forth with one guy the rest of the race.  One thing I love about these small town races is what happen at the end.  With about .35 left, we were running together step for step but I always have a pretty good kick at the end.  He had been beating me the whole time so at about 1/4 left I told him to stay with me, lets finish together.  By the time we got to the finish line, neither one of us wanted to beat the other, we literally both slowed down to let the other one go, both almost walking through the finish line.  We both acknowledged each others good effort, cheersed our water bottle and headed our ways to meet up with friends.  These kinds of things are the reasons why I run and am proud to say I’m a runner; the compassion, camaraderie, motivation, understand of it all.

splits

I finished just less than a minute slower than last week (crazy what the heat can do).  Now I feel silly complaining about the rain, I would have taken that over tonight any day of the week.

Maribeth Finishing!

Maribeth Finishing!

Unfortunately, this was the first in the series that I didn’t place overall.  However, I got first in my age group and the age group awards were these awesome swords, so I am trying to view it as a win.

Age Group Awards

Age Group Awards

Its hard to finish a race and not make it a new PR.  But lets face the music people, every week can’t be a PR.  However, that doesn’t mean I should be a whole minute slower!  Dealing with that is tough, but it is important to realize all the factors that go into racing that are 100% out of your control.  I didn’t have any girls around me pushing me, the heat was insane, I probably didn’t hydrate well enough (however I could have control this).  I also let my head get in the game too much: I was hot, I got off pace fairly early, I knew I wasn’t close to placing as an overall female, I was thinking about the 7 mile pace run I have to do at 5:30 am tomorrow and all these factors made me decide to take it easier than I probably could have.

With one more to go, I will know I need to give it my all for the last one and hopefully I will be better prepared (mentally and physically) to do so.  I guess the best way to deal with disappointment is to take it to fuel you to work harder before the next race.

How do you deal with a “crappy” race?

Save the Light Half Marathon

So sorry I have been MIA for a few days!  This has been a crazy busy weekend, especially with my impromptu half marathon.

The race was awesome.  It was a flat course, with good weather and just a slight bit of wind.  A few girls from my class were doing it as well which made it even more fun.

Post Race Glee

Post Race Glee

One of the girls ran this as her first half marathon and finished second female, seventh overall with a time of 1:28:something.  I was so astounded by her!

I actually was able to do really well too!  I ran a 1:40:24ish (official results haven’t been posted, this is watch time) which is over four minutes faster than my PR!!  I couldn’t have asked for any more, but more came.  I won my age group!  I am not sure how I did overall or how I ranked in female finishers but I update as soon as results come out.

First Place Painting Award

First Place Painting Award

I also did some advertising for Charitymiles.org during the race.  It was a strange motivator (selfishly) that I didn’t know it would be.  Every time I was able to pass someone I kept thinking to myself “Thats one more person that knows about charity miles.”  I also logged 13.33 charity miles during the race!

Charitymiles.org

Charitymiles.org

It was so fun running with a group.  There was a 2 mile out and back on part of the course which I usually hate but it was great for us all to get to see each other mid race and cheer one another on.  We all went out for an awesome breakfast at a great local restaurant called Lost Dog Cafe.  SOOOOOO GOOD!  Celebratory Mimosas were had.

My playlist for yesterday’s race (which reminds me I never made shared my one for the Charleston Marathon, I promise I will) looked like this:

  • Blown Away by Carrie Underwood
  • My Hero by Foo Fighters
  • Titanium by David Guetta ft. Sia
  • Buttons by The Weeks
  • Strange Clouds by B.o.B ft Lil Wayne
  • Feel So Close by Calvin Harris
  • The Figher by Gym Class Heros
  • Anything Could Happen by Ellie Goulding
  • Dark Side by Kelly Clarkson
  • I Will Wait by Mumford and Sons
  • Knock Out by Lil Wayne
  • What Doesn’t Kill You by Kelly Clarkson
  • Wild Ones by Flo Rida ft. Sia
  • Red by Taylor Swift
  • I Knew You Were Trouble by Taylor Swift
  • Catch My Breath by Kelly Clarkson
  • Locked Out of Heaven by Bruno Mars
  • Ass Back Home by Gym Class Heros
  • 50 Ways to Say Goodbye by Train
  • Manhattan by Kings of Leon
  • Frontier City by Kings of Leon
  • Ragoo by Kings of Leon
  • Under the Sheets (Chiddy Bang Remix) by Ellie Goulding
  • Heart of a Champion by Nelly
  • Blow Me (One Last Kiss) by P!nk
  • Close by Rascal Flatts
  • This Everyday Love by Rascal Flatts
  • Don’t Leave Me by Blink 182
  • Hands Down by Dashboard Confessional
  • Remember the Name by Fort Minor

I always make my playlist like 15 minutes longer than I am projecting to make sure I don’t end up music-less should anything throw me off pace.

I am soooo glad I ended up racing yesterday.  It was awesome to do a half after three marathons in a row, for me it was so much less mental!  Signing up for a race at the last minute didn’t prove to be a problem at all, if anything it may have taken some of the pressure off of racing that I usually get when I am anticipating it for so long.

Hope everyone that raced this weekend had an awesome experience, and everyone else had good runs and great weekends.

PS. I feel lost without football this Sunday! 😦