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Every night before I go to bed, I write down the things I’m grateful for, most nights the lists are identical, I’m grateful for my family, friends, house, job, health. Some nights the list contains things like a good hair day, an unexpected dinner request or a great run.

The last few nights my list has looked a little different.

-I’m extremely grateful my friends and I were unharmed in the events that occurred on Monday.

-I’m extremely grateful that I have friends who jumped into action and helped those who weren’t as fortunate.

-I’m extremely grateful for the stranger who didn’t think twice about turning around to pick me up when I fell as the second blast went off.

-I’m extremely grateful for the first responders, the quickness and precision these men and women acted with is remarkable.

It was almost as though it was a dress rehearsal and everyone knew exactly where they needed to be and what actions to take.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t a dress rehearsal, despite fact that it still seems surreal.

Monday April 15, 2013 began exactly the same way the last few Marathon Mondays began; I got up, went for a run and showered. My sister came over and along with Erin we stopped at Dunkin before meeting Liz downtown and heading to Max Brenner’s to meet up with a bunch of friends.

We got there around 11 so we could get a good spot on the patio to watch the elites finish and cheer on the runners. A round of drinks was ordered as we cheered on the wheelchair division. As the first finishers approached we marveled at how fast they ran and how effortless they made running 26.2 miles look.

I joined Danielle along the side line and as we cheered on the runners we discussed running. How neither of us could imagine being able to run that fast. How a 4 hour marathon would be a huge accomplishment.

The mood was light and many jokes were made. It was a beautiful day in Boston, the temperature was a perfect compromise for runners and spectators. Spring was finally in full effect after a long winter.

Lisa and Maureen had a fantastic front row spot near the corner of Hereford and Boylston. I joined them continuing the running discussions, talking about running the marathon next year and getting updates on how Lisa’s boyfriend Jack was faring in this years race for a bit before heading back to Max Brenner’s. My sister and her boyfriend left to meet up with a couple of his friends, another drink was consumed and Lauren and Kayla joined us from the Atlantic Fish Company to cheer on the runners. All in all it was shaping up to be the perfect day, great company in an inspiring, electric atmosphere.

About an hour later, I decided to head back to hang out with Lisa and Maureen. I told my friends I’d be back in a bit, grabbed my bag and headed into the crowded sidewalks of Boylston Street.

I heard what sounded like a cannon – just like the one that goes off every night in the Navy Yard to signal the sun set – figuring it was a Patriots Day tribute I turned around to see what was going on. I didn’t see anything at first but then a grey cloud of smoke began to emerge.

I started to reason what it could be, a transformer, a cell phone exploded, a manhole cover blew. Fear started to creep over me, the crowd of people 5 deep along the quarter-mile stretch of Boylston was in complete deafen silence.

The silence was then muted by screaming. I asked “what was that” and remember knowing exactly what it was before someone said “run, it’s a bomb”.

I turned around and started to run with the crowd. I felt extremely alert, I think instinct took over and I went into survival mode. I remember questioning whether I was overreacting, but somehow knew the answer was no. I remember questioning (and hoping) whether I was going in the right direction.

And most of all I remember waiting for another explosion.

The second explosion went off, much louder than the first, and I fell. My first initial thought was that I was going to get trampled; I could feel people rushing around me. I knew I needed to get up as quickly as possible and that I needed to get my legs underneath me. The fall seemed to take forever; I remember seeing the ground coming closer and closer.

The person in front of me scooped me up before I barely had a chance to hit the pavement. He made sure I had both feet on the ground and told me I was ok and to keep running. I think he was wearing a brown coat, I don’t remember looking at him nor do I remember if I said Thank You.

It’s at this point that things start getting fuzzy and the panic and fear started creeping in. I remember running and turning onto Fairfield Street and running down to Newbury before I stopped and looked back. I kept waiting to hear another explosion – how many would there be – and questioning whether or not this was really happening. There were people everywhere, panicked, running, crying and screaming. Everything seemed to be a blur.

I immediately started texting my friends to ensure everyone was safe. I felt sick to my stomach. It felt like forever before I got responses, but in reality it was mere seconds and minutes. I remember more and more people starting to gather on Comm Ave and the continuous sound of sirens as more and more first responders arrived the scene.

I remember debating whether or not to tell Julie (via text) about the explosions, still holding up hope that I had overreacted to the whole thing. She was on the T headed to meet us questioning whether she’d be able to get into the bar.

All of my friends were safe and quickly accounted for. My sister and Matt were at lunch on Newbury. Erin and Kayla (both nurses) had run out to help people after the explosions went off. Liz, Lauren, Danielle and Sarah were all safe at Max Brenner’s, Lisa and Maureen were safe on Hereford Street.

Up until Tuesday morning I had assumed that when I had left Max Brenner’s to go find Lisa and Maureen that I had been walking away from the explosions. I thought the first explosion had gone off a couple of businesses down in the direction of the finish line and that the second explosion happened at the finish line.

I didn’t realize just how close my friends and I had been to the destruction.

The second explosion went off two businesses down from where we were. I had just passed that spot mere seconds before the first explosion went off. I think I was standing in front of the Atlantic Fish Company* when I turned around after hearing the first explosion, I remember there being the black iron fence of the patio to my left and I remember the sidewalk opening up after I started running.

I didn’t turn around when the second explosion went off; I didn’t look behind me when the stranger helped me up. The second explosion sounded louder but I had assumed that was because I was waiting to hear it. I never considered the sound being louder because it was bigger or closer.

I was also surprised to learn there was only 12 seconds between blasts, it still doesn’t seem reasonable that entire experience happened in less than 30 seconds.

The minutes after that are a bit of a blur, I remember getting text messages from numbers I didn’t recognize asking if I was ok. To be completely honest, I remember being aggravated wishing the texts were from friends who had been in the area instead. I remember flipping out on a young boy who was popping balloons while I was trying to locate my friends.

I remember not knowing what to do next.

In the days that have followed I’ve found it hard to associate my experience with the event to what I’ve seen on the news. I didn’t see any of the carnage; the views they show of the explosions are not the views I remember; the blasts sounded differently in real life than they do on the news.

The last few days have been spent questioning everything I did and the timing of things. What would have happened if I left 10 seconds later, or even just 5? What would have happened if I ran in the opposite direction back towards my friends? What if I had just stood there?

I’ve struggled with how to deal with this, physically I’m fine but emotionally I’m not.
I alter between angry, irritable and exhausted. I feel distracted and disengaged. I feel guilty that I ran away instead of running to help people out and most of the time I feel guilty for feeling any of this as I was unharmed.

I’ve also struggled with how to describe what happened. I cringe every time I hear the word “lucky” or “wrong place, wrong time” used to describe people, offered as a condolence or as an explanation. Those words sound far too trivial.

I haven’t cried about the event yet and I feel numb when hearing or talking about what happened. When I see a news segment or read an article detailing the victims or the heroes, stories that would normally bring me to tears, I think to myself “that’s horrible” or “courageous, inspiring” but there’s no outflow of emotion.

While I’ve taken precautions such as being more aware of my surroundings, avoiding being in crowds or on public transportation, I wouldn’t say I’ve felt unsafe. I believe the increased police presence in the city has helped a great deal. Part of me actually feels safer living in Boston after seeing what the first responders and political figures will do to protect this city.

I feel extremely guilty that I will get to go back to being my old self while others lives were changed forever. I still have the freedom to move about as I please and more importantly I still get to hug my family and friends and tell them that I love them, while others no longer have that luxury.

I’ve talked about what happened and how I’m feeling a lot with friends and family this past week. And while I’ve been told what I’m feeling is normal, I’m speaking to a counselor this week.
My thoughts and prayers are with everyone that was affected by this tragedy. Seeing the outpouring of support for the city of Boston from around the globe proves that there is more love and compassion in this world than hate.

I believe the youngest victim, 8-year-old Martin Richard, said it best “No More Hurting People…Peace”.

If you or a loved one are looking to speak to someone the below are just a few of many options:
-The City of Boston Mayor’s Healthline has counselors available from 9am-5pm 4.22.13-4.26.13.
-The Federal Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990; provides immediate counseling to anyone who needs help in dealing with the aftermath of a tragedy.
-The American Red Cross provides Disaster Mental Health Services during local, regional and national disaster incidents. Contact your local Red Cross office. www.redcross.org
-Your place of employment might also offer an Employee Assistance Program that will have resources available.
-Contact your healthcare provider for options of professionals available in your area

If you’re interested in assisting the victims of this horrific event please visit: www.onefundboston.org

*For those of you not familiar with the area, when looking onto Boylston Street from left to right the bars/restaurants are Max Brenner’s, Starbucks, Forum, Atlantic Fish Company. The second explosion went off in front of Forum.

Edited**Editor’s Note: I’ve been working on this post for the past week, attempting to put this experience into words has proven extremely difficult.  I didn’t want to dramatize my experience but at the same time I don’t want to discount what I experienced.  I love writing in that it helps me sort my thoughts, express my feelings and learn from my experiences.   And while it did help to write this post, I learned that I don’t have the words to describe what happened, I’m not sure anyone does. 

I disabled comments for this post as I’m not looking for sympathy the sole The purpose of this post is to hopefully assist others who are struggling with the emotional aftermath of this event.  Learning that others feel the same way I do has helped me.  Please feel free to email me directly if you’d like to talk or share your story kris10take1@gmail.com.

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Happy Hump Day!

It’s Wednesday! Which means I’m too lazy busy to come up with an actual post so I let the pictures do the talking.

One of my favorite types of posts that other bloggers do is products they’re digging. I hardly ever wear makeup so I will spare you pictures of my dusty two year old Bare Minerals collection.

Since the marathon, two months ago, my lips have been super chapped, I believe it was caused my wiping my mouth so much on my dryfit sleves. I’ve tried ever type of chapstick available with no great results. Until I purchased this mini tub of Vaseline:
Vaseline

Within two days my lips were completely healed!

Added bonus, I think the mini tub is super cute.  Here is it compared to EOS, my former favorite chapstick:
EOS

Have you tried any new products lately that you’d recommend?

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Happy Hump Day!

It’s Wednesday! Which means I’m too lazy busy to come up with an actual post so I let the pictures do the talking

Growing up we were never allowed to hang anything on the fridge.  Aced tests and college acceptance letters never got the opportunity to be fully appreciated. Of course this all changed when Moose came along, his obedience school diploma was the focal point of the kitchen for a solid month.

Now that I have my own place, I do things a little different then my mom does, my place is nowhere near as clean as hers I allow for things to be displayed on my fridge.  It’s the perfect place to hang my 2013 goals, seeing them on a daily basis will hopefully put me in a better position to achieve them. 

It might not help me complete a pull-up, but it will hopefully remind me to swear less, make something different for dinner, or look for a new volunteer opportunity.

My messy fridge!  A reminder of what I accomplished last year and what I want to accomplish this year.

My messy fridge! A reminder of what I accomplished last year and what I want to accomplish this year.

Do you keep your goals posted in plain view? 

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First things first, it hasn’t really sunk in yet, but I’m officially a marathoner.  Still even a week later, it hasn’t fully registered.  

I finished the 19th annual Philadelphia Marathon on November 18th 2012 in 4:49.

Nothing too speedy, but both of my hamstrings are still attached and I can honestly say I enjoyed just about all 26.2 miles of the course. 

The race had a 7am start, meaning an early wake up of 4:30am so we could meet our friends at 5:15 in the lobby for walk the 1 miles to the starting line. 

Waking up in the morning is easier with a little Moose in the background.

As Lisa and I got dressed we had raisin bread smeared with peanut butter and water to hydrate.  I tried hard not to think of the fact that I had to run 26.2 miles.  Just a tab bit overwhelming.  Instead I told myself that in just 8 short hours this would all be over and I’d be a marathoner and focused on my goals for the race:

  1. Enjoy it!
  2. Start off slow and conserve energy
  3. Cross the finish line
  4. Cross the finish line in under 5 hours
  5. Cross the finish line in under 4:45

I also kept reminding myself to run my own race and not worry about how fast other people were running.  If I could do this, I knew I could absolutely achieve goals 1-3.  Goal number 3 could have been achieved without goals 1 and 2, it would be much more difficult and I knew I would be a bitchy mess despite crossing the finish line.

Hydrating and fueling would also be crucial in crossing the finish line so I decided on stopping at each water station and fueling every 5 miles regardless of whether or not I felt as though I it was needed.   

I also promised myself that I wouldn’t think about how far I had left to go.  Can you think of anything more discouraging than “only 25 miles to go”?!

I wrote this little reminder on my hand, just in case I wanted to give up at some point during the 4 plus hours:

It wore off long before the race started, but I knew it was there.

I’m proud to announce that I achieved Goals 1-4 while missing goal 5 by only 4 minutes!  I managed to hydrate and fuel on a consistent basis and saved the countdown for the last few miles.   

Since the mental aspect of running had been so difficult for me, I made every effort possible to remain positive.  Instead of letting my mind wander, I made sure I was present in the run so I could put an quick end to any negative thoughts that entered my mind. 

I tried hard not to focus on time or mile markets and kept telling myself that I felt strong and great.  Luckily it was the truth. 

The first few miles seemed to fly by.  As soon as we crossed the starting line the race broke up quite nicely, there was very little congestion and it was quite easy to establish a pace.  I felt really strong and make a conscious effort to soak in the experience.  I caught the first couple of mile markers and was right on my desired 10 minute mile pace.  I missed the next few and was pleasantly surprised to find myself at mile 6. 

This was the highlight of the race for me, we were cruising down a main street which was lined 3 to 4 people deep with spectators.  Everyone was screaming cheering us on, it was absolutely amazing.  This is the first race that I ran that had a large spectator presence.  I’ve always heard that the crowd can make a difference in a race but never knew how much so until experiencing it myself. 

It was at this point that I realized if you’re going to attend a marathon you should leave sore.  Either because you ran or because you were cheering so loudly that you now have a sore throat, or your hand is sore from doling out high-fives. 

I high-fived everyone who had their hand out, you wouldn’t believe how much energy you get from a high-five as a runner.  Even at the end of the race, when I was dragging, if I saw someone with their hand out I would speed up to give them a high-five.

Seriously, it’s amazing.  I still get a little emotional just thinking about it. 

I just reread that last portion and yes it sounds crazy, but it’s the truth so it’s staying.  And I promise I’m talking about actual high-fives and not getting high off crack.

The crowd absolutely makes the race. 

I took a bathroom break around mile 9, my legs were starting to get tight so I used the couple minute wait to stretch out.  It’s amazing what a little downward dog can do!   When I hit the road again I felt as though I was running on brand new legs.

The half and the full split around mile 13; so if you were running the full you actually had to run by the finish line, so cruel.  

I turned into the second half of the marathon completely surprised by how quick the first half felt, despite taking over 2 hours. 

Right after the split I saw my friend Sarah, who took this fabulous picture, and reminded me to soak it all in and enjoy the experience. 

Excited much?!

The second half of the course was pretty boring, there were few spectators and a long out and back looming.  I distracted myself by watching the runners on the other side, they were speedy and made it look oh so easy!

After a little bit I saw Julie coming down the home stretch (I think her mile 23ish) absolutely crushing the course.  She says she was dying at this point but I think she’s being a little modest; she makes it look so easy. 

Around mile 17/18 my legs started to get really tired and my hamstrings were tightening up.  After seeing a fellow runner on the ground griping at his hamstring I found the first piece of grass and oh so carefully got into the downward dog position. 

I got up and walked for a few to avoid any dizzy spells. 

At one point slightly after this break we crested a small hill and could see all the runners in front of us, it was just a sea of people that seemed to stretch out in front of us.   I knew the turn-around was between mile 19 and 20, but not being able to see it was a little discouraging. 

I trudged on reminding myself that in recaps that I read this was one of the more exciting parts of the course.  For the first time during the race I started calculating out my splits and determined that if I kept up this pace I could easily finish in the 4:30’s. 

I debated whether or not I should push it and reach for 4:30. 

After seeing another runner down, I took another stretching break.  I remember being so grateful that my legs had held up so well, and thought about how lucky I am that I can run.  I got a little choked up.   

Which lead to a little more walking so I could calm myself down. 

I quickly decided that my focus was going to be on crossing the finish line and I wasn’t going to push it to finish within a certain time.  It’s quite possible that I was already pushing my luck asking so much of my hamstrings. 

Mile 20 is often where runners encounter the dreaded wall.  While coming up around miles 18 and 19, I kept looking at the runners on the other side of the road but they all seemed to be doing quite well.

I told myself that this race didn’t have a wall and kept moving. 

Coming into the turn-around was exciting there were people everywhere cheering and handing out food.  I grabbed and orange and a small piece of a brownie, which tasted so amazing.  I didn’t realize how hungry I was. 

One group had set up a table and was handing out small cups of beer.  While the extra calories were extremely tempting  (Beer > Gu) with only 6 miles to go I didn’t want to risk my chances of finishing. 

Only 6 miles to go!

At this point I allowed myself to start counting down the miles. 

I LOVED seeing the signs that said “Marathon Inbound”! 

These miles seemed to go on forever, there were a few downward dogs involved, hoping that I could somehow get the feeling of new legs once again and float along to the finish line. 

This of course never happened, but it didn’t stop me from repeatedly trying.

Though I never hit the infamous wall, I did start taking more and more walking breaks.  I knew I was going to cross the finish line, I just wanted it to be now.  I was so bored of running.

I tried turning on my ipod, but I couldn’t find a song I really wanted to run to, there were a bunch I wouldn’t have minded dancing too, I just didn’t want to run any longer.  I didn’t realize how exhausted I was until I closed my eyes to take a deep breath and being startled by the fact that “I could take a nap right now”.

Around mile 22/23 the 4:30 pace group passed me, this gave me a little burst as I tried to keep up with them while trying to calculate how it was possible that I could still run a 4:30. 

It wasn’t.

Regardless, it was impossible for me to keep the pace they were running, my legs couldn’t move that fast. 

I watched the pace group fade off into the distance and focused on keeping my mood positive.

I got myself choked up again as I kept telling myself that I was going to be a marathoner.  I actually got choked up a couple of times in the last few miles of the race, each time having to stop and walk to calm myself down before it turned into an all-out waterworks show. 

Since this was an out and back you could see the mile markers on both sides (they were staggered), while everyone I talked to hated this, I loved it as it seemed to break up the run a little bit more.

Plus it offer reassurance that I was in fact making forward progress.

I kept telling myself to look strong for the runners on the other side of the road. 

Around mile 24/25 I found Cara running up the other side of the road, I flagged her down and she ran with me for a little bit.  This was Cara’s 5th marathon this year, unfortunately the race wasn’t going quite the way she hoped so she dropped down to the half and instead of celebrating she headed up to the second half of the course and ran with friends between miles 22 and 25. 

She distracted me by having me pose for pictures:

I need to work on running with my mouth close and my heel strike.

Despite what it looks like I’m actually not skipping, due to the tight hamstrings my stride was really short.  Also I need to work on that heel strike. 

In total she ended up running over 27 miles! 

She was an absolute rock star. 

When we separated, I had less than a mile to go. (I wasn’t thinking clearly as it took me a little bit to realize that it was less than a mile, I kept going back and forth as to whether or not I had to run to mile 27 before hitting the .2)

I remember hitting the 26 mile marker and then seeing the finish line up ahead of me (which confirm that I didn’t have another mile plus to go) at that point I let myself get excited. 

It was happening. 

I picked it up as much as I could reminding myself to soak it all in.  I remember seeing the announcer as I came into view, hoping that he’d be able to read my name on the bid and announce it.  Hearing him say my name out loud as I crossed the finish line would obviously mean that it happened. 

And then I heard my name. 

I crossed feeling strong, making sure I hit the sensors so my time was recorded.

And it was over.

After 18 weeks of training I had achieved my goal. 

Here’s to hoping that it doesn’t take 18 weeks for it to fully sink in.

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Up until 2 weeks ago all I could think about was the marathon, and now to be honest, I could care less.  I used to wake up in the middle of the night thinking of something that I needed to pack, or a race detail that I wanted to look up. 

Or in a panic that I missed the race, or showed up at the wrong race. 

I’m certainly not complaining about sleeping through the night, but I wish I felt a little excitement.

While the break from the over analyzing everything has been much welcomed, there is the reality that, I’m not excited for this marathon.

I’m not nervous either.

I’m indifferent. 

I’ve been trying to psyche myself up for it, but I can’t. 

I’ve been reading other bloggers marathon re-caps, and while they pump me up for a few minutes the desired effect is short-lived. 

All the while I’ve remained positive and haven’t stressed out (I’m considering it a victory of sorts that I’m not stressing about not being stressed out). 

This could benefit me.  Maybe the lack of excitement will help me stay calm at the start and I won’t go out to fast.  There’s the possibility it’ll keep me from getting ultra-competitive with myself.  Perhaps it’ll keep me from over analyzing ever small detail, which will keep me relaxed and less stressed. 

Wouldn’t it be cool if this cool as a cucumber attitude was matched with 8 9 minute miles across the board?!

But…of course there is a but.

My marathon training hasn’t gone exactly as planned the last month. 

In an effort to stick with the positive attitude let’s just say I’m really good at tapering. 

I ran a whopping 7 miles this week.   My left hamstring isn’t in good shape, it sore.  Some days it feels fine and doesn’t bother me, other days I’ll get shooting pains while sitting still or lying in bed. 

I wouldn’t describe it as tight, but nagging.  It’s tolerable but does a number of my mental state. 

Monday morning I met Ali for a 4 mile run.  We chatted and the miles flew by, my legs still felt like lead, but it didn’t feel as though I had to put in too much effort to propel myself forward. 

Tuesday morning I set off for 6 miles, but didn’t make it too far before my hamstring acted up.  I headed home and spent the time reserved for running devoted to the foam roller instead.

While at work Tuesday afternoon I got a horrible cramp in the right calf that didn’t go away until Thursday/Friday.

Awesome.

Saturday morning I took off for the recommended 8 mile run, I got a mile and a half in before turning around due to hamstring pain.  I debated finishing the run just to prove I can do it, but in the end decided it wasn’t worth it. 

I didn’t want to be out there running.  I’m tired of pushing myself to run.

So I turned around and went home. 

I was stressing myself out as to whether or not I’d be able to run the marathon.   The run was turning ugly fast. 

I distracted myself from dealing with this reality all weekend.  After the failed run on Saturday I got ready, threw clothes in a bag and high tailed it up to Maine for a friend’s wedding.  I spent the afternoon and evening dancing and ignoring the pain in my hamstring.  Sunday I went to brunch, then went and met a couple of rescue dogs before heading home. 

Last night I finally admitted to myself that 26.2 miles might not happen this week.  I’m still preparing this week as though I will run the marathon.

And I absolutely will run this weekend, it just might be the 13.1 distance instead. 

I ran 4 miles yesterday morning, it was a good run, after 10 minutes my leg loosened up.  I’m hoping for the same result on Sunday. 

My training schedule calls for a 2 and 3 mile run, I’d like to keep to that schedule but we’ll see.  I’m going to add a couple of yoga classes as well as lots of foam rolling and icing. 

That’s where I stand 5 days before my first attempt at running a marathon. 

Not exactly where I wanted to be, but standing none the less.

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Yesterday marked the one month to 26.2 countdown. 

Riding on the tail of last week’s glorious 18 miler I’m beginning to get really excited for the marathon.  I spent some time this week reading other blogger’s marathon race recaps, especially those who have run Philly before, trying to pick up tips and get a better understanding of what to expect.

Some talked about how hilly the Philly course is and others mentioned that they barely noticed the hills.  Though I haven’t gone out of my way to find hilly training courses I have incorporated hills into some of my runs.  I’m extremely naive confident that I’ll be fine with the hills on this course.

Of course a month from today I’ll probably be cursing myself for not preparing with enough hills. 

Hindsight is a jerk like that…says the girl who built her blog on the premise of hindsight.

Irony at this best! 

In this last couple of weeks of marathon training I’m determined to log all the suggested miles.  While it’s exhausting, I now know it will be worth it come race day. 

Due to the late sunrise and early mornings in the office I’ve had to switch my schedule to after work runs.  It’s been a struggle to finding the motivation to lace up my sneakers after a long day in the office.  On the plus side I get an extra hour of sleep in the morning and it’s typically warmer after work than it is early in the morning. 

Another thing I’ve noticed is that if I run at night I tend to eat healthier at night, however I eat worse during the day as I “need to fuel” for my run. 

Reading marathon recaps got me thinking about my goals for the race, I hadn’t put much thought into timing up until this point.  As you’ve probably noticed I don’t time my runs or pay attention to pace, while it would be nice to know what pace I’m running the course of a run (I can promise you I’ve never run a negative split in my life!) I don’t want to get caught up in the numbers or start labeling runs as bad runs because I didn’t hit a specific time or hit negative splits. 

I’ve mentioned it before, I tend to over analyze things.  Adding to that I’m really good with numbers and enjoy analyzing data, having access to my splits would give me lots of data to play around with and lots of ammo to compare myself to others. 

I enjoy running because I find it to be a stress relief, while it can be difficult to lace up my sneakers and hit the roads I’m always grateful that I did.  I don’t want running to turn into a numbers game or become stressful because I’m not hitting the numbers I want to or think I should.

As you can see this poses a slight problem when trying to set a goal time, so instead of setting myself up for disappointment I’ve decided on the following vague goals:

Goal 1: Enjoy it!  I’ve worked really hard to prepare myself to run 26.2 miles, I deserve to enjoy the experience.   So I’m going to soak in the experience, pay attention to the views and spectators and make running 26.2 miles as enjoyable as possible.

Goal 2: Start off slow and conserve energy.  I typically fly and die, during races my first few miles are typically around an 8-8:30 pace (based on mile marker timers) while the later miles typically fall to a 9-9:30 pace.   My goal for the marathon is to run around a 10:30-11 mile pace and run for the entire marathon. 

Keeping an easy pace will also help me achieve goal number 1.

Goal 3: Cross the finish line.

Goal 4: Cross the finish line in under 5 hours.

Goal 5: Cross the finish line in under 4:45

A couple of changes I’ve noticed since I started marathon training:

-I haven’t been nearly as hungry as I thought I would be.  Perhaps my typical three meals and a few snacks throughout the day and hardly ever going three hours without eating is fueling me just fine.

-My preference for treats has gone from sweet to salty.  While I wouldn’t pass up a piece of cake or a cookie, chips or fries sound so much more delicious.

-I’ve taken a break from hydrating with Gatorade or Nuun as the mere smell of these sports drinks gives me the dry heaves.  It doesn’t matter how watered down it is. 

Just typing that make me cringe and gave me the chills.

-We’re taking the train home the night of the marathon so we can sleep in our own beds, I’ve already gotten to work on planning all the snacks I’m going to bring with me to enjoy on the train. 

-Up until last week, I was convinced this was my one and only marathon and that there is no way I would ever put myself through this again, now I wouldn’t quite rule it out.

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Hey there! 

How was everyone’s weekend?  Mine was great, though it could have been longer!  I was super productive on Saturday which allowed me to spend Sunday celebrating a friend’s upcoming wedding.  How much fun was Sunday you ask?! 

It was “cancel your flight, I’ll fly out tomorrow instead” fun. 

The bride and groom to be were scheduled to fly out at 4:45pm last night but made the executive decision to jump on a flight this morning instead once the surprise bachelor/bachelorette parties began.

Now back to reality.

The theme of last week’s training was Rest.  I got a lot of it, 5 out of 7 days were rest days.  My legs and body in general were tired, I decided that it would be better to listen to my body and take the rest days as mileage is going to increase significantly over the next few weeks. 

Monday: Rest day 

Tuesday: 5 mile run

Wednesday: Slept through my alarm and thus missed my morning workout.

Thursday:  The plan was to run 4 miles, my legs were super tight and after a couple blocks I decided that pushing it wasn’t a good idea so I turned around and spent the time stretching and foam rolling.

Friday: planned rest day, lots of stretching and foam rolling in advance to Saturday’s 15 miler.

Saturday: 15 miles.  This is the farthest I’ve ever run, it was very challenging, my legs were tight and tired but I was able to power through and complete the run.  The beginning and middle miles were fairly standard, nothing to crazy.  Once again I ran with my sister, we ran without music and chatted off and on.  Towards the end of the run I put on my ipod in hopes of blocking out the voice telling me to quit.

While I love having someone else to run the long distances with, I find it difficult to zone out when running with someone else.  As a result the run can tend to feel a little longer.

Fuel was definitely an issue for this run, I only had a banana before taking off, as a result I could feel my stomach grumbling through part of the run.  Typically during runs I fill my running belt with a water/Gatorade mixture (half water half Gatorade in all 4 bottles) and pack a couple Gu’s which I eat around mile 7 and 12.  Lately I’ve found that the Gatorade/water mixture makes me more thirsty and water alone is too bland.  For last weeks 10 miler I tried using only a little Gatorade to flavor the water but I still felt even more parched after drinking.   

A friend suggested trying NUUN, which had a slightly chalky taste but did a great job at quenching thirst.  I also swapped out my normal Gu and tried the Gu Blocks, which I really liked as well.  They were nowhere near as messy as Gu and tasted really good. 

The last 2-3 miles were a struggle, I stopped a few times to stretch out my hamstrings and calves.  It didn’t feel as though our pace had slowed too much, my body really wanted to walk though.  I allowed myself a couple breaks to walk for a few seconds, but quickly got back to running as I just wanted to be done.

We finished the run fairly strong and got iced coffees to award our efforts before heading back to my place to stretch and shower.  I foam rolled a few times throughout the day on Saturday (including before going to bed) to help stretch out my legs and hopefully break up some of the lactic acid.  I was pleasantly surprised when I woke up on Sunday with very little stiffness! 

We’re scheduled to run 16 miles this coming Saturday.  My plan is to continue to foam roll on a daily basis in hopes of keeping my legs stretched out.  I might try waking up a little earlier on Saturday morning to have a little more to eat before the run. 

As much as running 15 miles sucked I’m still looking forward to attempting 16 this weekend.

Sunday: Rest Day.

 How do you deal with tired legs?

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