Friday, April 23, 2010

It Was All Worth It! – Maureen

YAY, I did it!!!! I can now say that I ran (and finished!) the Boston Marathon!!! The whole day was amazing and was one of the best experiences ever. It was also one of the toughest things I've ever mentally and physically put myself through but I can honestly say it was all worth it.

I started getting a sore throat the Saturday before the marathon... oh no! There was absolutely no way sickness was going to keep me from running so I did everything I could to prevent it from getting worse. I still wasn't 100% the day of but felt much better. I had trouble getting to bed early enough Sunday night but managed to get in about 7 hours of sleep. Annie and I made arrangements to meet at the bus pickup along the Common at 7:00 am Monday morning. I was glad we decided to take the bus to Hopkinton instead of being dropped off.... it was all part of the experience! I had a lot of nervous excitement running through me so it was nice to have someone else from Newton-Wellesley to talk to on the ride down. We thought we'd have so much time to spare at Athlete's Village but time flew by pretty fast. We hit the porto-potties, ate our bagels, met up with some of the other runners at the Newton-Wellesley tent, I got "GO MOE" written on my arms, we shed our layers of clothing and we were off to the start!

Even though I trained with an iPod, I decided not to run the marathon with one so that I could feed off the crowds (and, of course, I also fed off my packet of jelly bellies!). I decided I wanted to make a concerted effort to notice each mile marker sign, as well as whenever we would enter a new town. I am very familiar with the entire route and I kept thinking how crazy it was that I was actually running it! The first 5 miles or so felt pretty good. I was consciously trying to keep an even, steady pace and not go too fast. I saw family around mile 5 in Ashland with their Go Moe and Newton-Wellesley signs (also where my uncle jumped in to keep me company) and it was exciting to see them. Soon after, I ran past my first college apartment in Framingham (quite a different scene from the Marathon Day parties we used to throw!) and saw friends on the balcony of La Cantina restaurant with more "Go Moe" signs! Around mile 6, my left knee started talking to me so I popped a few Advil and tried to focus on other body parts that were NOT bothering me. "Focus on the glutes" became the mantra I would continuously repeat for the duration of the marathon.

There were parts of the route in Natick and Wellesley that were very quiet because there weren't many spectators, making it easier to notice the aches and pains that were starting to sink in. My pace stayed pretty even though.... I know this because I broke down my splits at each 5K mark after I got my results (and just saw that Sabrina calculated hers as well, love it!). I also know exactly where my pace started to significantly slow... those Newton hills! BUT, before I made it there I was anxiously waiting to run by Newton-Wellesley. I knew my brother and sister-in-law would be there, along with my close friend Kendra (who was waiting to run the last 9.2 miles with me), and familiar faces of the Hospital! I stopped quickly for a few pics and continued running.

I was now on the part of the route that I had actually trained on a few times, which I was happy I did because I liked knowing when to expect with the hills... however I had never run them 18 miles into a run! I didn't think they were so bad during training but I was singing a different tune on Monday. However, it was about this point that I realized I had yet to stop and walk, something I thought for sure I'd have to because of my knee and hip. There is absolutely nothing wrong with walking during a marathon but now that I was only 8 miles away from the finish, I wanted so bad to finish having run the whole thing. My legs felt like lead going up each of the three hills but there was no way I was going to stop running. It was also from this point on that the crowds were extremely helpful in getting me to put one foot in front of the other. One memorable part of the route was at the top of Heartbreak Hill... there was a band playing, signs that read "You made it to the top of Heartbreak!" and people yelling words of encouragement... what a sigh of relief that part was over!

It was somewhere between the top of Heartbreak and the turn onto Beacon Street that Kendra started to play a game with me... it all started when we noticed a girl ahead of us running in a tutu. Kendra yelled out, "Moe! She's running in a tutu!! You're not gonna let a girl in a tutu beat you in a race... are you??" Motivation at its finest. The fire was lit and we breezed past her. Kendra continued to find people for me to pick off one by one, including blue-fanny-pack-guy, the girl wearing head-to-toe black ("Her pace is good... but yours is better!!"), and others. It was a great distraction from my achy joints.

I saw a few more friends at various points on Beacon Street, which helped keep me going, but my hip, knee and pinky toes were starting to give me more and more discomfort with each mile. The last two to three miles took every ounce of mental strength I had to keep going and not stop. My uncle wished me luck with about a mile to go and went ahead of us, and Kendra and I proceeded to run the longest mile I have ever run in my life. Although I was still aware of the crowds, I was no longer high-fiving people and taking it all in... I had to put all my efforts into just crossing the finish line. And I did! 4 hours, 29 minutes, and 29 seconds after starting. Talk about a sense of accomplishment! I was definitely feeling a little loopy once I finished though. I didn't need medical attention and I don't think I was dehydrated, but it took about a half hour before I stopped feeling weird. I knew not to sit down right away so I kept walking, got my medal and some vitamin water, met my friends and family and celebrated! I started craving an ice cold beer (this is when I realized I was myself again) so we all went and grabbed lunch together on Newbury Street. It was a perfect way to end the perfect Marathon Monday!

Although it took me a few days to walk down stairs without looking ridiculous (and whatever virus I started to get prior to Monday has progressively worsened since then), overall I feel great for having run my first marathon. And though it won't be anytime soon, I would absolutely do another one to try and better my time... especially now that I know what I need to do to minimize/eliminate the injuries I had during training. I want to give a HUGE thank you to everyone who encouraged me and wished me well throughout this experience. And of course, thank you to Newton-Wellesley for giving me this opportunity!

Opportunity of a Lifetime – Annie

How long does the runner's high last? I'm not quite sure, but I am definitely still feeling it! My Marathon weekend started off with a trip to the Expo on Saturday morning, where I began to soak in the atmosphere and energy, and got lots of free loot from the many vendors. My favorite item was the beautiful aqua Marathon jacket, which I think I wore for several days straight, only taking it off to actually run the race! As many had told me, the night before the night before the Marathon is the critical time to get lots of rest, so my sister Caitie came in after dinner, we plotted strategy a little, then I headed to bed early. After a good 9 to 10 hours of rest, I started Sunday off with a light jog of about two miles around my neighborhood, to make sure my legs still worked after tapering for a few weeks! A solid breakfast and lots of relaxation were the main items of the day, and logistics were ironed out for the cheering squad. We headed off to the Pre-Race Pasta Dinner at Boston City Hall around 7:00 pm, with me decked out in my jacket, of course, and giddy with excitement. The dinner was great, though a bit overwhelming with many people and so much going on, but the mac and cheese was heavenly and it was fun to be a part of the festivities.

Marathon Day - I was up a little before 6:00 am, outfitted with my snazzy Newton-Wellesley singlet (ANNIE emblazoned across the front with athletic tape). After making sure we had all our gear, Caitie and I headed out to the T and were off to Park Street and the school buses to Hopkinton. I met up with Newton-Wellesley runner Maureen Lydon there, and we rode the bus together, sharing our excitement and getting psyched up. What a beautiful day it was for running! Just perfect - I like that coolness to the air and the sun periodically broken by clouds. We met up with Donna Dunn at the Newton-Wellesley Tent, and soon set off to the starting line. Our bib numbers had us way in the back, and it took a while to cross the starting line, but soon we were shuffling off to begin the race. I liked having the crowded field at the beginning, as it helped keep the pace under control; I was wary of starting off too fast and then burning out too soon! The crowd was amazing throughout the small towns at the beginning, with such pride for the race and their role in it, and palpable support and excitement for all the runners. I was so glad I had my name on my shirt! It felt like everyone knew me, and was pulling for me. Maureen and I ran together for about 5 or 6 miles, then I saw that I was about 4 minutes ahead of my pace (according to the awesome bracelet my sister made for me) and I pulled back a little, feeling strong and wanting to conserve. There was a bar right on the course that was in full-on tailgating mode, and then the scoreboard showing the (dismal) score of the Sox game.

I saw my family and friends first in Framingham, by the train depot - a wide and flat stretch just perfect for cheering! One of my favorite moments came shortly thereafter then the conductor of the commuter rail leaned on the horn for a long time as he drove by, powering the runners on, energizing us. Also in Framingham I was almost lured off the course by the tantalizing aroma of burgers on the grill…dangerous! I felt strong through Wellesley, passing a good amount of people but also trying to keep my pace consistent and not let my excitement speed me up. I was in front of a few men dressed as Elvis for a while, which provided some entertaining comments from the crowd! The "wall of sound" at Wellesley College was fantastic - those girls can really holler! Several of the gentlemen around me took advantage of the kisses being handed out ("Oh boy, now my heart-rate monitor is all out of whack!"). I started to lose a little ground on my pace a little after the half mark, miles 14-15, but the support in Wellesley Center powered me through to Newton-Wellesley, where I was met with friends, family and coworkers, and felt like a rockstar! I stopped to pose for some pics, and it really provided the surge of energy I needed at that point! My sister jumped in with me for a few minutes, holding a "Go Annie! That's my sister!" sign, riling up the crowd for me, which was pretty sweet! On to the Newton Hills - hard, but I had trained on them, so felt comfortable and knew what I was in for. I gritted my teeth as I turned onto Comm Ave, and began to power up. The crowd support ratcheted up a few notches, and the sun came out, and I dug in. I had a moment of delirium as I crested the second hill, and thought it was Heartbreak Hill, only to realize it was just the little hill before - oops! I grabbed a luscious orange slice and some extra high fives and actually passed quite a few people on my way to the top! No walking for me! Again, the crowd support here was just awesome.

On the back side of the hills, I tried to relax and lengthen my stride, using gravity to my advantage, but felt a little tapped out. I knew I had lost the edge on my pace and was now a few minutes behind. The BC kids were cheering like maniacs at that point though, which helped a lot, as did a fellow runner ("Hey Lightning, you can do it! You've got this!" - in reference to the lightning bolts on my shoulders), and then my friend Alicia, who leapt out of the crowd and ran a little with me, egging me on! Just after that, in Cleveland Circle, my sister jumped in with me for the last four miles. The rockstar feeling truly kicked in here. What a feeling to hear so many people screaming your name, so excited for you! It really is a rush. Caitie had water for me and ran alongside, trying to distract me a little from my obvious fatigue. More high fives, though some felt like they would knock me over! We pressed on. I saw my a cappella singing group friends right after Mile 24, who enveloped me in a shrieks and hugs, and sent me back on my way, where I soon saw Co-Fellow Andy Wurtzel cheering his heart out further down Beacon!

Even more rockstar feeling at Kenmore: chants of my name, impromptu songs starring "Annie" (of both "the sun'll come out tomorrow" and totally improvised varieties), fist pumps and high fives, general euphoric waves of support. I was torn with the conflicted feeling of "I want this to last forever" and "I want this to end NOW." I was really tired and the balls of my feet felt like they were directly pushing through the bottoms of my shoes to the pavement. However, I was able to still pass people, which provided a great competitive boost! Turned on to Hereford, then Boylston, then the sweet sight of the finish line. Rockstar-style, I grinned like crazy, waved to the crowd, and kicked it into gear for what we in my family like to call the "Huppert finish," passing more people in the last dozen yards and surged across the finish line!!! "Anne Huppert, from Cambridge!" I did it!

Then mylar blanket, water, medal, banana, potato chips, baggage pickup, dazedly wandering over to the Family Meeting Area to, you guessed it, meet my family. The sun was angling through the buildings so beautifully, making all of us runners look like angels in our silver capes. Pictures, hugs, general excitement and stories! We headed to Legal Seafoods for a jubilant post-race meal, taking our time to digest the day as well as the food, and also having the amazing opportunity to reconnect with old dear family friends who were all in town from Wisconsin for the Marathon! We couldn't have planned it to work out this well - just an amazing, amazing day all around.

I am so grateful to Newton-Wellesley for the opportunity to run - truly the opportunity of a lifetime. Also thankful to my family and friends, and all those energetic and heartfelt supporters who screamed my name from Hopkinton to the Finish - I couldn't have done it without you! My official time - 4:38:15. A full 31 minutes faster than my first Marathon time in Chicago! I'll take it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

We Did It! – Tom and Sylvie

Thank you to everyone for your support, especially yesterday. I've wanted to run the Boston Marathon for most of my adult life but something always held me back. This year, I'm grateful for the opportunity and that I finally committed to it. It's been a rewarding experience, something I'll always remember. I also remembered that I was representing an important cause, the Vernon Cancer Center. For those who contributed to the Center, supporting the Marathon Team, thank you so much.

Tom: 3:54, Sylvie 4:00

We slept fitfully Sunday night, awaking at 5:45. I found a charter bus leaving from Park Plaza at 7:30 so we drove to the Clarendon St. Garage. The bus was worth the price – bathroom and parking at the High School lot so we had minimal wait time outside. Still, the morning was anything but relaxing. We brought a paper but were unable to read. We had nervous conversations with others on the bus (all veteran marathoners so I stayed quiet). I visited the two Newton-Wellesley medical tents at the Village – good for pre-race support. I had first marathon jitters so I never ate the extra banana and bagel I'd brought on the bus. I thought (and the bus facilities seem to confirm) that I was drinking enough before the race. Our corral was 26 (of 27 so we were in the back and it took 15 minutes to reach the starting line.

It's so different from my long training runs, when I could just leave the house rested, relaxed and quickly settle into a pace. There were all kinds of runners/walkers in the back. I thought that after four to five miles, the pack would spread out but that didn't happen until Wellesley, so I was using more energy than I'd hoped. The spectators in the early segment were entertaining – bars and restaurants packed with people celebrating and a guy playing the Jimi Hendrix version of the National Anthem were fun.
My dream was to hit 3:45, which is my Boston Marathon qualifying time. After 10 miles, it was a long shot, and by Wellesley, I decided that sub-4:00 was realistic, especially after suffering side cramps and nausea on the long descent into Newton. I tried to drink enough, but as you'll see later, I failed. I knew there were friends waiting at the Quebrada Bakery in Wellesley but in spite of running on that side and looking I never saw the sign and people – incredibly hard to pick out faces in the crowds.

I passed the Hospital with a plan to be conservative on the hills and save energy for the last four to five miles. Paul Satwicz ran a few paces with me – thanks for the encouragement! Sylvie was right – the hills are not so bad, it's the prolonged descent after the hills that kills your legs. Aerobically, I felt fine (too dry, I now recognize) but my legs were fading. I missed a couple of water stations the last few miles (or were they not there?) and knew I was in trouble. The underpass just before turning onto Commonwealth Ave. was particularly cruel. Runners around me cheered when we turned onto Bolyston and saw the finish – I had to focus on the runner in front to maintain my stride and get home. But I did finish! And I didn't walk even through the water stations. I was so afraid that if I stopped once, the second and third stops would be too tempting.

The most difficult part was the post race chute, waiting for water, blankets, food and medal. I saw stars twice and turned down requests for assistance. No way was I going to the Medical tents. I sat by the luggage buses, waiting for Sylvie, drank and ate and eventually felt better. Amazingly, my jaw was too weak to chew a power bar and my mouth too dry to swallow. Thank goodness for bananas. I clearly did not drink enough during the race, as my post race experience demonstrated. Happily, after liters of Gatorade, water and beer, my kidneys were working by 7:00 pm.

Sylvie was close behind at 4:00, in spite of not running for 10 days with a sore leg. She bested her 2011 Boston qualifying time by 15 minutes and is definitely the marathoner in our family. I learned some lessons from my first experience. Don't know that I'll ever apply them again, as long as temporary insanity doesn't strike. For now, I plan to enjoy the accomplishment and recovery. Thanks to all who have been incredibly supportive during the training and race. I can't possible include all your names without forgetting someone important: Newton-Wellesley Charitable Foundation, Newton-Wellesley Physical Therapy, Shipley Fitness Center and many many colleagues and friends. It's been a wonderful experience; one I'll always remember.

Indescribable – Sabrina

Because I am a geek, I got up this morning and calculated my splits from the BAA site. Here they are:

5k 11:53 pace (dusted by just about everyone, including a hamburger and French fries)
10k 12:06 pace (bathroom stop!)
15k 11:54 pace (and another bathroom stop!)
20k 12:15 pace (kissed a boy at Wellesley College)
Half Marathon 12:15 pace (just fifteen seconds behind goal!)
25k 12:25 pace (walked for 1-2 minutes so I could appear "fresh" at Newton-Wellesley)
30k 12:37 pace (starting up Heartbreak Hill, downshifting)
35k 12:53 pace (what a frakkin' hill! difficult recovery on downhill)
40k 12:58 pace (hurting but keeping the pace)
26.2 13:00 overall marathon pace (I did it!)

My marathon journey began on about January 27 when I found out I had won a number for the Boston Marathon at work. I ran five miles that day on my treadmill at a 10:22 pace. Up till then I had run a total of nine miles in 2010; and had only run a handful of times since ski season started. My "real" running days ended in 2002 when I fractured my spine while carrying firewood down some steps after a frigid January evening run. I just never got back into it after that, but always maintained a level of fitness such that I could go out for a five mile jog comfortably, generally jogging 10 to 20 miles a week as cross training for hiking/skiing/cycling.

I picked a Hal Higdon Intermediate Marathon training plan and stuck to it religiously until I got to week eight, then I really couldn't keep up with the weekly mileage entirely and maxed out at a 42-mile week. I had what turns out was/is a piriformis pull in my left glute, and that inflamed my sciatic nerve. I started feeling the pain around week four to five, when I was kicking out some fast miles on the treadmill -- at that time I was thinking (ha ha) that I could run a 4.5 hour marathon and I was doing sprints on my treadmill in the 9-9.5 minute mile range, and running tempo runs at the 10:00 mile pace. The pain just didn't go away, and at mile 14 of the Eastern States 20, my left leg felt damp and dead and my left foot felt like it was just slapping along. The Boston was now three weeks away. I decided to rest a bit the following week and go see a physical therapist.

I was now in my taper, and was given the green light to run the marathon so long as I rested. My physical therapist told me that I had the physical and mental conditioning to run the marathon even if I didn't run at all until the day. A spinal adjustment put things back into their proper place and I felt immediately better. I gave myself five days more of rest, and then ran two times a week in the two weeks leading up to the marathon. I was very worried that my leg would not hold out. I don't know what was more difficult, running or not running. It was a struggle but the rest did me a lot of good and the Friday before the marathon, my piriformis felt practically healed, with just a small patch of palpable scar tissue under the surface and no pain. I also had a minor pull in my right quad (the result of compensation) and I had a deep tissue massage to work on that and to get me in general all over wellness for the big day.

The big day came and Michael dropped me off at the bus. My friend, Sandy, met me in Hopkinton and got me to the starting line. It was a very fun morning but I tried to contain my excitement and save energy for the marathon. My goal was to run an easy 12:00/mile pace and just stay steady and have a good time. I was able to maintain that overall to the half marathon, despite a few trips to the bathroom! My stomach was pretty nervous for the first ten miles. I could always see the "mob" about two minutes ahead of me! It was amazing to see a completely packed roadway of runners stretching out as far as the eye could see!

The towns seemed to fly past. In Ashland there was a bluegrass band, at the Framingham Harley-Davidson dealer they were cranking the Allman Brothers, Natick was a conservative scene with lots of spectators, the Wellesley College Girls lived up to their reputation and I have never heard such enthusiastic cheering! I could hear them for at least a half mile away! In Wellesley, I saw two Aussies and thought of Terra, it was bittersweet but their smiling Aussie faces really cheered me onward. I took my only walking break at mile 16, up the hill before Newton-Wellesley Hospital, because I wanted to look fresh and strong for Michael and my coworkers. Cresting the hill then coasting down to Newton-Wellesley I saw three of my coworkers jumping up and down with a big sign! I wanted to stop but my legs just wanted to keep their pace, so I thanked them and kept going. I saw Michael where we said we'd meet and he was soooooo happy! He took several pictures, handed me two more Gu packets, a pack of pain patches, and a bite of a hotdog -- at my request he had gotten one from the Newton-Wellesley BBQ and put it in a Ziploc to keep it fresh. I just wanted one bite -- just a salty taste of something other than Gu. I gave him a hug and ran off, passing another NWH employee group calling out my name.

I had planned to walk Heartbreak Hill. I had run it before during training and was concerned it would inflame my piriformis, but I ended up just downshifting to a slower pace and jogging the whole thing!!! What a rush when I crested that bad boy! Coming down Heartbreak Hill and through Brighton to Brookline was the toughest part of the marathon for me. I knew at that time that I would complete the marathon, but I also knew that I would never regain my 12:00 pace that I had held so steadily before the Hill. They say there are two parts to the Boston Marathon, everything up to Heart Break Hill and everything beyond it. Nothing could be further from the truth. The down hills were killer and my ITB attachment area on my left knee felt strained and I felt less stable. At the base of the hill, as we turned the corner and began our run on Beacon St through Brookline, I heard my name and there was my coworker, Nancy S. I was so surprised to see her and it came at the lowest point of my run and I have to say that Nancy was my marathon angel at that point! I gave her a hug and mumbled something pretty incoherent, and I realized I was pretty mentally zonked at that point, and ran on. With about 3.5 miles now to go, I knew I would make it!! It was all about getting there.

The crowds in Boston are amazing. Even when you feel like a loser, there is someone calling out "You can do it!", "We believe in you!", "Look where you are! You are running Boston!", or "You have got this thing!" It’s truly inspiring and the crowds carried me in spirit for so much of the way. And smiling really does make you feel better.
When I saw the Citgo sign at Kenmore, I just can't describe it. I had one mile to go in this famous marathon. I tried calling Michael as I jogged along, but got his voice mail. I turned onto Hereford St and I could hear cheering. I was told this was a tough little hill but I cruised up it, my heart full of pride! I turned the corner onto Boylston Street and I heard a booming yell, "Sabrina!" I turned my head in the direction of the sound and there was Michael, big smile, taking pictures, I ran with my head turned back to him smiling and holding a peace sign, and I have to say it goes on record as one of the greatest moments of my life!

I looked down the last hundred yards and saw the enormous structure of the finish line, of the 114th Boston Marathon. Here I was, with an official number, running down Boylston Street, like so many others have done before me. The feeling was indescribable. I raised my arms into double peace signs and crossed the finish line as the announcer said on the loudspeaker, "Runner 26266, Sabrina La Fave, of Waltham, Massachusetts". Pretty exhilarating!

Someone put a Mylar sheet on me, another person put a finisher's medal on my neck, another handed me water and a bag of snacks, and everyone congratulated me. I was sooo happy. Still am. A big thanks to Newton-Wellesley for giving me this opportunity to run this amazing marathon!

Friday, April 16, 2010

My “First Marathon” Experience – Maureen

Three days to go! I started my training three months ago today and the marathon seemed so far away then but now it's finally almost here. My last run is scheduled for this afternoon, an easy four miles around Castle Island, and I may go for a walk tomorrow. I plan on picking up my bib number this afternoon at the marathon expo and just taking it easy the rest of the weekend… get lots of rest, eat lots of pasta (yay!) and drink lots of water. I know I'll be nervous the morning of but right now I'm just really excited.

My knee and hip are feeling okay, but then again I haven't run since my last long run. My knee was begging for rest after that run so the past two weeks have pretty much consisted of easy cardio, stretching, my physical therapy exercises and mentally psyching myself up for the big day. Since I don't know how my knee will hold up, my initial goals for this marathon have changed quite a bit. I'm no longer focused on finishing within a certain timeframe... I'm basically just looking to enjoying my time on the course, taking in the cheering crowds, and crossing the finish line, at whatever time that may be! There are a few people who've said they'll jump in and run with me at certain points on the course, where I may need some additional encouragement, so I'm looking forward to that as well.

My coworkers and some of the Shipley Fitness Center members surprised me this morning with a “Good Luck Moe” poster that they signed with well wishes, which was AWESOME!!! It really helps to read those words of encouragement and know that so many people are behind you. You only get one "first marathon" experience and so far mine has been pretty sweet. I cannot wait for Monday and wish good luck to everyone else running!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hoping for the Best – Andrew

Well...I have mixed emotions about this coming Monday. I took two weeks off over the last four weeks to let an injury heal. It seems that my taper was more like a drop off. The leg feels good today. I have been icing, stretching and compressing. I ran six miles last Saturday, three miles on Monday and four miles on Tuesday. I will probably do one more short run and then hope for the best. I am still wary of how my leg will hold up during the marathon, but I am very excited to be participating in such a prestigious event. I am thrilled about the challenge of running 26.2 miles and the chance to run alongside so many others. I would like to thank Newton-Wellesley Hospital for this wonderful opportunity. I also thank those who are supporting me in this event. The forecast on Monday is supposed to be great running weather! I am excited to pick up my race packet tomorrow. Good luck to the NWH Marathon Team!

No One Runs Alone – Donna

I have been glued to the weather forecast this week as I'm sure many other runners have. Currently it is forecasting mid 50's and cloudy for race day. This brings a smile to my face as the reality is sinking in at the task at hand for Monday. If you are interested in tracking me my number 26255. On race day you can check out There will be a tracking feature to input my name or bib number to see where I'm at on the course.

I have to give a big THANK YOU to Newton-Wellesley Hospital. Without them running "Boston" would not have been possible. They have given me and the team tremendous support these past couple of months and the staff have been super encouraging. I also must give a big shout out to my husband, Chad. He has been there 100% and has made it possible to get out for the training runs, which hasn't always been easy since when we both work full time and have two rambunctious toddlers. This type of support along with all of my friends and coworkers who donated to make this possible is what will keep me going to the finish. Although it will be my legs running across the finish line, I will have the spirits and words of encouragement from all of you with me. I believe no one ever truly runs alone.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

See You on the Course – Tom

I'm looking forward to next Monday with anticipation and anxiety. I feel as though I've done the necessary training but worry if it was enough. My injury has healed, mostly as a result of cutting back on running. I figure it's better to finish at a reasonable pace than flame out trying to go unrealistically fast. I've been reminded by many friends that I'm not as young as I used to be!

This week, I'm getting plenty of advice: Don't start too fast, drink early and often, don't drink too much, etc. It's fun to hear the different approaches and I really appreciate the support I'm getting. The last week is a real break, with so much less running. I "only" ran 10 miles this past weekend and can see why now. My body aches all over so it will be good to have a week of relative rest before the big day.

Sylvie, however has had a difficult week. She has been unable to run because of knee pain. Rest has not helped so she's getting medical advice. Hopefully, she'll be able to run but it's an unknown for now.

Thanks to everyone at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, especially the Charitable Foundation team, who have made it possible for Sylvie and me to run. The number, access to Physical Therapy, the cool running shirts and complete support throughout the Hospital have made this a great experience for me. If you are at the Hospital, look for me to pass sometime around 1:00 pm. That's assuming I cross the start at 10:30 am and keep to a nine minute/mile pace. I'll be wearing a Marathon blue shirt with "Newton-Wellesley Hospital" across the front. If you really want to find me, my bib # is 26,268 and there's an ATT cell phone alert service on the Marathon website.

Thanks again to all for the terrific support and I'll see many of you on the course.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lucky to Work at Newton-Wellesley – Sabrina

The past two weeks of tapering have been a much needed rest on my body – it made me a bit uneasy to take so much time off after dedicating so much time to running over the past 11 weeks (55 hours and >300 miles, according to my training logger!). Suddenly I felt as though I had so much time on my hands, and I devoted much of my energy to planning our upcoming wedding.

Yesterday I ran my last long run before the marathon, just shy of eight miles, with my dog, Terra. During my training, I've come up with quite a few creative run ideas, and one of them was to run, rather than drive, to the park for our run. Nearly everyday, I take my dog to Cat Rock Park in Weston, where she can run off leash and we run the trails together. The park is just over two miles from my home in Waltham. So, yesterday, I decided it was the day to do that run. Over the past few weeks, Terra has really become a “city dog” as we have done a lot of our runs together along the Charles and the streets of Waltham. But I could tell as we ran along yesterday that she knew where we were headed. When we made the final turn toward the park, her ears perked up and she quickened her pace until she reached the end of her long lead. I unclipped her when we got to the park and we ran our circuit. The longer days and opening leaves of spring soften the glow of the late day sun. I felt like we could run for miles, but I knew I better take it easy. After a few miles on trails, we headed back out on the road and made our way home, Terra running with a stick from the park in her mouth for much of the way. I just love the smiles we get from weary commuters heading home, and I imagine they are thinking “I wish I was doing what they were doing right now!".

This morning, I arrived at work, and something seemed to be up. As I walked down the lab hallways, I noticed many inspirational banners hanging on the walls. Someone ahead whispered, “here she comes!” and ducked out around the corner. I entered the break room, and there was a full table of YUMMY home baked carbs, many of them gluten free (thanks for remembering, guys!). And my supervisor, Diane Mullen, made sure that I stayed and enjoyed a great breakfast. We are so truly lucky to work here at Newton-Wellesley Hospital – I am so touched by the support and encouragement of my coworkers and thank you all once again for your generous donations to the Vernon Cancer Center.

Next week is it! I am really looking forward to the marathon. My goal is to ENJOY it, finish it and hopefully give back to others along the way.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Looking Forward to the Challenge – Annie

It's hard to believe there is just one week left before Marathon Day! I completed the last long run of my training on Saturday out at my parents' place in Petersham - eight miles, about half of it on pine needle-laden trails in the woods, sunny and fragrant and easy on the knees. Speaking of my knees, they are feeling normal and strong after that scare of a few days where crouching down had made them twingey and painful. Good news! I feel great.

Last week I managed to get up early enough to get my midweek runs done before work each day, all on the treadmill at a faster pace than I plan on running in the race. This week, even though I know I can do them faster, I plan on running the bulk of my miles at race pace, which will feel pretty slow when I am only doing three to four miles at a time, but will be sensible and doable for 26.2. I'll throw in a few fast miles, but I want my legs to get used to the feel of race pace, so I won't get going too fast and tire out too soon.

My main goals for this final week of tapering are simple and few: go to bed as early as possible (aiming for eight to nine hours per night), eat lots of good carbs and focus on nutrition, stretch daily and really take it easy. I have 11 miles on the schedule to run before Race Day, and will do that mix of race pace and fast miles that I mentioned before. It feels a little funny to reduce mileage so drastically, but many, many marathoners before me have used this approach and it makes sense - we need this time to let our muscles and bodies replenish and heal before the ultimate stress of the race. The taper is essentially like filling your car up with gas before a big trip! I've got to work out the logistics of the day (make sure I have my favorite Margarita with Salt Shotblocks, figure out exactly what I am going to wear and what I am going to eat for breakfast, coordinate race morning drop off by my sister, etc.) but really, all I've got to do is run 26.2 miles.

I am just so thrilled to have the opportunity to run the Boston Marathon and thank NWH for making it possible. It's going to be so exciting to run past the Hospital! And I can't wait to experience the unprecedented crowd support that I've heard about all along the course, which will be a huge factor in keeping the energy up and legs moving. But in the end, it's really just up to me. I know it will be tough, but I know I am ready and determined and looking forward to the challenge.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Knee Pain – Maureen

I'm going to echo everyone else's sentiments about the weather... you really couldn't beat it this past weekend. I'm not a fan of being all bundled up to run, so throwing on shorts and a t-shirt was very refreshing (although I'm sure I blinded a few drivers with the sun reflecting off my winter white legs).

I went back for a follow-up with Carl in Physical Therapy last Friday because I was having some numbness in the same hip that was giving me trouble during my training runs. Aside from being annoying, it's not bothersome but I wanted to make sure it wasn't anything serious... luckily everything seemed to check out fine.

Since I was still a little wary of my knee, I decided to cut my long run down to 15 miles last Saturday, instead of 20. My uncle joined me again and we ran from Newton-Wellesley to Coolidge Corner and back.... or at least that was the plan. I made it about eight miles before I started feeling a sharp pain in my left knee. We stopped to walk a few times over the next three miles before I finally had to throw in the towel and stop running because it was that painful. Thankfully I had my uncle with me because he ran ahead, got his car and came back to get me. The pain went away by the next day but I'm not going to lie, I was feeling a tad dejected. The next two weeks I am just going to focus on getting in a few easy low mileage runs, continuing my stretching and strengthening, and getting lots of rest. Carl and Amber in Physical Therapy have been super helpful and I've been receiving lots of encouraging words from people, which means a lot to me. Regardless of my injuries, so far this whole experience has been amazing and I am absolutely looking forward to what my first Marathon Monday will be like!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

No Backing Out – Tom

On my first long run, the temperature did not exceed 25 degrees. Sunday, it was 70 by the end of the run. Though it was great to go out in shorts and a t-shirt, I'm not sure that I prefer it. I drank during the run, but sure could have used more fluids. This is New England after all, so this stretch of early spring can't last. On April 10, the 10-day forecast will be available and I'll be online with the 26,000 other runners.

We're tapering, so Sunday was a 14-mile run. I felt pretty good, except for the adjustment to the heat. I'm forcing myself to follow the advice to cut back mileage during the week. The advice says to run only one day this week at "marathon pace". Since I've yet to run a marathon, and I don't wear a watch during the week, I'm not quite sure what it means. Today, I just slowed down and ran a relaxed five miles.

I picked up my running singlet and long-sleeve shirt today. It's really nice – Adidas Marathon gear with “Newton-Wellesley Hospital” on the front. Now that I have the gear and my photo's posted, there's no backing out.

Each year, I go on a golf trip with friends from the Hospital. We plan it in the fall so I committed long before even contemplating the Marathon. We leave tomorrow morning. A month ago, I wasn't enthusiastic about going, worrying that it might throw me off my training so close to the date. How stupid of me – I can't wait to leave. It's a great time and I'll come home refreshed. I warned the group that I'll be up early for a run and that I'll be “smart” with my evening wine allotment. The travel days even enforce more rest and less running, which is a good thing right now.

Enjoy the week. Next week this time, we'll be in final preparation mode, which as far as I can tell, is rest, food and beverage. Now that's my kind of training!

Last Long Run – Donna

I couldn't have asked for better weather. We spent Saturday at the playground and Sunday was filled with family activities. The weather was beautiful and I waited till late in the day on Sunday to get out for a run. After everyone was settled down for the night I started out at 7:30 pm for my last long run before the taper. I didn't do as much as I planned but I did get in eight miles and felt strong.

I've been having some aches in a few of the joints in my toes. I thought it was due to the added mileage but wanted to get it checked out just in case it was the start of a bigger problem. I was able to get an appointment with Carla over in the physical therapy department and she gave me some great advice. Thanks again Carla!

I can't believe the marathon is less than two weeks away. Over the next two weeks I will alternate between three and five mile loops and focus on getting plenty of fluid and rest.

Overcoming Burnout – Sabrina

It took me a few days to re-energize after the 20 miler; and when I got back to running last Wednesday, something just wasn't right. The nagging pain that I felt in my left leg during the race had progressed to a dull ache, and my well being, overall, had gone from generalized all over pain to localized epicenters of agony! I did my best to jog a few times, but only put in about eight miles last week. I felt that my body and my mind needed a rest. I hadn't gone skiing for about six weeks, and the weekend forecast was perfect for spring skiing.

My fiancé and I headed over to Bretton Woods Saturday and skied a six solid hours in shorts and tee shirts under bluebird skies in 86 degrees! We had a blast. It was really great for me to get out and do anything outside but running. I was feeling a bit of training burn out and didn't want to push it. Saturday after skiing, I went for a run/hike with my dog, Terra, along a dirt USFS road in the White Mountains; two miles out on the road, three miles out on a hiking trail, and then back on the road. The snow melt has turned even the smallest streams into turbulent cascades; and I had to take my sneakers off and cross a small stream barefoot. I let the cold water wash over my tired legs and feet. It felt wonderful.

Sunday I also skied, albeit only for the morning. The snow conditions were deteriorating rapidly, so we opted for a cold drink on a sunny deck and spent some time looking for skiers on the snowfields of Mt Washington.

I'm starting a little physical therapy this week to get me back on track (thanks, Carl!). My goal for the next couple of weeks is to get a few nice jogs in and let my body rebuild and my motivation recharge. On a happy note, I'm pleased to learn that I have surpassed the $1000 fundraising goal for the Vernon Cancer Center, and donations are still coming in. Thank you to all who have chosen to support me and the Cancer Center! Your generosity is greatly valued.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Tweaky Knees – Annie

The first official week of the taper has come to a close, though it doesn't feel like I got too much of a break! My mileage was reduced this past week from 40 to 30, then this week will be down to 21. I did all of my mid-week runs on the treadmill due to the inclement weather and my overall lower energy. The 20-miler must have impacted my energy level more than I thought. But I still did my two shorter midweek runs at a good, fast pace, with a slower eight-miler in the middle.

I went to the Cape all weekend for a friend's big birthday bash, and while I still got my long run in, it was hard to get the rest I needed and so that will be a priority this week. My sister and I hadn't really planned out the course of our 12-miler, and ended up probably doing about 14 instead, from Buzzards Bay into Bourne and Wareham and along the Cape Cod Canal for a few miles, then back. What gorgeous weather! We neglected the sunscreen though, so I'm sporting a rather vibrant sunburn. When you're out running for a few hours, it's so important to remember sun protection - I've learned my lesson. Somehow I had the energy for a vigorous game of wiffle ball post-run…does that count as cross-training?

My knees have been feeling a bit tweaky for the past day or two, which I hope goes away. I first noticed it when I crouched down to pick something up off the floor and felt a twinge, which I still feel now. Really hoping that simply subsides. My cross-training today will be much more low key, just stretch class and some walking. My runs for the week will be four, six and three miles and I want to be back at full intensity for those.

While I do use headphones/music on my indoor treadmill runs, I never do when I run outside. For me, running is so much a mental thing, that when you block out the whole auditory part and just use music to zone in, it's hard to focus on what you're actually doing, never mind employ mental techniques to get through tough spots. I don't want to feel like I have to rely on something to run - I only want to rely on me. There's the safety factor too; running with headphones is like running with blinders, and you have a constricted sense of other runners and the environment around you. And I know on race day, the crowd support and cheering is going to be a huge part of what gets me to the Finish - no chance I'd ever want to shut that out! As Maureen mentioned, having your name on your shirt is KEY. One of my favorite parts of running Chicago was wearing my Red Sox hat and getting heckled good naturedly by all the Cubs fans lining the course. Runners absolutely feed off the crowd's energy.

Goals for this week: plenty of sleep, keeping an eye on that tweaky knee, staying away from Easter candy remnants and keeping up the intensity in my shorter runs. I'll be heading to my parents' house this weekend for my final long run (8 miles) and some R&R in the final full weekend before race weekend!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Eastern States 20 Mile Race! – Sabrina

Last Saturday I ran the Eastern States 20 Miler! The course runs from Kittery, Maine to Hampton Beach, NH. A friend mentioned it to me a few weeks ago, and I jumped at the opportunity to run my longest run in a supported, race environment.

Conventional marathon wisdom says, as I have read, that one should try to run at least one race prior to their first marathon, to prepare themselves for the experience of racing – logistics, packet pick up, pre-race jitters, and the like.

I was meeting three of my friends, two of which were also racing, although I knew that we'd not run together, as their paces are much faster than mine. The race began, and we embraced and then started off, all smiles. Within seconds the crowd of runners coalesced, and I didn't see them again until the finish line.

I ran my first mile at a ten minute pace, my "pre-marathon training" pace. In the past nine weeks, as I have increased my distance from pre-marathon 0-20 miles per week to nearly 40 miles per week, my pace has slowed to about a 12-minute mile pace on runs longer than 15 miles, but that's OK, I'm doing this to finish and stay injury free.

There was a wicked headwind for much of the course. Runners stretched out along the coastline, and I settled into my pace, always keeping my eye on a fluorescent green jacket worn by a woman running in the distance ahead of me. I stopped at every aid station and thanked the volunteers and stretched. At several points during the race, I spotted a stealth photographer, my friend Adam; an ultra runner who was sidelined from today's race due to an injured Achilles. Whenever I saw Adam, I felt re-energized, sucked it in, improved my form, smiled for the camera.

Somewhere around mile 14, my left leg began hurting. I struggled on and tried not to think about it. At mile 17, I had gained on the fluorescent green jacket, and ran along with the woman, another first time marathoner, and we compared notes and shared encouraging words. She slipped back, and I ran the final mile alone. Soon, I heard my name, and saw my friends and my fiancé, Michael, cheering me on to the finish line. The clock read 4:12:30; about twelve minutes longer than I had hoped, but I did it! It was a great experience for me. As far as my cardiovascular, I think I can run all day. My legs however, have one speed, and it’s a slow one. Its taper time, and I am thrilled! Spring skiing for me this weekend!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Long Run Postponed - Maureen

So on the advice of a few seasoned marathoners, I decided to postpone my last long run of 18-20 miles to this Saturday instead of running it this past weekend when many others did. I really want to get one good, long run under my belt so if it means an extra week's rest for my hip and knee, so be it! Two-plus weeks will still be a decent amount of tapering time for me, I think. I replaced my long run this weekend with intervals on the track, 6x800, at 5K pace. I was aware of my knee throughout, but my pace remained strong. I have short runs planned for today and Thursday. I'm hoping I continue to feel good before Saturday's adventure!

I was doing a little internet surfing about what to expect the day of and found a couple of things that I'm totally going to do...

"Write your name on your shirt or wear something unique. Hearing your name and the cheers makes a huge difference." – I definitely plan on making a race shirt that says "Go Moe!"... I'll need all the encouragement I can get!


"High-five at least one kid every mile. Tons of kids and people line the streets of the course. This will help keep things in perspective whether you are having the race of your life or you are crawling to the finish." – This piece of advice made me smile. Even if I don't actually high-five a kid at every mile, I'll definitely make sure to get to a few!

Three Weeks Left! – Andrew

Well…I took an entire week off to let my right leg heal. My guess is it was a high grade pulled muscle. It is still not 100 percent but at least I have been able to get back to running again. I ran 8.5 miles on Saturday including four loops around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir. I love that run. It was fairly cold but I was able to complete the run without my leg giving out. I ran 4+ miles on Monday and another 7 miles today. I am at the point where I am supposed to start tapering my runs, which I plan to do. I just need to get one more long run in on Saturday, and the rest is downhill from there until the marathon. The weather is supposed to be nice this weekend. I can’t believe there are only three weeks left. Part of me is trying not to think about it and part of me is really excited!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Taper Time – Tom and Sylvie

Let the taper begin! Marathon gurus say physiologic training is mostly complete at this point and we should start to taper mileage in preparation for the marathon. I take all this advice with a grain of salt since the articles rarely distinguish between athletes and the rest of us. Still, it's nice to know that I can cut down the mileage each of the next three weeks. If I understand correctly, intensity of runs should remain the same but mileage should decrease about 20 percent this week. I've gotten used to eating whatever I like and whenever I'm hungry so I'll have to cut back there a little too.

Yesterday, Sylvie and I went for our 20-mile run. It wasn't easy. We designed the run so there were several hills after mile 18, and I really had to slow down on the hills. My heart was OK but my legs felt heavy and wouldn't go as fast as I'd hoped. On race day, I'll have to be smart prior to turning the corner at the fire station on Comm. Ave. and climbing the Newton Hills. We're sticking with our plan of not running the course before the Marathon. I've run parts of it during training runs that start at NWH, but I always start up Beacon St to Newton Center and run Commonwealth Ave in reverse. In reality, I've lived here long enough to know the course from NWH to Boston. I practiced eating gel and drinking on the long runs, even though I haven't been getting very thirsty. I can tell that I feel better after the long runs when I do drink and eat so I'm hopeful it will help for those last six miles.

My back/chest wall muscle pull is definitely better, but Sylvie will need some attention this week for a knee problem that started yesterday. Newton-Wellesley Hospital Physical Therapy staff are great. I'm there weekly; the physical therapist is excellent and I'm doing all the exercises and stretching that is prescribed. It's a tremendous benefit for the NWH runners and I'm so appreciative of the expertise and professionalism of the staff.

This week will be three to four days of running: none today, an easy run tomorrow, a longish run Wednesday or Thursday and then "only" 14 miles on Sunday. What a new perspective on 14 miles! Thanks again to everyone who gives me an encouraging word during the week. It makes a difference.

The challenge is to peak at the right time – not too soon, not too late or not at all (!). When training for a major run, I have always found this to be tricky and often hit or miss because there are so many variables. Then, assuming one has peaked at approximately the right time, the next challenge in the final weeks is to not overdo it – not easy if you belong to the school of "more is better." In any case, even if everything goes according to the master plan, I remind myself that when it comes to running a marathon, there are no guarantees. If things do not pan out, I still have the benefits of the many months of training... so, regardless of the outcome, one comes out ahead.

Recognizing My Potential – Annie

I've had yet another great week of training, and am so thankful to have escaped pain/injury/discomfort aside from my little knee flare up a month or so ago. Coming out of my highest mileage week, I feel a bit sore (especially when going up and down stairs) but pretty strong overall! The Stretch class with Meera at the Shipley Fitness Center has been a welcome addition to my routine and I look forward to another session today.

A high moment of the past week came on Wednesday, when I had to run 10 miles and simply ran home to Harvard Square after work - combining my commute with my training! The sun was out, as were many other runners, and it was a thrill to be home by 7:00 and already have completed a long workout. The other two midweek runs, five miles apiece, were back on the treadmill, trying to push for some speed.

For my longest training run, 20 miles, my sister and I headed up to Kittery, ME for the Eastern States 20-Miler on Sunday. What a day! We left Cambridge around 7:30, arriving an hour later at Hampton Beach to drop our car off and be shuttled up to Kittery with many other excited runners. It was a really fun atmosphere, with about 1,000 runners all crowded into a school gymnasium, limbering up, moving through their pre-race rituals, assessing layers. We all walked to the starting line in downtown Kittery and were off at 11:00 am! The course wound through the town and back roads for a while, then around mile 4-5 we were running on the coast, following Route1/1-A south. The vista was incredible, with bright sun glinting off the waves and salt spray in the air. It was tough for me for the first 7-8 miles, as I kept getting passed by other runners, which was disheartening. I had the mindset that this may have been a race, but it was still just a training run, and I was trying not to get too caught up in going fast or all-out. Also, given the small field of entrants, everyone was all jumbled together at the start and it took many miles before different paces settled out, so of course speedy people were passing me! Nonetheless, I didn't like it.

But around mile 10, everything shifted, and I found a bit more of a groove and began to pass many people who I had been keeping in my sights previously. I really picked up the speed on the downhills, and didn't lose any ground as I dug in on the uphills. One thing that I love about races is the ability to zero in on someone ahead of you and resolve to step it up and pass them, picking off runners left and right as you methodically and strategically move forward. It's so satisfying! From mile 10 to mile 15, I was really in the zone, continually passing people. Around mile 15, the runners around me had thinned a bit, and we were mostly all in a single file line, separated by some distance. Picking off those people ahead of me would require a little more determination, as well as patience.

The final two miles were straight along the seawall at Hampton Beach, directly into a strong headwind. We had been battling the wind for most of the whole race, but those last two miles were brutal - head down, powering through. Thankfully I had sunglasses on, with all the sand whipping around! In one of the windy stretches earlier on the in the race, some guy was running literally over my right shoulder, two feet away from me, benefiting from me blocking the wind - NOT cool. Talk about being too close! But I say thanks to that annoying runner, because be prompted me to pick up the pace and leave him in the dust. I passed about four or five people on that last two-mile stretch, and pushed it into a sprint the last 50 yards or so, for the big finish!

To my great excitement, I saw that I had completed the race in 3:25:35 - a full 25 minutes faster than I had anticipated. Seeing those results fueled this "I can do anything!" attitude, and made me think, if I did this so much faster than I thought I would, the Marathon is completely surmountable! It was just a fantastic day, with a good crowd of people and I loved having the opportunity to really check in on where I am in my training and recognize my potential.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Goals – Tom

I'm happily back on the road this past week, recovering from a chest wall muscle injury. Reading the other Marathoner blogs, I commiserate with the runners working through aches, pains, muscle strains and some real injuries. It was hard to take time off – I felt guilty going home directly after work. It was harder still to get back to it. The first two runs were especially difficult and worried me – how could I lose so much fitness in one short week? The good thing is that I started slowly, concerned mostly with finding my rhythm and running without aggravating the injury. I also readjusted the training schedule and goals.

This past Sunday was a slow, steady 18-mile run. The day was perfect for shorts, no gloves or hat! Sylvie and I ran through parts of Lincoln, past the Decordova museum, along a dirt road with meadows and a horse farm, into Wayland and then Weston. Past the Campion Center in Weston, back to Conant Road into Lincoln and then to the Cambridge Reservoir abutting the Waltham Office parks. The final push was an uphill climb on Trapelo Road to Lincoln center and home.

We both recovered well after the run and this week is going fine. I did a short run Tuesday, and plan an 8 to10 miler this afternoon after work. Next Sunday is the final long run – 20 miles and then we'll start to taper.

So, what are my goals now? For my first marathon, I hope to be smart at the start and find a comfortable pace to hold for the race. Sylvie has run 3:50ish marathons so we'll start together. I hope to finish under four hours. My dream would be to finish under my qualifying time (3:45) but I'm not sure that's realistic any longer – there are too many variables, so finish is the key word.

My Joints Are Plotting Against Me – Maureen

The past couple of weeks have been a bit of a challenge for me... my left knee and right hip seem to have formed an alliance and are plotting to keep me from running this marathon. Needless to say, my initial goal of staying healthy throughout training has been tough to maintain!

I had a good run with my uncle on Saturday, March 13... a little over 18 miles! He definitely helped keep me going during the moments when I really didn't want to. We followed the Charles River from Watertown Square to the Museum of Science and back. He strategically planted water bottles along the route prior to our run, which was so nice and worked out great. Granted it was a bit of a monsoon outside and I got tidal waved by a car on Memorial Drive but that just added to the fun! My hip and knee, however, were not amused and gave me some trouble during the last 7-8 miles. I was able to run the whole time but I ended up being sidelined from running the rest of the week. Luckily it doesn't hurt to do other forms of exercise so I was able continue cross-training on the spin bike.

My next run was my long run this past Friday. The weather was amazing and I ran just under 15 miles but had even more knee pain than before. It's so frustrating because I have the endurance to do these distances but my joints just aren't cooperating. My knee only hurts when running – the pain goes away almost as soon as I stop. That's a bit of a problem considering running is the one thing I need my body to do! I know a huge part of this training is psychological and I have to not let myself get down about it all, but it's been hard. I have my longest run – 20 miles! – scheduled for this weekend so I've been mentally preparing myself and hope it goes ok.

I'm continuing to stretch, foam roll, ice, take ibuprofen... I've also been entertaining any idea that sounds like it would help (i.e. using arnica cream, taking fish oil supplements, using a knee strap, etc). Even though my weekly mileages have been lower than I planned for, I'm still on track with my long runs and cross training, which I'm happy about. With or without injury though, nothing can take away my excitement to run this marathon!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Little Longer Than Planned! – Donna

For those of you who know me well, you can agree that I have no sense of direction. I have lived in Newton over nine years and still get lost driving around. I find it funny that I have a GPS and it's still an adventure when you ride with me! I started out Sunday late in the day around 5:00 pm for what was planned to be a simple 10-mile loop on the marathon route and ended up doing a total of 14 miles.

The day was beautiful and I tried out my new running shades. Feeling rested with the sun on my face and enjoying not wearing all the layers I started what would be a simple loop. A little over an hour and a half into the run I realized I must have missed my five-mile turn around marker. I'm finding the longer runs to be more and more difficult to do alone. Usually I enjoy the peacefulness of running alone, but after five miles my body and mind begin the internal struggle. My legs start to ache and the battle begins. For the next several miles I play the game of telling myself "just get to marker X and then you can walk". Once I arrive at the marker I convince myself that it wasn't so bad, that I can run to the next marker, and so on until I've completed the mileage I had set out to do.

I'm planning on attending a marathon workshop later this evening, hopefully I will pick up a few tips to help me get to the finish line.

An Absolute Favorite – Annie

This past week has been just spectacular weather for doing just about anything – especially running! I feel like it was the elements saying "we're sorry" for the absolutely horrible windy, rainy few days prior. I pounded out my shorter runs on the treadmill before work on Tuesday and Thursday, but enjoyed a sunny, balmy nine-miler on the marathon course/Comm Ave. on Wednesday, a quickie three-miler on Friday afternoon in Cambridge, and then a spring-like, energizing 14-miler yesterday morning in Worcester along the Holden Reservoir with my sister. That Holden Res route is an absolute favorite, with incredible views of the water and woods, some wildlife, little traffic and pine needle aromas.

My new running shoes have been great, and thus far I have encountered zero blisters! Today I am going to try a stretching class at the Shipley Fitness Center, which I think will be a welcome addition to my routine, as I find running to definitely be a tightening kind of activity. I'm certainly feeling sore today! I'll make sure to post how it goes. I need to stretch more in general, and having a class targeting this specifically will be helpful.

My sister and I signed up, like Sabrina, to do the Eastern States 20-Miler next Sunday! It's going to be a big day, but just seems like such a well-planned event and great way to get through that longest of long training runs. It should give me a good sense as to what I can expect (and shoot for) in terms of my race pace, in general. And you can't beat running along the coastline, right? I am really looking forward to it.

Less glorious weather this week, my highest mileage training week. For my midweek 10-miler on Wednesday, I plan to run from NWH home to Harvard Square, so just hope for no rain then! Lots of rest and good nutrition for me this week, as we enter the final month of training...

Long Run in the Mountains - Sabrina

My fiancé and I keep a camper year round in Twin Mountain, NH – to be close to the mountains that we enjoy in so many ways. I haven't been to the Whites since my marathon training began, and I really needed to get up there. My long run this week was scheduled to be 17 miles, but in part because of The Eastern States 20 next weekend, I moved my mileage up this week so next weekend wouldn't feel like such a stretch. I reduced my midweek mileage by a couple of miles to accommodate a longer weekend run.

For anyone who visits Bretton Woods, you know the stretch of Route 3 from I93 through Twin Mountain is very beautiful, and it’s a drive we often take. We met up with many hiking friends in Ashland, NH on Friday night, and I was envious of everyone's hiking plans, but was looking forward to my run. A friend offered to leave me a cache of water in the back of his pickup at the trailhead he'd be parked at Saturday, which was a big help.

I started off at about 11:00 am, many hours after Michael had left to make first chair. I ran from our campground to Route 3, then out to nearly I93 – a 9.3 mile one-way distance. It was a beautiful sunny day, but there was a headwind, so I was relieved to have reached my turn around point!

It was hard to believe that I had been running for two hours and was just reaching halfway – but I continued on, taking in the scenery. Towering pines line the road ways, their bark decorated with mosses and hanging lichens, and I passed several beaver ponds. I watched for moose, but didn't see any this day. The snow is gone at the lower elevations but is still present on the mountain tops. When I crested the hill at about mile 14, I was rewarded by an amazing view of the white capped Presidential Range and a clear view of the observatory towers on the summit of Mt Washington.

When I reached mile 17, I chuckled to myself as I became aware of the contrast between the quaint main street of Twin Mountain versus the hustle and bustle of mile 17 on the marathon course. The last two miles were tough, but I was rewarded by the cheering crowd of my fiancé, Michael, and four of our friends, as I made my way down the dirt road at the campground, completing 18.6 miles in 3:55 minutes.

Sunday I skied for three hours, and managed to get 15 solid runs in before my legs said, "Ok, that's enough, please".

Injury Report – Andrew

On Friday, March 19, I left Newton-Wellesley to do a 10-mile run. Around mile four or five the front of my leg starting hurting. I slowed my pace and finished the run. It was a loop run, so I had to get back to my car. I am guessing it is just a sprain. It does not feel like a shin splint. I am guessing it is the extensor digitorum longus. I was very disappointed, because I was supposed to do a 12-mile run on Saturday, which I thought was the most beautiful day of the year so far. I have been resting, icing, compressing and elevating my leg over the entire weekend. It still hurts and I am still limping. I hope this resolves soon because I need to get back on the pavement. I do not want to lose what I have already gained in my training thus far. I had some great runs last week…until Friday. Ugh!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Rain, Rain Go Away – Sabrina

This Sunday I ran 16.1 miles on my treadmill in my basement. Three hours and ten minutes is a long time to spend on a treadmill, but I tried to make the best of it. After all, I was inside and dry. I had a 100 song playlist on my IPOD, and a Warren Miller extreme skiing video to pull me through. And I made it. The next day, I felt surprisingly good! Monday's a cross training day for me that consists of a 50 minute Pilates class followed by a 50 minute spin class, more indoor work outs.

Tuesday brought the return of the sun along with an extra hour of daylight after work. I strapped on my trail runners, whistled for my dog, Terra, and headed out to our favorite local conservation land for a four-mile run. We headed up the old ski hill first, pausing to take in the view from the top before heading down the dirt road and then into the woods. The run off from the recent storm combined with the downed trees made for a great outdoor adventure run. We hurdled huge mud bogs, leaped across small streams and ran several laps quietly through the old pastures. A short loop around a dirt service road, and we were closing our loop. I looked at Terra, her white legs black with mud. I looked at my new replacement Vasque Velocity trail runners, black with mud. Clearly, there was only one solution...we ran another loop. Life is good!

This weekend I am planning my next long run, a 16 to 18 miler, to take place in New Hampshire. I am thrilled at the prospect of quiet, long run along country roads. March 28 will be my last long run, and I have registered for the Eastern States 20 Miler. The course runs along the seacoast from Kittery, Maine to Salisbury, Mass. I can't wait to finally not run alone!

Running in the Rain! – Donna

On Saturday I woke up and put on my running shoes and thought to myself, this is crazy…why would anyone get out in this weather to run. Since I took a few weeks off due to health issues I knew I needed to get the run in regardless of the weather. I planned out a 10-mile loop up Heartbreak Hill, down to Cleveland Circle and then back home. As always the first three miles are the toughest for me, but once I can get past it I usually start to loosen up and enjoy it. It was also a nice surprise to see so many runners out on Saturday given the weather conditions.

The run itself was a good one and I actually didn't mind the rain once I got started. I tried sports beans for the first time and found them to be a little hard and ended up dropping several trying to eat while running. I'm not the most coordinated person so for water stops and fuelling, I usually need to move to the side and walk. I think I'll stick to the gel shot blocks instead since I've used them in the past and had success. I will have family around mile 18 and I can grab some more from them on race day so I won't have to carry much with me the first 17 or so miles.

I can't believe it is just 4 WEEKS AWAY!

A Great Run – Annie

The sun has come back to us, but all the heavy rain made for a pretty soggy long run on Saturday. I was out in Worcester, running with my sister and we made sure to leave by 7:00 am on Saturday to try to avoid as much of the rain as we could. We ran 18 miles, from Worcester out to Holden, then back along the beautiful Holden Reservoir - a favorite route. The final four to five miles were pretty rainy, but we were running in just misty morning air for most of it, luckily. I really like getting out earlier on the weekends, as the run does not completely dominate your day and you have more time to enjoy that feeling of accomplishment!

Last Wednesday I had one of the best runs thus far in my training - a perfect, sunny nine-miler from NWH along the course to Boston College, and back. I felt strong and encountered many other runners and walkers out and about. I am looking forward to a similar run tomorrow, when it is supposed to reach 60 degrees! Amazing.

I also got a new pair of running shoes last week, at long last. They are identical to the ones I'd been running in, and it's fun to do a side by side comparison. The old ones have seen many miles and it was high time to retire them. I may grab myself another pair to make sure I have appropriate gear both at home and one of my other favorite places, the Shipley Fitness Center.

Just under five weeks 'til Marathon Day and I am feeling great. Very excited and still a bit incredulous that I am actually going to be running the Boston Marathon!

When It Rains It Pours - Andrew

I left my apartment around 2:30 pm on Saturday hoping to do the 17.1 mile loop around the Charles River. Despite the rain, I needed to get in a long run today. I headed to the North Beacon Street bridge and then on over to the Mt. Auburn bridge near Watertown Square. There were strong head winds the first half of the way, and several times I contemplated bailing out...but I kept going. The wind was at my back on the return loop, but it didn't seem to matter because I was soaking wet. Now I know why it is so hard to train for the Boston while living in Boston. I guess I am glad that I only have one more long run left before the marathon.

It’s About the Experience – Donna

I've finally shaken the cold, the family is healthy and everyone has fallen back into our daily routine. I underestimated how not running for two weeks would affect my training. I started running again this past Sunday and the first day out was a struggle. I planned to do an easy five miler with a friend and ended up only running four and walking the rest. It was an eye opener and for the first time I started to doubt if I could do the marathon. After getting a pep talk from a few friends I reminded myself why I was doing it in the first place, it was never about the time but the experience. So I just need to focus on putting one foot in front of the other until I cross the finish line. Over the next couple of days the runs have become easier and I'm slowly getting the mileage back up.

I am not a morning person and most of my running is done in the evening after my children have been tucked into bed, but I thought I would try and get a long run in on Saturday morning before the weekend gets too busy. After reviewing the weather forecast, this Saturday's run looks like it's going to be a long, wet and windy one. I'll take the rainy training runs in hopes that the weather will be sunny and cool for marathon day.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Everest - Sabrina

Every year I throw my name into the Boston Marathon lottery at work. I never expect to win. One day I returned from lunch and there was a message to call Public Affairs. I had recently participated in an employee video, so I assumed it was about that. I returned the call, and was stunned to find out I'd been chosen to run in the marathon for Newton-Wellesley Hospital. "Uh,, I still want to do it" I stammered. I was pretty numb.

"So, you think you want to run a marathon" I googled. It's amazing how many hits there are. I had 13 weeks to train. Gulp. That's not alot of time for a novice runner. I came across Hal Higdon's site. I had a vague idea that he was some kind of running guru, and he looks pretty fit in his headshot, so I checked it out. Hal's Intermediate II Marathon Plan would get me to a 20 mile continuous run a little over a week before the marathon. That's pretty ambitious, but I told myself that with the base running I've maintained over the years, hiking, spinning, pilates, skiing - that I had the overall fitness level to attempt this program. I thought, ok, just one run at a time, just follow Hal's plan and keep checkin' 'em off. You don't need to run fast. You just need to finish it. And finish it running. Ok, call me crazy.

So, it's the middle of week seven. I've run 181 of the ~375 miles that will get me to and through the marathon. I've run a 14 mile long run, and have a 16 miler planned for this Sunday. I've run Heartbreak Hill. :-) Transitioning from primarily treadmill and trail running to asphalt has been a shock, but I’m finally adjusting and ran a 9 mile midweek run yesterday and recovered quickly.

The marathon is a huge commitment that becomes more real each day. Every day there is a plan that is based around the run. Food - what it is, how much and when it's eaten has an impact on the run. Sleep and stress, they impact the run. Every run leads to the marathon. Pretty soon it becomes clear that each choice and each action is ultimately going to effect the marathon. It's not an obsessive realization, it's a calm and deliberate one. It's just being mindful about the impact of each action. It's understanding through each running experience, what's worked and what hasn't. What to do next for a better outcome.

Last night I dreamed for the first time about the marathon. I dreamed about not being able to finish it. I think this was influenced by a blog I read (another first time marathoner). It was quite sobering. Up until now I have worked hard to push all limiting thoughts out of my psyche. I know through enduro-hiking days that one foot goes in front of the other, one breath goes in and out again, and that one can stay calm and quietly focused on a goal until its reached. I've done several one day mountain range traverses spanning up to nine mountains and 19,000 feet of elevation change, generally covering 26 to 30 miles in 10-12 hours. It's not easy, and that's why I do it. The marathon will follow the same path. It's a wildly personal journey that one experiences with 25,000 strangers. When I think about it, the marathon has become an ultimate goal. It's not just helping me fill a gap of time when I'd otherwise not be hiking. It's not just keeping me motivated or pushing me to the next level. This marathon represents a huge personal challenge, and a huge personal opportunity for me to get to know more about myself. This marathon just might be my Everest, in that sense.

Any Long Run Ideas? - Andrew

The weather was amazing! It was slightly cool on Saturday morning, March 7, but perfect for a long run. I started at 10:00 am at Alewife Station and ran along the minuteman bikeway through Arlington, Lexington and ending in Bedford. I ran out to the end of the pathway and back, a total of 20 miles! I am not sure I will run another 20 miler before the marathon, but now I know what it feels like. I struggled the last couple of miles, but managed to finish. I was very sore afterward and in desperate need of a massage, which I never got. The best part of the run was the sunshine and the smell of pines trees along the trail. There were lots of people out on the path enjoying the weather. Unfortunately, I lost my running gloves and favorite running cap somewhere along the trail. I had wedged it under my fuel belt, and at some point it fell out. Aside from that, it was a good training day.

Yesterday I ran home from Newton-Wellesley Hospital. What a great run! It was cool again, but the sun was still out. It was a total of eight miles and I did it under an hour! What surprised me is that I had not run since last Saturday, when I did my long run. I started running along Washington Street and then turned right at Comm Ave. I ran along Commonwealth Avenue, up heartbreak hill, and then turned right just past Boston College. I headed down to the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, looped the reservoir, and then down Lake Street back home. I felt pretty good afterwards, unlike after my run on Saturday. I will probably run again today, take Friday off and then another long run on Saturday. Any ideas on where I should do my long run this Saturday? So far, I have run a different course for each long run every Saturday.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Running for a Cause – Tom and Sylvie

Last week, I was in such a good place. Sunday, February 28, Sylvie and I went for an 18 mile run (that turned out to be 19). We tested our ability to drink and eat gummy bears and both felt strong at the end of the run. I've been running four days a week, with two cross training days and a day of rest. Then, out of the blue I was hit with upper back pain this past weekend. Once I figured out it wasn't my heart or lungs (not as young as I used to be), I thought I could keep running. Sunday was a 15 mile run, as we had planned to cut back for a week to recover. It wasn't a bad run once I loosened up, though my energy level was low. The weather, however was magnificent. We ran in shorts and felt much lighter and warmer. But Sunday night was painful, with half the night spent in a recliner. There's no way that I can run right now. It seems to be a muscle pull/tear on the right side of my back/chest wall – who knew such a thing could happen? Many thanks to the Newton-Wellesley team: doctor and Physical Therapy who saw me right away and are helping me back to form. I'll do some cardio on the Shipley Fitness Center bikes, stretch and rest for this week. No long run this weekend but I plan to be back in action again next Tuesday. Hopefully, I remember to cut back a little on meals this week – you really do eat more with this amount of running.

Thanks to all the people around the Hospital who stop me to recount a marathon experience or give me words of encouragement. Of course, a few tell me how glad they are that they ran the Marathon when they were 25 (and not at your age, they seem to imply) but I can take it. It's great to have the support. I remind friends outside the Hospital that we're running to benefit an important community program, the Vernon Cancer Center at Newton-Wellesley. I'll look forward to seeing that sign for inspiration on April 19.

This spring, I am trying to train “by the book,” taking a more scientific approach – Tom’s influence. In the past, because of my yearly high mileage base, I tended to wing it when it came to running marathons. I guess I am training smarter, we shall see. But, for me, it is a fine line: I like to keep it simple – it is the beauty and poetry of running – just put on my shoes and head out in the fresh air. I am a loner as a runner: I run best by myself, lost in my thoughts. And I don't like to bother with the fancy technology - the complicated watches, the heart monitors, the training logs, even the running jargon. What is nice though is to run for a cause, because running often feels like it is all about oneself. As Tom has mentioned, there are ups and downs, but for me, who loves to run, if I am out there in motion, it is a good day and I am glad to be alive.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Need More Pockets! – Maureen

Less than six weeks to go!! Still so surreal. Although as my long runs get longer, it's slowly sinking in that I'm actually doing this. I went out early this past Sunday and was loving the gorgeous weather. I ran part of the marathon route – from Newton-Wellesley to Coolidge Corner and back, just about 15 miles. I only had minor hip pain throughout and actually felt stronger during the second half of the run, which surprised me because that's usually when my limping kicks in. I attributed it to the weather, my new neoprene water bottle holder with the hand strap that my mom found for me and the updated running playlist on my iPod. I like to run to songs that match my cadence (about 180 steps/minute)... there's nothing like a great, upbeat song to keep you moving when you really just feel like stopping! I've also stepped up my stretching, incorporated my new physical therapy exercises and I never leave home without my tennis ball (aka my portable hip massager).

Aside from my hip, the only problem I've been having on my long runs is that I carry too much stuff in my one available pocket... I have my bag of jelly bellies, a packet of Powerade gel (that I actually have yet to experiment with), my house key, chapstick, my backup nano (ridiculous, yes; but sometimes I forget to fully charge my Touch) and my gloves (if I get too hot). Knowing me, the one time I decide not to bring something will be the one time I actually need it.

This Saturday I'm planning on doing 17 miles along the Charles, from Watertown Square to the Museum of Science and back. I'm excited because I'll have a running partner for the first time! My uncle, who has a lot of marathon experience, has kindly offered to run with me (even though our pace will probably seem like a fast walk to him!). Yay, more pockets to hold my stuff!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Could Have Kept Going – Annie

There's been one big change in my training this past week – I started driving to and from work every day. Previously I had been commuting via bus and T, which I quite liked, but it's been hard to sandwich the increased running hours into a day that is already full of work, commute, rehearsal, social engagements – the list goes on. I figured I could control my schedule a bit more, and chop off at least an hour of commute time by driving, and thus far it is proving to be true! It's much more doable for me to get my workouts done in the morning when I can cruise over from Cambridge in 20 minutes flat, AND snag a primo parking spot for making a quick getaway at the end of the day. I miss my reading time and a carefree, traffic-less existence, but it's been a good choice for these months of training.

My knees had been hurting me last week, but that went away about midweek. I've ordered myself a new pair of shoes, identical to those I ran Chicago in and have (still – eek) been running in, and they should arrive in the next few days, which is great. Proper footgear is key!

I went out to Petersham, where my parents live in central MA, this past weekend for a little break from city life and a change of scene for my long run! My sister and I were due to run 12, and with the fantastic weather, I feel like I could've kept going! We had some killer hills mixed in, which was excellent – I want to get more hill workouts incorporated into my training. It felt like summer weather and was one of the absolute most pleasurable long runs I've ever had.

I'll be doing 18 this weekend in Worcester, and it looks like rain, so the memory of Saturday's idyllic, sunny run may have to hold me over!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Hills of Newton - Annie

I am beginning to realize the increasing importance of sleep while training for a marathon. The long runs will wear you out, and adding the cold, inclement weather to it takes you to another level of exhaustion! My sister/training buddy and I drove to NWH on Saturday morning and ran in on the race route to Fenway Park, and then back out for a total of 16 miles. Serendipitously, we encountered Administrative Fellow Andy Wurtzel and his wife Lauren out for a run also, and they generously provided us with water on our way back! Thanks Andy and Lauren! We ran through a snow squall that later turned to rain in the last few miles - tough. I loved getting out on the course, though, and experiencing those infamous Newton hills. Honestly, they are not too bad, though I may be singing a different tune when I charge up them at mile 20! It was also great to be out running with many other people who were training for Boston, and on their long runs. Definitely a major feeling of runner solidarity.

The weekend before last we ran our 15-miler out in Worcester, where my sister lives. It was a gorgeous spring-like day and we had a great route, into Holden from Worcester and then back by the beautiful Holden Reservoir.

I need to incorporate more stretching after the long runs. I had some knee weirdness at the end of Saturday's run, but it went away - though enough to make me aware and perhaps chat with some of the Physical Therapy/Shipley Fitness Center folks. I also definitely need to get a new pair of running shoes, which will hopefully help things!

This weekend's long run will take place out at my parents' bucolic place in Petersham - quite a change of scene! I look forward to it.

My Recent Runs - Andrew

Saturday, February 27
It was difficult to get motivated today, but I set off on a 17.3 mile run. I wanted to do 18 miles, but the map said otherwise. I started in Brighton again. I ran through Watertown, Belmont, Lexington and Arlington. I ran out past Great Meadow, Whipple Hill and the Mormon Temple. It was a nice run, weaving through all these different neighborhoods. It was a lonely run though. I am sure that Beacon and Commonwealth get much more runners on the weekend. I try to pick a different route each week to mix up the scenery. One of these days, I am going to run out to the beach. The weather was OK today. It was cool and cloudy and I finished before light snow and rain started. Overall, it was a good run. If all goes well, and weather permitting, I will try to do 18 or 20 miles this next Saturday. I have some low back pain, but my legs feel pretty good.

Monday, March 1
I ran 6.5 miles in the gym this morning on the treadmill. Did I ever mention that I don't like running on treadmills. Well, I don't. At least it permits me to stay dry and warm while the weather outside is cold and wet. Again, I am looking forward to warmer weather and more outside runs. Good luck Team NWH on your training!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Running in Central Park – Maureen

As more friends/family learn that I'm running in this year's marathon, I'm frequently being asked, “How is your training going?” I'm hardly ever a Debbie Downer but I haven't been able to give many positive responses to that question this week! My right hip is still giving me problems, which has been hindering my runs, and I came down with a nasty sinus infection in the beginning of the week that I'm still fighting off. However, I'm starting to see a light through the tunnel… I met with Carl Faust in Physical Therapy at Newton-Wellesley to figure out the cause of my hip pain. Apparently my scoliosis has a lot to do with it since my right hip is higher than my left. He gave me some exercises that should help out. I also got a deep tissue massage on my hips and legs yesterday - not the most pleasant experience! I feel great today though and plan on getting one or two more of them before the marathon.

I was in NYC visiting friends last weekend so I did my long run on Friday afternoon through Boston and along the Charles. The wind was ridiculous in certain spots - at one point it looked like I was running but I literally was not even moving! I was not pain free throughout but it felt good to complete it. My one goal while in Manhattan (provided my hip was feeling ok) was to do a run on Sunday in Central Park… and I did! It was a gorgeous morning and the run went well... all I was missing was my Red Sox hat ;-)

My goal this weekend is to do 15 miles… in dry, sunny weather… with zero hip pain. Not too much to ask, right?

Over the River and Through the Woods – Andrew

I did not go to Grandmother's house, but I literally went over the river (Charles) and through the woods (Concord). Starting around noon, I ran from my apartment in Brighton to Concord (a total of 14.8 miles according to googlemaps). Much of the run was spent running along Trapelo Road and to my dismay it was uphill much of the way. Fortunately, Saturday was beautiful and sunny so I didn't mind the climb so much. Once I crossed over 95 (128), the scenery was much more picturesque. I passed by the DeCordova Museum, Bakers Hill and Walden Pond. I finished my run down Thoreau Street into the town of Concord. Concord is not very big, but big enough to have a commuter rail station. I took the train back into Boston (Porter Square) and then the bus back home. The long runs do not seem to get any easier, and I need to start increasing the mileage. I love running outside, and hope it warms up soon. With all the torrential rain we have had recently, this Saturday does not look good. I do my long runs on Saturday, and Sundays are my day of rest.

Under the Weather – Donna

This week's entry will be a short one. I've been battling a nasty cold along with caring for two sick toddlers… so by the end of the night running is something I can't even think about. I have also been researching training advice while battling a cold, to run or not run. Given the weather this week and my lack of sleep I opted to not run. Hopefully next week will be a bit more promising!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Outside Today...Rain and All - Tom

My initial euphoria at running the Marathon has fallen with the barometric pressure and persistent rain this week. The realization hits home that there are many miles to run before April 19. Hopefully, we're not having a gray and rainy March. Seasonal Affective Disorder hasn't hit me yet this winter and I don't have time for indoor “light therapy”. Part of me is ready to run it this weekend and get those hours of running (and recovering from running) back. Still, I'm sure I'd just waste the extra time browsing silly sites on the Internet. By the way, my evening internet browsing has decreased with the training. You might suggest your teenagers take up marathon training.

I heard about a 30K race around the Wachusetts Reservoir in Clinton. It's next weekend, March 7. We're thinking of using it as a training run. It's said to be very hilly, a good prep for Boston, with drinks and support on the route. Sylvie and I talked about running part of the marathon course. I'm ambivalent and she's opposed so we won't be doing it. Her argument is that the course will feel more interesting if we stay off it. Anyone who's lived here for 30 years knows the second half of the course anyway. I'm still healthy and relatively happy, so time to signoff. I ran on a treadmill Tuesday, so it's outside this afternoon, rain and all.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sprinting up Heartbreak - Andrew

Training has been going fairly well so far. There have been no injuries to report, just sore muscles. I ran 15 miles last Saturday morning. I ran around the Charles River. It was cold but I managed to stay reasonably warm. I hobbled through the last couple miles, but I made it. I ran nine miles on President’s Day along Beacon Street and Commonwealth Avenue (around Chestnut Hill and Newton). I actually felt great after my run and was able to sprint up Heartbreak Hill without passing out. It was nice to have a little sunshine Monday afternoon. I do shorter runs in the mornings before work at a gym. I am not fond of running on treadmills, so I am anxious for the weather to warm up a bit so I can do more runs outside. I met someone who has run the Boston before and he gave me some tips on running.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Little Extra Rest – Maureen

It's just less than nine weeks out and so far my runs have been going well... my body has been feeling the effects though. My shin splints that I had in the beginning are gone but I've been experiencing soreness in my right hip and left knee during and after my runs. I've decided to only do two runs this week. Icing has helped, as well as Epsom salt baths (CVS makes lavender-scented salts... who knew??). I'm hoping that my extra rest this week also helps put me back on track.

Last Saturday I did my long run on Comm. Ave. to Boston College – my first experience with Heartbreak Hill! It was kind of fun being out there with so many other runners... I felt like I was in a road race. Like Annie mentioned in her first post, there is this sense of camaraderie when you're out there. It was one of those mornings that makes me excited to get out and run... it was cold but the sky was blue, I had some good tunes on the iPod and for once I didn't feel as though I was running through a wind tunnel. I decided to experiment with Sport Beans and regular Jelly Belly beans and felt pretty good. Still need to figure out my hydration situation though. Running with a water bottle in hand is not fun so I think I'm going to give in and buy a water belt.

I'm slowly learning where friends and family are going to be situated along the route on marathon day, which is exciting. Knowing they are out there will definitely help to keep me motivated. Maybe I can convince a few to keep a stash of Jelly Bellies for when I come shuffling by? ;)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Countdown Begins – Donna

I’ve traded in my skis for my running shoes this winter. While my family is skiing on the weekend I’m doing my training runs in Vermont. Last week was a good week for me although I need to start picking up the mileage on the longer runs.

It was nice to have Monday off and the extra time to plan out my training. It’s rare that I get to run in the afternoon and with my good friend Cindy. On Monday we did a five mile recovery run and I was able to get some great advice and insight on what to expect since she has done the Boston Marathon for the past couple of years.

Most of my training runs are on the “Heartbreak Hill” route of the race. These runs always give me a reality check on where I am in my training. I was feeling pretty good and I’m starting to get excited. I can’t believe it’s just nine weeks out!

As the training falls into place I find that I need to start focusing on my eating habits and cutting out a lot of the treats. This is tough if you have ever walked around our department. I believe we have some of the best bakers that work at Newton-Wellesley Hospital.

The countdown has started, hopefully the snow will get cleared away soon and I can get outside.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lessons Learned - Tom

Lessons from this past week:
- Rest and sleep are more important than I realized.
- Pay more attention to nutrition and water.
- This training business takes a lot of time.

It's amazing how much training advice is out there in cyberspace. I could spend entire evenings on marathon training sites (and buy all sorts of equipment). Don't know if it's right or wrong, but we're trying to keep it simple. The long run yesterday was hard for me. Sylvie felt good, so she was able to keep me going. I've mostly run alone over the years but it's nice to have a partner for the long runs. But, Sunday was also just run and recovery. I didn't do anything else during the day except read the paper, nap and watch the Olympics. (Cross country skiing must have the most physically fit athletes.)

Nine weeks to the marathon. It's snowing today, so I'll be on the Shipley Fitness Center treadmill later this afternoon