Monday, April 25, 2011

Thank You – Todd

I finished and reached my goal! I have so many people to thank. First of all I would like to thank Newton-Wellesley Hospital for giving me an official Marathon entry. Thanks to my family for giving me the time to train. Thanks to the Laboratory staff for all of their encouragement. On the night before the Marathon I stayed at a friend’s house in Marlborough. This allowed me to sleep in and avoid the long bus ride from Boston. (And to eat Oreo cookies as a midnight pre-race energy snack.) The run itself was enjoyable all the way until the first of the Newton hills. Thanks to my friends, family and co-workers that cheered as I passed. My children each had a sign and a GU for me, which was a big boost. The fans throughout the course were amazing. I especially appreciated the kids who were handing out popsicles. Later in the run, when I was miserable, I was encouraged to see any kid with a sign that said “Go Dad.” After the race I went out to dinner and ice cream wearing my Boston Marathon Medal. Thanks JP licks for my congratulatory ice cream sundae! I took a week of vacation at home with my family during which I was able to fully recuperate. Finally, thanks goes to those who work in and support all of the great work that is done at the Vernon Cancer Center at Newton-Wellesley Hospital.

My First Race – Jacqui

It is hard to believe that a few days ago I ran 26.2 miles. I am thrilled to have been able to take part in the Boston Marathon. It was really amazing to see firsthand the corrals of 30,000 people preparing to run, the Hopkinton forest bathroom breakers, the Wellesley College screamers, the challenges of Heartbreak Hill, the Boston College drinkers, the Citgo sign hill and of course the FINISH line. It was very uplifting to see my family spread out along the course. They greeted me with signs, cow bells and cheers, which helped to carry me forward. I was surprised to see energetic and supportive spectators continuously along the road throughout the whole race. I was very entertained by the signs and clothing of spectators and runners alike. Very early on in the race – way back in Ashland or Hopkinton – someone had set up a town line sign for Brookline. For most of the run, I paced behind someone in a hot pink tutu. I kept crossing paths with a woman in a leopard dress, and I even saw a pair of people dressed as a “hamburger and fries.” I saw President Lincoln run by me in a full long-sleeve suit and wondered how he would fare in that outfit, seeing that I was struggling while in comfortable running gear.

Despite the numerous warnings to watch the pace early on in the race, I ran 10-minute miles for the first 15K. Although I knew I was running faster than my training (12-minute miles), I was not sure if the fast pace was due to the expected “30 to 90 second faster race day pace” or the much-dreaded “going too fast and will burn out soon” theory. Right around 13 miles I suddenly learned the answer: I was going too fast. I also realized that I was a little dehydrated as I hadn’t increased my water intake to account for the warmer weather. I drank water and Gatorade, ate a few oranges and walked for two to three minutes every mile instead of my usual one-minute walk. I did this over the next few miles and felt much better by mile 17. I am so grateful to those souls that handed out the orange slices that helped to revitalize me. Although I had made a recovery, I wasn’t sure how tenuous it was, so I decided to walk the three big hills. I was disappointed by this concession as I had trained the last 14 weeks running these hills and thought I was ready to take them on, but the last thing I wanted to do was not finish the race.

Then at the top of Heartbreak Hill, my uncle joined me for the last five miles. After the demoralizing hills, it was such a wonderful site to see him with a fresh face eager for the run together. We finished out the race together enjoying the sites and sounds of the Boston Marathon. Although my overall pace ended up being slower than my goal of 12-minute miles, I was able to finish the race strong. Since I have never done any running race before, I am proud to walk away from the Boston Marathon with a finish time of 5:32 – and of course a really cool medal!

Actually, I am walking away from this experience with a whole lot more than that. I exceeded my fundraising goal for the NWH Cancer Center. I learned that my friends, family and co-workers are an incredibly supportive group of people. I learned that one of my great strengths as well as one of my great weaknesses is that I always try to get more out of any given situation. I learned that my dog, Rowen, loves to run. And did I mention that I got a really cool medal?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Success! - Elise

I was going for under five hours and made it! 4:55. I felt good the whole time but definitely slowed down on Heartbreak Hill. I was so impressed with the crowds cheering along the way. There were so many people it felt great. The finish was so awesome and packed with fans. I ended up getting the free massage they offer all runners after the race. I think it really helped with the recovery, that and the beer with my dinner. I just wanted to thank all my friends and family that supported me along the way. I couldn't of finished without you!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Still Sinking In – Jenna

What a day! I finished my first marathon ever, the Boston Marathon 2011, in 4:57. It’s a bit longer than the 4:30 I was hoping to run it in, but I don't mind because I know I gave it my all. Everything went well, until about Mile 21, after the Hills, when everything seemed to slow down.

My running buddy Ture and I, whom I ran with for all our long runs, stayed together from start to finish, helping pep each other up over the last five miles when we were both hurting a bit. I was able to see some of my other friends along the way, many of whom were running for other charities, so that was really neat. The very best part for me was making the turn onto Boylston and seeing all of my family and friends cheering for me as I ran by strong and bolted to the finish line. Even though I was hurting, they all said I ran right by like it was the first mile, which is exactly how I wanted to finish!

I loved the whole finishing experience – crossing the finish line, getting wrapped in my marathon foil and receiving my medal. All of the volunteers were so nice, and greeted me like I was the only runner there that day, with enthusiasm and smiles. The BAA and all the thousands of volunteers do a great job of putting on the race and showing all runners a great time.

I met my fiancé and family at the athlete meeting area, took some pictures and headed back home, only a block from the start line (thank goodness!). From there, we celebrated and barbequed, with me mainly enjoying my new found appreciation for sitting still!

I found it quite amazing that no matter how much I was hurting at the end, all these thoughts vanished as soon as I crossed the finish line! The whole day was very special for both my family and me, and I appreciate all the support from everyone whom I knew and I did not know who cheered for me and NWH along the way.

I am not sure if I will continue to stick with my usual half marathons, or will now be addicted to full marathons, only time will tell. I thank NWH for giving me the opportunity to run and support our organization, everyone who donated and supported me along the way and my family and friends for being understanding when running became one of my top priorities over the past few months.

It's still sinking in that I have achieved this dream of mine (and ran for approximately five hours!!)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ready – Jacqui

The mileage this week was even less than last week. I found it hard mentally to cut back on my regimen after training on longer runs for so long. At first, I began increasing my speed as I had a lot of excess energy, but I quickly learned this is NOT what you are supposed to do during the taper weeks. The next day after running 10 to 11-minute miles (up from my prior 12-minute miles), all of my muscles in my legs tightened up. Ugh... definitely not the time to develop new injuries!

Although I have the energy to go faster and train harder now that I am not running really long distances, the whole idea behind a taper is resting your body and muscles for the big day. I have found that I have to consciously hold myself back during my runs as it just seems too easy. Who is this person?

I am trying to focus more on getting good sleep and stretching regularly. I am really loving the extra time away from running to spend with my family. I have done all of the hard work. Now it is just a matter of time until the big day. I am ready.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Force to be Reckoned With – Jacqui

I made it at last! This is my final entry before the big run. I am both very excited and anxious about the upcoming day. Since I have not been running excessive mileage over the last three weeks, there is a part of me that worries that I can no longer do a really long run. I know the whole taper idea is tried and true by the best of experts, but I am still anxious about the distance. 26.2 miles seems a lot longer to me this week after only running a maximum of eight miles last weekend, compared to three weeks ago when I had just run 20.6miles. It is a good thing the mileage is less this week, as I have been spending a lot of time trying to coordinate my run and my supporters. I picked up my running shirt and some cow bells from Newton-Wellesley today. This weekend I’ll be getting my bib #26135. The Boston Athletic Association offers many options to track runners while on the course. You can sign up for text messages that alert spectators to specific mile markers once crossed and you can monitor progress on-line. The Boston course has a lot of key topographical and emotional landmarks, so runners often have loved ones at pre-specified locations for help with motivation in these areas. Many people have informed me that they plan to come out to see me run. I thought that I would probably have my husband, son and parents watching me on Marathon Monday, but I never dreamed this many people would fight the crowds to see me pass by. I can’t believe how supportive my friends and family have been. I have been getting phone calls, e-mails, snail mails, care packages and donations for the Newton-Wellesley charity all week long. If you are planning on coming out for the run and you happen to see me in the crowd, please yell out your support. I will use every and any help out there. Thank you for joining me on this journey to 26.2 miles. It has been a long and hard 14 weeks, but now I feel like I can cross any bridge that comes in my path. Armed with my realized physical and emotional stamina, and more importantly my amazing support network – I can be a force to be reckoned with.

Run Home! – Jenna

Only one easy two-mile run on Saturday stands between me and the Boston Marathon! I couldn't be more excited. I live in the Back Bay, right near the convention center, and they are already setting up some of the tents and hanging the posters, which is pretty neat. I can't wait to go to the convention to pick up my number and see all the other runners and take it all in. All I have to tell myself on Monday is RUN HOME! My last 20 miler went well, and I am feeling strong. I have no doubt in my mind I can run this and run it well - as long as I fuel at the right points, and not worry too much about the hills. I am excited for mile 17 - to run by the Hospital, as I know I will need a little boost pre-Heartbreak Hill. I wore my NWH jersey top last night for an easy three miles and it wore well, so I know I can wear this on race day without any problem. I will be running with my running buddy Ture, who I have trained most long runs with, and I really hope we both do well and can cross the finish line together! All in all, I am soooo excited, and I can't wait for Monday. Thank you to NWH for giving me the opportunity to run the Marathon, support our organization and raise money to support our brave cancer patients and the services that benefit them here at the Hospital. Thank you to all my family, friends and co-workers who have helped me surpass my fundraising goal! Thank you to all the individuals who have organized this for us, looked after our fundraising and helped us with the blog! You all have done a wonderful job and thank you for your support! Look for me on Monday is my yellow NWH jersey!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Carb Loading! – Elise

Four more days to go! I start carb loading today. Increasing to about 70 percent of my calories during the day being from carbs. My best friend is flying in tomorrow to help me through the big day. We are going to go to the Marathon expo tomorrow afternoon. I have heard it is huge and a lot of fun. We plan to take it pretty easy for the rest of the weekend. Good luck everyone who is racing and thanks to all of the supporters! See you all race day!

Run Like a Rabbit – Todd

This last week has been remarkable for the amount of recognition and encouragement that I have received from my friends and coworkers. Many friends have asked for an estimate of where I will be at their particular viewing posts. I hope I can see them along the route at the Hospital, the Fire Station, scattered up the Newton Hills and in Kenmore Square. Many members of the NWH community have stopped me in the halls and said they would be cheering me on. The NWH Laboratory had a recognition breakfast for the runners from the Laboratory and Sleep Center. It was nice to hear their words of encouragement while we all loaded up on carbohydrates. There was a rabbit theme with chocolate bunnies and a banner that said “Run Like a Rabbit.” I appreciate their suggestion that I might be that quick; however, I will be perfectly happy to finish like the tortoise.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Expert Advice: Almost There!

Just over a week to go! Great job everyone! Hopefully you are all feeling confident and proud of what you have achieved so far! Don't hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns leading up to the big day. And remember, if you have any issues, we're hosting the Annual Post-Marathon Injury Clinics for registered runners of the BAA Boston Marathon. I think it’s a great idea to have friends and family meet you along the course. Even if it’s only for a mile, it’s uplifting to have someone run with you. Come race day, stick with your routine that you’ve used for your long runs. If you're used to eating two Ego Waffles, coffee and a glass of OJ before your run, then do that. If you run 45 minutes before you have any water, then do that and take it easy on the water stations…they'll be every mile. This is a great week to really be good about stretching, even if you just do some biking, the elliptical or a short jog, start with a warm up and then spend 20 minutes every day doing some good stretching. It'll help you feel limber and ready next Monday. Have fun and enjoy the taper!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tapering for Race Day – Jacqui

Every week up until this point had been additive, I was running longer and longer distances than I had ever run before. Since this is the first week of my taper, every run this week was shorter than last week’s runs. What a difference! The runs were easier and faster than ever before. After such an easy week, I was nervous that I would under estimate the long run of 12 miles on the weekend. The sting of barely making it through week 5’s long run of 13 miles is still very fresh in my memory. But even my long run of 12 miles seemed ridiculously short and fast. I can’t believe it is me talking this way, I must be possessed by running aliens. I once again ran on the Marathon course, parking in the middle and running out and back in both directions – making each leg only three miles. My running mascot, Rowen, joined me again on the first half of the run. Rowen runs as if she was made to do this and her energy is contagious. This week was the first time she did any hills and she kept her pace nice and strong for the whole “fire station hill” in Newton. I will miss her attitude and vigor come race day. I spent most of my long run mentally preparing for race day. I noted what cross streets landmark the start and peaks of the big hills. I also started thinking about where along the course would be good places to see friends and family. I just finished reading “26 miles to Boston” this week. It is a book that talks about the history, topography and challenges of every mile of the Boston Marathon. It was written by a man who ran Boston as a bandit first time marathon runner. The author talks about how uplifting and emotional it was for him to see specific people at designated places along his run. The author’s brother even jumped into the race at mile 21 and finished the last five miles by his side. I spoke with a few marathon runners that I know about this idea, and it seems to be pretty common for a loved one to jump in on your first marathon for some motivational support in the last miles. What an amazing idea! If only I knew someone who could run five miles AND someone who was willing to be around me while I am running longer and harder than ever before in my life…

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Stretching It Out – Todd

The last few weeks have been tough. However, I am happy to have started the taper portion of my training. This last Sunday I ran 20 miles and I was so relieved. It was my maximum length long run and was scheduled three weeks before the Marathon. A very busy work and home schedule kept me from running most of my midweek training runs. Then, two weekends ago I was demoralized when eight miles into a planned 18mile run my right iliotibial band tightened up. I had to stop running and walk back two miles. The following week I started a number of specific stretches given to me by fellow runner and blogger Jacqui Perna. I used them daily, during warm up, and during breaks at the three-mile marks of my run. They worked and allowed me to make it 20 miles. I parked my car on the Comm Ave carriage road at the intersection with Centre Street. I ran the reverse Marathon route to the Fire Station where I continued on Comm Ave instead of turning on Washington Street. I crossed the Pike and touched Rowe Street. That is three miles one way. I returned to my car and then did the whole circuit two more times, plus one more time to Walnut and back. I had Gatorade, Honest Kids Juice pouches and GU stashed in my car and smaller amounts in my pockets. This combination of calories and hydration worked well. I am running shorter distances this week and my attention is turning to figuring out how to get to the starting line and how to get home after the race.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Finish Line in Sight – Jenna

Great Success! This week I ran the first 20 miles of the Marathon route, ending at Boston College. This was a true test of how things will go on Marathon day, and things went really well! I made it through the course and the hills without any shin problems, and generally felt I could have finished the last 6.2 miles once I got back to Boston. I was able to use my Powerade gummies along the way, and this time the re-fueling went well! I am really excited for race day now! The best part about the day was seeing all of the other marathoners out – they lined both sides of the streets along the course. However, I am looking forward to tapering down and giving my body a bit of a break, as I have been a bit more tired lately. A few shorter runs, a 10 miler and a 12 miler left, and then race day! It honestly can't come fast enough. I just can't wait to make it across that finish line!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Peak Mileage Week – Jacqui

Week 10: I wrapped up week 10 by skipping my long run. At least it was a short longer run – only 14 miles. It was a “step back” week, so I feel I missed out on a confidence booster since the long run was short. Hopefully it won’t matter much physically, though missing the long run on week 10 did greatly increase my anxiety towards the next week's long run of 20 miles. Week 11: Despite week 10's skipped run, I completed Week 11’s mileage, which peaked at 20 miles during the week and culminated with a 20-mile long run on Saturday. Due to some miscalculations in where I was supposed to turn around on the long run, I ended up running 20.6 miles on Saturday. I am such an overachiever! I went a little slower this run than my usual 12-minute miles. I am unsure what slowed me down. Maybe it was the fact that I didn’t have my personal mascot – my dog, Rowen. Or maybe it was the brutal, cold wind, or perhaps the brand-new knee pain that I developed around mile 16 that made me limp a bit. Still, I was very impressed with myself that I was actually able to run 20.6 miles. Hopefully, that means I will be able to run the full 26.2 on marathon day. I am very relieved that I have made it to this great milestone of completing the “peak mileage” week. From here until race day, I will be running shorter and shorter distances to rest up for the big day. Now that it looks like I will actually be able to finish the Marathon, I have begun to think about my finish time. I have always been a competitive person, so it has been very difficult for me to put my pride aside and try to just finish the race. I know it is unrealistic to “start” running 14 weeks prior to a Marathon and expect to have a respectable finish time. But I cannot get over the fact that this is a race, not just a challenge to finish. So one of the many things that I thought about on my 20-mile run this week was my finish time. If I am able to continue the remaining six miles, even at the slower pace that I ran on Saturday, I will actually finish the Marathon under the six hour time limit the Boston Athletic Association sets.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Last Long Run Before the Big Day – Elise

This Saturday I will be running the Marathon route from Hopkinton to where I live in Brighton. It is about 22 miles. I am so excited to be doing my last long run before the big day. I just picked up some new shoes yesterday at the New Balance Factory Store. I was afraid my old ones wouldn't last until the Marathon. I am trying to carb load before the run on Saturday to see how it feels. I have a new audible book for the run "The Reliable Wife", which is just getting good. I am going to take my brother's suggestion and freeze a couple of water bottles before to use for foot cramps after the run. I am hoping to pace around a 10:30 mile.

Expert Advice: Stay the Course

With only three weeks and four days to go, this is the time to keep up with your training and look ahead to the taper. I hope you've all been stretching regularly, doing some cross training, core strength and stability training and taking care of your nutrition and hydration. But…whatever you have been doing, just keep doing it. I have met with too many hopefuls that have changed something in the final stages of training, only to upset the machine. Now is NOT the time to change your shoes, try a new speed program or start a fancy 45-minute workout. You're almost there…you can do it!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Another Successful Week – Jenna

I successfully made up my mileage from last week, as well as completed my quickest 16 miles yet with L Street. Yesterday’s long run took us through Milton, Hyde Park, Canton and through the Blue Hills. I am feeling confident about completing the Marathon in a good time; however, the true test will be this coming Sunday when I run my longest distance yet – 22 miles on race course. We will start at Hopkinton and will end somewhere around Kenmore Square. This means I will be running Heartbreak at the same point I will on race day – something we have not done yet.

My friend Ture and I have decided to run the Marathon together as well. We have been training together and are running the same minute mile. This will make the whole experience more enjoyable for me and we can be there to cheer each other on throughout the whole race.

Over the past few weeks, I have been running faster and faster, originally starting somewhere around 10:30 minute miles and have been keeping a steady pace of 9:45, which is faster than I ever thought I would run for Marathon pace.

April 18th can't come fast enough!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Runner’s High – Jacqui

I reached a couple of exciting milestones this week. The first milestone was that I ran the longest distance of my life and am still upright to tell about it. I ran 18 miles on the Marathon route, from Pete’s Coffee in Wellesley to the Chestnut Hill Ave T Stop and back. My mileage this week ramped up to 36 miles from last week’s 29 miles. This is the first week that I am coming off a "step back" week, where the mileage is reduced to allow for gathering strength for the next push upward. I had been playing catch up all of this time – trying to do an 18-week training program in 14 weeks. I had been continuously increasing my mileage for seven weeks straight without ever having been a runner prior to that. I never felt like I had an easy run, as I was always pushing it further than I had ever pushed it before. I keep reading everywhere that rest is an important component of any training program and now I know why. I really felt the difference this week. I ran two runs during the week where I actually felt wonderful and got a taste of runner’s high – my second milestone. The runs were on the treadmill, which I usually tend to find very tedious and they were back to back at nine miles and five miles respectively. I found that I could have easily done a lot more!! Thankfully I am finally starting to feel some true progress.

After having run 18 miles total during the week, I set out for my 18-mile run on Saturday. Truthfully, I was a bit nervous about it. I didn’t think I could do it. But the miles passed by without too much effort. I did the first half with my dog again. She held up wonderfully once again. She is getting better about being a good running partner, only two barks the whole nine miles. That is saying a lot for a Border Collie, as they like to bark when they “work.” I am starting to see her as my personal mascot – Rowen, the Marathon dog. She then retired to the car and I set off for the hills of Newton. I started to fatigue around mile 16 and by the time mile 18 rolled around I was VERY grateful to see my glorious blue car sitting there waiting for me. I praised my car for being there to carry me home when I needed it most. Though exhausted at the time, I did recover well the next day without too much hobbling. I even did the run faster than my goal of 12-minute miles. I now know that unless I have some unforeseen injury, that I will be able to get to the end of the Marathon. Pretty amazing for someone that couldn’t run more than three miles nine weeks ago.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Balancing Act – Jenna

This week will be an interesting week. I was away this weekend skiing and was not able to get in my long run of 15 miles. Therefore, I am going to try to make up these miles tonight and tomorrow. I felt a bit guilty about not being able to run this weekend; however, I wanted to have a fun weekend away with friends, and not let it hinder my fun and the fun of the group I was with. This has been one of the toughest parts of marathon training for me – balancing skiing and running. It's hard to ski hard one day and run a handful of miles the next. I just plain run out of energy for my run. It was all worth it, and I'll just have to set away some extra time after work this week for running.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Expert Advice: Stretching

It sounds like everyone is sticking with their training and overcoming all the aches, pains, mental challenges, GI disturbances, boredom and weather-related issues! Nice to hear that we're hitting 20 miles and greater! Good job guys, keep it up!

I was recently asked about the value of stretching to avoid injury before or after exercise. Well, I believe that the jury is out on this one. There is literature to suggest that static stretching with 30 second holds before exercise does not decrease the risk of injury and that what is important is really a “warm up.” This is all well and good, but I still believe that some level of stretching at the beginning of a long run and then again at the end of your run can be helpful:

I would start off with a five-minute jog as a warm up, and then do a 10-minute stretching session. Focus on your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, groin, IT band, hips and even your shoulders and neck. Stretching after a short warm up has been shown to be more effective than stretching “cold.” Personally, I found that when I did this, my run felt smoother, less stiff and achy and I didn't have the feeling that I had cement legs! I do think it’s very important, however, to spend 10 to 15 minutes stretching after your runs…especially the longer ones! Your muscles will feel tight and achy due to the lactic acid, fatigue and muscle strain, and the stretching can help you to recover quicker. And that hurt feels so good! Go team go!

Practicing the Hills – Jacqui

Week 8 was uneventful, except that my 17-month-old son started crying when I got out my running shoes on Saturday. The poor guy kept sitting in my lap trying to prevent me from putting on my shoes. My mileage during the week ramped up, but the long run was shorter at only 12 miles. (This week’s total mileage was only 29 miles compared to last week’s 32.) Next week’s miles really ramp up, so I guess this week is all about rest – if you can call it that!

I ran outside for my long run and once again found it much easier than indoor training. It was pretty windy and it felt like I wasn’t making very much progress at times, but I ran at a slightly faster pace outdoors than on the treadmill. Thankfully outdoor running seems to be much easier for me than indoor running. I was able to stay on Commonwealth Ave.’s carriage road for the whole six miles out and back. Most of the snow is finally gone, but it was really wet and muddy. I again brought my border collie for half of the run and she was a content, dirty mess at the end. It is giving me some confidence to run the actual Boston Marathon route, especially since I keep running the hills in Newton, which are famous for being difficult. I also continue to do power walks with a baby jogger on the Avenue for my cross training day. Hopefully, that stretch of the Marathon will be so familiar that come race day it will not be intimidating!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Downhill and Uphill – Elise

I did my 20-mile run this past Saturday. I went out to Hopkinton and ran the course for ten miles and then turned back. I think it was a good comparison of the Marathon since the first ten miles are downhill so I had to run uphill the second half of my run, similar to Heartbreak Hill. I downloaded two "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" episodes and two "This American Life" episodes that pretty much covered my run. I also tried out my new fuel belt, which was fairly comfortable and very helpful. I felt pretty good the next day, just some cramping in my foot. I think I am going to try carb loading before my next long run and see if it works.

Managing My Time While Training – Jenna

This weekend I finished my 20-mile run! I ran from the Natick Armory to South Boston with the L Street Running club. This is the farthest I have run in one single bout to date! Most of the route was the Marathon course, which included the three big hills, including Heartbreak Hill! This was great because I became familiar with what I will be challenged with on race day. I had no idea how much the hills would fatigue my legs, and towards the end of the run it was pretty tough to keep going! However, I am so happy I had the experience this past weekend and have a better idea of what to expect.

I ran with my running buddy, Ture and we had a lot of time to talk during those three hours. I asked him if he had time to spend with family and friends during this time, especially as our mileage gets up high and our runs take longer and longer. He said it has required a lot of planning and sometimes saying "no" to things. We both agreed it can be a bit stressful. It made me feel a bit better, as it has been a bit of a challenge to manage my time and still have somewhat of a social life. For example, Saturday night I was at a friend’s birthday dinner until almost midnight (I was the first to leave - early bird), woke up at 5:45 am to catch the bus to the training run that started at 6:45 am, ran until 11:00 am, quickly showered and was at a baby shower at 12:30. I get a bit stressed trying to keep it all straight sometimes, but it’s nice to know I am not the only one! I know it will all be worth it come race day!

Friday, March 4, 2011

This is Doable – Jacqui

Week 7 was a fantastically encouraging week for me. I decided the snow and ice were cleared enough for me to hit the road for the long run. So I plotted out my 16-mile course on the marathon route from Wellesley Hills to Chestnut Hill T station and back. There were a few logistics to figure out. What would I need to wear? How would I carry all the things I needed – waters and gels, as well as my iPod. I was also on call last weekend, so I would also have to bring both my pager and my phone. It seemed that I would need a backpack for all of this stuff! How would I keep my turtle pace? How would I know when to do my new plan of designated one-minute walks every mile?

At the last minute I decided to bring along one of my dogs for companionship and moral support. I opted to park in the middle of my route, that way I was able to run out four miles to Wellesley Hills and back with my dog. Then when I got back to my car, I dropped off my pup and sunglasses and picked up a new water and gloves for the second leg of the trip out to Chestnut Hill T station and back. I did manage to fit everything in a fanny pack that was easy enough to carry on my waist. I initially had some difficulty getting the pack to stay snug on my waist, but after a couple of stops for adjustments that problem was solved. I decided to just run at a comfortable pace and do my designated walks for one minute every three songs. My dog was a great running partner except for the occasional unsolicited barks at poor random passersby. I cannot believe the stamina of that dog! I figured I better only take her for half of the run, as she has never been on a run ever in her life. Not only did she keep up with me the whole time, but she never even touched the water I left out for her while I ran the other eight miles!

The run along Route 16 to Wellesley Hills was very icy and snowy. There were many times where my dog and I were running on pure ice and jumping over large piles of snow. The run on Commonwealth Ave, on the other hand, was perfect running conditions. The miles flew by outside as opposed to inside on the treadmill where the miles ebb by. I had been so anxious to start running outside, as I had been warned that both keeping a pace and the hills would be a huge hardship compared to treadmill running. I was amazed to find that I kept my same pace on both legs of the run. Despite the snow and ice and Heartbreak hill, I was able to comfortably run the whole 16 miles – except for my designated 16 minutes of walking. I actually even enjoyed myself out there. What a relief, this is definitely doable!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Gu Is a No Go – Jenna

Getting back to my normal running schedule this week, I am excited to download another audio book from iTunes. This is something I never thought I would like, but it seems to keep me engaged as I go along and helps pass the time. My first audio book was four hours long, and I went through that in less than a week! Also, as far as fuel during my long runs, sometimes I need some and sometimes I don't. I am getting better at being able to tell when I need a little jumpstart and when I don't. I have found the "Gu" is a no-go. I have trouble getting it down and Gatorade makes me cramp up a bit. Swedish fish do work, but they tend to get stuck in your teeth. I found these organic dried fruit sticks at Whole Foods (looks like a small fruit roll-up) and bought a few to try this weekend for my long run. They are a bit easier to eat, and also a bit healthier for you (maybe?). I guess we'll see!

An Easy Long Run – Todd

This last weekend I was able to complete a long run. Having skipped running for two weekends since my last long run of 15 miles, I did not really know what to expect or have a plan. I ate a small breakfast and lunch and started out with a pocket full of GU, PowerBar Gel and Jelly Belly Sport Beans. I have been consistently using the LogMyRun app for my iPhone to keep track of my time and distance. Somewhere near mile five, I realized that the app had crashed between mile three and four. Since I started the day without a goal I decided to just run a course and measure it later. I continued west on Comm Ave past the Fire Station to Lexington Street in Auburndale where I reversed course and ran all the way back to Waban Hill Road across from Boston College. From there, I ran home. I ate my snacks, drank juice pouches and really felt great for the whole run. The iPhone iPod function continued to work. I listed to the Proclaimers, the Pogues and Mumford & Sons. Upon returning home, I threw my 2XU compression tights into the washer and took a shower. I put the tights on as soon as there were clean and wore them for the rest of the day. I am going to optimistically assume that my training, the specially formulated sports snacks and my compression tight all contributed to an easy long run. When I traced my run, it measured 14 miles. Perhaps that is a few miles shorter than it should have been at this time, but overall I was very happy.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Toughest Week Yet – Jenna

This past week I had a bit of a setback. I was not able to get my long run for last week in until this past Monday, due to the below 0 temperatures on Sunday in Vermont. I woke up early Monday morning and got all my gear together for a 15 miler along the Charles. Unfortunately, I forgot to check the weather, and it was snowing. I decided I wasn't going to let this get the best of me, so I packed on the layers and headed out. The Charles walking/running/biking trails had yet to be plowed and were extremely slick. Not to mention the snow was coming in sideways and I was having trouble seeing. All was well until mile 11, when I wiped out. I went down sideways on both knees, and it took me a good five minutes to get the feeling back in the lower half of my body. I decided to walk for five minutes or so, and compose myself, and wouldn't you know I fell again – on both knees. I knew at this point I had done some damage. I managed to jog/walk the last mile home, so unbelievably disappointed I couldn't finish. When I got home and could assess the damage, I found I had bumps on both knees where things had already swelled up, both knees were cut open, and already semi-bruised – worst case scenario. So to make a long story short, sore knees and hips, coupled with my shin splints, made for a very light week. I was able to get about seven miles in two 3.5-mile runs, and an hour of yoga.

I was super disappointed about this, but I knew taking the time to heal was important as I approach my longest runs yet. I had to skip my long run this weekend, and am hoping to make up some of that lost mileage this week in preparation for my 18 miler this weekend. Trying to keep my chin up here! Stay Tuned!

Figuring Out Walk Breaks – Jacqui

Week 6 was slightly better than last week. I felt great during the week as the mileage was the same for my short runs, but the long run was just as hard and longer at 15 miles. This is the first long run where I ended up walking more than my designated walk breaks, which is walking for ½ mile every five miles. Though I walked the long distance more than I would have liked, I did end the last two miles running at my goal pace. The exciting thing is that I think that I discovered a problem with my walk breaks; they seem to be a little too long. When I start running again after my second walk break, my legs all of a sudden feel like they have cement blocks on them. I thought it would be good to get a long rest in, but my body seems to get the idea that we are all done and starting back up is very hard. I did a little research and found that a lot of people recommend walking for one minute every 10 minutes or every mile. That seems like a whole lot of starting and stopping to me, but my way doesn’t seem to be working so well. I have been drinking a gulp of water every one mile and eating energy gels every five miles, so the new walk breaks will coincide with this and make for more coordinated drinking and geling.

I also took a couple of walks on Commonwealth this week to check out the hills and the snow. It is still pretty icy at places, but I feel that I can finally start training outside this week! I am hoping that the change of scenery mixed with the enthusiasm of fellow runners will help with the longer runs. The hills are as long and steep as rumored, especially given that they are at the 20-mile mark of the run. My plan is to power walk the hills with the jogging stroller on my cross training days, so come race day the hills will seem easier without my 27-pound son along for the ride!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Running with Audio Books – Elise

I had a good longer run (six miles) Saturday afternoon/evening. The only issue I had was that I started off when it was still light and warm outside and then realized about halfway through my run that the sun was going down and it was getting chilly quickly. I made it back with only some numb extremities but with little damage. I am almost done with "The Help" (audio book) so I went online and got another one, "Cutting for Stone". It sounds really good so now I am eager to run so I can listen to it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Tough Week – Jacqui

Five weeks down and only nine more weeks until I run in the Boston Marathon! I need to keep making statements like this so that I actually start to believe the realness of it all. This was a HARD week for me. My late entry is proof of this, as I felt that I had very little positive things to write about. This week’s mileage was 27 miles, almost one mile over what I will do in ONE run on that fateful day in April. Now those of you who are runners may not understand this, but I am sure that the rest of you are with me on this one: 26.2 miles is a REALLY long distance to run! That is the kind of distance that takes some time even in a car. All along I had been convinced that I would slowly get used to running longer and longer distances and that come April, 26.2 miles would not seem so insanely far. Yes I have been slowly ramping up the distances, but no I haven’t come anywhere near getting used to it!

This week’s long run was a half marathon, which is three miles longer than last week’s long run. To say that the run was very hard would be an understatement. I did complete my goal, which was to run a 12-minute mile snail pace and to only walk for a half mile every five miles. Upon completion of the run I quickly showered and got in the car to meet up with my family for a party. I got extremely nauseated while in the car and it lasted for a good 20-30 minutes beyond my arrival. I also had multiple severe toe pains. I was basically a wreck and it was only half the distance of the marathon!

This was very disheartening to say the least. I was demoralized, exhausted and in a whole lot of pain. The next day I slept a lot and I drained the blisters under my toenails, which provided much relief of my toe pains. I also decided to take the next two days off from my regimen to get back on my feet – literally. I was secretly afraid that I had begun to give up. It wasn’t until week six began that I started feeling like myself again. I don’t know if it was the extra sleep or the lack of excruciating toe pain, but something happened that made me want to get back into my running shoes again. I rearranged my running schedule for week six so that my weekly mileage was not affected by my two-day break. I was able to arrange things so that I only lost one day of exercise and it was only a cross-training day. I also realized that week six should be slightly easier as it will be the first week that I am not on the accelerated running schedule. When I first found out that I was going to run Boston, the marathon was only 14 weeks away. I was unable to find a running plan for non-runners for that short of duration. I guess bells and sirens should have gone off in my head at this point, but instead I modified the first five weeks of an 18-week schedule. I tweaked the schedule to ramp up my workout every week instead of every other week until I caught up with the 18-week schedule. Now this will be the first week that I will have a whole extra week to get used to a regimen before it advances again. Week six here I come!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Long Ski Runs – Todd

It is ski and snowboard season so for a few weeks in a row my long runs are being replaced by long runs of a different variety. This week I ran shorter distances of four and six miles. On the six-mile run I ran with my new full-length compression tights for the first time. They were not as warm as my other running pants. However, as the temperature rises my main concern will be keeping cool.

Running With the Running Club – Jenna

Running with the L Street running club was the best decision I made regarding my marathon training so far. It has made planning my long runs less stressful and more enjoyable. Each weekend they set a new route for the marathon training program long run, and you can choose to do some or all of it – they leave the decision up to you. They email out directions the week before that you can print out and take with you to navigate along the route, although there are usually so many volunteers along the route to help you find your way and make sure you’re okay, you don't even need them.

The running, snack and first aid stops along the way help ease your mind about remembering everything you need to take with you. The volunteers cheer you on, ask how you’re doing and will assist you if ever you needed to turn back or were hurt. Whether a seasoned marathoner or a novice like me, everyone is so welcoming and interested in what and how you’re doing. This past weekend I met a nice woman from Quincy who I ran with the last few miles as we chatted and cheered each other on (especially as we ran single file along Morrissey Blvd – not the safest street in Boston to be on foot).

My goals for this week are to get my running sneaks re-evaluated and possible have some arch supports put it, as I am suffering a bit from some shin soreness. Icing and stretching this week will also be a priority. I will be away in VT this weekend with my fiancĂ©’s family, and will be doing my long run up there. I am looking forward to the change in scenery.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Icy Run – Elise

So my 17-mile run was not so bad. I felt physically good after the run and didn't have too many points at which I wanted to quit. I ran the loop on the Charles River from the Science Museum bridge to the Watertown bridge. It was a nice loop but I will say it was incredibly icy. At times I just had to get onto the closest street and run because the path was a sheet of ice. It slowed my time down so I feel like I didn't get an accurate read on my pace. I am hoping in three weeks when I have my 20-mile run it will be better conditions. I also practiced my water and snack amounts on this run. It seems about every 45 minutes a sip or two of water and a Gu energy gel seem to be just the trick.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Expert Advice: Run Relaxed

Many distance runners, especially novices, complain of shoulder/neck pain and/or headaches as distances exceed 10 miles. Part of the problem can be how you carry your frame while running. Everyone has a different style, take a look around. Some people run on their toes, others on their heels. Some swing their arms and rotate their trunk, while others hold fairly still. However you run, don't try to make any major changes at this point in your training, if it’s working for you then go with it. There are some small suggestions that can help you stay relaxed, stay focused and take your mind off some of those negative thoughts that creep into your head.

Potato Chip Pinch: Imagine you are running while holding a potato chip between your thumb and middle finger. Some people tend to make a tight fist while running, and then the tension creeps up your arms and into your shoulders and neck. Keeping relaxed hands, will help you keep the arms loose and relaxed.

Shoulders Down: Check yourself; especially if you’re doing an outside run and its cold…don't we live in New England? Are your shoulders hunched up around your ears with your head forward? Try to relax your shoulders back and down, so that your arms are again light. This is where the majority of the neck soreness comes in – the upper trapezius. That’s the muscle on either side of your neck that connects the neck and shoulders…lots of tension here typically!

Jell-O Jaw: Again, especially in the cold weather, many people end up clenching their teeth and keep a very tight jaw. Try holding your tongue on the roof of your mouth and let your jaw be loose and wiggly…like Jell-O!

Pick something to regularly remind you to think about your hands, shoulders and jaw. Maybe every mile or so, every new song, every time you drink some water, have a Swedish fish, etc. Frequently check in. Focus on your tension state and that will also help you keep your mind focused while knocking down those miles. Good luck this weekend!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hitting the Wall – Jenna

It is amazing how 10 miles seemed far, and now onto 14+ miles, things are getting easier as the miles fly by. Typically things are going well. I'm staying healthy and making sure I am eating and drinking enough so I don't get run down. It is also getting easier to decline late night plans Saturday night, and hit the hay early so I have plenty of energy for my long runs on Sunday mornings. However, I learned the hard way this past weekend, upon mile 11 of 14, what "hitting the wall" really feels like. I haven't been good about bringing Swedish fish, my running food of choice, with me, and although I wasn't mentally tired, I felt like I just couldn't stay moving. I felt totally fatigued, like my legs were made out of lead, which had me walk/jogging the last three miles, and eventually calling it quits a bit short of 14. I won't make this mistake again! My goal this week is to try the "goo" and see how I like that. All in all, training is going well and what is keeping me on track is the fact that every mile accomplished will make those 26.2 miles easier come April 18!

Battle in My Mind – Jacqui

I just completed week four of 14 weeks of training. The mileage is really beginning to add up as my training plan ramps up. This week alone I ran 22 miles. I am proud to report that I hit a “cool” first milestone: my short run was six miles this week, the same distance of my long run in week one! It is pretty hard to believe that I could think of a six mile run as short, but this shows how quickly things are progressing.

Thankfully, my body seems to be taking the abuse in stride (bad pun I know). Once I purchased real running shoes and began a more rigorous stretching program, my pains seemed to fade away.

Though I have put in a lot of mileage to date, I still have not found that elusive runner’s high. On my 10-mile long run this week, the miles seemed to pass slower and slower – though I did keep the same pace. I am beginning to see that the true battle is going to be in my mind, not my body. Surprisingly my legs are able to keep moving without much protest. It is the mental aspect of willing them to do so that is challenging.

I have experimented a little in meditation running and that really helps me pass the miles the best. In this practice, I think of nothing and look at a white brick wall while running on the treadmill (still no outside training due to the weather). If my mind wanders to a thought, then I just refocus again on nothingness. Since I have never been one to meditate, this is not easy for me and is taking some practice. So for the time being, I switch around from watching a show on TV, to listening to music on my iPod, to meditative running. This week I also plan to dabble in some audiobooks that I downloaded. I just need to find something to get my mind off the mileage marker and I think I will be all set!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fuel Trial Run – Todd

The snowstorm last week kept me from running again until the long run that ended week six. I wanted to try something different with nutrition and hydration in an attempt to feel better for runs longer than nine miles. For a future long run I will try some high-tech sports bars and gels but first I wanted to try something simple. I bought CVS Brand Candy Orange Slices for 99 cents. There were 23 in the bag. I ate a couple every mile and drank three Honest Kids Berry Berry Good Lemonades, one every four miles. All of that totaled to about 1100 calories and 20 ounces. I ran 15 miles, of which the first 13 felt great. I couldn’t taste anything sweet for the rest of the day. I ran back and forth on Comm Ave between Walnut Street and the Mass Pike with a hundred or so other runners training for the Marathon. After my run I took my kids to the Museum of Science where we had lunch, watched an Imax Film about the Great Lakes and wandered around the exhibit halls. This morning I saw only one other runner while running faster than my normal pace for three miles through slush.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Getting Ready for 17 – Elise

Not much to update from my last blog. I ran my longer weekend run (six miles) on Friday of this past week because I was taking a short trip to New York City. This was my first time in New York City and I think the amount of walking I did made up for not taking any runs. This coming weekend I will be doing a 17-mile run. I think I have decided on doing the Charles River Loop, from St. Auburn's bridge to the Science Museum bridge. My audio book is getting really good so it is keeping me motivated to run, since I only allow myself to listen while I'm running.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Expert Advice: Shoe Wear and Foot Problems

Bruised toe nails? Get ready for them to fall off. The first two toes are particularly prone to bruising and can be related to shoes being even a 1/2 size too small. I'd make sure you keep your toe nails trimmed short and look into getting a slightly larger pair of shoes. Given that we have 2 1/2 months until the Marathon, you have plenty of time to break in a new pair. Actually, this is the perfect time to get new ones…because come race day, your current shoes will be 2 1/2 months older and have at least 320 more miles on them! Can you believe it?

It is recommended that you replace running shoes every four to six months or 400 miles, depending on body weight and your distance, frequency, etc. I'd suggest buying two pairs of the same shoe now, and alternate them with each run you do. This way, come race day, they're not worn out (only 120 miles each) but they're both broken nicely.

Basically, running shoes come in one of three basic styles: cushioned, stability and motion control. Cushioned shoes are typically recommended for runners with a neutral or high arch who just need cushioning and a shoe that lets their foot move naturally. On the other end of the spectrum are motion control shoes that have a reinforced arch with high density foam built into the arch. These shoes are better for people with collapsed arches/flat feet and will help to control overpronation (collapse of the arch during running). Stability shoes are a blend of motion control and cushioning for those that might be mild overpronators, but want more cushioning/less support.

If your current shoes are working for you, then don't rock the boat, stick with what works. If you're not sure, then visit one of the many great running specialty stores in the area or feel free to contact me. They'll be able to evaluate your foot type and gait pattern and make some recommendations. Bottom line, it should be comfortable! Run easy!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Learning about Hydration - Todd

I ended week five of my training with an 11-mile run on Saturday. I went up and down Commonwealth Avenue between the Fire Station and Boston College. My older kids were in a science class all morning, so I played Cars (the movie) with my youngest son for two hours in the morning. After a small lunch I started my run. I rehydrated with “Honest Kids” juice pouches, the same ones my kids drink at school. I drank one every four miles. The first nine miles were great and the last two were miserable. I hope I can do something different with my nutrition and rehydration next week. On Sunday the kids and I went sledding and my legs didn’t feel too bad climbing up the hills. I started week six training today before the snowstorm. Some of my friends are becoming my unofficial coaches with recommendations for specialized compression garments and speed work. I haven’t decided to buy the fancy pants, but I did run two of my four miles today at a pace of eight min/mile, over one min faster than my regular pace.

Week 3 of 14 – Jacqui

My body and my treadmill are beginning to feel the effects of all the mileage that has been adding up: 52 miles to date! I have watched my treadmill calorie counter reach 999 – only to then start over at zero! I have also discovered that my treadmill has its own thoughts about marathon running. It apparently thinks no human should run for prolonged periods, as it stops when the clock goes over 99 minutes. This was not a fun fact to discover. As I was nearing the end of the longest run of my life (nine miles), suddenly the treadmill stopped! I suppose I am lucky that I didn’t fall and hurt myself, but I wasn’t thinking about how “lucky” I was at the time.

I am observing the effect running is having on my body. I have developed a bruised toe, which probably means a good pair of running shoes is in order. I fear breaking in a new pair of shoes, but at this point I think either the shoes go or the toenail goes. And after a long run the other day, I also had soreness under my arms. Who would ever think one could experience chaffing there? I have also begun to develop stiffening and tightness down my left leg. I was thankfully able to easily identify the area of concern and initiate a relieving stretching regimen. Though these problems all seem easily fixable, they have opened my eyes to the demands I am asking of my body.

Since I’m burning so many calories on long runs, I am beginning to wonder about other aspects of the marathon – like hydration, nutrition and digestion. I looked for a couple of books on the logistics of running a marathon. There are actually many of them out there. Believe it or not, there is even a Marathon Training for Dummies book! Since I sometimes feel totally clueless about what I have gotten myself into, I figured that was a good book for me. Hopefully next week, I will be a whole lot more informed and slightly more experienced!

Monday, January 31, 2011

First Long Run – Elise

So the weekend before this last one I did my first of the longer build up runs. Normally I am doing six to seven miles on one weekend day but this run was 14 miles and of course it ended up being one the coldest days of the winter. I was nervous about being too cold so I quadruple layered on top and double layered on bottom. I also wore a hat, neck gator and gloves. I once was told by someone that when running you can dress for weather ten degrees higher than what it really is outside. I tried that and it actually seemed to work. My only physical complaint from the cold after the run was a sore nose from rubbing it because it kept dripping. The run itself wasn't that bad. I brought a water bottle with me and tried to work on taking sips every once in a while. I ran with a great audio book, The Help, which kept me from getting bored. All and all it was a good first longer run.

Expert Advice: Training Tips

My name is Garth Savidge. I am a Physical Therapist at Newton-Wellesley and have been practicing for 10 years. I work in outpatient orthopaedics and have worked in sports medicine with a focus on running injuries. I have run the Boston Marathon three times, and have several 1/2 marathons, 10Ks and shorter races under my belt. Now my running is primarily a way to stay healthy, so I'm down to three times a week but I still enjoy it. I will be posting tips and advice to address some of concerns that come up during marathon training. To kick us off, I thought I'd address some of the things I read in the posts from our Hospital bloggers.

Training Schedule: For first-time runners especially, but really for everyone, this is incredibly important. If you don't put the time in, you'll have a harder time come race day: increased risk for injuries, less comfortable and ultimately less fun! This is what it’s about after all! So pick a training program and stick to it – some variation of three shorter runs during the week, a day off before your long run and a long run on the weekend. Cross training is also important…bike, swim, sports, shoveling snow!

Hydration: Your body needs both water and fuel to keep you from the not so pleasant BONK! You don't want to hit that wall, so get this part right. Volunteers hand out water/Gatorade and energy gels, so if you plan to utilize these, get used to them now. I had a friend that did not train with water or gels, but on Marathon day he stopped at every water stop. His body didn't respond well. Train how you will run. For long runs, either use a water/fuel belt or have someone meet you at regular water stops, hide a water bottle in bushes, etc. Hydrate with small amounts regularly, but don't over do it. Getting rid of the water after you drink it can also be a problem!

Boredom: Distance running is a mental challenge. If you put the miles in, and can avoid injuries, then the rest is finding the time and not letting yourself get inside your head. This is a killer. So include…workout mixes for your iPod, audio books, I like the dictation idea. If at all possible, try to do your long runs with at least one other person or a group. This isn’t for everyone, but you'd be surprised how fast the time flies. Good conversations, jokes, commiserating, training tips, etc. Lots of good mind game/association games to play as well.

Bottom line, keep your mind away from negative thoughts like how long the run is, anxiety about whether or not you can do it, how tired you are, it’s raining, snowing, there's a big hill in front of you, your foot hurts, your legs are sore, you're hungry, need a bathroom, can't go to the bathroom, its 2 degrees below zero…whatever. This is all irrelevant! Keep your mind away from these thoughts and you'll be able to do it. The personal satisfaction you'll feel each week you complete the long run and then on race day will overcome all these negative feelings. And for you first time marathoners – each long run is a new personal best in distance! So stick with your schedule and before you know it you'll have run an 18-mile run and be amazed at how 12 weeks earlier you were nervous about running 6! Good luck runners!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

First Timer – Todd

Hello! My name is Todd Abbott and I am going to run the 115th Boston Marathon to raise money for Integrative Support Services at the Vernon Cancer Center at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. This will be both my first marathon and my first blog. I will start off with an introduction to who I am and how I have gotten here. On future entries, along with detailing my marathon thoughts and concerns, I will also expound on each of these items.

It all started on December 19, 1969. I was born in Fort Defiance, AZ; however, I was raised in Boise, Idaho where I lived until going to college. I attended Hope College in Michigan followed by the University of Washington School of Medicine. Medical school was paid for by the US Air Force, and after graduation I was assigned to bases in Virginia, Montana and Germany. I worked as a flight surgeon, and cared for aircrews and their families, and participated in a number of unique activities. I then completed a residency in pathology and a fellowship in cytopathology at the University of Virginia. I moved to Newton in the summer of 2007 to work as a staff pathologist at Newton-Wellesley. I have been married for 12 years and we have three children aged 4, 7 and 9. Right now, my hobbies primarily have everything to do with having a family. We participate in the sports of every season and enjoy bicycling, hiking and fishing.

I have been running for exercise since my senior year in college; however, it has usually been only a few miles a day. I have run in a handful of 5k races and in one 12-member team event: the Mount Rainier to the Pacific Relay. I created my own training plan by looking at a number of other 16 to 18-week plans for first-time marathoners. The plan has runs on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with long runs on Saturday. I have at least three weekends of snowboarding built in, which I am counting in as “cross-training.” Training takes away time I would have otherwise spent with my family: helping the kids get ready for school during the week and playtime during the long Saturday runs.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Chance to Run Boston – Elise

I have been running since right after high school. All through high school I did volleyball, basketball and water polo so I never had the time or need to run after practices and games. After high school I started running to keep myself in shape and ended up really enjoying it. I ran the Chicago Marathon in 2008. After that one, I told myself that the only two other marathons I would ever be in were the Boston Marathon and the original one in Marathon, Greece. When I started my job here in July 2010, I found out that you could win a bib number through the Hospital so I thought that this would be my chance.

I am going to use the Jeff Galloway method for my training. It is a good method for people who work full time. You do shorter distances during the week and then longer ones on weekends. It’s funny, I am pretty good at working out regularly but normally if I don't feel like working out one day I just give myself a break. But now it seems like it is a job. I can't slack off or my training will be off. I think most people are concerned about Heartbreak Hill. Luckily I live right by it so I get to train on it pretty regularly. I hope that helps when it comes to race day!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Productive Long Runs – Jacqui

I am now in week two of my 14-week training for the Boston Marathon. I finally did my first “long” run last Saturday after putting it off the whole day. I was a little anxious about doubling my run distance to six miles, but I got through it just fine. My training schedule has me booked for a rest day the day after a long run, which was much needed and appreciated. I am trying to keep my same turtle pace so that I can make it through the longer runs without burning out.

I am beginning to realize that running for extended periods can get a little tedious though. In the past when I have done my usual workout, I go really hard for 30-40 minutes and have no time nor energy to get bored. But now I am going for distance, not speed. Since I am trying to conserve energy and pace myself, my mind tends to wander and I start to think about when the run will be over so I can get such-n-such done. In this age of multi-tasking, I have a hard time not being “productive” during my runs. I know this sounds crazy when I see it on paper, that training for a marathon is not productive enough for me, none-the less it is what is going through my mind over and over again while running. It reminds me of when I was breastfeeding my son and had to pump at work. I would be at my desk with both hands occupied with pumping, while a huge pile of charts and paperwork loomed in front of me. I would keep trying to hold both pumps with one hand to get a form completed or an e-mail sent and would always end up with drops of spilled milk on my clothes! Later when I would share this with other breastfeeding moms, we all came to the conclusion that just maybe a forced 20 minutes of brain downtime was not such a bad thing after all. But an hour or two or more of inner reflection? I am not sure that I have enough material in my head for that much self thought. Maybe an audio book could help. I also think a better workout mix is in order, one with all fast tempo stuff to keep me moving. And if I get really antsy while I am training, I could always get a dictation device and write a famous book – or at least put together a grocery list or even write this blog.

All of this leads me to wonder if the Boston Marathon has a ban on headphone use during the race? Thankfully this is not the case, though headphone use is discouraged, it is not banned. Whew, I am not sure that I could do this without my iPod!

My First Marathon – Jenna

My name is Jenna Zaffini and I am a Clinical Exercise Physiologist at Newton-Wellesley on 3N in Cardiology. The Boston Marathon 2011 will be my first marathon! I have run a few half marathons, 10Ks and other smaller races over the past seven years, when I began running, and decided now that college is behind me, I have more time to dedicate to hitting the pavement. I began running in college as a way to stay in shape and relieve stress, and am now quite addicted.

As a native Bostonian, I chose the Boston Marathon as my first 26.2 miler because the course runs by my apartment in the Back Bay, and after volunteering with the John Hancock Elite Athletes for a few years, I have developed a great appreciation for the race and those who have conquered it. During the week, I will be doing my shorter to moderate length runs in and around Boston with friends who are also running the marathon, and will be doing my long runs on Sundays with the L Street running club, who I have recently joined. Even just among these first few weeks, I can tell that I am going to have to adjust my evenings not only to allot for more time to run, but also sleep and relax, things I am sure I will come to appreciate more and more as training progresses.

The thing I am most concerned about running the marathon is making sure I am keeping up with my health as mileage progress, including making sure I am hydrating properly, sleeping enough and relaxing enough as to not get warn down. Although the weather has proved challenging so far, I am excited for the next few months, increasing my mileage, and conquering one of the toughest marathons courses in the country.

My Bucket List – Jacqui

I “won the lottery” to run in the Boston Marathon this year. I have very mixed feelings about this, as I have really grown to dislike running over the last 10 to 20 years. I had always been an athlete who was made to run as a punishment or to train for a season, but never to run as the actual sport. After multiple sports in both high school and college, I quickly abandoned running once other exercise modes were introduced to the market. First I found the Stairmaster, then the as-seen-on-TV walker, next was the elliptical and my latest love has been for wii active. I can honestly say that I have not actually gone running for any real distance for more than 10 years. Though I do exercise vigorously on a regular basis, I have been avoiding running as it reminds me too much of prior years of grueling double sessions in the unrelenting harsh sun.

Why then do you ask did I put my name in the hat for the Boston Marathon seat? Excellent question, one that I am still asking myself as I write this. Though I have always hated to run, I have also always secretly wished that I loved to run. I want to take back my ill feelings toward running and rediscover them, maybe even feel that runner’s high that everyone talks about. Running a marathon ONCE is also on my bucket list of things to do before I die, like jumping out of an airplane, skiing the Alps or going to Costa Rica to see the baby turtles trek across the beach. Why my bucket list was never updated once I discovered that I actually really hate and dread running, I’ll never know. But here I am considering running a marathon in 14 weeks. I quickly called my lifetime friend who has run the Boston Marathon to get her input. She thinks it is amazing that I would get a chance to run in the Boston Marathon as a first timer. What a great honor this opportunity is for sure, but am I up to it? I then did some Web research to see if it is even possible for a non-runner athlete to train for a marathon in 14 weeks. After much research, I have concluded that it is possible if my goal is not for a particular run time, but rather a goal of finishing the marathon. So I sat down with my husband to outline a plan for the next 14 weeks. Thankfully my husband has agreed to watch our 15 month old on the one day a week that I do my long runs. I am also borrowing a jogging stroller from my sister as I am sure I will need to do the shorter runs with my little boy in tow.

The long runs start out at six mile runs but will go up to 18-mile runs over the course of the next 14 weeks. Since I am not very fast, the long runs will take many hours. I then ended the day with my first training session – a three-mile run. I chose to run on the treadmill to start to learn about pacing myself. I set the treadmill on a very minimal incline and a speed of a 12-minute mile and started the run. I was thankfully able to finish without difficulty, but am very anxious about the first six-mile run.