Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thank You - Kellie

I had decided to splurge and stay at a hotel in Boston the night before and the night of the marathon. I figured it's a once in a lifetime chance for me to run Boston so why not. I got there on Sunday and headed to the Expo to get my number. It was such an exciting place. I got lost in the crowd but eventually I found where to get my number. After I got my number I went back to the hotel and sat at the lounge. They started laying out a delicious looking pasta buffet. I decided to stay put and purchase the buffet. The marathon was having a free pasta dinner for the runners, but I was worn out from the expo and had no desire to go back out there.

After dinner I went back to my room and kept trying on different running clothes. NWH gave us team members both a tank top and long sleeve shirt that we could wear. The tank top was just too tight for me so I was thinking about wearing my own tank top and writing my name and team name on it. I was freaking out a bit over what to wear. Will I be too cold if I don't wear pants?! Will I be too hot if I do?! Will I freeze with just a tank top? Ultimately I went with my own tank top, the long sleeve team shirt over that and my running skirt. I put a pair of pants in my bag just in case.

Adding to my anxiety, my womanly visitor decided to follow me along for the trip. TMI for this public blog I know, but she got in my way enough that I have to talk about her. She was making me tired and emotional the night before. Once I had everything settled for the morning I started to relax. I received so many phone calls, text messages, emails, FB messages all wishing me the best. Every single message made me so happy. It was an amazing feeling to have so many people thinking of me and cheering for me. I knew I'd have fans along the route and people waiting for me at the finish to celebrate. I didn't specifically ask anyone to be there because I know it's a lot to ask and difficult to get around Boston on marathon day. Some friends from work insisted they would be there at the finish for me. Another lifelong friend said she would be there with her daughter and two granddaughters to greet me at the finish. They are like my adoptive family whom I've known my whole life. I was so excited to have great friends and family at the finish and I didn't even ask them to be there.

I got right up with my wake up call. Of course I had also set my phone alarm and room alarm for fear I would sleep through and miss the bus to Hopkinton. I am a little nuts sometimes. I walked over to the Common to catch the bus to Hopkinton and wow I've never seen such a line. The line was still forming as I was trying to find the end of it and it was getting longer and longer. It was a race just to get a spot in line. It moved along fast and there were so many buses I couldn't count them all. After about an hour I made it onto a bus. The bus ride to Hopkinton took nearly an hour as well. I began to think it was a bit sadistic to put people on a bus in Boston, drive them 26.2 miles away, then tell them okay now run back. Hahaha well I could hardly wait to get back to Boston.

I finally arrived at Athletes’ Village! They let me in! I'm an athlete woo hoo! I have to pee! All I could see were walls of porta potties and lines to the porta potties. I spent about an hour in line. I couldn't find any teammates or anyone I knew in the village. It was just too big. I wandered around looking for anyone from team NWH but in a sea of thousands of athletes it was impossible. They called for wave three to drop our bags in our assigned buses and I found it without a problem. I dropped my bag feeling like I was forgetting something (which I was) and was able to hit the bathroom one more time. I followed the wave of people to my corral and suddenly I was spotted by fellow teammate Vanessa. It was so nice to see a familiar face finally. We got to say hello and wish each other good luck.

Race Time
My wave started at 10:40 and my phone said about 10:50 when I crossed the start line. This was so great! I could not believe the crowd support. It was mesmerizing to see. There was a team of cheeseburgers, many super heroes, blind runners with guides, people running for other people who couldn't run. I was teary eyed to be a part of this.

All I could think about in Hopkinton was that I had to pee. I looked to my left and there must have been at least 20 runners pulled over in the woods to pee. Oh boy I was hoping I could hold off and use a bathroom. I was on the left side of the road and somehow I spotted porta potties to the right behind a huge wall of people. I quickly dodged through the crowd and made it. There was no line and I don't think most people could see these through all the people. Relief! After that I was able to enjoy the music and crowd support in Hopkinton. People were cheering my name (I wrote it on my shirt) and I felt like a celebrity.

My first town crossing! I'm still a celebrity! I soon saw my first familiar face on the sidelines cheering me on. I got high fives from my friend Mel and her beautiful children who I got to meet for the first time. It gave me a warm fuzzy feeling to have people there.

Framingham was fun. They had the best signs. “NO YOU'RE NOT ALMOST FINISHED” “YES THOSE SHORTS MAKE YOUR BUTT LOOK BIG”....and my favorite sign “THIS IS THE WORST PARADE EVER!!!!”

I could not believe I was still feeling good. This is so much fun! I knew I might have another familiar face in Natick. My friend Kathy was working the med tent in Hopkinton but I couldn't find her there. She said she'd try to be in Natick around mile 10. I found her! She was there with a sign for me! She's been my mentor through all my training. She's my idol and she's finished Boston more times than I could ever dream of. She gave me momentum and again that warm fuzzy feeling.

I was getting tired. I needed a bathroom. I found one and also found that my womanly visitor was threatening to take me down. This is when I realized what I had forgotten to take out of my bag. Ugh. I knew I was getting close to Newton-Wellesley Hospital and in desperation I posted on Facebook “I'm near the hospital if anyone there can see this please give me a tampon.” Then I turned my phone off so my battery wouldn't be dead by the time I reach the finish. The cheering from Wellesley College helped keep my spirits up and distract me from my misery.

Newton-Wellesley Hospital! My home! So many hugs, so many familiar faces, signs for me! It was so great to be home with my work family. Warm fuzzy feelings and happiness. Unfortunately none of them saw my desperate Facebook post.

Next came the hills. The combination of the hills, my left foot being in excruciating pain, and my still needing to take care of you know what made this part difficult to say the least. The amazing crowd support got me through. At the top of the last hill I stopped at a med tent. Handsome medic: Can I help you with something? Me: Ummmm, well ummm, I really need a tampon. Handsome medic: I know we have some just a moment. Then he looks through multiple containers, and keeps looking, and asks another handsome medic “Where are the tampons?” Me: This is really embarrassing. Handsome medic: (laughs) No don't worry about it...ah here you go sorry it took so long.

Boston College! I made it! I've only got five downhill miles left! I'm still running I'm going to finish! The crowds were getting louder and louder. When I made it past mile 25 I was trying to stop myself from crying like a baby. I could not believe I was going to finish the Boston Marathon! There were so many helicopters overhead. I couldn't believe they were still covering the finish for us non-elite finishers! This is so amazing! I can't even explain how happy and elated I was feeling at this moment. I was physically fighting off tears of joy and just trying to hold it back for the finish line. I can't wait to celebrate and hug my friends! One person shouted out to me that they were stopping the race at Park Street. What is he talking about? That's ridiculous! Why on Earth would they stop the Boston Marathon?! I hope nobody had a heart attack or anything like that. It was getting windy and I was in a race that was stopped because of a tornado just this past September. In that race I had crossed the finish line right before they pulled everyone off the course. I better run faster so I can finish. I can't believe my luck with storms and races being called off. But everyone is still running and the crowds are still cheering for us, cheering out my name saying, “Kellie you've got this! Kellie you're looking good! Kellie you're almost finished! Go Kellie!” I saw a runner walking back this way crying. Then everyone was stopped. “The race is cancelled! There are bombs exploding at the finish!” OMG Dorothy, Hillary, Diana, Tracey, Michelle and her beautiful little girls! They're all there waiting for me! I turned my phone on and it exploded with messages. My battery is in the red! I couldn't read through the messages or call anyone. I couldn't get over there, everything was blocked off. I posted a blanket FB message saying I was okay and for anyone waiting for me to please let me know you're okay and don't try to find me. I heard my name, it was team member Pam. She was okay. People were crying and trying to contact loved ones at the finish. I found a text from Dorothy. Dorothy and Hillary were fine but I couldn't reply my phone was saying battery dead. People were asking to use my phone but it was dead. I wished I had turned it off in Hopkinton so I could use it and share it right now. I was able to see a message from Dorothy that said where they were and that they weren't moving until I got to them. I was walking in their direction on Commonwealth and police yelled a bomb is about to explode! And I heard a bomb explode. What is going on this doesn't make any sense. I wasn't able to reach my other friends. Were they there?! I can't get to them the police were yelling for everyone to stay away. I found two of my friends on Commonwealth. They asked what I wanted to do and I wanted to get to my hotel so I could charge my phone and contact people.

Hillary has a smart car. Dorothy drove and I sat on Hillary's lap while she drove like a maniac around the city to get to my hotel room. At this point I smell horrible, I physically feel like I've just ran a marathon (oh ya I did just run a marathon), I have to pee and I don't know how my womanly visitor is holding up. I'm thinking that wow I'm lucky I didn't get blown up but now I'm going to die in this clown car. Then the gas light goes on. There's less than a gallon of gas. “Sorry Kell this sucks you just ran a marathon and now you might have to push this car around Boston." It was a very funny moment. I smell nasty, I'm sitting on my friend sweating and hoping I'm not getting more than sweat on her, hoping I don't pee on her, I'm about to get thrown through the window of a clown car in Boston Marathon post bomb traffic, and maybe run out of gas and have to push the car. I don't think I could have even dreamed a crazier scenario.

My friends got me to my hotel in one piece. They got home safely without running out of gas. I soon found out all my friends and family were safe. I no longer had a reason to stay at the hotel. I actually felt like it would be wrong for me to stay when people from far away probably needed a room. And I was wanted at home.

The day after the marathon, I drove back to Boston to get my bag. I needed it. I felt so empty without my race shirt and all my mementos they had given me. Everyone there was thoughtful and kind. I was happy that I went back. They put a finisher’s medal on me. I cried all the way home.

Thank you everyone for you're overwhelming support, encouragement and kind words before, during and after the marathon. It means the world to me. It was a great experience from the start up until somewhere in between mile 25-26.2 when we were stopped. I can't even explain how amazing the crowds were throughout the entire marathon. Boston has the world’s best support, the best fans, that's why people travel from all over the world to experience the magic that is the Boston Marathon. I'm lucky to have experienced it and sad that the main ingredient to the magic, the spectators/fans were attacked. I'm sad for what everyone is going through.

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." ~ FDR

I believe that's true. I'm afraid that people will become too afraid to live life. That's what terrorism is and that's how terrorism wins. Please don't anyone stop living life, don't stop doing anything positive that ignites your spirit and gives you inspiration.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

What Ifs – Kellie

“Only four days left until THE BOSTON MARATHON! No time left to train! My son has strep throat! What if I get strep throat? I should have done more hill repeats! I should have pushed myself to run when I was snowed in! What am I going to wear?! What if my alarm clock fails?! What if I forget my runner's passport and I can't get my number?! What if I just give myself so much anxiety and self doubt that I just pass out before I even get to the start?! What if I have to go to the bathroom and there aren't any bathrooms!!!? What if?!” These thoughts have been creeping into my brain, but for the most part, I've been able to shut down those negative thoughts.

At this moment I'm not nervous at all. Although, the fact that I feel so relaxed is making me nervous. I've almost convinced myself that there's nothing to be anxious about. I've trained plenty. Sure I could have done more, trained harder but I also didn't want this to consume me to the point that I'd hate training for it. I think I found just the right balance for me in my training. I worked hard and rested after the extra hard runs. Most importantly, I didn't injure myself. All I have to do is go five miles farther than my longest run. I should be able to manage that.

I won't be fast but I'm not in a hurry. I want to enjoy every step of the way and take in every mile. I can hardly wait to meet the Boston Marathon and hear the best marathon crowd out there. It looks like Mother Nature will be on our side this year and I am ready.

A big thank you to everyone who's given me encouragement, support and listened to me obsess about the marathon for the past four months. See you next week!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I’ve Forgotten How to Run – Vanessa

This is a huge problem. The taper is messing with my head! For those of you non-marathoners out there, let me explain. A taper is supposed to be a beautiful one to two week window before the big event during which you decrease your mileage. Long runs get shorter and short runs become less frequent. The idea is to give your body and brain a chance to recover, rejuvenate and, in my case, freak the freak out.

I thought the taper would feel good on my legs, give me time to catch up on my severely neglected social life (and TV schedule) and get excited for the marathon. I thought WRONG. I feel out of practice and out of touch. I can feel all the mental and physical work I’ve done unraveling every time I stop at four miles. Suddenly the thought of adding another 22.6 on to that jog sounds impossible and crazy. I have dreams that I get to the starting line and cannot for the life of me figure out how to put one foot in front of the other – Dream Vanessa ends up flopping around on the ground while the rest of the runners step over her pathetic body, literally leaving her in a cloud of dust…Tapering is the devil.

Thankfully, I still have a week to refocus and change my perception. I’m going to try my darndest to think positive thoughts, let my legs relax and visualize myself flying to the finish line instead of writhing in the dust. Here goes nothing! Send happy, speedy running vibes my way, please!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What’s So Great about Marathon Training? – Vanessa

This is a question I get a lot. I ran my last “longest long run” on Monday and will begin to taper from here until the big day. The 3.5 hours and 22.5 miles gave me plenty of time to reflect on this question: What is so great about training?

Almost anyone can strap on a pair of tennis shoes and walk/run/jog/crawl 26.2 miles in one day. It might not be pretty and it may take 26.2 hours, but it can be done. No training required.

A few select people hope to finish in the top of their age groups, make a qualifying time or even win the entire race and set a world record. This will undoubtedly take some training.

But what about those of us somewhere in between? Why all of the effort and hours of running, stretching and cross training just to finish in the middle of the pack?

The answer, I’ve decided, is that running a marathon isn’t so much about race day – it’s about everything else leading up to it. Not to toot my own horn, but over the past few months I’ve accomplished a lot. I’ve been up at 4:45 am in 15 degree weather just to jog. I’ve stepped outside of my comfort zone to ask friends and strangers alike to donate to a cause I care deeply about. I’ve made new friends out on the running trails. I’ve practiced discipline, drive and devotion. I’ve learned to listen to my body and treat it well, all while pushing it to the limits. Over the past few months, I’ve grown as a runner and a person, and I feel pretty good about that.

As this experience comes to an end, I feel stronger, more confident, and prouder of myself than ever before. I will cross that finish line at whatever time I do knowing that I’ve done my best, given it my all and had tons of support all along the way.

For me, turning a hobby into a challenge and pushing outside my comfort zone is exactly what is so great about marathon training – regardless of what happens on race day.

Boston Marathon Magic – Kellie

Last weekend I ran the first 21 miles of the marathon, from Hopkinton to Boston College. I was lucky enough to get in on the annual training run with the Hopkinton running group. Thank you Pam! It cost a mere $20 and included plenty of aide stations, support along the way from encouraging volunteers, other runners of all levels to suffer enjoy running with and a bus ride back to Hopkinton.

The night before the run I did not want to do it. I had had a bad week in general and was trying to figure out if there was a point to any of this. I get like this every now and then, it's probably hormonal. I reminded myself that part of the reason I signed up for the marathon was so I wouldn't fall into this kind of a slump. The new enthusiastic girl in me is always in battle with the old depressing lazy me. So the new me had a talk with the old me:

Old me: I don't want to get up early, I don't want to go all the way to Hopkinton then run to Boston College!
New me: Quit your freaking whining you sissy and just do it! You'll be happy once you're done and you'll hate yourself if you don't do it!
Old me: My stomach is going to act up again and if I stay home I won't have to worry about it.
New me: So you'll have to use a porta john or public rest room big freaking deal!
Old me: It will slow me down and what if I don't get to BC fast enough and they leave without me?!
New me: Slow you down? Really? Hahaha you can't go any slower and who cares how fast you go?! It's not a race, it's a training run and you know they will be checking on runners at all the stops. Even if you are too slow, which you're not, they will pick you up.
Old me: What's the point of all this?!
New me: It's fun! Running 21+miles is fun!!
Old me: You're a liar and I don't like you!
New me: See you in the morning sunshine!
Old me: OH BITE ME!!

Eventually I stopped arguing with myself and went to sleep. The alarm went off at 4:45am. I ate some fruit salad, drank stuff that wasn't coffee, grabbed some Clif bars, bananas and my running companions (GU Chomps). On my way to Hopkinton I realized I'd be running more than half the distance that I was now driving and gave myself anxiety. When I got there I had to get to a bathroom immediately. Luckily the BAA already had some porta johns ready for me. Old me: I TOLD YOU SO!! New me: HAHAHA!!.....I found the bus and the organizer. She gave me a name tag and said “okay off you go!” Me: Which way do I go? Organizer: That way.

About two miles in and I desperately needed a bathroom again. Old me: I should have stayed home but now I'm gonna crap my pants thanks to you! Do you really think they'd let me on the bus now?! New me: HAHAHA well you're the one who's full of crap now! Dunkin Donuts is your friend and it's right there so relax and talk a load off.

Once I was back on the road, my old miserable self started to disappear. It was fun. I was on a great stage where magic happens. So many inspiring stories have taken place on these roads. People travel from all over the world for this magic. Each time I crossed into a new town I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. I was doing it! Two years ago I couldn't run one freaking mile and now I'm running the BOSTON FREAKING MARATHON! A bit of runner's high was setting in.

The aide stations were great. (They had jelly beans which may have been better than the GU chomps that I forgot in the car when I was in a hurry not to crap my pants.) At each aide station they would check us off and make sure everyone was okay. They said I was looking good. I thanked them for volunteering and for lying to me. As I got closer to Boston, there were more and more runners. It got more magical along the way. When I reached Commonwealth Ave I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to run most of this section. I had expected some walking but it was minimal and much less than I thought it would be.

I made it to Boston College! The running group had more than our money's worth of post race food and drink. They were welcoming, encouraging and all out fantastic. I'm glad I didn't let myself talk myself out of this training run. I'm grateful to have this opportunity to experience the magic that is the Boston Marathon.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Endurance - Laura

Charles River Running store in Norwood offered a free supported 20 mile run this past Saturday. About a dozen runners were there at 8:00 am ready to run. Two of the runners were ultra-marathoners who were planning on running another 20 miles on Sunday as well! I pair up with Melissa - she is half my age, a great athlete, but has never run this far before. She was able to run the first 12 miles with me and really made those miles fly by! Many thanks to Jim who supported us through the run with water and Gatorade and made sure we stayed on course and finished. I finish the 20 miles knowing that I can run another six miles but it will be all that I have left.

I have often tried to equate the endurance required of long distance running with the endurance required to undergo cancer treatment and have come up with this comparison (which only approximates my experience but will be different for every cancer survivor):

Running one marathon every week for a year (without training) = completion of one round of cancer treatment to get back to baseline. The parallels are: it is impossible to complete without supporters offering assistance along the way at regular intervals, it looks insurmountable at the start, and requires a complete fixated focus on reaching the finish line. Still, all things being equal…I’d rather run a years’ worth of marathons.

Every contributor to the NWH Vernon Cancer Center is like a water station on the Boston Marathon route. The vast majority of those runners would not be able to physically complete the 26 miles without you. Those undergoing cancer treatment here will find the energy to run another mile in their journey with your help.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Snowing on April 15? - Kellie

The past two weeks since the 20 miler I've been busy with things not related to running. My best friend in the world decided to get married right in the middle of my marathon training. It was actually timed perfectly being the weekend after my 20 miler. I needed to recover a bit and I was too busy with my maid of honor duties to go for a long run that weekend. I got a pedicure and had to plead with the lady not to buff the bottoms of my feet off. She didn't seem to understand my wanting to keep my dead skin and calluses in place. I've been blister free so far with my hardened feet. Maybe I'll get them all buffed post marathon. The wedding was beautiful. It was sunny, over 50 degrees, actually it would have been a great day for a run! I'm really not complaining, I had a great day of not running. All this training may have helped me to catch the bouquet. Yes I caught the bouquet and you know what that means... it means I have a bouquet.

Since the wedding I've been back at it. I haven't experienced any runner's highs lately. Some days I've had to push myself against every last fiber of my being to run. I really hope spring comes soon and that I can get out of this slump. I keep hitting the Wellesley Hills in hopes that come marathon day, I won't drop dead right there on Comm. Ave. I envision myself walking parts of this section. I'd love to say I can run the whole thing without walking at all but I haven't been able to do it yet and I've been starting from the Hospital, not from Hopkinton. On Saturday I get to run the first 21 miles of the route with a group, water stations and bus ride back to Hopkinton. I owe a big thank you to fellow teammate Pam for reaching out and helping me get into this run. That's the big challenge between now and April 15. I'll find out how the hills feel after 16+ miles. After that, it's time to taper and hope that I've done enough to prepare.

I wonder if it will be snowing on April 15? I wouldn't be surprised if it did.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Back in the Saddle - Vanessa

My ankle and I have been working through our issues. We’ve had a lot of sleepless nights, some long talks and a few good cries. I’m happy to report that we have made it through the wilderness! This Monday we hit the pavement and ran 19.5 glorious miles in the sunshine. Just in time to avoid the snow! There is, however, one major issue that keeps creeping up… HUNGER. My appetite just. won’t. quit.

I’d like to report that I’ve been fueling with pounds of pizza and pints of ice cream because it sounds like fun, but I’m a Dietitian and I know better. I’ve made the mistake of over-eating in the past and ended up gaining weight while training for races. Not this time, stomach! There are a few key strategies I’ve found to win the mental battle over a huge post-run appetite:

1) Eat before you run. Even if I’m tempted to wake up and hit the road first thing in the morning, I make sure to set the alarm an hour early to give myself time to chow down and digest. A small bowl of oatmeal with berries and a bit of peanut butter swirled in usually does the trick.

2) Refuel as you run. I’ve tried Gu packets, sports beans, snickers bars and crackers. Thankfully my tummy isn’t too sensitive and they all seem to work just fine. Anything is better than nothing, especially if you want to avoid hitting a wall at mile 17.

3) Put something in your belly when you get home. Whether it is a sports drink, chocolate milk or a snack. EAT. Most runners I know don’t feel like eating right when they finish, but you just have to do it.

Based on experience, if I follow these steps I can curb the monster appetite that comes from burning hundreds of calories and make some healthy choices along the way. Once I’m ready for an actual meal, I find it’s easier to choose something reasonable and stick to one burrito instead of 87 burritos. So far, my fueling plan is working out well… but that doesn’t mean I’m not already dreaming of a beautifully gluttonous post-run meal on Marathon Monday! Even a Dietitian has to live a little, right?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

So Much Snow – Laura

With only five more weeks to go, I finally buy a new pair of running shoes. All this running has made my feet bigger and wider - resulting in the need for a wider running shoe. The new ones feel perfect!

Who knew it could snow so much in March? This is a blessing because it prevents one from running too much, which is a common mistake.

This weekend I finish an 18-mile run: the beginning three miles on a treadmill, 12 miles outdoors and the last three miles on the treadmill. I can determine the exact pace that causes the least amount of discomfort by testing out different rates on the treadmill. The optimal pace is slower than I prefer to run, but results in no injuries; the only soreness I have the following day is from snow shoveling!

The message I receive is: Physical endurance is the ability to test one’s patience, slow down the pace and push through those frequent moments when one’s mind says, “I’d really rather be stopping and eating now.”

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Enjoying the Journey – Ivan

Just 38 days to go. Am I ready? I hope that I will be! Work and being a family man have taken over this year and training has not been easy. I must say that seeing so many runners on the road in these hard conditions has been a great inspiration. My teammates are working hard as well, in hopes of having a great time or simply finishing! For me, this year is all about completing the marathon in a safe way. I will enjoy my journey.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Ready to Embrace It – Kellie

My longest training race (my longest race ever) was this past weekend, The Black Cat 20 miler in Salem, MA. I don't know if I can ever make myself run 20 miles on my own, without aide stations, a finish line, a medal and a race T-shirt? Luckily there are many available races for people like me who need races to train for other races. I haven't gone more than 10 miles since the 16 miler over a month before for many reasons including: snow, cancelled races, laziness and uncontrollable intestines. There were many options for this race. People had a choice of running 10 miles, 20 miles or running it as a relay with two to four people. The race was an out and back from an elementary school in Salem to Marblehead beach and back for 10 miles, repeat it for 20 miles. I had a bit of anxiety over seeing the finish line at my halfway point. I was unsure if I'd be able to resist the temptation to stop at 10 miles.

My race buddy came out of hibernation and joined me for the first 10 miles. We were a little late arriving so I dropped her off to get the bibs while I parked and took the trolley over. I needed a bathroom and when I got there the line was out the door. We were both in line but at different bathrooms. The race was to start at 8:00 am and it was 7:59 am when she pulled me out of line and brought me to a bathroom with no line. I wasn't all that fast either because races are like laxatives for me. Major anxiety before the race. My hope was to finish in under four hours without crapping my pants. Already I was worried I would crap my pants just trying not to miss the race.

We ran outside and luckily they hadn't started yet. We made it. I've been running solo since I started training for this. I haven't been able to persuade anyone to run with me in the winter. I would have had friends for the half marathon a week ago but it was cancelled due to snow that never came. It was nice to have my run buddy back. I also realized I'm not a good run buddy. I don't like to talk at all when I run. I think I've been alone on the run so much that I can't get out of my zone. Luckily Bunny (my run buddy) found someone to talk to who would talk back and who was running the same pace. I was right in front of them listening, or I thought I was until I realized I hadn't heard Bunny's voice for a while. When I looked back I realized it was someone else's conversation I was listening to. At this point I hit the turn-around and the porta pottys. Thankfully I got to finish what I started before the race. With my intestines relieved, I came out and caught up with Bunny and her friend. Since I was in a zone and didn't want her to have to wait forever for me to finish, I moved up ahead. One thing I wasn't crazy about in this race was that the roads weren't blocked off and I felt like I was dodging traffic as the field got slimmer. They did have cops at all intersections so runners never had to stop and wait for traffic. They also had plenty of aide stations with enthusiastic college students to cheer us on. I hit the 10 mile mark and felt pretty good. I had no desire to stop and quit.

The second 10 miles were much more scarce with runners. There were times I felt like I was on a solo run and not in a race as I would run by smokers or shoppers going in and out of businesses. I resisted the urge to stop and smoke and shop and instead I secretly latched onto another runner. He was the perfect pacer for me. Luckily he had headphones on and couldn't hear my heavy breathing as I tailgated him. I made it to the 15 mile turn-around again and again I had to stop at the porta potty. I had to give up my pacer. This really made me sad and I considered taking the risk of crapping my pants so I could continue on without having to think about pace. I couldn't take that chance. It made me think of Tom Hanks in Cast Away when he had to give up Wilson or risk drowning. I have yet to make it through a long race without having to crap. Three times since I got to Salem!! Four so far if you count when I was trying to leave the house, the same reason I was late to begin with. Well I made it out of the porta potty and only had five miles to go. I started to feel a bit miserable and cranky. I was getting annoyed with other runners who weren't running at the pace I wanted them to. Nobody seemed to measure up to my long lost pacer. He was irreplaceable. I tried following one woman and I was annoyed she just wasn't right and I had to pass her and try to find a better replacement pacer. Then a nice woman ran up beside me and started chatting with me. I was nice and chatted back but I secretly wanted to lose her and get in my zone. I moved up ahead. Somewhere after mile 17 I started walking. Then another runner said "no you can't stop I've been following you!" That was the nicest thing anyone could have said to me at that moment. I always thought I was too erratic to be some body's pacer. I apologized for walking but I had to. I was in agony. This was familiar territory as I had this same agony by mile 10 in my last race. I've made progress and wasn't hobbling like an arthritic 100 year old until mile 17! I soon discovered walking was more painful than running and I told myself I'd start up again at mile 18 and run through to the finish. I started getting a bit depressed because it seemed like this mile was taking forever and I still hadn't hit mile 18. I forced myself to start running again. It was painful but less painful than walking. Then happiness set in. I saw mile 19! Somehow I missed the 18 mile marker. The enthusiastic college student/volunteers cheered me to the finish. I officially finished in three hours and 34 minutes. I could have shaved off at least another five minutes if I didn't have to make those two pit stops. I've even read articles on this subject. I've tried about everything but no matter what, my intestines demand I stop for them. If I need one during the marathon, I hope the lines aren't outrageous.

That race was perfect for me. I was sore for the rest of the day but one 800 mg ibuprofen cured me. I haven't had any pain since and that was two days ago. I think I'll just keep doing what I've been doing. My only real obstacle left is to find a way to get one 20+ mile run in before the tapering starts. I'm no longer afraid of the marathon, I'm nearly ready to embrace it and enjoy the opportunity I've been given.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Sprain in my Train - Vanessa

Guys, I got injured. NOOOO!!!!! The good news is it’s just a sprain. I took the last 10 days off to ice and rest and was able to run four miles pain-free yesterday. The bad news is I’m now about 35 miles behind, wearing an ugly Velcro brace on my foot and have to endure the embarrassment of telling people that I sprained my ankle running to catch the T. Word to the wise: If you are a T-commuter and you see the train is already at the station as you approach, don’t run. There will be more trains. If you do run, at least change into your tennies before you leave the office. Don’t be the girl running for the T schlepping a massive purse and wearing a pair of size-too-small-but-too-cute-not-to-buy ballet flats. Not a great combo.

Unfortunately I don’t have any great running stories to share from the last week but I will admit that I have become hyperaware of the dangers of pedestrianism. Since I’ve been babying my poor ankle the wide avenues of Boston have transformed into narrow, icy obstacle courses with booby traps at every turn. At this point I’m surprised I don’t sprain an ankle on a weekly basis trekking over uneven pavement while hoards of rabid dogs and their oblivious owners try to entangle me in a web of leashes. It’s a dangerous world out there, friends. Walk with caution!

What's Happening Around Us - Laura

This weekend I run the Colchester CT half marathon with 650+ others. It is one of the most beautiful runs I have ever done – past dairy farms and pastures, along dirt roads and past old farmhouses. At one point I stop to see what two men in a pickup truck are doing with a cute furry animal in a cage by the side of the road. The animal looks so adorable and cuddly. Upon closer examination, they are releasing a skunk from a humane trap into the woods! Most runners pass by without noticing this is happening.

I finish in two hours and 12 minutes, #401. I have energy left, but my body could not have gone any further. I will definitely need to add some long distance mileage over the course of the next few weeks!

As soon as I finish I drive right back to the Boston area. My son’s basketball team has just won the playoff game that morning and is in the championship game at 3:00 pm. I get to see the last half of the game. I didn’t get to “see” the entire game, but I feel like I was there the whole time.

The message I receive is: Like the video project “The Invisible Gorilla” (check it out I never saw the gorilla! Do you?) we only see a small part of what is happening around us whether it is a skunk, a gorilla or a basketball game!

Runner’s High – Kellie

I love to get high when I run. I don't get high every time I run. I have no control over it, it's always random, although I've found scenic trails, beaches and ocean views have a strong potency for helping me reach that state of euphoria. For those who've never gotten high on a run, I can only compare it to driving. Driving is often filled with drudgery. It's what you have to do to get from point A to point B and keep your job. But sometimes going for a drive can be fantastic. If everything aligns just right, with just the right song, maybe the sun setting, something scenic, a good friend to enjoy the ride with or a nice drive alone to think and dream. Sometimes when I'm lucky I get that feeling when running.

I got high twice this past week. One night after work I was planning to hit the dreadmill at the Shipley. It was dark and raining but I just had to get outside. When I started running it was only drizzling. If felt good. Then it started pouring and it felt great. The more drenched I got the happier I felt. The only explanation for enjoying the slush, the rain, and jumping over snow banks while dodging traffic in the dark is I must have been as high as a kite. I have no idea why I felt a runner's high that night.

Then the weekend came. My plan was to go away for the weekend to Ogunquit with some friends and on my way back I would meet some other friends in Hampton, NH for a half marathon. The snow forecast cancelled Sunday's race and our last night stay in Ogunquit. The Half-at-the-Hampton's organizers offered all the race festivities, without the race, on Saturday from 12 to 4. I was away with athletic shoppers (shopping wears me out more than running) so I dropped them off in Kittery and headed to Hampton. A win-win situation for all of us.

I picked up my running friends' goody bags and headed out for a run alone along Ocean Blvd. I didn't have a specific route in mind but just wanted to run about 10 miles. The festivities were inside the Ashworth hotel so I headed out from there toward the Hampton bridge into Seabrook. I stopped at the bridge and headed back past the Ashworth until I ran out of sidewalk then ran into the Ashworth. That was approximately four miles. I grabbed a drink and decided to run the same route and make the Ashworth hotel my aid station every four miles. It worked out great and I decided to run on the sand for my last lap. I have an obsession with Dave Grohl and set my phone to the Foo Fighters station on Pandora. Just as I hit the sand, “Learn to Fly” came on, an ocean breeze hit me, strangers were cheering me on and I was high as a kite again.

Before my friends and I left Ogunquit that day, we sat in the hotel's outdoor Jacuzzi in the snow. We enjoyed a post runner's/shopper's high before heading back home.

The weekend didn't go according to plan but that's life. Sometimes unexpected detours can be blessings in disguise. It could be drudgery but you'll never get high if you don't get out there and keep trying.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness – Laura

I run 15 miles on the falling snow. It is peaceful and beautiful in the snow. I run with the running shirt my co-worker and friend, Michelle Cullen, has given to me for training. It is perfect for this weather!

The next day I go with my two daughters for a pedicure. I tell the manicurist that I am so happy she is open because I am training for the marathon and my feet will feel so good after a massaging pedicure. Another woman in the salon overhears me. She tells me she has run the Boston Marathon as a charity runner before too. She has lots of wisdom to share, and it turns out, her daughter goes to the same school as my youngest, and she lives close by. Her name is Deidre. When she leaves, she gives me her email address, and a check for a donation.

The message I receive is: The universe is full of gifts called random acts of kindness; I will try to do my part in replenishing the universe’s supply.

Snowy Conditions – Ivan

What a week of running. Two storms to make Sunday’s long run almost impossible. I was able to get miles in, but it’s hard to do when two feet of snow are on the ground. It gets dangerous out there. With that being said, I had to run 13 miles on the treadmill this week. No not in a week, this was my long run! I really don’t recommend this! If you know of a trick to make it joyful, I am all ears. I look forward to this week; it looks like it won’t be as cold.

Friday, February 15, 2013

That Nervous Feeling - Kellie

This past week wasn't much to blog about. I was lucky to have a long weekend off from work, Friday through Monday. Other than shoveling on Saturday, I was pathetically lazy. I had no energy. I blame my woman hormones and mother nature.

I was back to work Tuesday and back to the Shipley after work. I find it much easier to workout after work than to workout on my days off. I'm starting to follow the Spartan Race workouts of the day. Since I have been initiated into the Spartan word, I receive Spartan WODs on a daily basis and I've just started to read them instead of delete them. The workouts are similar to cross fit style workouts and seem to keep me from wandering around aimlessly in the gym attempting to figure out how to torture myself.

Wednesday night the Spartan WOD was suicide sprints, burpees, suicide sprints, burpees...etc until I nearly puked. That was punishment for my lack of weekend motivation. Thursday's WOD was to get a sledgehammer or ax and either bang on a tire with the sledgehammer or chop wood with the ax. I couldn't find those objects at the Shipley so instead I warmed up on the elliptical, tossed up a medicine ball, swung around a kettle bell, worked my abs then ran one mile as fast as I could on the dreadmill. I decided on a whim to add that last mile. I may try that after all my "non-run" workouts. It felt good to go the extra mile.

Luckily the snow seems to be melting so I should be back to the roads soon. Hopefully I can fit in a 10+mile road run this weekend. The weekend after I have a half-marathon and the weekend after that a 20 mile race. I can't believe how fast the time is going by. I'm starting to get that nervous feeling in my gut.

Tired of the Snow - Laura

My kids and I are tired of the cold and snow, so we head to an indoor water park for the weekend!The trouble is…I still need to train for the marathon. Friday night I run six miles on the treadmill until my kids get kicked out of the pool for being ‘unattended.’ Yes – they all know how to swim and the water is four feet at the highest point. They are not allowed in the fitness room either.
The next day, I plan to run 14 miles! This means another six miles on the treadmill, more time in the pool, then the drive home. The remaining eight miles consist of my son running three miles with me, my daughters (ages 11 and 8) running the next mile, and finishing the last four miles on my own before collapsing on the couch.
On my last mile, I am passed my friend Martina, in her car. Martina is a locally renowned clairvoyant who offers sessions on how to understand one’s past lives and remove the negative from the current one. It was not a coincidence that she passes me now and says “hello!”
The message I receive is: Everything happens for a reason….often reasons we do not understand.

Training Brain - Vanessa

Well, it’s official: I’ve become obsessed with the marathon. You know those people who are totally normal, well-rounded conversationalists until they go and have a child or buy a cat and suddenly the only things they can talk about are diapers and catnip? I am that girl. But I don’t talk endlessly about something as beautiful and momentous as bringing another human being into this world. No, I just want to talk about putting one foot in front of the other over and over again for miles and miles and miles.
Case in point: Last weekend, we had a bit of snow. My roommate and I were… less than prepared. On Friday night around 6:00 pm we started to accept the fact that this was a legitimate blizzard. We began to panic:
Roommate: It’s illegal to drive?!
Me: Do you think they will plow the path along the Charles by tomorrow?
Roommate: What if the power goes out??
Me: Will the gym be open??
Roommate: That was our last bottle of wine!!
Me: How many laps around the living room do you think 16 miles is?

I’m a monster.

But, the truth is, I don’t care. I don’t have children and I’m not a fan of cats. Everyone has their thing and running is mine. So go ahead and show me 85,000 pictures of your cat playing with a toy mouse. Just be prepared to listen to a detailed account of each precious mile of my most recent run. Unless we are facing a natural disaster in which case I’ll try really hard to reel it in and focus on survival.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Number of Hours in a Day – Laura

I watch the weather carefully. The weather will be warm on Saturday and cooler on Sunday. I run 12 miles on Saturday – eight miles in Holliston horse country while my daughter is riding, and then four more miles when I get home. We all go to my son’s basketball game right after I finish running, then home for dinner and a drop off to a birthday party sleepover for one of my daughters. On Sunday after Sunday school, my 11 year old daughter runs a mile with me; my 12 year old son runs three miles with me. I run the final four miles alone. We watch the Patriots lose the Playoffs; my father comes over for his birthday dinner. It goes so fast. When co-workers ask about the weekend, I don’t even remember scheduling running time. It was just part of my day.

The message I receive is: We all have the same number of hours in a day. With careful planning, I can still do the most important things to me – have quality time with my kids, continue training over longer distances, and enjoy the weekend.

Now it is cold. It is close to zero degrees today. I bring my son, Jacob, to sax lessons before school at 6:45 am. Then I drive home and run three miles on the treadmill in my basement early in the morning before work. I finish 100 sit-ups and 20 pushups. This is my workout ritual all winter long. It is not really marathon training. I say “goodbye” to my daughter Lindsay who walks to school. I put my daughter Leigh on the bus, and then drive to work. I don’t feel like I am marathon training. It was just a typical morning.

The message I receive is: Maybe the completion of small tasks methodically and persistently over time add up to something greater at the end.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Long Runs Are…Long – Vanessa

I’ve reached the point in training where a six-mile run feels like slacking. Once you get used to running over 10 miles at a time, shorter runs during the week feel like cheating. The problem is that this logic does not apply to long runs – they still just feel long. In addition to the physical challenge of piling on miles, I’ve come to realize that the hardest part is mental. Sure, I can be a cheerleader for myself mentally waving pompoms as I cross mile markers along my route, but the fact of the matter is I just get bored. Luckily, I have found a few ways to combat the boredom:

1) Music
I hate to brag, but my iTunes library is remarkable. As a former Spin instructor, I have pop tunes for every taste and from every era. From Bee Gees to Beiber, if it has a good beat, I’ve got it. The problem is that at some point the strong, monotonous beat of pop music begins to wear on me. I run to the beat, breathe to the beat and even begin to think to the beat. I need something more.

2) Podcasts
Running’s best kept secret. The idea of running with a buddy and chatting for 15 miles is great but in reality you are out of talking points and out of energy to coordinate your mouth, brain AND feet all at the same time by mile five. Instead, I download podcasts- specifically This American Life. This provides me with a built-in running buddy. He makes me laugh, makes me cry, makes me think but NEVER makes me talk. If only Ira Glass new how many miles we’ve logged together!

3) Puppies
Everybody loves them. Lucky for us, the city of Boston is literally packed with puppies. Running along any body of water or through any public park usually guarantees a high rate of puppy sightings. I realize this may not be enough of a distraction for some runners, but when the monotony of 15 miles-worth of pop music has turned your brain to mush a thought as simple as “OOOH! PUPPY!” can go a very long way.

This weekend presents a new challenge: 16 miles without losing my mind. With the impending blizzard, I may be forced to log my miles on the dreaded treadmill, which takes my puppy distraction out of the equation. I’m hoping for a good trashy reality TV marathon playing at the gym. Any other ideas for entertainment during a long run?

Summing Up My Week – Kellie

This past week was a bit of a recovery week coming off the 16 miler. I did hit the gym two days after but went right to the elliptical. No injuries here but I had to listen to my body and my body wanted to hold back on running just a bit. My legs told me that if I didn't take it easy on them for a few days they would go on strike. They let me take them for a four-mile run after work Thursday night. It was a treat! Or maybe a nice retreat from the dreadmill. I am getting use to nighttime running. It's peaceful and with my headphones on I don't even hear that scary serial killer background music. I do have an irrational fear of being murdered by a serial killer but if I want the Boston Marathon I'm just going to have to risk it. I think I actually frighten other people out at night with my heavy breathing.

Over the weekend I was on-call with work and went on a 6-8 mile run around the Hospital. I couldn't go much further since if I had gotten called in, I would have needed a taxi to get back. My legs were still on “take it easy mode” and they didn't want to go any further but they did promise me they would go further next weekend.

This week I've added stair climbing to my lunch break. I only need to sacrifice about 10 minutes of my lunch to get that good muscle burn. On occasion I've been successful in recruiting coworkers to join me in the stairwell.

To sum up this past week, I'm listening to my body, overcoming my fear of serial killers and finding a balance between running and strength training to avoid injury.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Hard Week – Ivan

It has been a very hard week for me to be able to train. Life continues and has tons of challenges, one of them is not enough time! As a father of two, husband and a restaurant manager I have long and late hours and not enough time. The demands of a new opening are huge. So I had to decide whether to run or rest, I decided to rest. I think this was the right decision as I feel fresh, but the upcoming weeks are going to be hard, as I will not to be able to miss many workouts. I need to put in the miles at this point. My longest run has been 12 miles so far and all in the Newton Hills. I felt pretty good so I look forward to this week training sessions. Stay tuned to see how I managed to train this week, should be fun!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Overwhelmed by Kindness – Kellie

This past week was a good week. I ran the Derry 16 miler and improved on my time from last year. This race is still the longest distance I've accomplished. I now know I can make it from Hopkinton to Newton-Wellesley Hospital. Being a newbie marathoner, I'm relieved to have a good base to work from. It's also a comfort knowing those 16 miles were hillier and colder than the first 16 miles of the marathon will be. I ran into Radiology marathon running legend Freddy Sanchez at mile five. It was great to see him. He gave me some encouraging words and was there waiting for me at the finish. I have a lot of work ahead of me but I'm more hopeful than ever that I can do this.

Originally I was more intimidated by the fundraising portion of being on team Newton-Wellesley than I was of the marathon itself. I'm overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of the Radiology Department as well as everyone in Maternal Fetal Medicine. All I did was bribe them with candy and snacks, and they met my goal within a week. More importantly than my personal goal in fundraising is that this will go to a very worthy cause. I can't imagine what it must be like to not only have to fight cancer, but to keep up with all other life responsibilities. The Integrated Support Services at the Vernon Cancer Center work to make life as normal as possible for patients and families going through this long battle. I can't thank everyone enough. Although I've been asked to stop bringing in candy because they are tempted to eat it ;) I may have to think of another form of bribery.

On Running in the Freezing Cold – Vanessa

Last week my training plan had me running three shorter runs and one 13 miler for a total of about 30 miles. This means I spent roughly 255 minutes in the freezing cold by choice! Some might call this stupid or downright dangerous, but you have to remember that I was born and raised in Minnesota where we buy treads not only for our tires but also our tennis shoes. We don’t let snow and ice bring us down, mostly because we have no choice.

Sure, it's cold and the first mile is usually 100% miserable, but it's also peaceful and refreshing. The path along the Charles isn't crawling with tourists, cyclists and families of six on rollerblades. It's just me and a few other 'crazy runners' who choose not to let the weather get them down. There is a sense of camaraderie amongst us Winter Warriors, even if it is admittedly harder to convey given every inch of our faces are covered by face masks. Even still, I always smile.

After years of running in Minnesota, I've learned a few things about training safely in the snow:
1) Dress warm, but not too warm to avoid sweatsicles. Even though it may be below freezing and you’ll be tempted to layer it all on, you can and will overheat under four layers of fleece, three pairs of socks, two hats and wool mittens. This will make you sweat and each bead of sweat will turn into an icicle the moment you start your cool down. Sweat + Ice= Sweatsicles.

2) If it's dark bring a friend, reflective gear and/or a head lamp. Winter darkness is dark and cars won't be on the lookout for joggers the way they are in the summer. Plus everyone looks cool in a headlamp… right?

3) Watch your step: Black ice is a pain in the butt. Literally. The minute you lose focus and assume the pavement peaking out from under the snow is dry, you will slip and fall and cars waiting at the stoplight in front of you will laugh for the entire duration of the red light. Trust me.

Although I’ve mastered the art of running in the cold, I am admittedly relieved to see the milder temps forecasted for my 14-miler this weekend. It will be my longest training run yet—wish me luck!

A Greater Purpose – Laura

I meet with Dan Destin, Shipley Center Manager. He is so knowledgeable and supportive! He remembers everyone who ran last year and their approach and ability level. He is a basketball player. He emphasizes the importance of cross training as opposed to over training, which is a mistake he has seen in the past.

I’m worried about finding sponsors. I have recently asked all of my friends and family for donations to raise money for an event to support finding a cure for cancer. I don’t feel like I can ask them again so soon. To my great surprise, in less than a week I have commitments from five sponsors. The linking of a charitable pursuit with physical endurance transforms this experience from simple self indulgence to adding greater harmony to the universe.

The message I receive is: there really is such thing as too much of a good thing. Balance in all things is essential for the best outcome. And that the charity of others has no boundaries.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Never Looking Back – Ivan

My name is Ivan, I am 34 years old and I love to run. I have been running since 2007. Before this I used to only cycle, then in 2006 I was hit by a car and shattered my hip. I was told that I was not going to be able to run nor would I be able to walk without the assistance of a cane. It would be six months to start weight bearing. But I wasn’t going to let this injury take over my life. So after a year of figuring things out, I registered to participate in a 70.3 Ironman race. I fell in love with endurance sports and have never looked back. I have participated in half Iron distance races, half marathons and a full marathon.

I am running the Boston Marathon to inspire all those around me, to keep them motivated and show them that anything is possible. Along the way I hope I can help people in need. I am also running to help support the Vernon Cancer Center. The 2013 will be my second marathon ever. I also participated in the 2012 Boston Marathon.

As a father of two young beautiful children, husband and restaurant manager, it gets complicated to be able to commit to my training, so I have to manage my time incredibly tight. I don’t have a lot of free time but every little that I do, I try to be with my family. For the most part my training doesn’t affect my life, it actually makes it better. My daughter, now 5, wants to train with me and I am giving a great example to her and others as well.

It is my hope that I can get the mileage in a safe manner and not miss too many workouts. I worry that my nutrition is going to be off. On race day I want to have done all that I can to get me to the finish line.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Boston Here I Come - Vanessa

My name is Vanessa Supple and I am a Clinical Dietitian here at NWH. I started out here as an intern and was hired on this summer. I have been dreaming of running the Boston Marathon for years now and I almost can’t believe it is finally happening. This is going to be so fun!

I started running in college to balance out the copious amounts of pizza and burritos I consumed. I started with slow, painful one mile jog/walks but eventually learned to love the sport. After college, I joined a running team and began training for races… first 5Ks, then 10Ks, a few half marathons and finally my first full marathon in 2011.

I believe you can split a room of marathon runners down the middle based on one simple question: Will you ever run a marathon again? Many will answer “Heck NO! I crossed this off my bucket list and I am d-o-n-e!” But the rest of us? We’re hooked. My first words as I crossed the finish line at the Twin Cities Marathon in 2011 were “That was crazy hard… I want to do it again.” Some people call it crazy, I call it fun.

Running Twin Cities meant a lot to me as I was born and raised in Minneapolis. The entire course was lined with friends, family and team members cheering me on. Boston was next on my list to conquer for the same reason. I’ve been living here for four years and have made this city feel like home. Running to the heart of this city I love with the support of the local community for all 26.2 miles is a great way to celebrate my life here… plus it’s a great excuse to explore new brunch spots after long runs on the weekends!

The only fear I have as training begins is injury. It took me two years to get my first marathon as I had to sit the first year out after stress fracturing my hip and pelvis with overtraining. I do NOT recommend stress fractures. They are no fun. That being said, my training plan this year is to take it easy. Focus on stretching, strength training and cross-training and forget about time. My goal is to finish strong and stress fracture free.

In addition to my physical training, I will of course be focused on fueling my body properly—I am a dietitian after all! Learning to stay hydrated and get enough calories without bingeing on ice cream after 16-mile runs can be difficult, but I plan to listen to my body and make choices that will support quality runs and overall health… with the occasional trip to JP Licks when I need a boost :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Challenge Seeker – Kellie

Hello readers! My name is Kellie and I'm an Ultrasound Technologist. I work in Radiology and Maternal Fetal Medicine. I came to Newton-Wellesley Hospital 10 years ago as a student. Ten years have gone by fast. Back in the day I could be seen in the smoking section during my lunch break. Less than two years ago I wasn't running at all except when chased or to get out of the rain. I was beginning to envy friends who were more active and doing obstacle races and other adventurous things. I decided it was time for a change. I have an abundance of inspirational friends in my life that really helped me get over the hump toward healthy living and soon I put down the butts and started running. I signed up for one 5k obstacle race and soon I was signing up for Tough Mudders, Super Spartans (8+mile obstacle race) 10ks, half-marathons, a 16miler and the hardest one of all so far, the Spartan Beast (12+mile crazy obstacle race). It's gotten a bit addictive. I can't seem to stop myself from seeking out new challenges that I'm nowhere near ready for.

I have yet to run a marathon but I know I have the mental endurance to complete one. The Beast took me eight hours and was a completely different kind of race, but it proved to me my mind will keep my body going for long periods of time. The longest running race I've completed was the Derry 16miler in 2012 about eight months from when I started running. It took me three hours to complete. With a cutoff of six hours for the marathon, I should make it. My goal is to finish the marathon. My second goal is to finish it in less than five hours. My third goal when I started writing this was to not sign up for anymore marathons but I already failed and signed up for one in November on my 40th birthday. Maybe I can outrun turning 40? I guess not but it will be a scenic adventure in the Moab trail in Utah. Midlife crisis I suppose.

I used to read the announcements about entering the marathon drawing and think how great it would be to do something like that....then I'd delete it. One reason I decided not to delete it this year is because I'm lazy, so lazy that if I hadn't gotten picked to do this I'm sure I wouldn't train for it. I probably wouldn't run at all. I mean it's winter for crying out loud! I'd either have to run outside in the cold or even worse, run inside on the dreadmill! The only way I'm doing any of that is if I'm obligated to do it and blog about doing it. So I decided throwing my name in the hat would be a win win situation. I'd either get picked and win my battle against winter hibernation/laziness or I wouldn't get picked and I'd get to hibernate and be lazy.

Since finding out I was picked to run the marathon, I haven't been lazy....well I've had some lazy days but I haven't allowed myself more than two per week. I'm working on cutting that down to one. I've been running three to four days per week and including one long run, a run with hill repeats (I live on a beastly hill), an hour long dreadmill interval run and an easy run of around five miles. Although no run is ever really easy for me. I know I'm supposed to do an "easy" run so the one I feel I suffer the least doing I've nominated as my easy run. On my days of not running and not being lazy, I alternate between an hour on the elliptical or any other cardio machine that will give my legs a break from the impact of running but still keep my muscles going. After my cardio at the gym days, I work on my core and upper body. Every once in a while I hire Horace to give me a boost (TORTURE ME!) with strength training. I've heard it's important to have a strong core going into a marathon. I had hoped all my layers around my core would just fall right off from all this running but apparently that won't work and I still have to do planks and other horrible abdominal exercises.

All this training hasn't really affected my home life. I have it easy right now. I'm a single parent to an amazingly responsible and self-sufficient 18 year old male. He goes to school then works until 10:00 pm on the same days I work. I work four ten hour days. I get out around 6:00 pm, hit gym and usually get home just after 8:00 pm and he doesn't miss me because he's not home yet either way. Then I get to have three-day weekends to take care of everything at home and make up for being an absentee parent.

I've signed up for some long races between now and April including the Boston Prep 16miler, The Half at the Hampton's half-marathon and the Black Cat 20miler. I'm so happy these races are available and local. I find it very difficult to run beyond 10 miles without water stations and other people to run with. I also need to find a long route with bathrooms along the way. I'll wait to talk about that struggle when we know each other better. Thank you Newton-Wellesley Hospital for giving me this opportunity!

In memory of Gena Brown, a coworker/friend who was an inspiration to all who knew her.

In the Moment – Laura

I get the email from Juanita Trigilio that my number was selected in the raffle to gain entry as a charity runner in the Boston Marathon this year. I’m in! I am euphoric. Ironically, I have an annual follow up in two days that will confirm whether or not I am still cancer free. Either way, I will still be running in this marathon.

There will be no training plans, gadgets or running logs. I will use the marathon to become completely aware of my body and how I am feeling. I will run the distance that feels right at the pace that feels right. This exercise will help me to achieve better self awareness, which will result in the ability to optimize my potential in all things. I am looking forward to a structure-free marathon training schedule.

You shall ”run and not grow weary.” (Isaiah 40) has always been one of my favorite verses. It defines the goal I have for this marathon: to be completely in the moment, free from physical pain and rely on my faith and the physical body I was blessed with to make this a reality. I will search for themes that translate from training to life.

The pleasure of starting to run on a regular basis is exquisite. I run three miles the first day, then six the following day, then four the next. The sensation of taking a deep breath free from any pain or discomfort evokes gratitude with each breath. I mentally thank the surgeon who made this possible. One feels gratitude most if something that has been taken away is then returned.