Thursday, April 30, 2015

Boston and Stuff

I've sat down several times to write a blog post since the Boston Marathon.  Nothing.  When it comes to blogging, I'm just not feeling it much these days (most my blogging is done on Instagram). But when it comes to Boston...even if my blog is on the way to the grave, I kind of want to at least write something here.  There are so many good things to say about Boston 2015. It was everything I wanted it to be and more. Ok, so the freezing cold and sopping wet walk from the finish line to the bag check wasn't fun but everything else was wonderful!
This girl... such a special time with her!  And to think we met through running blogs five years ago and now she's family to me.  

As I've said from the start, Boston was a training run of sorts for me as I prepare for my first ultra marathon in May--The Trail Factor 50k.  My goals for Boston were to keep it FUN and relatively EASY.  With this being my 5th Boston and maybe my last for a few years, my specific intentions and reality were:
  • Use Boston as a quality long run.  Don't race it all out.  Save my legs so I can continue training for my ultra.  Yes!  It's amazing to me how good this mountain trail running has been for me!  Since moving to Bend, Oregon in August, I've run almost all my runs on trails.  My weekly mileage hasn't exceeded 50 miles except one or two weeks (most weeks around 35-45ish), my mile splits have been trail slower and the time on my feet longer and varied in terrain/footing.  I've run more dirt and hills than ever before and my body has thanked me!  My longer runs of 20 miles and over have added up to more time on my feet than ever before in a single training run.  I've also been able to get out on the road every two or three weeks to test my legs out and run some faster miles.  Add to that a few treadmill speed workouts and you have one very loose training plan taken mainly from my heart/head and two or three running books I have accumulated over the years.  But you know?  This trail running and loose training has worked wonders for me--my body, soul, and running heart! I didn't even know (or care about) my Boston time for several hours after I finished because my Garmin stopped working during the last half of the marathon where it was pouring rain.  This was actually a good thing since my goal was to run without a watch or not look at it much at all!  I ended up running a 3:33:xx.  This is around the same as my other Boston Marathons (except for 2012 when it was 90 degrees):  2004: 3:32; 2013: 3:35 ? (I think...I know, how do you forget but I do); 2014: 3:28.  This one felt entirely different!  It was a lesson in distribution and pacing for me.  I went out easy and stuck with around that pace.  Yes, I slowed down at the end and my legs were tired but there was never any point where I felt like I was dying!  I think I actually could have had a Boston PR if I would have fueled the right way and had racing it as my intention...but we can usually say that in hindsight.  Ha!  
  • Soak it all up!! With this being my last Boston for at least a couple years, I really wanted to take it all in and EXPERIENCE Boston for all it is.  You bet I did this!!  I soaked it up in more than one way...the rain and the energy!  Leading up to Boston, I got to spend some very quality time with friends in a city I LOVE!  During the race, I high-fived, stopped for a picture, SMILED nearly the whole way, almost cried a few times when I saw people supporting each other, and embraced the incredible energy from the crowds. 
This wasn't the easy portion of the run (obvious from my face) but I was still feeling so happy to be running!  I think I'll be buying these this time...for the story behind them.  At this point I was sopping wet and cold!!

Gorgeous weekend!! The weather was perfect every day except race day!

Watching the women's B.A.A Invitational Mile!  They make their fast mile look easy! 
  • Play around with FUEL.  In training runs I don't use fuel anymore.  I used half a gel once for a 14 miler but I finally decided I didn't want or need it for the kind of runs I have been doing.  I eat a good breakfast and then take water or sometimes Nuun Energy (electrolytes and caffeine) with me.  My best marathon (my first) was run with one gel the entire way...just sipping it.  Granted, I was young, there is no science behind my strategy, and I wasn't running for a personal record since I had no record yet but it worked for me for what I wanted.  With Boston I drank water and had sips of gatorade every 3 or 4 miles.  I also sipped on 3/4 of a Huma gel for part of the race. If I would have had a bit more fuel of some kind, I think I would have had the energy to run some faster and stronger miles at the end if that's what I had decided to do but I'm happy with how things turned out.  The run was easy until the very end and I secretly hoped I would have had more energy to make a 3:30 or sub 3:30 feel strong and easy but that wasn't happening for me in order to keep running in a way that would mean I'd be able to continue training.  
  • Enjoy being a part in someone else's first Boston Marathon!  As I've shared on this blog before, one of my closest friends is a friend I met through the blog world in 2010.  We got to know each other by reading each other's blogs but then we became daily email friends and then phone and Skype and eventually traveling to spend girl weekends together.  Five years later and I consider her family.  This year was special because I not only got to see her but I got to meet her parents and sister.  She was there running with her dad for his very first Boston Marathon at the age of 63!  Not only did she coach him all the way through but she paced him to another Boston Qualifier.  Such a special and memorable experience to be able to join this family for much of the lead-up an celebration.  Some good genes in this family!!  
It was cozy in the tents at Athlete's Village! 

Our good friend AM was there to cheer for all of us!  She spent hours in the rain and cold and then walked from the restaurant to the hotel with me once it got dark.  Only thing...I took us the wrong way and we ended up walking what felt like 5 miles in the POURING DUMPING rain.  She didn't hate me.  

Father and Daughter.  Runner and Coach.  Another BQ for him at 63!  Such an amazing man who is married to the sweetest woman and together they raised 6 of the best women around!  Honored enjoy some of this experience with them!

Some random bullets about Boston and After:
  • The weather wasn't ideal but it was better than some of the other times I've run when it was 87 and 90 degrees!  The rain and cool temps really was being in our element as Pacific Northwest runners!  After training in Portland, OR for so many years, the rain, wind, and cold didn't have much on me.  Until AFTERWARDS.  With a sopping wet shirt, shorts and every inch of me from head to toe being saturated, it was MISERABLE walking from the finish line to Boston Commons for our bags. That was the true marathon!!!  My teeth were chattering so hard I thought they might chip loose! 
  • It felt so much less crowded this year! I know last year was a special year with more people allowed but everything felt more efficient this year.  
  • There is no race quite like Boston! From the city of Boston to the expo, energy, race course, spectators...the whole can't be beat!  I will be back again when I am less busy with my kids and sports and can justify spending the money on another Boston.  For now, there are other things calling me.  
  • I ate more sourdough bread and drank more beer than I have in awhile!  I'm surprised I fit in my shorts for race day.  But it was worth it.  Enjoying good food and beer while traveling with friends is part of what makes trips like this so fun!  However, in the future, if I'm going to try again for a PR, I might not drink beer every day leading up the race!  Oh, and the beer in Boston was disappointing for a west coast girl who likes a hoppy IPA. 
  • I didn't run the day after Boston but I did run the following day with my friend AM.  We ran a slow easy 6.  It was a slow start.  My body was not liking me after running 26.2 miles on road after never running over 10 off trails for months.  My right leg wasn't working so well but I warmed up.  Since then, I've gotten back to my daily running routine.  Hoping for a long run of 18-20 this weekend if I can fit it in.  
  • Lots going on in life that has me smiling so much.  I feel the happiest and strongest than I have for a long time.  Maybe ever.  Just content and present.  I'm enjoying my home, these trails, the memories to come in this backyard this summer, driving my kids to soccer tournaments and practices, seeing my husband thrive in a job he is so deeply passionate about, and soaking up this time I have to be home while my kids are still young.  Grateful.  
I've never been a blogger who was much good at race reports but it felt good to write a few thoughts down!  And now for some pictures.  

I don't know who missed the trails more...him or me.  We both were so happy to run together when I came home.  With my husband working so hard, this dog went from clocking 40-50 miles a week to maybe 10.  Love him!!

The Deschutes River on my 13 mile trail run yesterday

If someone visiting Bend, OR asked me to list my top recommendations for trail running, Shevlin Park would be in my top 3 on the list! From steep climbs leading to mountain views, meandering paths through lush forests along Tumalo Creek, wooden bridges, to paths leading to the perfect bench or table for a post run stretch or snack, this place has it all!!  Every time I visit,  I wonder why I don't drive the 10 minutes her more often.  

THIS is what I'm most excited for this summer!!  Time with my family in our backyard...enjoying each other and making and sharing memories.  

THIS is what I'm most excited for this summer!!  Time with my family in our backyard...enjoying each other and making and sharing memories.  Oh, and enjoying some good beers after long happy days in the sun!

Now off to get the kids and do the soccer shuffle!  This felt really good to blog again.