Thanks, Boston

Sometimes it takes a complete stranger to put things in perspective for you. Last night, I worked a private party for a solider returning from Kuwait. The party was about 30 or so older people congratulating an Army commander on his return from an overseas deployment that had lasted about a year. There were a lot of really kind words and big smiles. For all military families go through, it was really nice to see such a happy celebration. I had never met them and I couldn’t stop smiling for them.

Near the end of the meal a man in his 60’s walked over to me.

Man: “Excuse me sweetie, I heard you ran the Boston Marathon this year?”

Me: “Well, the first 22 miles of it, yes.”

Man: (extends hand) “I just wanted to congratulate you. I feel like with everything that happened you runners had your accomplishment, what you went through that day and the months of training overlooked. Congratulations young lady, I will be there cheering you on next year!”

I was dumbfounded. First, I had no idea how he found out I had run the Boston Marathon. I hadn’t said anything more personal than “Could I offer you another drink” to him at any point during the meal.

Secondly, the idea that this man wanted to go out of his way to congratulate me rather than offer his condolences. For the past two months every time someone has asked me about the race it has started or ended with “I’m so sorry you didn’t get to finish” or ‘Really makes you think how unimportant things like the actual race really are in the grand scheme of things”. For the first time since April 15 I felt proud of what I had done that day rather than guilty for being one of the 27,000 reasons people were drawn into a trap.

I’ve learned a lot about myself from this years race. A few days after the race Jim and I went to dinner and I confessed that I hated my job. Jim simply said “So quit”. That was it. No plan, no what-if’s. Just quit. His idea is that if it wasn’t making me happy, pack my desk and find something that would.

And that’s what I did. That Friday was my last day in marketing, and by the next Tuesday I was re-enrolled in my graduate program as a full time student. I’ve never been one to pull the trigger on life that quickly but if Boston taught me anything, it’s that life is short and precious. Don’t take it for granted and don’t think you can do anything tomorrow.

I’m not trying to pretend that I had all positive, life-affirming moments after Boston. It wasn’t until last week that I started to sleep through the night, and even that has only been a couple nights. I still can’t bring myself to display my medal, race bib or anything else from that day. I certainly couldn’t run the One Run Boston last month and cross the finish line. Not yet. Not without 26.19 miles behind it.

One day this will find its place in my house. For now, the sock drawer will do.

One day this will find its place in my house. For now, the sock drawer will do.

I’m trying to take a silver lining and let my experiences have an overall positive effect on my life. I can’t control what happened, and I can’t go back in time and warn everyone. But I can live my life to the fullest and take pride in the 22 miles that I accomplished.

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Getting Back to Normal

You may be wondering where I’ve been. To be honest, I was wondering that for a while too. Life has thrown more than a few curveballs in the past few months and while they all were leading to something pretty fantastic they certainly threw me off my game for a bit there.

From the time I was born I have not been known as one to seek out major life change. Arriving a month and a half past my due date (sorry, mom!) my family eventually admitted they should have taken that as a sign that I am content in routine and will change that routine in my own good time. So when I came home in October and broke the news to my family that Jim and I were buying a house 45 minutes away from them and I left my job to take a new position closer to the new house they were understandably a bit shell shocked. To be honest, I was too. At 27, I was finally ready for the much needed life change I had been craving for so long.

October feels like a world ago. The universe decided to have some fun with my little plan and challenged my Type A personality in a declaration of war type way. I’ll sum it up like this- if you can at all avoid it- do not buy a short sale house. We spent 5 months with our money and time sucked up into a home that fell through on closing day. I cried for days. I refused to see any silver lining in the situation and every time someone reached out to offer their sympathy about the situation I immediately had to hand Jim the phone while I had a mini breakdown in the corner. It wasn’t dramatic at all, I promise. However if you happen to know of any official “Boyfriend of the year who stayed with a woman clearly having a psychotic break” awards, please let me know. A friend of mine wants to nominate someone. Again, just asking for a friend here.

A few weeks later Jim told me he found a perfect rental for us while I mourned the resale of our dream first home. He reminded me that there will be a million other houses and that this was a great opportunity for us to take a year and live together in a setting outside of my moms house and do whatever we want. After all, we didn’t have a mortgage to worry about. We looked at the rental house, I cried again, and told Jim do whatever he wanted I would hate everything anyways. Again with the positive outlook on life. I’m a winner.

We moved in last month and I have to admit I couldn’t be happier. It’s a perfect house for just the two of us, located 5 minutes from my job and 10 minutes from his. Grad school is 25 minutes away. Oh, and this is our backyard.

 

 

This does not suck. In the least.

This does not suck. In the least.

Overall I’m adjusting pretty well and I think running has been a huge part of that. I’m such a creature of habit and as strange as it sounds, changing my morning routine was my biggest concern about moving. No longer would I have a Marylou’s Coffee shop where everyone not only knew my name but usually had my coffee made perfectly waiting for me by the time I walked through the door. I wouldn’t have a quick breakfast with my brother in the morning before we played musical cars for whoever had to leave first. For all the things I don’t have- I still have my run. It’s not at the same gym on treadmill days, it’s not in the cemetery on perfect weather mornings, but it’s still my run and that’s adjusting too.

These days every run is done with the end goal of a BQ at Boston 2014 in my head. It’s going to be tough. I’ve never really trained for speed before, I’ve only trained to finish. I’m excited for the challenge and ready to put in the work. Before Boston I have a slew of other races to get through, including my most ambitious race yet. In October I’ll be running the Cape Code Marathon Chowdah Challenge. Like the well known Goofy Challenge during the Disney World Marathon Race Weekend, it’s the half marathon on Saturday followed by the full 26.2 on Sunday. I’m excited. I’m terrified. I’m sore already.

If any of you nice folks have any advice on how to run a double race weekend and not die I’d love to hear it. Looking forward to more daily posts and getting back to the wonderful world of run blogs!

Life Updates

I’m back! Not that I went anywhere, I’ve really been here all along. I’ve just been stressed busy with ridiculous stressful exciting life things and attempting to squeeze in runs during these incredibly stressful exciting life things. What are these life things? Let’s recap…

  • I launched 4 sites in 2 months and that is unreasonable. Work was busy to say the least. But, all are live, doing well and happy to have graced the internet with their presence. Yay.
  • I ran the Newport Half Marathon. I know you were all expecting me to run a recap about the full. So did I. We drove to Newport the night before the race and talked about how non-ready we both felt, how with the house purchase we really couldn’t afford to go on vacation anyways, and why were we torturing ourselves over something that is supposed to be fun. We decided we’d run for fun, not for competition and if we felt out of it we’d walk off the course and hit the nearest bar. Inspiring, right? Well, it appears the Newport Marathon Gods decided for us, because when we went to pick up our packets, I was registered for the HALF and not the full. All my confirmation emails said full. All my emails with the Rhode Scholars said full. Registration said half. We took the hint, ran the half and called it a weekend. Jim killed me with a 1:41 debut half. I’m impressed/mortified.
  • We bought a house! Fingers crossed, we close next month. Throughout the whole first time home buyer experience we learned a lot. I compared the whole process to the dating world. Really, it makes sense.
  • –       You will be asked to disclose more personal information to complete strangers upon first meeting than you tell someone in the first year of dating. It’s like speed dating for gold diggers. Terrifying.
  • –       When there is no chemistry you and the house, you know off the bat and want nothing more than to awkwardly find an excuse to leave and not call them back.
  • –       When there is chemistry, you become a stage 5 clinger pretty quickly. “Who is that looking at my house? Will they like them more than me? I’m prettier but she has a nicer car. Maybe I should call to see if they have made a decision yet? No, don’t call, wait 3 days.”
  • –      Unlike in Sex in the City, you cannot buy a house with a ring. I checked. Not that I have one, but it’s always good to know what you can use for collateral here. So no, Beyonce, we did not put a ring on it. We offered our souls for the next 30 years.

One other big update- I’m officially registered for the 2013 Boston Marathon and running for Miles for Miracles again.

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This is the time I spectated the 2012 Boston Marathon after training all winter. Sad face.

 

Running for a charity as a qualified (or deffered, however they want to phrase it) runner is a completely different process than running on a waiver like I did last year. When I thought about the time and monetary commitments I gave it a lot of consideration. Would I have time to fundraise? Would I want to drive to team practice every Saturday in the freezing cold, snowy dead of winter? The hills. Dear God the hills.

After a lot of thought and self-questioning, I decided that the kids at Boston’s Children’s Hospital are worth all of my stress, free time and normal body temperature comforts. These kids deal with way more on a regular basis and they shouldn’t have to. I’m honored to run for the kids, their parents whose strength is truly inspiring and the doctors and nurses who care for them.

Training officially starts on December 10, but I’m starting a little early. To keep myself accountable, I’m going to be posting my training schedule on Monday morning every week. Even if I don’t have an entry for the day, I’m going to post my Nike+ miles every day. You’ve been warned.

I’m also looking to do 13 races in 2013 (half or full marathons) and I’m taking suggestions. Here is my creepy Craigslist-eque ad: Runner looking for race that won’t mind I’m running other races around it. Nice view. Good people. Post race beer preferable.

I Can Breathe!

For most of my life, my asthma hasn’t really impacted my every day life. I wasn’t even diagnosed until I was 17 and at the time it felt like a validation for not putting in any effort in gym class. I finally had a viable reason for every gym teacher who told me I just wasn’t trying hard enough or the overly competitive boy who would yell if they didn’t feel like I was really trying in kick-ball. Come on. It’s kick-ball. It’s really not that serious, I promise. 

When I decided to pick up running a few years ago I never expected to really be able to because my doctor always told me that asthma would prevent me from “strenuous cardio activity” and that I should “stick to the elliptical” or if I’m going to run to “do it on a treadmill so I can stop at any time and sit down”. I think we all know by now I’m a go big or go home type of person, so I took that sound medical advice as “Sure Brittany, running a full marathon as your first road race in 89 degree heat is a great idea. Don’t bother to bring an inhaler, you won’t need it”. But some small miracle I didn’t die, and I kept running.

I eventually got a new inhaler and even went for a breathing treatment last year. Since then, I’ve felt great. But over the past couple months, things started flaring up. I told myself it was just the heat, it was a small flare, it would be fine. I finally realized on Tuesday that my inhaler was probably empty (and likely had been for some time) so I went to CVS on Monday to pick up a new one. Oh, what’s that CVS- you’re out of inhalers? Come back tomorrow? Ok, I’ll just go for a run without one.

That run turned out to be another painfully slow 2.5 miles. I left the cemetery frustrated and annoyed. Also confused because I had a stare down with a Bambi while a smaller Bambi wandered around seemingly confused in the background. I went home and asked Jim if a deer would attack a human. It was a logical question because this deer looked at me like I was dinner. I was then informed that this is never a logical question. In case you were wondering- no, a deer will not hurt you (on purpose).

The Bambi in the back did not seem very smart.

After my near death encounter with the wild beast, I really wanted my next run to be great. So last night I picked up my inhaler, hit the gym, took two puffs and went out to the treadmill determined to kick some ass. And you know what- it’s exactly what I did! I ran a 5K with a negative split and averaged at MPG. BOOM!

That, my friends, is a negative split. Boom.

I started off telling myself that one dose of an inhaler may not make the world of difference I was hoping it would, but to just see how I felt a mile in. I hit the mile mark and I felt just as good as when I had started. I thought, let’s pick it up! I pushed up to 6.2 and next thing I knew, I was drenched in sweat and hitting the 2 mile mark. I had to stop for a second around 2.4 to fix my shoe, but I’m pretending that didn’t happen.  I crossed the 5K finish line on the treadmill screen stronger than I’ve felt in a long, long time. Yes, it was only a 5K. But it’s a 5K that felt strong, which is exactly what I need 6 weeks out from Newport (eep. )

Longer. Faster. Better. Heck yes!

I went home and rewarded myself with breakfast for dinner in the form of an eggbeater spinach and cheese omlette and (white!) toast. Every once in a while I eat a piece of white toast and remember just how delicious it really it. Terrible, but delicious.

Go ahead, judge me. The white bread was delicious.

Did you kick any workouts butt lately? Was it the best feeling ever?

The Hardest 2.06 Miles

Two workouts in a row I’ve managed to pull myself out of bed an hour early to get my miles in before work. I wouldn’t call it a habit, but today was certainly easier than Tuesday. I woke up and felt the crisp breeze through my window and I was down right gitty. It’s Fall! I changed, laced up and hopped in the car. The thermometer in the Sentra even confirmed it was destined to be a perfect running morning.

Hi, Fall! I’m not even mad you showed up early.

I started off to Anna Sun (my favorite run track of the moment) and loved the fact that I could just barely see my breath as I ran up the first hill. For the first quarter mile, my run was perfect. And that’s as perfect as it got.

Around a half mile I suddenly felt defeated. My legs were lead blocks, and my asthma started flaring up. There is a big difference between asthma flares and bad cardio. On good days, I can run 5 miles with no breathing problems what so ever. Today, I took my 60 second walking break 8/10 of a mile in, and my chest still felt tight. I picked it back up, “ran” for 2 more songs (if we can even call it that) and then took another 60 second walk.

I wish I could pin point why this mornings run went the way it did. I was in bed by 10 last night. I didn’t work out last night and burn myself out. In fact, Super Specator Caitlin and I went to go see the Bourne Legacy. By see, I mean we drooled over Jeremy Renner for two hours and established that the girl in the movie really didn’t have it that bad if at the end she’s on a boat with him in Fiji. It all worked out.

I pushed through the second mile when I really just wanted to call it quits, which helped my mental game a little but physically my body didn’t seem to want to play along. By the time I was back at my car I felt like I had run a 10K. Which isn’t a normal feeling for 2.06 miles.

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Not great.

I’m going to try to do another run tonight and see if it goes any better. I know everyone has off days but I really want to get out an feel like I conquered a run. I’ve had some ok, just “routine” runs lately, but it’s been a while since I felt like I really crushed it. And with Newport a little over 6 weeks away, I really want to feel like I’m ready.

On a better note, I did receive this gem in my inbox. If there’s anything that can motivate you for a second workout, this is it.

I’m coming back!

Hope you all had better morning workouts than I did!  How do you power through the not so great runs?

All About the Future

I try to live in the moment as much as I can, but some times you’re forced to stare the future straight in the face. Like when I caught the bouquet at the wedding we went to this weekend. I take that stuff as a joke, but suddenly there were 10 text messages from certain family members making it clear they were expecting an announcement soon; I realized some people don’t. Sorry guys. Not anytime soon.

Kidding, Guys! Except about the flowers. Those I caught, kept, and they’re pretty.

Sunday marked 7 weeks until the Newport Marathon and I realized I’m getting closer and closer but not feeling much stronger. Jim went for his first training run last week. 6 miles in 47 minutes. Not bad for a first time out. I’m still cruising along at my 10:20/mi without getting any faster or slower. Some days I feel like I’m flying, other days my legs feel like lead, but I’m always hitting 10:20 give or take :10.

This morning I managed to pull myself out of bed at 5:45 to get in a couple miles before work. I really want to get back in the habit of morning workouts. Yesterday I woke up after staying in bed until the last possible minute and walked outside to 58degrees and crisp dry air. I died inside. As much as I love summer, running in heat and humidity takes a serious toll. Knowing I missed the first fall morning of the season felt worse than a DNF. There is nothing quite like Fall running, and I’m so looking forward to the next couple months of it.

I promised myself that today would mark the start of morning workouts. The alarm went off at 5:45 and I shot up with more enthusiasm than I’ve had in a while. Fall running! Cool breezes, dry air, sweating a normal amount! I laced up, ran down the stairs, opened the door and – Whack! I probably should have checked the forecast before getting myself all excited for weather that didn’t actually exist. In fact, this morning was exactly the opposite of what I was expecting. Unless Fall suddenly means 78 and 80% humidity. I figured I’d made it that far, may as well work out anyways.

I hit up the cemetery and felt surprisingly strong for the first song on my playlist. It’s a newbie and I’m kind of in love with it. I suggest you check it out.

If you watch HBO you have heard this song.

I went with my new routine of run 3 songs at MGP, walk 1 min, run the rest of that song and the next 3 at MGP. I’m still really nervous to re-tweak my knee so close to race day, and with Boston training quickly approaching after that. I got my confirmation yesterday that I’m officially entered into the 2013 race, and that is crazy to me. One, that a date that seemed like forever a few months ago snuck up so quickly, and two- I’m agreeing to 6am wake ups on Saturday mornings all winter again. Eep.

This morning I was slower than I would have liked for the second mile, but I’m still taking the fact that I started a new routine as a win. Small victories still count- right?

Do you work out in the mornings? How long did it take you to get used to it? I know that whole 28 days to make or break a habit thing, but I can’t be tired 27 days in a row!

 

 

 

 

Not The Healthiest Week

I am a pretty healthy person in general. I eat salads more than pizza, drink my recommended 64oz of water each day, take the stairs whenever possible and even sneak in a long run once in a while. Sometimes I even get 8 hours of sleep. This week, none of those things happened. In fact, if I were to have a physical today I’m pretty sure there would be multiple causes for concern.

As has been pretty typical over the past month, this week was just busy. I have 3 launches over the next 4 weeks and that goes hand in hand with long hours at work. Jim and I also have a wedding to go to this weekend, so Monday night we decided the time had come and he needed to buy a real suit. Taking him suit shopping was one of the greatest things I’ve ever been able to do. He didn’t hate it as much as I thought he would have, but by looking at his face you can tell his was less than thrilled with the whole concept.

He was OK with this, I promise

After 5 options and me acting like this was a GQ photo shoot, Monday was gone and my run was missed. Tuesday was a going away dinner for a co-worker who I’ve worked really closely with for the past few years, so Tuesday was a bust as well. That led to Wednesday, which was the annual Marshfield Fair Supercross race. The boys race, and I… well I eat fair food. This years dinner was a baked potato filled with cheese, bacon and broccoli. It was delicious. Then my little cousin dragged me to this glorious stand…

This is my inner fat kid Mecca

That’s right. Deep fried sweets. By the end of the night I had a deep fried oreo, a bite of deep fried cheesecake and half a deep fried pickle. That was Wednesday. I’m pretty sure my arteries are still mad at me.

The delicious outweighed the guilt

When I finally made my way to the gym last night I expected to be a little lagging. I knew it had been an off week and I probably wouldn’t repeat my glorious 7:40mile. Have I mentioned I ran a 7:40 mile? I’m still pretty excited and it was amazing. To say I didn’t repeat that glorious feat is an understatement. My 2.03 miles were not only slow, but kind of painful.

Not good.

I put the fancy treadmill on “Random Hill” mode which adds a few solid inclines, but still no excuse for that performance. It’s certainly not a confidence booster for the 12 miles I’m hoping to knock out tomorrow morning before Jim and I head to the cape for the wedding. I’m going to try to get those done by 8am so I can shower, nap and get my legs rested for the dance floor madness that will be my night.
I’m trying to get down to Newport the second weekend in September and do my final really long run on the actual course. #RhodeScholars- want to make a day of it? Let me know!

So that’s my week. I will be healthier next week I promise.

Have a great weekend everyone! What’s your mileage looking like for you fall marathon training?