Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Winter Classic recap and end of the year summary

I worked on my costume for about a month. I constructed a curved body and bottle top hat out of cardboard and styrofoam and even some metal frame work for the body. I covered it in shiny metalic green paper to look like glass and then designed and sketched a label for the front of the "HOLIDAY CHEER" bottle.On one of my long runs I came up with a witty warning for the back of the bottle. I even drew a barcode and Santa in his sleigh. I was pretty proud of my costume creation.
Race day finally arrived. I drove into Cambridge ready to spread holiday cheer. I got to the race a little early, walked around to scope out the competition. There were a lot of santa hats and elf costumes and some fun socks and tights. A guy in a speedo and one guy dressed as Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, but no one had a costume as creative as mine. The volunteers loved it, the race officials loved it, the race photographer loved it, and the other runners loved it. Even the cops directing traffic chuckled when I walked by.

I lined up with the other runners and the race began. It was pretty tricky to run in the costume and the wind made keeping the hat on really tough. At the first mile marker I looked at my watch and I had managed to run it in about 9 minutes. Not bad for a bottle of booze. I kept on running and smiled as I passed runners and could hear them reading my label and laughing. I figured no one could beat me in the costume contest - my costume was homemade, original, witty, and holiday themed.


I crossed the finish line in just under 30 minutes, a little slow for me, but wicked fast for running in costume AND the course was long - 3.4 miles not a 5K. People were pissed because it was a fast course and some of them might have PR'd if it was measured correctly, but all I wanted to know was when were they deciding the costume prize. I asked around and found out the awards would be done at around noon. The race was at 10:00am and I was done by 10:30. What the heck was I suppose to do for an hour and a half.

I walked around, got some water and a frozen bagel. Then I went to the bar that was hosting the awards ceremony. Let me tell you, if you were there with friends having breakfast and beers it was a hopping place to be, but if you were there sweaty and cold and dressed as a bottle of "holiday cheer" it lost it's spirit pretty quickly. I was bored, irritated, uncomfortable, and I just wanted to know if I won the costume contest and I wanted to go home. After waiting for two hours because they did the age group prizes and then took a break before announcing the costume prize, the time had come to find out if I won $250. The race director began by saying he didn't pick the winner and it might have had a different result if he did, and my hopes and dreams of a little extra holiday cash were shattered. I was beat by a friggin girl dressed as...............a LOBSTER!


Needless to say I was devastated and all my "holiday cheer" evaporated instantly with the announcement of the Lobster winning the $250.

Anyway, that race sucked and ruined what little holiday spirit I had just a week before Christmas, not my favorite time of year to begin with. I'm sort of a grinch when it comes to the holidays. I hate holiday music, I hate all the TV ads, I hate all the decorations that seem to go up in stores earlier and earlier each year. But, I'm on vacation so at least I don't have to listen to every one at work talking about last minute shopping and family feuds and I don't have to participate in a lame holiday gift swap of stuff no one wants given to people no one really likes. Instead I spend the last 3 weeks of the year doing what I love to do - RUNNING.

Almost everyday, I get up whenever I want and eat a good breakfast and then go for a run and occasionally in the evening when friends get out of work I go for another run with them. I've been racking up miles as if I'm only a few weeks out from a marathon, except this year I'm not running Disney in January. I'm not training for anything in January. Just have Boston in my sights and it's in April. So, for now I can just relax and enjoy running and slowly ramp up my mileage after the new year.

2010 has been a pretty epic year, Goofy challenge, Boston marathon, Maine marathon, a bunch of triathlons, and I even had a near death experience with a garbage truck somewhere in the middle. I will finish out the year with just shy of 1500 miles logged. I could get 1500, but I'd have to run 42 miles in the next 5 days and we just got hammered with a bunch of snow so it'll be near immpossible to do that. I'm just amazed that I logged over 1000 miles in a year. Can't wait to see what I can accomplish in 2011.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

And so the training for Boston begins again......



I'm in "officially" now. I made my excel spreadsheet for training 2011. Started with a 26.2 on the week of April 18th and worked my way back to January carefully planning my long runs in cycles to build in recovery weeks and ramp up my mileage over the next 20 weeks including time for taper at the end. Good news is the training is actually stretched out more than it was last year because I'm not doing Goofy this year. So, I can ease into the training and enjoy the mid-long distance runs (12-14 miles) and get in a few extra really long runs (16-20 miles). The 16 and 18 milers are my FAVORITES! I have a beautiful loop I LOVE to run full of hills just like Newton.

I think I might be a little excited to start the training because last week I logged a total of 45 miles and I am only at the BEGINNING of the training!!!! That's more than I logged at the peak of my training last year. I did two long runs last weekend, an 11 miler on Saturday and a 12 miler on Sunday. So, I decided this week will be a recovery week and I'm taking it down a notch.

In the last few months I've been analyzing my nutrition in an effort to get to the best body composition for me. I crunched the numbers for about 4 months worth of data and turns out I'm very consistent. I eat 55% carbs, 30% fat, and 15% protein almost exactly without even trying. I've had my body composition measured and I'm at a very lean 17% body fat. I've been able to maintain my weight for the past 3 years while continuing to build lean muscle mass and lose fat. I think when I started at my current weight I was ~24% body fat. I'm having my resting metabolic rate tested again to make sure I'm eating enough and fueling my body right. Basically, I'm in tip top shape and should be able to train hard and run strong in April.

Only a few short fun runs coming up in the next few weeks. The Winter Classic 5K is giving a $250 cash prize to the best costume so I'm going to try and win it. I'll post pictures after the run so you can judge if my creative idea is prize worthy. Then on January 1st I'll be running the 1st Run 10K in Lowell. It was my tune up race for Goofy last year, this year I can just run it for fun.

I really hope the weather continues to behave as it has up 'til now. A mild winter makes for nice training runs. Snow is pretty, but not fun to run in. Happy Holidays! Find your happy pace!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Santa came to my house early......

One of my friends left this on my desk Monday:


It’s a really good thing that I get to work before anyone else and it’s bright and early and super quiet in the office because when I saw it I SCREAMED and then proceeded to jump up and down and do a little “I’m running Boston, I’m running Boston, I’m running Boston” dance. I’m sure it would have been very funny to see if you were a fly on the wall.

I don’t really like the holidays, not big on family, don’t have kids or a significant other and don’t really exchange gifts with anyone so all the commercials and d├ęcor every where I turn is really just annoying. I have everything I really need – a roof over my head, food in my fridge, a car to get me from point A to B, a job that pays my bills. Anything I WANT above and beyond those things I can’t really afford so I live simply with what I have and I’m happy with that.

The most valuable thing to me in life is and always will be my friends. I can’t even begin to describe how grateful I am for the awesome friends I have met through running. They truly are the greatest gift I have ever received; although, the invitational entry to Boston is a close second. ;)

Monday, November 29, 2010

2010 Year in Review

So, the year is coming to a close and it’s been a super busy one. I just looked at my race calendar and counted up all the races I did.

Here’s a summary:

3 Marathons
6 Half marathons
5 Sprint triathlons
2 Obstacle course races (Spartan and Ruckus)
~20 5Ks
Several other distance races

Total so far (there’s still 5 weeks left in the year): 52 races

Highlights of the year have to be completing the Goofy Challenge in Disney, setting a PR in my first Boston Marathon, getting the coast to coast medal at the Disneyland half marathon and then breaking my marathon PR in my home town at the Portland, ME Marathon.

Goofy:

Boston:

Disneyland:

Maine Marathon:


I have been neglecting this blog and not really writing much, but I will try to be better in the New Year. Some funny things have happened since the last entry and I really should write about them. I ran the Wicked Half in Salem, MA and although it was advertised as a costumed race, I was the ONLY person that showed up in costume (and therefore won the best costume prize). I dressed as a black cat and looked wicked cute.

A few weeks after, on Halloween, the same race organizers had the Devil’s Chase 6.66 miler in Salem, MA. It was a devil themed race. There were a ton of traditional red devils, a few devils in blue dresses, a Tasmanian devil, some deviled eggs, but I once again wowed them with my creativity and showed up in a homemade costume as Devil’s Food Cake. Some people didn’t get it right away so it was fun to watch the gears turn in their heads and the light bulb finally come on when they understood what I was dressed as and some people never really got it and I got a lot of cheers along the course for “Chocolate Cake slice”! It was awesome.

Devil’s Chase:


I ran the Spartan Race and the Ruckus Boston obstacle course race with a bunch of friends. Both were toughest ~ 3 mile races I’ve ever run. I can’t decide if Spartan race was tougher because of the terrain it was on. Ruckus was totally flat on a fairground and Spartan was wicked hilly through woods and trails. The Ruckus obstacles were way tougher, but the Spartan terrain was definitely tougher.

Spartan:

Ruckus:


It has been a little over 3 years since I lost 100lbs and I have maintained my weight since then and continue to improve my body composition. I’m getting leaner and faster and I can’t wait to see what kinds of new personal records I can set in 2011.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Graniteman, Spartan, and Disneyland

So, I’ve been super busy this summer racing and training. I’ve kind of neglected this blog, but I’m not really sure anyone even reads it so I guess it’s ok to neglect it. In my last update I mentioned some of my upcoming races. I have now completed most of them. Here’s a quick recap:

Graniteman Tri in Wolfeboro, NH. I did awesome. 10 minutes better than last year and got 4th place; missed the podium by only a few minutes. Next year I’ll get a chunk of granite. It’s a long sprint tri – ¾ mile swim, 15 mile bike, and 4.2 mile run and a very hilly course. I finished it in 1:56:09. My goal was to get under 2 hours. Goal accomplished. Oh and then I did an 18 miler the next day!

Good Times Summer Series – 8 weeks of 5k races, different themes each week. I placed 3rd in my age group which is pretty awesome considering half way thru the series I almost got crushed by a garbage truck. If I didn’t have the accident I would have been first place, so next year will be very interesting.

Spartan Race – One word: AWESOME! It was the toughest 5K I have ever run, but it was so much fun. I can’t wait to do it again next year. I got some great photos and the pro photographers got some good ones of me too. I’ll have to buy them and frame them in some kind of rugged bad ass frame. I ran/walked a 20 miler in the heat and humidity the next day. I made it about 15 miles and had nothing left. It was in the 90s and sunny and I went through ~70 ounces of water before I even got home and still lost about 5lbs. in sweat.

DISNEYLAND Half marathon – dressed as Tinkerbell. I was a little disappointed in Disneyland after experiencing Disney World. It’s SO SMALL. It’s like mini-Disney. Everything at the expo was smaller scale and the whole experience was, well, not the same. The race was a nice surprise though. The course was so much fun. Only the first 3 miles went through the parks and the rest went through the streets of Anaheim and through Angel Stadium. The entire course was lined with cheer squads and dance teams and marching bands. It was a great atmosphere. I got a ton of really great photos. I can’t wait to see the pro photos. I managed to run it in 2:13 AND I stopped at EVERY character to take pictures. Felt great at the finish and could have easily kept going. I wasn’t even sore the next day.

Tinkerbell:


Me and Lightning Mcqueen and Mater:


All my Disney Medals:


This weekend I’m running the Nahant 30K, then next weekend is Reach the Beach. I kind of want to do another half before my full, but I don’t think I can afford to after spending so much in Disney. We’ll see. I might be able to scrape up some spare change.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hot fun in the Summer Sun

WOW, it’s already been a month since the last time I posted anything. This summer is FLYING by. I can’t believe there are only 3 weeks left until Labor Day. I’m wicked excited though because Labor Day weekend I’m going to Disneyland with a friend for the half marathon and to claim a Coast to Coast medal! Before I talk about what’s coming up on my race calendar I should mention what has kept me so busy in the last 4 weeks.

As I mentioned in my last post, I crashed my bike then did two 5Ks and a tri. My road rash is totally healed and I have some nice scars now to make the memory of my near death experience really last. The hematoma on my hip is still there, but getting smaller every day. There’s still a weird red blotch on my back like a bruise that just has never gone away. Aside from that, I’m pretty much back to normal. Not quite back to the speed I had before the crash, but slowly getting there.

Here are some picture from the Urban Epic Tri I did (July 10th):


The week after that I continued to rest and recover and then got right back into training for the Peak Performance Portland, ME Marathon. I did a nice 16 mile run and felt really good. I averaged just about 10:15s which was my pace for Boston. I started out a little fast and was averaging 10:00s and under, but the last 3 miles were really hot and humid.

The following week (July 25th ) I did another triathlon, SheROX Tri in Webster, MA. I finished it in 1:27, 20 minutes faster than the Urban Epic tri, proof that if I wasn’t injured I would have totally kicked my brother’s butt. I came in 13th out of 168 and had the 6th fastest bike split. Here are the pictures from that tri:


Next up was the Yankee Homecoming 10 miler. Every year it’s on the hottest day of the summer and I hate every minute of it and say to myself, never again. But then sign up for it again the following year anyway. This was my 3rd year running the 10 miler. It was a little cooler than the past years and there was a slight breeze. I was just hoping to beat my time from the year before which was 1:43. I was really hoping to even be able to get under 1:40 if I felt good. I wasn’t feeling very confident at the start of the race. I had to rush to get there and almost didn’t make it in time and I was a little stressed, but once I started running that stress melted away in the setting sun along the course. The miles went by and I was maintaining a very comfortable rhythm. I got to the last 2 miles and I felt great. I started to pick up the pace a little and passed people left and right that were struggling much like I had in the years before. I made it to the home stretch and saw my friend Ann and she screamed at me “You’re going to get 1:35!!!” and I took off like a bullet firing out of gun. I did it! Not only did I PR, but I got under 1:40 and by a couple of minutes! It was amazing.

That weekend I did another 16 miler. Still feeling great and getting stronger everyday. The following week the Good Times Summer Series started up again with the Bikini Run. I’ve run it 3 years in a row now. I may not have the best body out there, but it’s MY best body and I’m happy to run in a bikini even if my tan lines look a little silly. I didn’t PR or anything, but for me running in a bikini is a huge personal accomplishment no matter what the clock says when I cross the finish line. Here’s a photo:


August 8th was the Witch City Tri in Salem, MA. ½ mile swim – 13 mile bike – 3 mile run. I did pretty good. Finished in 1:28. I had a few fumbles along the way. I stubbed my toe on a giant rock in the water warming up. It wasn’t even really warming up, the water was FREEZING and the only way to warm up was to get out as fast as possible. When I was standing on the beach listening to the announcer and waiting for my wave to start I looked down and noticed I was bleeding, a lot! Great way to start the day. Luckily, as the woman next to me pointed out, the water was too cold for the sharks to come up the coast from the cape. The race started and I swam really well. I’m not fast by any means, but I wasn’t last either. Then getting out of the water I hit ANOTHER giant rock and tripped getting out of the water and gashed open the side of my foot. So now, my toe AND the side of my foot were bleeding. I got to the transition area and couldn’t get my wetsuit off. FINALLY, I got out and got to the mount your bike space and my chain was stuck and I couldn’t get started. Eventually, I got going and passed a ton of people and flew through the bike course in no time at all. Pulled on my sneakers and finished the race. I thought I did really great until I looked at the final results online the next day. I came in 8th place in my age group, out of 8! Apparently a bunch of local tri teams practice on the course and only really fast people registered for the race. I did really well, but everyone else did better. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention I did an 18 mile training run the day before the race. Here are the photos:


Up next is the Graniteman Tri in Wolfeboro, NH. Then the Spartan race in Amesbury, MA and then DISNEYLAND! After Disneyland I’m doing Reach the Beach, maybe a few shorter races I haven’t decided on yet and then the marathon. No wonder time flies by, I’m always running, riding, or racing.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Epic Week

Well, last week was … I can’t even think of the right words to describe it. I was sick the entire week before and I started to feel better over the holiday weekend. Even did a 10 mile run on Sunday and a 20 mile bike ride on Monday. Tuesday morning I got up early to bike to work. I made it about 3 ½ miles from my house. I was flying down a hill going about 30mph when a trash truck coming from the other direction turned left in front of me!!!! I jammed on my brakes and went flying over the handlebars through the air and hit the pavement HARD. Cracked my helmet and landed just under the front of the trash truck. Somehow my bike landed 10 or 15ft. away in the opposite direction and one of my blinky lights landed a few feet behind me in the road. My water bottles were scattered on the road in front of me and the truck. It was pretty much a huge mess. The driver of the truck immediately got out and started asking me if I was ok. I just put my hand up and said “gimme a second to catch my breathe and assess the situation”. My first thought was “F*%&^& I have a triathlon this weekend!!!!!!” My second thought was “there goes my place in the good times summer series 5Ks” (I was tied for 2nd). Then I thought I hope my bike is ok. THEN finally, I thought I hope I’m ok.

I was able to get up and walk over to a grassy spot to sit and check out my bike. It looked ok, just a little banged up. I was in the same condition. Ok, just a little banged up. I had road rash on my arm, shoulder, back and hip. I don’t know why the driver didn’t just call 911. I was too out of it to make any kind of good decisions. I just asked him to drive me home. From there I took myself to the Emergency room. Luckily, nothing was broken. I just had a mild concussion and a bunch of bruises and abrasions. It could have been A LOT worse. I am extremely lucky. After the ER I went to the Police station to file an accident report and then to the bike shop to have my bike looked at. I rested for most of the day after taking care of everything.

My hip:

My elbow:


Wednesday, I went to work (not on my bike). I was in a lot of pain, but I couldn’t really sit around my house all day and with a mild concussion it was probably safer to be near people anyway. My hip really hurt and my shoulder started to turn lovely shades of purple. My elbow was still oozing and not really healing that well. I couldn’t focus on anything and I struggled all day with some short term memory loss. That made for a very long day at work and a very frustrating day. I went home after and fell asleep on my couch at about 5:00 and slept straight through til the morning.

Thursday I felt better so I took my bike (all fixed) out for a short test ride. The handlebars were a little twisted and the new saddle was a little too low and my new pedals were too loose. I made the minor adjustments and I was good to go. I followed the ride up with a short run. I was registered for a 5K and I decided to give it a go and just take it easy. I took it REALLY easy and finished in about 35 minutes. The first mile hurt, but after that I felt ok. So, I figured based on these efforts I could still do the tri on Saturday.

Drove up to Portland on Friday night and picked up the race packet and racked my bike. After leaving the race check in we drove around downtown Portland looking for parking for what seemed like an eternity. I was so friggin hungry I was getting really cranky. It was almost 8pm and I hadn’t eaten since lunch time! We actually found a parking spot but these ho-tastic b*tches were standing in it trying to save it for someone else. If my brother had stopped the car I would have jumped out and throttled the girl for the friggin parking spot because I was so hungry. Instead we ended up circling the block 3 or 4 more times before settling on parking in a garage. We had dinner at flatbreads (me, my mom, and brother). We ordered a Nitrate free pepperoni and mushroom and a veggie special that had pesto and summer squash and zucchini and grape tomatoes and, of course, the organic salad with blue cheese to start off with. It was yummy.

Then Saturday morning was the Urban Epic tri. The swim sucked. First of all, pulling on my tri top in the morning I split open the road rash on my elbow and my shoulder. Then my wetsuit, even though it’s sleeveless, came right over the road rash on my shoulder and rubbed it off completely. It was a ½ mile swim, but it felt like it took FOREVER. I felt good in the first ½ of it, but then I got really winded and a little dizzy. Got out of the water and stripped off my wetsuit. Then there was a ½ mile run to the transition area. Hopped on the bike and blew past people left and right. ALMOST caught up to my brother. I saw him on my first lap and my second lap. He was way faster in the swim though and had a 3 minute head start. The last mile of the bike course was this insane hill, actually two hills one right after the other. Both were ~10% grade (which is REALLY steep). I made it up the first hill fine and thought, that was easy, I can eat hills like that for breakfast. Then the second hill hit hard like a sucker punch. I dropped it into the granny gear and made it over the top ringing my bell for the people cheering. I saw my brother already a mile into the run and knew catching him was not going to happen. I made the fast descent to the transition zone and put on my shoes for the run.

I started to run the wrong way out of the transition area, but then got my bearings and I was off. Got comfortable pretty quickly, but then about ½ a mile into the run there was a huge grass hill to run up. It was more like hiking than running. I got to the top and I was gassed. Still 2.5 miles to go and I was out of energy. I pushed through and continued. My hip started to really hurt a lot and then after a little out and back loop we turned down a trail and had to run down a steep hill on a dirt trail and that hurt A LOT. Then at the bottom of the hill despite the huge orange sign with an arrow on it everyone in front of me turned the wrong way down the trail and I followed them not really paying attention and we got about ¼ of a mile down the trail before we realized we went the wrong way and had to turn around and go back. Got back on track and finished the race with a little kick at the end and then straight to the med tent for some ice. Overall, it was a fun race, tough course, but good times. If I was 100% and not injured I think I might have been able to catch my brother. Afterwards we hung out at the post race party for a while and I gave away my two free beers to some of my brothers friends. Pictures from the race will be posted as soon as I get them.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Escape the Cape

WOW, it's been a busy week and a half since I last posted something. I've been biking to work almost everyday despite the fact that the showers were broken until this morning (they worked, they were just freezing cold). So, I've logged a total of 160 miles on my bike since my last post and over 600 so far this year. Time flies when you're addicted to endurance sports.

Last weekend I did the Escape the Cape triathlon in Onset, MA. It was my first tri this year and my first swim this year and my first swim in my new wet suit. I finished in 1:12:48. Not bad for not really training for it and just wingin' it. Imagine how fast I could be if I tried. The distances were 1/3m swim, 10m bike, and 5K run. I was slow in the water (to be expected since I don't really train for the swim), I destroyed the bike and averaged over 20mph (would have been even faster, but there was a no passing zone and I got stuck behind a chick on a hybrid bike), and then I did better than I expected in the run and completed the 5K in 25:23.

Here are some of the pro photos (I might buy them because they actually came out really good):




It was a really fun race and they had pretty decent food at the finish and a DJ and the area was really beautiful. Advertised as the Cape without the bridges and it lived up to the ads. I will definitely sign up for this race again next year.

After the race I went home and chilled, did some laundry and cleaned my house. Sunday morning I got up and did a 10 mile run. Nice and easy, nothing crazy. This week has flown by. I biked to work Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and today (25 miles round trip each day) and Tuesday I did a 6 mile run in the morning and then did it again in the afternoon with my friend Kim. We ran it about 2 minutes faster than I ran it in the morning and it was almost 80 degrees out!

This weekend I'm going to break my nasty habit of not training for the swim and actually get in some open water swimming not in a race setting. We'll see if I can keep it up and maybe place in my next tri. I'm also going shopping for some tri gear with my friend Kristen a tri newbie this year. It'll be a really fun day of exploring topped off with some swimming and maybe a late day bike ride.

Next week the Good Times summer series begins and I'm gunning for 3rd place bigtime so I hope it's not too hot and I can get a good time, maybe even PR again.

My DFMC fundraising has sadly come to a screaching halt just shy of my 10K goal. I was able to raise $9665 for Cancer research. I am extremely proud of this accomplishment and I hope that I can repeat my success next year with the 2011 DFMC team.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Good Times

Last night I completed the Good Times 5K Spring series. It was a perfect night for a run in beautiful downtown Lowell. In the mid-60s, sunny, with a light breeze; ideal running conditions for me. I knew going into the final race that I was in 4th place in my age group and it would take a miracle to get third. Basically, the overall points leader would have to trip and fall or the third place girl would have to miss the race due to food poisoning or something crazy like that. Neither one of those things happened, but it was still a great night.

The gun went off and I was not prepared, it startled me a little and I fumbled to start my Garmin. It wasn’t working so it took me a few steps to get it figured out and get back into a comfortable rhythm. Once I was settled, it was ON! I cruised through the first mile and looked down at my Garmin and saw 8:07 and thought, “That can’t be right, must be because it didn’t start right away.” I saw some friends up ahead of me running with their dogs and I tried to catch up. With a little more than a mile left to go, I passed them and took off as if the dog was chasing me. I don’t know what I did right, whether it was the yummy hummus wrap I had for lunch or the much needed rest day I took the day before, but I was unstoppable.

Less than a mile left to go and I looked down at my Garmin and it said 17:24 and I thought, “A mile is still pretty far, just keep running.” I used my favorite finish technique, pick a person and pass them, and one by one I leap-frogged my way closer and closer to the finish. With less than half a mile to go I really kicked it up, took some deep breaths and tried to catch just one more person. THEN, I saw the clock. It still had a 24 on it!!! I could get under 25:00. Holy crap. Last tenth of a mile was a full sprint and I crossed the finish line with a new PR, 24:51!

So, I might not have worked my way into 3rd place, but I did get a new PR and for someone that just 3 years ago couldn’t run at all and weighed almost 300lbs. I’d say 4th place is an AMAZING accomplishment and definitely something I am very proud of. AND since I completed all 8 races in the series I got a GOLDEN MYLIE:

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Run to Remember

This weekend I ran Boston’s Run to Remember half marathon. I was really hoping to break 2hrs, but as soon as I saw the weather forecast go above 90 degrees I knew that was not going to happen. Next best thing would be a PR and if that didn’t happen I would settle for just finishing and not dying in the heat.

Saturday, I went into the expo with a bunch of friends to get my bib number and to get lunch. We ate at this great little place on Newbury St. We just stumble upon it and what an amazing discovery! It’s called “Cafeteria”. Everything on their menu is organic, all natural, made from scratch. I had the grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. Then we got dessert. They had a brownie Sunday and a cookie plate and we couldn’t decide which one to get so we got both. Both had homemade ice cream and fresh whipped cream on top. OH MY GOD, it was out of this world. It was so good, we went back for another helping after the race, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Sunday morning we drove into Boston, it was already 70 degrees at 7:00am! Not a good sign. I just kept telling myself, start slow, get comfortable, see how it goes and then if there’s still gas in the tank in the last 5K kick it up and finish strong. We all got separated when we parked so we tried to find everyone in the start corrals and it just didn’t happen.

At 8:00am the gun went off and we started the race. The first few miles went by incredibly fast. I was glad I had my fuel belt with me though because the water stops were few and far between. After winding through some of the downtown streets of Boston, the course dumps you out onto Memorial Drive (very fitting considering the race is held every Memorial Day weekend in memory of fallen Law Enforcement Officers). The course is mostly an out and back along Memorial drive. There is a little shade and usually a light breeze, but it’s so hot it doesn’t help much. Before I knew it, I reached the turn around a little after Mile 6. I hadn’t seen any of my friends, but I was maintaining a pretty decent pace, not record breaking, but not bad considering the heat. I kind of knew as the race went on even as I passed the halfway mark, the halfway point distance wise is NOT the same as the halfway point energy wise; I wasn’t feelin’ great. I’d be lucky to just finish the race.

In years past I have always bonked around the 9 mile mark on this race course, but this year as I ran by the 9 mile marker I felt pretty good. I even got a little boost of energy knowing that I hadn’t bonked yet and it didn’t feel like I would. The course leaves Memorial drive and winds its way back through Boston, around the common and over the Seaport Blvd. bridge to the finish in front of the World Trade Center. It’s just about 2 more miles, but it feels like an eternity because there are a lot of twists and turns and when you finally reach the Seaport you can see the finish, but it’s still about ¾ of a mile and it’s the LONGEST ¾ of a mile EVER! Your in the blazing sun and you just want it to be over and done and you have to keep running.

I did it. I finished, alive and standing, AND I even managed to squeak in just under my time from the previous year and PR’d. My GPS read 13.5 miles and I was exhausted and dehydrated. Just as I crossed the line the girl in front of me STOPPED right in her tracks and I collided with her sweaty nasty back and yelled at her, “DON’T STOP!” I friggin’ hate it when people do that. It wasn’t entirely her fault though. The finish chute was very poorly organized. There was only about 10ft. between the line and a sharp 90 degree turn into a dark, crowded, sweaty, stinky, air conditioned hallway. Going from 90 degrees and humid into air conditioning with no cool down walk while your heart is still racing IS NOT IDEAL. I almost passed out.

I made it out of the crowd and to an open space inside the Trade Center and tried to drink some water. I felt really sick to my stomach and light headed and I was crusty and dry and covered in salt so I knew I was severely dehydrated. I sat down and sipped my water and tried not to vomit. After a while I got up and walked around a little more trying to find some friends and in the chaos of the crowd I found two of my best friends ever….. Ben and Jerry!

Monday, May 24, 2010

More Flags, more fun!!

So, this weekend I decided to take it easy and take a break from running. I went to Six Flags with some friends to celebrate my birthday and "be a kid again". It was AWESOME!!! We left my house around 8am Saturday morning and drove all the way to the middle of nowhere in western Massachusetts. Along the way we enjoyed some awesome 80s flashback tunes and organic lollipops to start the day off and go back in time and maturity for the day. We got to Six Flags right when the park opened and hit all the major thrill rides right away. Started off slow with the Tomahawk ride and then moved on to bigger and better rides like Flashback and Bizarro (redesigned Superman), then Batman and Minderaser. The Superman/Bizarro ride is still my favorite. Although the last time I went to six flags it was a totally different experience. I was too wide to fit comfortably in most of the rides and the safety harnesses were kinda painful. This time was awesome, I had lots of wiggle room and my butt fit in the seats just fine. I'm a little bummed that for some reason when we rode the Bizarro ride the cameras weren't working and we didn't get a picture because that one would have been AMAZING! But we did get this pretty great photo of all three of us on the Batman ride (I'm the one in the yellow T-shirt with my hands up):

Now THAT's how you should celebrate getting old, act WAY younger than you really are and just have FUN!

After we ate lunch in the parking lot tailgate style, we headed back into the park for some slower paced rides like the merry go round (to really feel like a kid again) and then a few other fun thrill rides. The last ride we went on Pandamonium, probably would have been fun, but the line was wicked long and the entire time we were waiting we were stuck behind this ridiculously annoying old woman. She was complaining about the teenagers in the line being loud, but she was louder than them! We made every attempt to turn our backs to her and ignore her, but she continued to talk to us and scream "Ladies!! Ladies!! I asked you a question...." By the time we got on the ride and finished it, we were all pretty much spent. We stopped at the Coldstone Creamery on the way out and got some yummy ice cream to finish off the day.

Sunday, I got up and ate breakfast (waffles with fresh berries and whipped cream) and ran into the Lowell for the Lowell Firefighters 5K. It started a little over a mile from my house so running there was a good warm-up. The clouds hung around for most of the race, but it still felt pretty hot and steamy (and for once, I'm not talking about the firemen). I ran the race in a respectable 26:03 and finished 8th out of 52 in my age group. Stuck around after the race for some free lunch and socialized with some fellow runners. Then ran back home and hopped on my bike for a nice 23 mile cooldown. Perfect way to end my birthday week. :)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Flat Tires SUCK!

This morning I totally got up on the wrong side of the bed. I woke up an hour before my alarm clock went off, but forced myself to fall back asleep and I was so successful that when my alarm did go off I felt like I only got an hour of sleep total (instead of the 8+ hours I really did get) and didn't want to get out of bed. I managed to drag myself out of bed, throw on my bike gear, pack my bag and scramble out the door. My whole body was resisting waking up at this point and pedaling was pretty difficult. I questioned my decision to ride my bike to work, but then the sun started to come up and I felt a little better. THEN I got a flat tire! Not a total catastrophe, but it's the 4th one I've had in two weeks! And it was on the back tire which is way more of a pain in the butt to change than the front tire.

Luckily I had a spare tube and I was able to swap it out relatively quick, but as I was re-inflating it I noticed the tire itself looked a little funny. It is not fitting properly into the rim and it looks slightly deformed and it's totally time for a new tire. I'm pretty sure I have one, but it's at home not in my backpack! So I wrestled with the tire and was able to re-inflate it and get to work, but who knows if I'll make it home. Not a great way to start the day.

As I'm venting my frustration with my flat tire fiasco, I just had a thought. The flat tire can be a pretty good metaphor for how my fundraising has been recently. I was going along great. Got up over some tough hills and slowed down a few times, but picked up the pace flying down the other side after an update email or cheesecake fundraiser. Overall, my average pace was very impressive, almost $2000 a month since December. Then the "flat tire", my post race push to try and get a little bit more is not really working and my fundraising has slowed down to a stop and it's really bumming me out that I'm so close to my goal (only need about $1000 more) and I just can't get there. BUT on the bright side, I hope that like my flat tire this morning, with a little creative thinking, a positive attitude and maybe even a little forceful persuasion, I can fix it and get back on the road again and reach my destination.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What an awesome birthday!

The day started out sort of ho-hum, I rode my bike into work. I got a wicked awesome card from my friend Gillian that had Homer Simpson screaming about the fire on the cake and then singing a funny song "When the fire starts to burn there's a lesson you must learn, something, something, then you'll see, you'll avoid catastrophe. DOH!" It was hysterical! Then my friend Ann brought me homemade apple coffee cake. It was delicious.

Work kinda sucked. They announced they will be doing about 300 layoffs at the Pfizer site I work at. In the grand scheme of things, Andover is actually expanding and there will be a lot of really great opportunities, but it still sucks that 300 people will lose their jobs. I just hope I'm not one of them. I want one of the really great opportunities that will happen as a result of all the changes they are making. Only time will tell which path I get to travel down.

After work, I rode my bike home and made it in record time. Ate some dinner and more of my yummy apple coffee cake. Then headed over to the Good Times Series 5K race that starts half a mile from my house. I was wearing my DFMC training shirt and a back bib that said "Today is my birthday and all I want is donations to Dana Farber" and it had my website listed. Plus, I passed around a collection can after the race. I'm a little disappointed that I wasn't able to collect a little more from the crowd of ~200 runners, but I did get another $30 for cancer research and every dollar counts!

I have to admit before the race I wasn't feelin that great. My goal was to try and break my PR for my birthday. The only problem was my PR for the Good Times Series was over 2yrs old and I still think it was a fluke timing error because it was about a minute and a half faster than my typical 5K pace. BUT lately I've been on a role and creeping closer and closer to that mythical PR time. So, I thought, "Why not? I can totally do this." It was cold and rainy, my ideal running conditions; as if Mother Nature was giving me her own little gift for the night. I started off a little fast, but I figured it's all or nothing. I had to go all out and go for that PR with everything I had in me. If I could just hold onto that pace long enough to make it across the finish line before the clock said 25:30 I would have my birthday wish.

I made it to the second mile marker and I was still on target to hit my PR or come very close. The night's theme was Xmas in May and I had already passed a few friends dressed as elves and was able to sing a few lines of jingle bells as I ran past them so I knew I wasn't pushing as hard as I could. With about 3/4 of a mile left to go I passed the water stop, my usual spot to pick up the pace and start picking people off and take off with a little finishing kick. I didn't know if I had it in me. I started to doubt myself and I was struggling, breathing really hard, muscles burning, stomach saying "why did you have to have TWO pieces of cake?", and then I saw a girl I KNOW typically runs much faster than my PR pace and she was right in front of me and I was about to pass her. So, I looked down at my watch and sure enough I was still well under my PR time and closing in on the finish line. Two tenths of a mile left and I got passed by Buddy the Elf, so I kicked a little harder and tried to catch him (I was unsuccessful). I could see the finish clock and it had just ticked past 24:59 to 25:00 and it was still going and I sprinted as hard as I possibly could. I DID IT!!!!! I crossed the finish line at 25:15! And got myself a new PR for my birthday. The best present I've ever gotten.
Here's the medal to prove it:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Getting SO Close

Donations are definitely slowing down, but I'm not! I'm so close to my new goal. I KNOW I can do it. I have two more checks to mail in today for $100 each and about $500 in outstanding company matches that haven't hit my website yet. Plus, my birthday is next week and I hope I get some birthday "gifts" to my page. It would be such an amazing accomplishment to raise double what I had originally thought would be impossible to raise. My starting goal of $5000 seemed so unattainable back in November and now I'm closing in on $10,000. It's just incredible. Just like I never thought I would run the Boston Marathon, I never thought I could raise $10K for cancer research and I finished the Boston Marathon so now I want to finish this fundraising too. I really hope I make it.

On the training front, I'm ramping up my mileage slowly for the Run to Remember half marathon in the end of the month and then the summer will be jam packed with long runs for the Portland Maine Marathon in October and some fun shorter races sprinkled in to keep things interesting. Here's the elevation profile for the Maine marathon.


It looks challenging, but not too bad. I'm not too excited about the fact that it's one giant out and back course, but it will be cool to run through the neighborhood I grew up in and finish near the soccer field I ran on in high school and hated every minute of it. Who would have thought that several years later I would grow to LOVE running and become addicted to long distance running. Not me! Well, surprise, surprise, look at me now. When I cross the finish line in Portland I will have completed 6 marathons in 2yrs!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Shadow box, wall o' Medals, and mother's day brunch

So, a few entries back I mentioned that I put my medal in a shadow box. Here it is.

It is hanging on a wall with all my other Boston stuff:

Next to my Wall O'Medals, finisher medals and bibs from all the races I have run in the last 2-3yrs:

I think I need a bigger wall.

Anyway, yesterday was Mother's Day and I haven't had a great relationship with my mom over the past 10yrs or so, but through the magic of DFMC we were reunited yesterday for a lovely brunch at my house of homemade waffles (with stone ground whole wheat flour) and fresh organic berries and whipped cream. It was very nice.





So good that I might have to make waffles for dinner tonight.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Photocard mailing


I sent these out today with hand written notes on the backs of them to everyone in my address book. Unfortunately, I don't have the mailing addresses for a lot of people anymore, only emails. I hope that everyone that gets one sends me a donation and tells their friends. If I can just get everyone that has already donated to give $5 more and ask 2 friends to give $5 I can easily reach my new goal of raising $10K.

On the training front, even though Boston is over, I'm still addicted to running so I finally picked a fall event to train for. I will be running the Portland, ME marathon in early October. I can still recover for a few weeks before I actually start increasing my mileage again. So, now I know what I'll be doing all summer. YAY! Then I will most likely do Goofy again and hopefully Boston for DFMC 2011.

And so the journey continues......

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Birthday wish

May 18th is my birthday and all I want is Dana Farber donations. I'm running a 5K that day with my DFMC singlet and I plan to wear a back bib that says "It's my birthday give a gift to Dana Farber for me" or something like that. I REALLY want to try and get to 10K. I'm only $1900 away and there are a bunch of outstanding company matches still and I'm doing some other fundraisers. It would just be such a huge accomplishment to raise double what my original goal was. I hope I make it.

If I can just convince some of the people that haven't donated yet to give just $5, if 10 people give $5 that's $50 and it adds up really fast. I don't think people realize that such a small donation can make a huge impact if a lot of people give that small donation.

Oh and the other day I was out running a short easy run and I remembered a funny moment from the marathon that I have to share. My iPod shuffle definitely has a sense of humor or just really freaky weird timing. Along the race course it played certain songs with incredible timing. For example, when I approached Wellesley I turned it off and took out my ear buds because I wanted to get the full experience and although I did not participate in any of the "free kiss" offers, just after I passed the college and put my ear buds back in and hit play, the iPood played Katy Perry's "I kissed a girl". Then later in the race as I was struggling down Beacon St. towards Kenmore Square, just as I crossed the the intersection with the sign that says Welcome to Boston "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N Roses came on. I forget what some of the other funny songs were, but those were the most memorable.

Monday, May 3, 2010

What's Next?????

I can’t believe it’s been two weeks already since I ran the Boston Marathon. The high is wearing off and I’m left to wonder, “What’s next?” Everyone asks me what I plan to do now and what is my next big race, but how can I top the Boston Marathon? That’s impossible!

I feel like I’m in a weird state of limbo and it’s unfamiliar territory for me. I have been training for one thing or another for the past 3 years and now I don’t know what to do. I promised myself that I wouldn’t sign up for any races until AFTER Boston so that I could focus on training for it and really enjoy the experience of running it and celebrate it afterwards without jumping right back into training for something else. But now that it’s over and I don’t have anything else to train for specifically, I feel a little lost.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, this weekend it was kind of nice to relax and do some yard work and not think about how many miles I needed to run or what was on my training schedule. At the same time though, I wanted to do a long run or something, but I knew even though I feel really good, it’s still too soon to jump right back into the high mileage. I need to allow my body time to recover.

So, I’ve been looking at fall events and trying to pick one to do. The Marine Corps Marathon sold out, so I can’t run that one again. The Bay State Marathon starts half a mile from my house so it would be easy logistically to do because I wouldn’t have to worry about the added cost of a hotel and place ticket. The Portland Maine Marathon would be cool because it’s the city I grew up in and part of the course runs right through my old neighborhood. I’ve also been toying with the idea of doing a half ironman. There’s a really cool one in Maine in September, but I’m also doing the Disneyland Half marathon and Reach the Beach Relay in September so that might be a little too much.

I just can’t decide which race to do.

Plus, I’m still trying to raise more money for Dana Farber before the summer starts and people get busy. It’s going ok. I decided to do another cheesecake opportunity drawing and I’m selling CDs of the songs I listened to while I was running Boston and I have some magnets with “I’m supporting DFMC Runner Alicia Leeman” on them that I’m selling too. So, far that has raised about another $100 and I’m getting photo cards of me finishing to send out to people to try and get more donations. I really hope I can hit the $10,000 mark. I’m pretty close, I have just over $8000 now. I just need to get a few more donations and have a successful cheesecake drawing and I could do it.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

In case you're interested....

Here are my splits according to my garmin:
Mile 1 - 9:53
Mile 2 – 9:51
Mile 3 – 9:46
Mile 4 – 9:59
Mile 5 – 10:15
Mile 6 – 10:04
Mile 7 – 9:43
Mile 8 – 10:01
Mile 9 – 10:05
Mile 10 – 9:48
Mile 11 – 9:59
Mile 12 – 10:12
Mile 13 – 10:14
Mile 14 – 9:56
Mile 15 – 10:04
Mile 16 – 9:51
Mile 17 – 10:11
Mile 18 – 10:00
Mile 19 – 9:53
Mile 20 – 10:43
Mile 21 – 11:07
Mile 22 – 10:14
Mile 23 – 11:13
Mile 24 – 11:07
Mile 25 – 11:37
Mile 26 – 10:11
And the last .2 miles at a 7:27 pace!

Pretty friggin consistent. I just wish the miles between BC and Kenmore square didn't hurt as much as they did. Maybe I could have shaved a few minutes off my time. I'm still pretty happy with my 4:30 though. I brought my Long's Jewelry pendant that I got at the expo to be engraved yesterday. It's going to take a WEEK! I can't wait to get it back and start wearing it. I mean I could just keep wearing my medal, but I framed it with my bib# so I can't anymore.

Fundraising has slowed significantly, but I'm not giving up. I'm trying to convince people even if they have already donated, if they all just give $5 more I can raise another $500. And if all the people that said they were going to give, but haven't yet would get on it and write a check already that would easily add another couple hundred. I'm reaching out to everyone I can think of, even strangers and even gambling (a weekly 5K I run does a PR pool and I entered with the promise that if I won the proceeds would go to DFMC, I didn't win, but I'll try again next week).

So, if anyone is out there reading this please send a check made out to "Dana Farber Marathon Challenge" to 406 East Merrimack St. Lowell, MA 01852. Whatever you can send, even if it's just $1 could save a life someday. THANKS!!!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Marathon is over, but the race to find a cure is not.

So, a week has gone by since I ran the Boston Marathon. My legs feel almost normal again and going down stairs is no longer challenging. The high is starting to wear off and I'm already starting to wonder, "What's next?"

BUT, before I move on to my next big challenge, I want to try and do as much as possible to help support the challenge of fighting cancer. This week I am launching several Victory Lap fundraisers. Another cheesecake opportunity drawing, mixed CDs of songs I listened to during the race, and magnets that say "I'm supporting DFMC Runner Alicia Leeman" I might also try to throw together a yard sale to raise some funds too.

I'm almost at $8000 and I'd LOVE to hit $10K. My original goal was $5000 so, to double that would be a huge accomplishment. Even bigger than crushing my marathon PR time by 24 minutes. If you're reading this, think about giving just $5 more, every $5 counts and it adds up fast! So, go to www.rundfmc.org/2010/alicial and make a donation today!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I DID IT!

What an incredible day. All my training and all the support from everyone paid off. I ran a personal best marathon time, finishing in 4:30 I beat my previous best time by 24 minutes!

In the morning, all the DFMC runners met at the Copley Place Marriott and walked over to the buses together. The line of thousands of people all carrying their yellow BAA bags was an amazing sight to see. We boarded a bus and off we went to Hopkinton - the longest bus ride of my life. We arrived in Hopkinton and walked to the church where all the DFMC runners were and we waited. After a team photo and some inspirational words from our Coach, Jack Fultz and from 3 time Boston marathon winner, Uta Pippig we headed to the start line.

I ran a pretty even paced race, killed the Newton hills and then nearly got killed by the backside of the hills. The 3 miles between BC and Kenmore Square were tough, but I made it and once I got to the last mile I knew I could tolerate any amount of pain for just one mile.

I made the turn onto Boylston and I could see the finish line and I knew I was close to my goal finish time so I picked up the pace and finished strong. The whole time fighting back tears and thinking to myself, “keep it together for the photo, look up and smile!”

I can’t even describe the feeling of being so overwhelmed with so many different emotions all at once to give it justice. It was a dream come true and I feel like I am still dreaming and I never want to wake up.

Here's me at mile 17 running up to my friends: