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 and make a donation today!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


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:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The LONGEST week of my life

This week is going by so slow. I’m counting down the days to Marathon Monday and they will not go by fast enough.

Saturday I ran the Boston Tune Up 15K in Upton, MA. I drove to the race, got my number and t-shirt. It was a little chilly and windy, but nice. I figured it was my last longish run before Boston so, I’d just take it easy. It was a hilly course so I focused on really holding back on the down hills and accelerating on the up hills. I wanted to feel like I was holding back. I ignored my garmin and paced myself based on my Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). Basically, I went by how I felt. I felt like I was going slow. The first 5K went by fast, the second 5K I told myself “OK, now get comfortable and run your normal training pace”, and in the last 5K I really kicked it up and thought of it just as a 5K and raced it. I passed a guy with less than 2 miles left to go and said, “beautiful day for a run, eh” and he replied, “yeah, you’re really getting a kick at the end”. And I said, “Just think, next week this will be like running down Comm. Ave. onto Hereford, then Boylston. I visualized the final stretch of the race, the crowds in the streets cheering me on, the blue and yellow BAA Banner, and crossing the finish line. I finished in 1:26:54, averaging a 9:15 pace. That’s a minute per mile faster than my goal pace.

Sunday I just did a short recovery run with a friend and walked the last part of it because he has a nagging ankle injury that may prevent him from running Boston. After the run, I showered and went out shopping for more scrapbook supplies and some food. I cooked dinner for my friends, Ann and Jack. They will be volunteering at the DFMC tent at mile 25. I can’t wait to see them there.

Monday was a rest day and yesterday I did an easy 6 mile out and back, my normal Tuesday morning run. The rest of the week will be pretty chill. I might do one or two more short runs and then just rest. The days at work go by painfully slow. It feels like the clock doesn’t move at all. I know it will be a pretty unproductive week. I only have one thing on my mind and it’s not work related. I can’t wait to go to the expo on Friday and get my number and my jacket and maybe a few other goodies. And most of all I can’t wait to RUN.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Almost there...

11 days until the marathon and only a couple hundred dollars away from my revised fundraising goal of $7500. I can't believe how fast the time went by. It seems like just yesterday I got the email from Dana Farber saying I was on the team and then I started freaking out, first about the fundraising minimum then about running THE Boston Marathon! I kept telling people, "running will be the easy part, I'm worried about the fundraising." Now, I've reach a point where that theory has flipped and the fundraising was the easy part (many thanks to everyone that helped and donated) and I'm worried about the running. This is when I start to freak out about the race: will it be too hot, too cold, windy, raining, snowing (don't laugh it could happen), will I get boo boo belly, will the hills destroy my quads and all hopes of a PR, will people show up to cheer for me, will I make them proud, will I crash and burn in the last 6 miles, OR will I triumph and cross the finish line sobbing tears of joy with a PR and the perfect celebration of my personal transformation over the past 3 years, from couch potato to Boston Marathon finisher!

I can't wait to find out. :)

This week, the taper continues. I rested on Monday after my long-ish 14 mile run on Sunday. I went to Target and printed the photos from the weekend trip along the marathon course and then spent a small fortune at the craft store on some scrapbooking supplies. Monday night I sat on the floor in front of the TV pasting together a mile by mile photo tour of the course. I'm up to Heartbreak Hill and have one page left to get me to Kenmore Square and the Citgo sign. I'm leaving Boylston St. and the finish line for after the race. I kind of don't want to enter that space until race weekend. I feel like it's sacred ground and I want to REALLY experience it and take it all in to the point of being overwhelmed by it. I get chills just thinking about it.

Tuesday, I did my normal 6 mile out and back before jury duty. My legs felt a little heavy at first and I didn't really get into a good rhythm until after the turn at the top of the hill and the last 3 miles coming back home. I managed to avoid the tree this week, partly because the sun was coming up and it was pitch black and pouring rain and partly because I think someone may have cut down the branch I ran into. I finished the run strong and felt good.

Wednesday, I biked into work for the first time this year. It was great, but I forgot how heavy my back pack can be and I was definitely a little slower than I was towards the end of the year last year biking in. I rode the 11 mile distance in a little over 45 minutes, averaging 14mph. Last year I was closer to 40 minutes and averaging 18-20mph. Clearly I've got some work to do or I need to make my back pack lighter. :) On the way home, I took the scenic route, a 14 mile loop over some very challenging hills. It took me about an hour, so I was still averaging 14mph. What a nice ride though. It was hot, in the 80s, but there was a strong breeze that kept me cool and gave me a little extra challenge because it was a headwind the entire way home. Still, not bad for the first bike commute of the year.

Today, the plan is to do a 4-6 mile run after work and then maybe a little strength training. I hate lifting so we'll see if that actually happens. I'll do my best to force myself to do it, but I won't like it. Most likely I'll go for my run and then be too hungry to focus and I'll skip the lifting. OR I could lift first and then reward myself with the run. I know it's important and it will make me a better runner and help me improve my body composition even more than I already have, I just get bored instantly doing it. Oh well, it has to be done.

Tomorrow, I booked myself a 90 minute massage! I can't wait. 10 days to go and what better way to relax and repair than get a nice deep tissue sports massage with hot stones and soothing aromatherapy. It's gonna be AWESOME!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The heat is NOT my friend

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy it’s not raining anymore and the sun finally came out, but this is not ideal running weather (unless you’re a Kenyan).

This weekend I did a nice easy 6 mile run and then drove the course with my friends Milady and Gillian. I wanted to get a few more pictures for my scrapbook. We headed down to Hopkinton around noon and took some fun photos at the start line and then hit the course. It was pretty crowded. I think that other people had the same idea as us. We got some pictures along the way and enjoyed driving with the windows down and the wind in our hair. It was a gorgeous day for a drive. We grabbed lunch in Coolidge corner and then we headed home. Citgo sign in view, but not even close, just taunting me and everyone else. Not nice Citgo, not nice.

Afterwards I went for a nice easy bike ride. I couldn’t waste the nice weather and I kind of wanted to try and get a picture of the tree that I ran into last week, but I think it got cut down or I just can’t remember exactly where it was because I couldn’t find it or a stump where I thought it should be. Anyway, the bike ride was nice. It felt great to get out on my bike for the first time this year and I can’t wait to start biking to work.

Sunday, I slept in late, rolled out of bed, and made myself some tea. I opened up all the windows in my house and let the fresh air in. Then I finally got motivated around 11:00 to go for my last double digit run until Boston. I was just doing 12-14, piece of cake next to the 20 miler I did last weekend. Well, Mother Nature had other plans. She wanted to challenge me yet again. The heat was more intense than I anticipated and within the first 4 miles I was dying. I felt like the force of gravity had doubled on me and it was twice as hard to move myself forward. I struggled through it and finished, but I ran out of water with 4 miles left and had to stop and walk for a little bit each mile to prevent overheating. The heat added 30 seconds per mile to my pace and made it feel like I ran twice as far. I got a sun burn and I was dehydrated and cranky.

Then, after I showered, refueled and rehydrated, I headed out to go to Target and print the photos I took the day before it was CLOSED. Stupid Easter Bunny! I went to the grocery store next to target to get some food; it closed 15 minutes before I got there! I drove to ANOTHER grocery store and got some food. Once I had some more food in my belly I was happier, but I didn’t enjoy the sun and heat as much as most people probably did. It is NOT my friend! PLEASE Mother Nature, give me a break and let it be cooler on race day!

Friday, April 2, 2010

17 days and counting...

I'm still recovering from the bonk on the head from a stupid tree that decided to get in my way while I was running on Tuesday morning, but very happy to see the sun finally. Wednesday I did a lot of strength training, a little over an hour. Then an easy 30 minutes on the eliptical. Perhaps I was trying to make up for slacking the week before, or maybe I was still foggy from the head injury and went a little crazy, either way it was a good sweat session and two days later, the delayed onset muscle soreness has arrived.

Last night I decided to run the Newton hills just one more time before the race to really program my legs and brain to prepare for the race. The weather was PERFECT! Partly sunny, in the 50s, with a light breeze. It was like a dream. We hardly even hit any traffic on the way into Boston, found a parking spot right in front of Crossroads, hit the restrooms and headed for the T. The T ride was nice, it went by fast, we chatted with a few of the other people on the train and then we made it to Newton, sun still shining and still out at 6:30ish at night. Woohoo!

Started the run nice and easy, moderate pace, conversation flowed like the run off from the flooded streets. There were TONS of people out on the course running. Everyone smiling and enjoying the evening and the taper. One after another we attacked the hills, building momentum as we climbed. By the time we reached the peak of Heartbreak the conversation had stopped and been replaced with heavy breathing and drips of sweat falling off our elbows and hitting the pavement. Over the top, Boston College in sight, we started the decent into Boston. Meandering through college students on their way to Eagles Deli or many of the other fine eateries along the way that taunt us with enticing aromas, we started to pick up the pace a little. With 2 miles left to get back to the bar, the sun began to fade on the horizon and I turned my blinkie light on for safety (and for fun, I love the blinkie light). I kicked it up a notch, dug deep, and finished strong.

The run felt AMAZING! I am so pumped with energy and excitement I can hardly contain myself. I feel so ready for this race, all I have to do now is relax and try not to go insane in the next 17 days. I booked myself a massage next Friday to help. This weekend I plan to drive the course again with some more friends, take some more pictures and then do a nice easy 14 miler on Sunday with a few long downhill sections to prepare my quads for Hopkinton.