Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Progress Update: Ashland

So, along the marathon course of fundraising I have reached Ashland.  With about $1500 raised I am 15% of the way to my goal to raise $10,000 or almost 4 miles into the marathon.  Go to my personal fundraising page to help me keeping moving: www.runDFMC.org/2014/alicial  Perfect timing because I ran a half marathon in Ashland this weekend that start on the original starting line of the marathon and covers some of the actual marathon course.  I saw the BAA unicorns painted on the street and thought to myself, "I'll see you in April".  The marathon course is super fast downhill like the first drop of a roller coaster in those first few miles, the HALF marathon in Ashland was not even close to that.  It was more like the middle of the roller coaster ride with lots of ups and downs and twists and turns.
I ran the same half marathon last year and vaguely remembered it being a little hilly.  It is amazing how quickly you forget the really challenging courses.  This one definitely meets that criteria.  It is not as bad as Applefest in Hollis, NH, but it was a lot of hills one right after another.  I went to the race with my friend Steve, he had never run the race before, but was trying to run a half marathon almost every weekend in October and this was his 3rd in a row.  I told him I thought it was 'a little hilly'. 

I felt really good for the first few miles, then the hills started.  Still I was averaging a decent pace and making up time on the downhills.  I hydrated and fueled properly and nothing was hurting and aside from slowing a little on the climbs I was running strong.  I kind of wanted to try for under 2:10 which would mean running just under 10:00 minute miles.  I was doing 9:30s on the flats and downhills so it was within reach.  Then I got to mile 10 and remembered the last few miles of the course were a beast.  There is one really steep hill on Green St. that they actually call the Green Street Monster.  It's not very long, but it takes a lot out of you.  I maintained a solid pace and picked it up a little in the last mile when it was finally downhill, but missed my goal by a little and finished in 2:12:38 (averaged pace 10:08).  Still my fastest half marathon all year so I'll take it.

After the race, they had some free beer and food and a Boston Marathon legend - Bill Rodgers - was signing books.  I ate my lunch and drank my celebratory beer and got in the line to have my bib# signed.  The line had thinned out by the time I stepped up so I could chat a little with him.  He had a new book that I bought because it sounded great and I love reading marathon books.  He asked about my running and I mentioned that I only really started running a few years ago and 6 years ago that weekend I had reached the milestone of losing 100lbs.  He stopped me mid-sentence to shake my hand and congratulate ME!  A guy who won the Boston Marathon several times back when there was no zero drop shoes or tech wicking fabric and who knows if they even had water stops, thought MY accomplishment was impressive.

By next April I hope that I can be back at my ideal race weight and ready to run my favorite marathon course and get a hat trick PR (the previous two times I have run Boston I have run my personal record -PR- times).  I need to bring strength training back into my routine and more closely monitor my caloric intake and lose about 15lbs.  It won't be easy, but then nothing worth getting ever is.  It is still crazy to think that this all started with a halloween party in 2006 and a photo that showed me an unhealthy version of myself that I needed to change.  My life has changed so much since then that I don't even remember that version of myself anymore.    

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