Summer Kick Off 5K-a-Day

SconsetBridge.jpg

I needed an easy, fun goal to start off the summer and recommit to getting a run in more regularly. So I’m aiming for a 5K every day for the next 5 days. No excuses with a light workout agenda like this; squeezing in about 25ish minutes of running in a day is a totally manageable goal for almost anyone! I’ll share my routes for my favorite 5ks around Nantucket here from now until Monday…

Sconset5KMap

Day 1 started off with 3.1 (ish) warm and sunny miles through ‘Sconset. I love this route because in addition to the spectacular views, it’s nice to get a change of scene and run in a part of the island that I don’t often get to. This is the same 5k course that the Nantucket Triathlon Club uses for the annual “Daffy 5k” – which I ran this year as a fun run between Boston Marathon and Ragnar Cape Cod– and I ran it with Poppy for my first time running with a jogger 😉

PoppysFirst5K.jpg

Marathon Recap

MedalBPLighthouse

One week after Boston Marathon and I finally feel ready to recap the race day! Not because I’ve been too exhausted or legless to hobble over to my computer but just because it has seemed a little daunting to communicate everything that went into that day and everything that went into getting me to that day.

Looking back on Marathon Monday, what may have been the most surprising thing about the experience, was how quickly it all happened; everything I had imagined to take such a long time, just flew by.  Suddenly all of those months of training were over and I was up in Boston with my family, celebrating Easter, getting in those last short runs, picking up my bib, and making plans to coordinate transfers to and from the actual race.

bibpickup

I had to leave Milton, where I was staying with my mother, at 4:30am to get to my team’s meeting place for the drive to Hopkinton. My husband who has been so supportive of my training was ready for the early wake up call and got my to the TD Garden on time. From there we drove as a team to a senior center in Hopkinton near the start line, where we would wait for about five hours until our wave was called. Since most of us on the team had never met, those hours went by pretty fast as we all chatted and stretched and hydrated etc.

BBF starting line

It’s hard to describe the kind of crowds of runners at the starting line; just thousands of people moving in well orchestrated droves towards one point. When the wave  was called to start, everyone was so pumped up, and the weather was even an added cheerful factor. After the initial crowded shuffling, the masses start to break apart and individual runners stem off of the single wave of people. I found myself being very conservative with my pace almost right away. Before the race started and even in the days leading up to it, we’d been advised to hold back on our pace by even as much as one minute per mile, due to the warm weather. Seventy-ish degrees doesn’t sound like anything actually hot but with the kind of distance involved and considering the fact that most runners have been training in cold weather, dehydration and heat exhaustion were real concerns.

So I kept my pace comfortable; faster than  jogging, but definitely slowing a bit from normal. I also made a point to stop at every mile’s Gatorade and water station. For short stretches I would be running with someone and then I would be on my own again. It was kind of a strange feeling to be running past so many incredible crowds of cheering spectators and yet feel somewhat solitary. I had always heard that the crowds along the Boston Marathon course would move you through miles and hills and you barely realized it. I was totally prepared to realize and feel all of those miles and the steep inclines of every hill and I could hardly believe it when I had already run more than half of the race and it felt like only minutes had gone by. Getting high fives from students at Wellesley College, seeing all of the adorable little kids with their families in the towns around Wellesley and Newton, and then I was coming up to Boston College.

As a BC alum, I was familiar with the area and knew when I’d be approaching the big hills, but at that time the sky became a little overcast and we all felt some relief from the heat in time for Heartbreak Hill. And coming down the last hill I was totally a believer in the power of the cheering crowds- because there were only about four miles left as I came into Cleveland Circle.

It was so strange to think that I’d be finishing the marathon in a matter of about thirty five minutes. I remembered taking the Green Line from BC to Hynes in college and how it would take for what felt like an eternity- and I still had to run through all of that stretch of Comm Ave. My legs were totally on fire but I wasn’t feeling completely fatigued…oddly enough by the time I hit Hereford – the last corner from seeing the finish line- I was exhausted! I went into a mental tunnel and barely even saw my own family cheering me on as turned on to Boylston Street. And how was it possible that the finish line was still so far when I could see it so clearly!

hereford

I made a decision somewhere around the 5K mark to ignore my watch and stuck to it. Throughout the entire marathon I had pretty much no clue as to how fast or how slow I was running. I was just trying to focus on simply running and not pushing myself too hard, because I really didn’t want to overdo it and end up in a med tent. I really just wanted to finish and feel good and enjoy the experience of it, and not obsess over my time.

So when I saw the clock with 4:18 I just decided to push through and get in under 4:20. My net finish time was actually 4:17. Slower than I’d wanted to run it but I have to admit that even crossing the finish line, I felt good. I wasn’t on the point of collapse, but I didn’t feel that I’d left anything on the table either. It was a hot day, it was my first marathon, and what I ran it in was enough for me.

finishline

After crossing over the finish line I was given my medal and heat sheet and it was starting to feel kind of dreamlike. I was in that incredible moment that I had dreamed of being in. Then I saw Ethan and Fox and Poppy heading towards me through the crowd with the big hot pink bugaboo and my whole marathon dream was real.

IMG_1916

Marathon Gear Picks

Marathon Gear Picks

 

These were the pieces I wore on Marathon Monday. It was a warm day with temps in the low 70’s, not many layers were needed- in fact I was wishing that my team’s colors were something a little lighter than black! I was given a team T-shirt from the Boston Bruins Foundation (similar to above shown). For a run that I knew would last about 4 hours I wanted to stick with gear and clothing that I know I am comfortable in, so I went with my tried and true resources.

Following my bib pick up, I hit up the expo at Hynes Convention Center and could not resist buying one article of clothing I have long wanted to have for my own- the official Boston Marathon ‘Celebration Jacket’. I love that the year I ran has such a great color scheme for the jacket; especially the top stripe of ‘Nantucket red’ along the yoke. It was just meant to be. Since I’m used to running in a hat and given the sunny forecast, I also bought a Boston Marathon baseball hat (different color and probably lighter weight than pictured above).

Next, I dashed over to Lululemon and grabbed a new Energy Bra sports bra. This model has been my long time favorite; it provides solid comfort and has criss-cross strap detail in the back, which looks good if you have to abandon your shirt! I purchased one in a black and white pixely dot pattern to coordinate with my basically-all-black gear. I also grabbed a pair of their Squad Goals shorts, which were an excellent choice. These were super light- perfect for the warm weather, and they had smart built-in pockets, which were ideal for storing a few energy gels, extra hairpins, and even my iPhone!

I ran the marathon in my trusted Saucony Kinvara 7s. I absolutely LOVE these- my second pair since I started training back in November, and they are just the best fit and weight. A great level of cushioning but still enough connection to the road, and light enough for the distances of marathon training and marathon running. My legs were definitely on fire at the end of the marathon but my feet felt pretty good.

My Applewatch Series 2 was on my wrist for the marathon, but it was the one piece of gear that I actually did not use, or look at even once, throughout the entire race. But the black sport band of the watch did work well with the rest of my marathon wardrobe 😉

Pre Marathon Nerves

miles

All those miles…

Tapering anxiety was in full swing for the last couple of weeks of training. With the physical aspect of training winding down, I found myself trying to better manage the mental element of marathon prep, worrying about: what the weather will be like, what the course will be actually feel like, those hills are not like the little bumps in the road on Nantucket, achieving my ‘reach goal’ time, whether I will even be able to finish the race… and what should I wear ? 😉

cobblehill

With shorter long runs on Sundays, it was sometimes oddly hard to accept the fact that I had back off on the distance at this point. I kept wondering,  am I really adequately, physically prepared to run 26.2 miles? Reminding myself that I have logged those miles of training since November helped to convince me that I am fit enough to take this on and thankfully, I had not been held back by any injuries.

bostonbuoy

Oh buoy, Boston is almost here!

It was actually on my rest days, when I was not running, that I was less confident about Boston. But after a run, even the short ones, my confidence would get a boost and I’d feel motivated and optimistic again. And this was something that stayed with me during the race; ‘keep running‘, it’s just ahead of you.

Back at It

Run 3.26.17

Once my kids, and my husband and I were over ear infections and stomach bugs etc. there were no more excuses to miss days on the training plan. With April 17th getting closer, I had to get back at it.

A seriously bright spot in the month of March was the arrival of two new babies in the family. Two of my sisters delivered their first babies on March 13, two hours apart…and in the same hospital!

new babies

During a visit to Boston to meet the new niece and nephew, I had the opportunity to get a change of scenery for a couple of runs, and that helped to get me back into it.

nep bike trail

I continue to do a couple of runs each week on the treadmill because honestly, I am just fed up with running outside in the cold. March is the worst!

Running with my headphones is a thing of the past now (though I do still use them on the treadmill).  I ditched my running apps, playlists, and wires and picked up an Apple Watch to track my distance and pace and to have the option of resorting to a playlist if needed. It has been so much easier to focus without the added distractions.

This past Sunday I went back to where I totally fell apart on an especially grueling run, added another 2 miles to the route to make it my longest run yet; 18 miles. And I totally got through it fine; keeping a good pace of about 8:54 per mile average. I felt that I had to do that route that I’d struggled on again to get that defeated feeling out of my head. After I’d finished it, I felt a lot of the anxiety I’ve been struggling with as the marathon date gets closer diminish. I’m definitely still a little apprehensive about the challenge of it, but more confident than I was a few weeks ago.

Less than 20 days to go! Zeroing in on eating well, sleeping well, stretching and strength training more, and maybe adding a few pops of bright, happy color to my workout clothes to keep me feeling positive 🙂

 

The Struggle Got Real…

Sankaty

Nearing the end of my training program these past few weeks, I hit some roadblocks.
A lot of parents may relate when I say that when my kids get sick, I pretty much drop everything. Things, including my commitment to my training schedule, went on the back burner while getting Poppy through ear infections, general viral malaise, multiple visits to the doctors office, and more sleepless nights than usual (as if I could have ever thought that would be possible!)

Heading out for a 16-mile run one Sunday, the waves of nausea were coming on, but I thought that some fresh air might make me feel better. And it kind of did, for the first 8 miles or so. I was totally committed to getting this run in and doing a long loop on the Milestone and Polpis bike paths. I had dropped off water bottles and electrolyte stuff along the route so I’d be able to stay hydrated.

WATER DROP

Then at around mile 10…I really started to fall apart and it was bad! I had to keep stopping to walk (and gag by the side of the bike path) and I was absolutely freezing cold. Stomach bug aside, it was not a nice day to be out for a long run, with temps in the low 30’s and lots of wind and ice on the bike paths. By the time I finally made it home, I was in pieces and spent the whole night curled up with Fox while we both took turns getting sick.

For the next couple of weeks, I had very little drive to get out and run in the cold. I logged my shorter runs and my pace runs on the treadmill. This actually turned out to be a good thing, as I can train myself to modulate my pace better on the treadmill anyway.

I was on a not-so-great tear with my attitude towards training. Things were starting to bug me. I was tired, wiped out from being sick, and generally irritated by almost anything related to my running. My beloved Kinvara 7s, which were so life-changing to my running back in January, were getting holes in the toes (due to the way my foot strikes). I tried this special fix, a product called Shoe Armour; installed it in my sneakers only to find that it cut up my toes and took away from the softness of the insoles. Duct tape applied to the inside of the toe box would have been a better solution… 😉

I am admittedly a slave to running with my iPhone. Having a great playlist and being able to receive a call, (if god forbid some emergency with the kids occurs while I’m out), are the main reasons for running with my iPhone. I also got into using MapMyRun to track my progress and my routes. Then all of this started to annoy me. The MapMyRun app was bombarding me with annoying ads that would pop up on my screen, my playlists started to feel like work to manage and keep fresh. The velcro on the iPhone armband was going to tatters and slipping off my arm. Even the wires to my headphones were impossible to get in the right position. Believe me, I do realize how trivial all of this really is, but I was wondering:
a. what the hell is going on- am I about to totally derail?
b. had I already totally derailed?
c. how do I get back?*

*spoiler alert: I do get back- next blog post to cover that… 😉

Coconut Kale Smoothie

kale-ingredients

Before my long run on Sunday (12.2 miles) I wanted to make sure I was properly fueled up, to avoid the burnout I felt towards the end of last week’s long run. I whipped up this smoothie from Run Fast. Eat Slow. in no time and even made a small batch of energy bites and snacked on a couple of those before heading out the door. And I felt great on this long run! No fatigue nearing the ‘finish line’ this time.

Coconut Kale Smoothie:

Put the following in a high speed blender:

1 cup coconut water, 1 cup ice, 4 leaves of kale (stems removed), 4 pitted dates, 1/2 cup whole milk yogurt, 1 Tablespoon almond butter.

When blended this makes about 2 or 3 servings.

Energy Bites: This recipe is of my own creation so the ingredient amounts are kind of loose!

In medium size mixing bowl, combine:

3/4 cup almond butter, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 7 pitted dates chopped, 1/4 cup honey, 1 tablespoon chia seeds.

After mixing ingredients, form into small balls and roll in 1/3 cup of toasted pumpkin seeds (made by just heating the pumpkin seeds in a small pan on the stove until they are fragrant). Refrigerate in a container for at least 30 min.

kale-smoothie

Week 11 | 2/20- 2/26

2-21-runTuesday, February 21– Pace 6 miles
Ran along one of the best routes for speedwork today for:

2 mile warm up
1 mile at 1/2 marathon pace, 2 min jog x 3
1 mile warm down

Finally recovering after a tough run on Sunday! Average pace 7:53

Wednesday, February 22 – Easy 5 miles

Kind of made up a new route for this morning’s run since I was bored with my usual. After 11 weeks of training, I feel like it’s more mentally stimulating to get out and create some new running routes. When you’re logging a lot of miles week after week, your workouts can get stale, to stay motivated I like use things like a new route, new tracks on my playlist, even a new piece of workout gear to keep me moving.

 

2-22-run

Friday, February 24 – Easy 6 miles
Feeling ready for the weekend’s long run and making an effort to throw some hills into my workouts! Great warm-ish weather and a little unstructured cross training on my bike yesterday helping me along…

2-26-runSunday, February 26– Long Run 12.2 miles, 1:43:00
This week’s long run was unexpectedly super positive. I wasn’t 100% into it heading out the door, the weather was sunny but really windy and on Nantucket there isn’t any way to find protected route when you’re going  for long runs! But I took a few unusual turns and even ran a few miles at the always-beautiful Sanford Farms trails and still felt strong at the finish. It seems like my extra focus on what I’m eating this week has also paid off! Capped the workout with some yoga moves with Fox 🙂

 

Week 10| 2/13-2/19

run2-15-16
Wednesday, February 15– Easy 5.72 miles
I love being able to make a quick stop here at the edge of Tuppancy Links, aka Nantucket’s favorite dog park, the view of the Sound and the beach below is always so beautiful. This morning’s run was especially great because I bumped into a couple of sweet Golden Retrievers whom we used to live nearby to, and they reminded me of my best running buddy of all time- my own golden, Deuce. He passed away about ten years ago now, but whenever I see a golden retriever while I’m out on a run, I get a little extra spring in my stride <#

run-2-16
Thursday, February 16
– Pace, 6.26 miles
2 miles warm up
1/4 mile 10k pace, 90 second jog in between x 8
2 miles warm down

Feeling good on this pace run with the fastest miles splits at 7:37, started off with a warm up at 8:35. Definitely making progress on managing pace. And received confirmation of acceptance for the Boston Marathon which now hangs on my bulletin board by the door so I see it every time I head out for a run.

Friday, February 17– Easy, 6.23 miles
After yesterday’s speedy sets I was looking forward to a nice easy run and then to a rest day on Saturday! I used to think all I had time for in the morning was a 30:00 run, but I’ve been making it work and getting in sometimes twice that time in the morning now. I know this is a seemingly small example of breaking down your own limits, but it’s amazing what you can actually do when you push yourself towards a new goal.

run-2-19
Sunday, February 19
– Long Run, 14.5 miles
The weather today was pretty much ideal for a long run; temps in the mid 40’s and lots of sun, though a little windy! Definitely a challenging distance workout today. It was one of those runs where I just didn’t feel really good until about 7 miles in. And post workout my shins and knees were feeling sore. This week I’ll be trying some new stretching routines, doing a little cross training with yoga and biking and testing some recipes for ramping up my nutrition. I noticed for the last mile of this long run I was getting a little dizzy and probably need to do a better job of staying hydrated throughout the day and getting more protein in my diet. Check out my latest blog post in “Food” on ‘Long Run Mineral Broth’  (courtesy of Run Fast. Eat Slow.). Let’s see if I can get some positive results from really focusing on my diet as I head in to Week 11 of training!