Summer Kick Off 5K-a-Day

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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 😉

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Marathon Recap

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Pre Marathon Nerves

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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 ? 😉

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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… 😉

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.

 

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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

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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 <#

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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.

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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!

 

Week Nine | 2/6- 2/12

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Tuesday, February 7
 – Easy 5 miles
A five mile easy run after working hard on Sunday felt good, refreshing even – as evident in this photo of the very very cool waters off the docks at Great Harbor Yacht Club.

Average pace 8:23

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Wednesday, February 8– Pace 7 miles
Fast sets for this morning run through some classic Nantucket fog, going under an 8:00 mile for miles 3 and 4 and then just over for miles 5 and 6, and actually reigning it in for an 8:40 mile warm down to finish.

1-2 mile warm up
2 x 2 miles at marathon pace, 3 min jog in between
1-2 mile warm down

Average pace 8:08

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Thursday, February 9
– Easy 6 miles
It was somewhat motivating to know that I was getting in a good solid run before the weather turns for the worse. I changed up my route a little, which is important for me to do every so often or I start to feel bored and can even dread hitting the same road for mile after mile… Average pace on this run was 8:10.

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Sunday, February 12
– Long Run 11 miles
I set out for my long run knowing that the weather might work against me, but also knowing that you never know what you’ll have to be prepared for on race day so I may as well take these bad weather days in stride. But this run was, in all honesty, pretty miserable about 6 miles in. Though Nantucket was spared the blizzard of snow that much of New England was getting hit with, we did have some intense wind and freezing rain, which I had the not-so-pleasurable experience of running through for about 5 miles.With a range of 10-12 miles on my training plan for the day , I opted not to go for the maximum mileage. It took about half an hour for my hands to have feeling again once I got home. Thankful for a rest day on the horizon! *Above photo was taken from the same route as this run, but last Sunday; it’s one of my favorite loops on the island ❤

Week Eight | 1/30- 2/5

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Wednesday, February 1
– Easy,  5 miles
I’m taking some liberties with my training schedule this week and toggling back and forth a bit between my Map My Run training app schedule, which has each run based on time, and the official Boston Athletic Association’s training plan, which has each run based on distance. This morning I was surprised to see that there was so much black ice on the road and opted to run for the distance on my BAA training plan  (5 miles) instead of spending an hour running in potentially dangerous conditions (still felt kind of guilty about cutting it short on my time routine by 10 minutes, but better that than getting hurt…). I had to take it pretty slow out there and also headed to the beach for a couple of miles- one of few benefits of being on Nantucket in the winter!

Thursday, February 2– Pace, 7 miles
I did a different loop on today’s pace run to stick to the bike paths so that I could move fast without changing up terrain. Not the most scenic route- hence no pretty photos from this run 😉 Average pace of 8:05.


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Friday, February 3
– Easy 6, miles
I’ve moved over to the official Boston Athletic Association’s training plan for first-time marathon runners (level one). The reason I’m kind of letting go of my Map My Run training schedule is that my pace is a little fast for the time requirements and I started to feel like I may risk a little burnout if I lean towards upping my mileage too soon. And to be honest, sometimes running for 45:00 in the morning is a world of difference from running 1:00:00 when you’ve got two kids to get out the door and dogs to walk and the list goes on…

Oh and I happened to pass by this nice pony out on my route this morning – a Fells Pony, named Tristan 🙂

Finished off the day with a Vinyasa Flow class at the Yoga Room and I was so glad I did- I always feel like the movement in the class is exactly what my body needs after a long week of running.

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Sunday, February 5
– Long Run, 11 miles
I had to use this shot for my Sunday long run photo this week, because it was just the most beautiful light right before the sun went down and I wish I could have captured it better. For a day and a run that started out feeling a little dreary and cold, by about 7 miles into my run everything just kind of came together – the sun felt great and I was feeling that runner’s high. I finished this long run with a strong time of 1:33:35.

Week Seven | 1/23-1/29

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Tuesday, January 24 -Easy, 1:00:00, 7.21 miles
Beach run for a stretch of this Tuesday easy run workout! One of the best things about running on Nantucket is the varied options for switching up your terrain, and the views usually aren’t too bad either.

run-1-25Wednesday, January 25– Pace, 1:10:00, 8.37 miles/
The weather sort of played out in my favor and only started really raining towards the last half mile of this morning’s run. I was challenged with the pace intervals today, as far as just being able to focus on keeping track of starting and stopping speedy sets. I hit my fastest pace at around 8:10 min/mile for the 5:00 intervals at half marathon pace, which is getting closer to where I should be aiming for.

  • 25:00 easy pace
  • 5:00 half marathon pace followed by 1:00 easy pace x 5
  • 16:00 easy pace

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Friday, January 27– Easy 1:00:00, 7.1 miles
Traveling all day on Thursday forced me to bump my second easy run of the week to Friday. This was nice because it gave me a great opportunity to experience some running routes around the super-charming little town of Woodstock, VT  (we had a big, extended family getaway to VT for the weekend to celebrate my mother’s birthday). Covered bridges, snowy farmland, and beautiful 19th century homes provided the perfect backdrop for more winter running in New England.

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Sunday, January 29– Long Run, 1:38:27, 12.0 miles
This was a tough run to squeeze in with a travel day back from Vermont on the agenda, but I was so pleased with myself (all day long!) for making it happen. I had to get out the door of the hotel late enough so that it was light out, but early enough to make it back to the hotel’s spa for a 9am pedicure I’d booked, and I needed to be sure to get in 12 miles… I literally stepped foot on the hotel steps at 12.0 miles and at 8:58am! Two things contributing to my 8:10 pace on this long run were: 1. making my appointment and 2. moving just a little quicker than usual on some beautiful, but maybe a little too isolated, country roads… I recently read an  article on Well + Good – probably my favorite health and fitness resource- about the way women often experience running alone differently than men do (click here for link) and it really is an anxiety I’ve felt as a runner at times -even in my small town of Nantucket! Despite how much I loved my solo runs this past weekend in VT, when I’m in especially unfamiliar places I know it is best to pair up when I lace up for a run.