*Boston strong(er) than ever*

There is not much more that I can say, in regards to the Boston Marathon yesterday, that I’m sure hasn’t already been said. In a word, unbelievable! What an amazing day to be an American and what an awesome way to celebrate our strength, tenacity, and bond formed by this crazy love of running.

Watching the Boston Marathon coverage is serious business in my house!

Watching the Boston Marathon coverage is serious business in my house!

I was glued to my television all morning and moved to near tears on several occasions watching the coverage. Especially watching Shalane. Her deep determination was evident by her stride. Every step full of purpose. She wanted to win and she wanted it bad. I was heartbroken for her when she lost her lead and I was pissed at the commentators remarks about her devastating “bonk”. You don’t bonk and then set the fastest female course record for an American! She may not have crossed the finish line first but she won the race in our hearts without a doubt. Her accomplishment yesterday was truly amazing and such a joy to watch!

Then there is Meb. Wowza! I don’t think I’ve ever been on the edge of my seat more than watching those last few miles of his race yesterday. A well-earned victory for Meb, for Boston, for the victims of the bombings last year, and for the running community. He shined out there!

I saw quote from Meb on Facebook earlier, posted by my friend at Running with Music:

“But I also realize that winning doesn’t always mean getting first place; it means getting the best out of yourself.”

                                                                                                                                   ~ Meb Keflezighi

Every account of the day… the race… the experiences of those running it….  the Boston Marathon yesterday was everything it should be and should have been last year. While I have yet to run Boston, it meant so much more to me this year. Knowing that I’ve earned a spot among some of the most gifted and passionate people to ever run… well I get goosebumps! I cannot wait to join the ranks as a Boston marathoner!

*Weekly mileage*

Mileage for the week of April 14th through April 20th:

Total weekly mileage: 38

Total April mileage (to-date): 123.75

Total year-to-date mileage: 704

Run review:

4/14       No run/rest day

4/15        33:52 min./3 mi./11:18 pace

(Plus 1 mi. with RGR)

4/16        34:17 min./4 mi./8:34 pace

4/17        36:24 min./3.5 mi./10:24 pace

(Plus 1 mi. with RGR)

4/18        1:08:04 min./8 mi./8:00 pace

4/19        48:50 min./5 mi./9:45 pace

4/20       2:17:24 min./12.5 mi./10:58 pace

What an absolutely incredible week! Following last Sunday’s marathon, I eased my way back into it finishing with a fantastic 12.5 trail run yesterday to break me in for my Ragnar Trail relay at Zion later this week. More on that to come!

As you all probably know, the Boston Marathon is TODAY!!! Last year I started a “Marathon Monday” tradition. No appointments, no chores, no to-do’s, etc. I take, at the very least, the first half of the day off to watch the coverage and marinate in the excitement of it all. This year, it has so much more meaning too. In part, obviously, because of the tragedy that struck last year. But also because I feel like I’ve earned a little spot among the ranks of the amazing athletes that run Boston. It is all more real for me this year knowing that next year… well, I could be there running Boston next year!!

So with that, I’m off to pour another cup of coffee and go cheer on our elite U.S. girls along with everyone else making dreams come true today. Happy Marathon Monday!!!

*Heal lock lacing technique*

They say that you learn something new every day. I learned a neat little trick yesterday that made me think that if it is beneficial to me, it might be to you too.

As my trip to Utah to run Ragnar Zion approaches, I’m working to get my gear in order. That means I got to go pick up my very first trail running specific shoes yesterday! I’m so excited to hit the trail tomorrow to begin breaking them in!!

Anyway, I tried out a few different brands and styles. I love Brooks and have been running in the PureFlow line for the past few years. However, I wasn’t super crazy about the fit of either of the styles I tried so on a whim, (okay, I was attracted to the color) I decided to give Saucony a try.

I immediately liked the way they felt… not too heavy but stable and supportive. And, the sole has great grip for traction! The only problem with them is that because my right foot is slightly smaller than my left, my heal was slipping a little during my test run in the store. The left shoe fit perfect with no slippage so I didn’t want to go down a half-size but I was concerned about how loose the right one was.

While I’ve seen a few sources provide information on alternate ways of lacing shoes, I never paid much attention to them. When the sales rep re-laced my shoes to created a more snug fit, my mind was blown by its effectiveness! No slipping! I rarely even use the upper two eyelets on shoes. Most often because the laces are never long enough. (Another problem that can be solved by an alternate lacing pattern.) Essentially, he threaded the laces out through the second from last (at the top) eyelet and then back in the top one before crossing it over to the other side. It makes a little loop like this:

It's like I'm learning to tie shoes all over again!

I’m learning to tie shoes all over again!

The laces are then threaded through the loop. Once they are pulled taut they stay put really well. Brilliant I say!

Snug and secure!

Snug and secure!

It is amazing how much of a difference it can make in the fit and feel. Out of curiosity, I went looking for a little more information and came across this site which explains what I learned is the Heal lock lacing technique.

There you have it! Pretty cool, right? I’m off to enjoy a quiet Saturday night. My first night home in about a week! I dressed up for the occasion too. Have a great evening! ; )

Hoppy Easter!

Hoppy Easter!

 

*Exciting Nuun news!*

As if Nuun Hydration wasn’t already the coolest hydration company on the planet… their announcement today just elevated their superstar status… times like a trillion!

When I first heard about it just yesterday (ambassadors get all the juicy news first!), I think I literally squealed in delight! I’m super excited that we get to welcome the amazing two-time Olympian Kara Goucher to our team!!! Because you all know how much I love Kara… (Nothing says love like sharing the same picture over and over and over…)

karagoucher2

Meeting Kara at the Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon in Sept. 2013.

And you all know how much I love Nuun. I can’t think of a better partnership and I’m honored to be able to represent the same company as Kara. How cool is that? Welcome, Kara!!!

Kara and Nuun! <3 (Photo courtesy of Nuun.)

Kara and Nuun!

You can read more about it on the Nuun blog here or on Kara’s website, here.

Speaking of Nuun, I’m off to get #electrolit before I head out to assist with coaching 16 girls with our local Run Girl Run program. I’m going to need all the energy I can get! ; )

20140417_130054

Some days you need a little boost!

*The magical day I BQ’d*

There is a good possibility that I haven’t stopped smiling once since Sunday. When I awoke to the sound of my alarm on Monday morning, my aching body reminded of what happened the previous day. Once out of bed, I was greeted with an email from the previous evening that contained a link to the Vernonia Marathon race results. When I opened the page, displaying the top 5 male and female finishers of the event, I about dropped my cup of coffee when I saw my very own name in the fifth spot.

I was the fifth overall female finisher.

How? What? Huh? (…scratching head…)

Honestly, I am still feeling a little overwhelmed by everything that happened on Sunday. After more than a year of dreaming about what that moment would feel like when I finally qualified… there are few words… but I can say with certainty that it feels absolutely amazing!

The Vernonia Marathon is a sweet little marathon that I would, without hesitation, run again and again. The route is spectacular! Most of it meanders among trees and creeks on a paved trail and is predominately downhill or flat.

The race begins in Vernonia, Oregon and finishes in neighboring Banks, Oregon. I have very few negative things to say about this event in general but I’m not crazy about the late start time for the race. It begins at 9:30 AM. I recognize that this is due to the fact that participants are bused from the finish (where packet pick-up is located) to the start.

I traveled with my friend, Bob. We arrived at the start around 7:30, even after catching the shuttle, which means we had more than two hours to kill before the race started! A good opportunity for pictures I guess! ; )

Brrr! A very cold wait!

Brrr! A very cold wait!

On the bright side, the start is located at a retreat center with an indoor area for runners to relax in before the race began. Eventually, we walked to the start and waited a little more.

Ready to get the show on the road!

Ready to get the show on the road!

I have no idea what time we actually started but I was glad to be underway! The first mile is downhill and despite my best attempt to stick to my goal to start slooooooooowwwww, I still started too fast. Shocker, huh? A lovely gal running the half marathon started to pace me just after the first mile. I enjoyed chatting with her but her goal time was way faster than I needed/wanted to run and even though I knew better I continued at a sub-8:00 pace until she decide to speed up around mile 6.

On the bus ride to the start, I considered whether or not I wanted to set the virtual pacer on my Garmin. I opted against it but immediately after starting, I switched the display to keep tabs on my pace instead of time/distance. (I didn’t check my time until I was about 24.6 miles in!)

While my pace was on track the first 13 miles, I felt myself feeling envious of the half marathon runners that were completing their race. I was only half done. Accomplishment aside, running a marathon is HARD!

My splits for the first 13 miles were:

7:55/7:46/7:43/7:46/7:54/7:53/8:02/8:09/8:05/8:15/8:15/8:29/8:25

Miles 9-13 are a gradual uphill. I slowed a little between miles 12-14. There is a pretty wicked hill just past the halfway point where I slowed considerably but once I reached the top, miles 15-21 were actually pretty awesome. It is mostly downhill with a very subtle decline most of the way. Not to mention, absolutely beautiful!  After the half marathon finish, the number of participants dropped significantly. There were periods of time where I didn’t see any runners ahead of me. But there were plenty of bicyclists and equestrians out on the trail to keep things interesting.

Around mile 22, the trail becomes flat and the last four miles run nearly parallel to a highway. This is where things start to get grim. After miles and miles of shade covered trail, we were now running in almost direct sun. I passed several runners who were starting to have issues. One of my other few complaints about the event is that given the late start, and the heat of the day (low to mid-70′s), I think another aid station, or two, would have been a really good idea.

I slowed quite a bit. I had to dig deep. Really deep. I knew that I had banked some extra time early on but I really didn’t know what my time was and I wanted to wait until as long as possible to check. When I finally did, around 24.6 miles in, I was at 3 hours, 20 minutes, and some odd seconds. Whoa! Even if I ran nearly a 10 minute mile, I could still finish in just under 3:40:00!

It was about that point that I realized that I was going to do it. I was going to qualify for Boston. By how much I wasn’t sure. I still had nearly a mile and a half to go. It wasn’t pretty but I as I cruised toward the finish, with the final .20 miles on a track, I gave it everything I had left.

The finish is near!

The finish is near!

Had I known how close I was to finishing in under 3:35:00… I’m proud of what I did and pleased with my 3:35:01 finish… but so close!!! ; )

DONE!

DONE!

My splits for miles 14-26.2 were:

9:00/8:11/8:16/8:11/8:17/8:13/8:02/8:07/8:27/8:21/8:36/8:38/8:24/1:45

I came across the finish all smiles! That feeling… so hard to describe but man, does it feel good! My family was there to share it with me and I was so grateful. My friend Bob had finished before me and was waiting to watch me cross the finish line too. This marathon was his 48th! Incredible, right?! (In fact, he gets credit for three of the photos above.)

Bob and I still smiling!

Bob and I still smiling!

After cooling down we headed inside for the awards ceremony, which was supposed to include complimentary soup. By the time we got there though, they had already run out. ; ( That’s okay, I picked up this blue ribbon for finishing 1st place in my age group!

1st place in my age group!

1st place in my age group!

The rest of the afternoon was filled with celebratory Thai food, champagne, and so many messages from friends and family congratulating me on my fantastic race and BQ! I savored every second of it too! It was an absolutely magical day!!

Officially, I finished in 3:35:01 setting a new 6:32 PR and averaged an 8:13 pace. I was the fifth place overall female and first place female for my age group. And of course, I QUALIFIED FOR THE BOSTON MARATHON! ; )

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again! A super HUGE thank you to everyone for the support, encouragement, good luck wishes, post race congratulatory messages, and anything/everything else I overlooked! It means so much and I’m glad you’ve been along for the journey to this milestone with me! THANK YOU!!

*Weekly mileage*

Mileage for the week of April 7th through April 13th:

Total weekly mileage: 45.5

Total April mileage (to-date): 85.75

Total year-to-date mileage: 666

Run review:

4/7       No run/rest day

4/8        31:46 min./4 mi./5:57 pace

(Plus 1 mi. with RGR)

4/9        59:06 min./7 mi./8:27 pace

4/10        4.25 miles (broken up into 4 mini runs of varying paces)

4/11        No run/rest day

4/12        26:16 min./3 mi./8:45 pace

4/13        3:35:01 min./26.2 mi./8:13 pace *Vernonia Marathon

As I reflect on the past week and how it culminated yesterday at the Vernonia Marathon, I fear any second now I’ll wake up from this amazing dream! Fortunately, I don’t think I’d “dream” about being this dang sore so I think I’m safe! ; )

There will be a full recap of my experience within the next couple of days. I’m still riding the high and don’t think I’ve stopped smiling since I crossed the finish line!

Have a great Monday, everyone!!

*A PR, 1st place AG, and a BQ!!!!!!!!!!*

No shit!!! (Please pardon my language!)

I just wanted to pop in really quick tonight to share my super exciting news! After more than a year of blood, sweat, tears, and lots and lots of running, I finally fulfilled a huge goal today. I finally chased down that Boston Marathon qualifier! Yep, you read that right. I QUALIFIED FOR BOSTON!!!!! ; )

I also wanted to check in to say thank you to all of my family, friends, and followers. I’m so appreciative of your support, encouragement, comments, and good luck wishes. It worked! So from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU

Almost there!!!

Almost there!!!

I’ll do up a proper recap in a couple of days. We just opened the champagne so it’s time to celebrate! While I haven’t had a chance to look up all of my stats, I know that I finished in 3:35:01 and brought home a blue ribbon for finishing first in my age group! I can’t believe it happened, you know? It really is a dream come true!

xo

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