*Magical unicorn rainbow stardust shit*

For pretty much the entire duration of my training cycle leading up to the Portland Marathon, I let self-doubt rule. Slow training runs plagued with discomfort, a random knee ailment that forced me to miss several days, lack of training supplemental to my long runs (ie: hill repeats, track work, etc.), and not feeling as fit as I could have been in general lead me to feel that I wasn’t up for a rockstar race performance or that I deserved to line up in the B coral.

img_20161007_141939

In the days leading up to the race, I shared my wish list of what I hoped could happen if for some reason, and I quote “magical unicorn rainbow stardust shit” shows up the morning of the event. Given the mounting insecurity, especially with the travel, on-the-go eating, time on my feet at the expo, and cramming in as much time as I could with family and friends while I was in Portland, I really was just hoping I’d be able to run the whole damn thing without a DNF (did  not finish).

On Saturday afternoon I pretty much thought I was screwed. I was exhausted while I worked a few hours in the Portland Marathon information booth at the packet pickup and expo. I bailed a little bit early because my legs were tired from standing and I was getting hungry. I found a bite and browsed a few stores to kill some time and take my mind off the marathon. Mr. Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking was working just a few blocks away so I was planning to make my way to his location but wasn’t in a huge hurry because I’d be basically just waiting around until he finished his day.

I finally made my way there but was feeling a little cranky and was getting hungry again so I toured the set and watched some of the filming before I went out in search of food again. When I returned, I found a distant corner in a hallway and set up camp. I napped for about an hour before someone woke me up apparently concerned whether or not I was okay. Not long after filming wrapped for the day, Mr. WJTWT and I walked around the corner to a bar. I was so groggy, and exhausted, and emotional that I was literally crying into my wine glass with worry about the race. (Yes, I drank a little wine the evening before.) Mr. WJTWT proceeded to give me a pep talk which helped and promised me a chill evening and early bedtime.

We picked up Thai food as we made our way to where we’d be staying for the night. (I had Thai for dinner the night before I ran the Boston Marathon so I was hoping for some good juju.) Another glass of wine was consumed with dinner and then I started getting ready for bed.

Originally, the weather was forecasted to be perfect! Around 55° at the start with a high of 77° for the day and dry and sunny! Reports Saturday starting indicating a turn and sure enough, I woke on Sunday to pouring rain. Considering I’ve probably run the majority of my runs over the course of my life in some sort of precipitation, the rain itself wasn’t too much of concern. However, for the past four months, I’ve been training in a warmer, dryer climate so of course, this was cause for added anxiety about how things would unfold.

start

The pre-race look of terror while trying to fake a smile…

Mr. WJTWT drove me to downtown Portland and dropped me off just a few blocks from where I needed to enter the coral holding area. I immediately jumped in the porta potty line and then found shelter in a doorway where I waited right up until they moved the coral toward the starting line. My relentless and optimistic ambition had me join the 3:30 pace group. I wasn’t cold but I should have probably made some effort to warm up… which I didn’t. Fortunately, the rain had become more of a light mist and restored hope that maybe we’d have a dry morning.

Soon we were off in a congested glob of sogginess. I immediately was several yards behind the pace group and then found myself among the 3:35 group. That was fine with me. I hung with them for a little while but they pulled ahead and again I was separated by a mass of bodies rhythmically prodding forward.

It took me a couple of miles until I caught back up to the 3:35 group, somewhere between mile four and five. The pace felt too easy so I sped up and set my sights on catching up with the 3:30 group. I believe it was around mile 7 that I settled in with the 3:30 pacers. That lasted until about mile 12 when my pace dropped back and I once again found myself among the 3:35 pack.

Somewhere along the way the rain returned. And then the wind picked up. I started to get chilled and aware of the increasing numbness is my legs and fingers along with psoas discomfort on my right side. Good times. I had a few mantras on rotation that I kept running through my head which I believe was ultimately what got me to the finish line.

Similar to the first year I ran Portland, the approach to the St. Johns Bridge proved to be a setback. The elevation at the peak of the bridge is about 150 feet. My strategy was to take it easy but stick close to the pace group. As I started to ascend, I struck up a conversation with a runner who commented that it was steeper than he thought. We used each other as a distraction from the hill, up and over the bridge, and into the residential neighborhood of St. Johns. While the distraction was nice, my pace slowed more than I wanted it to and now I was further from the 3:35 pace group. I started to fear that the 3:40’s would be hot on my heels soon.

I never really got back to the low 8:00 pace I desired. I settled into a roughly 8:25 pace and decided that from mile 19 to 23 I’d hang there and then pick it up for the last 5k. I could no longer feel anything from my hips down and marveled at how I could still actually be moving with no feeling. But despite that, I didn’t feel like I was completely falling apart. I kept repeating my mantras over and over. I smiled at the spectators that braved the rain to cheer for us and loved hearing people yell out at me, by name since it was printed on my bib, that I looked strong, had a great stride, etc. (That made a huge difference.) I talked with a few runners as we briefly paced side by side. I just kept moving forward.

Those last few miles were tough. They always are. But I was able to pick up my pace slightly. The 3:35 pace group was long gone but the 3:40’s hadn’t caught up yet so I found some hope that I still might make it to the finish line in under 3:40. I gave it everything I had left the last mile and when I rounded the final corner and saw the time, I knew I’d have a Boston qualifying time, even if a squeaker.

I finished in 3:37:40.

It wasn’t a PR but I walked (slowly and painfully) away completely satisfied with my performance. Given the conditions and how I felt leading up to race day, staying mentally strong was a HUGE win for me!

certofcompletion

Good enough for a BQ! Even if only by a 2:20 margin!

You just never really know what you’re going to get on race day. Months of preparation can be affected by so many variables… whether or not you’re in a good mental state, the weather, how rested you are, what you consumed in the days leading up to the event… a lot of it is truly chance. And maybe some magical unicorn rainbow stardust shit.

Advertisements

*Weekly mileage ~ Oct. 3-9*

Mileage for the week of October 3rd – October 9th

Total weekly mileage: 39.5

Total October mileage: 51.5

Total year-to-date (2016) mileage: 1,134.75

Week in review:

10/3      No run/rest day

10/4     35:18 min./4 mi./8:50 pace

10/5     34:52 min./4.25 mi./8:11 pace

10/6     26:56 min./3 mi./8:59 pace

10/7     No run/rest day

10/8     2 miles (easy on treadmill)

10/9     3:37:40 min./26.2 mi./8:19 pace

I literally just arrived home about an hour ago from my trip home to Portland. I cannot even begin to describe the whirlwind that the past six days have been. I’m completely exhausted and completely content. It was a magical combination of all of the things that I love most: my family, my friends, running, and the Pacific Northwest.

The coming days will yield a somewhat proper race recap… though I admit that writing recaps is not my strong suit… even as a writer, I find that it’s hard to explain the emotional and mental aspects of racing. I’ll try anyway (and for now, give you a small glimmer of what’s to come…) because even though it wasn’t a PR, it was a pretty incredible run for me for several reasons and the result was meeting one of my goals. I’m still surprised to be honest but I somehow managed to cross the finish line with a BQ!

Thanks to everyone for the well wishes and congratulatory notes on Instagram! Now to relax and enjoy a little down time to recover (because I’m hella sore!) before I get back to the grind!

*One Boston Day*

Today marks the third anniversary of the bombings at the Boston Marathon. It is a day that no runner (any American for that matter), whether they’ve run the Boston Marathon or not, will ever forget.

201504552c1057051ea

One Boston Day

2013 was the year that I set forth on my quest to qualify for Boston. The tragedy didn’t deter me in the slightest and I know I’m not the only one. Running the marathon last year was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I hope that every runner that dreams of running the most prestigious race of its kind gets the opportunity to do so. It will always be held in my heart as the greatest accomplishments I’ve achieved and such an honor to toe the line with some of the best athletes in the world.

This website and blog where created from the dream that I had to run the Boston Marathon and with Patriots Day approaching Monday, I can’t help but be filled with awe and gratitude for the journey of the past three years. Even as I’m currently sidelined (by choice), running has been one of the greatest gifts I’ve received.

I’m sending out positive vibes for a fantastic race to everyone running (and spectating) on Monday (hopefully better weather this year) and for those still in pursuit of qualifying; don’t stop fighting to make that dream a reality!

*Marathon training update*

Apparently, there is a *first* for everything. After two-and-a-half years, and 7 marathons in which I was either trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon, better my qualifying time, or actually running Boston, I’m going to run a marathon for fun.

Umm….

Is that an oxymoron? Run a marathon for fun?!

Marathon #8 is not about me at all… Not about some crazy, obsessive drive to push myself to see what I’m made of, set a new personal record, or seek out the elusive sub-3:30 marathon. There is a sweeter sentiment to my intention. On Sunday, October 4th, my good friend is running the Portland Marathon, which is her first marathon! Throughout some personal struggles, she has met the demands of training and has triumphed every time. It is such an honor to not only witness her journey, but to get to accompany her on the final stages of it as she tackles 26.2.

As for me, it feels good to have clear direction. And let’s be honest. Less pressure to perform!

The icing on the cake is that since I’m an ambassador for the Portland Marathon, I get to experience it both as a participant and a representative.

pdxmarathon

My current long-run mileage is at 16 with 17 miles coming up this weekend. The timing… taking this marathon easy.. couldn’t be better since I’m finding my groove again after a few rough months following the Boston Marathon.

If your interested in running the Portland Marathon, whether it be competitively… or for fun, you can use the code HYLA10 to save $10 off your registration.

pdxexpo

Throwback to the Portland Marathon expo and packet pick-up in 2013.

I’m curious. When it comes to running marathons (or any distance for that matter), are you driven by a competitive desire to perform your absolute best or just out for a good time with your friends and fellow runners?

 

*Green, lean, and full of protein*

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of sitting down with David Cascadden, the creator and owner of Left Coast Raw. I connected with David earlier this year while I was training for the Boston Marathon and shortly thereafter, started using his three super shake blends for post-run recovery during the remainder of my training. One PR an a BQ later, and well, I’m a believer! These shakes ROCK!

During our conversation, David explained to me that they’ve made a few tweeks to the original shake blends I was taking this spring and have made them even more nutrient-dense. Not to mention, higher in protein! I was drawn to them in the first place because of their high nutrient values but also because all three blends are vegan, raw, and gluten, soy, and dairy free.

IMG_1160

Special delivery! Nutrient-dense super shakes for the win!

One of the cool things about the upgraded blends is the addition of some amazing super foods. And I’ll be completely honest here… while I’m a serious holistic health nut that loves learning about new and unique super foods, I had never heard of sacha inchi or baobab. If you haven’t either, let me enlighten you!

Sacha inchi is a seed that grows in the mountains in Peru and is praised to have some of the highest levels of essential fatty acids, proteins, and amino acids over all other recommended sources. According to www.undergroundhealth.com:

The Inca Peanut is one of the few nuts (though they are actually seeds) that offers a perfect balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as protein, vitamin A and alpha-tocopherol vitamin E (the most beneficial form of vitamin E), while being 96% digestible and 100% irritation free.

It is said to help improve circulation and blood pressure, as well as strengthen the cardiovascular system, reduce inflammation, and improve your mood!

Baobab is derived from a tree that grows in Africa and contains some of the highest levels of vitamin C known to man. It is said to be a powerhouse of minerals and is considered to be beneficial in the support of liver function, weigh loss, preventative treatment for heart disease, and can assist in the production of collagen and elastin, two proteins that support the skin.

So how cool is it that LCR is using these amazing and very beneficial super foods in their blends?

Yeah, I’m pretty excited and so grateful to be partnered with a company that is helping to deliver these amazing, nutrient-dense ingredients to the masses. I love the passion behind these products and their mission to help you maintain a vigorous lifestyle through whole-food, nutrient-rich shakes that are portable and made for an active lifestyle!

These shakes offer the perfect post-run recovery fuel! Full of protein, vitamins, minerals… and they taste so good! Bottoms up!

IMG_1165

Green goodness! Post-run fuel at its finest!

*Two outta three… a few words about Boston*

When you set a lofty goal for yourself, you will either walk away with a euphoric sense of accomplishment once it is realized, or a devastating feeling of defeat if you fail.

The past week, I’ve been marinating in the post-Boston feeling of euphoric accomplishment. I’ve always sucked at writing witty race recaps and here it is, nearly a week later, and I’m finally sitting down to share a little bit of my experience. But it won’t be in the traditional form. For once, and it’s not very often, I’ll be a girl of few words.

The Boston Marathon… the experience in its entirety… was phenomenal. It was everything I imagined it would be and more.

Most amazing was that my race, despite the nasty weather (and truly not unlike what I’m use to training in at home)… well, I achieved two out of three of my Good, Better, Best goals!!

Apparently, the Boston Marathon course is not typically a PR kind of course, but the stars aligned just so and not only did I set a new PR, I also got a BQ!

My official race time was 3:33:06.

I’m sure more will surface over the next few weeks but I’m still basking in the afterglow and figuring out what’s next! Thank you for being a gigantic piece of this journey!!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

*Good, better, best*

The Boston Marathon edition.

Holy moly!

My alarm is set for 3 AM tomorrow morning as the final stage of this Boston journey begins. The culmination of more than two years of dreaming, training, running, hoping, stressing, aching, and ever other *ing* you can imagine. In five short days, I will be running one of the most prestigious marathons in the entire world.

photo (9)

A little vino to calm my pre-travel jitters. ; )

As has become tradition, I am going to share my race goals in the form of good, better, and best. This is above-and-beyond the experience of the trip itself. I’m a runner. I’m competitive. I want to go to Boston and prove that I earned my spot there. But no matter what, the trip in its entirety, will be what I can only imagine as one of the highlights of my life, regardless of how I “race”.

GOOD :: Earn another BQ. While not necessarily a PR, I’d be pleased to finish with a time that proves I deserve to be running among such incredible athletes. Anything under 3:40:00 would be a *good* finish for me.

BETTER :: But who doesn’t want to PR? I do! I would really love to beat my BQ time of 3:35:01. That’s an 8:13 average pace. I’ve run long training runs at a faster pace than that so I know it’s in me… everything just needs to come together on race day.

BEST :: Ultimately, I’d love to run a sub-3:30 marathon. Shave five minutes of my PR? Run an 8:00 average? It’s lofty, yes? But not unattainable. I’m close and hoping that Marathon Monday is the day that all of my efforts to make this race my best yet, manifest into what would be my *best* race outcome.

With that, I’m off to finish packing and then hitting the hay! Please forgive my sporadic posts over the next week… but if you’re interested in keeping up with my Boston adventures, be sure to connect with me on my social media sites, listed below. Goodnight!

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram