Saturday, March 31, 2007

Upton 15k

I ran the Upton 15k on this lovely sunny day. My plan was to run 6:21 pace for the first 10k, then pick it up and make a race out of the last 5k. I didn't want to be sore all next week and I raced hard last weekend and wasn't in the mood for it this weekend. I'd convinced myself before the race that I wasn't going to be competitive. I was just going to do my own thing and run my own pace.

Then in the first half-mile, I saw a lady in the corner of my eye. My inner cocky self didn't want to be beat, so I decided to scrap my previous plan and be competitive anyway. The first mile was at 5:59. She was still there. Mile two came by at 12:02 - still there. Around the 5k, she dropped back enough that I couldn't hear her breathing but I thought she was still too close. I don't like looking back, so I didn't check. I don't like leaving things to the sprint either, so I thought I'd keep hauling buns to put some distance between us.

I guess it worked. I found a few guys who were moving at 6-minute pace. They'd run quite evenly paced up and down the hills, while I'd trudge up and lose them on the uphill then blow past them on the downhill. We ran together-ish until mile 8, where I picked up the pace a little. The finish is mostly downhill, so I led our little pack in at 56:28.

Tom had told me to warm down by running him to the finish, but Tom was done by the time I put my shoes and long-sleeve shirt on to go warm down. He was fast today - 7:0something pace. I didn't realize he'd finished so I went to do my warmdown and figured he'd finished once I started seeing 90-year-old guys trudging in and strollers and whatnot. Tom's not that slow.

So there's the race. I don't feel nearly as awful as after last week's 10k, so hopefully I won't be so flat on the track on Tuesday.

Only two more weeks until the marathon!


Sunday, March 25, 2007

3 states, 5 countries, 20 miles, and 1 super coach

Today was a race of numbers. Let me explain.

20: The number of miles we raced.
3: The number of states we ran through.
5: The number of nationalities represented by the GBTC team.
Kibrom: Ethiopia
Tomoaki: Japan
Me: India (kinda)
Lucas: America
Tom: Armenia
1: The number of super coaches that drove us and coached us (and ran the half marathon too)!

The race was great, but I was bummed that Laura and David were sick and couldn't make it. If they had been there, we would have had representation from 7 countries (David is from Spain, and Laura is from England)! But really, it would have been fun to have David and Laura at the race, and I know they would have run really well.

Tom picked up me, Lucas, and Kibrom from our doorsteps first thing this morning. What service. We drove an hour or so to the casino near Salisbury, Mass. and boarded the buses to Kittery, Maine, where the race starts. I ran into Aimee Shen, a former GBTC-er who's moving to Palo Alto soon. T'was great to catch up with her.

The boys and I did a short warm-up and jogged to the start. It's a very informal race start -- there is no gun, no megaphone, not even a line painted on the road to indicate the "actual" start. The race director just says, "ready, go!" to cue the hordes of runners to begin their march.

I started the race hoping to run consistent 6:40 pace, which is 2:13:30 for the 20 mile distance. My goal pace for the Chicago marathon was 6:40, although I wasn't able to quite maintain that pace during Chicago. I started today's race easy with a comfortable 6:46 first mile. The next mile was a bit faster, and I have no idea what my splits were after that because the mile markers were not very accurate.

It was a perfect day today for running. The temperature was in the mid-40s, the sun was out, and the views of the water were unparalleled as we ran along the New Hampshire coast. We had a slight head-wind for most of the race, and there are just a few little climbs and bumps, but the course is pretty flat and perfect.

I felt good and ended up running negative splits. Like Emily, I spent most of the race just adding 6:40 to my last mile split and trying to run that pace or faster for the next mile. I ended up finishing in 2:10:27, three minutes faster than I had hoped to run. And I was the first female finisher! My first win ever! 6:31/mile pace. ( reports a 6:32 pace, but if you do the math, it's 6:31.4/mile pace. So I'm going to round down.)

I was happy. Tom met us at the finish, and I think he was quite pleased. He ran well in the half-marathon, and the GBTC guys placed 2nd, 4th, and 7th overall. Kibrom ran an especially amazing race, averaging 5:48/mile after winning the 10K in 31:34 yesterday and then working the night shift at his job.

After the race, I cooled down with Lucas very slowly and headed back to the Ashworth Hotel for my favorite post-race snack of pretzels, M&Ms, and diet coke. Yum. Hit the spot. I ate about 100 M&Ms. My legs are pretty tired. I am ready for the marathon. Not much more to say.


Being Slow at Math Makes Me Faster

25 laps is a long time. I knew I needed to run on pace to get under 35 minutes, so I didn't want to try a conservative start slow-finish fast strategy. I think the first lap was a bit fast, but the next 4 miles were right on pace: 84 seconds a lap. I guess I still haven't figured out how to make my watch show only the split time, so it was showing the total the whole race. It was good by the end because I could actually see where I was at and see that I was cutting it close. But most of those 25 laps I spent adding 84 seconds to the previous lap time; I think it took my dysfunctional brain about 200 meters to figure out my next 400 time. It made the race go by faster I guess. Anyway, I think I had an 85 or 86 in mile 5, but made up for it on mile 6: woohoo! I still haven't seen the official results, so I don't know my exact time. But it's definitely under 35! Finally I have a PR that isn't :0something as in 5:04, 10:01, 17:02. Yea!

I didn't make it all the way home from Dedham. I made it to the green line on Huntington Ave then saw a green line train by Longwood and was way too tempted. I took it to the orange line and ran home from there. It came out to a total of 18 miles including the race yesterday, but the long cooldown was at a very leisurely pace.

Good luck to the 20-milers today!


Saturday, March 24, 2007


So you would think that after the many, many, many races I have run I would learn. Well I think I may have finally started at least. Last week I ran the New Bedford Half in the wind and cold and I tried to stick to the my race plan. Go out easy and have something left at the end. I did fairly well with this actually. Maybe the first mile could have been a little more under control, but then next 3 were as planned. I think running into the wind helped me take it slower. Then the middle of the race felt great and I did actually have something left in order to complete the last three miles into the wind and up the hill. After the race last week, I told myself that I need to race like that more often. You see in the past, I tend to go out hard and just hold on. It makes races less enjoyable at times and the recovery is tougher, but my mind does not seem to win over my body/heart in races. I ran the 10K and I will say it was one of my smarter races over the years. I had a plan and for the most part stuck to it. I went out slow with a 6:10 first mile. I let Sloan & Laure go and shut my head off and just told myself to run with patience for once. Each mile got a little quicker and I continued to feel strong. Emily zoomed by after 2 miles and I was psyched for her. She looked awesome and I knew she was running fast!! I continued to plug along slowly clossing the gap on the pack of runners ahead of me. With around 2 miles to go I caught them and still felt strong. Amazing how good you can feel when you run smart.
I finished the race strong running my fastest mile for the last mile. Something I rarely can do.
Now I just need to remember these races on Maraton Day!! Only about 3 weeks left. Our team is going to be awesome.
Good luck to Megha and Laura tomorrow. Run with patience. 20 miles is a long way.
Emily....I hope you made it home safe!!
Great job today to Allison, Sloan, Katie, Gretchen and of course Emily!!


I would like to congratulate Emily on a really tremendous race. I was happy to have Emily triple-lap me at the (her) finish, so that I could see her final time. :-) Sub-35! That is so impressive...and she did it all by herself. So that was definitely the highlight of the race, but really everyone ran well. I haven't seen Lynn race lately, and she looked the fittest I've seen her since I joined the team. I'm so excited for all of you running Boston. You gals are going to have such a strong team! I'm definitely looking forward to cheering!!!

Good luck to Laura and Megha tomorrow in the 20 miler. Laura: drink lots of fluids :-)


Friday, March 23, 2007

Shameless Soliciting

My older bro, Dave, is running the Boston Marathon. He is an English as a Second Language teacher in Columbus, Ohio and teaches a lot of Somali refugees. He is also the assistant cross country coach at the high school. I'm going to publish parts of a letter he sent to me:

"Friends and Family,
Many of you are aware that I've been training my butt off trying to get ready for the Boston Marathon....I've been logging more miles than I ever have before (80 miles per week)....I'm hoping to run a 2:45 at Boston, but I also hope to do much more than just run a fast time.

As passionate as I am about my running, I am also passionate about the work I do with ESL students. Most of my students are Somali refugees. In the early 90s the government of Somalia was overthrown and a long and bloody civil war began. Many thousand Somalis fled to Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt and other neighboring countries which set up refugee camps. In the camps resources are scarce and education is unheard of....[My students] are incredibly eager to learn!

...I would love to coach some of my 'Somali Babies.' Several of them want to run cross country, but cannot afford the $100 pay to play fee. For that reason I am asking friends and family to support my Boston effort by sponsoring my effort to help Somali runners."

He goes on to say even five bucks would be appreciated, that donations are tax deductible, and that he and the school will send thank you cards and tax info to each contributor. Anyway, I'm glad my bro is excited about Boston and about his cause. If any of you would like to contribute, checks can be made out to Westerville North Athletic Boosters Cross Country (WNAB Cross Country) and sent to Dave Mars at 4170 Valley Quail Blvd S, Westerville, OH 43081.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

the windy whaling city half marathon

This past Sunday, March 18, Lynn, Laura, Audrey, Katie Fobert, and I ran the New Bedford half marathon. (A couple dozen men from the team ran too, but I'll focus on the ladies right now. The men can create their own blog!)

New Bedford is on the southern coast of Massachusetts. A good chunk of the course follows the shore, and the rest of it is pretty darn close to the water. What that means for runners is an inevitably windy race!

And windy it was. reports that the winds were blowing from the west at about 24 mph. The whole race felt as though we were running into the wind. But it was a blast, nonetheless.

I rode up to New Bedford with Junyong, who I will nickname the Race Bus Driver. I offered a dozen times to meet him somewhere so he wouldn't have to pick me up from my house, but he insisted that it wasn't a problem to come get me. I was the first stop on Junyong's route; then we drove through most of Medford, Somerville, Cambridge, East Cambridge, and Boston picking up a bunch of guys. We finally got onto the highway about 30 minutes behind schedule. Junyong was a bit frantic and nervous that we'd all get to the race late because of him. But it was fine. We got to New Bedford at about 10:20, parked, jogged to the school, and had just enough time to register, stand in the crazy long lines for the restrooms, and get to the start by 10:50. No time for a much of a warm-up, but no worries.

It was chilly at the start. I ran a couple of strides into the wind and just got more worked up about the wind. I think most of us were thinking the same thing -- we just needed to start, run for 13.1 miles, and finish and forget about our times which were bound to be slow considering the wind. Everyone went out fast. I was getting passed left and right, but I told myself I needed to stay controlled. Mile 1 was in 6:20 -- exactly as I had planned. It felt more like a 6:05 mile, though, because of the wind. Even windier mile 2 was 6:40. Mile 3 had a giant hill into the wind -- that was really slow, about 7 minutes flat. Mile 4 was a bit faster, but I was tired from the wind and the uphill -- about 6:50. I think my 4 mile split was 26:56. Much much slower than I had wanted to go.

But then the course turned, and we running more-or-less perpendicular to the wind instead of straight into it. The road started to slope downhill just a little bit, and it felt great. My leg speed picked up. I don't know what the splits were after that, but no matter. I felt good and passed a bunch of people who might have gone out fast and smoked me on the early hills.

Miles 7.5 through mile 10.5 or 11 were really windy but flat. We ran around a peninsula completely exposed to the wind. My legs felt good, though. I kept picking people off to pass and was catching people who had whizzed by me at mile 2. It felt awesome. I ran by a street called Lucas St. and pretended I was running with Lucas W. and thought about his crazy inspiring mileage load and felt inspired. I picked it up a bit. I wish I could have seen Lynn and Laura ahead of me, but they were too fast! I saw Audrey though and caught up to the poor girl who had pretty much puked a few miles earlier and still had the guts and toughness to keep running.

There was a big, big hill towards the end of the race. I was really hurting at this point. I was exhausted from the cold wind. My skin felt dry and wind-burned, and my lungs felt like someone had poured dry ice in them. But somehow I stuck it out over that last hill. Someone yelled out from the sidelines, "only half mile to go!" So I got excited. I saw a faint glimmer of a brown ponytail and long-sleeved white shirt ahead of me and recognized the speedy runner as Lynn. It was my goal to catch up to her, and I did! I think I finally caught up to Lynn about 2 seconds before we crossed the finish. It was awesome. I've never been able to finish with a teammate like that before. I'm sure the wicked downhill for the last 70 meters or so had a lot to do with it. I think I ran the last 9.1 miiles at a 6:20 pace average. Overall pace was 6:28/mile. I like this negative split tactic.

At the finish, I un-velcroed my chip-band and discovered that it had eaten into the skin on my ankle. I got some bandaids and had the blood cleaned up by the First Aid people. Lynn and I were freezing and jogged back to the school to get warm and trade stories about the race. We saw Tom on the way back and he told us Laura had done awesome. Lynn and I were pysched. Laura ran a 1:21:50 -- 6:15 pace. Amazing!! Lynn and I both ran about 1:24:43. Not the fastest we'd ever run, but considering the wind, we'd take that time with pleasure. The three of us finished faster than the first GBTC female finisher at this race in 2006. Katie Fobert ran a solid race too, tying her mark from the Hyannis half-marathon a few weeks back. We placed third over all as a team. The GBTC men placed second and totally dominated. Not a bad start to the 2007 USATF Grand Prix series.

By the time Lynn and I made it back to the school where the post-race festivities were scheduled, the whole place smelled like greasy fried fish. Apparently, it is tradition to serve clam chowder and fried fish sandwiches after the New Bedford half marathon. The smell was really kind of off-putting. I nibbled on a banana and some crackers and thought about the happy vegetarian meal I'd make when I got home. Yum.

Junyong played bus driver again on the way home and insisted that he drive me home. Well, I would have none of that. On the way to drop off Max, we drove by the Roxbury Crossing T stop and waited at a light. I jumped out of the car in the middle of the road, yelled "thanks, and here's some gas money" to Junyong, and ran (okay, waddled) to the T. Hopefully that saved him some time. Junyong thought I was nuts!

It has taken me longer than I expected to recover from this race. It's Wednesday today, and my legs still felt kind of creaky during my runs today. The next big thing I'm looking forward to is watching more than a dozen of my teammates race the 50-athlete strong 10 km race at the Solomon Track in Dedham this Saturday. Almost 25 laps around the track! Tons of PRs will be recorded on Saturday. This race will go down in history. The next day is the Eastern States 20 miler. Stay tuned for stories.

Only 26 days till the marathon!!!

(sorry this post is so long)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Another Reason to Run

I ran with Audrey for two hours this morning. She asked about Bruce and how hard it was to come back after having a baby. Hmm, this brought back all kinds of memories - some that I don't care to revisit and others that I'm fond of.

For those who don't know or remember what happened, here's a recap. A few weeks before Bruce was born I went to my doctor for a routine visit and had ridiculously high blood pressure. They thought maybe it was a fluke; maybe I was stressing from watching a birthing video the day before? They put me on bedrest and told me to come back in a few days. I sat on my duff for a weekend, then went back in. Sure enough, wicked high blood pressure again. So they did an ultrasound and figured out Bruce wasn't really growing much.

They put me in the hopsital and I layed on my duff for a week. Every day I got poked a few times and got all these tests and ultrasounds to monitor Bruce's slow growth. Turns out something was wrong with the placenta and it wasn't feeding Bruce properly, and my body tried to compensate for the poor placental blood flow by shooting my blood pressure up. And up. And up.

After a week in the hospital, Bruce's growth had nearly stopped, his heart rate was dropping, my kidneys started shutting down (tired of that darn high blood pressure or something), and I got this wicked bad headache and started seeing about six Scotts (I rarely get headaches, so this was odd). All that happened within about two hours, so I was induced and when labor was slow-going and Bruce was getting more unhappy by the minute the doctor shot me in the back with some awesome drugs and slit my belly open.

Scott got to witness the whole thing, although they made him sit down. "Too many guys pass out," they told him. Although the camera was in his hands, he took about 2 pictures of Bruce. He was totally in awe. He said it was pretty crazy to see my intestines, spleen, stomach, bladder, and whatever else pulled out and sitting on my ribs. My response: "And you didn't get a picture of this?!"

Bruce was 3 lb 3 oz and 16.5 inches long: he was 6 weeks early but a month behind in growth. Bruce is almost 2 now and is doing just fine. He talks ("I want my blocks!" was this morning's phrase), runs (in circles, I think he has a career in track), and has even grown a bit.

Laura and Sloan came to visit me in the hopsital a few days after Bruce was born. My stomach really hurt (that's an understatement but I don't quite know how to put it), but I was "trying to be a hero" (nurse's words) so I walked them down to the NICU to see my little man. They must have thought I was nuts. "I'm going to run the Boston Marathon next year," I told them and all the nurses. They must have thought it was the morphine pain meds getting to me.

I spent six weeks on my tush, then a few months walking a few miles with 2-minute jogs mixed in. I remembered why normal people don't like to run. Because it's hard to start. The spandex you're wearing looks really awful and feels even worse. Two sports bras in the summer is too hot. Short shorts feel good, but reveal too much of the flab. The hunched over running form can't look good at all.

I survived past the ugly stage and got back into running. I lost the 40 lbs I'd gained during pregnancy - another good reason to run. So how is it coming back post-baby? Hard. Slow. But definitely worth it; it's very rewarding to be a mom and still sneak out the door in the mornings for a few miles.

* One photo shows me in all my hospital gown glory with incredibly swollen legs.
* The other photo is of little Bruce. That's a wet wipe by his head in that square package, and the diaper is a tiny newborn size but looks absolutely enormous on him.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Good luck and run fast!

Many of you speedy gals are running the 1/2 marathon today. Actually, you are in the middle of it right now. Hope you all kick some ass and I can't wait to hear stories! As Busse and I were running this morning, we were thinking of how windy it must be in New Bedford right now. Hopefully, it's behind your backs :-) Anywho, I'm sure I'll hear all about it.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

six abreast before sunrise

Running in the morning is amazing for so many reasons. After you get past the whole getting-out-of-bed-at-5am thing and trudge through the first few steps out the door, running that early becomes easy, routine, satisfying, fun. The roads are more-or-less traffic-free, the winds are usually not as fierce as they are during the day, the air feels fresher somehow, the bathrooms at dunkin donuts are freshly cleaned, and it feels pretty darn awesome to be home before 7am and already have run 11 or 12 or 13 miles.

Running early in the morning is even better when you can rally oodles of your teammates to join you. This morning SIX of us - Audrey, Emily, me, Ted, Scott, and Dave (one of Ted's former teammates) started running at about 5:20am. We met up near Medford and ran through Somerville, Cambridge, down the river, and back through East Cambridge toward Medford. We switched up the tempo a few times and took advantage of the windless, 50-degree morning to add a few faster miles. But we kept the pace modest enough to continue chatting and joking.

When's the last time you ran with so many people before 6am? I am so grateful for the running company. I love it!


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Magic Juice and Deep Thoughts

The drink of champions. After every long run. Next day - FULLY recovered. Not exaggerating.
1-2 cups of Vanilla Soy milk
2 bananas
Bunch of chunks of pineapples, papayas, peaches
3 ice cubes
1 scoop of Soy protein powder.
Blend together until liquified.

Had one yesterday after a long run with a few tempo miles at the end. Woke up this morning and felt like I hadn't run a step yesterday. I'm telling ya, its the bombdiggidy!

Today, Famous and I ran the muddy trails of Jamaica Pond. It was the first time in months that my pasty white legs had seen sunlight. 49 degrees. The run felt significantly easier than most of the runs I've done over the past few months and our pace was the same as usual...the warm weather changed everything!

I've been thinking lately about the stability that running provides. As many of you know, Brad and I have just purchased a condo in Brookline. We've spent the past month in a constant state of uncertainty as we've searched for homes, compared mortgage rates, shopped for lawyers, negotiated selling price, etc... the list goes on and on. Add this to our already hectic lives and ever-changing job activities (Brad teaches, I counsel - different day, different game type-jobs) and we've got ourselves a recipe for a constant state of pandemonium. Lately, I've used my runs as levelers for the rest of my life. As I notice my world becoming increasingly chaotic, I find myself craving the serenity and consistency of a good ol' fashioned run. I find comfort in lacing up my well-worn Nikes with the permanent mud stains, strapping on my baby blue Timex at the 2nd hole, throwing the 20 clips in my hair to hold back my funky locks, and heading out the door for that well-needed 90 minutes of monotonous quiet fresh air. Or, if I don't need the quietness of a solitary run, I'll hook up with some of my favorite people in the world and spend some time doing my favorite thing, running, with my favorite friends. Who can complain about that? What a great life I lead. I sometimes forget - as I get caught up in the day-to-day pressures of working with angry teenagers, juggling work and play, and balancing my time with others v. myself - but, actually, my life is full of people and activities that I really enjoy. Not all people can say that. Makes me happy. Reminds me of a poem a friend once had embroidered on the front of her sweatshirt:

I love to run,
it makes me smile.
I think I'll run
another mile.


Thursday, March 8, 2007

wind blown wimp?

I had to be at work really early today, so I couldn't run in the morning like I usually do.
I decided to run home from the city after work instead.
I live exactly NW from my office near South Station.
The winds were gusting NW up to 39-44 mph.

What I had thought would be a pleasant, late-afternoon 90-minute up-tempo run turned into one of the toughest 60-minute runs I've ever done. Not because I was running fast, though. It was that intense wind. The wind was wicked.

Running over the MIT/Mass. Ave. bridge and the bridge over the Mystic River near my house was m-i-s-e-r-a-b-l-e. If it weren't for the railing that separates the sidewalk from the river, I would have clearly fell in. The winds kept tossing me from side to side on the sidewalk, and more than a few times I banged right up into the railing. I couldn't keep my eye lids open if I kept my head straight, so I twisted my neck completely sideways to keep my face as much out of the wind as I could. When my neck got tired of resisting the wind, I turned my head straight again and just ran with my eyes closed like a zombie. Meanwhile, my body kept swaggering and jolting uncontrollably with each burst of wind. My legs were working so hard just to keep from moving backwards. It was quite a site!

By the time I got home, I had sand and dirt stuck to my lips and face, and my cheeks were red with wind burn. My pony tail was a giant knot, all tangled up from the wind.

I was bummed that I ended up cutting my run short, but I'm glad I made it all the way home (even though I took the most direct route instead of the 90-minute route I had planned). I'm glad I didn't succumb to the half-dozen times I passed by a T stop and considered nixing the run altogether and just taking the T back. But I'm still trying to convince myself that I am tough to have lasted as long as I did and am not just a wind blown wimp. Whew!


porn, steak, and track

I'm back in Vegas again for another camera show. I got here Tuesday night and I had a few hours until I had to be anywhere on Wednesday, so I went for a 2-hour run around Vegas.

The weather was gorgeous. The scenery was not. The yards are full of rocks. The trees are brown and ugly. The houses are squatty. I passed at least 30 run-down strip malls with video poker and massage parlors. Scary.

I rode in a cab yesterday and asked the driver if there was anywhere legit to run (not much traffic, not creepy). Nope, he said. I told him where I ran that morning. He said someone got stabbed there in broad daylight the day before.

Today I didn't have as much time, so I ran down to the UNLV track. Last time I was here it was closed, but it wasn't locked this time so I ran right in. I had enough time for two 1600s after I ran there. I ran 6:18 pace with a lap jog in between. It felt harder than it should have; is Vegas elevated?

I'll probably do some marathon-paced track miles again tomorrow: Its relatively non-creepy on the track, and I don't think anyone's been stabbed there yet.


Sunday, March 4, 2007

Shockin' Stu's

Well...I was pretty shocked today when I finished my 18.6 mile race and still stood to tell the story to a couple of local reporters. That race drained every last ounce of pain and hunger from my body. The day began with a 1 hour car ride with Tom and Megha where it took 3 of us to read and understand his car's GPS. We gabbed about culinary vs. botanically defined and categorized food, the usefulness of bacteria, and the usual...running! Once in Clinton, Megha and I ran a very short warm-up, or should I say cool-down, since we were significantly colder after finishing the warm-up than we were when we started. We looked like crazed women as we jogged to the starting line in our short shorts and singlet amidst a sea of tights-and-jacket clad racers. If the bitter freezing cold wasn't enough to remind us that we were ridiculously bare, the 320 racers around us certainly didn't let us forget..."are you cold? are you crazy? you have to run fast today to keep warm? you are going to get frostbite." Blah blah blah.

The race began with Moulton darting off to an early lead and the rest of the runners huddling together for warmth through the first mile or so. I crossed the first mile at 6:30. By the 10K, I was running with 3 SISU men who were really supportive and goofy. I had a blast with them. We went through at 40 flat. We played a wicked game of cat and mouse. They would pull away from me on the uphills and I would catch them on the downhills. That entertained us until the 20K, when we hit 80 flat. Dead even. It was pretty impressive given the ever-present gradual hills. Over the last 10K, the guys pulled ahead. I did my best to stay with no avail. The last 10K was quite hilly, especially at the end of the race. The last mile could have been a constant uphill - by that time, I was barely seeing straight. I was pushing as hard as I could. I crossed the line in 2:02 something. The 3rd 10K was a 42. I definitely slowed down during that 10K but I'm not sure how much can be attributed to me being tired or to the magnificent hills over the last 1/3 of the course. Throughout the entire race, Tom's hairy head popped up here and there as he shouted out inspirations such as "winning is good", "let this man buy you a drink (the water station dude)", and "one day this race will be over". The latter was my favorite line.

Once I crossed the line, I was immediately snagged by a couple of reporters. My mouth was so numb that spit was dribbling down my chin as I tried to form words through the frozen mass of skin covering my jaw. I remember massaging my face as I talked to the reporters to try to warm up my mouth. Tom, the ever-protecting coach kindly told the reporters that it was time for me to go inside to get warm. They listened. Tom is like a God.

We cooled down for about 10 minutes. The whole time I internally whined. I couldn't wait to get inside, change my clothes, and get some food into me. During awards, we chilled with a bunch of SISU guys, ate delicious Clam Chowder, and told stories. Such a fantastic way to spend a Sunday.

Megha is right. We need more women runners tuning up at these distance races. I'm glad Megha and I were the top 2 runners, sure, but I'd rather have some wicked great talent to make the race interesting. I was jealous of the guys who kept pace together. Oh - FYI - Megha ran about 110 miles this week.

Last but not least...worth mentioning in a separate paragraph...Tom picked us both up from our homes, drove us to Clinton, ran and drove around the course to cheer us on, and drove us back to our respective homes. What a guy!

It is 8:31. Time for bed.


stu's 30k and mileage madness

Today Laura and I ran the Stu's 30K in Clinton, MA. Tom was the super duper committed coach that he is and picked us up from our door steps, drove 22.2 miles just to cheer us along the 18.6 mile course, and then drove us both back home.

Laura ran a pretty consistent and solid race. I'm sure she'll tell you her race story soon. The course was hilly but not nearly as bad as I had expected. The hills were long and gradual and the hardest hill was the steep little bugger that came right before the mile 18 mark. I think the wind was actually tougher than the hills, but we survived and ran well.

I ran really cautiously. I was approaching the race as a "hard training run" since I ran tons of miles this week and knew my legs wouldn't feel "fresh" and didn't want to get discouraged. The first 10k was crazy slow; I think I ran a 43:30. I picked it up a bit for the next few miles, but not by much - my 10 mile split was 69 flat. I was a bit uncomfortable at this point because I had to pee so bad and was consequently hesitant to take any water or Gatorade or energy gu. So I just held on and hoped that the urge to pee would subside and that last night's huge bowl of pasta would be a good substitute for the citrus flavored gel stashed in my shorts.

Well, I still had to pee wicked bad, but luckily the next 8 miles went pretty well. I totally negative splitted and passed a bunch of the nicest men I've ever run with. They were all so excited about GBTC and kept praising the team's performance at the Amherst 10-miler last weekend. I felt so lucky and admired to be running for GBTC -- an awesome brand to have splattered on your singlet. I was doing fine until the last hill, struggled a bit, and just kept my eyes on the chute. I ran the last 5.5 miles at a 6:32 pace. Not bad, considering the first 10k was a 7-minute pace.

Laura, Tom, and I went for a short cool down after shmoozing with some local reporters. We noshed bagels and crackers and powdered Swiss Miss hot cocoa and traded race stories with runners from SiSu project, CSU, and the B.A.A.

These pre-Boston tune-up races are great. Laura and I are determined to get more New England women to run these. I'd rather place 20th in a competitive field than 2nd in a race with few hard-core women, you know?

I came home to discover a raging party of 8-year-olds had overflowed into the lobby of my building. So loud and obnoxious! Luckily, my roommate Danielle wanted to run a few miles really slow, so I went with her, and by the time we came back, the chaos of the party had quieted. Danielle is just trying to get back into running, and I just wanted to loosen my legs up, so we just jogged really slowly for less than 20 minutes. My legs feel better now.

I'm super impressed with Laura who totally dominated today and with Emily who ran well over a marathon yesterday. It is so easy to be inspired by one's teammates. They are both on track to run awesome races at the Boston Marathon. I know Laura, Emily, and I have all finally officially registered, and I'm getting excited for the race! Only 7 weeks left!!!


Saturday, March 3, 2007

Longest. Run. Ever.

So today I was feeling very ambitious and decided to go run part of the marathon course. I know I invited some of you to do this sometime (perhaps March 17?), but I wanted to go scout it out a bit myself. I ran from my place in Medford down 16 for about 11 miles to the Newton Fire Station on Comm. Ave.

I wanted to see if the hills were worthy of all the legendary tales. My verdict: they're not. There are some definite bumps in the road, but most of the hills are less than 100 meters long and none of them are steep. I still haven't figured out which one is Heartbreak Hill.

I ran through the hills, past BC, by the reservoir, and down past the finish line on Boylston just to finish what I'd started. I was going to take the T at some point, but figured I could probably run the 4-5 miles home faster than taking the incredibly slow orange line.

I made it home just fine. My legs felt pretty good considering the distance. I'm sure the weather helped too; it was gorgeous today. Yep, that was a long run. Longer than a marathon. I G-mapped it and it came out to 27.8 miles. That's a new personal record for me: that's the farthest I've gone at once.

Anyone up for an ambitious run on March 17? I'm out of town next week; I leave Tuesday afternoon and will get back the following Tuesday morning. So I'll see you all at practice in two weeks, or for a run on Monday.