The short version: we found out at 1 pm Sunday that our 8:55 pm flight for Monday was cancelled. I’m out if vacation time and Dan has equipment to fix so he can do fall cleanups, so staying in DC isn’t really an option. So we drove. From 9 am to 6:30 pm. 526 miles (all of CT’s highways were closed before we got there). Through Hurricane Sandy, also known as “Frankenstorm.” In a Chevy Aveo.
Woohoo, another PR! Official time: 58:07, a vast improvement from last year’s 1:11:48! I finished 80th of 163 in my age group (woo, top half!) at a 9:31 pace.
I was gunning for a 54-minute finish time, but I realized after I crossed the finish line that I was totally unprepared for such a time considering how little I’d run since my half. I was disappointed at first, but I gave myself a little mental slap and gave myself credit for my accomplishment.
I know now that I went out too fast and didn’t leave enough in the tank to really finish strong. Mile 4 was a tough one in particular. I hadn’t done much running since my half and I definitely paid the price.
It was a BEAUTIFUL day for a race! I got there nice and early and was able to score a good parking spot and get in and out with number pickup. I was calm yet energized, a great race-day combination. Bagpipers at the start line! Rule #1: Bagpipes make anything and everything awesome.
The weather was clear and cool and breezy, and when the course ran by the water, it was really pretty. The course was really well-marked and more or less foolproof, which is always a good thing. The fire department pumper boat (I have no idea what it’s really called, but I think that’s in the neighborhood) was in the harbor spraying its water cannons during the race. Water stations were well-placed on the course– I think there were 4 of them?
There are two physical therapists inside the hall after the finish to get you all stretched out– I definitely took advantage of this, like I did last year. There’s a live band playing Celtic punk and free Harpoon beer. No Bud Light– HARPOON! I freely admit I judge a race by its prize beer. There were plenty of orange slices, bananas, and bottles of water set out to grab as you exited the finish chute, and it was great to have volunteers hand you a cold bottle of water right after finishing.
The race website advertises that “over 1,000 runners come back every year,” but there were only t-shirts for the first 500 registrants. I got one last year, but I missed the cutoff this year. I was bummed to not get one, and I didn’t have the $20 in cash they were charging to pick one up. Plus, one little gripe about the design: they slapped a pink ribbon on the back. This race is a memorial race for the Boston Fire Department. To my knowledge, there’s no affiliation with any breast cancer foundation, so I was a bit befuddled at the addition.
The water stations could have used a few more hands– I was in the middle of the pack, and they seemed to be scrambling to get water handed out.
Alas, the beer line. This is a race best attended with friends, let me tell you. I don’t remember it ever being so long last year, but when I went to get in line, it was wrapped around the parking lot and looked like it would be a good long while before I ever got my mitts on a cold Harpoon. Had I been with someone else, I don’t think I would have minded waiting, but it seemed a little sad to wait probably 30+ minutes for a beer to drink by myself. I was bummed to see people who already had beers back in line again, too– let everyone get their first before you go back for seconds!
Firefighters know how to party. They know how to organize a race. Most of all, they care and they support each other. I was really excited to see so many runners wearing shirts from departments across the state. I wore one of Dan’s last year, and brought one with me, but opted for another shirt– in hindsight, I wish I wore the department shirt!
This is a race to run with friends. Better if you’re with a big group. The course is flat and scenic at points and a good first 10k– hey, I was able to PR by almost 14 minutes! I was a doofus and went to this one alone– first race I’ve really ever done by myself, with no one else I know running and no one there spectating. I had to finagle my car key into my armband/headphone setup since I didn’t wear my capris with the tiny pocket. All in all, definitely a recommended race.
You know how I said I paid the price? That price is hip pain. After I crossed the finish line, I knew something was off– my right hip was giving me some serious grief. I went straight to the physical therapists and had them stretch me out and felt better for it, but I should have gotten in some icing and ibuprofen once I got home. As the day wore on, it felt worse and worse. I had a hard time sleeping on it last night, and today I’ve got a really nice limp to show for my efforts.
I had a little hip pain after I finished the half marathon, but nothing on this scale. A little tenderness after my run in the new sneaks last weekend, and now big-time hurt. I’m thinking it has at least something to do with the new shoes: what do you think? I’m signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon 10k this weekend and I want to be able to finish strong! I’m thinking the new shoes go back and I get a new pair of Saucony Hurricane 14s, the shoe I was wearing with no ill effects through all my triathlon and half marathon training.
Anyone else race this weekend? How did it go? I know Mary kicked serious tail on the Army 10-miler– nicely done!
Definitely tally this one as a recovery week! Even now, over a week later, my right hip is a bit sore when I run. I’m trying to take it easy and switch it up with some cross-training to give it a rest. Thankfully, I’m past my goal race for the year, so the rest on the schedule are purely for fun. A “what’s next?” post is pending, just have to organize my thoughts a bit.
Monday, October 8
Rest. Did I mention I ran a half marathon Saturday? I did? Oops.
Tuesday, October 9
Rest again, finally getting back to feeling mostly normal.
Wednesday, October 10
You guys. BodyPump. I went to a night class at my gym– it always feels weird being there after work!– and got my butt handed to me. I made sure to introduce myself to the instructor, and she was awesome about making sure I knew what I was doing and what I needed. The class involves a weight bar and plates and works on the basis of a total-body workout with about a million reps of everything. I think I had 10 pounds on my bar for most of it, as I wasn’t really sure about adding/subtracting weight for what we’d be doing. Now that I’ve been through a class, I think I’d add a little more weight for the squats and lunges and probably for the back/tricep portion, too. I thought I’d pulled both my biceps, since they were sore for the next 4 days, but I’ve finally recovered.
Bottom line, try it if you can! I just wish my gym offered it at more convenient times (like 6:30 am when I’d rather be there).
Thursday, October 11
Ow, majorly sore from class! I tried running the lake to work out the kinks, but only wound up running about half and walking about half. My quads were a-burnin’! Maybe I shouldn’t add more weight for the next class after all. 3.12 miles, 39:40
Friday, October 12
Does shopping for new running shoes and exercise goodies count as training? No? Dang.
Saturday, October 13
Psyched to get out in my new shoes, I decided to switch it up a bit and head another direction for a morning run. The topography was certainly different, as the route had teensy hills (compared to the completely flat lake route), but the scenery wasn’t nearly as nice. Somehow, that didn’t occur to me until I was out and realized it was actually pretty ugly. Oh, well… it was a gorgeous cool, sunny morning, absolutely perfect for running. 3.75 miles, 35:24, 9:36 pace
Sunday, October 14
Rest. Though it was rainy in our neighborhood, we didn’t let that stop us from taking a whirlwind 7-hour-total trip to southern Vermont for pumpkins, hot cider, a corn maze (we cheated, but aren’t entirely sure there was an exit anyway), cider donuts, and gourds. The weather had cleared up enough in Manchester, Vermont that we had a great time leaf-peeping our touristy little hearts out! It was really great to spend the day together with no real agenda other than “Vermont for pumpkins.”
There’s nothing like travel to throw off your workout routines. Combine that with mayhem at work and you’ve got yourself quite the Perfect Storm of Laziness. All told, though, I did well this week trying to bounce back into my habits and prepare myself mentally and physically for the half marathon on Saturday. Let’s take a look!
Monday, October 1
Happy October! It’s one of my favorite months… so cozy. Plus, it’s the month we got engaged (3 years ago today!) and the month we got married (2 years ago on the 22nd!) so it’s full of mushy lovey-dovey-ness.
Anyway, I hit the road for a quick lap around the Lake after work, just hoping to keep things relaxed and loosen up my muscles. Imagine my surprise when my shins started hurting and my knee started flaring up… not cool! I wound up turning my relaxing run into a run/walk marked by panic and concern about my ability to complete 13.1 mostly pain-free miles in only a few days. Tried to shake it off as a bad run and move on. 3.12 miles, 36 minutes
Tuesday, October 2
Dan worked and I felt lazy in the morning, so I decided I’d do a track workout when I got home. Naturally, it was drizzly and miserable, but I sucked it up, changed, and left the house again before I could really think about it too much. I did the Women’s Running Boredom Buster workout, which goes something like this:
- 1/4 mile warm up
- 1/2 mile run
- 10 squats
- 20 jumping jacks
- 5 push-ups
- 25 crunches
- 10 lunges (5/side)
- repeat run through lunges 4 more times for 5 rounds total
- 1/4 mile cooldown
I tweaked it due to the rain and did incline push ups against a waist-height fence, plank toe taps for crunches, and reduced the 1/2 mile to 1/4 mile to protect my questionable legs. Definitely a good workout!
Wednesday, October 3
Off… didn’t want to overdo it.
Thursday, October 4
Blissful, wonderful, need-more-of-it yoga. The class at my gym is an hour of active vinyasa-style yoga and runs a little over into the next hour with savasana, corpse pose, the final resting position. I got a lot of good stretching in and pushed myself to the level I was most comfortable, but not like I normally would. I felt great after my practice, and got thinking about teacher training again.
Friday, October 5
Off. I carb-loaded for happy hour with friends and had some pasta and sauce and bread and beer. Early to bed, early to rise!
Saturday, October 6
I don’t know if you’ve heard, but I ran a half marathon! I was seriously sore immediately afterward, to the point where Dan was concerned about my ability to walk. Truth be told, I was concerned, too, but I knew if I kept moving I’d be ok eventually. I didn’t get to recover like I did when I did the half in training with coconut water, an ice bath, serious foam rollering, and a long nap– nope, we headed straight to our friends’ house and hung out with them until about 8 that night.
We had a blast, though, and it had been a while since we’d hung out. If you’re local, check out Moonlight Meadery in Londonderry, NH– they’re a tiny mead manufacturing operation, but they’re one of the biggest players in the country. The tour was great, and we loved tasting all the different types of mead. We picked up some Deviant (apple and ginger flavor) and Coffee in Bed (coffee flavor), but both loved batch #5 of their Utopian, which is aged in the same bourbon barrels as Sam Adams Utopias. I tried hinting that the $50-75 bottle was a good gift option. Hint, hint.
Sunday, October 7
Dan was an animal and played in an alumni soccer game, whereas I was content to walk with him to the field and try to stretch as much as possible while sitting in the stands. We ran a few errands, saw some family, and settled in for a nice evening of Patriots football and an early bedtime.
A little note
If you’ve been reading a while, you know I’m head-over-heels for my darling hubby, Dan. I’m also intensely proud of him and brag about him every chance I get. He’s one of the kindest, most generous, and most genuine people I know, and he’s committed to giving back wherever he can. This includes supporting his fellow brothers and sisters of the fire service in their times of need.
I may have mentioned it before, but Dan’s running the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon on the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Charitable Foundation team. His goal is to raise $1,500 to help support IAFF members and their families in times of need, promote fire and burn prevention, advocate for fire fighter health and safety, and provide public education on how to prevent and recover from traumatic events.
If you’re so inclined, would you consider donating? I try not to do this often, but it’s a cause near and dear to both of us, and any bit helps. I gave a flat donation and pledged $1 per mile of the race ($26.20) to make it a bit fun.
How was your week of training? Did you do anything fun this weekend? I’m jealous Amy made it to the Topsfield Fair before it closed!
I’m officially a half-marathoner! On Saturday (10/6), Dan and I both completed the Applefest Half Marathon in Hollis, NH.
It. Was. Hard.
I was nervous but excited on race morning– nervous because I hadn’t run much in the last 2+ weeks thanks to being all over the country, but excited knowing I’d already run the distance before so it was an achievable goal.
In all my reading about the course, I had learned it was hilly, but I wasn’t anywhere near prepared to actually run them. There were very few parts of the course that were actually flat, and the second half was uphill nearly the whole way. I cruised through miles 1-7, loving the scenery and soaking it all in. Mile 8 started the uphill struggle to the end. I walked a lot more than I’d hoped to and even had to employ “ski pole arms”* to help push myself up the hills more quickly.
*Ski pole arms means you pretend you’re holding ski poles in each of your hands while you’re walking/running. When the going gets tough, you imagine planting your pole into the ground and pushing yourself forward with your arms. Am I explaining this adequately? I think I sound like a crazy person. Trust me, though… it works. Handy little thing I picked up while hiking with the hubby, and I was definitely pleased that it translated to running.
Traffic wasn’t closed on much of the course, but it was a rural area so passing cars wasn’t a big concern. I just stayed over to the far right and was fine.
There were water stations every 2 miles, which was definitely a bonus. I saw a lot of people running with water bottles and belts and whatnot, and in hindsight I wish I’d brought mine, but for a cooler weekend every 2 miles works. The day was in the low-mid 70′s, so it was warmer than I’d anticipated. I took water for all it was worth, though, and tried to keep myself well-hydrated.
I have to say this was one of the best-organized races I’ve been to in a long time. There was zero traffic getting to the start area thanks to shuttle services from a remote parking location. In all pre-race communication and web postings, runners were warned to arrive early to catch the shuttles. It worked out really well! I wish more races did this.
Because of the satellite parking, the race also offered bag check, which worked out really well. We brought a few things in my gym bag, not knowing part of the race swag was a drawstring bag. This was a good thing, though, since our tag was on a more distinctive-looking bag than most. Also a nice race feature!
On the topic of race swag, I had spied another runner wearing a red long-sleeve mockneck tech shirt from last year’s race and was excited to get one this year. I was a little disappointed that the shirt was a gray long-sleeve cotton t-shirt and the drawstring bag, but only because I have more use for the tech shirt and already have more bags than I know what to do with. No real complaint, just an “aw, rats!”
The race medal is up there among the coolest ones I have, though, considering it’s also a BOTTLE OPENER! I’m definitely attaching a magnet to the back of mine and sticking it on the fridge. Love it!
I went back and forth as to whether or not I’d use gummies for this race, but in the end I decided to go with strawberry Chomps with caffeine. I should have taken them more often, as I went a little too long in between and crashed big-time between miles 8-9. I’m still figuring out how to actually use/take them, though, so it’s a work in progress.
I finished in 2:18:46 at a 10:36 pace, placing 508th overall and 38th in my age group!
Dan finished in 1:31:49 at a 7:01 pace, placing 25th overall and 5th in his age group! I’m so proud of him… he was gunning for a 1:30 finish and fought really hard to get there.
It’s safe to say that we both earned our medals and end-of-race apple crisp! We worked hard to get where we did and are both looking forward to performing even better in the future– and signing up for flatter races
My goal for the next half is to break 2:10. You heard it here first!
My age division had 66 women. There were only 32 men in the male age equivalent!
This week started with supreme laziness, morphed into super-motivation, then descended into debauchery. So it was great, obviously, except for that lazy beginning.
Monday, September 10
Felt really super lazy, but the weather was too gorgeous to pass up a nice long walk. Took a lap around the lake for 3.1 miles in 51 minutes, 16:30 pace.
Tuesday, September 11
Another attack of the lazies. Blame the lady biz. I baked Mum’s birthday cake and did a bit of yoga to stretch all my tight muscles. I need to find a good yoga video or series to do at home… the instructor makes all the difference!
Wednesday, September 12
Knowing I wouldn’t make it up in time for a morning workout and also knowing that I planned to run to and from work the following day, I opted to take my sneakers and a t-shirt to work and take a quick hill walk on my lunch break. I only get a half an hour, so I took to the hills near my office to get my heart pumping and my legs working. 1.6 miles in 24 minutes, 14:54 pace– serious hills!
Thursday, September 13
I ran my commute! Brought in shower supplies and a change of clothes on Wednesday so I just had to hit the road Thursday morning. While the run itself wasn’t great, I was really excited about actually doing it. I think I’ll map out another route to try that’s a little quieter and more scenic when I get back from vacation and a trade show. Just about 5 miles each way, 1:45 total, 10:26 pace.
Friday, September 14
Woke up a little early to get in a body-weight tabata workout in before heading to work then Vermont for the weekend. The one I found on YouTube was a great 20-minute workout that involved mountain climbers, reverse lunges, squats, side lunges, push ups, and push up toe-taps. I really enjoyed the workout overall and will definitely try to work more of these into my routine– my legs were dead until Monday! I also found a tabata timer app for my phone that times out 20 seconds of activity and 10 seconds of rest for 8 sets, so creating my own workouts will be a lot easier. Woohoo!
Saturday, September 15 & Sunday, September 16
This weekend was Dan’s 5th college reunion, so we were up in Vermont from Friday to Sunday. We were able to get 12 of his group together, probably the biggest bunch since they graduated! Dan went to a military college, so most of his friends have been deployed off and on for the past 5 years, meaning missing weddings and get-togethers and all the other fun stuff I take for granted with my college friends. It was so awesome to see everyone again and hang out like old times. We started floating around the idea of all of us going in on a mountain house so that we can do it more often, especially now that a lot of them are starting to get out of the military.
So exercise involved driving around VT, walking around campus a little bit, and drinking my face off. Can you call Kings and Catchphrase organized sports? Say yes.