Phew, 7 weeks until the Boston Marathon! Can you believe it? I remember when I was counting down 7 months in October.
I had some exciting highlights this week, both with reaching a fundraising milestone and a training milestone.
Last week I reached just over $5,500 in donations for the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge. That means that I am just shy of $1,000 of my personal fundraising goal of $6,500. Although Dana-Farber is encouraging runners to try to reach $8,700, I am really thankful for all the donations I have received thus far. THANK YOU!!! As a small thank you of appreciation, I promised that I would raffle off a “thank you” gift to one of my donors when I reached this fundraising milestone of $5,500. I typed up all the names (all 68 names of my donors) and had someone I work with select a name randomly out of a box. My friend, Elyse Boyle won! I would have been happy if any of my donors won, but it was nice surprise and a bit ironic that Elyse won the raffle because she was one of my reasons to why I was inspired to run for Dana-Farber. Elyse ran for Dana-Farber a couple of years ago in honor of her mother who battled and is a survivor of breast cancer. I remember how much it meant to me that she wore my grandmother’s name on the back of her marathon jersey, so in a similar manner, I borrowed her idea of wearing my donors’ loved ones’ names on the back of my Dana-Farber Marathon Jersey. Elyse won a cute Nike Running Shirt, which I will be giving her as soon as I get it mailed to me. Thank you to not only Elyse, but to all my donors. Going forward, for every $250 I receive in donations I will be raffling off a small gift to one of my donors as a thank you for your support. My next milestone fundraising goal is $5,750 (currently $159.80 away!)
In terms of training, I took it light this week. Not only because I ran the 18 mile run last Sunday and needed a rest, but also because I ran the Hyannis Half Marathon yesterday and wanted to taper my miles to lead up to it. So there isn’t much to update other than the race, but here it is:
Monday – 20 minutes arc trainer and 45 minutes cross train (weights, stretching). Went to the chiropractor to get my ankle/hip worked on.
Tuesday - Speed workout at Tufts University. We did 12 – 600 meter sprints (about 5k pace) with 200 meter recovery jogs in between. With warm up and cool down, we ran about 7 miles. The workout seemed to go by pretty fast. We ran each 600 meter in about 2 minutes 24 seconds, which stayed pretty consistent throughout the entire workout. The goal of the speed workouts is to stay consistent with time through each repetition and actually go faster as you do them. I finally met my fellow blogging friend Patrick (I wrote about his 25 mile website a few posts ago and the shirts he is selling- check it out). It helped because Patrick ran with me (since I brought a timer watch) and he pushed me to run faster than I probably would have run if I was doing the workout by myself. He is a faster runner than I am so it helped me push myself. I was definitely tired, but felt good. Thanks Patrick if you’re reading this!
Thursday- REST. Went to the Chiropractor again. The chiropractor agreed that my leg is getting better and I can start spreading out my visits every 2 weeks! Good news!
Saturday – It would have definitely been more appropriate to workout on Friday and then have a rest day the day before my half marathon, but I was feeling pretty disgusted with myself for not having worked out three days in a row, so I went to the gym for a small workout session. 30 minutes hard on the arc trainer and 30 minutes stretching.
Sunday - I ran the Hyannis Half Marathon (13.1 miles) Race. This was a milestone for me because it was my third half marathon and a personal best time for me. I remember how much I struggled after my first half marathon and how much I’ve progressed since then. It feels great to see how all this training has paid off.
I really enjoyed this half marathon because I ran it with 2 of my good cross-country friends from high school. Because of running, we’ve actually reunited after 5 years of having lost connection (because we all went to different colleges). We all ran another half marathon together in May (Boston’s Run to Remember). We email each other every now and then and grab dinner or see if we are around for other races. It was a bit ironic because I emailed my friends, Jess and Allison, back in November or December to see if they’d be interested in running Hyannis since I just signed up for it. Both emailed me back and said they had already signed up for it too. We all had signed up for the race on our own – we felt it was destiny that we were meant to run the race together!
The race was about 1 hr 45 minutes away from where we live, so we drove down together. I’ve heard this race can be a hit or miss with the weather (end of February in New England). Last year the race was in snow and rain…yikes! We were really lucky with a nice sunny day (with some head winds). I saw many other people I knew running the race, which was surprising because there were over 5,000 runners who were also signed up for either the half marathon or marathon.
The half marathon course was very pretty, we ran by the ocean at least on 2 occasions that I can remember. There were a decent amount of spectators that were cheering us along, which was really encouraging. Now I can only imagine that number of spectators in Boston! There were a few small gradual hills, but also a decent amount of downhills. After running the Derry Prep 16 miler, I honestly feel that any other hills can’t even compare; so smaller gradual hills seem like a piece of cake. I highly recommend others to run the Derry Prep in preparation for the Boston Marathon. I also remember playing the same song over and over at least 10 times on my iPod. The night before I downloaded some new music on my iPod and was pumped to hear one song in particular (Flo-Rida, “Wild Ones” remix). I had to admit, I don’t have the best taste in music when it comes to what I will listen to when I am running – I need a very upbeat songs (techno, hip-hop, pop).
My intention wasn’t necessarily to have a personal best at this course, because I was trying to use it more as a training run. In my mind, I would have loved to break my previous best 1/2 marathon time of 1 hour 45 minutes 9 seconds, however I really wanted to finish under 2 hours. For me, it is really challenging not to compare yourself to a run you’ve done in the past that is the same distance run. I think that is why, for runners, we often compete against ourselves, not necessarily others. We like to make personal records for ourselves. That is the great thing about running – it is meeting your own expectations, not others. I had some goal times written on a piece of tape that I stuck to my watch, which laid out a 3, 6, 9, and 12 mile goal times. I noticed when I went out, I probably went out too fast since the watch time as I crossed mile 3 was 3 minutes quicker than what I had written down. I was feeling pretty good and told myself I’d keep going and see how I felt. I definitely was feeling a bit tired by mile 9…when I reached mile 10 I kept telling myself, “Only a 5k left, you can do it.” By the time I saw mile 12, I was ready for the race to be done. I know I pushed myself with my pace a little more than what was reasonably comfortable. I finished in 1 hour 41 minutes 26 seconds (or 7:45 min per mile pace). A personal best for me.
To note for future longer runs, I still have to focus on not going out too fast. I did it again during this half because I got caught up with the crowd. I have another training run this weekend where I really need to practice this with. While I can go out faster for my 1/2 marathon time, I know I won’t necessarily have enough steam to run this pace for a 20 mile run.
During this half marathon, I experimented a bit with my eating/drinking. I think what helped me most was that I stopped at nearly every water stop and chugged down some Gatorade (not water). While I drank, I would quickly walk as I finished the cup, then proceed back to running. I realized stopping and recovering for 15 seconds was better than not being hydrated. I also didn’t have any GU during my run, but felt fine. I read an article last week that Jack Fultz posted on the runners’ community board that actually pointed out if we eat right, we don’t really need to eat that much during our run. I remember my dad also telling me he didn’t need to eat anything while he ran his marathons. Check out the article, interesting: (http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/20/workouts-may-not-be-the-best-time-for-a-snack/?ref=health). I have another long run this upcoming week, so I will experiment again with this. Since the run is longer, I might have to take a gu packet this time.
One of the best things about running longer races is that we get treat ourselves to a nice brunch after. Allison, Jess, Liz, and I went out to eat down the street before heading home for the long drive back. It was a great way to end this day.
Here is a picture that we took right before the race (I’m in the middle, with my two cross-country friends on either side of me).