I did it!!!

Yesterday was the Boston Marathon. This was my second consecutive Boston Marathon. It rained from Hopkinton to Boston and 1,500 runners got hypothermia. However, I ended up getting a personal record of 5:41:00! My last years Hartford Marathon time was 5:48:30 and my last years Boston Marathon time was 5:55:30! I rocked this marathon. I ran from Hopkinton to Boston was another DFMC teammate and some of the finish line photos are below. This was the best marathon I ever ran!

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BAA5K

Today I ran the BAA5K with a few DFMC teammates. I had a wonderful time and the weather was gorgeous. I dedicated this race to a former DFMC runner. She has a special place in my heart. The Boston Marathon is on Monday and I feel ready! I cannot wait to take on from Hopkinton to Boston for a second time! I am ready!

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Former DFMC friend who I dedicated the BAA5K in honor of.

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Group of DFMC runners running the BAA5K.

5 days to go…

This morning I went to the gym and then did a half an hour on the arc trainer. I did this because I want to keep my legs loose. Also, this morning I have a physical therapy appointment and my therapist will be stretching my feet, toes, and legs out for the big day. Only 5 days to go!

What does it take to run the Boston Marathon?

The basics:

The basics of the course are pretty well known. 26.2 miles. One of the world’s oldest annual marathons. Part of the yearly Patriots’ Day celebration in Boston, which draws as many as 500,000 spectators each year.

The course ends in the heart of Boston, but encompasses a number of small cities and towns outside Boston proper such as Natick, Newton, Framingham, and Brookline.

The route:

The route itself can be particularly deceptive. It starts with a long stretch of downhill running, which can lull a runner into a sense of complacency—you know, as much as marathoners can be complacent about anything—or entice them to run faster than they should.

Heartbreak Hill:

One of the Boston Marathon’s signature challenges is the final of the four Newton hills. Heartbreak Hill gets its name in part from the fact that it’s situated near the end of the marathon’s 20th mile, just when runners are hitting the proverbial wall.

From there, the course wends into way into Boston. Marathoners are greeted for their final mile by Boston Red Sox fans who walk/stagger from a home game at Fenway Park that is scheduled for the late morning each year on Patriots’ Day.

The marathon finishes with a stretch down Boylston Street and ends, with great ceremony, just short of Copley Square near the Boston Public Library.

6 days to go…

Today I went to the gym and did an hour on the arc trainer. I went to the gym today since I will not have that much time tomorrow to be on the arc trainer before physical therapy. My therapist gave me new exercises so I can stretch out my IT band and legs to get ready for Monday’s race. Only 6 days to go!

Here are some key tips I will be thinking about during and after the race:

1. Listen to your body.
One of the biggest warnings is not to increase your mileage too quickly. But if the goal is to get to 26.2, you might very well find yourself pushing against that standard advice. The key is to pay attention to your body as you determine if you should be running through pain.

2. Realize it’s going to hurt.
Whether you’re racing hard or run/walking, your body is going to feel it. I have come to expect discomfort, soreness and pain. It’s not always easy to know what you can keep running through.

3. Practice fueling.
It’s one thing to practice fueling that works. But what if you don’t know what works for your body? Gatorade, will be on the course, i’ve been drinking it on long runs and my stomach has been good. I will be also eating GU chomps for salt and sugar in take. Those of us with longer race times need to be able to fuel throughout the race to keep going.

4. Be flexible.
With limited time for training during the week and long runs on the weekends, it’s tough not to want to run more and more and more. And I’ve definitely found that the more I run, the more I want to run.  But to keep all the nagging little things from turning into marathon-stopping big things, I’ve been as committed to recovery as I’ve been to running. Exercises have been my friend to help with my IT band, achilies tendinitis, and arthritis.

5. Run with a smile.
The first time I trained and ran a half marathon, I felt as if that was the perfect distance to feel good while running. It’s as if my body needed to find a groove and the longer mileage helped me get there. I still don’t know how my body will react to my third 26.2— but i’m excited. Either way, I want to enjoy it. I’m running Boston to have fun and raise money for cancer research. I’ve chosen to do this, I’m calling the shots, I’m going somewhere, so I’m doing it with a smile.

Last group run and Paint Nite

Yesterday morning I ran 3.20 miles with the DFMC team. It was the last group run of the season and everyone was in high spirits since the marathon is only 8 days away! This week I ran 31.7 miles in total and since next Saturday I am running the BAA5K and the marathon I wanted to dial my running back a bit.

Last night was my Paint Nite fundraiser in Hartford, CT. It was postponed from March 21st. It was a sold out event with raffles! The fundraiser raised about $2,000. Below, are some pictures from the event.

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10 days to go…

Today I went to the gym and did 7.8 miles on the arc trainer this morning. I did less miles this morning since I will be running again tomorrow at the group run.

My body feels ready to run – actually I feel perfect. Last night, I treated myself to a full body deep tissue message. The message therapist messaged all my sore areas from head to toe. I had the same message before I ran the Hartford Marathon last October and I ran 8 minutes faster than my Boston Marathon time. Let’s hope this Boston Marathon brings me good weather and a personal record!

Today is only 10 days to go! This only means one thing – the final countdown.

Since its close to it lets start the seven-day race day countdown:

7. Monday: One week before their marathon, most runners do a final long run, though it need not, and should not, be too long. Runners following an 18-week programs go 8 miles at the end of Week 17. That distance takes most of them about an hour, which seems about right. Enough miles to work up a good sweat; not so many miles that they exhaust themselves too close to the race. I plan on doing least 3 miles on Saturday’s run.

6. Tuesday: You don’t need much in the way of Rest & Recovery after the few miles you ran on Saturday, but ease back anyway. This is a good day on which to reflect on all the miles you ran the previous months in practice. These are the miles that prepared you to perform. You don’t want to do anything this week that will threaten that performance.

5. Wednesday: Time to get your running shoes back on, but only for a few miles. A half hour’s worth of running should be enough to ease some of your worries about the weekend to come. About those shoes: I hope you haven’t waited until the last minute to purchase a pair to use in the race. Use the easy runs this week to test those shoes, their fit, their feel. I plan on being on the arc trainer and doing 5.2 miles on this day.

4.Thursday: Just because you’re cutting back on the miles during this pre-marathon week, don’t necessarily cut back on the pace. In this last week of tapering,  it is recommended that runners reduce the quantity or their workouts, but not the quality. Run at the same pace you used on previous Wednesdays when I schedule sorta-long runs; just don’t run as far. This will be my rest day since I did my run yesterday.

3. Friday: An optional day to run short or not run at all. With the end almost in sight, consider your nutritional needs: not your last meal on Saturday, but your last three nighttime meals on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Your final carbo-loading should begin today. You don’t need pasta to carbo-load. Think rice, potatoes and other carbohydrate-rich vegetables for the final food countdown.

2. Saturday: Boston Marathon Expo day and BAA5K! Today is a day of rest.

1. Sunday:  I plan on take a nap mid-afternoon since I will be up early on Monday, and I will get to bed early. Almost everybody chooses the pasta option the night before, but consider a final carbo-snack to help maintain the glycogen levels before you climb under the sheets. I plan on doing both of these food options which will be served at the Dana-Farber pasta party which entails about 1000 guests, guest speakers, pasta, bread, drinks, and dessert.

0. Marathon Day (Monday): Have the race of your life. Personal record here I come!

- 1. Tuesday: Yes, it is okay to wear your marathon medal to work today, or the next day if you took an extra day off to return home. Particularly if your co-workers or friends contributed to a charity in your name, they will want to hear if they got value for their investment. No, they don’t care about your time; they just want to know that you finished. No running today. Take three days off.

-2. Wednesday: No running! Today’s a good day for a massage. (Schedule one before the marathon.) Although getting a quick rubdown at the finish-line massage tent may have felt good, a massage 24 to 48 hours after the marathon works best. If you have any post-race blisters, or foot problems, have a podiatrist treat them. I have scheduled a physical therapy appointment on Tuesday and I will have a message directly after I finish the race so I should be all set.

-3. Thursday: No running! And don’t substitute cross-training in a mistaken belief that it will help you maintain fitness. You may be able to swim or cycle more easily than run, because you’ll be using somewhat different muscles, but you still need rest-rest-rest to allow all your muscles to recover. Starting to train too soon can delay that recovery. You earned this period of rest. Take it!

-4. Friday: Okay, you’re cleared to run! I plan to see how your body feels to see how far I will run.

-5. Saturday: I plan on stretching on this day.

-6. Sunday: By now, most of the muscle soreness should be gone. You’re probably ready to resume your regular training routine, but don’t rush things. I plan on taking today off entirely.

-7. Monday: Quite often marathoners who did their long runs together in the months leading up to a marathon like to get together to rehash how they did. So call your friends and schedule a run of about an hour, 6 to 8 miles max. But don’t get competitive and push the pace too hard. Your body may feel better again, but it’s still in recovery mode. Which if I don’t go to the gym I will do this.

12 days to go…

Today I went to the gym and did 10.4 miles on the arc trainer. This took me two hours to accomplish. After the gym, I went to physical therapy and Chris stretched my legs out and messaged both of my feet and achilies tendon. Since I started going to physical therapy my arthritis has been under control and its been wonderful. I realized the only thing that causes the arthritis to flare up on the tops of my feet is barometric pressure and rain. I hope for a clear and sunny day on race day!

I am at 12 days to go until race day! Training wise I did 10.4 miles on Monday and 10.4 miles today. What this means for the rest of the week is on Friday I will do less mileage since I am running on Saturday at the last group run of the season. I plan on running 7.8 miles on Friday on the arc trainer then at the group run since the course is hilly I will do three easy miles. This will bring me to a total of 31.6 miles for the week. The maximum amount of mileage for the week on our training plan is 31 miles. This means I am in good shape. Next week I plan on doing less mileage since its race week and I have the 5K race on Saturday before the marathon.

Here is more information about tapering:

During week two of your taper, you’ll reduce your mileage an additional 20 to 25 percent, which gives you plenty of free time to fret. Some runners tend to doubt their ability to finish their goal race during this time period but looking back at your training log can give you confidence in how far you’ve come in your training.

Reduce each of your weekly runs by an additional 20 to 25 percent. Run everything easy. If you’re targeting a time goal, do the following key workout during one of your longer midweek runs. Warm up for 10 to 15 minutes, then run one mile at 30 seconds faster than marathon race pace, followed by one mile at 30 seconds slower than race pace. Repeat two to four times. Rest two days.

Two weeks to go until the big dance

Tonight is the big dance for NCAA basketball championship and in two weeks it will be my big dance for the Boston Marathon. Today I went to the gym and did 10.4 miles on the arc trainer. After the gym I went to physical therapy and Chris stretched my legs out, messaged my achilles on both of my feet, and messaged both of my big toes to provide me with more range of motion so when I run I can push off the tips of my toes. Also, he gave me new band exercises so I can stretch out my IT band and achillies when I am at home. The stretch he gave me last week helped a ton.

The last few weeks before the marathon are important and there are some things that runners should do before the big dance:

Runners train long and hard to prepare for a marathon, but in the weeks before a race they start making changes to their schedule. Training hard up to the day of a marathon will leave you weak and tired going into the race so most runners begin tapering down their training approximately two weeks before race day. This involves not just reducing training time but may include dietary changes and other schedule alterations as well.

Training

Decrease both the distance and intensity of your training runs in the two weeks before your marathon. A reduction of about 20 percent per week gives your body time to rest and heal without you having to stop your training completely. Strength training and cross training exercises should be reduced in intensity as well as interval training, hill training and other training runs. Reduction is preferable to simply stopping training since it prevents your body from becoming used to inactivity prior to a marathon.

Long Runs

As with strength training and other training regimens, the distance of your long runs is tapered down to allow your body to rest and recover leading up to the marathon race. Tapering of the long run should include a 10 to 20 percent reduction in distance both two weeks and one week before the marathon. You should eliminate a long run entirely on the week of the race, allowing the marathon itself to serve as your long run for the week.

Nutrition

Proper nutrition is essential in the two weeks leading up to a marathon but doesn’t have to include carb loading the whole time. Carbohydrates should be eaten within the first 30 minutes after completing a training run, and in the three days before your marathon you should shift your diet so that you get approximately 70 percent of your daily calories from carbohydrates. Research published in “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise” shows that exercise followed by carbohydrate intake can significantly increase glycogen levels in the muscles within 24 hours, resulting in more energy being available to you the next day. Be sure to watch your caloric intake when shifting to a high-carbohydrate diet in the days before your marathon, however; if your caloric intake increases during your tapering period you may end up gaining weight.

Rest

To be at your best on race day it’s important that you get sufficient rest during your tapering period. This is especially important in the week before your marathon as rest helps your body to recover from the stress that your ongoing training places on it. Getting sufficient sleep the night before a marathon is also vital to your performance as it ensures that you aren’t tired or fatigued at the beginning of the race.

Recovery

After completing your marathon it’s important that you don’t try to resume your pre-marathon training levels right away. Marathons are hard on the body so you should take at least one week to recover after your event. Rehydrate your body with water and sports drinks that contain electrolytes as well which replenish essential salts you lost during the race. Abstain from exercise for at least two or three days after your marathon, then begin resuming your exercise routine with light exercise for several days after that. Don’t resume your full training routine until all muscle soreness and fatigue have faded, increasing distances and intensity gradually over one to two weeks so that you don’t push yourself too hard to get back into training.

Taper mode with a BAA5K dedication speech

Today is 16 days until the Boston Marathon! I am in full taper mode and I am putting in 10.4 miles on the arc trainer at the gym. Next weekend is my last group run before the marathon and my Paint Nite fundraiser event in Hartford, CT. I am feeling great and nothing will stop me now!

Two days before the marathon I am running the BAA 5K. It is one of three races of the BAA Medley. The other races are a BAA10K in June and Half Marathon in October.

The BAA5K will be another special race for me besides the marathon because I will be running it with a few current DFMC teammates and a former DFMC teammate. One of these individuals has been battling thymic carcinoma since last year’s Boston Marathon and has undergo multiple chemo treatments. She has an amazing outlook on life and she will never give up. Last year she ran 6 miles of the marathon while undergoing chemo and this year she will be running the BAA5K and I will run it with her. She has been an inspiration to me and others and always has a smile on her face when things get tough and provides inspiring words to everyone around her. I will be dedicating my BAA5K run to her and will be adding a cancer ribbon with her name on it to the back of my singlet in her honor for the marathon. Thank you for always having a positive outlook on life and your words of encouragement have been helping me persevere when times get tough during my training. Love you!

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