Trying Not to Jinx Myself

Hi there!

So you may have noticed recently that I’ve been posting here a lot less lately. I haven’t been sharing all of the training and workout recaps the way I did leading up to Philly. It hasn’t been a time issue; my schedule’s been about the same lately.

Honestly, I haven’t been writing here because I’m still so afraid of jinxing myself when it comes to running. While the first half of 2017 started out well enough, the last half was a string of DNSs, PT and chiropractic appointments, and significant frustration (mixed in with some tears). I had never DNS’ed (Did Not Start) a race before this year. And then I had 3 in 2017 – the BAA 10k, the Baystate Half Marathon, and then the Philly Marathon (where I deferred to the half).

The BAA 10k was supposed to be more of a fun run anyway so I didn’t terribly mind sitting that one out even though it was a bit of an expensive race for a 10k. Ok fine, BAA just take my money. Baystate I had planned to use as a tune-up for Philly. I had run PRs on that course in the past, it’s a local race with some beautiful fall scenery and I  generally love that race. While I could maybe have run it, I decided not to risk it with my iffy hamstring.

Baystate Marathon 2015Baystate 2015 – good memories from that race alongside my mom.

I was a little more sad to sit that one out than I had been for the 10k. Not being able to run the Philly Marathon was hands-down the biggest disappointment of the year and probably of my whole running career. I had built that race up SO MUCH in my head for months and months and to have it turn out the way it did (well, didn’t I guess) was awful.

So in a lot of ways I’ve been trying to protect myself against that with Hyannis. No countdown watch face this time around. No training recaps.

There is even a tune-up race the end of this month that I’m thinking of doing but I still haven’t registered (so unlike me) because I’m still so nervous that something will go wrong. I haven’t booked a hotel near the the race start because I’m terrified that the weather will be horrendous and that will be more money  down the drain (it’s also a doable drive so I’m not being too stupid there). I’ve become injury-paranoid. Every twinge I feel in my legs during a run becomes a point of hyper-focus. I’ve been gobbling down so many anti-inflammatories I’ve probably become fire-resistant from the inside out.

So far, my training has been good. Not great, but the hard work is really only just now beginning to kick in. And as you can see, my mental game is…questionable. I’m trying to just take it week by week and not overly stress about the race. That has manifested into a total lack of blog posts. Hopefully my confidence will return soon and I’ll be able to share a little more here, but I’m not putting pressure on myself for the timebeing.

Come on 2018, don’t let me down.

 


The 2015 Baystate Marathon and Half Marathon

Well, we did it!

Baystate Marathon and Half MarathonWe can cross off Marathon #2 (for my mom) and Half Marathon #12 (for me)!

The weather leading up to this race sure kept us guessing. For the most part, we had been having a nice extended summer here in New England. We had trained through the summer heat, and weren’t expecting that kind of warmth for raceday, but we also weren’t expecting the FIRST FREEZE OF THE SEASON. Yeah, that made things interesting.

PRE-RACE:

After waking up bright and early (5 AM – not too bad as far as early morning races go!), my mom and I fueled with our customary bagel with almond butter/raspberry jam and then headed out to make the short drive to the Tsongas Arena in Lowell, where the race was going to begin. But first, my mom had to scrape the ice off the windshield.

Ice GIFUgh. It’s too early for this winter crap!!

Luckily, we had no problem finding a parking garage once we got to Lowell, and then making the short walk to the Tsongas Arena which was packed to the brim with runners. It was awesome that they opened it up to us – we were able to use REAL restrooms and stay out of the cold until the very last minute.

2015 Baystate Marathon and Half MarathonThe whole time we were sitting inside, I was second guessing my clothes decision. I had worn capris, a shortsleeve Under Armour shirt, with a longsleeve tech shirt over it. I had a fleece on as a jacket, but I had planned on checking it with my bag. The 30 degree temperatures had me seriously struggling with that, though I finally forced myself to part with it, knowing that I would warm up quickly once I started running. My mom and I tried to keep each other calm and happy, and we devised a plan for me to call my mom when she would be around mile 20 for a quick encouraging pep talk before she would be heading into the last 10k.

Baystate 2015 Marathon

THE RACE:

Finally, it was time to run! My mom and I split ways, as I went and lined up with the other half marathoners. It was a self-seeded start for the half, and for the first time in a half marathon, I lined myself up right near the front of the 8:00 min/mile group.

2015 Baystate Half Marathon and MarathonMy A-goal was to break 1:50 for the first time. My previous PR was 1:53, but one of my coworkers had encouraged me, saying she thought I could definitely run a 1:49 (which comes to 8:19/mile). I wasn’t so sure, but I figured that with 11 other half marathons under my belt, I could try to run an aggressive pace from the start, and if I crashed at the end, then so be it. I figured that the worst that could happen would be that it would turn into a lesson learned.

The National Anthem played and we were off! For the first 3 miles or so, my legs felt TIGHT. I rarely have issues with shin splints, but my shins were aching through the first few miles. I would start to worry about my shins (I’ve never had shin splints! Why is this happening? Are my legs going to be like this the whole race??), but then I would catch myself and remember that I was still warming up.

Mile 1 – 8:17 ♦ Mile 2 – 8:16 ♦ Mile 3 – 8:11

I was a little nervous when I saw my first splits coming up all a little bit faster than my goal pace. I knew that I felt good, but I was very aware that I had another 10 miles to run, and I had never held this pace for that distance before.

Baystate Half Marathon and Marathon 2015I didn’t take many pictures during this race since I was focusing on running fast, but I did snap a couple before stashing my phone back in my Fitletic.

BayState Half Marathon and MarathonDespite being on the chilly side, it was a beautiful day to run. My mom and I have done mostly summer half marathons, so it felt nice to be running past the beautiful fall foliage for once.

The Baystate Marathon and Half MarathonI took this picture after finishing, but we got to run over this bridge twice!

The course only had a few minor hills on it, and every time we hit one, I tried to think back to the hill workouts I had done with my mom over the summer. The wind was beginning to really pick up, which only made things colder, but I tried to focus on enjoying the race.

Mile 4 – 8:16 ♦ Mile 5 – 8:19 ♦ Mile 6 – 8:17

By this point, I felt committed to running a 1:49. I was excited by the splits I was running and I finally felt warmed up. I felt strong. The course was a double loop, so around mile 6.5 or so I passed the finish area and could hear the announcer reading off people’s names. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel demoralized at all to still have over 6 miles to run. I was still feeling pretty good, and I was hoping that my mom was feeling just as strong wherever she was in the marathon.

Mile 7 – 8:18 ♦ Mile 8 – 8:19 ♦ Mile 9 – 8:21

Just after mile 9, I passed the speediest of the marathoners going in the opposite direction across one of the bridges the course took us over. They were all looking strong, and the crowd support right at that area was awesome, with people cheering for both marathoners and half marathoners. Most of the course was lacking in spectators (not too surprising given how cold it was), so it was an awesome mental boost as I headed into the final 5K.

Right around this time, I caught up to another woman, who was running just a little bit faster than I had been for the previous miles. I could feel that I still had gas in the tank, so I started pacing myself a few steps behind her. We were perfectly matched and passed a lot of runners who were beginning to struggle.

Mile 10 – 8:09 ♦ Mile 11 – 8:05 ♦ Mile 12 – 7:54

I was so excited to be near the end of this race, and I was thrilled with my splits. I wasn’t crashing and burning! I was actually getting faster! With one mile to go, I could hear the announcer again, and me and the other woman began to sort of race each other – it was awesome having her there to push me to run my absolute hardest going into the finish.

Mile 13 – 7:50. My fastest mile of the race.

As I crossed the finish line, I was ecstatic to read the clock – 1:48. Not only did I achieve my A-goal, I actually beat it!! After all my worrying about my training leading into this race (between traveling for work and moving into my new apartment, my running in the last 2 weeks leading into the race had not been stellar), I still managed to accomplish my goal. My average pace came out to 8:16/mile, which I’m still slightly shocked about! Between this race and the 5k series this summer, I’m finally beginning to feel like a fast runner.

After finishing, I quickly reclaimed by checked bag and immediately started adding layers – sweatpants, a sweatshirt, and a fleece on top of that. I knew I was going to cool down fast and I still had a lot of time to kill before my mom would be finishing. The post-race food was good, although I wish they had had more hot options – they had cold sodas, bananas, chips, PB&J’s, and hot soup. I had the chicken noodle soup which totally hit the spot.

While I waited for my mom, I made a quick walk to Dunkin Donuts and got a hot chocolate (<- Best decision ever!) and then I set myself up at a good spot near the finish.

Baystate Marathon and Half MarathonIt was honestly so inspiring watching the runners come into the finish of their marathon. I saw so many fly into the finish, with huge smiles on their faces (This is a big race for people looking to qualify for Boston, so that might have had something to do with it.) BQ or not, a marathon is such a huge accomplishment, and I felt weirdly emotional thinking of how proud I was of my mom, out there running her second marathon. Especially when I think back to the days when she told me she would NEVER run a marathon! Oh, how things have changed!

2015 Baystate MarathonSpectators lined up along the last 100 yards leading into the finish. This was where I watched for my mom!

At 11:30, I called my mom as promised. She had already passed mile 20, so clearly she was cruising! She sounded a little out-of-breath – understandable, given that she was still running. 🙂 I told her she was doing awesome (which I actually knew for a fact, since I had signed up to receive alerts on her progress along the course). She was excited to hear that I had broken 1:50, and after wishing her luck again, we said our goodbyes.

Just about an hour later….

Baystate Marathon 2015

Woo! And guess who also achieved their A-goal (and beat their previous marathon time by approximately 30 minutes)? ^SHE DID! Final time: 4:26. 🙂

Baystate MarathonPepsi – my mom’s newest endorsement deal. 😉

Baystate Marathon 2015We headed home soon after she finished, happy to be getting out of the cold finally. Back home, my dad had pumpkin waffles and fresh coffee waiting for us, an absolutely perfect end to the morning.

My mom and I are so thrilled with how the weekend went. Both marathon and half marathon were extremely well-organized, and we both ran fantastic. Of course, my mom will have to fill you all in on how her race went in more detail! I’ll start bugging her to write a post. 🙂

Thanks again to all our friends and family who wished us luck, offered training advice or a sympathetic comment on this blog, or congratulated us on Instagram this weekend. You guys make writing this blog the most fun thing ever.


Labor Day Weekend Training Recap

Happy Labor Day!

I hope you’re all enjoying the day off – I know I am!

Good Times Summer Series 5kSome Final Thoughts on the Good Times Summer Series:

I could not be happier about how this series went. Obviously, I was stoked to get first in my age group for the series, but that was just the cherry on top of a whole bunch of 5k PRs (I think 3 to be exact). I believe I mentioned in a post here on the blog before the series started that I was hoping to carve down my 5k time a little bit over the summer, but I really did not expect that to be by as much as 30 SECONDS. Even more exciting to me is that my new PR is 23:01 – right on the edge of breaking 23 minutes. When I first started running 5ks, I was NOWHERE near this time and I never would have thought I would be able to realistically think about breaking 23 minutes (much less do it!). Again, this is just one of the reasons I love running. It’s the best feeling in the world to be able to measure my progress in running over the years down to the second. 

So with that in mind, my goal is to keep the positive momentum moving forward, even though the Good Times Summer Series has now come to an end! Now, my focus is on the Baystate Half Marathon on October 18th. It’s a nice, flat course and very local for my mom and I, so it should be the perfect opportunity to try for another half marathon PR.

With that goal in mind, I challenged myself with some tough runs this weekend. Saturday, I decided to try out a 60-minute tempo run, aiming for a sub-9 minute pace. I really wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do this for a whole hour, especially since my legs were a little sore from a strength training workout the day before. After I ended up doing my warm-up mile at 8:49/mile kind of by accident (I had figured I would take the first mile slow to warm up), I decided I had to really give it a shot. And I did it!! I only had one mile that wasn’t at a sub-9 pace, and it was when I was on this little trail section that I had to slow down on to make sure I didn’t trip over a rock, and even then, my pace for that mile was still 9:01, so close enough. 🙂 I ended up covering 6.89 miles at an average of 8:43/mile.

Sunday, I joined my mom for a section of her 20-miler. We drove to a nearby rail trail, since we thought a little variety would help the miles go by faster.

2 Generations RunningWe got a bit of a late start, and didn’t end up running until 9:45 or so – not the best idea when the forecast for the day was a high of 88 degrees. Whoops. Despite the heat, we managed to have a pretty solid run. I had originally thought I would just do 10 miles, but then I was feeling pretty good and figured I would try to keep my mom company as long as possible, so I ended up doing 13. After I finished, I walked to a nearby cafe where I waited for my mom to finish up before we got some delicious breakfast sandwiches to refuel. 🙂

2 Generations RunningAfter 13 miles, I was RAVENOUS and ate this in about 90 seconds.

The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing, cooking, and catching up on some blog reading for me. Not super exciting, but just the kind of chill weekend I needed. 🙂

How has your weekend been? Are you doing anything special for Labor Day?