What a Trip!

Hello hello and happy Friday!

We made it to the end of another week. The weather’s looking like it’s going to be gorgeous (hello 60 degree temps!) and I am just pumped for this weekend! Plus, I’m running the Homes for Our Troops 5k and a race always puts me in a good mood.

Today, I’m finally hopping back in the swing of the Friday 5 Link-up! You know the drill – every week, Courtney of Eat Pray Run DC, Mar of Mar on the Run, and Cynthia of You Signed Up For What? pick a topic, and this week’s topic is 5 trips you’ve taken! There’s nothing like reliving some of those good, old vacation memories (besides actually taking a vacation), so here we go!

Friday 5 Link-Up1. Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone National Park.I was lucky enough to get to travel to Yellowstone while in high school as part of a school trip. It was honestly the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen, and I have about a thousand photos saved from that trip that prove it. I recently discovered that you can now run a half marathon through Yellowstone through Vacation Races! HOW FREAKING COOL IS THAT?! I think this might just have to be our race for when my mom and I are looking to cross off Wyoming from our 50 states goal. 🙂 Of course, we’ll have to watch out for buffalo.

Yellowstone National Park | 2 Generations Running

2. Waitsfield, VT. Fun fact – I ran the “World’s Most Beautiful Marathon” (well, the half marathon at least).

The World's Most Beautiful Marathon - the Mad Marathon | 2 Generations RunningIt really was beautiful, and the food was TO DIE FOR! Not to mention, we were only about 25 minutes away from the Ben and Jerry’s Factory, so we were forced to fuel for our half marathon with ice cream. Now if only Vermont could flatten out all those pesky hills that kept popping up all over the race course. 😉

3. Booth Bay Harbor, ME. Despite it raining EVERY SINGLE DAY of this 3-day trip, my mom and I still had a blast.

Boothbay Harbor, ME | 2 Generations RunningWe kayaked (in the rain), ate some FANTASTIC food again (Hello raspberry ricotta French toast!), and explored some gorgeous gardens (in the rain again).

4.  Boston, MA for the Heartbreak Hill Half. Obviously this one wasn’t very far away as far as trips go, but we did stay overnight and it was a completely running-filled weekend and it WAS AWESOME. Seriously, if you haven’t run a race put on by Runner’s World, DO IT. These folks know what runners want. 🙂

Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon, Runner's World | 2 Generations Running5. Geneseo, NY. Ok, college might not technically count as a “trip I’ve taken”. But I love my college town  and I miss it, so it’s going on this list!

Geneseo, NYYeah, the winters can be rough, but upstate NY sure has some beautiful moments. And I can’t wait to go back in May. 🙂

So there you go! What are some trips you’ve taken that stand out in your memory (for good or bad reasons!)? Do you have any trips on the horizon?

 

 


Heartbreak Hill Half Part II

Do you need to catch up on Part I? Read it here.

On race morning, my mom and I got up at 5:50. Neither of us slept well the night before, as somehow our room ended up being even colder than it was the night before! My mom had covered herself with a towel and her jean jacket as makeshift blankets, but I don’t think they were all that insulating.

Luckily, we had taken preparations to ensure we got some coffee in the morning. 🙂 We had discovered a nearby Dunkin Donuts the day before, so we each got an iced coffee with no ice (so that way the ice wouldn’t melt and water it down), and stashed them in the fridge. Paired with our bagels with almond butter and raspberry jam, it was a perfect pre-race breakfast.

bfast

After gathering our fuel belt, GU’s, and bibs, we headed out to make the short walk to the starting area. We stretched a little, and then separated to go to our respective pace groups. My mom wanted to go with a pacer set to run a 2:00 time, and I decided to try my hand going with the 1:50 pace group. I think we were both a little too confident coming off our PRs from the Iron Horse Half!

When the horn sounded, we headed out and I did my best to keep sight of the 1:50 sign my pacer was carrying. This came out to being 8:25 minutes/mile. Too fast. In hindsight, I wonder why I thought it was a good idea to try to run a pace I had never run in a half marathon before over a hilly course and on a particularly hot day. Well now, I can tell you from personal experience  – it’s not a good idea.

splits

The first mile was mostly downhill, but I still felt like I was pushing it, and I knew pretty early on I wasn’t going to be able to maintain that speed (I did the first mile in 8:26, yikes!). My usual strategy is to start a little slower in the beginning of a half marathon to let my legs loosen up and to conserve energy, and then to try to gradually get faster over the course of the race. That’s what I did in the Iron Horse Half and it worked like a charm. I should have stuck to what I knew for this race, but I somehow thought that getting another PR would be simple – I just had to stick with the pacer!

By mile 5, I was exhausted. I had drastically underestimated the course. Everything I had read talked about how Heartbreak Hill was the last of a series of 3 hills, and was not even particularly steep. This had led me to believe that the course had only 3 hills total. I guess I didn’t think about how the course was an out-and-back loop, so any section that was downhill one way, ended up being uphill the other way! By this point I had completely lost sight of the 1:50 pacer, so I let go of the idea of PRing, and tried to enjoy my surroundings. I got high-fives from a gorilla (or at least, a man dressed in a highly convincing gorilla costume!), and little kids. I also pulled out my phone and snapped some pics while I ran!

race1

race2

It was very, very hot though, and eventually, I started taking frequent walking breaks. A lot of runners were doing the same. There were a whole bunch of runners who would pass me while I was walking, and then I would start running again, and I would pass them walking. This back-and-forth passing kept up for pretty much the whole second half of the race.

Just after mile 9, I came running around a corner to find paramedics and an ambulance helping to transport a runner. I hope he ended up being all right! It’s so easy to push yourself a little too hard and in the really warm temps, it can end up being disastrous. I tried to remind myself of that every time I felt guilty for walking.

FINALLY, just around the 2 hour mark, I passed the 13 mile marker, and knew I was almost there! The crowd support through the BC campus was fantastic, and I pulled out my earbuds to take in all the cheering, music, and energy as I ran my tired legs to the finish. Official time – 2:06:00. Well off from the 1:50 time I had been thinking about, but honestly I was happy with it. Over that course and in that heat, it was actually a pretty darn good time.

My official results

My mom's official results

My mom finished just a few minutes behind me in 2:09, and we flopped down in the shade with our Gatorade, water, and post-race food to trade stories. She had given up on staying with her pace group too, and we laughed at ourselves together for thinking that had been a good idea.

post race

Well, live and learn right? There will be plenty of half marathons to try to PR on(I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we still have quite a few states to check off!). What’s most important is to run your own race. Know what strategy works for you, and stick to your guns. We thought it would be cool to try out the pace groups (the Shamrock half was the only other race we’ve done that’s offered them), but we should have trusted our own experience. Still, Heartbreak Hill was a fantastic race and weekend! Runner’s World did a great job organizing it, we learned a lot, and had a whole lot of fun. What more can you really ask from a race?

shirtA really nice shirt. There’s basically no point to doing a race if they don’t give you a shirt. 🙂 Luckily, the shirts were great too.

Hope you had a fun weekend!

 


Heartbreak Hill Half Part I

What a whirlwind weekend!

The weather was absolutely gorgeous!

The Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon and Festival was so much fun and a really incredible experience. It was, as I put it to my mom, like “going to running camp”. We stayed overnight Friday and Saturday in the dorms at Boston College. It was very nice for a dorm room, but the beds were certainly not the comfiest, and our room was freezing, despite the warm temps in Boston. Weird.

Our common room area

We drove into Boston on Friday afternoon and after checking into our room, headed to the expo  to pick up our race packets and check out the vendors.

We even picked up a little souvenir for one of our biggest fans!

expo1

The rest of Friday afternoon we had to ourselves since all the running seminars were scheduled for Saturday. We went to Brio Tuscan Grille, a nearby Italian restaurant. My mom and I split the field greens salad to start and it was delicious! We followed that with some generous servings of pasta, which were also very good.

salad

On Saturday, the 5K and 10K races took place, but we weren’t running either of those, so we were able to sleep in a little bit before the seminars began at noon. When we woke up though, my mom and I were faced with the pressing difficulty of having NO AVAILABLE COFFEE! The horror!! So after showering and getting ready, we found the closest Starbucks and made the fifteen minute walk over.

Successful in our coffee quest!

 

After getting our coffees, we headed over to the start/finish area in time to see the end of the 10K and the Eukanuba 2-Mile Dog Run!

start_finish

dog run

This was absolutely the cutest. The race directors were also really good about ensuring the safety of all the dogs, given the warm temps. They filled big tubs of water and had the owners get their dogs soaking wet before the start of the race, and were advising owners over the loudspeaker that it wasn’t the day to “put the pedal to the metal”. Even so, some of the dogs sure seemed like they wanted to gun it!

dog run3

dog run2

After watching the start of the dog race, my mom and I headed over to a seminar all about running for women. It featured four speakers – including Shalane Flanagan! For those who don’t know, Shalane is an elite long-distance runner who won the bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics for the 10,000 meters. In this year’s Boston Marathon, Flanagan ended up placing 7th, after leading the pack for 19 miles. I was so excited to hear her speak.

shalane1

She didn’t disappoint. She was funny, down-to-earth, and a pleasure to listen to. She talked about how hard it hard it had been for her to lose the Boston Marathon this past year, but how the winner Rita Jeptoo had thanked her at the end for setting such a fast pace. Shalane’s response? “Thanks, now you owe me a glass of wine.” Hehe. She also mentioned going on a donut binge where she ate five donuts during a meeting with her trainer. Her advice was not to do that though! All the women were great speakers and so fun to listen to. It was inspiring to hear how much running meant to these women, and how it had helped them through times of crisis in their lives.

My mom and I also went to a seminar on sports nutrition, given by Nancy Clark. She was very informative, and definitely gave me a lot of ideas about things I can do to improve my diet! One of the things she said NOT to do was what she called “crescendo eating”. This is when you eat a small breakfast, but end up starving by dinnertime and overeat as a result. She suggests breaking up your food for the day into 4 small meals so that you’re eating every four hours or so. This is best for sustained energy (very important for endurance running and athletes in general) and hunger control. I ended up buying her book, Food Guide for Marathoners. I’m still browsing through it, but I’ll be sure to post a full review once I can explore it in more detail!

food gude

After the nutrition seminar, I went to a seminar on fitness blogging (it was a busy day!). I got to meet some of my favorite bloggers, including Julie fromPBFingers. The panel of bloggers included Katy Widrick of katywidrick.com, Matt from No Meat Athlete, and Karla from Run Karla Run. They definitely gave me some ideas for sprucing up my blog, so don’t be alarmed if my site looks very different in the coming days!

My mom and I then went for an early dinner, because we were hearing Sarah Reinertsen speak at 7. Sarah was the first woman amputee to complete the Ironman triathlon (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, topped off with a 26.2 mile run).

We wanted to stay nearby to make sure we weren’t late, so we grabbed some Mexican food for takeout at El Pelon Taqueria, a restaurant about five minutes away from BC. I’ll admit, I was a little nervous about eating Mexican the night before our race, but it was delicious and didn’t cause any problems on race day (thank goodness!).

food1

food2

My mom and I both got the fish tacos and a side order of rice and chips and guacamole. It was all so fresh and authentic-tasting! If you’re in the Chestnut Hill area, I highly recommend checking this place out!

A little before 7, we headed over to hear Sarah’s keynote speech. Again, she was wonderful to listen to. At just over 5 feet tall, she was this tiny ball of energy – so dynamic and with such a powerful story! She talked about having her leg amputated due to a tissue deficiency at the age of 7, and not knowing how to run and play with the other kids. She talked about a soccer coach who wouldn’t let her scrimmage with the other kids during practice, and instead made her kick a ball against the wall by herself. This was all part of what fueled her to run marathons and eventually to compete in triathlons, including the Ironman!

 

sarahRRR

I bought her memoir, In a Single Bound, and was even lucky enough to get her to sign it after her speech. I certainly have my summer reading cut out for me!

sarah

Race day recap coming soon!

P.S. – Props to you if you read this whole post! It was another long one 🙂