Some Friday Randomness + Donuts!

Hey there!

I feel like I’ve been writing a ton of workout and race recap posts on the blog lately, and I just felt like doing something a little different today. I have to admit – even I get bored talking about mile splits and cross-training routines sometimes! Variety is the spice of life after all, right? Don’t worry, the race recaps aren’t goin’ anywhere (this is a running blog after all!), but today I figured I would just share some of the random stuff that’s been on my mind lately.

  • I am obsessed with nail polish. As you might be able to tell from My Instagram

2 Generations RunningI’ve been slowly accumulating a diverse collection of colors – Mostly the no-light gel ones because they really do last longer than regular polish, which I have a tendency to chip in the span of 3 hours. For a big race (like Delaware), I love getting them done. It just adds to that feeling of it being extra special! And it makes me run faster obviously.

  • Currently, I’m in the process of losing not one, not two, but THREE different toenails from aforementioned big race.

The perks of running a spring marathon meme | 2 Generations RunningFortunately, I work in an office with a lot of very athletic/runner-type people, who are weirdly fascinated by the state of my toenails. I’m curious though – to the runners out there who are running marathons really close together, what do you do to fight toenail issues??

  •  The whole “Fueled by Coffee” tagline on my blog really isn’t a joke. Between the two of us, my mom and I drink enough coffee to single-handedly support the economy of a small South American country.

Fueled by Coffee.No road trip is complete without a trip (or 3) to Starbucks. We’re still waiting for them to reach out with an endorsement deal though. 😉

  • I am in love with this flavor of Clif Bar.

White Chocolate Macademia Nut Clif BarI’ve tried all the other flavors, but none of them come close to the amazingness that is White Chocolate Macadamia Nut.

  • This one is really no secret to the blog, but I LOVE the whole Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise and I am so psyched it’s finally back! Mondays are finally exciting again!

Bring on the Men!

  • Did you know it was Global Running Day on Wednesday? I celebrated with a really quick 2 miler, and I loved seeing everyone’s posts about it on Instagram and Twitter. So many happy runners out there! I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that Global Running Day is followed so promptly by National Donut Day.

National Donut Day Dunkin Donuts is giving out free donuts today with the purchase of any beverage!

Hope you all had a great week! Enjoy the free donuts out there today! My mom and I have a 5K coming up this weekend so check in next week for a recap. 🙂


The Delaware Marathon: Race Recap

I knew the Delaware Marathon was going to be a BIG race, but I had no idea just how epic things were going to get. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably have an idea what I’m talking about. 😉

My mom and I trained our butts off for this for 16 weeks and for the first time, we were both shooting for aggressive time goals. Maybe a little too aggressive on my part, but I’ll get to that.

Friday morning, my mom and I road tripped down to Wilmington, Delaware.

Delaware Marathon Race RecapThe trip was pretty easy and took just about 6 hours because of some traffic we hit on the George Washington Bridge in New York. We made our way to the official host hotel, the Westin and were able to check in that afternoon. The location of the hotel was absolutely perfect – it was located right across from the Wilmington River Walk, which had tons of different restaurants, and it was an easy 1 mile walk to the Tubman Garrett Park which was where packet pick-up and the start/finish were. We also had a great view of Wilmington’s minor league baseball stadium right from our hotel room!

the Delaware Marathon Race RecapSaturday morning, we slept in and relaxed a bit before getting ready to head out on a little shakeout run. It also marked Day 6 of the clouds and rain the Northeast was stuck under all of last week, but we tried to not let it dampen our spirits. We ran down to the park and picked up our race packets and checked out the expo.

Delaware MarathonRainy selfie at the park.

We checked out the expo after we picked up our swag (short-sleeve shirt, pint glass, and a hat), but there was not a lot to see. I knew it was going to be small, but I was still a little bummed that they weren’t selling any Delaware Marathon-specific merchandise – it was just the basic running headbands and apparel. After that, we headed back to the hotel room to take it easy since they say you shouldn’t be on your feet too much the day before a marathon. We ended up going to see The Jungle Book at a theater right down the road, which was the perfect low-key activity.

That night, we went to a restaurant right by the hotel for our pre-race dinner. I opted for margherita pizza while my mom got a salad with salmon and sweet potato fries. Yum! We then headed back to our hotel room where we watched a silly movie for a bit before crashing.

Delaware Marathon Race RecapExcited to run.

The Race Day:

Sunday dawned cloudy, but with zero rain in the forecast – praise the gods! We were up at 5 am, having our pre-race coffee and bagels. Once we were good to go, we headed over to the park, with a few other runners from the hotel who were doing the same thing. We made our way straight to the porta-potties once we were there, and it was a good thing we did! There were some lines when we first got there, but they were OUT OF CONTROL 10 minutes later. We checked our bags and made our way to the corral.

The space for the corral was TIGHT. It didn’t help that they had all the half marathoners (nearly 900 participants) and the marathoners (450 participants) start together. They also had an ambulance staged basically in the corral. My mom and I managed to squeeze our way in, we waited for a few minutes, and then promptly at 7 am, we were OFF!

The course began by winding our way along the road back towards the hotel we were staying at and the shopping plaza across from it. Once we got to the plaza, the course made a hard left turn so that everyone was running through the plaza, out onto the riverwalk and then back in the direction we had just come from. It was kind of odd and while I enjoyed running on the riverwalk, it was a little too tight for that many runners, that early in the course. My plan was to keep these early miles slow and I did just that – Mile 1: 9:04, Mile 2: 9:09.

After those two miles, I decided to start picking up the pace a bit. I was nervous that it was going to get too hard for me to make up the time to my goal pace if I waited till later in the race when I was tired. I fully admit I don’t have a lot of experience pacing myself in marathons though, so maybe I should have waited longer (maybe it would have prevented me from dying at the end?)? We were heading into downtown Wilmington and it was still mostly flat. I knew I still had a LONG way to go, but I was definitely feeling the excitement. Mile 3: 8:49, Mile 4: 8:53, Mile 5: 8:44

Around this time, we passed the Wilmington Zoo, which was kind of cool – you could see and hear some of the animals! We continued on, entering Brandywine Park. This was probably my favorite part of the course – it was shady, flat, and ran along the Brandywine Creek. There was a narrow, wooden bridge that did not feel super structurally sound when we all ran over it – the boards were actually bouncing from all the runners! Mile 6: 8:51 , Mile 7: 9:00, Mile 8: 8:33. Mile 6-7 was the first of the hills and it slowed me down a bit. All I could think about was how much it was going to hurt on the second loop.

The next few miles were through a shaded neighborhood. The houses were beautiful and it was really scenic. One thing I didn’t like, was that there were a bunch of turns through the neighborhood and then we were running back the way we had come, on the opposite side of the street. It just felt like the race organizers were desperately trying to cram as much mileage as possible into the smallest amount of space. If I had only been running the half, I wouldn’t have minded as much, but by the later miles, I found it confusing and kind of annoying. Mile 9: 8:36 Mile 10: 8:34 Mile 11: 8:44 Mile 12: 8:21, Mile 13: 8:44.

In this stretch, I was still running with tons of half marathoners who were going into the final few miles of their race. I’d like to say I just got caught up in their excitement, but I know it wasn’t that. I wanted to run 8:35 splits, even though there was a part of me that guessed I wouldn’t be able to maintain that pace. I didn’t want to look back on this race and have regrets about not trying though.

The half marathoners split from the pack and the rest of the full marathoners began our second loop, running out along the riverwalk again, all the way to the end of it before making a hairpin turn and going all the way back again. Along the way, I passed my mom heading in the opposite direction and we gave each other a big high-five. We then turned into the park and got to run past all the spectators who had gathered there. This was an exciting part with all the cheering, but it was short-lived. Once we left the park, I felt an overwhelming feeling that I was pretty much on my own and that the second loop was going to be a whole lot less fun. Without the half marathoners, the field had shrunk to the 450 marathoners and the relay runners who’d breeze by you like you were standing still. Mile 14: 8:41 Mile 15: 8:41 Mile 16: 8:43 Mile 17: 8:55.

I tried to break the run into chunks at this point to wrap my mind around the miles I still had left to cover. From mile 15, I told myself all I had to focus on was the 5 miles I had to cover before mile 20. At mile 20, I would focus on the last 6.2. It was also around this time that I stopped trying to run 8:35 miles and instead began aiming for 8:45/mile. I was able to hold onto that pretty well until mile 17.

Mile 18: 8:57 Mile 19: 8:53 Mile 20: 9:39.

And this was where things began to fall apart. At first, I had firmly told myself no walking. I hadn’t trained 16 weeks to walk in my marathon. But by this point, I started walking at the aid stations, drinking my water and splashing the remainder down my back. It had gotten hot. The temps were probably in the low 70s and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Great Mother’s Day weather for sure, but not ideal conditions for running a marathon. And then, I was taking walk breaks on the hills, mentally beating myself up each time I slowed down, picturing my sub-4 hour finish fading away.

I also thought about something I had heard on the Runners’ Connect podcast. I forget which guest it was, but someone (a sports psychologist or doctor possibly) had said “When it feels like you are absolutely drained and have nothing left, you’ve really only tapped into about 30% of your energy reserves”. It sounds simple enough, but what this leaves out is the importance of listening to your body – which I began to ignore as I pushed on into the file 10k of the race.

Mile 21: 9:32 Mile 22: 9:09 Mile 23: 9:32. As you can see, my pace continued to slip. I felt so hot. I distinctly remember having the thought, “my feet feel red”. That doesn’t even really make sense, but it shows the kind of mental shape I was in. I just wanted to be done and I was having fantasies about laying down in the grass and never moving again. I was also wondering why the hell runners put themselves through this. The half marathon distance is so civilized in comparison! Even a 20 mile race I would enjoy. Why aren’t there more 20 mile races?!

Mile 24: 9:58 Mile 25: 9:33 Mile 26: 10:16.

The last mile sucked. so. much. I was on my own, with only a few runners up in the distance ahead of me, and I was running through downtown Wilmington. I knew it was going to be a turn to the left to the finish chute and every single side street, I would peer down, thinking I had made it and getting more and more depressed every time I realized I had further to go. I was also feeling pretty dizzy by this point. Again, I ignored the signals from my body, thinking about the advice from the podcast. Not smart.

FINALLY, I was making the left turn and entering the finish chute, pushing hard and mentally cheering as I realized I had done it and squeaked in under 4 hours, with a 3:57. I received my medal and then began to wobble, almost toppling over. I think some EMTs saw me and they immediately grabbed me, helping me over to the med tent. They helped me lay down and took my temperature – 102 degrees. Oh… So that’s why I felt so incredibly awful the last few miles.

It was all really overwhelming as the EMTs covered me with ice packs and helped me sip Gatorade while we waited for my body temperature to come down. I felt kind of stupid and guilty for not paying better attention to my body and for being so focused on my time goal. Once my body temp had dropped a bit more, they put me in a kiddie pool filled with ice and water – which you would think would feel good after running a marathon, but it felt awful. Finally, one of the EMTs was able to find my mom who had just finished (in 4:15 – a new PR, but not the time she had hoped for either) and brought her over. That was when they told us I was going to have to be transported to the ER. No champagne toast, no chocolate milk, no post-race food for either of us.

The rest of the afternoon was a blur of the ambulance ride, the ER, and then just waiting – for my IV of fluids to finish, for the blood work to come back, for the word that my mom and I could leave.

Delaware Marathon Race RecapIn all the downtime, my mom checked the results online and saw that we had both placed in our age groups! She got second in hers and I was third in mine. Luckily, she was able to contact one of the race organizers who brought over the trophies along with our bags that had been left at the bag check table.

Delaware Marathon Race Recap | 2 Generations RunningOur selfie with our bobblehead trophies once we were finally released and back at the hotel.

I feel like I am still trying to process this race. On the one hand, I’m happy that I broke 4 hours, even though I had even more ambitious goals that I really thought I could hit. On the other hand, it’s pretty scary how it ended. While I’m totally fine now, I have to admit there is no time goal worth sending yourself to the ER over. No matter how many years I run and races I complete, I think there is always something new I’m learning. The lesson from this race was pretty simple – Respect the distance and listen to your body. I didn’t do that this race. I put my competitiveness and ego ahead of my common sense and I tuned out the messages from my body and it landed me in the hospital. I don’t know when I will run another marathon (it won’t be for a very long time), but I do know that I won’t make the same mistake again.

 


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.


Bay State Marathon: The Final Week (Guest Post)

So after a long absence, here I am! In fact, I had started a post at the mid-way-training point for the marathon, and never finished it, then had hopes of writing one at week 12, and never got around to that either! I think working at my local farm stand, my vacation on the Cape with hubby, and then moving Nora into her new digs all had something to do with that – not to mention all the running!

Chatham, MAAt least I had some beautiful views for my training runs on the Cape!

But in any case, here we are at week 15!! Marathon #2 is THIS WEEKEND!

Bay State Marathon | 2 Generations RunningI have to say this year’s marathon training plan seems to have gone well (though obviously, more will be revealed on race day). Still, I made it through a more ambitious plan than I had used previously and managed to do so without apparent injury. Knock on wood!!

Aside from following the training plan’s  running schedule  (the intermediate plan from Runner’s World Big Book of Marathons and Half Marathons <- great resource!), these are the things I tried to do consistently these last 4 months:

I ate a lot of ginger and drank ginger tea. (I boil slices of ginger in water, drink the water and eat a few slices of ginger every day. It isn’t the most pleasant thing, but considering that I have only taken Ibuprofen once in the last four months, I have to think it is doing something good for me.)

I make sure I eat well before those long runs. I learned last year that skipping the meals leading up to a long run really affected how I felt, so this year I was mindful about eating, especially those lovely carbs!

I have been more diligent about eating breakfast, even if I am not running. This is actually hard for me, because I am not a breakfast person, and I really don’t want to eat in the morning. Maybe ice cream would go down more easily, but wait…I think Nora and I learned that ice cream is not really a good running fuel. 😉

I have been much more diligent about stretching and using my foam roller after a run, and even on rest days. To make sure I don’t skimp on stretching I have made it a sort of ritual, with a little incense and some wonderfully relaxing music by R. Carlos Nakai. After some of his wonderful Native American songs, I feel re-energized and ready for anything.

I am also trying compression socks/sleeves for the first time. As the weather has gotten cool, I have worn them on longer runs and also the day after, and my legs feel great. I began to think there was really something to this when I ran 12 miles in the morning and then worked at the farm stand where I was on my feet for the next  5 hours – and felt no fatigue at all!  (Can’t wait for my Lily Trotters to arrive, maybe in time for Bay State?!!)

But no one is perfect and these are the things I have not been able to do:

I cannot seem to get to bed “early”. I’m kind of a night owl and even when I have a long run scheduled, I can’t quite get to bed at a reasonable time. I seem to be addicted to the shows that come on at 10PM. (ie, How to Get Away with Murder and Castle….)

Bay State Marathon | 2 Generations RunningAnd I can’t give up my glass of wine!! ( I suppose I wouldn’t be French if I could.)

Bay State Marathon| 2 Generations RunningWhere would I be without my life coaches? 😉

So with two weeks to go, I know that it’s time to take a breath, enjoy these two “taper weeks” and trust that I have done the work. And as long as we don’t have snow to contend with (which is actually a HORRIBLE POSSIBILITY given the current forecast), I’m pretty confident I will run a good race.

Wish Nora and I luck! Runner friends -which do you enjoy more: tapering or carbo-loading? 


The Unglamorous Side of Running a Marathon

Hey there!

Even though you wouldn’t know it from the weather lately, it is technically spring, and with spring comes spring marathons! I know many runners are in the peak of marathon training right now. I remember how excited (and nervous/anxious/freaked out/worried) I felt last summer, training for the Rochester Marathon.

2 Generations Running | Community GIFRunning a marathon is definitely a momentous experience in any runner’s life and an incredible accomplishment. But there are some things that go along with running 26.2 miles that are less than fun. So if you’re a first-time marathoner, check out this list before race day (or maybe not… ignorance is bliss.). And if you have run a marathon, then I’m curious – which of these have you experienced?

The Unglamorous Side of Running a Marathon | 2 Generations Running

1. Chafing is a real danger. I didn’t think to put Body Glide on my back under my sports bra – BIG MISTAKE. 26.2 miles = a lot of rubbing. Just remember- when in doubt, slather on more Glide.

2.You may have never had a problem with your sneakers (in fact, you LOVE them with all your heart!), but you still lose a toenail (or toenails). I’m not sharing any pictures of that because I’m nice and don’t want to gross you all out.

2a) Losing your big toenail REALLY FREAKING HURTS. The only good news is that you won’t have to cut it for like a year while you wait for it to grow back. #TimeSaver.

3. Your appetite will turn into a raging monster that can never be satisfied. And you thought you were going to lose weight…. (*the marathon is evil-laughing at you.)

Evil Laugh GIF | 2 Generations Running

4. People will ask how far your marathon is. 26.2 miles.

The Unglamorous Side of Running a Marathon | 2 Generations RunningBECAUSE THAT’S HOW FAR A MARATHON IS!! (My orthopedist didn’t know how far a marathon was… just one of the reasons why I didn’t trust her.)

5. People will ask you why you’re doing this. Just tell them you really want that damn 26.2 decal for your car.

The Unglamorous Side of Running a marathon | 2 Generations RunningMaybe say it politely though. Just so you don’t get hit by anyone.

I should note that despite experiencing ALL of these things with my first marathon, I still want to run another one. So I don’t know what that says about me…

Tell me about your unglamorous experiences running marathons/half marathons/whatever distance!

Have a great day!


The Rochester Marathon

We did it.

My Mom and I can both officially say now that we are marathoners. After months of training and reading anything and everything about marathons, we finally went out and completed 26.2 miles. There was uncertainty, crazy weather, and blackened toenails, but we made it.

Let me start from the beginning though. 🙂

Late in the afternoon on Friday, my mom made the long drive up and picked me up from school. It was fantastic to see her again and we chatted the whole time as we made the drive into Rochester. We were lucky enough to be able to stay with my aunt and uncle, so it was a great mini-family reunion. Friday night, we just relaxed, ate pizza and visited, before turning in for an early bedtime. We wanted to make sure we got plenty of rest in preparation for Sunday.

Saturday, we slept in a little, before going for a gentle 2-mile jog, as prescribed in the training plan my mom and I followed. We were also keeping a close eye on the weather that morning, as the forecast for Sunday was looking awful. There was a strong chance of severe thunderstorms from 6 am on throughout the whole day. In the paper, there was an article that explained that if there was thunder at the start time (7:30), then the race would be delayed ten minutes. If the thunder continued – the race would be cancelled. My mom and I were freaking out. At that point, I felt like I would gladly run through the pouring rain, as long as I got the chance at my marathon.

So obviously, we were pretty concerned. We went to pick up our packets as usual though, hoping for the best. Packet pick-up was held at a local running store, Fleet Feet, and it was hopping when we arrived.

At packet pick-up for the Rochester Marathon

My mom and I loved the race shirts, but we were also excited to pick out another commemorative, first-marathon-ever shirt! We both went with these awesome long-sleeve Nike running shirts.

Rochester Marathon Shirt

We tried to stay relaxed on Saturday, but the weather reports continued to predict strong chances for thunderstorms. We organized our running materials that evening – putting pins on our bibs, packing our GU’s in our fuel belts (I wanted to do one every 5 miles through mile 20, at which point I was going to switch to Sports Beans aka jelly beans for runners). With the predictions for rain, my mom and I both made sure to bring hats to help keep the rain off our faces.

We had a simple meal for dinner that night to round out our carbo-loading routine – grilled chicken and baked potatoes. After that, it was a little TV and then bed time.

While I had a little trouble falling asleep, I was shocked at how well I slept until the alarm started ringing at 5 am. My mom and I quickly got up and started prepping the coffee and bagels (with almond butter and raspberry jam of course – our favorite!). It was a little hard to stomach at such an early hour, but we knew it was important to eat early so we would have time to digest a bit before the race began.

A friend of mine from school was running the race as well, and she got dropped off at my Aunt and Uncle’s so that we could bring her to the start with us. We were pleasantly surprised by the weather as we drove into the city of Rochester – a little cloudy, but warm with no rain!

We checked our bags (complete with all the necessary post-race items, including sweats, Snickers bars, and a hairbrush. All completely essential.), and made a last porta-potty stop. Kudos to the race organizers for having enough porta-potties to accommodate all the runners, as this always seems to be problematic!

At the start of the Rochester Marathon

Then, we excitedly went to the starting chute. Of course, there was time for some pre-race selfies.

At the start of the Rochester Marathon 2014

At the start of the Rochester Marathon 2014

We stretched for a few minutes and I reveled in the fact that it was not raining on us. I think all my worry about the weather left me feeling more excited for the race than nervous. Then, the race announcer led us with a moment of silence for a Rochester police officer, Daryl Pierson, who was shot and killed three weeks ago. It was a touching moment, and so important for us as runners to show our appreciation, as the entire Rochester police department was out, directing traffic and lining the course to help keep us safe and the race running smoothly.

Next, the National Anthem played… and we were off and running our first marathon!!! Ahhhhh!

Along the course of the Rochester Marathon

With all the excitement, the first few miles flew by, but my mom and I did a great job pacing ourselves and sticking to our Galloway method-inspired strategy: run a mile and walk a minute. I really enjoyed checking out the beautiful 19th and early 20th century mansions that we passed along East Avenue.

Mansions along East Avenue. Rochester Marathon

Absolutely beautiful. We continued along, sticking to a pace around 10:30 minutes/mile. Just before mile 5, we came up on our cheering section who surprised us with this awesome poster. 🙂

Of course, we had to stop to take a picture.

We had to stop to take a picture.

As we continued along, my mom started telling me to take off. I was feeling great at the pace we were running, but she wanted to dial it back a little because of the humidity we were dealing with. We had planned on staying together longer over the 26 miles, but with her blessing and some good luck wishes on both our parts, I headed off.

Running along the Erie Canal during the Rochester Marathon

Around Mile 6 or 7 (I think… it’s all blurring together a bit), we turned off and ran along the Erie Canal bike path, which was pretty, despite the clouds rolling in. Soon thereafter, it started to rain – and I thought to myself, “This is it. It’s going to pour, and I’m either going to have to run another 15+ miles soaking wet or it’s going to thunder and they’re going to pull us off the course.”

Thank god that’s not what happened. It rained lightly for maybe 15 minutes, just enough to cool me off, and then it stopped! It was a marathon miracle. 🙂

I was feeling great, and got super excited when I reached the 13 mile marker – halfway done! And I kept feeling great through mile 18, and that’s when it truly started to feel like a marathon. My big toe was starting to hurt (ironically, not on the foot where I struggled with my EHL strain – that foot held up like a champ.). I was running behind someone with a shirt that read “Black Toe Racing”, and I remember thinking a lot about the foreshadowing and symbolism of that. 😉

I kept chugging along though, desperately looking forward to each 1 minute walking break whenever I completed another mile. While I cherished those breaks, I noticed that after about 19 miles, it hurt just as much (if not more) to walk as it did to run. Ugh.

Around mile 20 of the Rochester Marathon

I certainly wasn’t the only one taking walking breaks by this point though.

The last 6.2 miles were the most challenging miles I’ve ever run. I knew I was close to being done, and I just wanted to cross that finish line and for the RUNNING TO STOP. Thank goodness for all the fantastic spectators along the course, and for the people who cheered for me, reading my name off my bib and encouraging me that I was almost done. I also loved all the creative signs –

  • Toenails are for sissies (so true.)
  • Keep Calm and Don’t Poop Yourself. (Also excellent advice.)
  • You’ve been training for this longer than Kim Kardashian was married. (gotta love humor at the expense of the Kardashians.)

FINALLY, I was turning off the canal path, back onto the major roads, and knew I was close to being done. I passed the 26 mile marker, and I pushed it into high gear. Next thing I knew, I was crossing the finish line in 4 hours, 36 minutes. I look pretty damn good for having just run 26.2 miles, right?!

Finishing the Rochester Marathon

Marathon complete.

I was so happy to be done, and to see my boyfriend at the finish. It was good that he was there, because I kept losing my balance and tilting over. Also, my fine motor skills were shot, which made texting interesting.

I couldn't text at all after running a marathon

I tried to type “I’m done” and autocorrect thought I was trying to say “I’m conspiracy”. So that shows you how successful I was. 😉 After that, I made my boyfriend send the texts. We also took some snapchats to send to my friends at school, who had been amazing about sending me congratulatory and good luck texts-

post marathon

And some regular pictures. In between bites of a bagel, obviously.

After finishing the Rochester Marathon

My mom also ran an incredible race (SHE GOT THIRD IN HER AGE GROUP!!!) and finished in 4 hours, 58 minutes.

What an amazing race. After so much concern over my EHL strain and the fears about the weather,  I feel so lucky that I was able to run my marathon. After 9 half marathons, it was time, for both my mom and I.

More marathon reflections are coming, but this post has already gotten ridiculously long. Thanks for reading it and also, thank you SO, SO MUCH for all the advice, and good luck messages sent our way through this blog. It meant the world to us to have so many people rooting for us.