Happy Friday (and the Giveaway Winner!)

Happy Friday everyone!

I am super excited to announce the winner of the Massage Envy gift card is… Jeffrey! Congrats Jeffrey, there’s a free massage coming your way!

Happy DanceI hope you’ve all had a good week. Mine has been a little insane. Between training for Delaware, traveling for work, and impending deadlines,  to say I’ve been slightly stressed this week would be an understatement.

But at least it’s the weekend now. 🙂

I finally got back into the swing of my regular running routine this week, starting with 3 miles on Monday, 4 miles + strides on Tuesday, and 7 miles on Wednesday. You know what made me SUPER excited about these runs though?

Running along the CharlesThe warmth + sunlight late into the afternoon/evening! The picture above is probably from around 6 pm and it looks like broad daylight!!!! I might be a little too excited about this.

I stayed after work on Tuesday and Wednesday and ran along the Charles, which was gorgeous and such a nice change of pace from all the treadmill miles I’ve logged recently. There were so many runners out, many of them wearing Boston Marathon jackets. There are also banners on some of the streetlights now advertising the race. You can tell the city is beginning to feel the marathon fever.

SunsetI love running along the Charles. The only thing that bummed me out about these runs in the city was that my GPS watch was never able to find signal with all the tall buildings and I don’t think MapMyRun was very accurate, so I’m not entirely sure what my paces were. Not a huge deal, but I like to at least know that I’m running fast if it feels like a challenge.

This weekend, I’ve got another 20 miler on the agenda. I’m not looking forward to it, but I’m not really dreading it either. After last week, I know I can do it. Right now, I feel like I need to work on dialing back into my goal marathon pace. I was doing really well during the first half of the training block, but I feel like I’ve lost some of that speed since my work travel kicked in. I want to get back to the feeling I had when I ran Augusta – like I can crank out the miles and just pick up speed as I go along.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the beginnings of spring!

Spring RunningIf you run in an urban area, do you ever have issues with your GPS watch? Are certain watches better at finding signal than others? Are you loving the extra daylight as much as I am??


Marathon Training: Over the Half Way Point!

Hey there! This is Nora’s Mom again posting today 🙂

This week, as we prepared for the New Bedford Half Marathon, we finished up week nine of our 16 week marathon plan, so thought it was worth a few words.

So far, we’ve been very lucky! No injuries and though we have sometimes had to make modifications in the plan to accommodate schedule conflicts (mostly Nora because of her job), things are going pretty smoothly.

2 Generations RunningThe brighter the sneakers, the faster we run.

The only thing was that, on my end, I was having a bit of trouble with sore toes. I felt this was to be expected after the hilly course at Stu’s, but the following Sunday, my toes hurt from the very beginning of my 14 miler. I managed to get in the miles, but was forced to admit that the pair of Saucony Triumph sneakers I had bought at the Bay State expo were the problem. Now I’ve worn this model for at least four years and loved them, but, by mistake, I bought this pair a half size bigger than I usually wear. Oops (The good news is that I don’t think I will forget my “running shoe” size again!). When I noticed this back at home, I decided it would probably be ok. And I think it was, for a couple of months, but as we get into the higher mileage, it’s clearly started to be a problem. So I was off to see my friends at Fleet Feet, where they set me up with the new version of the Triumph 11, the Triumph ISO. After one run in these, my feet were so happy I felt a little foolish that I hadn’t broken down and switched sooner. And they are such a pretty color! (It’s a little scary, but I’m calling them BQ Blue!)

They felt great on my nine miler and on the New Bedford Half, so hopefully no more “tender toes.” (which usually means several black toenails. )


 

Nora’s Thoughts on Marathon Training So Far:

Like my Mom mentioned, I also feel incredibly lucky that so far (fingers crossed so I don’t jinx this), I’ve been getting through the training block with no major injuries. The only issue I had was some pain in my heel that I think I mentioned on the blog a few weeks ago. Since experiencing that, I decided to buy a nice, black pair of sneakers that wouldn’t look weird paired with my regular clothes when I went to work. I’ve been wearing those sneakers every single day since I got them, and my feet have never felt happier! I think I will have to save my cuter, more fashionable shoes for after May 8th.

The other challenge has been all the travel I’ve had to do for my job lately. I spent a week in Texas, and missed every single workout while I was gone. My ankles also ended up covered in fire ant bites and blisters from that trip, and it took several days for the swelling to go down – not ideal for training. 😦 Running New Bedford after that trip was definitely challenging, but I’m hoping my fitness will bounce back quickly.


 

On Sunday, we ran the New Bedford half and since this was Nora’s birthday week race we thought we would not be too aggressive, but just try to have some fun. Despite it being another cold morning for the first day of spring and our enthusiasm levels being somewhat low, we both managed to enjoy the day and run great races!

New Bedford Half MarathonI took 2 minutes off my previous best from the Cox Providence Half, and finished just a few minutes behind Nora. This was my 13th half, and Nora’s 14th, which is crazy to think about. We celebrated at home with a delicious home-cooked meal of bacon-wrapped scallops, salads and cheesecake (Nora’s favorite). March has been our own running-inspired version of March Madness with 3 races in 4 weeks and now the two of us are both looking forward to a break from racing until the marathon.

Wish us luck! 🙂


Stu’s 30K Recap

Hey there! Nora’s mom and the other half of 2 Generations Running here posting today!

Since running the Augusta half nearly 3 weeks ago, Nora’s schedule has kept her super busy, so I thought I would do a quick guest post, and let her catch her breath.

The very next Sunday after Augusta, we tackled Stu’s 30K in Clinton, MA. Nora and I had done this as a relay, but neither of us had ever run the entire 18.9 miles! It was a lovely day, sunny and about 40 degrees, so nice for running. We decided we wouldn’t run this one together, because we were going to try to maintain our marathon paces, and Nora’s is a good bit faster than mine. (I was hoping to have an average pace of something between 9:30 and 9:15) The start of this race was pretty informal: no mat, just an air horn, and we were off!

Stu's 30K Relay Course Map.

So let me say that we knew this was a hilly course, but “rolling hills” does not begin to describe it. From the very first, it’s a constant up and down, and I for one really struggled to find, and maintain a comfortable rhythm.

Stu's 30k RecapI tried to concentrate on the views. There are some pretty views of the reservoir in the first nine miles, but the second half seemed to be a lot of highway with trees on one side and a brief view of the dam, until, at just before mile 18, you are back in Clinton and going up that last hill to the finish.

At this point the sidewalk was pitted and crumbling and I was tired and cranky and began to walk. Then I looked up and saw Nora running towards me and I thought, “She’s come to rescue me!!” Well, it wasn’t Nora, but another young blond runner, running back along the course to shout encouragement at all us tired runners. It helped me tremendously and I started running again and managed that last mile at 9:15, crossing the finish with a 2:56:35 at a 9:25 pace. Initially, I was a bit disappointed. I had met my goal, technically, but felt completely drained and felt that this did not bode well since I would need to do another eight miles for the marathon. But as I thought about it, I realized the course had been super challenging, and that I had run pretty well and kept it together “mentally” . Mostly. (Thank God for that young mystery runner!) So in the end, I decided, it was not a bad result, and that I had learned plenty!

Stu's 30K Relay

And Nora did equally well, with a finish of 2:41 and an average pace of 8:35.

2016 Stu's 30K

Afterwards, we had some delicious clam chowder and bagels in the school cafeteria as we listened to the distribution of the awards (we didn’t win anything) before heading home.

Overall, another fun race! If you have to do 18 miles, might as well do it with a whole bunch of other people and get a medal for it at the end. 🙂


Delaware Marathon Training: Week 5

It’s hard to believe we are another week closer to Delaware. Training is continuing to go well, although I have to admit I’m having some pain in my left heel that feels disturbingly close to plantar fasciitis. I don’t think it’s anything too serious yet, but I have been making a concerted effort to ice, foam roll, and stretch my calves. I’m going to keep monitoring it and if I need to skip a run or two to give my body a little more rest, then that’s what I’m going to do.

But moving on, here’s how the week went.

Monday – I did my 10 miler, which I included in last week’s recap.

Tuesday – 4 very easy miles. In hindsight, I probably should’ve switched around my rest days to give myself a little more recovery after the 10 miles the day before…

Wednesday – 7 miles on the treadmill. This was supposed to be a hill workout, but as I mentioned in my last post, my EHL tendon on my other foot had been acting up a little (what the he*% is it with my feet???) so I decided to stick to 1.0 or 1.5 on the elevation setting. I did try to make up for skipping the hills by keeping the pace up a little bit (I  alternated between a 9:05 and 8:35/mile pace). This run didn’t feel fantastic, but I think that was more the result of treadmill boredom than anything else, especially since I’ve been hitting faster paces on my long runs and usually feel pretty good on those.

Thursday – REST DAY!!!

Rest Days and Dwight Schrute | 2 Generations RunningMy legs definitely needed this one. I did 20 minutes of abs in the morning and then chilled out the rest of the day and it was glorious.

Friday – 4 miles on the treadmill, 2 at goal pace. I felt much better on this run. The 2 goal pace miles felt solid and I did my last cool-down mile in 8:35, which felt easy and comfortable. In the evening, I took the train home to visit my family and the dogs for the weekend. I hadn’t been home since Christmas, so it was a much needed visit. 🙂

Saturday – My mom and I opted to do our long run on Saturday this week since our running club was having its monthly brunch run on Sunday and who are we to say no to a run followed by a delicious potluck brunch? We headed out for 13 miles together, figuring that I would start with my mom and then head off about halfway through to do some speedier miles. It was cloudy and in the 40s when we first headed out, but after the first couple miles, we both warmed up and the sun came out. It ended up feeling more like an early spring day than February! So weird to think that just the week before it had been -18 degrees (and -30 with the wind chill)! Guess that’s New England for you.

My mom and I ended up splitting up just after 4 miles, when she paused to do a GU. I continued on, dropping the pace down into the 8:30/mile range. I was able to continue this way, except for when I hit the giant hills on my route. I’ve gotten so used to the new, much flatter routes around my apartment that these rolling hills felt TOUGH. It didn’t help that even with the warmth, there were still some icy patches on the sidewalks in shady areas. Around mile 9, I was stepping off the sidewalk to run a short stretch on the street to avoid some ice. Well, I guess I got distracted by the cars on the road, because I ended up stepping directly onto a different patch of ice and nearly went down. I swear, it felt like my body was inches from the pavement. Somehow, I magically caught my balance and continued on, this time being a little more cautious on the icy patches.

I ended up finishing the 13 miles in about an hour and 55 minutes. My pace was a little slower overall than on some of my other long runs because of the hills, but I felt ok with that. I have to admit, I was kind of excited that I was able to run a sub-2 hour half marathon on just a basic training run, when only a couple years that was my big goal for the Oak Tree Half Marathon.

Later that afternoon, I relaxed by first getting my haircut, and then my mom and I got special race day manicures for Augusta!

Race day nails

Augusta Half Marathon NailsThat’s a check mark for GA on my mom’s nails. 🙂

Sunday – 3.2 miles very easy with our running club. My legs felt surprisingly ok on this run, but I was still happy to be taking it easy and running low mileage. Afterward, we celebrated with some awesome food.

Total Mileage for the Week: 32

Motivation Levels: Running strong 🙂

And for a little inspiration, I’ve been listening to the rap song “Me, Myself, and I” quite a lot on my runs lately, so here is a little excerpt-

“Oh, it’s just me, myself, and I / Solo ride until I die / Cause I got me for life / Oh, I don’t need a hand to hold / Even when the night is cold / I got that fire in my soul”. 

Perfect for those long, hard solo runs. 🙂

How was your week? If you’re training, how’s it going? 

 


Boston Christmas Tree Run

We made it to the end of another week!

Friday GIFAnyone else remember that song?

It’s the end of another good week for running for me, I’m happy to say! When I had gone to the fun run last Monday night hosted by the running club I’m thinking of joining, one of the girls I had chatted with told me about a $5 Christmas tree fun run in Boston, and had invited me to join her and her friends. $5 for a run, food, and some good ole’ holiday cheer?! I was totally in.

Boston Christmas Tree RunThe run started from McGann’s Pub in Boston, only a short walk from my office. I headed over on Tuesday evening after work and quickly met up with my friend. There were a lot of very festive running outfits (think Christmas tree lights, ugly sweaters, full-on snowman costumes…) – I’ll have to work on that for next year since I was seriously lacking in festive running clothes.

After a little bit of a late start, we headed out on the run to stop at 4 different Christmas trees in Boston. First up on the list was a tree in the Beacon Hill neighborhood. This was a fun run and not a race, so everyone was chatting and relaxed while we ran and clearly feeling the holiday spirit! Sadly, this tree was actually not plugged in when we got there. Fail. Nevertheless, we gathered around and sang Frosty the Snowman, while the real Frosty danced around.

Boston Christmas Tree RunThen, it was off to Copley Square! We had better luck at this tree.Boston Christmas Tree RunWe also had some GORGEOUS views of the State House from here. Unfortunately, my pictures came out really blurry. After we sang some more carols (and I began to realize how few words I actually know of Christmas carols), it was off to the Boston Common.

Boston Christmas Tree RunHave I mentioned how absolutely beautiful and festive Boston is right now? It was such a blast running around, taking in all the lights and holiday decorations. I don’t usually see too much of Boston beyond my walk to the subway station everyday during my commute, so it was really cool to see the other parts of the city all lit up and decorated.

Boston Christmas Tree RunAfter more caroling (or humming, in my case), we ran over to the tree that’s on top of the Macy’s store in Downtown Crossing (top right picture). There were a lot more people in this area and they were super confused by our large merry group of runners at first, but then they got SO excited when we started singing carols (even if we were slightly out-of-tune). Last on our list of trees, was Fanuil Hall.

Boston Christmas Tree RunThis one was probably my favorite. It had blinking lights which made the tree really look like it was sparkling. From there, we headed back to the pub for some drinks and free food! Overall, it ended up being just over a 4 mile run with around a 10 minute pace. Perfect for a relaxed evening taking in the holiday sights. 🙂 And now I can’t believe Christmas is only 2 weeks away!!!! Ahh!

Do you have any fun holiday runs coming up? Do you know the words to Christmas carols (beyond the chorus – everybody knows those parts!!)?


Mill Cities Relay 2015

Another race down for 2 Generations Running!

Mill Cities RelayYesterday, my mom, brother, and I all ran the Mill Cities Relay, a 27-mile relay race open exclusively to running clubs in the Mill Cities region. Since we were running with the club, there were A LOT of teams (16 to be exact), and we were all on a different team. My mom and I were both slated to run the longest leg, 9.5 miles (That’s what happens when your running club knows you’ve run a marathon/half marathon recently!) I was hoping we would leave around the same time, but our teams ended up being just a few minutes apart, so it was a solo long run for both of us!

Mill Cities Relay 2015 Race ReccapMe and my team before the start!

You may notice we are pretty bundled in the above photo. That’s because it WAS FREAKING COLD in the morning! I had been checking the weather all week leading up to the race and was psyched when I saw Sunday was supposed to have a high of 55 degrees. Well, I kind of forgot about the fact that it was going to be in the 30’s at 6 am.

Mill Cities Relay 2015 Race RecapMy toes seriously did feel like little blocks of ice in my sneakers. Sad Nora.

Thankfully, the 9.5 mile leg was the second to last leg of the relay, so it did manage to warm up a bit before I had to run. Good thing too, because I had decided to wear shorts when I saw it was going to be so warm!

Watching my teammates take off to run their legs got me really excited. My goal going into the race was to try to run the pace I ran for my PR at the Baystate Half Marathon in October, 8:16/mile. I wasn’t 100% confident I’d be able to pull it off though. I hadn’t run long at that pace in a while, so I didn’t know if I was setting myself up for a total bonk.

When my turn finally came around, I pulled off my sweats and the 500 layers of jackets I was wearing and headed to the exchange area. The hand-off was super smooth; my teammate saw me, I saw her, and then she was passing me the slap bracelet and I was off!

I was happy that the first part of my route was the same stretch of road  along the Merrimack River in Lowell, Mass that I had run during Baystate. It was a real confidence booster to be running the same roads that I had previously run such a great race on!

Baystate Half Marathon and Marathon 2015Maybe too much of a confidence boost though, because I definitely got a little too excited at the beginning, and ran a 7:57 for my first mile. Dial it back Nora, 8 and a half miles to go still!!

Even though, I was happy with my times during those early miles, my body did not feel so great during. Much like at the start of Baystate, I felt stiff – particularly my ankles (which never bother me usually!) With every step, I was very aware of my ankles flexing – and how TIGHT they felt. I just tried to stay calm and remind myself that I was still warming up, and that the crappy feeling would go away after the first few miles. And it did.

Mile 1 – 7:58/mile, Mile 2 – 8:10/mile, Mile 3 – 8:08/mile

I didn’t take any pictures during this race because I was really focusing on maintaining my pace, but after the first 4 miles running along the water, we were mostly on the edge of busy roads, so not very scenic anyway. I didn’t mind though. The temps had warmed up to the 40’s, the sun was out, and it felt PERFECT for running. The other great part of the 9.5 mile leg was that it was very straight, which meant I could always see runners ahead of me, and if there’s one thing I love, it’s chasing runners down. 😉

Evil Laugh GIF | 2 Generations RunningI tried to keep track of how many runners I passed and how many passed me, but I got confused after a while. I think I probably passed around 10.

Mile 4 – 8:07/mile, Mile 5 – 8:14/mile, Mile 6 – 8:07/mile

The whole leg was mostly flat, but there were a few long, gradual ascents. I tried to focus on my form, rather than the hill itself as I ran up them. I am definitely not one of those weirdo runners who enjoy hills, but I think I did a really decent job keeping my pace in my target zone anyway. I also walked for a second around mile 4.5 while I drank the water at the one water stop provided on my leg.

Around this time, I started seeing more teams from my running club passing me in their chase vehicles. I got a lot of cheers and honks, which I LOVED!

Mile 7 – 8:05/mile Mile 8 – 8:06/mile, Mile 9 – 7:57/mile

By Mile 7, I was getting excited to finish. I knew I only had a couple miles to go, and I had a good pack of runners I was chasing. I managed to catch a few of them! I was ecstatic when my watch beeped at mile 9, and I looked down to see I had run a 7:57 – 1 second faster than my first mile! I think that officially means I did not bonk. 🙂

I flew into the exchange area, passed off the baton to our last runner, and just like that I was done with 9.5 miles! I quickly met up with my team and we hurried back to the car to make our way to the finish. The traffic gets HORRIBLE around this stage of the relay, and we knew there was a chance we would miss our teammate finishing if we didn’t move quick.

It took us a long time to get out of the exchange zone since there was a steady flow of runners that the traffic had to yield to, but finally, we were able to get out and make our way to the Claddagh Pub in Lawrence where the race finishes.

Mill Cities Relay 2015 Race RecapWe made it there just in time to see our teammate finish! She had run her 4.75 mile leg fast, so we almost missed her.

Then, it was off to the pub for some well-deserved post-race beer and pasta!

2015 Mill Cities RelayYou said it Bethenny.

There, I finally caught up with my mom and brother. My brother had ended up having a difficult race, with 2 of his 5 teammates not showing up! 😦 Not what you want in a relay race. My mom had a great day though, running an average of 8:30/mile over the 9.5 miles.

My team didn’t end up winning any awards, which was a bummer, but I’m still thrilled with how Mill Cities went. I feel like my paces are really starting to get faster, and I’m able to hold onto that pace for longer distances. A year ago I would have thought it was crazy to run an 8:05 pace for 9 miles. Hell, that was pretty much my 5k pace! So I’m happy. I feel like I’m in a great place with my running right now and I’m excited to see what that leads to in the future. I’ve got some pretty lofty goals when it comes to running, and I’m beginning to think they just might be within my reach…

Did you run/race this weekend? If so, how’d it go?


Hello December

OMG, and just like that, it’s December.

Merry ChristmasI totally slacked on blog posts this week, let’s just say life was a little weird. However, I did get in some great runs!

On Tuesday, I went to a free fun run hosted by a running club in the area that I’m thinking of joining. It was a small turn-out with temps in the 30s, but I ended up having so much fun! I had been feeling a little bit anxious about going – I wasn’t going to know anyone there and it was so dark and cold out that I almost convinced myself not to go. Well, I’m so glad I did go! I talked to a bunch of different runners and everyone was so friendly and welcoming. I even made plans to run a fun Christmas tree run in Boston with one girl who I spent a long time with chatting about marathons and lost toenails. 🙂

You Know You're a Runner When ... 2 Generations Running

The rest of the week contained some strength training, Fitnessblender videos, and a 4 mile treadmill run at goal pace. I say goal pace because I’m running a race this weekend! My mom, brother, and I are all running on separate teams at the Mill Cities Relay with our running club!Stu's 30K Relay Recap.My mom has run this race before, but it’s going to be my first time and I’ll be running a 9.5 mile leg. I feel relatively trained for it. I’m hoping to run around the same pace that I ran at the Baystate Half Marathon (8:16/mile), but I also haven’t been doing as many long runs lately, so I’m not sure how that will go.

Anyways, that’s my quick check-in for the week! I’ll have some better posts coming your way next week. 🙂 Have a great weekend! 


What I do all Day… [A Look at My Job]

First off, I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving yesterday and are just about recovered from your food comas.

Food Coma GIF | 2 Generations RunningIt happens to all of us, even cats.

Although it is not holiday-related at all, I’ve been meaning to share this post for a while now and the timing just worked out this week, so let’s take a break from talking about turkey and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and talk about me.

2 Generations RunningLOL, I hope that everyone realizes that that’s a joke… I usually feel pretty awkward talking about myself, but I figure there’s a time and a place for it.

Like now that I’ve been at my job for just about 6 months (Where does the time go???)

In case you’re in the dark about what it is that I actually do, I plan races [Just as a note, I tend to try to avoid sharing too many personal details on this blog because there are crazies out there in the world – you can never be too careful!].

Crazy PeopleBut seriously, I go to work and think about running and races, and then I come home and blog about running and races. It’s so funny for me to think back to that first half marathon my mom talked me into in 2012. It quite literally changed my life.

10 Reasons Why the Half Marathon is Where It's At | 2 Generations Running(Throwback pic to a previous post)

See, I always wanted a career where I would feel like I was helping people. The crazy idealist in me wanted to change the world, even if it was in some small way. When I was in high school, I thought I was going to be a lawyer (one of the good guys, like the lawyers that you root for on Law and Order).

Law and Order GIF Then in college, I decided to study psychology. It fascinated me and I figured I could become a psychologist and still help people with their problems. I LOVED all my psych classes in college, but the more I learned about clinical psychology, the more I realized that AGAIN, this might not be the right fit career-wise. I didn’t know what I was going to do, which stressed me out to no end, even as a sophomore with 2 years of school left (or really 1 and a half years as it turned out). Living without a plan made me very uncomfortable (maybe this was my first hint at my future career!).

I don't Know What I'm going to do with my life | 2 Generations RunningMy thoughts exactly.

And then I fell in love with races. (And I do mean races, not running. The love for running came later, but the excitement of race mornings caught me hook, line, and sinker right from the very first half marathon). There was no instant epiphany for me, but slowly I began to play with the idea that if I enjoyed running races so much, then maybe being involved in putting on races would be a career I could enjoy. And I would STILL get to help people, albeit in a very different way from an attorney or psychologist. I still remember what Dave McGillivray (race director of the Boston Marathon) said during a Q&A at the Falmouth Road Race (when describing what he said to people about his job when compared to his siblings who were doctors).

2015 New Balance Falmouth Road Race“Yes, I’m a race director. I put on events and am responsible for raising the self-esteem and confidence of thousands of people.” I’m sure I don’t have the exact words right, but the sentiment struck me and has remained with me to this day.

After volunteering at countless races and jumping at any and every resume-boosting opportunity related to running, I finally landed my internship with a company that puts on obstacle course races across the country and even globally (not saying specifically which one because again – crazy people.) And that internship turned into a job. And now, I spend way more of my time discussing toilet to participant ratios then I EVER would have imagined. 😉

But in all seriousness, working in this field has given me an incredible appreciation for all the nuances that go into putting on a great race. There are quite literally HUNDREDS of details (probably thousands depending on how you look at it). And I personally have experienced some less-than organized races and a lot of really awesome races, and I want to make sure that the events I am personally responsible for leave people as excited about running as I was from my first race. I know how impactful it can be.

Rochester Marathon | 2 Generations RunningFinishing my first marathon.

But I don’t want to leave you with the impression that I have the most perfect job in the world.

Butterflies Gif^Yeah… That’s not my world.

Yes, I feel passionately about it, but it’s not a cakewalk. Race days are STRESSFUL. And they are a THOUSAND times more stressful when you are responsible for making sure they go smoothly than they are when all you have to do is go out and run. I’ve learned that it is impossible to please everyone (people have an incredible knack for finding things to complain about), and that can be hard for me because I do take things personally, even when I shouldn’t.

Complain a lot GIF | 2 Generations RunningIt’s something that I’m working on. But the job itself is something I feel strongly about, which I know is more than a lot of people can say. So I’ll take the challenge and I’ll continue to learn about what it truly takes to put on a great race, because I know it’s worth it – for the person running their very first race to the person running their 50th. So if you’re running a turkey trot this weekend, take a moment to look around and appreciate all the work that went into putting on that event- thank the volunteers, smile, and enjoy the race!

So that’s a little background on me! Feel free to ask me any questions you might have about putting on races or what it is that I do! 

Keep enjoying the holiday weekend!


The Baystate Marathon: Part II

Missed my recap of the half marathon? Check it out here. Without further ado, here is my mom’s post on running the marathon!

As Nora already mentioned, it was pretty cold at the start but we tried to convince ourselves that that was better than it being too hot.

Baystate 2015 MarathonIt was sunny and breezy and I didn’t shed my throw away hoodie until about a mile and a half in, then settled in for a 10 min/mile pace. I felt good and tried to remember that my “Big Blue Book” had said that in the beginning “it should feel so easy that it’s crazy…” And weirdly, it did feel like that, so I resisted the urge to pick up the pace. Because I had eaten a protein bar sitting in the Tsongas arena, I didn’t fuel until mile six, when I did a GU and walked long enough to sip some water at the nearby water stop. I had decided not to carry water and to coordinate my fueling breaks with the water stops on the course. (It’s hard to get those gels down without a bit of water!) And I decided to see if I could skip my usual 1-minute walking break as I fueled. This seemed to work pretty well. I got to 13.1 in 2:14, still feeling good and decided to stick with that pace for a bit longer. I was also thinking about Nora; I knew she had finished by now and was wondering if she had gotten her PR. I was anxious to get her call!

The wind had definitely picked up by this point and soon I was feeling something like the early stages of cramps in my legs. I tried to think back to how well I had fueled and how good I felt on my long runs, and eventually realized that what I was feeling wasn’t cramps, but just cold! Somewhere around mile 17, I realized I was  passing a good number of runners. Still, I thought it was too early to start cranking so I kept my pace steady and kept running even when I fueled.

At 11:30, Nora called.  I was super excited to hear her voice. I had passed mile 20, and realized I could well be within my goal of breaking 4:30! She was super excited for me, and just hearing her voice and words of encouragement gave me such a boost!! (And oh, yeah…she got her PR!)

Suddenly, the voice in my head said, “I am not going to screw this up! I am NOT walking ….just keep running… RUN! RUN!

Still, around mile 24 I was pretty ready for this race to be over. Luckily, by that point we were nearing the part of the course that Nora and I had run during the Lowell Good Times Series this summer. This was a great psychological booster for me:  I reminded myself that I was fast and powerful on this course, that I had won my age group on this course!

Between Nora’s call and the familiar terrain, I made it to the end, and finished in 4:26:22 and I wasn’t even crawling or crying!

Baystate Marathon 2015And amazingly, my splits for the last six miles were my fastest:

Mile 20:   10:01/mile

         21:    9:47/mile

         22 :   10:14/mile (last fueling stop, stuffing pretzels and carb tablets in   my face) 

       23:       9:58/mile

       24:       9:58/mile

       25:       9:43/mile

       26:       9:24/mile

Needless to say, I was thrilled and excited and pleasantly surprised that, even though I had run faster, I felt much better than I did after our first marathon in Rochester. After a few minutes, I found Nora and after swigging that really delicious can of Pepsi, we found our way to a bench near the river where I devoured some soup and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Baystate MarathonThe food was great and the tents had been set up along this really lovely spot near the river, but the sun had disappeared and the wind was still blowing, (as you can see by the Mylar blanket flapping crazily around my shoulders) so I was cooling down quickly and Nora had been out in the cold for two hours waiting for me. So we agreed it was time to head home… As Nora mentioned, we were treated to pumpkin waffles and coffee, which warmed us up nicely.

Fall Cocktail| 2 Generations RunningLater that evening, we toasted our success with a nice fall cocktail, of our invention, and agreed that despite the cold, things could not have gone better. (I was super grateful that we hadn’t had the snow showers originally forecast, that there were so many wonderful volunteers, and that I have the greatest running buddy.)

But now, with such a big achievement behind me, I am feeling a little adrift and asking myself, “What’s next?”  If Nora has her way it will be a Spartan Fenway sprint! …Yikes! It might be easier to just run another marathon… 🙂

Hope you’re having a great week! Have you ever experienced a little post-marathon letdown? 

 

 


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.