Why I Signed Up For A Coach

Hey there, hope everyone’s 2017 is off to a good start so far!

Let me warn you in advance – I have a feeling this post is a little bit rambling, but I’ve been wanting to write this for a while and at a certain point, I think you just have to hit publish. So bear with me on this, I promise I’ll get to the point. Eventually. 🙂

When I was little, I randomly decided I wanted to learn to play the violin. I don’t remember what precipitated this decision, but once it was made, there was no changing my mind. I was fortunate enough to have a family with the resources to make learning a new instrument a viable option, so a few weeks later, I had a child-sized rental violin and my own private teacher. It probably became apparent after the first 150 or so renditions of Hot Cross Buns that I was no musical prodigy, but my parents still encouraged me to practice and continue with the lessons.

And so I did for roughly 10 years, only stopping the private lessons when my schedule became overwhelmingly hectic with school, college hunting, athletics, and various other extracurriculars.

Now if my parents knew I wasn’t going to be a professional musician after all the Hot Cross Buns performances, I probably figured it out a few years later. But I still enjoyed learning each new skill and steadily improving as a violinist so I stuck with it.

Now this is a running blog, and not a music blog, so I swear there is a connection here (that I’m getting to) and not just taking you all on a leisurely stroll down memory lane. I did say this was going to be rambling, didn’t I? 😉

2 Generations Running. Long Jump.(Fun throwback pic to my long jump days!)

In 2008 (I think?), I signed up for track and field in high school. Of course, back then I thought 3 miles was a death march of a run and the 400 meters was my “long” event. 4 years ago, I ran my first half marathon and realized that I was actually physically capable of running double-digit mileage and so began my “distance running career”.

First Half Marathon | 2 Generations RunningLike with the violin, it’s been pretty clear from the get-go that I will not be going to the Olympics for any form of running event, 100 meters up to marathon. But I enjoy races and running, so I have stuck with it anyway, steadily improving as I figured things out along the way.

Delaware Marathon Race Recap | 2 Generations RunningWe both placed in our age group, despite having rough days.

A few months ago, I started hearing about coaching from several different resources (Runners World did a great podcast on the topic of coaches for the average runner and Bibrave also did a Twitter chat on the subject). I had never really considered coaching for myself before because I was new to the sport and able to steadily improve doing my own thing. But as my goals have gotten bigger, I’ve realized a little bit of guidance/support might not be a bad thing.

When I was 6, my parents didn’t set me down with a violin and a page of music and hope for the best – they got me a teacher because they had the resources to make that possible.

Now that I’m out of college and working, I have my own resources. And I’ve decided to put some of that towards a running coach. I love the sport and I don’t see myself deciding to quit anytime soon, so I feel like it’s a worthwhile investment. Training and reaching goals brings me a lot of happiness, and I know a coach will help me blow those goals out of the water.

After a lot of consideration, research, and cost comparison, I signed up to work with McKirdy Trained, a group of 11 coaches formed by head coach, James McKirdy. I had reached out to James with a few questions before I signed up and was very impressed with his honest and friendly approach. The very next day I signed up to work with the coach, Mary Johnson (who also has a fantastic blog – It’s A Marython).

2 Generations RunningI signed up in November and so far, I’m really enjoying the experience. I’ve done a lot of different workouts and run a lot of easy miles. I’ve been in the base-building phase for my March half, but things are certainly going to pick up in January and February. I’ll be running higher mileage than I ever have for a half marathon before and I know there are going to be some killer workouts, but instead of being afraid, I’m so excited.

So here’s to a new year filled with new running friends, fast races, and big PRs! 2017, I have a good feeling about you. 😉

 

 

 

 


5ks vs. Marathons

I have run a lot of 5ks recently (even excluding the Turkey Trot mishap). There was the Boston River Run, then the Indie 5k at The Running Event in Orlando, FL (I skipped the recap on this one… There wasn’t much exciting about it to be totally honest), and this past weekend, I ran the Yulefest 5k (though I used this as more of a workout and less of a race).

Vazee 2090 Review | 2 Generations RunningAfter all these races, I had a bit of a realization.

5ks are really, freaking hard.

The 5k I ran in Orlando was PANCAKE flat, though hot and humid and I was seriously wiped out by Mile 2. It was such a struggle to keep running, which seems ridiculous given that the race was only 3.1 miles.

As crazy as it sounds, I think I prefer the slow burn of 26.2 miles to the intense blast of pain that comes with racing a 5k. Yes, the marathon beats your legs up more (and I have yet to lose a toenail from a 5k), but there is something about ticking off the miles in a marathon that makes me feel almost superhuman strong (as tired as you are by mile 20).

Baystate Marathon 2016 Race RecapI have yet to really race a 5k where I did not feel like I was at death’s door by the end.

It’s funny because people automatically assume that it’s the “less serious” runners who are running 5ks for the most part. But running a really good, fast 5k is arguably much harder than running a decent marathon time. And this is definitely something I struggle with. I was really happy with my performance at Baystate. I’m proud of running a 3:53, and I’m also 100% confident that I can improve on that. It’s harder to feel that way about the 5k, when I feel like I am clawing tooth and nail to take a few seconds off.

The 5k brings back memories of the first time I raced the 400 in high school (one lap around the track). I took off fast and kept up fairly well with the older girls at first, until the final 150 meters where my legs just locked up. I felt like I was still running hard but to everyone else, it looked like I was jogging it in.

Obviously, everyone tends to prefer things they are good at and I won’t lie that that probably plays a big part in my preference. My marathon time has improved in huge jumps over 3 attempts, but with the 5k, it’s been quite the challenge to shave off SECONDS, and I have raced more 5ks than I can count.

I know I’ll get there in my 5k, it’s just a question of putting in the work and training.

So shoutout to all the 5k runners out there! Props to you for crushing it in a race that doesn’t get nearly the credit it deserves. And if you haven’t read Lauren Fleshman’s article, 10 Reasons the 5k is Freaking Awesome, you’ve GOT to read it. 🙂

Happy weekend and try to stay warm out there! It is going to be in the low teens in New England this weekend and I am pretty much ready to spend the entire weekend curled up under a blanket. 🙂


Holiday Running + Yulefest 5k

Happy Monday folks!

Can you believe we are almost halfway through the month of December?? And almost to Christmas?!

Christmas is coming | 2 Generations RunningIn keeping with the holiday spirit, I ran the Yulefest 5k in Cambridge on Sunday. With it being my 3rd 5k in a month, I decided to treat this race as more of a workout followed by a fantastic post-race party (my running club was one of the biggest teams to sign up so we had our own tent, supply of soft pretzels, Bolloco breakfast burritos, and of course, beer/hard cider).

So in spite of the frigid temps (low 20’s), I was pretty excited for this race.

Our club did a group warm-up (1 mile easy paced followed by some drills) and then it was time to go! My goal was to reign myself in on the 5k and then I was going to finish up with 4 x 2 minute intervals to round out the workout.

I got into the starting corral with only a couple minutes to spare and couldn’t work my way backwards to my desired pace group, which probably contributed to me going out a little faster than intended. Nevertheless, I didn’t feel like I was killing myself (which is how I typically feel in 5ks) so I thought that was a good sign. I hit the first mile in 7:21.

The course was mostly flat with a couple of gentle hills. While it felt super cold standing around, I have to say, the temps felt MUCH better for running than they did in the 5k I ran in Orlando last week. Plus, it was tons of fun running with all the reindeer (I was wearing a pair of antlers myself), santas, and elves. I even got a high-five from Santa outside a bar. 🙂 Mile 2 was slower but more on target for my desired pace – 7:39.

In mile 2-3, I was running next to an older guy who was breathing extremely hard (really more like gasping). I wasn’t listening to music so I felt hyper-aware of it. The good news was that it reminded me to tune in to my own breathing/effort levels. I still felt pretty solid. I knew I was working, but I didn’t feel like I was running myself into the ground (the way the guy next to me was). I hit mile 3 in 7:40 and then had an exciting .1 finish with tons of folks cheering. It amped me up and I managed to run the final stretch at a 6:53 pace, overall 23:42. Not a PR, but also not a bad time for me.

I happily grabbed a water and then made my way past the crowd to find an open area to finish up with my intervals. The sidewalks were crowded, but I quickly found a little park, which was the perfect size for my 2 minute intervals. The first was a little slow as I dodged the folks on the sidewalks – 7:33 pace. The last 3 were much better and made me pretty excited (as tough as they were).

Interval 2 – 2 min @ 6:56/mile

Interval 3 – 2 min @ 6:54/mile

Interval 4 – 2 min @ 6:48/mile.

And all after running a 5k at an avg 7:31/mile pace. 🙂

I know the intervals are short but it does make me pretty excited to see sub-7 min paces popping up on my watch. Gives me good feelings about what will happen in half marathon #17. 🙂

After finishing the intervals, I made my way back to enjoy the post-race party. It was chilly, but still an awesome time. And my running club won for fastest team!

yulefestHow was your weekend?

Did anyone else race? Any holiday themed runs?


Half Marathon Training Has Begun!

I ran my current half marathon PR (1:45) at the Augusta Half Marathon back in February. That race was essentially part of training for the Delaware Marathon – I wasn’t following a specific half marathon plan, though I felt very fit going into it from marathon training. To date, this is still one of my favorite races.

2016 Augusta Half MarathonWhile I have 16 half marathons under my belt, most I trained for without any real time goals. When I first started out and my mom and I ran our first half, it was all about finishing. While I did start to think about faster times with each subsequent race, I would say I was pretty disorganized about it. Generally, I would just look up what pace I needed to run to hit a PR and then hope for the best on race day. Maybe I would try to do 2-3 runs at that pace during training. But it was pretty low-key.

That’s easy to get away with when you’re first starting out and able to make huge jumps in progress just as you become more experienced as a runner, but it gets harder as your times get faster. For example, between my first and second half marathons, I shaved 10 minutes off from a 2:15 to a 2:05. For me to shave 10 minutes off my current PR, and run a 1:35, I would have to run a 7:15/mile pace for 13.1 miles. That’s not going to happen by accident.

First Half Marathon | 2 Generations RunningSerious throwback to our first HALF MARATHON EVER!! I am running in soccer shorts. Clearly still have a lot to learn.

Baystate Marathon 2016 Race RecapLost the soccer shorts and added compression sleeves. I finally look like I know what I’m doing. 😉

 

I’ve already noticed that my PRs are shrinking in size with each race. From my previous personal best in the half to Augusta was a 3-minute drop. My first marathon to my second was a 40-minute improvement (26.2 miles makes for a lot of opportunity to make up time!). But my second to my third was a 4-minute improvement.

What all of this means is that at this point in my running career, PRs are only going to come with clear and goal-oriented training. I can’t wing it anymore. With that in mind, I’ve picked my next half marathon where I’ll be gunning for a new PR – the Half at the Hamptons on March 5th in Hampton, NH. It won’t be a new state unfortunately, but sometimes it is easier to go for a big goal without adding the stress of travel on top of it. And this will be a big goal. Because I am hoping to break 1:40 for the first time.

Wish me luck!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow – who will also be running a Turkey Trot???

 


Kukimbe: Just Swipe Right

Hey all!

As you may have gathered from reading my blog over the years, I really love running – and racing, in particular. I spend a decent amount of time hunting for my next race. Generally this involves logging onto websites like Running in the USA or Halfmarathons.net. Then, I look on Google Maps to check out driving distance. And then I look for reviews and race recaps on other running blogs to really vet an option.

It’s a long process.

But if I’m going to drop $50-$100 on a race, I want to make sure it’s going to be worth it.

And I can pretty much forget about trying to do this all on my phone. These websites are not mobile-friendly and it just gets confusing trying to access the information I need all on the small screen of my iPhone. I ran into this issue recently looking for some of the 5ks I signed up, including the Boston River Run. Eventually I just got frustrated and gave up.

Kukimbe ReviewIf I had been using Kukimbe when I was looking for 5ks, the Boston River Run would have been presented as a possible option just like this.

I was pretty excited when the folks over at Kukimbe reached out to me, telling me about the new app they have designed to help runners find races! Kukimbe means ‘Runner’ in Kenyan, and personally, I think it’s the app we runners have all been waiting for. There are already a thousand different apps for tracking your running/training. FINALLY, there is an app that helps you actually find and register for your goal race!

Kukimbe Review | 2 Generations Running

It works kind of like a dating app (as strange as that sounds). It uses geo-location to find local races and then presents them to the user, one at a time. Swipe right for ‘Yes’, swipe left for ‘No’. The races that you swipe right are then bookmarked for you in the app. You can go back to the races you are interested in, and follow a link which takes you right to the Registration page for that race. It is so easy to use and a really fun way to browse around and discover new races in your area. I probably had a little bit too much fun swiping left and right for races. 😉

Kukimbe Review | 2 Generations RunningLove my new Kukimbe shirt!

The app also has a ‘Feed’ similar to your Facebook feed, where they publish running-related articles, blog posts, and updates on the registration deadlines for major races. In the ‘Podium’ section, you can select from categories like ‘Women’s Apparel’, ‘Men’s Footwear’, or ‘Holiday Gift Guide’. You can then browse around items in each category. With Christmas coming up fast, the gift guide might just come in handy for thinking up a different type of present for the athletic/outdoorsy-type person!

One feature I’m particularly excited about with Kukimbe is the ability for users to accumulate points, which can then be redeemed for race registrations or discounts on merchandise within the app. This feature has not been fully developed yet as the app is still very new, but I think it has the potential to be really fun as well as a cost-saver on all the race registrations! The app is free in iTunes and Google Play, so I highly recommend downloading it and playing around.Runners World Classic Review 2016How can you NOT love racing when it comes with all this swag??

Which do you prefer – running or RACING? I would pick a race over a workout any day of the week.

Are you picky about the races you sign up for?

Are you as stoked as I am about this app? 


Back At It Again!

Hey Friends!

Hope you all had a great weekend! I popped in on Saturday to share a review of a fantastic new brand of compression socks, so if you missed my review, be sure to check it out!

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, one of the things I have been looking forward to most is getting back to running some speedy 5ks now that my marathon season is over. I’m very excited to officially have a few races on my calendar as part of that plan! Next Sunday, I’ll be running the Boston River Run 5k. Given that it’s along the Charles, it should be flat and fast. I’m very curious to see how my legs will handle it. I ran a different 5k along the Charles shortly after Delaware and hit a pretty big PR, so I’m wondering if I will see a similar effect this time around? Honestly, I don’t have any expectations though. I really want to use it to gauge my current fitness level. I also signed up for a local Turkey Trot 5k for Thanksgiving. That course should have a few rolling hills in it, but I just want to have fun and get a little exercise in before feasting with my family. 🙂 Then in December, I’ll be running the Cambridge Yulefest 5k. This race is HUGELY popular with my running club and pretty much everyone I’ve talked to about it has said that it’s an absolute blast, so I’m pretty excited for it. So 3 5ks in 2 months! Praise the lord for short races with quick recovery times.

I eased back into some running this week, but so far, I’ve still been keeping the mileage pretty low and most of the runs on the easy side.

Monday – I flew home so no workout. But it felt good to come home to Boston!

Tuesday – An easy 4-miler on my regular route. I ran in the early afternoon and it felt great to finally be back at it.

Wednesday– I ran home from work. I LOVE that I can get in a nice, 4.5 mile run from my office! I wish I had done this sooner! I was treated to this pretty epic view which just made it that much better. I’m beginning to think Boston might just have the prettiest sunsets ever.

img_1796Thursday – Speed workout with my running club. It has been ages since I’ve been to one of these workouts! Between my travel schedule and marathon training, I hadn’t been there in MONTHS. Now that things have slowed down at work, I’m really looking forward to attending these workouts and getting more involved in the club.

Friday – Much needed rest day. I was a little sore from the workout the day before, so I think my legs needed the rest.

Saturday – Another easy 4-miler.Running RouteThere’s nothing like running in the Fall. My route is looking gorgeous!

Sunday – Rest day.

Overall, my legs are feeling pretty good. I’m looking forward to starting to incorporate some harder workouts, some races, and to start slowly increasing my mileage again.

How was your week? What’s your favorite part of Fall running – cooler temps, beautiful scenery, something else?

 

 


3 Lessons Learned From My Third Marathon

Hello again!

First off, thank you all for your kind words! Baystate was definitely a break-through race for me and I’m very lucky to have friends/readers/family like you all to share my stories with!

These past few days I have really been soaking in the whole zero running experience and it has been slightly glorious. It’s also given me time to reflect on what made this marathon so different from my previous two. One of my main reasons for signing up for Baystate was that I wanted to give myself more experience at the marathon distance so that I can continue to learn how to manage the distance and improve in my running. So far, I’ve gone from running a 4:36 (2014) to a 3:57 (May, 2016) to a 3:53 (Fall, 2016). I’ve already seen some huge improvements and I’m confident that I can continue to chip away at these times.

These were the biggest lessons and improvements I saw in this third marathon.

3 Lessons Learned From Marathon #3 | 2 Generations Running1. I picked a goal pace that was representative of my current fitness level. Like many runners, part of the attraction of the marathon for me is aiming for that Boston qualifying time. I went into my training cycle for Delaware with this goal in mind. About halfway through the cycle, I realized this was not realistic for me and I adjusted the target paces of my workouts. However, I was still  amped up about the race and chose a goal pace that was pretty aggressive (for my fitness level at the time). I ran that race stubbornly trying to hang onto that goal pace. In hindsight, I should have been able to tell I was working too hard to maintain that for 26.2 miles, but it took blowing up at Mile 20 to really drive home the message.

With this marathon, I dialed back my expectations in terms of pace. I took an honest look at the paces I was running hard on long runs, and let that information guide my race plan – not my ego. I also picked a pace range (8:45 – 8:55/mile). I remember in Delaware, constantly checking my watch and trying to adjust my pace practically every 2 minutes to stay at my goal. That was not exactly conducive to staying relaxed and mentally strong during the race. The pace range worked really well at Baystate. For the first 3 miles, I kept my pace slower than my goal pace (right around 9:00 min/mile) before easing into the slower end of the range for the next few miles as I warmed up and then I was able to pick it up gradually over the second half. This also led me to negative split the marathon (i.e., I ran the second half 1 minute faster than the first half). Strava published this excellent blog post on negative splitting marathons if you are interested in reading more about it. Strava also announced a challenge in which they have partnered with New Balance to provide Strava users who negative split a marathon with a free pair of sneakers! I’ve applied and hope to be getting a new pair of sneakers sometime in December. 🙂

2016 Baystate MarathonAlong with pace, I kept checking in on my effort levels, asking myself if I felt like I could keep up what I was running for 26.2 miles. If I had done this in Delaware, I probably would have slowed my pace earlier and possibly saved some time I lost during the second half of that race.

2. I incorporated more “fast finish” miles into my long runs during this training cycle. I didn’t aim to do every long run at marathon goal pace for the entire duration, but I did try to pick up the pace during the last 5-6 miles of some of my 15-18 mile runs. Like most first-time marathoners, I used to train my long runs entirely at “LSD” – Long Slow Distance. The more I have read up on different marathon training schools of thought, the more I have realized this approach is flawed when you are aiming for time goals. In my future training cycles, I plan to continue to work on using more race-specific workouts at my goal pace.

3. I got my fueling right this time. In Delaware, I started drinking Gatorade from the aid stations in the second half despite the fact that I had never used Gatorade on any of my training runs. It was getting so warm at the time that I thought I needed the electrolytes, but I think it was probably the Gatorade that had me feeling so queasy and sick to my stomach by Mile 20. This time around, I stuck to my gels (1 GU, 4 Hüma gels). I took one every 5 miles and did them with water from the aid stations. I never felt my energy levels wane in Baystate (not until the last couple of miles at least) and I definitely attribute that to staying on top of my fueling.

While there was only a 4-minute difference between my time in Delaware and my time at Baystate, there was a HUGE difference in how I felt between these two races. Delaware was one of those marathons that made me question whether I would ever run the distance again. I felt horrendous for the last 6 miles, my pace fell way off, and I had to walk stretches of the last few miles. When I crossed the finish line, I had to go straight to the med tent and had a minor case of heat stroke. In Baystate, I never once felt like I had to walk. I felt strong at Mile 20 and even as I got tired by Mile 23, I was mentally strong enough to keep myself pushing forward at my goal pace. Even though I am losing toenails once again, I’m already feeling the itch to run again (and to sign up for my next marathon). I guess third time really is the charm. 🙂

What lessons have you learned from previous races (marathon, half, 5k, whatever!)?


Why Running Isn’t Boring

Hey friends, happy Friday!

So as I’ve mentioned this before, but I work with a lot of very active, health-conscious folks. They’re into hiking, rock-climbing, boot camp, you name it! Most of them like to run, but for the most part, they aren’t into distance running.

Why Running Isn't Boring | 2 Generations Running

The expressions I get when I tell them I’ve gone and signed up for another half or full marathon are priceless.

Eye Roll | 2 Generations Running“Ugh, why would you do that to yourself? It’s so masochistic” 

“That sounds so boring

Boring is actually the word I get a lot. Maybe that’s a function of being in the OCR industry – a lot of OCR athletes prefer obstacle course racing because they see the obstacles as breaking up the monotony of a run. And I get where they’re coming from. Just plain old running by yourself with nothing but your thoughts for hours on end? It sounds boring. But it’s not – not if you’re doing it right.

I think what has really hooked me on running is the goal to be constantly improving on my last race. And once you have that goal that you’re fixated on and training towards, there are suddenly so many variables, so many schools of thought, and so many training plans, that how can you be bored? It’s this big experiment, and you’re both scientist and lab rat. Your variables include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Nutrition (both your pre-run breakfast as well as your overall nutrition)
  • Distance
    • Training for a 5k looks very different than training for a marathon, but both can be incredibly challenging depending on your goals.
  • Training Plan (custom, Hansons, Hal Higdon, Runners World, etc…)
    • Once you have your training plan, there’s even more variables, like speedwork, hills, long runs, and tempo runs. Hopefully, a good training plan will give you direction on how to control these things.
    • Having a coach – another variable, but also a source of control over the variables of the training runs.
  • Shoes
    • Minimalist or heavy cushioning or somewhere in between?
  • Stretching
  • Foam-rolling
  • Gear! For example, there are a THOUSAND different types of GPS watches as well as many different types of compression socks/sleeves. Both types of products are designed to be used to make better runners.
  • Fuel (like GU or Honeystingers)
  • Life. Because like it or not, it sometimes gets in the way. 😉

Maybe I was a crazed scientist in another life, but a big part of me needs to keep playing with these variables until I reach my peak performance. And with this many variables, I could be experimenting for a long time. But that’s part of the thrill for me – I’m not in this for quick results, just steady improvement, however incremental that may be. It’s this mindset that has led me from a 2:12 half marathon (4 years ago) to a 1:45 half marathon and from a 4:36 marathon to a 3:57 – and I know there is SO much more I can do to get faster as long as I continue to run.

Runners World Classic Review 2016(Happy days when you score an age group win and a new pint glass!)

And if I get “bored” with marathons and half marathons, well then maybe I’ll start training for a crazy fast 5k. 🙂 That is actually what I am hoping to do once I’ve adequately recovered from Baystate in 2 weeks. See, it’s kind of hard to get bored when there are so many races to run and PRs to set!

So that’s my little rant about why running isn’t boring – I’ll get off my soapbox now. 🙂

Have you been told running is boring before?


Life & Running Lately

So hello there again, hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July this past weekend!

Happy 4th!Work has been a little crazy lately and it seems like every week, I’ve been heading out on a new trip (most recently Boise, ID and tomorrow I’m off to Indiana). All the travel has been fun, but not exactly conducive to maintaining a regular running OR blogging routine. So here’s a quick rundown of both life and running lately.

  1. In 2 weeks, my mom and I will be running the Runners World Classic in Andover, Mass. My mom will be doing the 5k and half and I will be doing the Hat Trick (5k, 10k, and half marathon). I’m excited for this race, but I also know it will probably be hot and tough, given that I’ll be running 22.4 miles over the course of 2 days. So I won’t be chasing any PR’s at this one, but that’s ok. 🙂
  2. In preparation for that, I ran a 10 mile long run on the trails this past weekend and it was awesome. It had been so long since I had done any trail running, I forgot how soft the ground feels compared to pavement!
  3. I watched the Olympic trials for track and field on tv this past weekend. So inspiring!! I wish I was out in Eugene watching them live.
  4. My mom bought this book recently and was telling me how good it was. IMG_0861I was browsing her copy while I was home this weekend, and thought it was awesome too, so we made a trip to Barnes & Noble so that I could pick up a copy for myself. So far, I’m really impressed by how user-friendly it is. The first 5-6 chapters show step-by-step instructions and photos on how to do the different strength-training exercises and then the last chapter is an 8-week plan incorporating all the moves. I think this will definitely be worth a full review once I have time to check it out more.
  5. Yesterday evening, I attended my first treadmill studio class at Mystryde in Boston! IMG_0866SO. COOL (please ignore the pile of trash ruining my artsy photo). It’s set up like a spin class… but with running! They give you pace cards and you can pick which paces suit you based on your fitness level. I chose the ‘Intermediate’ paces and I was a happy, sweat-drenched mess by the end. 🙂 I would definitely go back for more classes and I could see this being VERY useful come winter when it’s even harder to find the motivation to get outside and run.

So in summary – life is busy and good and we are still running 🙂

Hope you all have a wonderful week!


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.