Thursday, April 18, 2013

My Love Letter to Boston

Dear Boston,

Thank you for reminding me that there are heroes walking (and running) unnoticed among us. To the first responders, race volunteers, and bystanders who rushed in to help the injured without any concern for your own safety – your courage and selflessness inspire me. You restored my faith that the good in this world will always overcome the evil. And to the Boston residents who stopped two random women on the street to make sure that we were okay and to see if we needed anything – your generosity and kindness amaze me. You, too, are proof that good, caring, compassionate people outnumber those with hatred in their hearts.

I am grateful to you for reminding me that the connections we forge with other people are the most important things in this life. The outpouring of love and concern for Maria and me was overwhelming – once news of the tragedy broke, our phones were constantly notifying us of texts, emails, calls, and Facebook messages from people who were worried about us. I came home from Boston knowing that I am loved, and there is no more comforting feeling in the world in the midst of such a terrifying situation.

And although it seems much less important than so many other things right now, thank you for putting on a race that lived up to every last bit of hype surrounding it. The city rolled out the red carpet for us runners, and the race volunteers and spectators were nothing short of amazing. The entire course was lined with people cheering, holding funny signs, and handing out orange slices, water, wet sponges, Kleenxes, etc. The people of Boston were right there with us, every step of the 26.2 miles. It was a perfect, dream come true day right up until the moment everything changed.

My heart aches for all the people whose lives were forever altered in an instant on Monday. I have thought of little else since I got home. This morning, I proudly put on my race shirt and ran for the first time since the marathon. For four miles, instead of focusing on how powerless events like this make me feel, I thought of how I could honor the victims and survivors of the bombing in my day-to-day life. I’m going to try harder to help others in need. I’m going to let the people I love know just how much they mean to me every chance I get. While I know I will never forget what happened on Monday, I’m going to stand strong with the rest of the running community and keep running and racing every chance I get. And Boston, if you’ll have me with my just barely qualifying time, I will be honored and thrilled to run your streets again in 2014.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Spring Is In the Air

Yes, finally it is Spring time.  Yay!  I haven't needed to wear two layers of clothes on my bike rides in a couple of weeks now and my toes have stayed warm  :).  Training is going well.  Boston is in a week from Monday!  I'm super excited.  I know this year is going to be awesome! 

Here are a few things that I've missed posting in the last month:

  • I participated in the Sarasota Half Marathon for the 2nd year in a row and it was awesome. 
    • About the race:
    • I highly recommend this race to anyone.  It's a small race that's flat with one bridge that you run over twice in the beginning (while you are still fresh).  It's at a good time of year where it's still cool.  I say cool because sometimes it can be 50s and sometimes it can be 60s.  But, not likely to get warmer than that. 
    • The medal is awesome and the post-race food is catered by First Watch

    • About my race:
    • I started the morning with nothing to eat and waited until about 30 min before start time to eat a Honey Stinger Waffle (those are sooo yummy) and some gatorade with a scoop of NO Explode pre-workout.  I had a chance to use the bathroom before the race.  If I hadn't the race would have turned out very badly. 
    • Waiting for the gun to go off I was talking with Sarah (and myself) saying that I was just going to go with the flow.  I wasn't expecting to PR and I wasn't going to push myself trying to reach one.  But, I started the race and my first mile was 7:28 and each mile got faster from there.  Except mile 5 which was the second time going over the bridge - that was at 7:35. 
    • I took to gels, one at mile 7 and one at mile 10.  I didn't have any stomach issues during or after the race.  The races that are like that, where I don't have any stomach problems, are my favorite.  Regardless of my time. 
    • I did PR... by 3 minutes from the St. Pete RnR Marathon that was a month earlier.  Finishing time 1:35:04 - 7:19 min/mi. 
  • I have taught one more spin class that went really well.  So, I think I'm getting the hang of it.  My first couple of classes were too structured.  I was literally teaching the class by saying something every 30 seconds or less.  It's too distracting for them and for me.  I will most my spin profiles in another post. 
  • I ran my longest distance ever - 28.01 miles @ 8:28 min/mile. 
  • This was the longest distance for my Boston training.  I know that some people like to follow a plan that only takes them to about 20 - 24 miles as their longest, but I prefer to get as close to the actual mileage as possible in my training.  I do think there are added physical benefits, but for more it's more the mental.  If I do the distance, I know that when I get to race day, and I can tell myself "you've done this before.  Relax, you can do it again".  Everyone is different though.  Some people are satisfied and feel prepared come race day by breaking up all the mileage throughout the week.  To each their own.  Whatever works for you is what you should do. 
  • I decided to back out of the Vineman Full Distance tri this year. It was getting to be too expensive to go out there and I need to save my money to pay for Florida IM and for a wedding next February.  I want to do Augusta again, but I have to see when it gets closer.  Maybe I will miraculously get my money affairs in order.  I don't know, though.  I want to upgrade some of my bike components too.  Decisions, decisions...
  • I follow Meghann on Meals and Miles and she got a full time job working for Iron Girl.  I am so jealous.  And, on top of that, she gets to (and is encouraged to) go swim in the Gulf on her lunch break with other people she works with.  Even more jealous.  She also posted a swim session about a week ago with her normal swim group.  A couple of take aways from this:
    • Take away 1: When I do kicks in the pool, I normally just go at a normal pace.  Nothing too fast or too slow.  But, Meghann mentioned that she did some of the lengths with fast kicks.  So, the next time I went to the pool, I warmed up with 200 swim, 200 kick, 200 pull.  For the kick and pull, it was one length normal, one length fast.  I like this and I think I will continue to do that.  I never thought about trying to improve my kick.  No one really every talks about making your kicks stronger.   
    • Take away 2: I've been thinking about trying to squeeze a workout in at lunch time.  After reading about her swimming at lunch I decided that was it.  So, I tried it out today.  It worked out ok.  I will probably have to take a little longer of a lunch and either come in earlier or stay a little later on those days though.  I need about 15 minutes longer than a normal lunch hour to get to the pool, change, swim for at least 30 min., cool down, change, and then drive back to work.  Notice the time needed to cool down.  Well, funny story.  Today after my swim, I couldn't stop sweating.  I needed to go next door to the SwimBikeRun store to ask some questions about and look at their aerobars.  When I walked in, the bike guy Bruce, asked me if it was raining outside!  LOL.  Hence, I need about 5 minutes to just sit and cool down. 
  • My brother, Marcus, and his boyfriend, Myke, are on day 89 of P90X.  They have both lost around 25 pounds each.  I can't wait to see them.  But, even better than this (to me because it's selfish) is that Myke has run a 5k and is now looking to bump it all the way up to a half marathon.  I am so excited about this!  I told him we can plan race-cations together now.
  • I got invited to be a part of the elite wave of the new Iron Girl triathlon in Clermont.  I was very excited about this.  It's not like getting invited to participate in Ironman, but I'll take it  :)
  • So, upcoming races:
    • 4/13 - Escape from Ft. DeSoto (yes, two days before Boston.  I think it will be a nice way to keep my legs warmed up  :) )
    • 4/15 - Boston Marathon 
    • 4/28 - St. Anthony's - I'm getting pretty pumped about this one.  I haven't been able to do it the last couple of years because I've been participating in the Nautica S. Beach Tri with a team.  
    • 5/4 - Iron Girl Tri
    • 5/19 - Haines City Half  
I think that about sums up everything that's happened in the last month.  After Haine's City, I don't have any major races planned until the Women Rock Marathon in Minnesota on 8/31/13.  I am definitely going to be looking forward to that one because I'll get to hang out with Sarah for a few days.  Since she'll be moving in June I won't have a good friend and my best running partner around for a couple of months.