10k’s are hard…but worth it!

There is such a major difference between running and racing. Like, I run marathons…but I race 5k’s and 10k’s.

Honestly? It’s almost easier running marathons. lol I just start easy and try to stay there. 🙂

5k’s aren’t so bad. It’s just going as fast as you possibly can for 3.1 miles. But 10k’s? They require a little strategy. Because I can’t just go as fast as I possibly can for 6.2 miles. I run outta steam around mile 4.5 if I try that.

This weekend I ran my second 10k within a month – the Narragansett Summer Running Festival 10k.

It’s a great little race that’s part of a whole weekend – 5k & 10k Saturday, 13.1 on Sunday and beer, music & food after all of them. The shorter races are on a college campus – so no traffic and some pretty scenery.

When I ran the BAA 10k at the end of June I went in with no expectations. I wasn’t trying to get a PR and so it was a delightful surprise when I did. But that actually put the pressure on for this weekend. What could I accomplish if I tried?

The weather was gorgeous at 6am. But the race? It didn’t start until 8:30. And it got a little warmer and sunnier. But I was dressed for the heat…and prepared. <<
d as I waited to start and watched the 5k finishers come through looking hot and tired, I started to psych myself out.

I decided I would just seed myself with the 9 minute milers, go out fast with them and then just see what happens.

The 10k was a double loop of the 5k course. Which I actually liked, because it meant I could strategize in the second half – knowing where the water stop was, where the sprinklers were, and when I could push or hold back.

We took off, and I almost felt like an elite just sliding into a pack, staying with this group of women and letting them set the pace. It felt fast, but not "struggle fast" and when my watch beeped mile 1 I dared a glance. 9:10. Perfect!!

We cruised along and I let them go, dropping back a little because I know my habit of speeding up too much in my second mile would hurt me later and I wanted to try not to. Plus, it was nice having a little more room to run.

Mile 2 came as a 9:02. Okay, a little faster but not hideously so.

Mile 3 was the pretty mile, but also the hilly and narrower mile. I got boxed in a couple times, but chose to not try to get around. Instead I used it as a chance to cruise for a few seconds and catch my breath. Mile 3 was slower than the first 2, a 9:19. But still where I needed to be for a PR.

We hit the split for the second half and cruised down a great hill. Than back onto the gravel and grass section. Which I am apparently faster on. I think it's because I focus more on my feet and the ground. Because mile 4? Back to a 9:08.

Here, with 2 miles left I started "runner math". Trying to calculate the pace I needed to PR and if I could slow down. Because I was hitting a wall. I started being more aware of the tangents and trying to run efficiently.

As I neared the next water stop, I made a choice to risk the few seconds to take water. I was afraid if I didn't, I might pay for it the final mile. It's like, spend that time now, or spend it later. Plus I was SO hot! Tho I reminded myself, it was way hotter on July 3rd and I managed to survive that 5k. This, was nowhere hear as bad.

I made eye contact with a volunteer, grabbed the water and walking, went drink, some over the head, drink, more over the head, and back to running. 🙂

I think those seconds were well spent, as I still managed a 9:15 mile 5.

Mile 6 was a game of, you can go easy if you need to, but also, if you can push, you can get an even better PR. lol I came across the footbridge over the pond, angled across the winding path and passed a few people.

Then a few more as I got to the final hill, which really wasn't that long or that steep. But when you've been running hard for almost 6 miles, it amplified it.

I saw the mile 6 sign and started to both smile, and dry heave. Lol It happens in races when I really push. (I have pics from the Disney half this year that are hilariously hideous!) And I spent the next .1 yelling at myself to "slow the hell down". I got it under control, saw the turn to the finish and sped up.

I went into that finish chute in a full on sprint. Heard the announcer call out my name and saw the hubs standing next to the finish line grinning.

I crossed, with arms open wide, as if I was breaking the tape. Because I had, broken my record. To me that's winning. I beat myself. 😁 By a full 40 seconds. My new best 10k? A 57:42.

I think this one might stand for a bit. (Or at least longer than the 3 weeks the last one did. Lol)

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BAA 10k – Unicorns and Legends

Sunday I ran the BAA 10k, the second leg of the Distance Medley. And it was…magical.

The weather was almost ideal. 60’s and overcast. More humid than I like, but well, we can’t have everything. 🙂

The hubs (acting as “coach” for the day) and I snagged a photo

We met up with my friend Cara pre-race and got our shirts, scoped out the distance medley participant “VIP tent” (thanks Infiniti for the portable charger with the unicorn on it!) and had fun checking out some of the costumes people chose to run in. (Lotta unicorns – lotta blue & yellow)

Then it was time to race.

Standing in the Corral I heard the announcer say it was a fast course and a good day for a PR, or a course PR. And I remember thinking “well, since it’s my first time on this course it’s definitely a course PR”.

This race is “Disney crowded” and I knew when I started that I’d spend some time jockeying for position and getting around people. My strava later labeled a chunk of the first mile on Comm Ave as “frogger”. Which cracked me up because it’s spot on.

I knew I wanted to hit a good pace early, one that I could fall into and stay at. I also knew that I was not going to look at my watch at all during the race, because I didn’t want to know. If I was slow, fine. If I was fast, sweet. And whatever it was and the end, was what it would be.

I don’t remember too much of what I saw on course, because there were a lot of construction areas and I was more concerned with watching the road in front of me.

But I do remember a few things:

  • The golden retrievers in the blue & yellow necklaces – awwww
  • Hearing the volunteer before mile 2 announce the lead male had come by the other way (well past mile 4 for him. Wow)
  • Seeing Cara on an out and back and waving.
  • Seeing the Boston Strong painted on the underside of the overpass and raising my arm to it. 💙💛
  • The car at mile 5 wth the 88.7 sticker. And thinking wow, that’s an odd distance to run. Oh wait…radio station. Lol
  • The cairn terrier shortly after. This was special. I was struggling at this point, and thinking about trying to slow down when I saw him. Head raised I sent a silent thank you to my angel Gus, and surged on.

I made it to mile 6 and started looking around more. The dogs, the people, the “go Kelly’s”. And I felt stronger. I made the turn to the finish and held my pace, just for a minute, before sprinting all out to cross.

Check out those “sprint arms” lol

I stopped my watch….saw the 58:22 and grinned. Mouthed “F-ck Yeah” and thought of how far I’ve come back this year.

I walked past Dave McGillivray and smiled. I got my medal, and then heard that Desi Linden was now high-fiving runners at the finish line.

And my first thought was “dammit, if I’d just been a minute slower”.

It wasn’t until later, when I got home and looked up my PR records, that I realized I’d not only gotten a course PR, but a real one.

I beat the 58:28 I set at my very first 10k in 2009. Finally, I can stop saying that my 1st remains my fastest. And also, it eased the sting of missing Desi. Cuz PR’s trump all. 😁

Plus I did still get to see her. After the race we were looking for a place for a good photo and wandered by the stage in time to hear Des and Meb speak. They are both so nice, and humble and amazing champions. And I was lucky enough to snag a photo of Des.

After the race we headed over to the Public Garden to meet other friends. And took some photos with the ducks.

I took a moment to pose my medal with one…the whole time thinking of my friend Lori. And the time we did the same with our blue & yellow Boston Strong scarves we were gifted in 2014. Some things just become forever a part of us. 💙💛🦄

And…I’ll leave you with this. There is nothing like a post race high, to lead you to climb aboard a duck. (If only there’d been a unicorn statue!)

Providence 13.1 – the recap

Gotta say…there is nothing like running a course you haven’t done in a few years to make you realize how far you’ve come as a runner.

The first time I tackled the Providence 1/2 marathon was May 2, 2010.   It was my very first half-marathon and i’d only been racing for two years.  I trained hard and felt prepared going in, but there are just enough challenging spots that I still remember exactly where I struggled (Pittman St).  I finished the race in 2:06:33 and felt like i’d won.

I’d go on to run it again in 2011 (even faster) and 2012 (with my aunt, as her first marathon) before taking a few years off the race.  When I came back to the course in 2015, it was for the marathon, and a PR! I ran the marathon again in 2016, and then took last year off of Providence.

This year, when I signed up for the half it was going to be as a time trial for the Vermont City Marathon.  But fate and a sort of injury had other ideas.  So when I toed the line Sunday, I had a main goal of just enjoying the race.   To not run easy, but not run hard. And to just see what I had.  I was FAIRLY sure I could hit sub 2:15 no problem, hoped I could go sub 2:10 and dream goal – to try to match 2010.

The weather was great – high 50’s, light breeze.  A little humid, but the rain held off, so no complaints.  And when I found a spot in the corral and chatted with some other runners (who I think i’ve now convinced to run Boston next year. LOL) I felt comfortable and worry-free.  The race would be what it was.  The time at the end didn’t really matter.  It would be neither my best, nor my worst so why care.

We took off and I noticed the 2:15 pacer in front of me (I don’t think he seeded himself quite right) and had to remind myself, its mile 1, don’t try to pass him, just don’t lose him.  And over the course of that mile I crept up to and past him.  Phew….

I fell into a comfortable stride.  I barked back at the little blonde terrier barking at the runners from a corner.  I high-fived a couple adorable kids.  And I listened to the conversations around me.  And I tried to not look at my watch.

When we finally made it to Blackstone Boulevard, and hit mile 4 I peeked at my watch and smiled.  It was sub-10 and it felt good. I admired the stunning homes along the route, I waved to spectators and after we turned the corner and past my favorite bakery I thought of my friends. I had joked with one that I hoped it wouldn’t be open when I went past. Knowing i’d stopped for a sangria during the Disney marathon she replied Don’t You Dare.  LOL No worries Amanda…I was in a groove.  And almost tripped over Mrs Potato Head’s eyes (a couple other runners had dressed in costume and one lost an accessory).

For the next couple miles I had some great conversations with other runners (about gatorade flavors and rear ends and how this one woman had just finished Boston a couple weeks ago and was totally taking it easy today (she and I passed each other a few times).  I ran FUN.  I reminded myself to not push my pace.

I legit said “Why are you running?  Because races are fun.  And if you aren’t having fun, you’re not doing it right”

I passed the spectator blaring the Rocky theme song, I smiled and waved at more children.  And at mile 9, looked at my watch again.  Still sub 10-pace.  Woohoo! That would be the last time I looked at my watch.

The next four miles I remembered as the toughest terrain wise.  A steep downhill, a long downhill and a couple of longer uphills.  The downhill scared me more.  My wonky hamstring had been doing okay this race (tho I noticed after my downhill miles were the slower ones) but going back down Gano Street had me nervous.

I wide-stepped the wicked steep downhill, cruised along the water and remembered that this stretch had been the ‘graveyard’ stretch for me my first year.  I was tired at mile 10 and just hanging in there.  This year, I was still running happy and free.

I hit the turn away from the water and began the long winding climb.  As I tucked in and shimmied up I passed a few people and smiled.  I think that was the point where I realized how much stronger i’d gotten over the years.  Hills don’t scare me.  I climb like a mountain goat and never get passed going up one.

So when I finally reached my arch-nemesis Pittman Street, I kinda smiled.  And not just because the November Project cheer station was such a great boost.  But because this year, no fear.  I chugged up the hill to the top steady and strong.

Left onto Gano, and down the hill…as I neared the mile 11 marker, I heard noise and looked over to realize the marathon winner was coming by. WOW.   The runners I was with started to attempt math to figure out pace.  We realized at that point, 24 miles in, he’d been running about 2 hours and 20 minutes.  Ummm….whoa.  That guy was on pace for a 2:30 marathon, with no one even close behind him.  SO impressive.

I ran through India Point Park and looked at the water, smiled and ran on to the mile 12 marker. And thought to myself, home stretch, we got this.

I didn’t try to go faster, well expect for when I saw that final photographer and went full stride for a good pic (LOL), I just ended up doing so.  I remembered how hard that final mile had felt in 2010.  And even in 2015 when I ran the marathon.  And thought about how easy it felt in comparison this year.  (It would turn out to be my fastest mile of the race – a 9:16.)

When I saw the mile 26 marker and knew there was only .2 left I just focused on finishing.  Turned the corner to the finish chute and scanned the crowd a bit (knowing the hubs was probably there somewhere) and then just stared at the finish line.

Opened my stride and went for it.  I flew across the finish with my arms raised.  Stopped my watch, but didn’t look, got my medal and a water and then walked a few feet.

Now…I looked down, read the 2:06:50 and started to shake. And started to cry.  I couldn’t believe it.  My training wasn’t what I wanted.  My hamstring wasn’t what I wanted. I haven’t run that fast that far in a freaking YEAR.  And yet somehow, the legs remembered.

I thought of my friend who I had just asked the day before if she wanted to pace me again next year for a new marathon PR.  And I mouthed “Eff Yeah!”

I headed for the hubs, feeling SO dang proud of myself.  But I was about to be even prouder of him.

For while I was off kicking asphalt, so was he.  My amazing husband, who has only been running for about 6 months and only run two 5k’s prior (both with me), took 3rd in his age group with an amazing 25:32 finish.  Wow babe.  You rock!

Once again…Providence proved it its my BFF course.  And apparently, the hubs’ also.

A Tale of Two 5K’s

This month so far I’ve run two 5k’s which were as different as night and day…and not just literally. Lol

April 7th was the Newport Night Run, held at sunset on a gorgeous (from what I could see) ocean loop in Newport, RI.

April 14th was the B.A.A. 5k, held in the morning at Boston Common, on a great loop that goes right on, left on, and across the famed marathon finish line.

Both were different field sizes (900 versus 9,000), and totally different experiences, both both equally amazing. 🙂

For Newport, I had my favorite training partner by my side. We were decked out in full neon, reflective strips and a headlamp, as suggested by the race director.

And just before dark, we joined the glow at the start line and headed off.  There was a great starting downhill, which unfortunately my wonky leg didn’t love.  But I hung in there and tried not to think about it.  We went through a lovely narrow section lit by luminaries where we noticed a HUGE osprey nest high atop a pole.  We wove around, up and over hills, past some enormous houses and cool stone walls.  The mile marker signs were crazy lights you could see from a ways back, and checking out the cool reflective patterns on some people’s backs when my headlamp hit them was fun.

The race was crowded.  There were definitely spots it was hard to run your pace, and it was WAY hillier than I expected, but we had so much fun chatting and pointing out cool stuff to each other.  And when we finally crested the last hill and saw the downhill to the finish, we ran it out strong.  It was a little slower than i’d hoped – but considering how much my leg hated the downhill sections, how crowded it was, and how it was hard to see where you were stepping sometimes, i’ll take it.  🙂 A 31:07 finish.

But while I said i was fine with it, I sorta feel like I let the hubs down.  He’s fast for a beginner and I know we ran slower than capable off.  I had wanted him to get a sub-30 finish for his second 5k of the year (Disney was the first and we purposely ran that sucker slow), but I know he’ll nail that at his third in Providence next month.

So with the BAA 5k looming, I really wanted to nail that one.  I spent the week between resting more, stretching more and trying to stay zen.  I had a great freak out, and then, just let go, knowing it would be what it was.

Reasons I knew this would go better?  It was morning (my fave run time), a little warmer (high 40’s) and flatter. Plus this time I taped my leg.  🙂

And as we headed up into Boston to meet my friend, and the sun rose above the horizon I broke out into the Circle of Life (LOL!) because it just seemed the thing to do when your friends are also Disney runners (Hakuna Matata Cara).

The hubs didn’t run this one, but was serving as team coach & equipment manager, saving me from having to deal with what was apparently a zoo at bag check.  We met up with the princess posse and hung out, snagging some prerace photos and getting ready.

And a little before 8, headed to the corral, which was SO far back from the start it felt extremely Disney.  In fact, by the time we approached the start, we were just in time to watch the elite men finish.  COOL!  Then…it was our turn.

I went out solid with the crowd, dodging and weaving to get room to run.  I surged up Comm Ave feeling pretty good and when the mile marker hit, I chose to not look at my watch.  I was just gonna run my best and not worry about my time.  I had told my friend Cara that anywhere between 28 & 32 would make me happy, and I meant it.

When we hit the turnaround at Charlesgate I smiled, knowing I was now on the marathon course.  After running it three years in a row, I knew it well.

When we hit the underpass at Mass Ave, I had a brief moment where I remembered 2013, and how that was where my race ended at mile 25.67.  So close, and so far. But I got past myself, I high-fived a guy on the corner of Hereford as I made that infamous right, and scurried up the hill thinking “this is way easier when I haven’t already run 26 miles”.

I turned that left onto Boylston and shouted “Best Left Turn in Town” and raced towards the finish line to fly across and keep going as there was still 3/4 of a mile left.  I started watching the crowds, in case there were any familiar faces.  And cracked up at the blue t-rex alongside the public garden.

Then there was the left turn onto Charles towards the finish line, which seemed SO far away.  I didn’t want to kick until I knew I could sustain it, but when the young girl started to pull alongside I thought “oh honey no” and kicked.  Flew across the finish and to a dead stop (oh no, folks, I gotta keep going, or this won’t be pretty……this is not the place for selfies!).

Checked my watch, got my medal, hugged a friend I randomly bumped into (we’ve managed to run into each other at three or four different races now) and went to find the hubs.  Because I was ready to celebrate….  I pulled a 29:30.  YAY

Now granted, I am so far from my PR paces it sucks, but to at least be back under 30 makes me happy. And the leg continues to get better every week.

What was also cause for celebration?  My friend Cara got a PR!!!!!!!  So exciting.  I just love seeing my friends achieve greatness. 😁

So yeah, these two races were completely different experiences for me, but I loved both and would run both again.  We run different races for different reasons.  Newport was a birthday celebration for me, and quality time with the hubs.  Boston was because its the 5th anniversary of my only race DNF and a chance to earn another unicorn medal.  I had something to prove out there…and I did.

Another thing both races had in common?  Cheers!

Fab 5 weeks to Dopey! Here’s some must pack items and a TVQ Vol 2 update

Another week bites the dust…and we are now just five fabulous little weeks to Dopey!  Yay!!

I know its still a little bit early for packing – but I totally started my packing list already.  There so much to remember to bring that if I don’t write it down while i’m thinking of it, i’ll forget. Especially the little random items that aren’t on everyone’s list. 

But before we get to that…gotta talk turkey!   As in Turkey Vision Quest Vol. 2.

I hadn’t brought it up in my blog because I wasn’t sure I could pull it off, or if it was even a goal this year, but now that I have…gotta brag!

Thanksgiving morning was my new favorite tradition – the Attleboro Gobble Wobble 5k.  What I nicknamed Turkey Vision Quest last year, as I had a goal to finally get a new PR and / or place in my age group.  How that went, was the PR, but 6th place. And I was kind of disappointed.  So I went into this year with a ‘well, i’ll just do my best out there’ attitude.

Things I did differently this year? The hubs, my sole sister Karen and I hung out in the car until right before the start to stay warm and my ‘warmup’ consisted of a quick 20-foot sprint down and back.  Just to make sure nothing bounced, moved or rubbed.   I did however, line up in front with the fast folk.  Because taking off like a shot with them definitely helps get me to a faster pace early and then I just kind of hang on for as long as I can.

My watch was buried under a sleeve and I didn’t want to see it anyway.  So I had no idea my pace.    There was some ice on the course from the rain the day before (did I mention it was COLD?), but otherwise its a nice flat fast route with a few speedbumps so its easy to go fast.

The course is looped out and back so you can see runners going the other way,  and at mile 2ish I heard Karen yell my name.  I yelled back and grinned.   Shortly after someone else called my name – thanks and my apologies for not looking over, but I was in the zone. Then just before mile 3, when the exact same song in the exact same place as last year came on my playlist – I knew I had to be close to last year.  And figured I could definitely snag top 10 AG, maybe top 5.  But I had no idea how many women my age had been in front of me.

We turned the corner at the 3-mile mark and I kicked.  And kicked again.  And gave it every last bit I had out there.  And after I crossed, I finally looked at my watch.

A PR!  25:08.  Unfortunately the race is gun time (not net), so my official was a 2:11. (What’s 3 seconds right? Lol) When I walked over to the results tent, I didn’t get my hopes up…and when the page flipped and there I was, I almost shrieked with delight.  2nd AG!  22nd female and 77th overall.  Out of nearly 600 people.  WOW.  Just WOW.    

Must be the shoes. 

Because #purpleisalwaysfaster. And, this year, Turkey Vision Quest is complete.  A PR and an AG win.   I suppose next year the quest is to be sub-25.  #alwaysroomforimprovement

But that wasn’t my only Dopey training run of the weekend.  I got in a slower 10k run on Friday and a half-marathon distance run on Sunday.  So a sort of Dopey simulation.

And speaking of Dopey… I said I’d give you some ideas on what to pack.  Pack Everything!!

Be the Macgyver of Disney races.  Have such an assortment of random items in your travel bag it looks like you’re about to go on Let’s Make a Deal (instead of about to run Disney.)

Here’s a list of some items I bring that people don’t always think of.  Things that to me, are packing essentials.

  • Ziploc bags
    • Why?  I like to eat my pre-race meal/snack (muffin, bagel, dry cereal) in the start corral. A baggie is a great way to do it.  And toss a napkin in there too.
  • Mini Flashlight
    • Why?  Do you know how dark a portapotty is at 4am?  DARK.  And I kind of like to know what i’m getting into.  Sure, most phones have flashlights built in, but i’m kind of old fashioned about some things.  (and I worry about dropping my phone somewhere it can’t be retrieved)
  • Garbage bag
    • Why?  To sit on in the start corral or even wear to keep warm.
  • Cheap poncho
    • Why?  A) in case it rains and B), you can always use it to sit on in the corral if you don’t bring a garbage bag.   True story – I had one I carried to close to a dozen races before it finally rained at my May marathon and I ran 26.2 miles in it.
  • Sharpie
    • Why? Because they don’t sell them on property anywhere.  And its handy for marking stuff.  Or having someone sign your medal.
  • Disposable coffee cup
    • Why?  Personally I cannot run without coffee.  So i make a cup to go in the room and bring it to the start.  I don’t like to check a bag at the start, so these are great for tossing.  You could always instead bring a travel mug and check it in your race bag.
  • Old pair of socks or cheap pair of gloves
    • Why?  Hand / arm warmers.  If you aren’t using arm sleeves as part of your costume and just want something to keep your hands/arms warm before the race (or during those first couple miles), these work great.  I have a collection of the hub’s old tube socks for just this use.
  • Handwarmers
    • Why?  In case its cold.  Because yes, its Florida, but its still January and sometimes its just cold.  I have circulation issues and my fingers go numb if i’m cold.  And trying to open a gel packet when you can’t feel your fingers is a challenge.
  • Moist Towelettes
    • Why? Because portapotties don’t always have hand gel. And sometimes, your gel gets your fingers sticky.  Or you get biofreeze on your hands with no way to remove the remnants. These little packets fit neatly into whatever is hauling your gear so its easy to carry.
  • Masking tape or duck tape
    • Why?  Why not!  It can work for fashion emergencies (OMG my costume eyes fell off) or to put on something you need to label so your nephew doesn’t claim it as his (hands off the oreos buster.  LOL). You know what they say – theres’s nothing duck tape can’t do.

    Yes, I’m skipping over the essentials like gel, and your costumes and your buddy pouch (or whatever carry pack you use).  And safety pins are a plenty at the expo.  This is just a list of stuff i’ve learned over the years that I’m glad I have. 

    Anyone have anything fun i’ve missed? What’s your can’t live without that people tell you is a “genius idea”?

    And happy training fellow Dopeys. 🙂

    Cinderella seeks glass slipper

    My glass slipper shattered…

    Well, it shattered my 5k PR in November. Lol But now….it has reached its maximum miles. And is about to go into retirement. 

    It’s my fourth pair of this particular shoe. The Brooks Launch 2. My favorite pair of running shoes EVER. And…it no longer exists. 

    Believe me, I’ve looked. Everywhere. It’s just a couple years old and I can’t find it in my size on discount sites or running sites or the back dusty corner of a running store. 

    So here I am…a running Cinderella seeking that new perfect fit. 

    I have the Launch 4, the newest iteration. I even ran the Maine Coast marathon in them. But I don’t get that same sense of magical happiness that the 2’s gave me.  

    They are stiffer. And I think are aggravating my Achilles. Which is kind of a problem. 

    I recently bought a pair of the new Ghost 10 to try. And they are squishy marshmallows of goodness. But they are a little heavier than the Launch. So while I know they are going to be awesome for marathoning…I still need speed shoes. 

    There are SO many new ones on the Brooks website that I don’t even know what to try. So I actually sent them an email to see what they might suggest.  Do I pureflow? Am I a Revel? Or is this a job for the Neuro…  help!!! 

    I’ll keep you all posted – because I am fairly sure I’m not the only one mourning the 2’s. 

    I did give them one last hurrah. I took them to Potsdam NY this weekend to run the 5k at my husband’s college reunion. And they went out on top. 

    We ran a 26:14…good enough for 7th overall and 2nd female. 🙂 woohoo!

    Now…they become my weekend errand pair.  Because even old glass slippers deserve respect. And I just can’t quit them…

    Providence Rhode Races – the road to a PR

    I have a new favorite number. It’s 4:23:37. 

    That, my friends, is my new marathon PR. 🙂

    I read something recently that said it’s what you do in the offseason that sets the base for your training. And I spent the offseason building speed and building strength. And that translated so well into my marathon training. 

    My long runs all came in under my goal pace. I kept up with my strength training and speedwork. I tried to master the art of quick recovery. 

    And it all came together. And it gave me confidence. 

    This was my 7th marathon and the first one I wasn’t nervous for. No freak outs. No doubt. Just absolute faith that I was going to PR.  

    And others knew it too. I got a lot of “you are so going to do it” the week before the race. And instead of “I hope so” I replied with “yeah, I am”. 

    And then there were the signs…Friday night? A shooting star. Saturday morning? Our first hummingbird of the year.  

    And my friend kicked asphalt at her 5k and set a PR! Yay Karen!!!!

    So Sunday morning, when I toed that start line beside my sole sister, coach and cheerleader Lori, I knew magic was about to happen. 

    I spent the first 15 miles under my goal pace. But wasn’t running hard, just confidently. I knew the pace would slow a little once I started using water stops. And as the sun and the temps rose, my pace would slow a little too. 

    I only checked the time once. As we crossed mile 13. And was happy with it. In fact only six miles were slower than my goal pace.  As expected. But my faster miles were enough above it to compensate. 

    I tried to only walk at water stops. But there was a hilly section that was inevitable.  In fact one hill was so steep I wasn’t sure I could even walk it. Lol

    But that too shall pass. And to the girl that came flying up it running and passed us? Wow – impressive!

    After the mile 25 water stop it was all business.  I hurt. I was having trouble controlling my breathing, my rib cage hurt and I wanted it over. I didn’t want to stop. I just wanted to be done. 

    And I embraced the pain. The lesson we are taught as runners to “get comfortable being uncomfortable”. I sucked it up. And this was where having a pacer came in so handy. Because she wouldn’t let me give up on myself. She knew what I was capable of and made sure I knew it too. And mile 26? Our fastest since mile 17. Lol

    And when we turned the corner to the clock I almost fainted. It was under 4:24. And I never looked at Lori. Or the crowd to see if Kevin was there. I stared at that clock, trying to beat every last second I could. I kicked harder than I knew was possible and crossed the finish. 

    Got my medal, and almost returned some blue Gatorade to the course. Lol That, my friends, is how you know you have wrenched every last drop out of yourself. 🙂

    Thank you to the volunteer and emt who were concerned. But it was just that sudden stop that did me in. A water and a little walking and I was fine. And grinning.  And repeating “holy f@ck”. 

    Because I did it. I really did it. I didn’t just break 4:30. I didn’t just take out that asterisk. I beat my dream goal of 4:24.  I got a 4:23:37. 

    Side notes…

    Having a friend who is so much faster than you that she can stop to say hi to people she knows, take photos along the course and even of you from behind and catch up easily is awesome. It really made me laugh. And laughter during a marathon is a very good thing. 

    Also funny? The “mile 26. Just kidding” sign at mile 10. 

    And this morning, I hung my medal with the others and said “ladies and gentlemen. This is PR”. And then I turned to my Boston marathon shadow box, where the 4:26 “projected finish” certificate sits. I pointed to it and said softly “I win”.