Magic in those 26.2

This afternoon, on my way in from a lunch break run, I was stopped by a friendly coworker. He asked me how far I went and I told him a light 2 miles, that I was tapering for a marathon on Monday (I probably didn’t need to include the second part of that sentence. But it’s marathon week! How can you not?).

“Which one?”, he asked. “the Boston marathon”, I said.

He asked how many marathons I’ve run before, to which I humbly responded, 6. This will be my 7th.

And then he said something that caught me off guard. He reacted by playfully saying, “Oh, well, then this is nothing for you. No big deal, right?”.

To me at least, no matter how many of these bad boys I’ve run, marathons will always be a pretty big deal.

There’s magic in those 26.2 miles.

They do something to you. They harden your soul. They give you perspective. They teach you self discipline. They teach you about pain. And happiness. A raw, unapologetic, emotional high that can only come from hard work paid off. I wouldn’t call that no big deal. I’d call that pretty dang special :)

Maybe it’s taper week, gettin’ me all sappy and nostalgic, but I’m really proud to be running Boston this year. I’m proud that I made running a priority in the midst of starting this crazy new job. I’m thankful to my legs for giving me an injury-free cycle. I’m honored to be a part of the magic again this year. Of The (118th) Boston Marathon.

And I can’t wait to get to that city!

Per usual, stay tuned for my pre-race Bib Tracking Info and Marathon Goals post! That’ll go up soon for sure! Thanks everyone (especially dad/mom, Aunt J, RB, Sam, Mel, PK, KP, NC… to name a few) for your added interest in my tracking info. I won’t let you down!

Top 5 Reasons I Should Probably Be Able to Complete Boston on Monday

I’ve been quietly putting away the miles since the beginning of the year and I feel a little sad about it all. Not about the training, but about the blogging!

I kinda wish I had blogged more. I wish I had something to refresh my memory on a training cycle well executed. So here I am, trying to get analytical, to hopefully convince myself that I’m worthy of Boston on Monday. That I’m ready. That I can do this thing.

Top 5 Reasons I Should Probably Be Able to Complete Boston… 

1.) Consistent Training:
Okay, I totally nailed this one. Remember my January goal? Not sure what wizardry happened, but the habit stuck. And because of it, my legs have never felt better. Every day this year has included a run :)

Last Thursday (4/10/2014) marked my 100th day in a row. Another milestone that passed, quietly. So today, I’ll shout it. I HIT 103 RUNS-IN-A-ROW TODAY! I’m not sure when the streak will end, but I’d like to keep going if I can. It’s been a lot of fun.

2.) Long Runs:

Three 20 milers worked out well again this year. They all felt solid. Each ending faster than they started, kinda like a tempo (last miles ranged btwn 6:40-7:20 pace). I remember feeling strong and confident after each of my LRs this year, which I can’t say I felt last year. So that’s cool.

3.) Health: 

All aspects of my body feel pretty good, I’d say. I weigh less today than I did in January. Winner. I started getting monthly massages. Heavenly. I spend way too much at Lush because I’m obsessed with bubble baths. I love my nightly cup of tea. I have a happy, appreciative relationship with running. All good things.

4.) Mileage: 

Training 2013 vs. 2014
Okay, so I ran more miles-per-week in 2013, but 2014 was still slammin’. I’m down with 30-50 mile weeks. That’s kind of a sweet spot for me. Not too heavy, not too light. 2013 was intense, but 2014 was more about appreciating what I could do and not stressing about what I hadn’t.

5.) Race day outfit:
Cabo was very excited to see me model my outfit.
I love this photo because Cabo’s lady beard is really glistening in the sun.
(We’re dog sitting for some friends this weekend. That’s Lillie. She’s the best. Cautious but curious. I’m pretty sure we’re not giving her back because she’s so adorable.)
If nothing else, I have a totally sweet singlet to race in. I like to reward myself with a new one before every marathon and this one certainly doesn’t disappoint. It’s bright. It doesn’t chafe. What more could you want?

So with that concludes my Top 5 Reasons I Should Probably Be Able to Complete Boston. She’s a gnarly course though. I remember the pain she caused me. Those Newton Hills. They are no joke, man! The last 5 miles were an eternity. Whimpering through the finish line. Oh geeze. Why do we do this to ourselves?

Because we’re runners.

And we love it.

Race Recap: 2014 Shamrock Run

To give the legs a good tune up before Boston, Weez and I ran Portland’s Shamrock Run 15k last weekend (March 16, 2014) and LOVED IT.

We decided to run to the start from Hillsboro (we like to do that kinda thing). The first 8 miles were lovely, seeing as it was 4 o’clock in the morning. 9-10 were sketchy because the sidewalk disappeared and the road was curvy. We had reflective gear and very bright headlamps, but still. I don’t recommend this route in the future.
Running to Portland
12.1 miles in 1:50 (9:15ish pace).

We made it to the start with plenty of time to stretch and drop off our gear.
photo 1_3

Then we hopped in line with all 11,000 other runners doing the 15k! The start was PACKED (which I kind of love), filled with excited/nervous energy, as people chatted about the hilly course ahead.
photo 2_4

The hills in Portland are no joke, man! Miles 1-3 were past Portland State and Oregon Health and Science Universities. The streets were filled with spectators and I loved seeing a new part of the city.
Mile 1: 7:03
Mile 2: 7:07
Mile 3: 7:14

Then miles 3-6 happened.
Screen shot 2014-03-22 at 12.39.40 PM

Miles 3-6 were upupUP. Steep climbs through gorgeous Marquam Nature Park. Huge sky-high trees, lush green undergrowth, light rain. The miles hurt, but everything else was heavenly.
Mile 4: 7:55
Mile 5: 7:56
Mile 6: 7:57

At this point, I had run 18 miles for the day… 3.5 more to go!

The best part of course happened as soon as we crested the last hill. I’m a downhill racer, so despite the 18 miles on my legs, I tried to dig deep and embrace the pain cave.
Shamrock Run 3
Mile 7: 6:44
Mile 8: 6:48
Mile 9: 6:40

The sprint down Naito Parkway was so cool. Spectators and runners thickly lining the barricades. Made me feel like I was running down Boylston again.
Shamrock Run 4

I crossed that finish line with the biggest smile on my face. Feeling fit, strong, hungry for Boston.

Official Results
15K= 1:07 (7:15 pace)
19/799 AG, 456/8822 overall

I turned around and Weez came in just a couple mins behind me.
Shamrock Run 8
Shamrock Run 5
photo 3_4
Happy to have accomplished 12.1 (pre race) + 9.3 (15K) = 21.4 miles total

Afterwards, we stuck around to enjoy St. Paddy’s live music with our free pint of beer and chowder. Then we moseyed our way to the MAX station and took the train home to Hillsboro. We forgot, of course, that we had to run the 2 miles from the station back to our apartment. Ouch. Those took a while, haha.

It’s safe to say we love the running scene in Portland and can’t wait to find another race!

Who else participated in a St. Patrick’s Day race??