What’s Next? And a Portland Challenge GIVEAWAY!

As I toed the line on marathon Monday, I knew I was going to lace up my shoes for an easy (very easy!) little jog on Tuesday. I’ve been running every day this year, and I didn’t want the streak to end :) It’s leveling, really. Doesn’t matter if you run 26.2 miles or just 1. A runs a run. A time to give back to yourself a little, enjoy the fresh air, and focus on your health/your mental peace. You deserve it.

As my soreness faded, it didn’t take long (errr, 2 days) before the question, “what’s next?”, popped into my mind. It’s almost like the cool folks at Challenge Nation HEARD me….

Challenge Nation, Portland – May 4th 2014!
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Looks like fun.
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Ya’ll know Weez and I moved to Portland back in October and the city is totally still new to us. We try to go downtown once a week or so to explore the restaurants (loving the vegan options here), culture, museums (OMSI rocks), and night life.

Portland is a pretty rad city. We love it. But there’s SO much more we want to explore.

Again, it’s like Challenge Nation read our minds. So when I was contacted about participating in Portland’s Challenge this May, we jumped at the opportunity!
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Urban 1-day adventure/scavenger races (think, The Amazing Race but less eating gross bugs) are getting super popular. One of my coworkers talks about adventure races like these all the time. They’re totally in vogue right now and I’m super excited to explore undiscovered parts of the city as we dart around solving clues.
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The pitch behind this “race” is that:

  • teams of 2+ race around the city solving tricky clues before you can move on to the next checkpoint
  • you gotta execute clever strategy to get around by foot quickly
  • it’s a sweet way to explore the city
  • costumes are encouraged
  • team work will be tested!

Weez and I have found ourselves in some preeeeetty tricky travel situations a time or two, and we even worked in the lab job for 5 years, but we’ve NEVER tested our teamwork like this before. I’m kind of stoked to try this :) And I’m stoked to be able to give away 2 free entries as well!

Two free entries for the Portland Challenge are up for grabs! Deets:
Race Info HERE
– When: May 4th (this Sunday!)
– Where: Portland, OR

To enter, leave separate comments for the following:
(1) what’s your favorite restaurant in Portland
(1) how long have you lived in the area
(1) suggest a goofy/fun team costume

I’ll use a random number generator to pick the winner (based on the comment #)… but enter QUICK and BEFORE THURSDAY at 12PM. Remember, this giveaway is for the Portland race location :)

I’ll post the winner on Thursday night! Good luck!

 

2014 Boston Marathon Race Recap

Chill out on the first 5 miles. First run in these brand new shoes. Enjoy the madness. Salty face. Side stitch. GUs every 5. Thank God for vasoline on a stick. Timing mats – Hey Guys! Sun burn. Dead watch. Trust your legs. Count down the Newton Hills. I’m running my dream marathon. Right on Hereford, left on Boylston. 

I freaking love Boston.
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My morning started VIP-style. I slept in Hopkinton with my BFF at her parents’ home. They dropped me off near Athlete’s Village, where runners were wand’ed down by metal detectors. I met some incredible runners and EfoRunner followers (Hi Pam!!!) which brought a huge smile to my face. I got a photo with the famous Hopkinton sign (how hot are my $2 goodwill sweats?!)…
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The Athelete’s Village shared a moment of silence for those of last year, which brought me to tears. No one will forget what happened last year; how horribly vulnerable we all felt. But 36,000 runners (and some 1 million spectators!) came back this year to prove Boston is a one hell of an amazing race, city, and crowd.

Then it was time to head to our starting corrals! The countdown! The blast of the gun! Go time!
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After running by (the happiest/most enthusiastic support crew) Priya and her parents, I took a deep breath and got myself in the zone.

Miles 1-6.2 (10km mark): 0:47:04 // 7:35 pace
I didn’t get too technical, but all I wanted was to take the first 5 slow(er). Reel it in. Harness that energy for Newton. When I crossed the 5K in 23:32, 10K in 47:04, and 15K in 1:10:02 (practically identical splits), I knew I had nailed it. So I stopped looking at my watch and trusted my legs entirely! I was running hard, just outside my comfort zone, but a sustainable effort for 26.2.

Up to Mile 13.1: 1:38:05 // 7:29 pace
Despite 36,000 runners, the course didn’t feel as crowded as last year. I excitedly anticipated the Wellesley scream tunnel. The sun was hott. I grabbed vasoline on a stick for underarm chaffage and appreciated cold, pre-wet paper towels when folks offered them.

Boston spectators, man. They always have the most thoughtful needs, ready and waiting on open palms. Not to mention the loudest cheering and enthusiasm known to man. I saw thousands of “BOSTON STRONG” t-shirts and banners in every make and model. My absolute favorite thing about the Boston Marathon is the spectators. Knowing friends from afar are spectating online and the (literal) million frantically screaming (semi drunk) fans on the guardrails. YOU make the day magic. 

Up to 35km and the Infamous Newton Hills: 2:45:18 // 7:36 pace
Newton hills hurt. No way around it. They’re long, steep, and relentless. I just wanted to keep the same effort, if not tougher. Push through it.

When I hit the first climb, I started the count: 4… 3… 2… 1: Heartbreak. I felt a world of difference coming out of Newton between last year (when I started too fast) and this year (held back a pinch). And it showed in my last 5 miles.
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The last 10km: 
When I crested Heartbreak Hill, I noticed my watch had died! Somewhere between miles 10-21, the thing stopped. I had no idea what my overall time was. Not a clue how many minutes I had left to keep it under 3:20. I just ran like hell.
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That’s kind of the beauty behind my 3:20:04 finishing time. I have absolutely no regrets. I didn’t stress one second about the time on my watch. I was able to soak in the day, let loose when I hit Hereford/Boylston, and throw my arms in the air when I reached that finish line :)

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Official Stats:

26.2 miles = 3:20:04 (<– 4+ min PR!)
7:38 pace
6488 overall, 940 gender, 741 division

I can’t even verbalize how happy I was at the finish line area.
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I called Weez to share the blissful moments while I wobbled along. And I called the most proud parents in the world who filled my heart with happiness. I started seeing all the texts from YOU guys who saw my finishing time before I did (thanks for sharing it!). I thanked every volunteer I saw. They were so kind.

I have some pretty darn amazing people in my life. People who made this marathon/day/weekend so special…

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Friends who shared in the joy and celebration. Ya’ll know THIS guy.
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I owe so much gratitude to the generous, supportive people who made this weekend happen for me: PK, KP, Yarmo, and Steph for the countless laughs and company. Papa/Mama K and Rachel for the comfy housing and celebratory beers. Sam for his usual hilarity and ride all the way to Hartford, CT airport. Ris for saving my feet and tracking down a new pair of Altras the day before my race. My parents, siblings, and Weez for their unrivaled love and encouragement.

And to every single one you who you sent messages, followed the tracker, cheered me along. Your “likes”/comments make me feel like a champ. Especially the spectators in Boston. That proud, passionate, patriotic support MADE the day the magic that it is. Thank you a hundred times more!

Boston 2015? I think so :)

Boston Bib Number and Tracking Info

Here we are! This is it! 3 days away from THE Boston Marathon, and I’ll tell ya what, there’s something special about this one. I’m really excited!

I gotta hand it to you, though. From all the tweets, comments, FB messages, emails, calls…. it’s insane how proud you make me feel. YOU are the reason Boston feels like a big deal. Supporters like YOU lift us up. I can’t even say how much your encouragement means to me. 

I’ve been asked for my tracking info (which honestly, kind of makes me feel kind like a rock star), so here it is!
- My bib#: 13470
– Click on THIS LINK to get Athlete Tracker/Alerts via text or email

I’ll be thinking of each of you as I cross a mat, knowing that you’ll be cheering from afar. I love that feeling. You’ll be with me in spirit!

Alright.

Time to get down to it.

The personal stuff.

I won’t say I’m not nervous about the terror from last year. I can’t say the fear hasn’t crossed my mind. I might hold my breath running past the flags and down Boylston. But I will definitely say a prayer for the lives affected that day. And appreciate the strength of our running community.

In terms of fitness, it’s important to me to reflect before each marathon. I’m feeling fit… right about where I was last year. I trained differently this time around (less intensity, but more consistency). I haven’t been doing the Boston 2013 speed work, but I’m one year wiser. I’m mentally prepared for the insane wall of runners, and the brutal hills in Newton. So it’s a crapshoot. In fact, my A-Goal is exactly the same as 2013.

A-Goal: Sub 3:20. Yes, this terrifies me. No, I’m not sure I can pull it off. But I’ll be damned if I don’t run my legs off to try and chase after it. It’s on my list of 28 Before 28They say if your goals don’t scare you, you’re not setting them high enough.

B-Goal: Sub 3:24:13 and a new PR :)

C-Goal: Don’t cry and/or whimper your way through the finish line, mumbling nonsense about “never running a marathon again”. You are a runner. You know you’ll be back for more.

So here I go! I’m shipping off to Boston! Cheers! See you on the flip side! :)