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About Me

  1. eliz83

    September Recap

    Total mileage: 76.0Not as high as I had hoped it would be. Had a few days where I just wasn't feeling great, and I'm a firm believer in quality over quantity, so some days became easy days or running for time days, which always means I lose some mileage. The silver lining is I hit a beautifully round number without even trying!I'm putting a hold on marathon training. Still planning on doing a half marathon that I signed up for in mid-October, but there's enough flux in life right now that being able to have the mental capacity to do the 16-20 mile runs just isn't there. I'm okay with it. If I'm being honest, I wasn't that excited about the course of the marathon I had chosen and I'd rather put in the effort for something that I think I will thoroughly enjoy. My first marathon (and only so far) was such an amazing experience from start to finish that I can hardly see improving on the entire marathon experience. I had a fantastic one, I know I'm capable of putting up an improved time, and yet I'm okay if I never prove that.Favorite workout: a 45-min guided Peloton outdoor run, with 13 minutes of warmup, followed by a 8-9-8 minutes at marathon pace, with 3 minute recoveries in between. I did this workout on a hilly section of trail that is near my house and was really pleased with how my splits turned out, given the hills. When I run on these long rolling hills, I aim mostly for an even effort, as opposed to even pace, and that works really well for me. It's also the strategy that I've employed over my last few PR'd races.Splits: 10:34 (downhill), 11:23 (uphill), 11:13 (uphill)Marathon goal pace is 10:38Favorite long run: a 10-miler in which I listened to several episodes of the LA Times' Dirty John podcast. I now understand why everyone was obsessed with it and why they made a mini-series on it. Completely fascinating. I binged the entire podcast in about a day and a half, and had to Google the story before I finished because I just had to know how it worked out. Highly recommended if you haven't listened to it and enjoy Dateline-type stories.Oh, and the run was fine, too. A bit slower than I would have preferred, but legs and MJ felt good.In life news, I had a leadership training at home, while my husband got to fly to Amsterdam for a work conference. On the surface, it hardly felt fair until he reminded me that he flew 30 hours round trip for a 36 hour stay. My commute was definitely better.Photos from the month: Jeff with Refrigerator Perry the cat Hotel Mirror selfie while at the leadership training (we had a fancy dinner) Fall flowers in one of our beautiful wedding gifts Trying to read more books, rather unsuccessfully, but I also listen to a lot of podcasts, so thought I'd recommend some of my favorites from this month:If you are a bachelor fan, Here to Make Friends is doing some live shows and recapping the first ever season of The Bachelor. It's hilarious and delightful.Dirty John, by LA Times1619, by New York Times MagazineClean Sport Collective PodcastFrom the Front Row (the 9/25 podcast features me!)Did you have any favorite runs that had nothing to do with the actual running like I did this month?
  2. eliz83

    The psmPR Streak

    When last I checked in, I was entering month 2 of 13.1 training. I set some big goals for myself for this month, and I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised at how well I'm doing. Before I got MJ fixed, this is about the time of training where the wheels would fall off and everything would go to shit. Loopsters, everything is far from shit. Week 5 was a week where I didn't get my 4th run in, but got in an hour endurance spin session (whew!), 2 strength training sessions, and had two nice mid-week runs. Sunday's long run was post-poned because we had a freak snap of winter cold. Why run on Sunday in feels like 20 when Monday afternoon is going to be in the 50s? So instead I did another spin session, and tackled 7 miles Monday afternoon. That was also Patriot's Day, and while I couldn't watch Desi do something magical that day (thanks, NBC), the flotrack Twitter feed sufficed. Her achievement and my first 7 miler since surgery (post-surgery mileage PR, or psmPR) made it a great day for the Americans. (srsly, does anyone know how to edit photo size in this platform or do you have to make things smaller in a photo editor & then upload) Week 6 brought the 4th run in. the 4th run (although technically 3rd in the line up) was a nice, easy shake out after a 4 mile fartlek session the day before (surges of 9:59 pace for 4 minutes, with 2 minute jogs). Gosh I use parentheses a lot. Anyway, that shakeout run on Friday was followed up by something even bigger on Saturday. I went to an open casting call for SURVIVOR with the BF and a work friend. I was going for the runner look. Sunday was an afternoon long run, where I did 1 4.22 mile loop in a nearby park, stopped at my car for Nuun and part of a gluten free honey stinger waffle, and finished another 3.8 for 8 miles and another psmPR. I was pleasantly surprised to find my last two miles were my fastest, even though I felt like I was tiring. I also found that, while that waffle was delicious, I also nearly threw it up about 6.5 miles in. So maybe that will just be a post-race snack. Week 7 was probably my favorite week yet. Instead of spinning, I took Monday off for some odd reason. Can't remember why now. Tuesday was a mobility and strength session, Wednesday I did a 30 minute spin instead of running (raining like mad), and Thursday was a 5 miler at "easy" pace but averaged 11:39 mm. It's only about 20 seconds faster than the bottom range of my calculated easy pace, but I feel like I'm pulling a lot of Bangles with my easy and long runs lately, AKA going a bit faster than I "should". But, it feels good and MJ is cooperating, so maybe my easy pace is just getting faster. Saturday, there was a free 5k, so I moved Friday's run and did a nice jaunt with a co-worker. We chatted the entire time, enjoyed the beautiful weather and finished in 33:30, exactly 11 min pace. The last time that pace was conversational, I was doing coached speed sessions during marathon training. Someone's getting their fitness back. Finally, yesterday, I joined the LRS Sunday morning run group for my long run. I woke up late, made it to the store just as everyone was taking off, and was about 10 minutes behind by the time I finished my quick warm up. This was only an issue because there is a new leader for the group and they don't use nearly as many flags to mark turns, so I ended up choosing the wrong "straight" coming off a paved trail. I nearly had to look the map up on Facebook at mile 3 when I saw an aid station ... for mile 6. I literally just sighed. The plan was 9 miles and the idea of having an aid station at 3.3 miles instead of 4 just really messed with me. But, I sucked it up, ran to 4.5 on Polar Polly, turned around and ate my cheerios at 5.7 miles instead of 5. It was fine. The rest of the run went really well, I just enjoyed it, went at a pace that felt good and finished 9 in 1:47. My 7 miler two weeks earlier had been 1:28. Less than 20 minutes faster for 2 extra miles. <--- that means the world to me Appropriately used the 'beast mode' filter for this picture. If you didn't deduct from my 5 sentences about my long runs, I've been trying to find good mid-run fuel. I just can't handle gels or chews anymore. Too much sugary syrupyness for me. I tried making banana chews from Run Fast, Eat Slow and do not like the texture of them at all. So, I tried the Honey Stinger Waffle (nope!) and yesterday, Honey Nut Cheerios. Other than the need for a plastic baggie, they worked really well. I had about 2 handfuls before the run and a handful mid-run and felt great. The little cups of gatorade I had at each aid station helped, too, I think. How's your training going? Go to any open casting calls lately? What's your long run fuel?
  3. onthebusrunning

    The Sword

    It’s Tuesday morning. Steely, gray clouds lord over the sky and mute the dawn. Rain spatters my sunglasses, an optimistic addition to my attire. But none of that matters. I pull my hands from my knees and inhale deeply to slow my heart rate. Sixty seconds left, I whisper audibly to no one in particular. Hands on hips now, I ease over to what had been the finish line of my ninth 800-meter repeat, and now marks the start line of my tenth and final. Eight hundred meters. A half mile. That’s all that separates me from my taper. Since the half marathon roughly five weeks ago, I circled five key days on my calendar: the Tuesday morning sessions and the Saturday morning long runs that remained before Boston. These represented the five opportunities I had to grab as much fitness as possible before stepping to the line in Hopkinton. I took each milestone one at a time, never looking farther than what lay just ahead. "Get the most out of each day. Survive," I told myself. I checked my watch again. Thirty seconds. The workout had been hard from go. Yet, charged with running 10x800 meters in 2:35-2:30 with 90 seconds between each, I had been no slower than 2:34 to this point. My legs still held some of the fatigue from my final 20-miler just three days ago, one where I laid down a 59:16 ten-miler in the middle. This morning, I had locked on to the pace despite the strain. I knew the effort. I knew it was going to hurt – again. But I also knew that there would come a moment, or perhaps several, in Boston where I would have to decide if I was going to concede to the pain or marshal the ferocity to push on in spite of it. I counted down the final five seconds, 5-4-3-2-1 and galloped off down the road. One more half mile. The metaphors are many. Hay in the barn. Smoldering embers. But for me, it’s one my uncle passed on in our early days working at that sub-20:00 5K. The sword. Those base, easy, and long runs forge the blade, while the tempo and interval sessions deliver the slippery, sharp edge. But in this buildup in particular, in this sword, there’s an essence, a spirit that exists behind those pounded out miles on the road and trail. The physical elements may form the sword’s hardness, but the true strength comes from those with whom you surround yourself. The friends who run alongside you and hold you up, meet you for breakfast, or simply shoot a text out of the blue (or daily) that says, “How’s the training going?” or “Killer run yesterday.” My coach, who buoys me up during the darker weeks and magnifies my confidence when things are rolling. My parents, who dutifully read this blog each week and urge me on. My wife, who supports and encourages me, indulges my early bedtimes and quirky routines, and who can floor me after a long run by simply saying, “I’m proud of you.” The sword, you see, is more than just the materials it’s made of, but the soul that resides in it. I pound down the slight decline, willing my legs to turnover, putting myself through it one last time. I’m aware of Margin Lane flashing by in my periphery marking 200 meters. My breathing is calm, but I know this is only temporary. On cue, the heaviness begins to seep into the tops of my quads, but I think of the quote from Franz Stampfl that’s carried me through this section nine previous times, “Sure it’ll be painful, but what’s pain?” I manage a weak smile. I spot Piller Way, i.e. 400 meters. Gun lap. The equivalent of one more trip around the track. Days began to fall like dominoes, time seemingly accelerating with each passing workout. I felt like every time I turned around, I was staring down another interval session. Yet, the sword got bigger, sharper – infused with fitness, strengthened with support. It reminded me of an old Jonathan Beverly article where he wrote, “I can sense tumblers falling into place, unlocking the ‘thing behind everything’ that makes all else seem second-rate, as John Updike described in Rabbit, Run. I’m riding the wave, hitting the sweet spot, in the zone, in flow. As I finish the workout, I feel invincible, fully alive, connected and powerful.” The road starts to pitch upward. The initial bump is enough to chop my stride, but I push on and reengage at the top and set about tackling the final 350 meters. My breathing is ragged now – raspy, throaty exhales that eschew errant fluffs of spit. My quads ache but I summon one last surge to combat what feels like a sudden slowing of pace. The stop sign, the finish line, the taper come into view and I lock onto it and let it guide me in like a tractor beam. The houses turn to buildings and I’m on Boylston, the clock edging toward my goal. My arms pump furiously, urging my legs to match the tempo. An errant step here, a wild elbow there. No time to dwell, just keep it together. I break the plane and immediately click the watch. My head tilts to the sky first to exhale one last ragged breath, then I steal a glance at my watch as my hands drop to my knees. 2:32. I let out a “whoop!” and start off on the three-mile cool down that officially marks the end of this training block, the beginning of my taper, the final mental preparations. The number in my head – the one that I started with 16 weeks ago and even farther back than that – is still 2:35. This winter has been fraught with challenges: schizophrenic weather, nagging injuries, and lingering illness. In the thick of it, the unsexy January and February months of simply putting one’s head down and consistently putting one foot in front of the other, I logged into my email to find my Runner’s World Daily Quote waiting for me. It was one that has stayed with me and become somewhat of a mantra for my friend and I as we thrash ourselves through long interval workouts on non-descript neighborhood streets, grind through long runs, or simply get out the door each morning. It read, “Fate whispered to the warrior, ‘You cannot withstand the storm.’ The warrior replied, ‘I am the storm.’” And this warrior has a big goddamn sword that’s ready to lay waste to 2:35.
  4. onthebusrunning

    The Dam Buster

    I’ve been middling. Quietly putting in the miles with zealot-like devotion. The fatigue has accumulated. The miles have piled up. The calendar days have marched on toward the inevitable. When is it going to happen? I’ve wondered. The “it” in question is that magical moment, that elevation to a higher plane. The one where all the training pieces finally fit together and, though there’s more fitness to be had, you get a glimpse of what you’re becoming. The week following my tune-up half, I expected heavy legs shackled by fatigue. But on an optional 10x200m session three days post-race, there was a lift and a power in my legs that had been absent. The following day, it was more of the same. I finished easy runs feeling, well, easy. I let myself start to accept the idea that, indeed, I was starting to round into form. I had a 16-mile long run slated for the weekend, with pickups over the last 70 minutes. The dawn broke clear and crisp, and I buzzed with anticipation. As I laced up, I told myself, Keep it controlled. I set off down the Washington & Old Dominion rail trail heading west. My legs turned over with ease and I settled into a steady rhythm. I typically don’t like to look at my watch during long runs so that I can let my body set a comfortable, natural pace, and that morning was no different. In fact, I slipped the watch under my glove and just waited for the steady vibration to mark each of the miles. At mile 5, I started the first of my pickups, easing down on the accelerator to quicken my turnover. The trail had begun to pitch downward for about 3.5 miles, and I welcomed the decline and pushed it out of my head that I’d have to ride it back up on the return trip. But ride it I did. After the turn, I started a 2-minute pickup and caught a glimpse of the pace: 5:45. I raised my eyebrows in surprise but continued to flow on. I started my 3.5-mile ascent and focused in on maintaining the effort for that section, which meant not letting my mind start to wander. My legs churned forward and I could feel the power in them and the control I was suddenly able to exercise over the pace. I could move forward or pull back regardless of what the terrain served up. I topped the crest of the hill and accelerated down the other side with a little over 5K left to the finish. At mile 13, I focused in on the clock for the first time, did some quick math, and realized that I could potentially run a sub-1:40 16-miler. Normally, I’m pleased when I can do that with 15 but have never come close to doing for 16. But I slipped back into my comfortable pace, heeding my words from the start. With 1 mile to go, however, I needed a 6:29 to come in under 1:40, so I started to tighten the screws. I surged up the half mile long hill, fighting to maintain control and then powered down the backside. Under the bridge, past the mile marker, crosswalk in sight, buzz damn you buzz! I clicked my watch, slowed to a walk, and pulled back my glove: 5:44 last mile, 1:39:05 for the run. Fist pump. I’ve been at this long enough to know that with the right amount of consistency and perseverance, that dam will burst. But mired in long training runs, dark and cold mornings, another gut-busting interval session, your resolve can start to fray. It was Churchill who said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” And it was John Parker, Jr. who wrote, “People conceptualize conditioning in different ways. Some think it's a ladder straight up. Others see plateaus, blockages, ceilings. I see it as a geometric spiraling upward, with each spin of the circle taking you a different distance upward. Some spins may even take you downward, just gathering momentum for the next upswing. Sometimes you will work your fanny off and see very little gain; other times you will amaze yourself and not really know why.” Last week, I had a glimpse. This week, I’m shouldering the load of a 100-mile week, staring down a 25-miler tomorrow. But I know I just have to keep going, to keep gathering momentum for the next upswing because I've seen what’s waiting for me on the other side.
  5. My lungs heaved. My shoulders strained. My breath came in ragged gasps. I was wrung out but I churned on. When I cleared the stop sign, my watch buzzed marking the seventh mile repeat. “6:09.” Fuck. Rather than the exclamation point I had hoped for with this workout, I left it with more of a question mark – the questions being what happened? What was that? Why? You see, I was supposed to run 7x1 mile starting at 5:40 and working down to 5:30 (reference 6:09 above). The workout had been a bear from the start. And though I recognized the pile of adversities stacked against me (lack of sleep, stress at work, still sick), a trickle of doubt began to seep in. I started a down trodden cool down back to my house when I then asked myself: “Why are you running today?” It’s a question I’ve asked myself every morning of this Boston buildup as a I dress for a run, pop my contacts in, or lace up. I don’t ask out of wonder, skepticism, or dread. Rather, I ask out of necessity. And the answer is always: “I expect to run 2:35 at Boston.” It has to be. Admittedly, when I first began this ritual some 10 weeks ago, I’m not sure I believed it, or at least not every day. But the shift has been subtle. In buildups past, I might say, “I want to run 2:35” or “I hope to run 2:35.” That simple one-word substitution has ignited a massive mindset shift in how I approach mental preparation for this marathon. I embraced the concept after my coach recommended that I read Dr. Stan Beecham’s, “Elite Minds” earlier this winter. Beecham is a sports psychologist that ZAP’s athletes have used in the past. Beecham says that the “future is primarily determined by what you tell yourself about the future; the beliefs one has about the future can actually dictate behavior in the present.” In other words, if you set yourself up to run poorly by believing that will be the outcome, why should you expect any alternative? Confidence, though, can be like glass. It can be impenetrable and bulletproof or it can be delicate and fragile. Harkening back to my days as an ice hockey goaltender, that area between my ears could be a scary place, full of demons of doubt, where I second-guessed and forced every movement and reaction (mostly pulling the puck out of the back of the net). While other times it was a place of peace, of synergy, of flow. There was no past, no future, only what was happening immediately in front of me, and all I had to do was react. In that flow, there’s no thinking, no worrying, no second-guessing. And I’m trying to find that place of stillness with my running. Because believing that I will run 2:35 gives me the permission to not obsess about running 2:35, and it frees my mind to focus on the here and now, to only execute my race plan, and find that quiet mind. On those particularly bad patches, in workouts, in races, in low moments, I repeat “be calm, be present, trust yourself” even though doubt is starting to eat around the edges of my confidence, the glass starting to spider. But practicing this, I’ve come to realize, is just as important as getting the miles in, hitting the splits, and dialing in the nutrition. When I went to running camp at ZAP many years ago, the shirt laid out on our bed read, “The Mind is the Athlete.” We can hone, sharpen, and temper the body, but the mind must be strong as well to propel the vessel forward. That dog-doo 7x1 mile workout was nearly a month ago now. I won’t lie that I let it linger in the back of my mind and that alone has caused me to force a few of the sessions that followed. But, I also know that “expectation dictates performance,” according to Beecham. “How you function on a bad day is the true test. How you function on a good day does not define your character.” So I focus on getting the best out of each day, whatever that means, and with whatever circumstances I’ve been dealt. Then I can work with what I have, rather than exerting force against what isn’t working. Tonight, I sit on the precipice overlooking tomorrow’s tune up race, the Rock and Roll DC Half Marathon. I know that I am the collection of every run and every workout that I’ve compiled over the last few weeks, months, and, hell, even years. I am not defined by one crappy workout and I will do my best tomorrow with what the day gives me. Why? Because I expect to run 2:35 at Boston.
  6. amarie2009

    Race day is Sunday

    The marathon is Sunday! Forecast for Austin looks ok. Low 47, High 67, chance of rain. It’s going to feel warm compared to what I’ve been running in but should be manageable. Hopefully it doesn’t rain but I’ve run a marathon in similar conditions before (Alaska was steady, moderate rain for the first 13 miles and a bit cooler.) It was soggy, but fine. I’m more nervous than I’ve been for a race in a while, but it’s been more than a year and a half since I completed a marathon. I’m nervous about the travel too. It’s been more than 3 years I think since I’ve flown and that makes me nervous too. I’m always afraid the TSA is going to take one look at me and say, nope, you aren’t going anywhere… Plus flights could be delayed or cancelled. Once I’m on the plane and in the air I worry a lot less. Physically I feel good. Nothing especially worrying. My right shoe was rubbing on the bottom of my inside heel bone, but it seems better with a little shoe adjustment. I think I remember this happening before when I’ve done side lunges to warm up. So no more side lunges in shoes I’m running in. It must bend the side of the shoe somehow…No huge boost in energy. Yet. I did do a bunch of extra chores the Saturday afternoon after my first taper “long” run. The bathroom got a real deep clean, I even washed the walls. I want to paint in there, but I have more prep work to do before I can do that. This morning I ran on the treadmill because we had a little freezing rain over the weekend and there were still icy patches on the sidewalks. Ordinarily I probably would have taken the chance and run outside, but not right now. The run felt really good but really boring since my antient ipod died a couple months ago and I can’t afford to replace it at the moment. I feel like I’m forgetting something important. It’s not packing since I don’t leave until Friday. I was super busy at work today, so that could be why, I’m not used to being that busy. Goals? Mostly to finish. I know I’m not ready for sub 4:30. A PR would be sub 4:43. I don’t see that happening either. Under 5. Under 4:50 would be better. But really, after a DNF and DNS I want to FINISH. And have fun. My camera hasn’t been working very well (since I love photography this is a real problem) but I plan on taking lots of pictures of everything except the race. I may have one more post before the race or not. I’ll update when I can after. I've met my goal for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, but a cure for blood (and other cancers) is still to be found and every dollar counts. This is the last time I'll ask here for a while so now is the time if you've thought about it. Even a little bit helps.
  7. I know it's already February, and some people might think that the ship has sailed on end-of-year bloops. But hopefully none of those people are here, and if they are, they're free to move along. Maybe my bloops just like to be fashionably late? So. 2017. In retrospect, this year was really focused on race experiences more than goal times. I started out the year in questionable fashion, battling a nasty bout of piriformis syndrome in January and February after not quitting a long run when I should have because finishing that run would mean breaking 60 miles/week for the first time. In retrospect, that was real dumb, as running those last 11 miles on a bum piriformis (lol, pun intended) took me out of commission for 6-7 weeks, during which there were a LOT fewer than 60 miles/week. You'd think I'd know better than to let the numbers be the boss of me by this point. By early March, my butt was feeling much better but my training had taken enough of a hit that I dropped from the Whale Challenge (8K + marathon) at Shamrock to the Dolphin Challenge (8K + half-marathon). But that turned out kind of awesome because 1) the weather was f-ing AWFUL, even by Shamrock standards, and 2) I was able to PR in both the 8K and half-marathon! Yay! My first marathon of 2017 came in April, when I went down to Raleigh to hang out with three of the most BA runners you'll ever meet and we ran the Rock n Roll Raleigh marathon the day after spending lots of hours on our feet volunteering at a 100-mile ultra. I didn't get a finish time PR, but I'm pretty sure I set a personal best for 1) elevation gained in a race (Raleigh is hilly yo!), 2) fun had working at an aid station. Despite the hills, I was able to finish in a very comfortable 3:56:xx, setting me up for a streak of sub-4:00 marathons last year. In May I went home to Massachusetts for my birthday and a race weekend! My mom and I went to Martha's Vineyard for the inaugural Martha's Vineyard Marathon weekend, which was a lot of fun except for the race, which honestly kinda sucked. But nevertheless, Mom finished her very first half-marathon!! And I squeaked out a 1-min PR to finish in 3:51:xx, which was also good enough for 1st in my AG (serving to remind me to run tiny races more often, because that is kind of ridiculous). July contained my first 5K in 2.5 years, which turned out to be a PR even though it was an evening race and evening-time in DC in July is basically the worst running conditions ever. In August I returned to the wilds of Vermont to join my second Vermont 100 on 100 relay team, which was once again super fun and awesome except that it screwed up my back pretty badly. I had big marathon plans for the fall, so coming out of August with a bad back was definitely not what I had in mind. Plus, just typing "bad back" makes me feel way too old. I'm only 31; I should not be worrying about throwing my back out. My mildly-herniated disc disagreed, apparently. And obviously I trained through that longer than I should have, because I had goals dammit! So I was finally forced to take some time off in early-mid September, right when I was supposed to be hitting my peak mileage for the Wineglass Marathon. On the plus side, I got to try muscle relaxants for the first time. I went into Wineglass weekend with some trepidation, but in keeping with the theme of the year I was really more focused on the whole weekend rather than just the race. Both of my parents were with me, because Mom was running half-marathon #2 and we'd planned a side-trip after the race to Ithaca, NY, to visit my college stomping grounds for the first time since I graduated in 2008. Plus there were going to be a whole bunch of Loopsters at Wineglass, so it was going to be fun no matter what! It ended up being an amazing weekend all around: I finished in a strong-feeling 3:45:21, a PR by nearly 6 minutes and had a ton of fun with my family and the other Loopsters. A few weeks later I traveled north again, this time to the Big Apple for the most amazing race experience EVER: the NYC Marathon! My mom met me in the city and we had an awesome mother-daughter weekend staying in Hells Kitchen, going to a Broadway show, and soaking up the whole marathon weekend experience. The race itself was beyond incredible, and wrote an entire bloop on that if you need any convincing to throw your name into the lottery for a future race. Talk about an amazing race experience. My nearly easy-feeling 3:52:xx finish was just the icing on the NY-style cheesecake. Finally, December brought my all-around favorite race weekend of each of the past 5 years: Rehoboth!! We had another houseful of Loopsters traveling to Delaware (plus one who lives there) for the race and accompanying shenanigans. I had a much better marathon than last year's 12-mile puke-fest, thankfully! I felt really strong through the first half, and set a nice little 90ish-second PR at the halfway point (1:50:xx), and then crashed and burned pretty thoroughly, which was not exactly surprising as this was my 3rd marathon in 9 weeks. But I finished out my streak of sub-4:00 marathons with a 3:50:xx finish time and a smile on my face! It was still lots of fun, and everyone knows that the race is pretty much the least important part of that weekend anyway! As evidence, here is a carefully chosen (read: censored) selection of photos from the weekend: Packing the essentials... Me, SCLAthena, Ron Swanson's Stache, Zamgirl, and Bangle in our party van heading to Delaware! Loopsters in the kitchen! Flat HPS Finishing with a smile! Always my A-goal. Obligatory medal selfie. I do it for the 'gram. The medals were legit pretty cool this year tho... Selfie with Bangle and Quadracool! Party tent group pic! Posing with props More posing! OCRunnerGirl, Zamgirl, and I "rescuing" the balloons from the party tent Coffee, because going out the night after a marathon calls for a caffeine boost Post-race dinner! There will be no pictures from the shenanigans that happened after dinner... but lots of fun was had! On Sunday morning, I went for a nice walk along the boardwalk with NCAthlete, ASchmid, OCRunnerGirl, and Ron Swanson's Stache. Cozy Sunday afternoon watching football All too soon, it was Monday morning and time to head back to the real world. But this beautiful sunrise was a lovely way to start the journey home! After a stop for coffee, my vanpool of awesome Loopsters hit the road back to DC. My collection of Rehoboth medals. I'm already planning on adding another one in 2018! I ran 1,870 miles in 2017, a new personal best by 315 miles. There were some ups and downs in there, but overall it was an awesome running year, and I'm so glad that I got to hang out with Loopsters for five of my races this year and have some incredible new race experiences! I have some big goals for 2018 (really, just one BIG goal), but that's for another bloop. Maybe I'll even get that written before another month has passed? Anyway, happy 2018 Loopsters!
  8. amarie2009

    20 done

    I’m tired. Like really tired. Falling asleep ½ hour early every night and almost falling asleep at work tired. (Good thing I’m not an air traffic controller or a surgeon). Afraid at moments it’s an oncoming flu, but so far so good. I’ve never been more germophobic. I ran my one and only 20 miler for this training cycle on Saturday. It went well enough – I finished at a fair pace for me, but the IT band grumbled slightly again in the last 2 miles. This happened when I ran 15 a couple weeks ago. My 18 miler in between was fine. I’m working the MRTYL routine and core work and foam rolling hoping the IT band doesn’t so much as whisper in the race. I’ve been there and dealt with that, and I don’t want to do it again. My training has been abbreviated, but gone well. The 1 mile PR two weeks ago was a real surprise. It’s very unlikely I have the endurance to hold the pace I’d need to PR in the marathon at this point but I think I have a good shot of at least being under 5 hours. Since I haven’t completed a marathon in over a year and a half that’s something. (And the last marathon I did run was 5:17, but it was at elevation and a “trail” race.) So we’ll see. Just finishing without being miserable is a good goal. But the faster the better. I’m more nervous than I’ve been in a while. Usually getting to the taper makes me feel a little better (for the first week of the taper anyway) because I’ve made it through training without injury. I don’t feel a lot better yet. My freak foot injury happened after a perfect 20 miler when I missed doing St. Jude. I think I’ll feel confident about making it to the start when I’m standing at the start. All the things that could stop me are floating through my head…Flu bug (so much flu around!), tripping and falling, another freaky injury, travel problems (we haven’t had a major snowstorm here in forever, what if it comes the day I fly out?), oh I’m sure I could think of other things but I’m trying not to think about it. My last two marathons were fails close to the last minute (Well I’m past the point Memphis actually went bad for me). Random pains here and there, but since they haven’t lingered in anyway, I can chalk those up to high miles, and my head messing with me. My chiropractor did make a very good point last week when I saw him – he said “Don’t anticipate pain, because then your body will give it to you.” Good thing to remember. Hard for a worrier, worst case scenario anticipating person like me to actually do. Still running for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, making that final push to reach my fundraising goal - I'd love it if you donated, but I get that there a ton of places for your money to go, and I don't plan on asking continuously (here anyway). If you feel so inclined here's the link. Austin LLS fundraising
  9. The weather has been colder than normal this winter. Still not much snow, but wind chill advisories have kept me inside more often than usual. Tomorrow will be another really cold morning – I haven’t decided if I will face the cold or head to the gym. Training for the Austin marathon is going well, but I am behind where I would like to be. There isn’t much I can do about it – with the foot injury at the end of last year I just don’t have the time to get the long runs I’d like to get done. The good news is as long as things continue as they are I will be able to complete the marathon, but I will be undertrained. I have to avoid any mishaps – and the flu going around has me worried. Everything has me worried. I’m a worrier anyway, and since I’ve had two marathon “fails” in a row I’m even more nervous about this one. I won’t feel confident about getting to the start line until I’m standing on it. I may not feel confident about finishing until I actually have. PRs and sub 4:30 seem almost totally out of the question. (I won’t totally write off a PR, but I’m more concerned about just finishing right now. I feel like I want to write more about my fears leading up to this race but I’ve got other running news… On Saturday I had another cold long run, 15 miles. 14* and cloudy. 14 is actually 11* warmer than my 12 miler last week. 3, even with minimal wind chill is not something I want to run in, especially that far. Both of those runs went well. I did the 12 in my neighborhood because I didn’t have anyone to meet and being close to home meant getting warm after the run a lot faster. The 15 was at Forest Park in St. Louis about 1/3 with friends and the rest on my own. It mostly went well, but around mile 13 my knee started complaining. Just a little but it was in the area of the IT band so I started to get really nervous. It never got too bad, so I’m hopeful that it will be ok. But it doesn’t help my nerves about making it to the Austin start line. I had 16 on the plan, but 15 was already a 3 mile jump from the previous week, it was cold and I had a 5k the next day. The mileage increase over the previous week was also more than I like to do. After the run I got home, got warmed up and enjoyed a lazy day made possible by a long weekend. Yesterday I had the MLK Unity 5k run. It was another cold morning and my legs were tired. I almost didn’t want to go, but I’d payed for the race and the start line is barely a mile from my house. There aren’t a many 5ks less than ½ hour drive from my house (there’s tons in the STL area of course, just not super close to me) and the cause is a good one so I went anyway. With 15 miles on my legs the day before I wasn’t expecting much. I figured I’d run by feel and see what happened. The plan was first 2 miles comfortably hard, then the last mile as close to all out as I could make myself go. Last year was the inaugural race and a pretty small crowd. The race director told me when I picked up my packet they did have more people register this year and the crowd was a little bigger, but it was still a really small race. I didn’t see the previous year’s winner (overall a 12 year old girl). Like last year no one really seemed to want to start on the line. This year I didn’t either since I didn’t intend to run it all out. (Normally I have no place there anyway, but I think this race is about ½ walkers, and I was 4th or 5th woman last year so it was fair for me to be there). I started out and felt surprisingly light for the first ¼ mile or so. Then my legs reminded me of the 15 miles I’d done the day before. Nothing actually hurt so I ignored them. As usual lots of people took off and zoomed away. I just ran my hard but not too hard pace and hoped that I wasn’t going to hurt myself by having two hard days in a row. Mile 1 came in at 9:06. Not especially fast for me, but a lot faster than easy pace. I knew mile 2 would be the hardest as it is mostly uphill. But here is where I started passing people. I hadn’t taken note of how many women were in front of me and I wasn’t paying a ton of attention to how many I was passing, but gradually I was moving up. I may have passed 2-3 on the biggest hill, which is a hill I run at least 2x a week on my normal running routes. My watch beeped the end of the second mile (9:13), I took a deep breath and turned on the speed. Much of this mile is downhill except for a small hill mid mile. I passed more people. I still had no idea how many people were in front of me, or even if I was actually going that fast at all. About ¼ mile from the finish a volunteer was cheering the runners on and said “You’re almost there, keep going!” and then “You’re going faster than you ever have!”. I answered “Not quite!” as best as I could because I was breathing so hard. Then my watch beeped the 3rd mile and I realized that she was right and I was wrong. Mile 3 was 8:08, a mile PR by 1 second. I still had the last 1/10ish to go. By the time I crossed the finish line my mile PR was 8:04. Surprise! I was shocked. Much of that mile was downhill, but it’s been a while since I’ve even come close to PRing. My first 2 miles weren’t that fast, but even with that I was 15 seconds off my 5k PR (finish time 27:23 by my watch, PR is 27:08.) Clearly one of two things must be true – Either I should run 15 miles the day before all my 5ks or I really, really need to run a 5k well rested. After the race I walked into the dance studio/charity offices where the 5k was being held where they had the medals, bananas and water. They were sending everyone to get their pictures taken in one of the dance studios. Then I walked back outside to see if they had computers set up where I could find out my official time. Much to my shock they were looking for me. I had placed 3rd female overall! On a race I didn’t really want to run. I hadn’t been going for a PR either, though I did end up running a lot faster than I expected. Recovery wise I feel good today, taking the rest day I normally would have taken yesterday. I won’t lose a day of running if I switch out a cross training day. I was hoping the race would get pictures posted fairly quickly but they haven’t yet and I wanted to get this written today while I’m off work. I may update with race pictures if I find them. My 3rd place trophy. It's kind of huge, and there is also a picture of Dr. King on it, but I couldn't get it all in the picture. It looks like a thermal mug but it's not (bigger), it also reminds me of an urn for ashes but that would be too weird. Whatever, I'm not complaining, it's the only overall award I've ever gotten.
  10. amarie2009

    Pseudo Running

    Well, if you are a part of Loopville on facebook you already know – no marathon for me next weekend. After a foolish attempt at running on the treadmill 2 weeks ago (is that ONLY two weeks ago, three since I originally hurt myself? It feels like forever.) I set myself back to the beginning and I haven’t really run since. I’ve churned and churned away on the elliptical and gotten my “miles” in for Austin in February, but no actual running. Until a few days ago it still hurt some to walk, it wasn’t until Thanksgiving I even felt tempted to try running, because I knew it wouldn’t work. I had given myself the rule that I could not attempt to run until 2 days after I was first strongly tempted. That day was today. I warmed up thoroughly, with heel dips, leg swings in every plane and a mile on the oh so lovely elliptical (ok, I shouldn’t complain since it’s letting me pseudo run). I stepped on to the treadmill heart pounding already. I started to walk at a brisk pace. After a tenth of a mile I started to crank up the pace until I reached my easy pace and…after just a couple minutes I stopped. It was clear that I wasn’t going to settle in and be able to run pain free. It’s better. But not enough. So, I quit before I did damage to myself. Back to churning on the elliptical. It’s a cut back week for Austin, and I was meeting a friend and her family for brunch/lunch so I only got an hour’s worth in, but it’s something. It’s been very warm here and I did an hour or two of yard work yesterday, which I don’t think helped my foot, but didn’t make it obviously worse. But maybe if I hadn’t done that I’d have been able to run? It doesn’t matter. I did it, and it needed to be done. It’s still not done, but I have all winter assuming we don’t get some crazy snow that I haven’t seen in my lifetime. Snow here never lasts all that long. Generally a week at most. The leaves need mulching with the mower too, but I’m going to wait until after I’m running again to do that. The lawn will survive, I’ve skipped it altogether before, but it’s not a good thing.
  11. I think my best answers are: ...worked late, completed my second run of the day, then helped my daughter with homework, prepared and ate dinner, and did other random things at home, then quickly it was 9:00 p.m. I went to bed wearing the clothes I'd run in, and then the next morning I woke up and ran in them again! ...almost ran 3 times in a day. I had a double, and ran my second run at lunch, but all of my days were running together and I forgot I'd run it. I got dressed to run after work, and then saw my lunch run laundry and double checked Strava to ensure that I was in fact done for the day! But in the end this was winning, because I just slept in my running clothing and ran in it the next morning (clean this time!). Clearly I am most likely to make tired errors on double days that result in sleeping in running clothing! What's your fill in the blank? Disclaimer: I actually felt fantastic overall throughout this marathon training cycle (and the three before it). If you are constantly tired and worn down with beaten up legs during any training cycle, you are probably over-training (I did this a lot prior to working with a coach).
  12. If you didn’t read my last bitchy post, good for you. I can tell you that I was whining about the fact that I hadn’t ran in almost a week, and blah blah blah. I wasn’t expecting much out of my run last night. I hadn’t felt good all day, had been stressed about a job interview that I had that day, and was thinking it was going to be a very uncomfortable run. I wasn’t sure how far I was going to run and was just going to see how I felt and go from there. I got home from work, changed, and headed out at about 5pm. It was getting cold quick so I put on wintry clothes so I wouldn’t get cold. Immediately, I could tell that it was going to be a great run. I can’t remember the last time (or if ever) that I started running and didn’t feel any twinges, soreness, or discomfort somewhere on my body. Nothing. No phantom leg pain either. I was sailing along the greenway, no headlamp, feeling like I was running in someone else’s body. It has been ages since I’ve felt like that. I almost started to tear up at one point because I’d been longing for that feeling again. My run would be an out-and-back so I just had to determine when I was going to turn around. When I hit the 4 mile point, going further than that would be the farthest I’ve ever run out on that trail. I’ve biked on it many times but never run that far. It also starts to get really sketchy from there – some of those characters I’ve blogged about in the recent past. I was equipped with mace so I just went for it. At this point on the trail, I have to cross a street and that’s where the Bear Creek Trail connects to the Platte River trails. You can go for miles and miles. I could easily do an A-B ultra out there. Once I began on the Platte trail, it got REALLY dark. That part of the trail is asphalt instead of concrete so it makes it even darker. I ran by a movie theater, golf course, shops, warehouses, brewery, and over many bridges. I never run with music so I hear everything. Every little noise. Every little movement. I think my mind starts to play tricks on me so I was running very cautiously, probably why I ran faster than I expected to. I literally had the safety off on the mace and had my thumb rested on it, ready to go if needed. I did hear lots of weird animals sounds and I’m not sure what some of them were. EEK! I ate a citrus Cliff Shot Blok (those things are AMAZING) around mile 7 and only had my tiny hand-held water bottle. It was plenty enough for that distance. I definitely slowed down going back, because it is a gradual uphill. I was feeling the aches and pains at that point too but I didn’t care. Mile 10 was the only walk break I took! With about 2 miles to go, I could see the light of a biker coming up behind me. Then I suddenly heard, “GEEZE! WEAR A LIGHT!” as he almost ran me over. I was a smart-ass and replied with, “No thanks.” The light he had on his bike was very dim and was pointed directly in front of him, so it was a wonder if it was even useful to him. I get the reasoning for wearing a light, safety and all, but I choose not to. I can see better without one and am much more aware of my surroundings. Plus, I feel that I wouldn’t be spotted as easily by creepers who may be looking for trouble. My running. My choice. One last thing to note was that I had left my really long hair the way I wore it to work, a fish bone braid. This did NOT turn out well. I had kept it tucked into the vest I was wearing so I wasn’t easily identified as a girl out running alone in the dark (I think WAY too much about this stuff). My hair is really fine and started to bunch up. It was a huge, matted rat’s nest by the time I got home. William and I got a nice laugh out of it when I got home. Also, I was FREEZING when I finished and had barely sweated at all. You know it’s cold out if you’re still freezing after 13 miles. I didn’t get warm until I showered. Besides getting a nice blood blister in the usual spot they pop up, I feel great today and very accomplished! It’s great to get some redemption in just a two hour time period. The bad/lazy days sure do make the incredible ones feel like an out-of-body experience! Thanks for reading, Chris
  13. This weekend’s good, bad, and ugly: Good, dare I say great, was Saturday morning. My twins (10), daughter (4), and I ran the By the Bay 3K in Pacific Grove. This is held the day before the Half Marathon formerly known as the Big Sur Half. In typical Wirz fashion, we were running almost late, so my wife dropped the runners off at the tent to get our bibs at 7:40am, while the non-runners (her and Son #3) found a parking spot. The gun was at 8:00am. Bibs pinned, and we made it to the starting line between the national anthem and the start. The twins found a spot at the start, and Lily and I found a spot about half a dozen rows back (Deena Kastor and family spotting #1). Horn sounds, and we’re off like a bunch of spastic little kids. I let the twins run their own race (and prayed that there would not be a fight…). Lily did great! She ran a lot, walked enough to catch her breath and get a little rest. We got to the last corner, and I pointed to the finish line about 200 yards away, and told her that once she crossed the finish line, she would get her medal and pancakes. She took off like a shot. She heard the announcer say “Put your hands in the air when you cross the line,” and she ran the last 25 yards with her hands in the air, and wouldn’t you know it, she had those 25 yards and all those cheering spectators to herself. It was wonderful. The twins came in 11th and 13th out of 283. Lily came in 132nd of 283, and I was 133rd. She beat me by a whole second! After well-earned pancakes, and running into Deena again, and not acting like a stupid fanboy, we headed off to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We usually go a couple times a year, and I think this may be the last time we go during a big event weekend. For the first time, I felt claustrophobic. I know I’m spoiled; we’re members and go multiple times a year. Free passes for Loopsters that come to the area. The good, bad, and ugly rolled into one: Sunday long run. This was supposed to be my 20 miler that would lead to a 3 week taper before CIM. After a later than planned start, I got rolling. The route was a 2.25 mile leg that led to a loop that I would run twice, hit the straight again, giving 20.1 miles. At the end of loop 1, I felt both calves and my right hip cramp up. I stopped dead in my tracks. I didn’t want to hurt myself, but this was the last really big run. The last week’s long run (14 miles) was ok except for the last 2 miles had a lot of starting and stopping from tight calves. I turned around, and with the exception of one more stop at the gate one mile out from my house, I made it home without stopping. After getting home, cooling down, and feeling a little upset, this is what I learned. 1. I probably could have sucked it up, stretched every ½ mile for 8 miles, completed the run, and been miserable or hurt myself. I chose to not hurt myself, and turned in a good run. The bad part about this is the self doubt that it causes. Will I be able to fight on race day? Should I have embraced the pain and not turned into the barn? 2. 12.3 miles in 1:52:27=9:11 pace. My goals for CIM have been to PR (beat 4:27 from 2005), break 4:00, and if I have a spectacular day, break 3:50. If I run more conservatively, like: 9:30 miles, I can still PR and go longer. 3. I am packing too much weight. 175# on a 5’6” frame is just flat too much. My appetite has gone up the last couple of months, and instead of dropping 10-15# during training, I have gained 5#. (?!&#!*&) 4. I have not been able to stick to a training plan consistently, specifically the consistent building on the long run, and that in itself is another post. So, after having a small freakout about not being able to finish, or blowing up in 3 weeks, I have a plan. I will get my midweek runs in, and even though it will sacrifice a taper Sunday, I plan on getting a 20 miler in this Saturday, 15 days out from the race. I should still get some physiological good out of it, right? The following weekend will see an 8 mile max long run from me. I realize that breaking 4:00 may become difficult. Cheers, D
  14. “I bought these shoes in 2004” says the man working out behind me yesterday. What the what?? I started seeing a personal trainer over 2 years ago at the local gym. DS had just turned 2 and I was finally getting over some very painful back pain caused by picking him up. He was 9.5 lbs at birth so not your average child. The severe pain was a reminder that my core closely resembled a pile of spaghetti; apparently, having a baby—especially a hulk-sized baby—does quite a number on the body. In the process of joining the gym, they set you up with a “free training session” that is really just a marketing ploy to sell the training services (I’m sure this isn’t a surprise to anyone else who has joined one of the big chain gyms). I thought about signing up for the training for 2 reasons: 1) I was far from being in shape like I was pre-pregnancy and life was ridiculously busy between working and momming and 2) my employer gives us a $500 fitness reimbursement each year that covers my gym membership with money leftover. The downside was that I had to sign up for a year of training but there were various price points depending on number of sessions. I decided to go for it and chose one 30 min session per week. The first trainer, we’ll call him E, reminded me of Ben Stein with his low level of energy. But wait, his career was personal training. How does that work?? Easy answer, it doesn’t. I worked with him for about 4 sessions before moving on. He also would show me exercises that someone coming off of a back injury should not do. And encouraged me to do cleanses to lose weight. Umm, scientist here! No cleanses for me. And no, I don't want to buy your supplements. The second trainer was a bubbly 20-something woman. She was focused on doing subtle movements, whether working the core or other areas. I would be a little sore but never felt like I was getting a workout as there was no sweating and my heart rate barely moved. She was very nice and after a few sessions she left the gym to go back to school for occupational therapy which seemed a good fit. Next came a very animated late 20-something guy who works as PE teacher at the local middle school and trains around his school schedule. I think the saying is that I hit paydirt with Coach A. As my goals evolved from strengthening my core, to doing at least one real push-up, to now complementing running 5 days a week, this guy rocks. He doesn’t put me in a position to get injured and talks nonstop about his adventures teaching and coaching middle schoolers so the workout is over before I know it. Yet, we are doing some activity the entire session, always supersetting one move with another. Perfect. He is also competitive in elite Spartan racing so is constantly trying to find the balance between strength and running well. He was on the Ragnar Relay team that I joined back in April posting all 6:XX paces. Anyways, I was happily working out with Coach A for almost 2 years when he decided to leave big chain gym and work out of a small fitness place a few months ago. Basically, a muscley- looking place with pictures of a young Arnold flexing covering the walls. There are 2-4 different trainers at the gym at any given time working out with their clients and that’s it. I was hesitant to make the switch and figured I’d try out a few of the other trainers at the big chain gym first. Personal trainer #4 was a fresh newbie to the profession. Just completed her certification. Would be looking up exercises on her phone during our session. Nice personality but a little low energy. After a few sessions of that, I was ready to move on. #5 was Navy guy. He had been in the service, then worked on the Navy boats..ships? subs? I wasn’t really paying attention. He was someone who has been working on his physique for years and knows how to pump iron. But teaching others with different goals and body types how to work out? Not the same. At. All. I worked with him for a few sessions until one time he both made fun of a female client he saw earlier that day that seemingly had an eating disorder and then talked about his steroid use. Umm…just no. He also sports a man bun. So this brings me back to missing workouts with Coach A and immediately signing up with him at his new place. So now 1-2 times per week, I’m working out alongside young Arnold posters. The trainers are all guys and most of the clients are men but that’s ok. Haven’t heard any “locker room” talk yet so that’s promising. I've been injury-free since my return to running 2 years ago and Coach A gets a lot of credit for that. Yesterday, a decently overweight gentleman was working out with another trainer when he started talking about his shoes. He’s only bought 2 pairs of sneakers since 2004!! I turned around shocked and asked him to elaborate (actually I was in the midst of jump squats so it was a bit messier than that). He explained that he had bought these New Balance white shoes and he loved them so much but they were so hard to find. So he kept wearing them…and wearing them… His trainer is flabbergasted and asks if he thinks maybe that’s partly behind all his foot/knee/ankle pain. Guy responds “of course not, these are made by New Balance, they’re great shoes!!” Coach A is just laughing while his trainer looks close to exploding, haha . Then guy-with-old-shoes starts complaining about some exercise he did during his last session that gave him blisters on his toes. I ask him if he thinks it’s the shoes. “Not a chance” he says. Let’s learn from guy-with-old-shoes. Don’t work out or run in shoes from 2004.
  15. This training cycle was, let's say, interesting. It didn't go as planned but at least I have the volume. The miles are in and my big toenail finally bit the dust, just in time for the last +20 miler today. I tried to hang on to it, but it decided to part ways in bloody fashion Friday night. The divorce was not amicable. Oh well, if one doesn't need a toe to run, one certainly doesn't need a toenail. The 21 miler went off without a hitch; now I wait and eat for the next 3 weeks before I give it a shot at CIM. So long toenail, damn jerk.
  16. Men, be warned. Lots of lady business up in here. Let's talk about periods and running. Specifically, the lack of running while on my period. I generally feel like death the first two days and it marginally gets better after that, but I want to run during my period instead of taking a one-week break every five weeks or so. I'm also extremely, extremely tired that week and I try to keep my iron levels up because of the bleeding. Today was my first shot at that and it didn't go so well. Everything hurt and my legs were tight, so RBFF and I walked for two miles (because we are on the same schedule, ha) in the freezing cold because THINGS weren't working well. So I at least got a walk in and I might try to run later, but I'm not sure my uterus will allow that. It's not even really the pain, because running involves a certain amount of discomfort. Everything just feels different and my lady parts feel like a truck came through at high speeds. Basically, my insides feel rearranged for about a week and have ever since I had my second baby. So, ladies, give me your tips for period running. I'm already using a cup, which is much better than a pad/tampon for me (I'm super sensitive to TSS). I've even run a race with it in but it was on day four which is loads better than day 1-2 in terms of discomfort and actual flow. I'm convinced that I'll be on my period the day of my race because it ALWAYS HAPPENS when I run a Derby race so I need to prepare and be ready.
  17. October 2017 in review! Total mileage for the month: 323.6 - my biggest month ever! In comparison, I did: January - 261, February - 212, March - 203, April - 219, May - 249, June - 205, July - 275, August - 301, September - 271. Oct. 2-8: 70.1 Oct. 9-15: 77.1 - a volume-focused week (only a tiny workout) Oct. 16-22: 71.6 Oct. 23-29: 76.6 - my sixth week in the 70s! Oct. 30-Nov. 5: projected at 65 - a cut-back week with a half marathon race at the end October 1st family photo...if only I'd worn a blue skirt on this day! Races: Oct. 7: Panther Run 5K as a workout at steady 6:00 pace for 1st overall female Oct. 21: Kansas City Half Marathon as a split progressive tempo workout, in 1:21:36 (1:23:16ish adjusted) for 2nd overall female Favorite race: Any time the choice is between a half and a 5K, there is really no choice, even though I had some legitimate complaints about the race. KC Half! Workouts: Oct. 4 - 5 x 1 mile repeats with 0.5 recoveries (3.2 warm up, 1.1 cool down) in 5:42.0, 5:38.7, 5:38.4, 5:35.8, 5:34.3 (average 5:37.8). I was a bit shocked to see this workout on my schedule so soon after the Indy Women's Half, but I chalked it up to more getting used to trying to run fast on tired legs. I was even more shocked that I nailed the workout (and look at those beautiful negative splits)! My goal pace range from my coach was 5:38-5:42, and I was just hoping I could hold onto 5:42, particularly since it was 68* with a dew point of 68* (you'd think that type of weather at 5:30 a.m. would be over by October!). This was a PR mile repeat workout; my previous best was a 5:40 average for 4 repeats (run on May 10 on the same course as this workout). The last time I did 5 repeats I ran 5:57, 5:54, 5:57, 5:56, 6:02 (also the same course) -- I was unhappy with that workout and it was back in December 2016, though. I ran these solo, so I was pleased with the implication that I am getting mentally tougher about pushing when I'm on my own. It was also nice redemption after failing a mile repeat workout, and then re-trying it 2 days later with a medicore performance on August 22 and 24. Oct. 7 - Panther Run 5K at tempo in 19:01 via 6:00, 5:56, 6:04, 5:58 final bit (2 warm up, 3 cool down). After my October 4 mile repeat workout, I almost wanted to throw-down all-out race a 5K to try to break 18:00, and might have tried (and subsequently been disappointed) at this one if it had been on an accurate good course and in good weather. But since I knew the course was turny and a shade long, and since it was over 70* and very windy, I had no problem sticking to my original plan of running it at 6:00ish pace in order to try for the win, get in a short tempo, and save my legs for my long run the next day. Based on how I ended up feeling, presumably because of the October 4 workout and the Indy Women's Half being on my legs, I would not have raced a fantastic 5K anyway (6:00 felt harder than I expected it to)! Oct. 14 - 21.4 mile long run with 5 x 1:00 pick ups (described below). Oct. 17 - Fartlek of 2 x 4', 3', 2', 1' pushes with recoveries equal to the next push (2 warm up, 1.6 cool down). My paces on the pushes were 5:54, 5:47, 5:42, 5:28, 5:44, 5:49, 5:33, 5:59 (incline), and I recovered at 7:00ish pace, giving me 5.77 miles at 6:16 pace for the pushes and recoveries all together. Strava said the last 1:00 push grade-adjusted to 5:42 pace, but because of the incline it came very close to ruining my sub-6:00 streak! I think this is the best I've run on this workout, but I was more excited about recovering at 6:58-7:05 than anything! Farleks are always a nice lower-key way to get in fast running. Oct. 21 - Tempos of 4 miles, 3 miles, 2 miles, 1 mile, 1 mile with 0.5 recoveries (2.5 warm-up and 4 cool-down), run during the Kansas City Half Marathon. This workout requires a lot of elaboration, which can be found here, but seemed to have been successfully executed. Oct. 25 - Fast finish mid-week long run (9 steady then cut down final 3); I averaged 6:55 for the whole 12.2 miles and the final 3 miles were 6:23, 6:12, 6:09. The final half mile on the course I ran is up an incline we complain about call Mentor Hill, and I about had a coronary trying to keep it under 6:10 pace! It's funny because every route my running group runs from this frequent starting location is rolling the entire way, but we act like this incline at the end is a mountain; I guess it is just the placement and length of it, because it's not at all steep. Oct. 31 - 3 x 2 mile progressive split tempos with 0.5 recoveries (2.1 warm up, 2 cool down). Call this one practice negative splitting under cumulative fatigue! My goal paces were 6:10, 6:00, sub-6:00 and I executed just under with splits of 6:08/6:06, 5:58/5:59, 5:57/5:53. I could definitely feel the 22 miler from 2 days before on my legs (not to mention the lunges from the day before), but I think that was part of the point for this one. It was cold (25*) and I tend to under-dress when I'm going to be running hard, but I think I erred a little too much on that side because I didn't actually warm up until I was almost finished with the first rep. The first rep was also the hardest and I was really glad I got to start slower! The last mile was a push but it felt good. Overall I was happy with this workout, although it didn't inspire confidence about running 13.1 miles at a just slightly slower pace. Doubles on Oct. 3, 5, 10, 11, 12 (the true miracle was that I ran all 3 of them at lunch that week!), 17, 18, 24, 26, and 31. Strides on Oct. 7 and 21 (pre-race, even though they were workout races), and 27. Bootcamp (full body strength workouts) on Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30, plus enough additional strength here and there to hit at minimum 90 minutes of strength work total per week. Favorite workout: The mile repeats on October 4 felt like a huge victory to me! Long Runs: Oct. 8: 18 miles steady (6:52). I ran the first 8 with Missy and Rebecca, and the next 10 with tunes. The weather was beautiful (49* and no wind) and I felt fantastic! I find that once I warm up, 6:50ish is my cruising relaxed pace now, which is super encouraging. Feeling strong on this run solidified my confidence that I made the right decision about not throwing down all-out in the Panther run the day before. I drank quite a bit of water with 3 tabs of nuun energy before and during this run, and I had to pee twice but the caffeine seemed to have me raring to go (with the run in addition to with the peeing)! Oct. 14: 21.4 miles (6:52), with 16 steady then 1:00 pick-ups to 6:00-6:10 goal pace at the beginning of every mile the rest of the way (so 5 x 1:00 within a base run). My paces on the pick-ups were 5:54, 6:01, 6:15 (uphill), 5:47, 5:45 (some decline). Strava said my grade-adjusted pace (GAP) was 6:01 on the uphill one and 5:52 on the decline one; the others were all pretty flat with GAPs within 1-2 seconds. This was faster than I ran the same pick-ups during my 20 miler in September, and they felt better this time, so I was happy about that. The pick-ups certainly illustrate the importance of even pacing though, because picking it up like that blows me up a bit (e.g., the last 5 miles would have been much easier at the same overall pace with even pacing), but I think blowing up a bit is the purpose. I felt good enough that I kept going until I got back to my house instead of stopping when my watch hit 21 (that's how I know a good day vs. a not good one -- on bad days I will stop the second my watch hits distance!). I took one gel of the brand I will use in my marathon around mile 11, and also drank some nuun energy and water at miles 11, 15, and 19 while on the run (no watch stopping). I ran this solo except for brief company from about miles 2-5, so it was a bit lonely but probably good for me to tick off consistent paced miles alone (most were around 6:55, with the end faster). It was 65* when I started and probably over 70* when I finished, which is pretty amazing for mid-October -- I love this weather for training, but would complain if it was a race day (as exhibited in regards to the Panther Run and Kansas City half this month alone). Oct. 21: 19.6 miles total, with the Kansas City half as a progressive split tempo workout, described here. I was scheduled for 18 miles total, but ran a little longer warm up (because I like to keep moving until the gun) and cool down (because a friend had a 10 mile cool down after her 10K, and I was going to do 5 with her to help, but I got too hungry and stopped at 4). Had I done the math at the time I'd have probably gone 0.4 farther, but maybe not because I was absolutely starving! Oct. 28: 22.4 miles (6:54), all base. Going from long runs at 60-70* to this one at 26*/feels like 20* was a bit of a shock! I over-dressed in an effort to maintain some of my heat adaptation and because being out in the cold for over 2.5 hours can be quite draining if you're not warm enough. Overall this went really smoothly. I had company for about 4 miles (miles 3-6), and was solo with music for the other 18.4. The miles ticked off and I finished feeling good. Strava told me this run had exactly 700 ft elevation gain; I am not sure how I managed to hit that on the nose. Before this run I looked back at my 22 miler before Phoenix; it was the same run (all base, and I ran to 22.5 that day on the same area farm roads) and I averaged 7:26 pace on it. I remember being a bit tired on it because it was a week after I raced the Rock 'n' Roll Arizona half, and likewise I was a bit tired on this one following the Kansas City half, but I was pretty pumped that I averaged 32 seconds faster/mile on this one! I drank nuun energy and vanilla Ucan before, and during I had nuun energy and most of one Accel gel (my mitten had the rest of it), all of which I will have on race day (well, I will have 3 gels on race day). I will also eat a solid breakfast about 3 hours pre-race on marathon day, but I didn't want to get up at 3:30 a.m. to do that before this run. So basically I will be better fueled on race day, but I practiced some of my race day nutrition and it all went down well! Favorite long run: I loved them all -- it's a 3-way tie! Wednesdays were 11-12 mile days (mid-week long runs). Highlights/thoughts/randomness: I feel good. I never knew I could run this mileage and feel so good! Sure, I feel fatigued sometimes, and my easy runs the day after long runs are always significantly slower than my usual easy pace, but I think I feel better than I ever have during a marathon build. Perhaps the increased mileage is helping me in this aspect. Whatever it is, I'm thankful. I am also completely injury-free (not even a niggle), which I am super thankful for. I wrote an entire post about my October food cravings here. No days off in October and it's getting redundant to report this (my last day off was June 19, and I expect my next to be post-marathon). We got to watch my youthful training partner Jessi take 3rd in her conference cross-country meet, which MSU hosted right here in Springfield on October 28! The weather was crazy this month; I ran a half in 70* on October 21 then a long run at 25* on October 28. It felt like we skipped fall and went straight from summer to winter! Where were those nice 40-50* morning lows? The high on November 5, my next race day, is 78*. Hopefully all my race day weather perfectness is just saving itself up for CIM.
  18. SandiBeach

    Last Check-in!

    Just to warn you, there is a lot of pre-race rambling for the second half of this post, mostly myself talking to me trying to figure out a pacing strategy. This is my last training check-in before my goal race. Over the past two weeks my training has been: Sunday (10/22/17)- another beautiful day! Couldn’t skip out on another beautiful beach day with my Mom. We’re weird, “beach day with my Mom” = walk/jogging 15-20 miles all around a shore town. Monday – rest day, legs were feeling the “beach day” Tuesday – 10 min w/u, 2x2miles at 6:58 min/mile with 10 min between at 8:19 Wednesday – long run- 8 miles, progression from 8:19 to 7:30, ave. 8:00 Thursday- 4 miles easy 8:44 pace Friday – 10 min w/u, 2x(15min at 8:19, 3min at 6:58 then 2 min rec at 8:34) Saturday- wall painting in living room and dining room! Ended with suddenly feeling a head cold coming on. Sunday- more painting! And head cold in full swing. Monday- 10 min w/u, 6x 2min at 6:58 1 min recovery at 8:34 felt pretty good when running, but got hit with a bad wave of nausea when I started walking to cool down Tuesday- rest day to try to kick the head cold, skipped an easy 5 miles, figured rest would be much more useful. Wednesday- feeling about 90% healthy (very surprised by this), 10 min w/u 10 x 1 min. at 6:40 with 1 min rest at 8:34. Felt good! Thursday/toady – easy 20 min. with 5x 30 sec pickups to 6:40- very humid in the gym, and this felt harder than it should have. Still not completely 100% over the cold, but very close. Friday – will be a rest/travel day, maybe a brief easy 1 mile jog if I get a chance Saturday- RACE Day!!! Yay! Race day goals: A Goal: sub 45 minutes; B Goal: sub 46 minutes, C Goal: better my recent 10K times, best in the past 3 years stands at 47:03. Looking at my past results, it’s been just a hair over 4 years since I ran under 45 minutes in 2013, which corresponds to the last time I tried to train (not just random running) for a race before I switched jobs in early 2014. D Goal: try my best and have fun, you never know what weather, head colds and random other issues might arise, and there is no sense in ruining a day being upset about not hitting a specific time goal as long as you gave it your all. If a time goal is missed, you at least get data to evaluate the training plan and adjust for the next go round! My biggest concern right now, is what pace to try to run the first mile. I’ve been training with a 10K pace of 6:58, but that’s on a treadmill. As I have previously mentioned, I’m not sure what that means for outside pace, but thought it would be about right for a 7:15 goal. For a starting pace, then, I’m not sure if I should try to hit the 7:15, or maybe see if a little faster, like 7:05 would be okay. I’m also concerned because the first 3 miles are pancake flat and there are small (very small, but more than nothing) hills in the second half. I don’t know if it would be better to have the approx. 30 seconds “in the bank” for the hills, or if I should be more conservative with the hope of being able to power over the hills. Should I try to bank a little time, or a little energy? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. For a data point, my last outdoor run was a 5K race with almost exactly even 7:00 splits on Sept. 30th in the middle of this training plan with not much rest the week before. I felt like maybe I could have struggled and eeked out another mile around the same pace, but not another 3, at that time. I think I’m leaning to trying for around 7:15-7:20 for mile 1, hoping to drop it to 7:05-7:10 for miles 2-3, and then holding around 7:15 for the rest, pushing the pace for the last 0.5-1 mile if there is anything left to push and the distance depending on how I feel. I plan everything out like this, but then generally push at the edge the entire time and go out way too fast, which leads to large positive splits. That recent 5K is the first time I have not done the positive split thing- proud of that - Ha! I’m trying to be older and wiser now, so we’ll see. Have a great weekend everyone! And a big GOOD LUCK to anyone running NYC!!!!!!
  19. Good Morning Loop! Last Monday (10/16/17) marked 6 months till Boston. As I wrote in my Injury update, I am a bit broken. Physically....Yes....Mentally...Never!!!! I was told on September 17th that I cannot run for at least 6 weeks because of a broken elbow. Well, I haven't really followed that advice. How could I? Running is not just something I do. Running is part of my lifestyle. I can't just bike (that is what led to this problem in the first place). I can't just get on a stationary bike (it is okay for a once a week adventure). I can work on my core and lower body; however, nothing beats a run! Nothing!!!!! I MUST RUN! So...I started running. I did take some time off from running...I biked, I walked, I speed walked, I biked...I jogged down hills on my walks, but I did not run. Last Saturday, about 3 1/2 weeks post injury, I went out for a walk and said screw it...I running. And I Did! Guess what? My arm did not fall off....my bone did not jump out of my elbow socket...I didn't fall over (but that would have sucked). Everything went fine. I ran 4 miles on Saturday....5 more on Sunday...8 on Monday...(Biked on Tuesday) and then ran 5 and 5 on Wednesday and Thursday. Yup...I am running again. Boston is only 6 months away and I am not going to take another 3 to 4 weeks off. I figure I can slowly build back up my miles while my elbow is still recovering, because it is not like I have a broken leg or ankle...it is a broken elbow on my arm. Therefore, I am upgrade myself (against Doctor's orders) from Injury to Training. Actually, I am a Doctor...not an MD, but a PhD and therefore, I am not going against Doctor's orders...as a Doctor, I am giving myself new orders...a new journey...that started on Monday and will take me to Boston on 16 Apr 17!!!!! Happy Running Loopsters! Dr. Ed
  20. I wasn't as sore as I expected to be from running the Cheyenne Mountain Run two Saturdays ago. I took the following Sunday off to rest and had a tempo scheduled for Monday, but decided to take another day off just to make sure. Tuesday morning, I ran the 4 mile @ 8:50 tempo run but ran faster than that, and the run totaled 6 miles. I had no issues and felt pretty good. Since I had taken two rest days in a row, I decided to run 6 easy trail miles on Wednesday. For starters, my stomach had been feeling a little wonky all day and I wasn't looking forward to the run. Then when I began running, I immediately felt this weird pain at the top part of my right quad. It was in a very weird place and didn't feel like soreness, but pain. I thought it might be a weird, delayed reaction to the race so I kept running. But just over a mile down the trail, I decided to head back home. It just didn't feel right, and didn't feel like it was going to turn out well. I automatically went to these bad thoughts because I've almost been waiting for the ball to drop, waiting for something bad to happen and ruin my comeback to running. Now that I'm through a couple of really good, consistent running months, I've wanted to shout from the rooftops, "I'm back baby! I'm back!" However, I've done that prematurely a couple times in the last couple years, and wasn't going through that again. Each time I did that, I was more disappointed and depressed than the last. It's easy to think the worst when things are going so right, right? I took two days off, just to make sure I was well rested, then did a 4 mile easy test run on Saturday. As soon as I started running, I could feel it but it was manageable. I kept going and it didn't get any worse. This time it felt like more of a soreness than pain. The next day I ran 8 easy trail miles, could still feel it, was able to power through and barely felt it when I finished! 8 miles is a longer run for me these days and it didn't feel as hard as I would expect it too. Hurray! Yesterday, I realized I was only 5.7 miles from hitting 100 miles for the month so I ran 6 to top it off! The sensation in my leg was almost gone and I didn't even feel it when I finished. Lesson Learned: I shouldn't get discouraged if a wrench gets thrown into my plans; I need to adjust (punny) them accordingly, without freaking out. Happy Halloween! Thanks for reading, Chris
  21. Riggers

    Weekly Training

    So, I didn't do nearly enough miles this week. Wednesday- sore knees. Walked 1 mile. Thursday- walked 1 mile in a.m. Then did 2 - 1 mile repeats in p.m. (8:47, 8:59) Friday- rest Saturday- 4 mile race (40:34) Sunday - celebrated daughter's bday Monday-jogged/walked 5k (37:53) Tuesday- second ever completion of a 10k!! Was pretty consistent with last week's jog. 3 seconds faster on 5k, and 9 seconds on the 10k. This week: Last week:
  22. StinaQ

    Weekly Wrap-up

    Came home to enter the weeks runs and found that while I was at work last night Bobby and Bean had been on my computer. Credit where it's due: they didn't lie to me. Even told me they were on our to look for Halloween costume ideas. Thing is, now my computer isn't turning on. Aren't phones amazing? This week's running wrap-up: Tuesday: 3 miles (dead battery no stats) Friday: 3 miles 34:39 Saturday: 4 miles 50:42 1- 11:39 2- 12:02. The second half was a return from the waterfront so a lot of uphill. I walked/ran. 3- 13:17 4- 13:39 Next weeks goal: 4 days of running. Tue, Thur, Sat, Sun… and strength on Wed and Fri. I've crossed the threshold of preferring outdoor runs to the gym.
  23. Run now or you'll regret it. The words that finally got me out of bed. Late. No rain. No wind to speak of. But I really really didn’t want to get up yesterday morning. When I heard the girl’s alarm go off, I started thinking about when I could run later in the afternoon. Lets see. I’m going on a field trip with Mookie. I can run after the field trip. Wait, no. Can’t count on that because we might get back right at the end of the day. I can run before Bell Choir. No again. I have Bobob until my BF gets done with work. Run after Bell Choir? Yeah, you know you won’t run before bed. Get up. Run now or you’ll regret it. It was 6:30 before I was actually out the door. Cutting things really close so I decided to head to the track and do some speed work. ¾ mile to the track. 6 sprints on the straightway with the curves as recovery. I think that’s 6x100? I didn’t do track in high school, like my sister. Just one year in 7th grade because practice interfered with church choir practice. My sprints were right around a 7:00 pace. Maybe next time I’ll do some more controlled 400’s. Something closer to what might be a better 5k pace than my current 3 miler slog. I’m trying not to be too hard on myself because while my head remembers that I can run, my body will be quick to tell me I’ve not been running for a few years if I try to set over-ambitious time goals. Still, it would be nice to run the 5k in December at something close to 35:00. I smile when I read the bloops about goals of sub 25:00 5k’s and paces that I have never seen. (My 5k PR is 27:xx) Running is an awesome sport. We are all competing with ourselves. Sure we race other people, but in the end, we are working at the consistent self-discipline necessary to become better, stronger and faster than we were. Ultimately, that self discipline transfers into the stuff of daily life. This is good for me. I contemplated two more sprints but decided I had worked hard enough and it might be wiser to head home. No sense in doing too much too soon and getting sidelined before I’ve begun. The field trip with Mookie went well. Outside learning about salmon life cycles and it didn’t rain till our drive home. Thankful for the ability be flexible with my work schedule so I can go on these things from time to time. P.S. Not entirely sure what category my bloops belong in. I am training for a 5k in December soooo... But most of my bloops feel like they are ramblings loosely gathered post-run. Happy running all.
  24. amarie2009

    Intimidating 18

    At what point does a distance start to get intimidating? For me right now I think it seems to be about 18 miles. Up to 13 I do all the time, even when I’m not training for anything I will run around 10-12 miles every weekend. It’s always nice to be ready to run a half at any time. 14, 15, 16 seem like only a tiny bit more – no big deal. But 18? 18 miles took me 3.5 hours this past weekend. 18 requires serious planning. I need make sure I have enough gus, water, sports drink etc. I know I need to think more carefully about what I do the day before. A lot can go wrong in 18 miles. You want to make sure you end up where you started at the right point. Plan wrong and you have to run even farther because you aren’t home or by your car. Or you have to run past your car to get another mile or two in at the end. And that is hard. Then comes 20 the following week… I did my 18 as 3 loops of Forest Park in St. Louis. I usually see people I know beyond the Team in Training people I usually meet. First loop was easy and with a TNT friend all the way, but she just did a marathon a couple weeks ago and not running any farther. The next 2 loops were on my own. I did see other people, included Doug who took my picture. It was an unusually good running picture. For one thing I actually look like I’m running and I at least look like I’m enjoying myself. It was only mile 9 so I wasn’t too tired at that point. The rest of the second loop wasn’t bad except for the thought I had to do it all again! Once I got going on the third lap it was better because I could think to myself, I don’t have to run past this spot again and I had enough miles I didn’t have to add the extra bit to make the loop an actual 6 miles. It was a nice day, but I was worn out by the end. My legs and feet ached the rest of the day. But by Sunday morning I felt fine. No soreness is good. I haven’t been taking ice baths and it is supposed to be cold on Saturday so I doubt I’ll want to then either, but maybe I’ll take an Epsom salt bath in the evening. Scientifically it may not be proven to do much, but it feels good and I can enjoy the placebo effect. Tomorrow night I’m going to a Halloween party, I’ve got my costume together, it’s a retro Hawaiian tourist complete with authentic 70s era dress, camera from anytime from the 50s to the 70s and free leis all from running expos I think. The biggest problem is that it is going to be cold. I’m not going to want to spend a lot of time outside by the fire. And since I’m running 20 miles the next day starting by 7am I won’t be having more than 1 drink (probably none, and since I almost never have more than 1 anyway, I guess it’s not that big of a loss) and I’ll be leaving early. I made chocolate chip cookie brownies and I’m taking crackers and dip as well. There will be all kinds of food that isn’t ideal for before a long run. I’m going to eat it anyway, but try to limit the amount. Usually I’m fine as long as whatever I eat isn’t super heavy (like a lot of pizza or a huge burger). The 20 is looking pretty intimidating, but maybe less so than it might because although the group itself isn’t meeting officially, I have people who have all promised to run part of the 20 with me and they will cover the whole thing if it works out right. So I’ll actually have a lot more company than I have had on my long runs so far. I’m glad. The late miles have been challenging. Long miles are more enjoyable when you share them.
  25. temmett

    I Must Be Tapering...

    First it was the left knee. Then the left quad. Followed by the right hamstring and you get the picture... I'm not actually injured and I'm not usually bothered by the taper. It has been three years since I was truly in good enough shape to set real goals for a race, let alone, a marathon. I want to believe I am ready to achieve the time I have set for myself but the doubt keeps popping up. And now the 10-Day forecast is available and I will be stalking it daily. I used the Bourbon Chase a week and a half ago as a gauge on my fitness. I averaged at the top end of my goal pace at Bourbon Chase. I keep telling myself it would have been faster if it wasn't 75+ degrees for 13.3 of my 19 miles. I should have cooler temperatures in Indianapolis. I just have to pray for no rain and minimal wind. I will consider a PR a successful race but I will still be slightly disappointed if I don't get a BQ, in which a 5-minute PR is needed. Honestly, my ultimate goal is to PR by 10 minutes to almost guarantee that I not only get to register for Boston but actually get accepted and can run it.
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