Boston: The Documentary – motivation!

I saw the Boston Marathon Film (Boston: The Documentary) last night with a group of running gals. Very fun.  It was a documentary on the history of the Boston Marathon.  So cool to watch.  I learned a lot that I didn’t know.  It was emotional to watch the parts on the 2013 Boston bombings.  Brought back very vivid memories of that day.  It also made me more determined than ever to get back there. As in training/focus to get back to Boston begins NOW! 🙂

Boston filmBoston film dinner

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My two cents on how to BQ

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Hello readers!

For those of you interested on my two cents on how to qualify for the Boston Marathon, please check out my post on my I Mua Training website!

Don’t worry – I won’t cross-post too often.  But I thought this topic might be of interest to you!

My plan is to update my runninfromthelaw blog with my personal training/stories and to leave the blog on I MUA mostly tips and how to’s.  Feel free to subscribe to both!

Reality is Better Than Dreams

This week has been filled with things that just make me so, so appreciative of all that I have and that I am able to place one foot in front of the other and RUN.

I had a conversation with a wise, remarkable 90 (!) year old woman this week.  She has been confined to a nursing home for going on 10 years.  Her days are filled with reading magazines, watching tv and bingo.  She admits it’s not where she envisioned herself spending her ending days.  But she remains filled with joy.  She told me “Ya know, I didn’t always used to be an old bag like I am now, stuck in this place.  But there is no sense brooding over things that happened in my past.  I thank the good lord for a roof and that I still have my noodle.”  So wise.

I also had a conversation with an 18 year old boy who has so many disabilities they are too numerous to list.  Suffice it to say he is stuck in a wheelchair and he communicates with by blinking his eyes.  The conversation was one sided, in terms of talking.  But two-sided in terms of joy and understanding.  I was helping him get his parents in place as his guardian and he was filled with joy about it (which I knew by his eye blinks in response to certain questions).

I also read a fabulous, inspirational book this week:  Until I Say Goodbye by Susan Spencer-Wendel.  Its the true story of a 45 year old woman who is diagnosed with ALS and instead of spending her last days being pissed off that she was unfortunate enough to get this awful disease, she spends her last days making special memories for and with her kids, her husband and her family.  So so powerful.  I highly recommend it.  Geek that I am, I took notes on my iphone during the book of quotes that inspired me.

The absolute best quote from Susan Spencer-Wendel’s book was “Don’t force the world to be the one you dream.  The reality is better.”  Her context in writing this was describing these vacations and events that she had planned with her kids during her last year of living before ALS totally hijacked all her bodily functioning. She had a vision, a dream, about how each vacation would go – so perfect, so ideal.  And the reality in some of them was far from perfect – traveling to antartica to see the northern lights, but the norther lights being a no-show; seasickness on a cruise; etc.  But the reality of these events – the reality of life – is better because it made lasting memories, stories to tell, made each trip uniquely hers.

This quote made me think so much about my upcoming trip to Boston this week.  I have – literally – been dreaming about the Boston Marathon for SIX years.  I started training for my first marathon in 2008, with a goal/dream of qualifying for – and running – the Boston Marathon.   Although I qualified in 2010, the way life (the BAA standards and the race filing up so crazy fast) worked out, I didn’t get in and won’t be able to run it til now, 2013.  Over the years, each time I ran a marathon that I didn’t qualify or requalify, or when the race closed before my entry was accepted, I was bummed.  My dreams of the Boston Marathon were dashed.  But as I sit here now and reflect on things, I realize that reality is perfect.  I am going to Boston this week to run the marathon and taking with me my parents – who have been my two biggest marathon supporters since I started this crazy journey 6 years ago – and Scott – who in the last 10 months has become my biggest fan – loving me and supporting me in ways I never imagined were possible.  How different would the Boston Marathon experience been for me if I had qualified and gone in 2009, when I was just starting out with running, when I hadn’t worked my ass off for this, when I didn’t have support at home for me and the things that were important to me?

I still have a vision – dreams – about how I want my first Boston Marathon experience to be.  I want uncomplicated travel.  Perfect weather.  An unlimited shopping budget at the expo.  Good times with running friends and family.  No GI issues.  I want to soak up every single minute – every single step – of the marathon feeling relaxed and happy.  And I want to cross the finish line with a smile on my face.   I know I can’t force my 5 days in Boston to be like my dreams.  But I KNOW, without question, that no matter what reality the days bring, they will be perfect for me.  They will be my perfect reality and I will always remember my first Boston Marathon.  SO crazy excited!

Racing vs. Running a marathon

boston 2013

26.2 miles is no joke.  Whether you are “racing” it or “just running it for fun”, it’s a long fricking way to run.  Everyone else that I know running Boston is “racing” it – trying to get PR’s or requalify or just kick the course’s a$$. They are all tapering and starting (continuing) to think about marathon week and race day nutrition, hydration, sleep, clothing, etc.  I am starting to think about these things too.  But because I’m running my first Boston for fun – and not with any time goal/expectation – it’s different than my “normal” pre-marathon craziness/planning/obsessing.

So what’s my plan?

  • Taper.  I’m still tapering like normal, but with the qualification that if I want/need to run because of life stress or because it warms up to 50 degrees in Minnesota, then I’m going to do it, even if the schedule says its a rest day.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  I’ve already started this and will pick it up even more next week and in the days leading up to Marathon Monday.
  • Sleep.  This will be a little bit different for me than for normal/racing marathons. For a normal marathon in the week leading up to race day, I try to get to bed and wake up at roughly the same time as I usually do (9:00 p.m. and 4:15 a.m.).  Why?  Because I’m usually so tired then that on marathon eve I zonk out and get a decent/normal night sleep.  For Boston it will be a bit different because I’m not necessarily going to go to bed early because there will be so much excitement in the City that I want to be awake experiencing it, not asleep in my hotel room.  I’ll probably still wake up early though – Sunday for sure because I’m running the Boston 5k too.  Hopefully I’ll still be able to crash the night before the marathon!
  • Staying off the feet.  This will probably be the biggest difference with what I do differently with Boston vs. when I race a marathon.  Normally as part of taper I’ll stay off my feet as much as possible in the days before the marathon and for sure the day before the marathon.  But what fun would that be in Boston?  For me, Friday and Saturday will be filled with lots of walking – taking in the expo, walking up and down Boylston and just walking around experiencing the excitement.  Sunday I will run (jog) the Boston 5k with Scott at 8:00 a.m. and then – because 26.2 miles is no joke – I will try to not go crazy with the walking and will try to find something to do that allows me to soak in the excitement, but kick the feet up a bit.  Perhaps hang out and people watch in Boston Commons?  Other ideas?
  • Eating and drinking.  Normally I try to be good in the days leading up to the marathon and the day before the marathon.  I don’t cut out alcohol or sweets totally, but I try to not have 10 treats a day like during training.  And I always have a beer or glass of wine with dinner the night before the marathon.  My plan with Boston is to use moderation and common sense, but enjoy myself.  Translated:  don’t get sloppy drunk and don’t eat Mexican/spicy food the day before the race, but if I want two glasses of wine with dinner, then by God, I’m having two glasses of wine with dinner! 🙂
  • Race day nutrition.  I’ll mostly do the same thing as when I’m racing, with the exception of eating a bit more since we load buses at 5:30 and I don’t start running til 10:20.  But fuel during the marathon itself will be very similar to what I usually do – gel 15 minutes before start and then every 5 – 6 miles.  Water/nuun may be different – see below.
  • Carrying.  Not heat – my bottle of water.  I usually carry a nathan handheld and fill it up with water every 2 or 3 waterstops (and Nuun).  This allows me to stay hydrated at my pace/schedule, not have it be dictated by when the waterstops are.  It also allows me to skip crowded water stops and not lose time.  However, since I plan on carrying a camera and an iphone, I don’t plan on carrying a handheld of water because that would be too much to deal with and – with my luck – I would probably end up spilling water on the camera and/or phone and breaking it and losing all my pictures!  There are water stops every mile at Boston, so I’ll definitely be able to stay hydrated.
  • Strategy/stress.  When I’m racing a marathon I spend SO much time thinking about pacing strategy for race day.  I spend time visualizing myself running X pace and it feeling easy.  I spend time thinking about how to strategically pace myself based on the course elevation, etc.  This time I haven’t spent even one second thinking about a pacing plan.  And it’s been SUCH a welcome relief!  The only strategizing I’ve done with respect to the course map is to figure out where the colleges are, since there is likely to be beer given out there and I intend to drink a beer during the marathon to celebrate 5 years of hard work and actually running the Boston Marathon!

11 days til Boston Marathon!

Thoughts on Two of Kind: Shalane and Kara

Have you seen the Two of a Kind video series from Runners World with Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan?  Definitely worth a watch.  I like the 2nd, 3rd and 4th videos where they are discussing their training and racing and BOSTON!  Kara and Shalane are two inspiring, dedicated female athletes.

My take-aways from the videos:

  • Training partners/groups are fabulous and can push you to another level. Kara talked about how switching to her new coach and training with Shalane has pushed her so much, made her a better, more competitive athlete because she never would have done some of the workouts as hard as she did, pushed herself as far as she did, without Shalane. I found that to be true when I started training with the Lifetime group a year and a half ago. They inspired me. And pushed me. And ultimately made me a better, more competitive & faster athlete – as far as middle aged, middle of the packers go! 🙂
  • They both have some serious abs!  Holy crap.  Of course, I bet they can’t indulge in peanut butter bacon burgers and beer on Mondays like I do. 🙂  I’m just not willing to sacrifice certain things for defined abs. 🙂
  • They both see a life for themselves beyond running.  I get that it’s different for elites like them – where running IS your life.  But still.  I love that Kara has plans for a women’s running group/clinic (?) in the not so distant future.  Good for her.  And they both have plans for more little Gouchers and little Flanagans in the not so distant future.  Good for them. Because running rocks and having a running group/clinic would be fabulous too – but the best, most rewarding (and by far the most challenging) thing ever is having your own family.

I’ll be rooting for Shalane and Kara – who will be crossing the finish line when I’m only about 10 miles in to my first Boston!  I’ll be sure to stop at Boston College and raise a beer to them! 🙂

For the Boston Runners . . .


Today as I was reading through all the blog posts, FB posts, texts and emails from runners who are lucky enough to be running Boston on Monday, something occurred to me.  Many of them are (understandably) disappointed with the crazy hot weather forecast that looks like it will roll through Boston on Monday.  And, truthfully, I know I would be disappointed too.  But what occurred to me was that virtually every runner who is toeing the line in Boston has already had their “victory” moment – where they ran the perfect speedy race that qualified them to be running Boston on Monday.  So even though it sucks that they each trained so hard again and likely won’t have anywhere near perfect weather to attempt to get that PR or another BQ, they are running Boston.  And for that each of them should be loving life.

I was also reminded today of my all time favorite quote:  Life is not measured by the number of breaths that we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

I have to believe that crossing the start line in Hopkinton with 25,000 other runners, hearing the screams of, and getting kisses from, the Wellesley girls [I’m SO gonna stop for that when i run it! 🙂 ], and even (especially?) running up Heartbreak Hill, will take the breath away from most of the Boston runners.  I hope that each of them are able to step back and realize that their PR will come another day and that they are able to make Monday about something even more important than shaving time off their PR:  make it about enjoying the moments that take their breath away.

Me?  I’ll be glued to my computer Monday watching the Boston Marathon, tracking my runner friends and imagining what it will be like (next year?) when I finally get to experience Boston myself.  I am especially excited for my running twin Kristy, who is running her first Boston on Monday and who could not be more deserving of toeing the line after 10 years of hard work to get there.

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