Thursday, April 22, 2010


I don't know where to start. In short Boston was awesome and exhausting!

We went to the expo right away to get our packets and spend some time checking out the booths. The shirts for the 5K and Marathon were really nice. Good quality, wicking shirts with no sponsors posted on them. The packet pick up and official Boston gear was in a small room with a few other discount booths. We walked through the room some and didn't find anything interesting. We were thinking that it was a pretty crappy expo for a big race when we saw that there was a whole other room we'd missed! The expo was closing so we agreed to come back the next day after the 5K.

That evening we checked into our hotels. I roomed with Adam's friend Kathy at the Double Tree near Chinatown and Tufts University. Adam and his family were in a Holiday Inn, off the beaten path in Beacon Hill. I met Adam and Todd at Rock Bottom's for dinner. It was walking distance from my hotel. It was cold and rainy so we ate and went back to the hotels to get some sleep before the 5K the next day.

The next morning it was 38* and rainy, which isn't really bad weather for a 5K. I ran to the start line with Kathy, which was less than a mile from the hotel. I seeded myself closer to the start line than where I was comfortable starting. I started
with the 6-minute group. In my defense there were a lot of people who were not where they should be. From the start I was being passed and passing people. The first two miles I was at or close to a 9-min pace. It wasn't what I wanted to do, but it was pretty good for how I felt. The course had about 2 decent sized hills and the rest was flat. It was also gorgeous! We passed beautiful brownstones on tree lined streets. They couldn't have picked a more scenic route. I finished at 28:39.

After the race we went back to the Expo to check out the room we'd missed. I bought some gloves from Nike and a jacket from Northface. I needed a nice jacket, plus I wanted it for the walk back to the room. We didn't find any good deals at the Expo, just a lot of running stuff. We only had about an hour to shop then we had to head back to our rooms to get ready to head to a Red Sox game.

It was freezing at the game. Just what you'd expect from a Spring game! We got really lucky as our seats were under the covered area. We were lucky because it rained at least 3 times during the game.

The Tampa Bay Rays are really good this year. They held the Sox off from scoring until the very last inning. The Rays won 7-1. But what a great stadium! They even have veggie burgers! I grabbed one and some peanuts plus a Sam Adams. It was all yummy. They sell Clam Chowder and hot chocolate in the stands. I've never seen that before!

After the came we headed to Canestaro's for a nice Italian meal so Adam could get his pasta. It was a quaint place in the neighborhood behind the stadium. I had found it online and made a reservation. The reviews were right, it was a good place. Then it was back to the hotels to get some sleep before an early start in the morning.

Kathy's mom, Judy, was also staying with us at the Double Tree. She and I got up early to get in a workout before going to watch the race. I had tossed my shoes after the 5K, because they were clearly done, but I didn't have any to workout in. So I decided to get a swim in. Our hotel also houses the Chinatown YMCA and we had free use while staying at the Double Tree. So I went for a short swim and wasn't at all surprised to see I was the only non-Asian at the pool. Even the Y's employees were Chinese. The pool was pretty clean, but the building was old and not very nice. It made me really appreciate the Jewish Community Center in Charlotte.

After working out we got ready to head to Boston College to watch the race. We decided to take the train which was pretty close to the hotel. When we got down to the subway we found the train packed with people. I started to get on and a guy waved me down to the next section of the train. Judy said "I guess we should wait for the next one." I said "They're all going to be like this." and I squeezed in where really, there was no room. Judy managed to get on as well and we were crammed in like we were in Japan or something. I was thinking that it was going to be hard to find a good spot to watch the race with all of these people going. Then the train got to the Kenmore station and 90% of the trains occupants got off. Whew! We were able to grab seats and ride out to the very last stop, the Boston College stop.

We found a nice spot right at mile 21 and sat down. It was cold, but sunny. I had brought some trail mix and it turned out to be a life saver as there were no places to get food around us. We were there for a little more than an hour before the first runners came through. By then the area around us was starting to fill in. Adam had given me his splits so I'd know when he should be passing. Unfortunately he had a bad second half. I thought I'd missed him. After a while I started thinking that I hoped I'd missed him because if I hadn't then he was off pace. And then I saw him. And he didn't look good. I could tell something was wrong with his right leg or hip. He managed a smile as he passed but it looked like he limped off. He still managed a great time, 3:25, but he had been at the halfway point at under 1:30, so he was a bit dissappointed in the second half. When we met up with him after the race, he said it was the toughest course he's ever run. I believe we'll be back in Boston another year so he can have another go at it. I know he'll sub-3 at some point. He's a really strong runner.

Kathy called as we were waiting for her to pass mile 21 and said she'd quit at 10 and was sitting with Adam at the finish. Kathy had been injured so she already wasn't sure how far she'd get. It was interesting for me to be around these really fast runners when they had had a bad day. I found myself saying to Adam what I usually say to my friends which is, training is good, but it all comes down to that one day. The difference was that these fast runners knew they'd have a better day another time and that they'd be back again. You don't find that confidence in slower runners.

We ended the evening at Cheers. Touristy, yes, but lots of fun!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Boston Bound!

So I'm packed, for the most part, for Boston. I have a lot going on this week between now and then, but was just thinking about the 5K on Sunday. I'm closely watching the weather and have packed for every possibility. Shorts, long sleeve shirt, short sleeve shirt, calf sleeves and a running hat. I have directions from my hotel to the race start and directions to the St. Charles River to run my cool down. But I have no plan for the race.

For many reasons. For one thing, I've run one 10-mile run in the last 3 weeks. And it was not a quick 10 miles. I haven't done speed work in 3 weeks. Three weeks may not seem like a long time, but it really is. I'm completely out of the loop on running and on where I am in my running. I haven't done a 5K since August. I don't even remember how I did! Another thing, and this is big, I'm still hocking up some luggies. Sorry to be so graphic. I don't know what my lungs can take and especially when the temperature will be a good 20-30 degrees cooler.

Guess I'll wing it!

So since I didn't get in a 20 mile run for marathon training, I've had to set my sights on the half marathon instead of the full. I'm disappointed, but I think I'm doing the right thing. I am registered for the Twin Cities Marathon in the fall so it's not like I don't have another one to look forward to. Additionally, I won't have to spend as much time recovering as I would from a full. This will allow me to focus on more of the shorter distances in the area and work on speed. So it's good. It's for the best. I'll just keep telling myself that!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Good Days and Bad Days

Fortunately we got some much needed heavy rains on Thursday. Unfortunately, today, Friday, I'm still pretty congested. I plan to get an allergy shot today and next Friday in an effort to curb these stupid symptoms. I also plan to attempt the 20 miler tomorrow morning. I have no idea how far I'll get or how slow it's going to go. My mind and my legs want to get out there and knock it out. My lungs have more sedentary plans.

I leave for Boston next weekend and from recent pictures of the city I can see they're all bloomed out for Spring. Lovely. Hence the weekly allergy shots. I played around with maps of the area where I'll be staying. I'm luckily very conveniently located to everything. After the 5K on Sunday I'm going to run down to the St. Charles River and run along a path by the water that I found on the map. I've heard so much about this area from other runners that I want to experience it myself. I also found a great map about the Boston Marathon course and still plan to be at mile 21 at the top of heartbreak hill, but now know a little about the area.

Adam got tickets to the Sunday Red Sox game. My Dad told me a little about the stadium. He said it's like what Crocket Park was like when we first moved to Charlotte, more than 20 years ago. Crocket Park was where the Charlotte O's played. They were a AA Division baseball farm team for the Orioles. The park was a small and wooden stadium and if you got into the box seats (which you could always sneak down into), you felt like you were on the field. We used to sneak down and sit in the first row by the dugout. We could hear the manager cussing at the players. My Dad said Fenway Park is very similar. I can't wait to see it!

Monday, April 5, 2010


Still sick with a sinus infection/walking pneumonia, something like that. Getting better but no eta on a return to running. To date, I've missed 7 training runs including the first 20 miler. If I can't do my 20 miler scheduled for this weekend, I'll have to drop to the half marathon instead of the marathon.

Lesson learned: No more Spring marathons.

Good news is that I did book a hotel the night before the marathon and I'm working on a room in Sonoma. Not easy to find a cheap room out there!

I did get my packet from the Boston Marathon association with my 5K number in it. Very excited about this race. I love 5Ks! I can't wait to get to Boston and run the course. The course runs around the Public Gardens and Boston Common. It finishes at the finish line for the Boston marathon. I'll need to get in some extra miles that day and I'd love to run near the Charles River. Later we're attending a Boston Red Sox game.

Another update: Vibram 5 Fingers. I actually set out (with inhaler in hand) to walk a 4 mile loop on Saturday morning in my Vibram 5 Fingers. Calves still hurt today. I really believe these 'shoes' work muscles nothing else seems to find. I also ended up with several blisters to I'll be investing in the socks for them before I use them again.

Keeping fingers crossed that I can get in 4-6 miles on Wednesday. S-L-O-W miles.