Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Most Supportive Enviorment Changed In An Instant- Boston Strong

As I sit listening to the prayer service I am too processing the events of Monday. I wrote up some thoughts and I continue to have emotions that need to be dealt with. I find myself the last couple days being shocked by how little the events of Monday are effecting people. Some people are still driving around in there typical Boston MASSHOLE driving- cutting each other off and flipping each other off. I was shocked at how little the people I work with seemed effected. Business as usual.

I sat at my desk the last couple days and couldn't function as Business as usual. I got things done but just didn't have that same amount of brain power I usually do. I find myself reaching out to fellow runners to feel a little more comforted in what I was going through. I couldn't put the feelings into words very well- it was a heavy heart with my brain racing of all the friends and family and the what ifs.

Yesterday the news buzzed while I was at work and then there was another bomb threat. I sat at my desk and for a minute considered not heading into the city for my Boston Luna Chix team run. I wondered if I would be putting myself in a situation I shouldn't, but I realized I can't live my life that way. I rode into Boston listening to the news and stories about victims recovering. Our run location changed from Newbury, one block from the blast, to the Cambridge side of the Mass Ave Bridge. We gathered and put on bibs Boston Runners United to Remember. As we took a picture a random stranger asked to take one too he thought it was so great we were all out there in the bibs.

As I ran I chatted with my team mates and the other ladies that joined us. We talked through some of our emotions, some of our fear, some of our pain. I started to feel the healing begin. Somewhere along the Esplanade by that lovely dirty Charles I realized I needed to go see Boylston. I asked if anyone wanted to join me. I said out loud I had a feeling I may chicken out on my way there and I might breakdown but I needed to go see it. So 4 of us ran down to Boylston right to the corner of Hereford. That infamous "Right on Hereford Left on Boylston" turn to the finish.

The 4 of us arrived and there were probably 20 other people standing there. Mostly just in silence. We got up against the fence and watched and took it all in. I don't know how long we were there, long enough for the crowd to swell to more like 50. We talked a bit but also didn't talk. Ashley said to me it is so amazing how a place can go from so happy an joyous and supportive for EVERYONE to that. And I have to agree. I find racing to be the one environment where everyone is supportive, no one is cheering against anyone. EVERYONE is there cheering. EVERYONE is there to uplift EVERYONE. And even though on Monday afternoon that changed at the Boston finish line I have 100% confidence that that environment will never change! EVERYONE will always be at those events to support EVERYONE!

So I have to say I saw it and it helped. It really helped me process the events process the emotion. I think spending time with my family of runners helped me process. Seeing Boylston was what I needed to realize that I may not be okay right now but it will be okay eventually.

I left my Runners United bib at the corner of Hereford and Boylston as a little nod to those who endured the tragedy. Thank you so much to the other ladies who came with me. It was really nice to have my family there. As I crossed back over Mass Ave I looked up and took this picture. I don't think I have ever taken any pictures of Boston- I realized this is my home and I will always have a place for this city in my heart. BOSTON STRONG

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Attack on MY Family- The Athlete Community

As I sit here I am having a horrible time focusing today. I didn't sleep well after everything that happen at the Boston Marathon yesterday. I read other people's blogs and I realize it may be a good way to get some of the emotions out of my brain and down on paper (or the screen) and honestly it feels almost like a support group. This one hit me pretty close to home in more ways than one!

I worked at the expo on Friday in the Clif Bar booth. I saw a few of my friends who were running on Monday. Then on Saturday I went in and spent the day in the toy shop. The Boston Marathon expo is like spending the night before christmas in a toy shop picking out your toys! I wasn't running this year and neither was D but I had a lot of friends running like always.

The morning of the race I messaged my Dad, he has bandit run like 13 Boston Marathons. I always think of us at 17 to cheer him then going into the Finish on Marathon Monday. It was my childhood. And probably one of the big reasons I have always had a love for Boston. He said how he misses it on Marathon Monday in the morning. In 2011, D ran Boston, I went to the same spot I went to cheer my Dad as a kid. Mile 17 right at the T station. I ran up to him gave him the fuel I had and with my friends boarded the T to head to the finish.

Yesterday I had a meeting to call into then I ran down to the water station at Mile 10. I got there just in time to see Nat come flying by- I ran possibly the fastest I have ever run to get there in time. Then I stood with D as we waited for other friends to come by we screamed for Sam,Sarah, Alett, and many other friends as they went by. A friend from my winter computrainer classes was running her first marathon yesterday at Boston so when she came by I ran a block or so with her then headed back to D. Then my friend Lisa came, we knew she would be so excited to get to see us so we stayed to see her. After she gave us both a hug I ran with her through Natick Center and almost to the mile 11 water stop. It was such a great experience to get to run with her just briefly. She even joked asking if I would run the rest of the way with her. I'm not gonna lie a little part of me considered it. As I gave her a hug and kiss and as I ran back to work I started thinking about the Boston Marathon.

My Dad has said he would run it again- he would like to do one more. I started thinking next year he turns 60- a couple weeks before the marathon. Maybe that would be a really cool thing to do- run together right after his 60th Birthday. I was really happy when I got back to work on a super runners high. D wasn't feeling well so we headed home a bit early. Just as we were headed home the USA today notification "Bomb at Boston Marathon Finish Line" came over his phone. On the ride home I frantically called all my friends who were running, leaving voicemails mostly. I also had a really good friend who was at the finish spectating, who messaged me before D's phone went off saying "There were just bombs".

We finally got home and I spent at least an hour calling friends, answering messages from my friends checking on me, and checking twitter and facebook for updates on everyone. Luckily everyone I know of was okay. I had friends right there and luckily they were all okay. I wore my BAA Half shirt to work today as a sign of unity for the running community. I walk around today with my head spinning. I didn't sleep well. I had horrible dreams. And I just keep feeling as if my family was attacked. To be honest-  it was! I don't know any other way to describe it. The running community and the endurance athlete world is less than 6 degrees of separation. I mean just about everyone knows someone you know. Not only is there that but I really have a strong connection with the Boston Marathon growing up in the area and with my Dad running so many of them!

A real blow to me was when D realized his finish time in 2011- after a horrible race- was exactly as the bombs would have been going off. As he said I would have been somewhere in the meet up area waiting for him not watching him cross luckily, but he would have been right in the thick of things. And hopefully if he had run this year he would have finished a lot earlier and we would have already been out of there. I know thinking about what ifs isn't a good thing- but it really makes you realize how precious things are and how in a moment things can change.

I walk around today with a heavy heart for my family. I will be running my first Marathon in October. I just keep thinking about how the world has been forever changed by this event. This will not stop me from running or training or racing! If anything it makes me realize how great the community of athletes are and how I am lucky to consider them my family!

Some of my friend's blogs about yesterday:
Bryan- Don't let the Bastard Win
Greg- Today I ran

"The marathon is symbolism for overcoming and facing challenges. This will not stop anyone." - Flanagan

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Push Just a Bit More

I was in my weekly Bikram Yoga class last night at Bikram Yoga Natick and somewhere in the middle of one of the practice the teacher said something that really made me think. It was something about how the practice teaches you when to push and when you should let go. I have always known my swim, bike, and run training have made my body and mind strong to push through races. I had never really thought of the yoga doing that too. As I went through the rest of class I started to realize I really have learned a lot about when to push my body by listening to my mind in class. The heat is always hot. The same 26 postures every time. I always sweat like crazy. I am learning to listen when my body says go for it on the posture or when my body says take it easy. I think this yoga will be a huge help with my mental training for my next race! I have seen the benefits in many other ways but this was the first time I thought about it as mental training to help with my next hard race day.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler- Still Faster

D and I had gotten smart this year and registered for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler lottery as a team- that way if one of us got in we both got in. We made plans to fly down Friday and spend Saturday doing as little as possible then racing Sunday. The expo was a pretty good one, I had no problem picking up my number.

While at the expo I realized I was seeded with my Army Ten Miler time from this past year of 1:39. I had hoped to shatter that with a 1:30 given the past couple races I had done. I wish a race would let you re-seed, but D convinced me that I am not the average runner dropping time like that. Luckily a friend of mine that lives down there Emily was going to be running and felt comfortable with the 1:30 plan. I was really excited to have someone to run with.

Race morning came and the MASS OF HUMANITY. There were 24000+ numbers for the event. I was in the 4th wave. I have to say the Cherry Blossom folks didn't do their wave starts as well as the Army Ten Miler does. The first mile was pretty congested- we did a lot of speed up slow down to get clear pavement. I had the plan of sticking to just under a 9 knowing my GPS would end up being long with all the weaving. Mile 1- 9:26 (CRAP!) Miles 2-7 went by smoothly 8:49 8:41 8:53 8:59 8:49 8:59 Somewhere in Mile 6 or 7 I shot the gel I had on me since I started getting hungry Then in mile 8 my tummy woke up. I had experienced a similar pain in my long run the week before, so I knew I'd be okay. But it was enough to slow me down. Mile 8- 9:11 Mile 9 and 10 I got my legs back and my tummy in check 8:46 and 8:46.

Emily and I stayed together for most of the race. At times I was in front and at times I was chasing her down. It was great to have someone there to come up and say hey you doin okay? Somewhere in the last couple miles Emily caught up to me after she pulled off for water. She asked how I felt. I told her it was all setting in. She was like well we have less than 2 miles its gonna be close. And said something to the effect of whether we make it or not we raced hard. Well I don't know what it was about that statement but my brain switched. I went nope- this one I am leaving it all on the course to try to make that 1:30. I was tired, my legs were really starting to feel the speed/up slow down of the first mile, and my tummy was still a bit icky but I was gonna give it what I had left. So I dug in when we hit the little hill near the finish. SO CLOSE to the 1:30. The final time was 1:31:08. Emily said I must have found something when we hit the hill. I just told her I wanted it to be over! I must have left it all out there because when I crossed the medic asked if I was okay. I responded with a smile and yea! Next race I won't be forgetting my immodium either!

I can't be upset that was an 8 min PR! But I so wish it had been that 1:30! SO CLOSE! I know that my times are continuing to drop thanks to dedication to my training plans and the fact that I dropped 15lbs. I am proud to say I can now run 10miles with most of them in the 8min mile range! D had a great race too- finishing matching his time from the Army Ten Miler! I wish I had that speed!

Emily was a great running partner- J once said to me finding a running partner is like finding someone you can date. You need to find the one that works for you. Do you want to talk or not talk? Are you both okay with the silence? Are you both okay with the push? Emily wrote a great story about it on her blog Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Race Report Thank you Emily!