April 2014 - Run for the Thrills


BOSTON Runs As One

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The Boston Marathon – a beautiful experience, with love, unity and determination brimming over from the athletes, volunteers and spectators.  It was a race of celebration, as 36,000 runners set out from Hopkinton on April 21st to run the 42.2km to the finish line in downtown Boston.

The weather was glorious and new records were set.  Meb Keflezighi won the Marathon, the first American man to win in 31 years, in a time of 2:08:37! Rita Jeptoo won the women’s race for her third time and set a new course record in a time of 2:18:57.

There was a great positive spirit at the Marathon.  Heightened security measures did not get any of us down.  We just adapted and even had some fun in the end. For example, no bags were allowed out to the athletes village, which meant runners were bundled with all their throw-away clothing, looking  like hobos rather than lean running machines.  I wore a pair of gorgeous white men’s medium-sized track pants that Joe Zack had passed on to me.  It went well with the very worn U of Toronto sweatshirt – a men’s large – that James Glover donated to the cause.  I felt like a marshmallow and definitely did not look like a marathon runner.

The race started at 10am. After shedding my warm-up garb, I felt great as I set out from Hopkinton in the first wave.  The weather was ideal and the downhill start carried me away.  I got a bit too carried away in fact, going quicker than my target marathon pace of 4:15.  My first 5km was just over 20min – too quick.  But at this point I felt great and thought, “maybe I can hang on to this pace and get a PB!”  My thoughts of just breaking 3 hours were replaced with dreams of a personal best… perhaps not a good plan at Boston, which has a much more difficult second half.  As the temperature rose steadily, I was thirsty by the second half and gulped down water.  The onset of cramps forced me to stop at a porta-potty at around mile 16, where I was grateful there was only a short line-up so I only lost about sixty seconds.  But now things were getting tough.  My thoughts were changing and my watch was not giving me the numbers I wanted.  Now I started thinking, “Just keep going, get up those hills, and do NOT walk”.  I saw many people walking, and I was slowing, but I got up the hills fine and then just kept my legs moving.  My last two kilometers were the slowest of my race; thankfully they were still under 5min per km pace.  My final time was 3:06:48.  I did not achieve my goal of breaking three hours.  A marathon is a special race; some days everything works out perfectly and you celebrate a personal best.  Some days, determination and sheer will gets you through it.  The satisfaction comes from completing the race and in having persevered.

I had a great time running and I loved the whole Boston Experience. I have many people to thank for getting me to Boston and showering me with love and support.  My family cheered me on at mile 17.  I was so pleased to see them!  I have my training buddies – Dave Smith, Karen Natho and Scott Stevens –  to thank for all those training runs we did together in the early mornings and long runs on the weekends.  James and Mary Glover hosted us in their home, just outside of Boston for several days over the Marathon weekend.  Friends insisted that this, my third Boston, I needed to finally purchase the race jacket and they all donated to the cause.  Thank you to everyone for their well wishes and support.  Thank you for joining in the fun of the Boston Marathon.


Preparing for BOSTON – How to Conquer Self Doubt

Posted by | Events, Training | 6 Comments

Boston is just over a week away – April 21 is quickly approaching!  How am I preparing for Boston?…..

As the big race draws near, I am certainly getting excited, but I also wonder, have I done enough? am I ready for this?  Running at 5:30am today, I had the pre-marathon ‘Run of DOUBT’.  My legs felt tired and heavy, and the pace felt quick even though it was only 4:25/km. How will I be able to go even quicker, I wondered? My target marathon pace is 4:15/km — how will I do that for 42.2km, if my ‘easy run’ at 4:25/km felt so hard?

Taper Time:  In the past weeks, I increased to higher mileage than I have ever run before, but it’s now time to taper. I ran over 80km for four weeks, with one week at 97kms(!), and I am really feeling the fatigue of high mileage.  I have to remind myself that the fact that I am tired means I have trained hard.  This is good! I have stressed my body, and now it is time to allow myself to recover.  There is time for my tired muscles to repair.  This weekend my long run will be a mere 14km.  I won’t be doing any more hard speed work; instead I’ll do a 6km ‘mini-marathon’ at my target pace on Tuesday, and then a couple of stretch out runs for the rest of the week. That’s it. Instead of getting antsy, I’m going to remind myself that, this week, resting is more important than running.

Focusing on What I have done Right:  The hard work is done, and I need to mentally focus on all that I did right.  That means no second guessing what I could have done better!  Any insight into better training strategies will have to be tucked away for my next marathon.  For now, I am satisfied that I did all that I could do to prepare, while juggling family and work commitments.  I feel especially good that I ran higher mileage and ran more intervals than my last marathons.

Focusing on Recovery:  I will enjoy a massage to work through tired muscles this week.  Stretching, Rolling and Yoga are on my agenda – activities I rarely make enough time for.  Time also for Epsom salts baths to work out waste products from stressed muscles.

Getting Organized:  Boston has adjusted many of their regulations due to the unfortunate events of last year.  This means no bags allowed out to the Athletes Village and Start Line. Goodwill, here come all the runners….time to purchase warm disposable clothing!  I could be sitting in the village for 2-3 hours.  It will will cool first thing – the long range weather prediction is for a low of 4 degrees and a high of 9.  Runners will have to abandon their warmup clothing, since they can’t check bags… which means the Thrift Stores of Boston are about to enjoy a huge influx of second-hand clothing from around the world!

Having Fun with the Family: My whole gang is coming along to Boston this time.  They are all excited.  We have plans to go to the Boston Aquarium and the Beach.  We will also be visiting dear friends, the Glovers, from our University of Toronto days (I won’t mention how long ago that was). We are looking forward to spending time with them, and for our three children to hang out with the Glovers’ four children.  The Marathon is a great excuse to get together. We will have fun and experience new adventures together as a family.

Listening to the Encouragement of Others: James and the kids are so supportive.  Elijah tells me I can do anything (he heard me say that and just said, ‘You can, Mom!’). My coworkers are also all excited for me and often check in with me to see how my training is going. I am so thankful for all the people cheering for me. With that type of support, I know I will do great in the Boston Marathon.

bento lunch

Bento Box Lunch #1

Posted by | Fit Food | No Comments

In my never-ending quest to find tasty food that won’t make me (that much) fatter, I’ve become a fan of the bento box trend.

A Japanese invention, bento boxes are single-person meals in a box, either as take-out from a restaurant or packed from home. Traditionally they held rice, fish, and vegetables; today bento boxes can hold whatever food you like.

My bento box lunch held the following things:

Chicken Wraps & Olives
-sliced chicken & mayo on a tortilla, rolled up & sliced
Celery and Tomatoes
-celery with smoked salmon cream cheese; cherry tomatoes
Beansprouts & Scrambled Egg
-beansprouts; 2 beaten eggs cooked until firm and sliced; diced avocado; hot sauce
Sweets Stuff
-yogurt dipped pretzels; dried papaya, strawberry

Very yummy stuff! And looking very cool in my Laptop Lunches lunchbox.