Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Meet the Luna Chix Boston Run Team 2012!

So you may know by now that I run with the Luna Chix, Boston Run team.  It is a fantastic group of women organized by the Clifbar & Co. to get women out and active, while spreading awareness for the Breast Cancer Fund and spreading the Luna Bar love.  There are teams all over the country covering running, mountain biking, cycling and tris - Boston has a mountain bike team, as well as us runners.
Team Luna Chix Boston Run 2012 - minus Paige and Kelli :(
I am so excited for this season, as we have made some changes to our usual Wednesday runs, and are really working on expanding our reach.  We have moved our starting spot to the Crossroads Pub on Beacon St. in Boston - it is close to the Esplanade where we run, it gives a secure space to keep bags and purses, and a great spot to socialize with water, luna bars and beers post-run!
Having some fun with captain Jessie :)
We have already held our first clinic, a run form clinic hosted by Olivia Lord and Nicole Pisani of Balance Multisport.  It went pretty well despite a bit of rain towards the tail end.  The clinic covered proper form while running, stride-checks, and some exercises/moves to improve run form.  We are so thankful to Nicole and Olivia for traveling down from Maine for the event, and especially the women who were able to attend and share in the success of our first big event of the season!
We also had a drawing for a free pair of Ahnu Shoes, an amazing partner of Team Luna Chix, I assisted Cynthia while she chose the winner!
Cynthia with the lucky attendee who won a pair of Ahnus!
The goodie bags for the clinic leaders and the attendees!
Not only do I love running with these ladies and meeting all of the women that come out to the Wednesday evening runs and our other events, but they are a really good time! A couple Fridays ago, eight of the ten of us got together for a BBQ in order to snap some great new team photos - there was awesome food and some great beer and wine to toast to a great season to come!!

Tomorrow evening is our sixth run of the season, and yours truly will be one of the leaders!  We have a four-mile loop and a 3-mile loop, that start at Crossroads Pub, crosses the Mass Ave. bridge and loops around towards the Museum of Science.  It is a scenic and enjoyable run along the Charles, and hopefully the weather will hold out!

If you are in the Boston area, you can check us out for event info and the latest news/announcements at our Facebook  page, sign up for our weekly runs at our newly created Meet-up Group, and follow us on Twitter!

I urge you to check out the Team Luna Chix site to see if there are any groups in your area! Getting involved with this group has been a phenomenal experience and I look forward to several more seasons!
Are you a member of a running club/team, or have you run with one?

Any good ideas for more run clinics to throw? Maybe some clinics you would want to attend or wish you could attend?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Shades of Green

I had the chance to get home this weekend to help my little sister Taryn get ready for her first prom night. She is only 16, but was asked by a senior a few weeks ago to be his date, so I had to document, of course!

I am so in awe of the gorgeous young lady my youngest sister has turned into.  She chose a fabulous green dress, some pretty silver heels, she did her own make-up and I had the opportunity to help her with her hair.

Stunning in Shades of Green...
I am so happy I was able to go home and support her and catch some of the beautiful moments for her. Here are some images of her before heading out to the prom!

Diva ;)

The gorgeous corsage  

Her hair (I was really proud of the pearl hairpins - I made them myself!)
Adorable prom dates!
Mama and her baby

A wear my sunglasses at night...

I am still getting used to the new camera, so the shading is way off, but it was so fun to use the continuous shot and have much sharper images than I am used to taking! I think she made the pics look good no matter what though, so that is all that matters.

She seemed to have had a great night at the prom (and after party...), so I am glad I was able to get home to capture her before she left!

After we saw her off, my mom and I got in a 5 mile run around town and then my parents and I went to a lovely Mother's Day (Eve) dinner at a gem of a restaurant in one of the small towns near to my home (The Gill Tavern) I had a fabulous pear and duck confit salad, with two glasses of a chenin blanc white wine, and we all got the flounder special (we ran them out of stock!! The waitress wiped it off the specials board after putting our order in!).  It was a great day/evening with my family and I was happy to see my mom, as I had to get back to the city on Sunday and she had to work, so we couldn't hang out on actual mother's day.

Did you go to prom? What color dress did you have?

I went to two senior year, each a week apart, both with my ex-boyfriend (we had broken up the week before, but still had bought our tickets and were still nice to each other) - I wore turquoise to my school's prom and hot pink to his :)

If you have a fancy camera, how did you learn all the bells and whistles? I am still semi-stuck in auto-mode!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Providence Marathon, the Recap

So now that you know why I ran this unexpected race, I will let you in on how it all went down, and how we left it all out there on Sunday.

After a stress-free, restful night/sleep, we woke up with an hour to fuel, dress, and prep and headed to downtown Providence with ten minutes to use the bathroom and get to the starting line.  One of the advantages of a small race, we were able to do this with time to spare.  The weather was pretty decent, overcast and low 50's at the start - although there was some sun later on in the course, the weather stayed pretty decent with the cloud cover. 

Since the half was starting 30 minutes after the full, the crowds at the start line were not too excessive and we were able to line up at the back of the starting group, as our race plan was start out smooth and steady with an 8:30 - 8:40 pacing.  When Chris and I race together, we have a tendency to start out a bit faster than goal pace and burning out early, so we were pretty diligent on keeping the goal pace from the starting gun.

The first mile gets you out of downtown Providence and it wasn't too crowded of a start, so we got right into an 8:24ish groove, not too bad, but the lower of our pace range, so we were careful to keep an eye on that the first few miles.  The only real hills in the course are in the first third of the race, with the course really flattening out for the last two thirds (only a few hills towards the end), so we were conservative on the first portion.  We ran into a friend that had run Boston as well (in fact, we ran into a lot of runners that were using this as their redemption run after Boston's conditions - one of the women actually had "Redemption Run 2012" marked on her).  We chatted with him for a while about the race, about Boston, about pacing for the day, until we hit the biggest hill of the whole race around mile 5.5 - 6, which lasted a good half a mile I believe - this was the point I really didn't think the whole race was possible, and he ran on ahead and out of site.

I know this sounds crazy, but at mile 6 or 7, I had gone very quiet, head down, concentration mode, not thinking I could make it much past the half way mark, let alone the whole 26.2 - Chris, who stuck by my side giving some motivational words like "you're a machine" & "you can tackle this hill", kept asking if I was OK, and I just told him yeah and that I needed to focus.  I couldn't believe I was letting the course own me so early, and I shook off my haze around the 8 or 9 mile mark, took my first gel and completely switched my negative mindset.  The race seemed more attainable when I revisited my positive visualization.  Chris and I continued to act as each other's pace police - nudging each other when one of us would start to speed up or encouraging the other when one of us slowed a little too much. We met up with another couple of Boston friends around mile 9 or 10, and ran and chatted with them for 2 miles until they took off ahead of us.  

The goal of the race was not to kill it early on, but make sure we could finish strong with a sub-4.  Chris' race plan was to run an even split (not focus on a negative or positive split), but rather aim for a solid pace for the whole race, but evaluate that pace at the halfway mark and either keep the same or speed up just a bit if the energy was there.  This was a solid plan to get us across the finish line, so there was no need to try to keep up with anyone else on the course, just room to run our own race.

At the halfway mark, I knew the whole 26.2 was going to be possible.  My hip wasn't bugging me too bad, we were keeping a solid, doable pace, our support crew had been amazing at keeping us energized and our water stocked.  I popped a few Advil just to kill the dull pain I was feeling and powered on.  Chris looked so strong throughout and we decided the 8:40 pace we had settled into was a good pace to keep at.  Around the half mark we started walking about every other water stop, to make sure we got our hydration and nutrition in adequately without cramping our stomachs, and then would head back into our 8:40ish pace.  

Miles 14 - 20 were kind of lost to me, not in a delirious light, but I just can't remember much more about them (besides swiping this amazing lubricated cloth on my inner thighs - the one spot on my body I forgot to bodyglide!! That stuff was serious and I need to find more of it, it was a sample from a swag bag, and I need to remember the name of it!).  These miles were split between suburban Rhode Island and the Providence bike trail, so there were some interesting views, and small neighborhoods - at one point we were running through full on traffic, which was not too fun/safe, but thankfully that didn't last too long.  Mile 20 - 21 is where our pace took a bit of a dive, as there was some cramping issues popping up, and Chris didn't want to risk not being able to finish the risk due to muscle fatigue/cramps, so we took some more walking breaks - we hit the other big hill in the race, which we started out walking, but finished in a jog.  

These miles were spent reverse roles, with Chris getting more quiet and me trying to keep his head in the game.  I kept trying to get him to focus on moving his feet, rather than the stabbing cramps in his quad, knowing that the pain was tough (as I was trying to keep my fatigued hip pain at bay - the more I kept moving, the less I thought about it - but as soon as I started to walk it would throb and start to stiffen).  He was a trooper though and pushed through that pain to keep his walk breaks short and his running pieces quicker - we had a sub-4 goal, that we were going to make.  The calculations started around mile 22, figuring out how long we could walk and how fast we needed to be jogging to still get there with a time we would both be happy with.  There were a couple of times when Chris told me to run ahead and finish my race, but I had only run this race because he asked me to, and I had that bib because he secured it for me, and I agreed to run this thing and had hung in this long to get this goal with him - so I didn't leave him.

Miles 25 and 26 were tough.  The course went back onto the bike path briefly and over a highway bridge and down a weird ramp - it was tough to keep the mental game going at this point.  I just kept looking over my shoulder to make sure Chris was sticking with me, and trying to push forward.  The mile markers had been all over the place the entire race, so it was no surprise that the 25 mile marker showed up when my garmin read 25.62 (I feel bad for those who didn't have a garmin to assure them there was less than a mile to go!!), so when we saw that 26 mile marker, we both looked at each and I just said this is it - you are going to make it, so lets run it in! We picked it up and finished with a mid 8's pace, and smiles on our faces - oh, yeah - and a 3:52 on the clock (8:52 pace overall).
Tired, but satisfied with the finish!
I was beyond excited for Chris, and for myself - for both of us pushing through mental and physical battles throughout the (what I believe is the) toughest part of a marathon, that last 10k.  Katie and Tripp - who had been our amazing support crew throughout the race, met us at the finish, as we chowed down some pizza and a greek yogurt for me - and just as quickly as we got the race, it was all over, and we were on our way home.  I was on the phone, assuring my mom I was still walking and healty, before noon.

I laid low the rest of the day, had some amazing steak tips for dinner, and prepared to be dead on Monday (after Newport, I could barely get out of bed, let alone even think about getting down the three flights of stairs).  However, Monday morning came, and I jumped out of bed at 7 am, wide-eyed and ready for the day.  With only slightly sore hamstrings and hips, I powered through my daily to-do list without much fatigue at all, and a faint belief that I had just run a full, untrained for, marathon the day before.  Was it possible, that I felt great, had energy and was walking around? It must have been a dream...
My face was all salt, but it didn't matter - I was all smiles :)
It wasn't though, I have pictures and I have a medal and a bib...my legs are a little heavy today, but since Sunday I have been able to play field hockey (at 10 PM on Monday night, don't know how I did that!), and run a couple miles this morning.  I plan on taking it easy this week and working back into a normal schedule next week, as I realize I need that energy that can only be found through a great workout to function normally.  Who knows, maybe there will be another marathon this year - but this time I might train...I have a goal in mind, and it is a bit quicker than my current PR (3:49)..

Have you ever run a race you weren't prepared for, and still had a decent outcome?

Random tangent - My gym membership ends tomorrow, where is your favorite place for at-home workouts?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Why the Providence Marathon?

So I know I made no mention of this race on the blog until it was over, and only a few hints to friends (heck, I didn't even tell my own mother until Saturday night, and my Dad found out after!).  The thing is, I wasn't exactly trained for this race, and I didn't think I was going to finish it, so I didn't want to make a big deal about it.

Let's backtrack a little bit...ok, ok...about two and a half weeks ago, to the Thursday after Boston...I received a text that my friend Chris (you know, the one I supported during Boston) was thinking of running the Cox Providence Marathon.  He wanted to run the race he trained for, the pace and conditions he trained for, the sub-4 marathon he trained for.  Boston's conditions robbed many of their dreams for that day, but left them with an amazing accomplishment nonetheless - to finish in those extreme conditions still holding their heads high and managing a finishing smile.

He asked if I might want a bib for Providence, for either the half or the full, through the United Health Care complimentary bibs (UHC was a big sponsor for the race and only had used about half of their comp bibs, so they were extending it to family and friends, within reason).  I knew I wasn't trained for the full, but I wanted to run with Chris, and the half started a half hour after the full and ran a separate course to boot! So I told him that I would run the full with him, well at least the miles I could run at his goal pace, and then I would drop out and meet his wife, Katie, to cheer him in.

I had two weeks to get in a 16-miler, and then taper...two weeks to try to test my legs without over-stressing them (let alone my ornery hip giving me pain around mile 5).  That Saturday I set out for my 16-miler, with gels and fuel belt in tow.  I was cruising and feeling good, hitting mid to low-8's for paces, but then around mile 7 the hip joined the party, so I turned around a little early and told myself I would do the two extra miles around my own neighborhood.  Then around mile 10, the hip decided it wanted to be the star of the party, and I was forced to stop for a good long stretch.  I still had 4 more miles to even get home, let alone tacking on those 2 extra miles to make it 16.  After a limp/jog home, I made it to my doorstep with some tears in my eyes, an 8:45 split, a killer blister and a painful hip.  I texted Chris immediately and told him I would try to make the first 10 miles with him, but that was all I would be able to muster (I had a week and a half to heel the toe and rest the hip).

Fast forward to this past week...I treated the taper and the fueling and the hydrating like I was going to run the full 26.2 miles on Sunday, but I couldn't get my mind to follow suit.  I was still convinced that I was going to run off the course around mile 16, not able to finish the final 10.2.  That is until Friday night, with only two days to go - I had a dream that I was across the finish line with Chris and the clock was still starting with a 3 hour time. I know that might sound dumb, but I had been trying to visualize the race, and staying on pace and even finishing, even though I didn't fully believe I would complete it.  I kept my activity low the days leading up to Sunday, and I fueled with good foods, hydrated, and got plenty hours of sleep.  I did indulge in a margarita on Saturday, but it was Cinco de Mayo, and the salt helps with hydration, right?!
I hear alcohol helps with pain...I figured I should start the painkillers early :)
After a carb-rich dinner at a great Italian place in the Federal Hill district of Providence, Mediterraneo , I met up with Chris and crashed at him and Katie's place for the evening (literally 15 minutes from the start).  After a stress-free, restful night/sleep, we woke up with an hour to fuel, dress, and prep and headed to downtown Providence with ten minutes to use the bathroom and get to the starting line.  One of the advantages of a small race, we were able to do this with time to spare!

So there is why I chose to run this marathon, chose to tell few people, chose to test my fitness and my mind...next up, race recap...

Sunday, May 6, 2012