Friday, April 19, 2013

Boston Marathon 2013

Boston. What an experience. 

By God's grace, I was not anywhere near the finish line when the explosions happened. I had finished the race around 1:40pm, and walked the couple blocks to the family meeting area to meet up with my Business Man and BFF Talen. After visting for awhile, we headed to the car around 2:40pm, ten minutes before the explosions happened.

We didn't even realize anything had happened, because we were in the car on the way to our hotel about 10 miles away. After receiving several texts & calls, we flipped the news on to see what everyone was so concerned about. 

It was so surreal. Just one hour before, I had run by the same exact spot. Crossed the finish line with a smile on my face. 

Immediately, I started contacting my running friends that were at the race. After learning they were all okay, we sat there in the hotel room for 3+ hours, just watching the news coverage. 

I have such a bittersweet ball of emotions about the whole experience. I had a fantastic Boston race experience... it was everything I hoped it would be. But it's hard to be excited and happy about a race that ended so tragically. Devastating for the victims, devastating for the families of the victims, devastating for the runners who didn't get to finish. 

The most overwhelming thing was just the sheer amount of people who contacted us to make sure we were okay. So many people that I would have never expected to reach out... just wanting to make sure we were safe. Never have I felt so loved and cared about in one day. A huge thank you to everyone who sent a message of concern.

**Race report to come.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

I think I'll go to Boston...

Well, it is here. Time to head to Boston! The original plan was to drive the 13ish hours today, but after spending some time on Priceline last night, we ended up with a great deal on flight + car rental. 

16 weeks of training, and I'm ready to go! It's crazy how much the taper helps... just a few weeks ago I was so over running. Just get the darn marathon over with already. But now, after having a couple laid-back weeks and lower mileage, I am ALL ABOUT THE RUNNING! I cannot wait to toe the start line on Monday and unleash the beast. 

Kicks for the race
I have been so blessed to have awesome training partners through this awful winter... despite the nasty snow, wind, freezing rain, I got in more outdoor runs than I ever have in a winter. So a big thank you to Amy and Jim for motivating my butt out of bed at 5:30am multiple times a week.

So glad we are done with this weather.
I was talking to my students about the race yesterday, and told them that I have run over 800 miles (828 to be exact) in preparation for this one race. They thought I was crazy. They will be watching the live stream of the marathon on Monday with my sub. They told me to wear something bright-colored so they could spot me on TV. (I'm not sure they quite understand that it might be kind of hard to see me in a sea of 27,000 runners. Lol.) I also had a few ask if I was going to win. I told them it was very unlikely. "But just run fast! You can do it!" Haha, they have no idea.

weekly mileage over the last 16 weeks

Anyways, enough blabbering. What are my goals? I would like to PR, so under 3:22. I would really like to run 3:15, as I was on pace to run that at last year's IL Marathon until about mile 20.

My main focus is going to be on taking it out easy. Start slow. I did a GMP run earlier this week, and tried to hit 7:20 each mile. It was hard to lock into that pace. Most of them were closer to 7:00-7:10, even after telling myself "sloooow down!" Add in the excitement of the race and the downhill first section, and I can see it being really hard to go out slow.

Once I get past the Newton hills though, all bets are off! I'm going to see what I can do. More than anything, I'm just really excited. I have had a great training cycle, and some awesome long runs. I'm feeling confident, and I'm ready to experience all that Boston has to offer.

If you'd like to track me during the race, my bib number is #10223. I am in wave 2 starting at 10:20am. See ya from Boston!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Spring Break, baby!

One of the best parts about being a teacher is spring break, for sure. (And Christmas, I mean winter break, and obviously the three months of summer vacation.)

Life has been insanely crazy busy the past few months... between teaching, filling orders for Sara's Sweets, making desserts for The Met, and training for Boston, there hasn't been much down time. 

My Business Man and I booked a cruise with my parents months ago for spring break, and it was the best decision ever. Seriously, it came it exactly the right time. After such a long, nasty winter (and running through a long, nasty winter), it was so nice to spend a week in the sunshine and 80-degree temps. The cherry on top was that we had no cell phone service at all! No distractions, no emails, no voicemails to tend to. No responsibilities for an entire five days! We almost didn't know what to do with ourselves. Don't worry, we managed to fill the time. ;)

We cruised with Royal Caribbean on the Liberty of the Seas. Seriously, I had no idea a boat could be so big. The ship was fifteen stories (!) with three pools, a 300m jogging track, an ice skating rink, mini-golf, a full-size theater, a rock climbing wall, etc. There was so much to do! (Of course, my favorite thing was to lay by the pool.)

Me & Dad, rockin' the shades

We stopped in two ports while at sea - Belize and Cozumel. In Belize, we did a snorkeling excursion. Snorkeling was ok... I think I would have liked it better a different environment. (Because the Great Barrier Reef was obviously not gorgeous enough.) Just kidding; it was really pretty, but there were a TON of people. We were in a group of about 200 people, and it was pretty much a free-for-all. Everybody jumped into the water at once. So it was a bit chaotic. 

In Belize, we also got to eat a local place for lunch - the Wet Lizard. My mom & I fell in love with this Green Iguana drink... pretty much like a pineapple-coconut smoothie. With a few other yummy mix-ins... ;) 

If you share drinks, it's totally legit to order drink after drink, right?

We also shared an order of fish tacos... so yum!

In Cozumel, we did a big ole' Jeep tour which was awesome. We caravanned through the countryside visiting a few different places. Thankfully my dad took the wheel because I was not about to learn to drive stick...

We stopped at one of the most beautiful beaches. Seriously, so gorgeous. 

The water was a wee bit chilly.

We also stopped at a tequila factory so see how the good stuff is made. It comes from the agave plant, which to me looked like a huge pineapple. Of course, we got to taste-test, too. There were all sorts of flavors - cherry, orange, blue, coffee, cream. (And yes, 'blue' was a flavor. Lol.)

When in Mexico...

The tour finished off with a Mexican lunch with some of the freshest pico de gallo I've ever had. 

Nothing better than Coca Cola light from a glass bottle.

This trip was just the right mix of relaxation and play time... and we were totally spoiled on the ship. There was even a cupcake shop! (Though I will have to say, they most definitely used frosting from a tub... blech.)

And we got to come back to our room each night to a fun towel animal. There was even a class on the last day at sea if you wanted to learn how to make them. Pretty sure I slept through that one. 

We had such an awesome time. It got a little crazy windy on the ship, but I'm pretty sure I can deal with a little wind.

Trying to look all pretty for formal night. Key word: trying.
Such a blast. But... now we are back to reality. At least spring has arrived! And just 5 days until the Boston Marathon. Thoughts on that coming later... 

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