Friday, July 18, 2014

My running temptations

Why does this often happen on a long run?
Running temptations...we all have them!

This puzzle hangs in my guest bathroom and always makes me smile.  I have fond memories of running with the Woodlands Fit crew out of Luke's Locker on Saturday mornings for marathon training and inevitably, everytime we were heading out, I would smell the scent of warm donuts wafting out of the nearby HEB. Not cool to smell baked goods when you're going out for a 2+ hour run!!

Anyway, it brought to mind a few other things that I consistently find tempting out there in the running world:

5.  Destination races: Because hey, why spend less cash to thrash your legs over 26.2 miles locally when you can spend MORE on a plane ticket, hotel, food, and transportation to thrash your legs elsewhere (albeit hopefully a beautiful location)??? YES!!!
In all seriousness, our Lake Tahoe trip to run 26.2 was worth the $$$!

London Marathon...on the bucket list!!!

4.  Brightly colored running shoes:  Arguably more a necessity for early bird runners like me in a bid to stay visible and, more importantly, alive in the presence of crazy drivers.  Nonetheless, I confess to having many, many pairs of them (not all shown)!  It's the marathon distance, I swear.  Need. More. Shoes. 
Just a sample.  So pretty. Much love for the A5 and Kinvara.
3. Triathlon: I can hear my running buddy Brian reminding me, "Kate, you're a RUNNER" as I type this.  And I am deep down a runner at heart, but I sure do like the challenge of triathlon too!! Just not the cost of it.  I do, however, challenge anyone not to be totally inspired by the athletes in an Ironman. Someday...

Early season bike training

2. Shipley Donuts: Not Krispy Kreme. Not Duncan.  I'll take a Shipley's glazed cake donut, heated about 10 seconds in the microwave.  Yummmmm. Or donut holes. 
I have a nose for donuts on the long run...can smell them a mile away!

1. Speed: Probably something most runners are tempted by at some point, if not daily!  I just know the nice person minding his/her own business on the treadmill next to me wants to race.  Fast running is necessary to run fast, but I have to remember to use it sparingly and at the appropriate times (like not an easy recovery run at the Y....ahem.)

Going up....

What about you?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Learning from a craptastic workout

"Remember that workouts are designed to improve your fitness, not to prove how fit you are. Too often, runners use workouts as a constant barometer to measure improvement and compare themselves to how they will be able to perform on race day. Rarely will your performance in a workout translate to how you will feel on race day, so don’t get too stressed about a bad day or two.

-Jeff Gaudette, 2:22 marathoner and owner/coach at Runner's Connect 

Hello marathon fatigue, I remember thee well, but not fondly
 I'll just cut to the chase on this one...last week's track workout was awful.  Not just hot.  Not just fatiguing.  It was one of those make-you-second-guess yourself kind of workouts. I hate that feeling.

Thought I would write a bit about what happened, what caused it, and what I (reluctantly) learned from it.  

The workout:

2 mile warm-up, then 5 x 1000m at a comfortably hard pace (supposed to be between 3:50-3:54) with a 400 recovery, then 1.5 mile cool down. In and of itself, a good challenge, but nothing necessarily harder than what I've done before.

What actually happened: 
1st repeat: 3:54 (really had to work for it, that's not good on the first one)
2nd repeat: 4:00 (lost 6 seconds, not a good trend. Tried to regroup mentally).
3rd repeat: 4:06 (lost another 6  My running world imploding...).

If you don't run track workouts, 6 seconds may not seem like a lot, but over a short distance, it is a lot, and made even worse by the trend of losing speed on each repeat.  One repeat a little slower isn't a big deal, but I could feel the downward spiral coming on.

Bottom line, I just flat out had no gas in the tank from the start and could not get my legs to move faster. 

Frustrated, I asked Coach Bill what to I keep going and try to run the last 2 repeats as best I could? Or shut it down?

Coach Bill wisely told me to shut it down.  It was good advice and deep down I knew he was right, though it didn't diminish my irritation at myself that I couldn't run like I wanted to.

I've never stopped a track workout like that before.

How did I handle it?
Wish I could say I handled it positively.  I didn't right off the bat.

Instead of just chalking it up to an off day, which we all have, I focused on how badly I missed my targets and started questioning whether I had picked a marathon goal pace that was too aggressive. And then came the maybe-I'm-not-fit-enough doubts.

Seriously. I know better than that!

After several good races and many good track workouts, I let this one workout totally cloud everything.  Luckily, some fellow Voltes talked me through all of that mess and reminded me that we all have "those days".

What caused it?
This is where a training log is so, so helpful.  I could immediately go back and see what caused my struggles because I've tracked my workouts for a while now (again, thanks Coach Bill!):

  • Considerable jump in marathon mileage-Went from averaging 30ish to back up to 45-50 over a few weeks.  I know this was the biggest factor.  The accumulated fatigue of higher mileage caught up to me. I had not adjusted to it yet.
  • 5-mile race a few days before-Definitely a hard effort.  Added to the fatigue.
  • Long mile swim the day before-Didn't bother my legs, but I could feel my upper body was tired too.  Have I mentioned tri training and marathon training do not mix well?
  • Low in carbohydrates- Didn't track food the day before, but I've found this to be the case on days when I've been exhausted in the past. I'm not sure that I had increased my carb intake all that much since increasing mileage. Duh.
  • Heat-My running buddies know I loathe running hard in the heat, but, I had done a similar workout in the heat a week before and made it through ok. I think it was a factor, but surprisingly, not the biggest.
So, some combination of all of those things hit me like a ton a bricks.

What I learned:

I felt a little defeated to shut down the track workout, but I still did get in a good 7 miles that night, and mileage is good for marathon training.  The last couple of miles I ran easy instead of at the original workout pace.  All in all, everything was not lost.

My missed workout was on Tuesday. Wednesday morning I got up to run an easy recovery run and still felt like I was carrying a 50 lb backpack the first mile, and then things gradually got better.  Made it through the run feeling better and made sure to eat a lot of protein and carbohydrates the rest of the day.

I was grateful for Coach Bill's advice to shut things down and save some leg Tuesday because I felt much improved by Thursday morning in time for another hard workout, a "tempo" at marathon goal pace.  I was concerned about lingering fatigue, but felt noticeably better and was able to hit my paces with no problem that morning.

That was a relief!

So, bottom line, this was a good reminder that a missed workout:
  • is not the end of the world
  • does not indicate lack of fitness (I think you'd need to see a recurring pattern of missed workouts, and then have to rule out overtraining first)
  • is a good opportunity to check nutrition and adjust if the training load has increased
  • may mean giving up some hard running in the short term to let the body recover a bit
  • may also simply mean approaching a new, higher limit in training that will take some time to adjust to
I'm not advocating going hard all the time to deliberately find your red line, but on occasion, perhaps a missed workout is some evidence you're working pretty darn hard.  How do you know what your limit is unless you approach that red line from time to time?

I guess the trick is to be smart about it and back off if/when you hit that point, and then not dwell on the negative. Thanks Coach Bill!

Jeff Gaudette's full article here on what to do about a poor workout (really good!):

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A welcome break from the grind

Time to fire up the blog again.  Haven't had much time to write anything with my kids' swim team season in full force the last 8 weeks!

I've had such a blast switching my training up since Boston to focus on a short sprint triathlon that was held last Sunday.  Marathon training was turning into a grind, and after doing it for about 9 months straight, some time off has been a welcome change physically and mentally.

Adjusting to the new workouts in triathlon training was tough at first.  My run mileage was no where close to peak marathon mileage, and yet I felt just as tired the first couple weeks as my body adjusted to the fact I was no longer asking it to just run, but also swim and bike too.   A new stimulus is good though to challenge the mind and body out of the status quo of run workouts.  

My goals for the sprint triathlon were to average about 21mph on the bike, beat my run pace per mile over last year's sprint tri, and place in my age group.  Happy to report those goals were met, so all in all, it was a successful training block.  Got some work to do though in the swim and bike to ever compete with the top women triathetes, but I'm not willing to scale back on my running....yet.  I have much respect for what those ladies can do on the bike and swim. 
Starting the run leg of the sprint tri
My favorite thing in triathlon training has been getting to do some workouts with folks I don't normally workout with when I'm marathon training.  New training partners brought a lot of fun to the picture, and I hope to get to do more workouts with these guys in the future.

Good times training with Todd, Adrienne, and Justin! Coach Bill made an appearance in the lower corner too!

I am going to tackle an Olympic distance tri in July, but my focus is really shifting back to the marathon now for Chicago.  The Small Texan Tri will be for fun and to prove to myself I can survive a 1500m open water swim. It may not be pretty, and I won't be optimally trained for an Oly distance tri, but I'm looking forward to it!

So, back to marathon training, now refreshed and optimistic about the next 16 weeks of running. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

An athlete's dirty laundry

There's nothing particularly salacious about this post.  When I say dirty laundry, I literally mean it.

My. least. favorite. part. of. training. 


This time of year gets worse too with additional triathlon workouts and my kids' swim schedules. And if your spouse also works out multiple days a week, well, good luck keeping piles of clothes from appearing all over the place.

I feel like my house is one gigantic clothesline.

How do you approach your laundry?
  • Step #1 is the rinse-and-air-dry step. I do my best to at least rinse out my clothes and hang them on the tub to air dry instead of throwing them in a hamper. How much this helps, I don't really know.  I do know it just adds piles of clothes to my bathroom.

  • Step #2 is the wash step.  After enough clothes pile up on the tub, they get collected and put into the wash. 

  • Step #3 More air-drying.  This is called making the most of your laundry room.

  • Step #4 Put clothes away.I wish I could say I have a 4th step, that our workout clothes get put away, except that would be a lie.  I'm usually raiding my laundry room the night before a run to find what I need, not my closet. Laundry room = closet, yes?

Clothes IN the wash, clothes ON the wash, clothes NEXT TO the wash, clothes ABOVE the wash. What other prepositions did I miss?

In addition to piles of clothes, there are piles of shoes and piles of bags (swim bags and track bags and gym bags and backpacks). 
This is just my closet. More running shoes in our shoe bins in the living room.
Our semi-permanent pile of bags near the back door...I have no wall space for hooks here, so this is how we roll.
Just be glad I didn't show you the back of my van, which lately has been a semi-permanent spot for my bike and bike gear, and/or swim team pop up tent and chairs. 

You masters of organization, go ahead and judge, and then please offer some tips.  Well, on second thought, while I would appreciate the tips, at the end of the day, if it comes down to parking myself on the couch versus getting more organized, the couch is going to win.  

Suddenly, I'm quite content with our pile-it-up-method.

What's your least favorite part of training?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Switching gears

Bye-bye long least for a little while.

I love this time of year.  Time to switch gears with the heat building and go for some shorter race distances.

Oh, and throw in a sprint triathlon. Or maybe two? And watch the Ironman Texas athletes this weekend.  If you want to be inspired, go watch an Ironman event. Incredible...

My runner friends joke about "going to the dark side" in triathlon.  I don't see myself as a triathlete, just a runner looking for a break from marathon training.

And frankly, I'm pooped from adding in the swim and bike workouts over the last few weeks, even though the run mileage is much less.  Change is good.

First sprint tri last year...not a fan of the swim, loved the bike and run. Working on more swimming this season.

A few goals for the next 8 weeks:
  •  "Fast" 5k-Sub 20. I know fast is relative, and for you speedsters out there that habitually run well under that, my hat is off to you. I hate 5ks and have the utmost respect for people who excel at that distance. 3.1 miles of running doesn't sound hard until you do it as hard as you possibly can.
  • Attempt to place in my age group for this upcoming sprint tri.  If that doesn't happen, my goal will at least be to run my the 5k leg faster than what I did at last year's sprint tri, and hopefully reel in a bunch of folks in the process.
  • In general, get in some good aerobic conditioning with less pounding through additional swimming and biking. 
Fingers crossed all of the aerobic work will translate well to higher mileage running for Chicago. 

See, it all goes back to running. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

2014 Boston Marathon Recap Part 3: The course

And last, but certainly not least, let's talk about the course itself.

What follows is just one woman's opinion.  It's my perception of the course from the many memories I intentionally tried to capture mixed in with the emotional side of how well (or not so well) I actually ran.

Objectively speaking, taking all other factors out of the equation (late start, weather, spectators, etc) Boston is just not an easy course. Coach Bill always talks about the difficulty based one how much net elevation you gain or lose over a marathon course (so lowest to highest point). Houston isn't much, maybe 10-20 feet? Boston is about 450 feet.
Nice comparison of the World Marathon Major courses, and why I'm running Chicago in the Fall!! Source:

Here's another helpful course profile from the BAA (click to enlarge):

Uphill AND downhill are challenging in this course

Everyone you ask about Boston will talk about 2 things: The downhill at the start, and the Newton Hills.  Ok, maybe 3, if you include the Wellesley girls!

Through 5k (about 3 miles): 
I was quite concerned about the start since the first 3/4 of a mile is a pretty substantial downhill, plus a good bit more through mile 4, though not quite as steep.  I'm part of a great group of Boston runners on Facebook and all them talked about reeling in the pace in those early miles so you don't trash your quads and have nothing left for the Newton Hills.  And I think that was very sound advice.

What I was surprised about was how EASY it felt to actually keep the pace under control.  The sheer amount of marathoners on the course coupled with how narrow the road is set me up quite well to not go out too fast despite the excitement at the start.  I definitely glanced at the Garmin to keep things in check, but it never felt out of control like I worried it might.  So, yes, it's a good downhill, but it's not hard to keep things in check if you're paying attention.

Now, to broadbrush Boston as downhill through mile X is to overlook the fact that it still rolls a bit even as you're losing elevation.  The hills aren't substantial between Hopkinton and Ashland, but if you think it's gonna be smooth cruising downhill for mile after mile, it's easy to underestimate the work you do at a few points, albeit short, even in the early miles.  It all adds up...I promise.

So the first 3 or so miles went by pretty uneventfully, except that even though it was reasonably shaded early on, I still kept thinking "Man, I feel warmer than I thought I would this early".

Through 10k (about 6 miles):
We moved out of Ashland with a decent little climb before mile 5.  The course itself was pretty uneventful here except for 2 things:

1) I was still amazed at how many people lined the course in between the little communities we ran through (this would be the case the entire way).

2) You lose the shade.  For the rest of the course.

It was here that the weather began to factor in more for me, and after talking with other marathoners that day, I was not alone.  The temperature was well into the 60s by this point, and the air was incredibly dry.  My face felt like it was burning with the high sun (yes, I had slathered on the sunscreen) and I knew my heartrate was higher than it should have been to be running near marathon pace, which is not good at only 5-6 miles into a marathon. I had taken a decongestant before hand in getting over a cold, maybe that factored in.

Weather obs from Worcester Airport west of Hopkinton thru the morning.  It was a little warmer where we were running, but this gives you an idea of how dry it was (relatively humidity was desert-like, far right column).
Since this 5k was relatively flatter than the first 5k, I had planned to settle into my goal marathon pace at this stretch.  I looked down and my Garmin was reading about 15-20 seconds slower than what I felt like I was running.  That's not good.  I began having an internal dialogue over the sun and if I should try to push pace or simply maintain what I was doing.  It didn't take long for me to commit to backing off my goal of trying to PR, which, looking back, was quite aggressive in the first place (a girl can hope, right??).  Felt it prudent to at least try to enjoy this first Boston experience instead of running myself into the ground.

I remember one guy saying near me "This is going to be a death march by the end".  And while that was a bit of an exaggeration given it really wasn't THAT hot (couldn't imagine running Boston 2012 in 85-90 degrees), I agreed with him that most of us (ok, at least me) had not really thought through the implications of running in full sun in somewhat warm weather.  It makes a difference.

Through 15k (about 9 miles):

A few gentle hills in through this stretch, but otherwise, nothing too challenging course-wise that I remember.  Focus on maintaining your marathon pace and enjoying the crowds if you're going for a PR. 

By this point for me, my mission had become simply to take in as much fluid as I could.  Boston does a great job of having aid stations every mile on both sides of the course.  I also looked for any tiny bit of shade I could find, but it didn't amount to much.

Through 20k (about 12 miles):

This part of the adventure got a lot more interesting to me as we approached the town of Natick (10 mile mark or so).  The crowds were the biggest I had seen since we left the start and gave me a needed boost and distraction from the sun.  I LOVED running through this town!! Talk about loud!!!

I also knew Wellesley was coming up, the infamous stretch where women from Wellesley College line the course offering kisses to the runners.  While I was not looking for a kiss, these awesome ladies also offered up plenty high-fives, hilarious signs, and NOISE!! Great distraction! I really enjoyed this 5k stretch.

Through 25k (about 15 miles):
Things quieted back down a bit as we left Wellesley.  This is the last somewhat flat stretch before the Newton hills, though there is a very slight incline through about 15.5 miles (25k).

This is a good time to mentally gear up for the hills ahead and just try to keep an even pace if you're running for time.

Through 35k (about 22 miles):
I'm lumping this 10k together because of the Newton Hills.

There is a short, somewhat steep downhill into mile 16.  Enjoy it, because you're going to start climbing!

This is the toughest stretch of the course, not because the hills are crazy steep, but because you've already got 16 miles on your legs.  I sort of looked forward to these hills because it gave me a chance to focus on small goals instead of thinking about how much more of the marathon I had left.

The crowds are fantastic again in through here, so you'll have plenty of cheer power.

Focus on the hill at hand, and try to keep a steady effort.  At least that's what I told myself...

The Newton Hills consist of 4 hills:

1st-From about 16 to 16.5-It's not a steep climb, but it's about half a mile long, and you'll definitely feel it by the end. Some folks feel like this is the hardest one because of it's length. 

2nd-From about 17.5-18-It's not a full 1/2 mile climb (maybe 1/4 to 1/3 mile), but it is steeper than the 1st.  I ended up having to walk a short while at the top of this one because I needed to get my heartrate back down and make sure I was getting in the full amount of fluid through the aid station.  It was demoralizing to get passed by a ton of people and definitely a low point mentally for me in the race.  I hate walking. Picked it back up as soon as I crested the hill.

3rd-You get a bit of a dip back downhill through mile 19, and not too long after that hit the 3rd hill. It's short.  You'll climb for a bit, it flattens briefly, and then you get one last little incline to the top of this one. Of the 4 hills, this is the easiest.

4th-Heartbreak Hill.  My goal was just not to stop until I reached the top. The crowds were incredible through here, and you need it.  People say this hill is tough because of where it's located, and that's true, but it's still a pretty good hill in and of itself.  I now fully understand why it's called Heartbreak, and for the elites racing through this stretch, wow, it would be very tough.

I knew we'd be generally back downhill into Boston after Heartbreak, so after finally making it to the top, my spirits definitely lifted.  I was able to pick my pace up again and actually felt pretty good on the downhill into Brookline.  Some people say this downhill is tough if you've run too hard in the opening miles and your quads are trashed, but I loved every minute of this section! From Newton on into to Boston, there are tons of spectators. 

Through 40k (about 25 miles)
The downhill into Boston continues, but much like the opening section of the course, there are still a few very short climbs mixed in.  I was so tired at this point that the very, very short climb at mile 23 caught me off guard.  I allowed it to send me back into a negative patch before I snapped myself out of it and tried to enjoy as much as possible the last few miles of this challenging course.  And then, I caught site of the iconic Citgo sign looming in the distance. It was great reminder that the hard work was mostly done and to just set things on cruise control, because the finish was not too far off. 

The interesting thing was that the temperature had dropped a bit closer to Boston (afternoon seabreeze blowing off the water), and I think with all of the sweat, I got a little chilled towards the end after having felt so warm much of the race. It was odd.

Last 2k to the Finish
You run down Beacon street, make a right onto Hereford, and then the last final left turn to Boylston.  The crowd was so thick and loud in here, and a huge part of what makes Boston special.  The last stretch down Boylston is actually longer than you may think, I believe about 1/2 a mile,  but that amazing blue and yellow finish line absolutely pulls you in.  Runners are celebrating everywhere, as they should.

I can't tell you what a great feeling it was to cross that finish line.  Even though it was not even close to my marathon PR, that course still put me through the ringer physically and mentally, and felt like quite an accomplishment just to finish!  It is not easy, but so very worth all of the effort you put in to qualifying and running it.  It was an honor just to be there this year.

When I stopped running, the combination of the heat and then chills and dehydration hit me pretty hard with some dizziness that would not let up.  I wasn't sure I'd make it back to my hotel without falling over, so a very nice medic at the end gave me a lift in a wheelchair to the med tent (my first time, oh boy).  I had low blood pressure (about 80/50) and interestingly enough, a lower body temp of 95. Had some nasty foot cramps before I got gatorade and some potato chips in my system, which greatly helped.  After about 30 minutes, I was ok enough to get back up and hobble to the hotel.  Runners were streaming in behind me...I think the sun took a toll on a lot of us.  The medics were incredible in the notch.

And there, in a very long nutshell, was my experience in Boston.  It's one thing to BQ, and quite another to actually run the Boston Marathon.  What a race.

You hear that some times you get Boston, and sometimes it gets you.  Well, Boston got me this year.  Next year, I will go back and get Boston.

One of my roommates and fantastic running buddy Erica!
PS...If you want a fantastic mile by mile summary of the course, check this out. I must have read it 20 times before Boston!

Previous: 2014 Boston Marathon Recap Part 1: The City and Expo
Previous: 2014 Boston Marathon Recap Part 2: Race Morning

Monday, April 28, 2014

2014 Boston Marathon Recap Part 2: Race morning

I went to type out my thoughts for the whole race experience (before and during) in one post and realized it was going to be too long.  The start at Boston is unique, so I didn't want to jump straight to the marathon without mentioning what happens before hand. 

Boston Marathon race morning

As if running 26.2 isn't enough, another challenge to the Boston Marathon is the late start time.  Most major marathons start by 7, and during training, most runners start their long runs early on Sat or Sun morning.  The point is, we get our long run routines down to a science with lots of practice timing what to eat and drink for an early morning start.

That kinda gets messed up when you don't start running until 10AM, and that was just Wave 1! I didn't start running until 10:25AM in Wave 2.  Wave 3 was 11AM, Wave 4 11:25.  Needless to say, that's a very late start by most standards, and it can throw things off if you don't space your fueling out through the morning.

I had my coffee and oatmeal and banana at the hotel, and then packed a huge plain bagel with peanut butter and honey to take with me to munch on the bus, along with several water bottles.  Looking back, I'd say that plan worked quite well. 

Because of the heightened security in Hopkinton, it took us longer than usual to get to Athlete's Village, the staging area for runners waiting to start.
The gang: we got wanded with metal detectors before getting on the last bus to the Athlete's Village
We got there about 9:30 or so, and my girlfriends who had run Boston before thought it would be best to just bypass the village altogether to avoid the masses for a little longer.  Instead, we headed for the other precious, but often scarce resource nearer to the start line: port-o-cans.

I regret I don't have photos from Athlete's Village, but heading towards the start ended up being a fantastic decision, because we found what I can only describe as Port-o-can Heaven:

Every marathoner's lines (most Wave 2 runners were still walking over from Athlete's Village).
And no, I did not take an ipod into the can.  To the right of this area was an absolutely massive block of tables set up with water for one last drink before heading to the corral.  Needless to say, the pre-race area was well done and ready to handle thousands of runners.

We hung out in this area until we were allowed to walk closer to the start line.  Along the way, we saw plenty of quaint, charming Colonial-style homes.  I'm not exactly sure why, but I found those houses a very calming presence and for a few minutes, I forgot about what I was about to do.  Perhaps with all of the hype and history surrounding Boston, that neighborhood helped it feel a little less overwhelming.

Everyone was out in their lawns with signs and cheers and some beers for the runners (one runner did accept the beer), and we hadn't even started yet!  A lovely family had a huge table set up with freebies for everyone: sunscreen, chapstick, vaseline, water, etc. 

As we got closer to the start, things got busier and more crowded, but everything was very organized.  I got into my corral with no problem.  Noticed plenty of police officers directing traffic and others stationed along the sidelines (a big thank you to these folks keeping us safe).  Four choppers also flew in and sat overhead as we stood waiting to go. 

Krista and I watched the minutes tick down as the last few announcements were made over the loudspeaker.  One item caught my attention: the temperature was almost 60 degrees.  Hmmm, I thought, not ideal, though not bad by any means.  We certainly run in much, much worse for many months out of the year down here in Houston, but still, I prefer 45-50 degrees for optimal marathon running, and our Spring weather had been relatively cool like most other parts of the country.

I should have let that information sink in a bit more, but I thought, well, it's not humid, I won't worry about it too much.

From a home weather station in nearby Ashland: 57 degrees at the start of Wave 2.  Also of note, a very low dewpoint.  The air was very dry, which is why it warmed so quickly. Source:

Oh man, why didn't I listen to that little voice? More on that in the race recap!

The excitement of getting started took over my thoughts as I stood taking in the scene at the start with masses of runners and loads of screaming spectators.  I've never been at a start line with so many people before, and I almost forgot to start my watch trying to read all of the fun signs!

My best memory from that morning: it was an honor to get to stand at the start of the Boston Marathon and think back on the work and sacrifice that had gone into getting to that point, and not just on my part.  Thousands of other folks equally as committed to consistent and often hard training were right there with me, all of them very excited and encouraging.  Thousands of other volunteers and spectators had come together and sacrificed their time to support us along the course.  It's just one reason why I love running: a peaceful demonstration of people unified in achieving their goals.
At 10:25, we were off to Boston.

And not too many miles in, I began to really understand why Boston is so challenging.

Previous: Boston Marathon Recap Part 1: The City and Expo
Next: Boston Marathon Recap Part 3: Race Course