Saturday, August 1, 2015

Running: The First 20 Weeks

I've reached the half-way mark of this pregnancy. Sometimes it feels like it's moving along at a good pace, other times it feels super slow, and then I realize that in no time at all there will be a little human to care for and my life will change in ways I can't even imagine right now.

I'm running anywhere from 3-7 miles a day, 5 days a week. I'd run more if I could go longer without needing a bathroom. Sometimes I wish I was in DC: It would be easier to stop there, but there aren't places around here that I can sneak into without being noticed. I don't want to become "that pregnant lady that always stops to use our bathroom" so I suffer wait until I get home.

I like to hit at least 20 miles a week, but it feels like we have been busier here than in DC, so some days it is just impossible to get a run in or the rain keeps me away. I'm not training for anything so I can totally take a day off due to rain now! This will be the only time in my life that I'll allow myself to do that.

I've put on roughly 670 miles this pregnancy, which averages out to 33.5 miles a week. I ran higher mileage in the beginning (40/50-something mile weeks) while finishing the training for Boston, but have been staying stead at around 20 miles a week for the last month.

Right before a run - 18 weeks

I'm not sure how long I'll continue to run. Ideally, I'd like to run as long as I can, including up to the due date, but I'm speaking as someone who has never been through this and someone who is a lot skinnier now than I will be in a few months.  Each week seems to become a little bit more difficult than the last. I need more air when running (or even walking) up hills, which are EVERYWHERE around our new place, so the pace has been pretty slow.

And I mean way slow. I'm really happy if I can hit a pace that's 1.5 minutes slower than my easy pace days from training this spring. I am much easier on myself than I was a few months ago, especially as I get bigger and further along into this pregnancy. Last Thursday I took a run without my watch (because I couldn't find it!) and had the most amazing, relaxing time. I ran to truly run. I wasn't looking down and seeing slow splits. As a result, I decided that I would briefly take a pit stop at home around 4.5 miles before tacking on another 2.5 miles. That was the longest run I had done in over a month and it felt amazing.

I vowed that I wouldn't touch a watch again for the next five months, and then I found my Garmin! Oh great, you're thinking, just what I need. Actually, it was nice to have it on a few runs to see that I wasn't going as slow as I thought! It was also nice to see that yes - hills do kill me (10 minutes/mile pace), but if I'm going downhill I can get back to 7:30/8:00 pace without even trying. Together - the watchless runs and the Garmin splits have helped to boost my confidence in running again. I'm not trying to win any races (or run in any) but I'm just trying to maintain some fitness as long as I can.

Side note: I stopped to think about why it is that I have trouble running, besides the obvious. It's the breathing, the inability to feel like I can fully put forth an full effort, the more time on my foot for each landing due to my slower pace, the hills, eating too soon before going running, forgetting to go to the bathroom - just in case - right before leaving, the traffic that is now inches from me as there are no sidewalks in VT, and the gravel roads that make footing a little trickier. My mind is always "on" now while I'm running, as opposed to being able to float freely through the run. There are also a lot of unknowns that go through my head on each run. How long can I keep running? What is it going to feel like when I return? When will I be able to race again? How soon is too soon to run a marathon? etc, etc.

Besides running, every week I take 1-2 days to do yoga at home. I went to a class a few weeks back with other moms-to-be but decided that I should wait a little while before rejoining. Talk about intimidating to be sitting next to someone that is due in 5 days! I was by far the least furthest along that night. Fortunately, a month later, I am in the new wave of moms and am not the least furthest along. In no time at all I'll be that mom saying that I'm due in 5 days. Scaryyyyyy!

I also like to get in some strength training for the legs, but have to admit that I have totally slacked on upper body strength. I basically stopped all crunches and core work the minute I found out I was pregnant because 1) I was in taper time for Boston and 2)tend to think those aren't as necessary anymore if the point of your stomach is now to expand. It's ironic that I got pregnant when I did because for the first time in my life I had achieved real abs. That's how the cookie crumbles, isn't it? Those abs will come back post baby, as long as I can keep away from those crumbling cookies.

The only time I'll let Tom take a photo like this - a tiny bump at 17 weeks

Speaking of cookies and food, one main focus of mine during pregnancy is gaining enough weight. I don't restrict myself to any desserts, and have greatly cut my mileage in order to gain weight. What is important for people to know is that I run because I absolutely love the feeling that it brings. I have never run to lose weight. I put that out there because some people tend to believe that is why all runners run, but most runners out there know otherwise. I sometimes feel bad telling the doctors that I'm still running, but I can't imagine what would happen to my body if I stopped. I've been running for over 14 years and it's such a natural part to my daily routine. Exercise in pregnancy is recommended, but I have to make sure I'm gaining enough weight in the meantime. Bring on the chocolate milkshakes!

That's how the running life is going now. This coming week we will find out if it is a boy or girl and then I feel like we can begin to really plan for this baby. It's crazy to think that as that milestone is reached it also means that summer is very quickly coming to a close and school will start up again. I will be teaching high school this fall and look forward to getting back into the classroom and trying something new. Unfortunately, I won't be coaching, which is probably the thing making me most sad about starting at a new school.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Stay Hydrated with a Nuun Discount

I'm popping in quickly today to tell you about Nuun's Friend and Family sale that is happening right now. You can get 20% off when you shop through shop.nuun.com until 7/23/15. All you need to do is use the code: NuunSummer15 to get the deal.

If you haven't tried Nuun this is the perfect time to do so, especially as we hit the peak of summer. Hydration is key to feeling good on runs and recovering after workouts.

#stayhydrated

I love Nuun and crave it after hot summer runs. The flavors are great and it's always easy on my tummy. They recently came out with Plus for nuun, a tablet that you can add to your water with your favorite Nuun flavor to give carbohydrates in addition to the electrolytes that Nuun provides. I haven't used it myself because it came out after I got pregnant, but cannot wait to try it next year when I resume training.

Nuun working its magic

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Race Recap: 2015 Vermont City Marathon Relay Half

The Dynamic Shoe-O (our teamname) made a second appearance this year at the Vermont City Marathon (May 24th) after taking last year off to attend a wedding.



When we were told we were accepted into the relay I was super excited because I was nearing the end of training for Boston and was hitting some FAST training times. My goal was to get my half down to 1:26 and I was confident that it could be done. A week before Boston we found out I was pregnant and all race goals for 2015 were thrown out the window. At best, I wanted to get sub 1:40, but I knew I would have to be happy to just finish. That was quite a mental change for someone who has been used to setting sub-PR goals for every race for the last few years.

Now that this race is over I'm here to announce to the world that I am done racing for this year. I know plenty of women who have run races throughout pregnancy but I can't. It killed me at the VCM. I hated looking ahead at the racers in front of me seeing where I should be instead of where I was. Every time I race my mind is programmed to work for a PR. I can't accept racing for pleasure. I'd rather save the money, the time, the stress, and the planning, and just run 13.1 on my own.

Race Morning
The two-person team is fun because one person starts the race and hands off to the second runner after the half. Neither of us knew who would go first until we woke up on race morning and it was decided that I would start. I had been having a lot of issues when I got hungry - feeling incredible hunger pains that left me nauseous and kind of shaky - so we didn't want to risk me waiting around for another 1+ hours after the start to have that settle in. We figured that this way I could run then get food and feel good for the rest of the morning.

My body fully cooperated with me race morning which was quite a miracle. However, I was on day four of a horrible head and chest cold and on my warm up all of my airways felt like they were burning. My nose was totally clogged up and I knew it was a horrible idea to run. If I wasn't part of a relay team with Tom then I would have said "No-way-Jose!" and stayed in bed or on the sideline, but I knew I could finish (feeling horribly) and didn't want to waste our entry and make Tom run for nothing. I sucked it up, hoping that I'd feel better once the race started.

Tom and I got to Battery St. Park with enough time for a full warm up and the required pre-run bathroom stops. After getting in some Honey Stinger chews and catching up with friends, I headed to the start. We were in the 'elite corral' which, as far as I could tell, did not exist. People are supposed to line up by the honesty system but it doesn't work, and if it did work, I would have been more honest and started further back this year. But hey - it was my last chance to be up with the "pros" of running for the rest of the year.

The Race:
My first two miles were pretty good and I was really surprised to hit a 7:03 for the first one: I had done ZERO speed work since Boston. In fact, most of the time I truly struggled to hit sub 8:00 miles without feeling like I was dying. On top of that, my longest run since Boston was 10 miles, so I considered myself officially out of shape. I went in with zero goals but knew I'd be happy with a 1:40 half.


Sadly, around the second mile I was done with the race. It was pretty much a repeat of when I ran the entire VCM in 2010 and wanted to sit down the whole time. This early in the race I had decided that pregnant racing was not for me. I couldn't get past the fact that I was being passed by everyone for the first few miles. I wanted so badly to have one of those tacky shirts that say something like, "baby on board" or better yet - "I would normally speedy but I'm growing a human that's also consuming my oxygen". I was definitely too hard on myself and for some reason could not let go of racing. I knew I needed to focus on the fact that I was able to run and that running should be about the experience, but I just could not embrace that concept in that moment.

Mile Splits:
7:03, 7:06, 7:21, 7:15, 14:49 for next two miles, 7:36, 7:49, 8:01 (ouch - this was the hill on the Beltline), 7:36, 7:53, 7:55, 7:48, 0:55

My Final Time: 1:39:03
Tom's Final Time: 1:18:09 **A new PR!
Team Final Time: 2:57:12

Race Highlights
  • Seeing my high school cross country coach at his normal spot cheering us on, and then being able to tell him the news of our pregnancy on our way back from the Beltline. The funny part was that our track coach beat me to the news and shared it as she ran by since we had just made it Facebook official the night before. Vermont is so small that it's easy for news to travel fast. I also feel fortunate to still be so close with my high school coaches to be able to share that news and also get excited to see them at races.
  • Seeing friends out there cheering, even though I was trying so hard not to look at the sidelines because it was taking every ounce of mental strength not to stop and join them in the cheering. 
  • The end. I didn't realize the last mile would go by as quick as it did but it was SUCH A RELIEF to find Tom at the hand-off and give him our "baton". I was so done with the race.
  • Catching up with running friends on the walk back to the buses. It's fun to be able to run into everyone at the VCM because we come back to do it every year.  You don't really realize how small Vermont is until you leave for a big city and then come back. EVERYONE is EVERYWHERE!
  • Watching Tom blaze through the last 100 meters of the course. That kid was on fire! 
What I would give to have his form.......

Some not-so-highlights that stand out as highlights.....
  • Realizing at mile 2 that I was totally done with the race. 
  • Running by KKD and smelling the horrible smell of chicken wings or something along those sorts. I actually made a noise outloud and a grimmace. My pregnancy nostrils did NOT like that in the middle of the race.
  • Running right by Lake Champlain chocolates and realizing that a chocolate ice cream would have been perfect at that moment. If I had packed a few extra dollars in my running shoes like I normally do before races I probably would have been tempted to make a pit stop. 

Final thoughts about the Race
This is Vermont's biggest race with great reason. Everyone comes out to cheer, and a ton of people get to be part of the event between the marathon and the relay teams. Sadly, I know I could never do a full marathon in Burlington anymore, no matter how gorgeous and well designed the course is. Every year I become more and more frustrated with all of the relay runners. I L.O.V.E Boston because you get to run run with YOUR pace and you may even get to go through the race with the same people by you the whole time. The VCM is full of relay participants who jump in with more energy so feel that you're being passed all the time. I was semi-OK during this half, but it becomes more frustrating the more miles you run and the more tired you become.

Otherwise, the crowd support was great and the post-race food was satisfying enough to give me energy when I was done. And as with every Vermont event, it was simply wonderful to be able to catch up with friends who came down to run or cheer. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

2015 Updates

A lot of changes have happened in the months since my last post. Anyone that personally knows me or who follows me on Instagram is fully caught up, but for others - here is a quick review:

  • Tom and I raced the Vermont City Marathon in May - a post will be coming with my recap
  • The school year finished.
  • We bought a home in VT
  • I said goodbye to the city I fell in love with - DC, and to the friends that made my time there so special. 
  • And........
Tom and I are training for our next race - slated to take off on December 19th!


Yup! There's a little one in there and as of today I'm just over 16 weeks along. It was fun to tell family, friends, coworkers and students weeks ago, but now I can finally share it on here.

Since you are probably wondering the same thing as everyone else I am including the most commonly asked questions I have been asked along with the answers.
(BTW - this link has the questions and things you probably should not say to a pregnant woman - the video probably being the best)

Was I pregnant for Boston? 
Yes. This explains why I had to change my race goal suddenly. If you head back to my recap on Boston it all starts to make sense!

Morning sickness?
I honestly didn't feel pregnant until week 7 except for extreme hungry pains. Up until that time I was doing great. Then I took a trip to VT and felt like I was constantly car sick.  I needed to eat food all the time, although nothing seemed appealing. If I didn't have food I would get THE WORST hunger pain of all time, and if I had no food after that then I began to feel sick. 

Fatigue?
Of course I take naps but that was due to living alone in DC for a while and now because I'm on summer vacation. What else should I be doing?
The truth is, however, there has never been a day where I have come anywhere as close to being as tired as I was while following the Hanson training plan. It seems like pregnancy is easier than marathon training - at least for now *knockonwood*

Is there anything I just can't eat?
Chicken, Pita chips, and for a while I wasn't doing veggies because they just tasted like chemicals to me. Thankfully that part is over. I was getting a little worried about nutrition. 

Am I still running?
Yes, but way too slow and too few miles for my liking. I'm huffing and puffing. I felt decent prior to Boston but then the race sucked out all of my energy. I just haven't been the same since and I know it will get worse as the months go on. Running in the morning before work actually helped me feel good for the rest of the day, so there were many mornings I forced myself to get out there for 3 miles. Now that I'm in the second trimester I feel better while running.

Names?
People - let's not get carried away. We have not picked out a name. When we finally decide on one or a few we will be keeping it quiet until after the baby comes.

Will I find out the sex?
Yes. I can't not find out if the technology is available. I'm a  must-know-everything kind of person. 

Those are the updates for now. More posts will come now that I'm more settled and have a bit more time on my hands.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Boston 2015 Race Recap

When people asked how Boston went my answer went something like this:

"It was so fun and it was the easiest marathon yet! I got done and wanted to keep running!" That basically sums up the experience without going into the details that I have below. 


Throwing out all race goals was the best thing I could have done, but looking back makes me a tiny bit bummed knowing that I was only 4 seconds off my PR with a 3:13:46. I trained all winter for 7:00 minute miles and I was hitting all of my workouts. I just happened to decide not to work going into this race so that I could fully enjoy it. I don't love marathons (just the training), so all I wanted to do was be in this one for the experience, a goal that was easily achieved. 

Anyway, here's how the WHOLE day went down! Get ready, because it's going to be long. 

Race Morning: 
I was super pumped all weekend. For the first time ever I didn't care about the weather forecast. Normally I am the biggest baby when it comes to weather and should have freaked at the thought of rain, headwinds, and 40-something temps. But I knew that Monday's weather would be way better than my winter training or the time I ran the Vermont City Marathon two years ago, and that it wouldn't come close to the freezing cold 10 miler I did at the start of March this year. 

Tom and I got up at 5:00 and I loved having him to get ready with. Normally it's only one of us racing (ok, usually me), so this was a new experience. I had my regular breakfast of toast and peanut butter and a cup of coffee and was ready in no time.

We ventured out of the hotel, me looking like a bum, but a warm one at that! After a quick uber ride we were at the bus loading zone, which was the most organized I've ever seen it. We checked in our bags and boarded the bus together. I was smarter this year and didn't drink any water on the bus ride knowing how bad I suffered in last year's ride.

Last photo before saying goodbye to my phone. 

Marathon Village: 
We were at Marathon Village on the earlier side since Tom was in the first wave. That meant that for the first time ever I was able to find a seat under the tent, a spot needed because it started raining as soon as we got there. We got warm coffee and tea, ate some bagel, Fig Newmans, and pretzels, and stayed warm and dry. Food rarely affects my stomach. What does affect me is being hungry. I had to make sure I was satisfied in the morning with easy foods that would keep me fueled. They did just the trick!

Tom's wave was called 40 minutes before mine. I was so excited for him and also bummed that I wasn't going to be able to cheer him on during the race. I wanted so badly to see him race.

It wasn't long before I had to go to the start myself. On the way I finished eating my Honey Stinger chews which I became addicted to before all of my tempo and strength workouts this spring. Go with what works, right?

The Start: 
Another first this year: Getting to the start with more than 2 minutes to spare. As I got to my corral Sweet Caroline started playing for the crowd. That song has sentimental meaning to me, being the song that my mom, my bro, and I always sang in the car growing up. I couldn't help but feel like my mom was with me at that moment cheering me on. I knew it was going to be a good race.

Another note: I left my Garmin in DC on purpose. I'm done with my Garmin being off and not getting exact mile splits. It was relieving to have my old watch with me, which would force me to take my own splits. 

Miles 1-4
7:47, 7:20, 7:17, 7:11

A two year old hamstring injury was starting to nag me in the two weeks leading up to the race. I think a massage triggered it. I only felt it for the first mile and never again. Perhaps it just needed to be warmed up or the slower paced miles cause it to be more aggravated.

The first mile was too slow for me and I knew it from the start. Last year's Boston time put me in corral 4 and I had trained much faster all spring. Instead of freaking out, I went with the slower pace and high-fived a ton of kids for the first few minutes. Why not, right?! 

While my 7:47 first mile was not the 7:15 that I had hoped for I knew that it only meant for a stronger finish. It was about time that I went out conservative at Boston!

The next few miles flew by. I was happy with the splits I was getting: they felt effortless.


Miles 5-8
7:25, 7:10, 7:17, 7:24

Somewhere at this point we heard Sweet Caroline play twice in two different spots. By the second time all of the spectators and runners began to sing along. That was pretty special and probably one of my favorite memories of the race. 

Maybe I was making it up, but there seemed to be fewer spectators than last year. I don't blame them one bit if it really was true. It was nasty out there. It rained on and off throughout the race. I didn't wear a hat, unsure of how the strong the headwind would be, so I got all of the water in my eyes. When the rain really came down there were times I had trouble seeing. Thankfully I was reminded of a particular run during one storm this winter where I had to stop every mile or so to get the ice off my eyelashes because my eyelids were becoming frozen shut. The rain was nothing compared to that cold and snow so I was on cloud 9. 


I chatted with an older man at one point, and by older I mean, I hope I can still run a little bit when I'm his age. He was awesome! He first wanted to know if I was warm because he still hadn't gotten rid of his sweatshirt. Then he was a hoot telling me that he only races summer races in shorts, no shirt, and that he had done a trail race in VT last year. This opened up opportunity to chat and run with a nearby "Oiselle" runner that may not actually be with the "flock" but had the name on her singlet. We stayed together or within site of each other for most of the race. I actually began to really like the people I was running with, getting inspired by how strong they all looked. 

Isn't it crazy 1) what thoughts you have in your head during a marathon and 2) how motivational little things can be in races? I always say this after coming back from race weekend: Being around runners is like being in Heaven. We get each other and we support each other, even when we don't mean to or plan to. 

Gosh - I just love this sport!
Miles 9-12
7:15, 7:24, 7:24, 7:15


When I got to mile 16 and suddenly realized that there were only 10 miles left - or less than 1 hour and 20 minutes, party poppers and fireworks began to go off in my head. I just knew I wasn't going to bonk. I hadn't felt that good in a race ever before. I didn't have to force myself to play mind tricks, they came naturally. I just didn't feel tired at any moment and tried to keep my splits somewhat even. 

Miles 13-16
7:23, 7:19, 7:26, 7:22

I decided to do what I had never done in a race before: use a port-a-potty. I had to go pee ever since the gun went off but held it. When I made the decision to go at mile 15 I was on the lookout for a bathroom for two miles. When I got to one, however, it was full. Dang! I wasn't going to wait, so I jumped back in the race.

Time cost in doing this: probably 5 seconds: there goes my PR that I didn't know I could get! In the words of Homer Simpson: "Do'H!"

The good news: I forgot I had to pee when the rain really started falling again in miles 18 and 19.


While it probably cost me my PR, it did give me a pretty cool opportunity to meet up with another runner who's blog I've been reading and Instagram I've been following for a few years.

At some point I was behind a man wearing a Saucony jacket. I had seen the female version of the jacket before on Michele's blog this winter. I began thinking about her at that moment and when the man moved out of my way for just a second I was able to get a view of the people in front of him. 

Do you know who was right in front of him?!

Michele! I wasn't believing my eyes and I sped up to her to see if I my eyes were playing tricks on me. When I heard someone in the crowd shout her name I made contact with her to give her a thumbs up, saying she looked great (cause she totally did!)

After a hill and a few turns she caught up to me again - she was good at running tangents.

I had followed her training all winter and knew that she was doing awesome! She said she wasn't looking at her watch, but she didn't need to. When you run with your heart you always have a good race. It turns out that she finished the day with a 6 minute PR!!



Miles 17-20
7:31, 7:33, 7:21, 7:34

These hills. Piece. Of. Cake. 

Every time I got to a hill I envisioned myself on Mass Ave down here in DC. I did all of my speed and tempo workouts on that street and if you haven't seen it, it has quite a few (potentially) killer hills. I designed my training with hills on purpose. I wanted to eat Boston's hills for lunch on Monday. 

Guys, it worked. By killing myself for months I breezed through the marathon's hills. They were easy! I felt like I had won the Golden Wonka Ticket every time I started running one of the hills. The training paid off. It was the best feeling ever.

Miles 21-25
7:50, 7:17, 7:28, 7:10, 7:23

Last year I gave Tom a 5 minute sch-peal about the Citgo sign and my dislike for it when it appears, knowing that I still have 1-2 miles to go before the finish. Last year I saw it and had no emotions which was progress. This year when it appeared I was on cloud nine. I couldn't believe that the race was coming to an end. I felt so good. There still hadn't been a moment when I was tired. If I thought that my legs were beginning to get tired I was instantly reminded that they were nothing like they felt on my 10 mile tempo during the 66 mile week I put in back in March. They were doing great. I was doing great. I wasn't even cold with all of the rain!


Miles 26 and 0.2
 7:13, 1:35



I like to dedicate miles throughout my race to particular people in my life. I don't think about it, they just come to me. On Monday I was having so much fun that no 'dedication miles' came until the last mile. At that moment I began to think about two of my student athletes in particular (L and S). That last mile was dedicated to those two girls, who inspire me beyond belief. Crazy - I know, but they have left an impression on me through their dedication to their school work and their athletics.  They are XC and distance runners that take any challenge they're given and go for it. Having run so many races, I was super happy to run that last mile in my head for them. 


When I turned that second to last quarter I started smiling. I always remember my first Boston, coming onto that corner thinking, "This. Is. Awe. Some!" I ran the rest of the race with a smile on my face. Hearing the crowd during that final stretch is always one of the best feelings.

Final: 3:13:46
Overall: 5490/26610
Gender: 604/12022
Division: 523/6011

Post-Race
I hadn't been cold at any point during the race but the second I stopped running my body began to shiver uncontrollably. I sped-walked out of the finish area. Yes. Sped-walked. I debated about running because my legs felt totally fine. In fact, immediately after crossing the finish line I crashed into a man who clearly had worked himself to the finish and was going too slow for me.

The photo doesn't capture the shivering going on

For a moment I had the crazy thought of "Oh! So this is why some people do ultra marathons? Maybe I should try an ultra if I can still walk fine after the last 26 miles."

The wind was pretty strong at the finishing area. I got my food, medal, and poncho as quick as I could and headed back to the bag drop off. Tom met me along the way and we taxied back to the hotel to shower. Our hotel, the Residence Inn at Seaport, was so accommodating, and let us shower in our room with a late checkout. I really don't know how I would have been able to warm up otherwise.

Tom's Race: 
Tom will probably tell you that I talked him into running this race after he declared he would only run one marathon. It may not be entirely true, as he had to sign himself up, but he did SO AWESOME for his second marathon ever.

He finished in 2:44 with an 8 minute PR on a much tougher course than his first race! He was also 467th out of 26,610 finishers.

Maybe some day he'll post his own marathon recap on here (*hinthintcoughcoughyesTomIknowyouarereadingthis*)


Other Thoughts and Notes
Friends!
We got to meet up with a few friends over the weekend and a few others that we did not see did reach out to tell us that they would be cheering for us along the course. To be honest, I feared that they would totally miss us and that it wouldn't have been worth it for them to be out there. 

That wasn't the case! I saw EVERY ONE of the people that told us they would be out there! Anna, Nate, Shelby, Will, Katie, Carrie, Glynna, Kelly, and Austin! They were awesome cheerers, made awesome signs (with wicked cool puns), and braved the cold and rain to come out to support us. That meant a lot in those moments.


The Nuun tent was also along one of the hills and were so energizing when I went by. I met the CEO this weekend at the meet-up event and I recognized him out there, cheering us on for that hill. I don't remember the hill at all, only the Nuun tent's enthusiasm. 

Favorite Signs:
"Your gym teacher would be proud!" Actually, my middle school gym teacher would be proud! She was a runner herself.

bottom: Taken from Katie's Instagram

"There is no Walken" with a photo of Christopher Walkens' head in the middle. 

College Kids: 
When you're in a bad mood they can either re-energize you or make you hate life knowing they're out there drinking beer and having a good time while you're suffering. This time I thought they were hilarious and loved going by them. They were SO LOUD and so into it, especially after Heartbreak. That energy gets you going for the finish!

Nutrition: 
I had a Honey Stinger gel at miles 6, 12, 18, and 22. I almost didn't take the last one. Once I was able to get my claw-hands to open each gel they went down SUPER easy. There was no after taste and I didn't scrape my mouth on the packaging like I always did with Gu. They are easily my favorite race gels and had zero effect on my stomach.

Now What? 
So Boston is over. Five months of serious training and plenty more days of pondering and planning. I love this city every year. No matter how the race turns out, the people are awesome.

The excitement is over but there are plenty of other goals to go after. Tom and I are in Vermont for our next race, each running a half of the Vermont City Marathon. Once I can start moving my legs quickly again (maybe today or tomorrow) I'll begin a reverse taper and jump into the tail end of the Hansons Half Marathon training plan for the next month.