Friday, June 20, 2014

Our Engagement

School's out and the big question I am constantly asked is, "what are you doing this summer?"

My response: Relaxing, running, and GETTING MARRIED!

Tom and I were engaged last summer but I never took the time to publish the story of that evening. It's been written since September, but was never published, until now. I've gone back and forth in my mind: publish it to the world to see or keep it just for us. Well, if I blog about my running, then I should blog about one of the biggest days of my life. So here goes, the story of our engagement!

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Let's start with Monday, August 12th. We were up in Vermont for the week and Tom was going to work that day in the Vermont Office (as opposed to his DC office). Before he left for work that morning, he reminded me that we may go to a friend's camp for dinner and to stay the night. He said he would keep me updated.

Keeping this in the back of my mind, I continued on with my day. I ran in the morning, then headed to my friend Kat's house for lunch and to hang out. I thought I would be home around 4:00, but when you haven't seen someone in 8 months its hard to say goodbye. While there, my phone died. I didn't realize this until I was about to leave, just after 4:30.

Tom, on the other hand, had realized that my phone died. He had tried to get in touch with me all afternoon to confirm plans. As I was about to get into my car he and his dad drove up to Kat's house. Tom hurried me into our car and announced that we had dinner reservations in Grand Island with our friend,instead of going to her camp. He grabbed the keys and off we went. 

I believed this until he turned off the road and into our hometown's recreation park. Confused, I asked why. His response? "Uh... they're building a block house or something that I want to go check out."

I didn't believe him for one second, especially when I saw the van with the balloon crew from U Ken Do Ballooning. I knew what was going to happen. We have already been up in a balloon together so I knew that the only reason to go back up would be if there was a ring involved (not that I would complain about going in a surprise balloon ride anyway!).

My house and our field!

We had a beautiful ride with another, super fun couple that was celebrating their 7th wedding anniversary. Our pilot, Ken, was awesome as well, teaching us how to fly and showing us the reason why you weren't supposed to use a phone on an airplane. It was neat to see our hometown from the sky, and we had 80 mile views into Canada and New York. We kept picking out landmarks that we knew, and saw our houses from up above. At one point we went "leaf picking", dipping just above the tree tops to allow us to reach down and pick some leaves.

On a side note - I am totally afraid of heights, but being in a balloon is totally different. It's so peaceful that you actually feel safe up there. 


The wind practically died by the time we were looking for a place to land and we had few choices available. We landed in a marshy area and got help from a bunch of folks at a nearby horse farm. They towed us out with a four wheeler and moved us to a mowed field to take down the balloon. There were tons of kids to help and soon we had a line of people packing the balloon into the bag.

That was always the fun part that I remembered from my childhood: everyone helps take the air out and pack it into the balloon bag, while little kids are thrown on top to "get out the air."

Tom's parents had chased the balloon the whole way and documented a lot of the trip with their camera. They were there the first time we flew, back in 2009, and were now pros at chasing and tearing down the balloon. 


Everyone (family, crew, horse-owners, house owners, and kids) was part of the champagne toast, a tradition for balloon landings, but this one was unique: Our pilot taught us about the history of hot air balloons, then made us chug our glass of champagne with our hands behind our backs!! I lost immediately after I cracked my cup and Tom finished in 2nd place.


This whole time I was waiting. I couldn't figure out why Tom hadn't proposed. It made sense not to do it in the air - it was too crowded in the balloon to get down on one knee (not to mention that if you drop the ring up there you aren't going to get it back). But why hadn't he done it while everyone was together? Isn't that how it would have been in the movies or something? We even turned to look at the sunset at one point. But nope - no ring.

It was on our walk back to the car when Tom got down on his knee and proposed. Since I knew it was coming the whole night I didn't have that emotional breakdown that women are known have. In fact, it took us a minute to realize that I hadn't officially said yes! But Duh! After 9 years with this guy, there was no doubt as to what my answer would be!


The surprises didn't end there. That night we went out for a late dinner at Koto's, a Japanese restaurant in South Burlington. Because it was so late in the evening, the restaurant was practically ours. We then made our way to the Inn at Shelburne Farms, which I had never been to. Tom had reserved the Webb room for us (after securing a special rate). We explored the Inn that night, which felt more like a museum, while other guests retired to their rooms.


The next morning was cool, windy, and a little rainy. We ate breakfast outside in the restaurant at the Inn, and it was by far one of the tastiest meals I ate during our trip. Tom's entire meal was grown/raised right there on Shelburne Farms - an idea I am totally in love with.


After breakfast we walked around the grounds and by the lake. The whole place was gorgeous and it was hard to imagine just one family owning the it. Talk about a dream home! Before leaving for the day we stopped at the Farms - I just had to see the piglets which were so so cute. 

I love the architecture of both the Farms and the Inn. Gor-ge-ous!

Tom totally surprised me with the engagement and evening and I honestly had no idea that any of this was coming. He always told me that he wanted the engagement to be a surprise, but I was convinced that I would have an inkling that it was coming beforehand. I can tell you now, I had absolutely no clue when we got on the plane to VT that we would be coming back home to plan a wedding! He can keep a good secret (which I am horrible at) and knew the perfect way to propose.

I publish this with only 22 days left until our July 12th wedding. We're excited to be getting married in Stowe and are looking forward to spending the weekend with family and friends, some of which we haven't seen in many years!

And of you're wondering if I'm going to make my own cake, the answer is no. Tom won't let me. He seems to believe that I, the bride, will be busy or something in the days before the wedding .....

Monday, June 16, 2014

Run with Dad (minus the dad) 5K Recap

I've known for a few weeks that I had a 5K PR waiting inside of my, but needed to get a race to find it. This weekend Tom and I each ran in the =PR= Run with Dad 5K at South Lakes high school. I woke up that day not as excited to run it as I was to run the 10K a few weeks ago. The 5K isn't my most favorite race. But fortunately, I didn't let that hinder me and was able to finish with a new PR for the day.


We arrived around 7 to get our bib and then went on our own ways to warm up. It's funny - people often ask if we run together. The answer is rarely. Tom's so much faster than I am, and I am so stuck in my ways. I warm up the same way each time and begin to freak out when it starts to go differently. I am so independent and need freedom to go on my own.

I felt great on the warm up: I got in 14 minutes of running before drills, and knew my body felt awake and ready. We met up again on the starting line, 5 minutes before the race, and found ourselves starting a little bit back. Everyone was ready to go and lined up before we had gotten there and it seemed impossible to get up front.

The start was a little chaotic. We ran 300m on the track at the high school before veering off and into the woods. It was slow, and there were a ton of people in front of us that didn't need to be right on the starting line. I jumped up with other PR running ladies, recognizing a few and knowing I wanted to be with them for the start.


I ran my first 10K last year at this school and was expecting to run a course very similar and was surprised to find us going onto the bike path in the woods. Rather than the open roads with little turning, we found hairpin turn after hairpin turn, as well as a constant variation in elevation. Instead of focusing on my body and on my pace I was constantly worrying about the people around me, making sure I didn't take a face plant as I turned a corner, and mentally battling how the course reminded me of some high school and college courses I had run.

There was a lot of passing during the first mile. Being a Father's day run, there were a lot of younger kids and teenagers that were running. These runners also went out with a very nice mile split, only to drop off in the second mile. I kept my sites on another PR team member right in front of me, not knowing who she was, but recognizing that she was a strong runner. My goal was to stay with her as long as possible. Little did I realize that she was definitely the first place woman of the race.

Mile 1: 5:56

Good. I met my goal mark for the first mile. Last year this split would have freaked me out completely. However, after hitting sub 5:50's on runs in the spring, I knew this was OK. My only problem came with keeping this momentum in mile 2, my weakest mile. This was the mile I struggled the most in trying to stay in the present, rather than having flash backs to races in college when we ran a similar course at St. Mike's. 

Mile 2: 6:22

As I passed the marker and saw 12:18, I knew I had slowed, but couldn't do the math in my head. At this point, I was strictly running on feeling. I had only looked down at my watch twice. I knew if I wanted to break 19:00 that it would be close. So I tried to push harder. 

5Ks, while much shorter than a marathon, take much more focus and a higher pain tolerance. They also require that the runner do some actual SPEED workouts before racing. I haven't done speed in weeks. 

Everything was going great until I came out of the woods for the last time. I had just over a quarter of a mile left to run and made the mistake of looking down at my watch as I went up a hill. In that instance I began to dry heave. Ugh, not this again. I held it in, and kept up the pace. But it happened again. I had no choice but to slow down for a few seconds to stop it. Slowing worked, but my momentum was gone. While I love that there was a camera crew at this race to take free race photos, I hated that they would have been able to catch my lowest moment on film. I was also not ready to loose my breakfast while on the track, now knowing that I was the second place female after a man yelled it in the woods.


As I turned the corner I heard my name being called by the MC, then heard Tom's voice as he cheered me on. He knew my goal was low 19's, and based on his voice, I knew that I had to work hard to get there. 

Final Time: 19:18
New PR
Second place female

I'll take that PR, but I'm not done. As soon as I finished I was ready to sign up for another, faster race! I need to break 19. I never thought I would have that as my goal, but I know it's in me. I just need to get on a track for a few weeks.
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I have been enjoying the opportunities that the PR Race team has given me this spring. I love being more involved in races and feeling like there is a purpose to my training. It's also been great to meet other runners on the team. A few of us went for a cool down run afterward and we discovered that two of us had lived in Vermont and had competed against the same runners in high school!


This race was also put on by PR Running. For the runners, there is a ton to offer: awesome tech t-shirts with registration, a lunchbox (for Father's day), a master of ceremony that was made for the job and makes it fun, food at the finish line, and terrific prizes that include gift certificates to be used at their store. I got $75 for second place, which means I can pick up some nice sneaks in a few weeks!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Capitol Hill Classic 10K

Back in the middle of May, a bunch of teachers from my school, parents, and students partook in the Capitol Hill Classic which consisted of a 10k and a 3k race. I had a major goal for this race and was confident that I could do it: Break 40:00 in the 10k. Better yet - break 39:00. I knew I could do this, but had not had good training after Boston (hello 14 hour work days!). I was also very stupid in the middle of the race and never actually looked at my overall time on my watch to see how I was doing. Lesson learned.

Final Time: 40:05
3rd Female


The race morning was PERFECT.  It was in the 50's, sunny, and had no humidity. There was a breeze that felt great on the course, but was enough to force me to draft behind guys a few times. The 8:30 start let us sleep in and enjoy the morning a little before racing, and nutritionally I was set for the race because of the later start.

Tom and I were both running and we knew we had a good chance of placing based off of last year's results. The gun went off and 3 women immediately flew past me. One, a red-head, was a girl I remember seeing at the Cherry Blossom in April. I had some sort of feeling/memory of passing her during that race, so I was not worried about her speeding off at the start. My thinking: let her get tired, then I can reel her in.

The start took us by the Capitol and Supreme Court. I just love the races in DC because of the monuments we run by!

The first three miles flew by but my Garmin beeped about 0.1 to 0.2 miles before I actually got to the mile markers. I don't know why it wasn't lined up with the markers, but I should have really taken that into account for the rest of the race and checked my watch a few more times.

Miles 1-3
6:06, 6:09, 6:12

I felt confident and satisfied with those mileage times. I was also surprised to see 19:07 when I went through the 5K. My current, official PR in the 5K was a 19:41, which means I knocked off a significant chunk and need to get into an actual 5K in the coming weeks. 

By mile 3 we were in the middle of nowhere, or so it felt. The beautiful homes, green streets, and shade that we had in the first half of the race was replaced with concrete, sun, and the parking lot surrounding the old stadium in DC. It felt like a desert, because we were the only ones out there.

As I was thinking how horrible of a place it was, a girl in purple FLEW by me. Where did she come from?! Her speed told me that she knew what she was doing and I was not going to catch her. I fell from 4th to 5th.

The fourth mile marker came: 6:29. Uh oh!  

I knew I had slowed. But by that much?! Fortunately, I spotted the red-head in red. My mission became to catch her, and I was getting close. I got her before the 5th mile, and felt confident that my race to get her meant I picked up the pace.

Mile 5: 6:36

Oh no! This was not going the way I wanted it to, but I didn't dwell too hard on it. I actually felt fine and I was working at a hard effort. I had to keep reminding myself that it was only my 2nd 10k and I hadn't run one this fast before.

Now that I was in 4th I began getting closer to the 3rd place woman. At the same time, I kept playing cat and mouse with a man near me. It was good, as we kept pushing each other to get closer to this girl. 

At around 5.5 I had a decision to make. I had never taken on someone like this in a race. I could keep going this speed and pass this 3rd place woman, and then hold on for the rest of the race. Or, I could play it safe, draft off of her, and then hopefully take her at the end. She knew I was coming, and I couldn't tell if she'd let me pass, only to pass me again and squash my mental game. Also, passing her would mean that I'd have to be on my game for the rest of the race, pushing myself to ensure she couldn't come back. Did I really want to do that?

Yes. I did. I wanted a PR. I knew that to get the PR I needed to get around her. If it had been a man I would have had no problem in my mind making this decision. He wouldn't have stood out. But to take the 3rd place female spot, scared me. I knew it. So I took her. And I kept running. I didn't want to look back. I also felt like I was going to vomit - a reaction that I need to control if I want to get faster.

My spring motto that I have to remind myself in each race: Running fast isn't easy. You have to work for fast times.  

Mile 6: 6:22

Tom was around mile 6 cheering on runners, having already finished 10th overall. I knew I was close to the end, but hadn't look at my watch time and didn't realize HOW CLOSE I WAS to breaking 40. When I turned the very last corner and saw 39:57 on the official clock I screamed in my mind. OMG.... how could I be that oblivious to the time? How could I have been that close to a 39:xx and not realize it?!

I passed the line at 40:05. It was a minute and a half PR, but didn't feel great because I knew I can do better. 

 We stayed to watch the 3K, which had a ton of our students running in it. I didn't realize how big of an event this was. It raised over $80,000 for a school in DC! Talk about a successful fundraiser!

It was a good race (minus the desert) and was a fun morning to spend with co-workers and students. This race also showed me that I need to get signed up for a 5K soon so I can really see what I have in me for that distance!


Saturday, May 31, 2014

2014 Boston Marathon Recap

As soon as I got back from Boston I went back to teaching and coaching. Life is crazy for a few more weeks but I couldn't be happier to have it this way. Unfortunately, it means that I had little time, until now, to write about Boston.
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As I trained for Boston this winter and spring I became aware quite early on that Boston was NOT going to be a PR race for me. I would have thought more about forgetting it if the bombing had not happened or if I didn't know that I might actually meet Laura while there. I went to Boston to experience it and got more out of it than I could have imagined.


The race weekend was awesome. And on race morning I woke up excited. I did my normal morning routine which includes my toast with peanut butter (minus the toaster), water (normally I drink almond milk) and coffee. Tom and I were staying quite close to the bus pickup location so our walk was no more than 5 minutes. 

Laura and I had planned to meet and I'll be honest to say that I was a little nervous to be meeting other "strangers" (aka bloggers) that would most likely be there. But once we starting gabbing those nerves were gone and it felt as if we had been friends long before.

Our epic misfit looks pre-race

The morning weather was perfect: sunny and a little cool. Laura, Ashley, Sarah, Lindsey and I boarded the buses, opting for the back, and we chatted the whole way. The ride was going great until the need to pee kicked in and we quickly regretted drinking all the water we did. 

Our time in Marathon Village flew by because most of it was spent in a porta potty line. That's the life of a marathoner sometimes! We had some time to chill before being called to our first wave. I know I'll keep saying that things were "awesome" but it really was awesome to share that whole pre-race experience with those girls. 

Laura and I were seeded in the first corral of the second wave so we had to say goodbye to the others. We had a few minutes to hang out at the start and talked Saucony and running before the race began.

We were pretty close together for the first half mile but at some point I lost her. My goal at this time was ideally to run the first mile at 7:40-7:50, knowing that 1)I had pretty bad training this winter and 2) that the hills would kill me later and I'd rather save my energy for the end. 

If I had had $10,000 that morning I would have bet that I was on pace for a 7:40-7:50. I am normally good about knowing my tempo based on effort. Sadly, however, when I crossed the first mile (which may not be accurate because I started my Garmin slightly before the actual start line) it read 7:20. NO! How can that possibly be?!

The next 3 miles played out in a similar fashion. Apparently I gained a lot of speed this winter and my new "relaxed" pace was faster than in the past. This wouldn't have been of any worry if I had actually done all of my weekly mileage and long runs, but I knew that it would catch up at some point.

Miles 1-5
7:22, 7:18, 7:25, 7:17, 7:38
If I was in shape I would have been SUPER pumped at these times! 

I began to take water or Gatorade every 2-3 water stations and Gu every 5.5 miles. This was different than in my most recent races, where I try to space it out a little more, but I also hadn't run a warm marathon since the Boston Scorcher of 2012. 

As we arrived into the towns with the bigger crowds I found myself watching the sidelines rather than focusing on my running. At a few points, the emotion of the event caught up to me and I could feel myself wanting to tear up a little. The atmosphere was quite spectacular. Tons of parents were out there leading their kids through cheers and of course, the college students were there offering their beers, high fives, and enthusiasm. 

Miles 6-10
7:15, 7:26, 7:32, 7:25, 7:34

As we got close to the Weselyn girls I drifted to the center of the road knowing full well what was about to happen. I don't know how those girls keep their energy levels up for the whole day but that marathon would not be the same without them!

Miles 11-15
7:32, 7:19, 7:29, 7:28, 7:40

I won't deny that I was actually feeling too warm in this race. Some people thought we were crazy for thinking it was hot, but apparently I had adapted to the cold winter this year. This took a toll on my stomach which didn't feel the same after mile 13. Perhaps Gu shouldn't be my fuel brand of choice anymore?

I'm not sure if I hated mile 14 because other people had been talking about their dislike of that mile earlier in the morning, but when I got there, I felt a little bit of dread (especially about doing the math: 12 more miles...) Fortunately, I began to remind myself that I didn't come here for a PR. I knew that at one point my body would have to work harder because of the lack of training. I also knew that I wanted to enjoy this race, and not race it. I began to focus more on the experience and of what was around me, instead of on the dreaded distance that lay ahead. 

My goal was to remain mentally calm and to walk away from Boston having had the full experience.

At mile 17, which was 1 mile further than I had run since November, I began to really feel the toll of my lack of training. This also happened to be around the time of the hills. 

Laura caught up to me around mile 19. I was lost in my own world of thought when I spotted a green shirt speed by me! I picked up my pace to catch her. We chatted for a bit and she relayed that she had been hitting consistent splits. She was totally right - that girl was kicking out each mile at a consistent time! She passed me, looking great, and I held on for a while before losing site to her in the crowds.

Miles 16-20
7:25, 7:49, 7:49, 7:41, 7:52

In the past, Heartbreak Hill  had felt easy for me. I thought that I would have no trouble with hills having run TONS of them in DC. But I guess you can't rely on that when you haven't fully trained (30-40 mile weeks just doesn't cut it for me any more). The hills didn't kill me, but I definitely did not enjoy them as much in the past. What I did enjoy, though, was seeing some friends from college (Anna and Will) at the top of Heartbreak! Anyone that is able to get my attention in a race is one good cheerer, so that tells you a little something about their enthusiasm!

Somewhere at this point I stopped looking at my watch. The loud crowds made it difficult to catch each mile. When I did catch it I noticed that I was beginning to slow, and I was OK with that.

Miles 21-23
8:12, 7:43, 7:54

Around miles 23 or 24 of a marathon I tend to go bonkers in my mind. Time slows down and the minutes drag on. Going into the race I knew that I wanted to focus on this section and make some changes. While they happened to be my slowest miles (24 to the end), I can say that my focus on experiencing the race eased my mind and allowed me to have fun. I kept telling myself that when I got my phone back I would get on Facebook and announce that I would be doing no more marathons. I seriously thought it would be my last, so that thought was my motivation to enjoy that time. Instead of counting down how many minutes before I could stop, I used that time to soak in everything.


I finally saw Tom and a high school friend, Kelley, at around 24.8. Again, you have to be good at cheering to grab my attention. They were just what I needed to get up over the hill and get past that darn Citgo sign that normally taunts me about how close I am, yet how so far I am from the finish.

I love the photo burst Tom took. From me in my zone, to then hearing my voice, automatically responding by waving, and then the realization that it was Tom and Kelley!



I haven't mentioned that at this point the crowds were non-stop cheering. They were louder than before, which had always been non-stop cheering as well. There were only a few spots along the entire course when we were left to our own voices, but for the most part, this race was heavily spectated.

Just like in my first Boston experience, it was amazing to turn right and then left onto Boyston at the end. The crowds are amazing and it is a perfect ending to the whole race. What was better was reaching the finish and hearing that Meb had won (I love him!) and that Laura was there! We hugged and celebrated, then got our goods before making our way back.

Miles 24-26
8:03, 7:56, 7:52, 2:33 for last 0.35 (according to Garmin)

Final Time: 3:20:36



The worst part of a marathon for me is the post-marathon walk. My legs cramp up immediately, as does my 
gluteus medius. At one point I couldn't walk anymore and sat down to stretch. Laura and I took off our shoes and I discovered two purple toenails, another toenail with a blood blister under it, and big blister under one of my big toes. I had felt them since mile 5 and now knew why. You better believe I wasn't putting those shoes back on and we walked out of the finish and around Boston's streets barefooted. Yes, we got crazy looks from folks, but there are plenty more disgusting things than pavement people!

Laura and I said goodbye and I headed to the family meeting place to meet Tom and a former UVM teammate, Charlie. After changing at our hotel, our other teammate, Doug, joined us for a a Sam Adams 26.2 and a burger at a nearby bar before Tom and I had to jet to the airport (get it?! Jet? Airport?!).


The weekend was truly amazing. We got to meet up with old friends, I got to meet new ones, and the race itself seemed like a celebration for the city.

Oh - and that need to post to Facebook and claim my retirement from marathons? I didn't actually do it when I got back. And what do you know - I have been tempted a few times since to start training again. We'll see what happens in the future, but for now I'm focusing on shorter distances. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Boston 2014 Reflection

No race report here. Haven't had enough time. Just standouts from last weekend in my mind. 

I remember last April 15th's afternoon quite well. I was about to finish teaching my last class when another teacher came in to ask if I had heard about the Boston finish. I hadn't. He showed me his phone and the headline. An explosion?! What was going on? Were my friends OK? Who would hurt runners and spectators? Why Boston?

I could not stop checking the news that night or the nights that followed. Having run Boston before, this run felt personal. Why did they attack our race? That beautiful city? Those souls?

I went for a run that night. My mind was uneasy. I needed to run because it felt right. It was my way of connecting with the event and to begin to process it. I couldn't control the news that was resulting, but running helped to calm me down. And on that run I knew that I would run Boston in 2014. I knew that I had to be there, to show whoever those people were that committed this act that you can't take us down.
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Last Saturday Tom and I stepped off the plane at Logan airport. I was already feeling the excitement from seeing the other runners in the DC airport in their Boston gear. We were a pretty fit flight, and while no one talked to each other about running, we all knew that we were heading in the same place. 

As we stepped into the terminal - who did we see? Shalane Flanagan walking in front of us. I turned into a giddy 5 year old seeing the Easter bunny for the first time. We followed her as we made our way to ground transportation. She met up with her escort and made her way to baggage claim. I headed to the bathroom, because, you know, a runner likes to keep hydrated before a race. 

While washing my hands I looked over to see Shalane walking up to wash her hands in the sink next to mine. Holy CRAP! Shalane was in the same bathroom as me! Here was my running idol - the woman who I had just watched on 60 minutes the night before. The woman who trained her heart out to win Boston. Right. next. to. me.

I leaned over and whispered, "Good luck on Monday!"

I knew I would never be the person to ask for a photo if I ever met a celebrity. I wouldn't want to start the photo-taking trend, and I wouldn't want to take away from their time. But I did want her to know that I knew who she was and that I was totally cheering for her. 

God, I love that woman. 

And what a great start to the weekend.
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Breakfast: it happens to be my favorite meal of the day. While I hate to miss it to run, I'll sacrifice it to run with a friend. Especially a former teammate. 

Tom and I met up with our friend Doug, who has an impressive marathon time of his own (in the 2:20s). Our shakeout run brought us into Boston Commons and to the start line. Even at 8:30am there were plenty of people out there. Again, without talking, all of the runners knew why we were there. There was a special vibe and feeling of energy in the city that morning. 

Breakfast after a run is necessary (even if you already had breakfast before).  The three of us met up with another UVM Catamount, Aly, who also has her own fantastic marathon time. It was the first time since 2010 that we had caught up and we spent the morning talking running over eggs and french toast.

Now that's my ideal breakfast!

Being back with friends makes breakfast an even better. 
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Sunday evening I got a message for Laura from Catching My Breath!  I've come to know her through blogging and daily mile. We were starting in the same wave and wanted to meet up race morning. How freakin' cool would it be to meet someone I have come to "know" so well on race morning, someone who I had grown to respect and had seen hit PR after PR over the last month?!

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Tom and I left the hotel on Monday and had to walk only 5 minutes before reaching Boston Commons. It was worth the few extra dollars to be that close to the start. It only took three years to figure this out (go with the Courtyard Marriot on Tremont if you plan to run next year!).

Laura said she was on a pink towel. I found her and officially introduced myself to her and three other ladies - Lindsey, Ashley, and Sarah . Here we were! Boston was really happening! 

Boarding the bus was easier than in the past. We wanted to stick together and headed to the back of the bus. Rock on back of the bus groupies! Our morning was shared with stories, past races, and strategies for finding a restroom before the start. We discovered what a horrible idea it was to finish drinking our water bottles while still stuck on the bus.

That bus ride was the most fun Boston bus experience I have had  to date. 

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There were many folks already out to cheer us on our walk to the start. While our minds were focused on the possibility of finding a porta-potty, I did take note at who was around us. How could I think every cop? I couldn't. But right now I want to take the time - Thank you to every single person that came out there to support us. We are the crazies that are obsessed with running and you thankfully took the time out of your lives to cheer for us and to protect us. Thank you. 
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My goal was to be mentally strong at the end of this race as to not panic. What that actually did was made me live in the moment.

I kept watching the crowds throughout the whole race: looking at all of the faces, watching the moms with the line of kids and leading them in a cheer for the runners. In the last 6 miles of the race I heard tons of people scream "Go PR!" because of the PR that was on the front of my race bib. People were totally there to cheer on the runners. Everyone that had a name on their bib or shirt heard their name the entire race. People wanted to personally cheer us on and wanted us to know that they saw us.

While I ran I watched, and I tried to soak in the entire experience. In my mind, I wanted to be able to relive this memory forever. The support of the crowd was unlike anything I have seen and meant more than before. People were thanking us for running, but I wanted to thank all of them for cheering. I ran because of what Boston had given me in the past. It was my way of thanking the city. Yet, many of the spectators were out there to thank us. Without each other, this event would not be the same.

Boston was the event that brought together millions of people, not just in the city, but around the country and around the world. It was an honor to be part of this experience. I felt humbled. My pain was unlike anything that the victims had gone through. I didn't have any right to complain about sore legs in the days after the race, especially after passing wounded amputee soldiers, or the man who "ran" the whole thing on crutches. We all have our own stories that brought us to that race, but on that morning, we were all running it for the same cause.

This event brought out dedication from many. Many people poured their souls into this race, sweated for months in preparation for it. One horrible act sparked a fire in thousands of individuals that wanted to show that we are, no- Boston, is stronger than that act

When I turned onto Boylston, a place where I normally feel dread, I couldn't help but watch my left side the entire time. Normally in a marathon I dedicate each mile to someone I know. At that moment I realized that I had only dedicated one mile to my mom, and that for some reason I had forgotten to dedicate the rest.

But that was not correct. As I continued running down Boylston I knew who that race was for. That race was for the families of the victims from last year. It was for Krystal, Martin, Lingzi, and Sean. It was for everyone that helped in some way on on April 15th or the days leading after. It was for all of the runners that were there that day, like Shalane, Laura, Doug, and Aly, who had spent months preparing for this day. It was for the people of Boston who came out to support us.

On that day, Boston was Strong.