Thursday, May 29, 2014

Buffalo Half Marathon 2014

Don't ask me why but this was just as hard as any marathon recap to write, and only half the distance. Lordy. The short of it: I went I ran and I ran some more.

In case you want more details than the fact that I put one foot in front of the other....

This was my third time doing this race (2010 and 2011 I ran the half) but the course was new this year. I volunteered/cheered last year, but was happy to be back this year running AND cheering(Best of both worlds)!

Night before the race: There was a snaffoo with my bib (long story) so I left work early Saturday to head to Buffalo with Heather. Things got straightened out and then we spent the evening with Britt. She was the hostess with the mostess, took us to a fabulous carb-a-licious place for dinner. We then we spent the evening chatting about life, running and everything while drinking a corona, eating wine ice cream (yes, its a thing...yes its as good as it sounds) and futzing around with sticks and foam rollers.  Finally crawled in and shared a futon with Heather and a Buffalo Sabres stuffed animal pillow (yes, I find this to be important).
Pre-race shenanagins, Wild ladies I tell you.
Race Morning:  I was up before my alarm. Cold coffee, oatmeal, shower, get ready...the usual goal race routine. This is also when I realized I made a pretty stupid mistake. I hadn't worn my flats since Boston and had taken my superfeet inserts out (and never put them OR ANY insert back in). Thank god I had another pair of shoes with me, and pulled the inserts out and put them in but they are not as supportive as my other ones. Heather and I ran to the start (about 1.5 miles) with Britt as our bike escort. We met up with my sister who was running the full marathon, got some pre-race  photos and headed to the start.

Heather & I----My Sister Megan & I
Pre-race: This was my first time starting in front of the rope. I felt like a 2 year old on a playground with big kids. I wanted to do some strides to shake out but I was feeling the nerves and just kind of bounced around in one spot. Finally we moved up to the start (I was literally 6 inches off the line) and....GO. I had concerns about pushing too fast off the bat from starting up front. But I was told earlier in the week.."to hell with comfort zone". So off I went.

Let's play I spy! 
Mile 0-0.5: "What do I do, what do I do?" Yes.  I was actually freaking out and knew instantly this was going to be a push. I figured I'd just keep going then settle into a pace. Right around 1/2 mile, the 3:00 marathon pace group was right next to me so I made my goal to stick with them until I got into a groove.

Mile 0.5-6.2:The first 3 miles my shins were screaming, they are so used to having my Superfeet inserts that without them in my flats- it was more impact. I spent these  miles still tucked in with the 3:00/1:30 pace group. I was slightly nervous because the roads are really beat up and I was afraid of tripping because I couldn't see with the group around me. I questioned my ability to hold this pace, and definitely was doubting myself. While I didn't feel great I refused to back off, I was not going to put myself into a 'comfort zone'.   Finally my legs started to loosen up, and I started to extend my stride.

Rounding the curve near 10k, starting to pick it up
6.2-7: I felt good so I pushed forward, I knew the pace group was only a few feet behind me but I felt better knowing I was in front of them.

7-8.5: The pace group pulled in front of me after a water stop(I slowed a bit to grab water, but first cup I was handed was Gatorade- I was NOT going to do that with a gel...been there done that) and I told myself to hold steady with them for a few more miles. Then at mile 8.5 the pacer needed to go the bathroom and pulled off. Me and the guys all looked at each other and some said they were going to slow down a little and hold back, this is when myself and a few others decided to push.

  I am actually in this shot, me and the 3:00 guys. (Source)
8.5-11: I pulled ahead and started to grind out a few more gears. I was feeling stronger and loved picking up the pace. I thought a LOT about how hard I have worked in the last month since Boston and how much I knew I had earned this day.  I enjoyed going down by the water and out on the peninsula as you could see the leaders coming back at us. As this point I estimated I was 10th-13th place (I couldn't see some of the girls bibs and if they were half or full).
Me and the 3:00 boys.... Pardon Blurry photo.

11-13: This is where I struggled, definitely rode the pain train first class. It wasn't even my legs, it was my breathing. I assumed it was the bra part of my tank top being too tight and I kept pulling it away from me trying to take a deep breath(in reality it was the humidity). I even started kind of hitting my chest (like Tarzan) trying to knock something loose so I could actually catch my breath. I remember making weird breathing noises and that's when a man heard me and started helping me. It was an older guy running the marathon(I later found out his name was Mike). At first I didn't realize he was talking to me then he got right in front of me and told me to tuck behind and that he would block the wind. He and the guys around me realized they were all running the full meanwhile I was pushing the half.  I had a mini wall full of guys blocking the wind for me, being the only girl around and being 5'3 can have advantages. They knew I was struggling and kept encouraging me and pushing me along. When the split was nearing (the marathoners take a right and half runners go straight to the finish) the guys just started yelling at me to 'go girl' and I gave it what I had.
This is the....holy shit face. Do I smile, laugh, cry or PUKE.
Not my strongest looking finish photo.

The Finish: When I could finally read the clock I saw it turn to 1:29 and I knew that I was going to A)PR and B) be sub 1:30 and C) probably puke. I crossed in 1:29:17, earning me a 65 second PR. I crossed and immediately put my hand over my mouth afraid I was going to lose it. Luckily I didn't. *whew*. (I actually felt this way a few times after races lately, either I REALLY push myself or I need to look into new fuel). I got my medal and picture taken then found Britt and then Heather shortly after.
This is the cheesy I JUST PR'd FACE!
10k split 42:29 (6:51 pace)
10k-20k 42:15 (6:48 pace)
20k-Finish 4:33 (6:30 pace)
12th/2000+ Females, 64th/3400+ Overall, 2nd place in Age group

After the race we meandered around for a while, sat on the ground, ate food, got coffee and then made our way back to Britt's. It worked out well that I could go change quick as it was on the way back to the marathon course. I then ran and started looking for my sister. I wasn't quite sure where she would be, and I guessed the wrong way. It worked out and I was able to run with Carrie for a while and cheer her on to her huge PR and BQ. After I left her I went back around the course and found my sister. I was so incredibly happy for her and proud of her, she ran her second fastest marathon and it was her first post-baby marathon. I was glad I was able to be able to run the last bit with her. I then went back out on the course again to find my cousin, and managed to find her and run the last half mile with her. Again, another very inspiring runner who never stops, it was also her second fastest marathon. Supporting my friends and family was very important to me, and I was lucky to be able to be there for them the way they are for me.

After LOTS of post race hugs with friends and family members after they finished, I started back towards Britt's again to get my car. I ended the day with almost 20 miles and was SO happy I was able to PR and then go back out and support people who do nothing but support and inspire me in return. 

I went into this race with thoughts of 1:28-1:31. I REALLY wanted sub 90, but I also knew that it might not be the day. Boston was only a month prior, but I also believed that the solid and consistent training I'd done since then could help me.

I wouldn't say this was 'my day', I would say that I made it my day. When I PR'd in the half at Lake Effect this winter, I felt good and everything just clicked that day. Buffalo wasn't like that. It wasn't perfect, everything didn't fall into place and I never felt fabulous. But I pushed, I stayed out of my comfort zone and did the best that I could. This is the PR I think everyone expected to happen last month at Boston after everything else going on prior to that. But It wasn't about that, not at all. This was the first time in a long time I really truly let loose, honestly I think the last time was California. I ran this race for me, and pushed and proved that I have a heck of a lot more in me. I can say with 100% certainty that I am proud of this time, this race, and how hard I worked to get to this point. Do I see faster times coming, absolutely. More work, more training and more drive- I don't see this PR lasting through the end of the year if not sooner.

While debriefing after the race later that day, I remember saying that I wasn't sure what excited me more...the big new half marathon PR, or the fact that I would be starting training for Rochester a week later. I've been motivated before, driven to no end, and felt a fire to push....but not like I have the last few months and I know it's only going to get stronger from here on out. It helps having people in my life who support me but also will push me when I need it.

Ever have other runners really support you mid-race? 
I really don't know if I would have held pace if not for those guys supporting me at the end.
Buffalo Marathon Facebook page had posted photos after the race, and the guy Mike who supported me actually found and commented on the photo congratulating me and saying I really worked hard those last few miles. Runners really are an amazing group of people (I promptly sent him a message thanking him x a million!)

Anyone else find that sometimes PR's come right when you need it the most?

And because my nephew is the cutest thing ever.....I think he liked my Saucony Hat.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Best Laid Race Plans....

This year was planned, to a T. Schedule was laid out far in advance in prep for some big things. Then I threw a gigantic wrench into the mix, then a whole bunch of little ones followed. Slowly more and more started to change, it's funny how this year is already everything I never imagined it would be. My focus, my sources of motivation, my goals, my plans, all of it- so different than before. I don't fear the unexpected, I'm embracing the changes and possibilities while moving forward. Building new plans and goals for the year has been fun, it gives me something to work towards and something to look forward to!

My race schedule has changed quite a bit for this year already. Part of this is my own doing and part is due to advice from those who know better than I (Learning to trust others, I know that my own judgement is not always the best). I'm going to take a few races out, but that will allow me to really pour my heart into the ones that stay.

Here we go....

11th- BCCR Pink Ribbon Run 5k
18th- Lilac 5k/10k (Not recommended due to wanting a PR at Buffalo)
25th-Buffalo Half Marathon

1st- Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon (tentative...if I blow up at Buffalo...haha, half kidding)
5th- McMullen Mile (I now work Thursday nights at my second job)
8th- Keuka Lake Triathlon  (Decided to cut triathlons for the year--FOCUS on running)
15th- MedVed ALS 5k
21st- Airport 5k (Will be in Wisconsin :) )

[This month needs some work, still figuring out what I want]
13th- Musselman 70.3 (Not conducive to my goals right now)
20th- Jungle Jog 5k (tentative) [Danielle, are you still coming up for this?]
27th- Women Run the Roc 5k (tentative)

9th- Bergen Road Race/USATF Niagara 5k Champs
31st- Oak Tree Half Marathon OR 18.12 Challenge (Undecided on which)

21st-Rochester Marathon***
Everything after Rochester is up in the air. My focus needs to stay on ROC 26.2, everything else after that can wait to be decided on. BUT, here are some potentials.

19th-Empire State Half Marathon (tentative)
25th-Pumpkins in the Park Costume 5k [because I always do this! This year will be # 6!]

22nd- Pittsford Turkey Classic 5 Mile [This will be my 5th year doing it]

6th- St. Jude Memphis Marathon or Half (tentative)
20th- Reindeer Run 5k


Okay, so some of that is probably REALLY surprising. Particularly Musselman. I loved it last year, no doubt about it. At this point there are far more reasons for me NOT to race is this year than there were to do it. The biggest being:  To properly train for the time I wanted for it, it would require me to sacrifice some of my training for Rochester which is not something I am willing to compromise on.

I love racing, I will say again and again that it is my happy place. I thrive off of that adrenaline, but I am not always the smartest with my planning and execution. "Well I want to run this race while training for something else... so I'll just run it slower." You know... like that time I said I'd run Lake effect half but at marathon pace since I was training for Boston...and went on to PR? Yeah. THAT.

If I could I would run ALL of the races in the world, but I can't do that and be as successful as I want to be. So I'm learning to say no to races and things that could compromise the bigger goals. Let's file that under self-improvement. It's actually a good concept in life as well, let go of things that no longer suit you or things that do not contribute to your present and future happiness.

Do you have trouble saying no to races?

Anyone else made some big changes to the calendar this year?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

What's Next v.3.05

I mean there's always a next, and a next....lord only knows what will come after this 'next'.

Secret is though, this has been 'what's next' since probably January when the idea popped into my head while running mindless miles on the treadmill(while it was stupid cold outside). I've always been a runner who uses visualization, and it works really well for me during training to keep me focused. While plodding away on the hamster-whizzle, I caught myself day dreaming about a race, one that I knew was going to be  just what I needed.


No, not Boston.



Yeah. (*crickets*)

Rochester Marathon. Not Boston, Chicago, Disney, and not some fabulous European race with wine...ROCHESTER.

There I was training for Boston, and all I could think about was cruising down the canal path and demolishing a course that once ate me alive. 

I told a few people my plans but for the most part kept it pretty low, until recently. Every training run I did, sure I was thinking about Boston but I was also thinking ahead to Rochester. 

I want Rochester bad, like really bad. I ran the race in 2011(my second marathon), I went in under-prepared and somehow held steady pace until 21 when the wheels didn't just fall off...they fell off and rolled away. Those last few miles were a death march complete with tears, swearing, complete breakdowns and legs that just gave the eff up.
Lets just say these were early on in the race. 

Here I am 2.5 years later, and I'm finally ready to take that on again. Since then, I have run 6 more marathons and dropped my time 28 minutes. But more than the time difference; I'm simply a stronger, smarter and more driven runner. Rochester has been the elephant sitting on my chest for a long time, it's time I get strong enough to kick Dumbo off of me. (I'm totally fighting the urge to create a meme of me running with cartoon Dumbo on my back.... someone get on that please). 

I do have races between now and then but my focus is 100% on Rochester and getting to that start line as prepared as possible and the finish line as fast as possible

So what's the plan? Well that is probably the most loaded question of all time, but the simplest way to say it is....back to basics. I have some kick ass guidance going into this cycle and that will help push me AND hold me accountable for my training. My miles will be going up, easy days being taken easier and hard days pushing double. I will also be doing more specific training for my goals, both running and in the gym. Something I have really lacked is strict focus on ONE goal. I have always been training for multiple things at once, and right now that just won't work. Time to get down to business and have my heart and head where they belong...on the run.

After CIM in December, I wrote about how 2014 was the year of trying to be more well rounded and also focusing on triathlons more. This is really where the biggest changes are going to be seen as the year progresses. My goals are drastically different than they were before, and my race schedule is going to be changing to go with it. This is for many reasons, but mainly so I can focus on my top priorities.

So September 21, 2014 is my next marathon and I couldn't be more excited for it. It's my hometown course, one that I know very well (and have the advantage of training on it constantly), and will be easy to have friends and family come support. Last fall was a great marathon season for me, but my motivation was purely time driven. This fall I want the time AND the race, go big or go home right?

Hometown Races: Love or Hate?
I really like travelling for races but I think getting redemption at Rochester this year will really help me move forward.

Anyone else already decided on their fall goal race?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Pink Ribbon Run 5k

There's a race on Mother's Day every year in the Rochester area called the 'Pink Ribbon Run'. It is a 5k put on by the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester, and each year they raise an amazing amount of money ($175,000!!!). It was one of my first 5k's a few years back so it holds a special place to me personally as well.

My family was at their cabin for the weekend(a few hours away), and as I had to work for the weekend I couldn't go. This meant I could do the race like I normally would, even though it meant not seeing my mom(I did get to take her for a pre-mothers day lunch last week though!).

Last year Hollie & Heather came out to run it with me and we had a great time. I definitely missed having them there this year (but a 6 hour commute for 5k is a little much for Hollie, and Heather's hamstring was being a 'problem child'). I did however get to spend some time with a girl named Kelly who I used to live in the same apartment complex as a few years ago. It was her first 5k ever, and I was grateful to be there for her for that.

I wanted to get some more miles in for the day so I actually ran to the race, it was a little less than 3 miles. Luckily it was a warm morning so I didn't have to worry about layers or anything to ditch or a bag with my things (ran with my spibelt for my phone/keys just in case).

The 5k race is an all-women's race that usually gets over 1000 runners. There is also a walk option that men/women can both do (they get a few more thousand for that). In all, it's a huge celebration and fundraiser; as well as the most people you will ever see in every shade of pink. This year there was said to be over 4000 people between the run, walk and spectators.
The start of the walk. If you look closely you can see the lines of pink wrapping around in the background too.
Going into this I didn't have many expectations for a time. My legs had 50+ miles on them for the week and I had worked 72 hours in the 6 days prior to the race. Excuses, NO. Just me simply stating that I certainly wasn't going into this with a PR thought, I was going in with a "get a workout in while supporting a great cause" mentality. I also had to look back... I haven't ran a 5k since December's Reindeer Run which was 2 weeks after CIM. What can I say, I like longer stuff these days.

It's not a horrible start considering the amount of people. Those of us looking for speedier times got right up on the line and didn't have issues finding our strides. This photo is legitimately in the first third of a mile where there are still people around. By the first mile marker it had really thinned out. I pretty much ran by myself after that and didn't have anyone in front of or behind me. I decided after running this course again, I REALLY miss the old course out by lake Ontario(out and back versus the many hairpin turns on this course). But, I am glad that the race is getting big enough that it needed to move....more money for a good cause.

Overall I felt OK during the race, but I certainly wasn't feeling fresh. I actually ran pretty consistent splits which usually doesn't happen for me especially if I am by myself on a course.

I saw my friend Kim cheering around mile 2.5 which helped give me a little boost before the last stretch. There was a clock at mile 3 and I knew at that point I was at least going to be under 20, which was the benchmark I had kind of set to be under even for a non-goal race.

Certainly not my worst or best but I was happy with it. After I finished I got some water and stretched and cheered on incoming runners while waiting for Kelly. You know how hard it is to watch for someone you know, when EVERYONE is wearing pink. I almost missed her when she went by but somehow managed to catch her. Ran to the finish and chatted about the race, very proud!

I finished in 5th place out of 1012, with a time of 19:49 (6:24 pace). That earned me first in my age group which had one of the best prizes EVER.
By best prize EVER, I mean 100 (yes 100) Free Coffees and $75 to Wegmans. 
Coffee, and food....all a girl needs right?
[don't mind my shady post-race banana peel in the background, that wasn't part of my prize]

 Nothing like feeling like you won a million bucks. I'm so easy to please it's not even funny. 

I wore my new Saucony Type A6 racing flats for the day to start breaking them in.  I love my A5's but they are getting higher miles on them, the new version isn't much different which makes transitioning much easier. I'll probably rotate between the 2 pairs for the summer, but use the A6's for my fall marathon. Doesn't hurt that they are neon...again, so easy to please.

After awards and chatting with Kelly, I headed back home with a smile on my face and a spibelt full of coffee coupons. I took a little longer route home and hit a section along the river a few times, part for miles and part because it was so freaking nice out and couldn't get enough of it.

Sunday was also my only day off of both jobs for the week, which worked out really well seeing as it was a gorgeous day. After running home, I spent some time lounging by the pool at the gym and then caught up with my friend Sabrina for Froyo and coffee that evening. Not a bad day at all, some R&R time was much needed!

What did you do for Mother's Day?

Best prize you have received at race (besides cash!)?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Running Updates: Mileage & Motivation

So, some updates on the running things today. The short of it is that I am running more, training again and loving it.

Recovery from Boston went insanely well and that allowed me to get back into things with little transition time. Things are certainly different this time around though, I'm being a heck of a lot smarter lately. (Read: I have enlisted in some coaching help to keep me in line.)

So the last few weeks have been pretty damn good as far as running goes. I'm adjusting to adding miles again after Boston, as well as adjusting to working 2 jobs again. I forgot how insanely tiring it can be working so much (particularly having a job with time on feet and late hours) BUT I am so happy I am doing it, it helps financially and certainly keeps me from getting bored. This past week kicked my ass but I think it's just what I needed to get back in the swing of things. From here on out it will be pretty smooth sailing as far as work hours go, obviously some days I will still crave naps (don't we all?). In case you were wondering, NO I am not going back to decaf. I thought about it after Boston but there is just NO way right now. 

On the running front, my miles are building but in a smart and controlled manner. 2 & 3 weeks ago I was in mid to high 40's and then this past week was 52. I haven't seen 52 since SEPTEMBER. Yeah, I had to go back in my RunningAhead logs to figure that one out. I fully admit I have never been a consistent runner and it's something I have really wanted to work on and now is that time. I have some awesome support and guidance which is making it so much easier. I look forward to continuing to add miles and venture into some higher weeks this summer while training. 

I've been focusing on taking my easy days easier (this is a work in progress), and hitting my workouts harder. I know that this will be really important as my mileage continues to increase. I'm happy to feel like I am working on my base. I had an 'alright' base for a while until I dealt with whatever the hell that injury was while training for Boston. I look at my miles for this year and it's frustrating (I averaged in the 30's for most of the Boston weeks, yeah....about that.). But I can't go back and change it, and had I pushed on that injury who knows what I'd be doing right now. 

It's going to be a long summer of training but I have NEVER been more excited or motivated for it. I owe a lot of that to the people in my life. I can't remember the last time I had this much support and encouragement for the thing that I love to do. One foot in front of the other. 
 I've even been back to the track, as well as running a LOT on the river trail to prep for the fall course.
(P.S. Hollie, that photo was for you....stupid BIRDS!)

I love enjoying running again. I love feeling like I WANT to run and not just NEED to run. I struggled with this for a while but I'm pretty sure that was life seeping into things. Someone once told me they saw my running get better when my life was in shambles. That may have been the case a few years ago but not recently. I'm a happy girl right now with a very positive outlook and undeniable hope for the future....and my running is on the best path its ever been on. There's your sign

I'm enjoying finding running routes from my new place. I'm so close to quite a few great running spots which makes it fun to go out and meander around for some miles. I wasn't that far from a lot of these places before but now they are practically right outside my door. River Trail, Highland Park, Mount Hope Cemetery, many options for running and getting workouts in.
Isn't a bad view for running :)
I have a half-marathon in 2 weeks (Buffalo) that I am going to be pushing for a PR at, I feel like my 'accidental' PR in February needs to be broken with some force. While it may seem soon to go for this, I feel like it is well within reach for how I have been feeling lately.  After that I won't have many goal races over the summer, some smaller ones here and there but my main focus will be on a fall marathon PR. (Yes I know I said in December that I wasn't going to try for one this year as my original plan was a triathlon year. But plans change). I'll update on my goals soon enough. :)

Anyone else have a goal race coming up?

What are some cool running places near you? 
(Any I need to add to a bucket list?)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Independence & Life Adjustments

Guess what, finally a non-Boston post. I know you're excited, actually I am too...moving forward is a good thing. Obviously Boston was an amazing experience, solid race, but recovering has been really nice too.

This past month has been one of the most, insanely crazy months ever. Big changes, big moves, Boston, visiting friends, adjusting to being independent again, and actually training again(yes, already).

I've got to pat myself on the back for coming out on top, because when I thought I would be sitting on my butt I am actually moving like a freight train towards more and more better days.

This adjustment period has actually gone pretty well. After Boston I went to New Jersey for the weekend with Heather to see Hollie. I wore running clothes (shocker), but also made an appearance in real girl clothes. It was a darn good girls weekend, and I even got to meet Danielle & Ashley in real life-- they're as awesome as they seem, in case you were wondering. 
Weekend in Jersey with the girls(how was this already a week and a half ago?)
Hollie, Heather & Myself
I'm certainly keeping myself busy these days. I actually picked up a second job that I started last week. The extra money is always a good thing, but it also keeps me busy outside of my day job and training which is important. The last 9 months of one job was nice, but I've never been one to be afraid of working more and being able to support myself. This will create some need for early morning workouts some days (on the days I work both jobs), but in the end will be a good thing. 

Overall life is pretty darn good. I'm enjoying my new place, excited for a new training cycle, working hard and learning that it's ok to be 'me' again. Sure there are 'adjustments' to be made (read: I have to learn to kill spiders instead of screaming for someone else to do it), but each day things become a little more normal...the 'new normal'. I'm lucky to have some great people in my life, giving me support and also things to look forward to :) Settling into everything is important but I am also excited to see what can happen over the next year, who knows where the wind will blow after that. 

The new normal is really just being selfish and doing things for me. Something to be said about making time for yourself and going after what you want/need. I've spent more time with my friends and family in the last few weeks than I probably have in the last year combined. I've also had a LOT of time alone to think, and also making a list of non-negotiable things in my head for future reference. Silver lining: learning what you need and don't need, as well as what you really want out of life.

As for the whole running thing and "what's next", you can expect lots of changes to training and race schedule over the next few months. I'll give you a heads up, some of those changes are not ones you would expect. More on that another day though.

When was the last time you had some big life adjustments?

What is an acceptable amount of time to still have some unpacked boxes? 
(I'm going on a month here...)

Friday, May 2, 2014

Marathon Recovery: Boston Edition

Oh look, another Boston Post for you! I told you there would be a few, don't say I didn't warn you. I've gotten a lot of questions/comments regarding my pretty speedy Boston recovery so I figured I would address it.

This is where I should tell you the amazing secrets to my success so you can recover like a champ too. Well, sorry to disappoint but there really isn't a rhyme or a reason to it.

Last week--
After the race: I stretched a little, then rested a little and then stayed out all night celebrating(totally worth it). Sat in a car for 6 hours, until I proceeded to sleep on and off for like 12 hours when I got home.

I was in a 'mood' Wednesday(post-marathon blues for sure) and agreed to run with some friends because I knew it would make me feel better. 8 easy miles, definitely not the smartest but it felt really good to work some of the crap out of my legs. I actually felt better after the run physically, I was more loose and felt less 'weighted down'. Followed the run up with 2 gigantic slices of pizza for the win.

Thursday and Friday were easy days with no running, and actually involved 6ish hours in the car Friday night heading to NJ. Friday's car ride/dinner involved LOTS of caffeine, candy and finished with red velvet cake when we arrived at Hollie's. Saturday I did 6 super easy miles with Heather and Hollie which mentally and physically was just what the doctor ordered. The weekend included coffee, beer, cake, burger the size of my head, lots of candy, cheetos, diet pepsi, cheesecake and above all....lots of laughter(best medicine!).
Hollie, me & Heather before our relaxed shake out run in NJ
Sunday I ran a little over 2.5 miles in the morning while spectating at the NJ Half Marathon, my legs didn't feel great but not horrible either. Heather and I spent the whole ride home talking about fall races and goals and my legs were getting antsy just talking about it all. I knew I was going to run when I got home, and I also knew the 'easy' thing wasn't going to last long. Started with 3 easy miles and then did 3 miles at or faster than goal marathon pace...which felt amazing. 

So basically in the first week after Boston, I had the diet of a frat boy, sat in a car for over 20 hours, ran (putting myself at ~50 miles for the week), got little sleep, and generally did everything you "shouldn't" do after a marathon. Recovery done wrong-ish but maybe not.

How do I feel? My legs feel good, I'm sleeping better than ever, my head is pretty damn clear and I generally feel like myself (or at least the new version of myself). I'm adjusting to my new life and maybe that's what is helping.

No I am not superhuman, and certainly didn't expect to have non-trashed legs this soon. But if it makes you feel better, Heather was laughing at me every time I went down stairs this past weekend.

I have 2 theories as per my recovery, maybe I'm completely off base but who knows.

1. The weeks leading up to the marathon were not "hard". There was no high mileage, there were no insane workouts, there was no peaking and there was a strong taper. Being injured changed this cycle for me a ton, but also allowed me to give my body time to heal. I had so much else going on in my life on top of being a semi-injured runner that I didn't have time to focus. I went into Boston pretty damn fresh and didn't have months of hard training on my legs.

2. I didn't race Boston. Don't get me wrong, a 3:20 is still my third fastest and obviously I still had to try for it. I didn't leave everything on that course though, absolutely not. I ran smart and controlled and knew that it was the best thing for me that day, and the best thing for my future goals. I love marathons, but I also know that I can't run them frequently and have them all be 'balls to the wall'. I truly believe that I had such a successful fall marathon season with Wineglass/CIM because I didn't all out race at Cleveland last spring. Cleveland was 'another marathon' for me and not a goal race which allowed me speedier recovery and quicker turnaround to focus on Musselman and the fall marathons.

 I'm looking at Boston the same way, I feel like I am setting myself up for a kick ass fall season by not killing myself with training this time around. Granted that wasn't the original plan (I never planned to fall down the stairs, or be injured or have ridiculous life changes during this cycle), but whatever...everything happens for a reason right? Yeah, let's go with it. 

So moving forward, yes I feel good but I am also trying to be smart. I'm going to work on a strong base for a while but still get some good workouts in. I feel like I am mentally and physically in a really good place to start pushing myself and trying new things, when the time is right. I just said to someone the other day that I have always done the same things with training and...the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Time to start taking chances, stepping outside of my comfort zone and finding what truly is the best for me in order to get the results that I want.

So what you really want to know about recovery-- it's different for everyone and it's different in every situation. Maybe I will wake up one of these days feeling like I got hit by the marathon truck a little late, and maybe I won't. What I do know is that I am more driven and motivated than ever to move forward and to tackle some big training. 

Thoughts on Marathon Recovery?

Favorite post-race food/drink?

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