Tag Archives: Marathon Training

Eastern States 20 Miler Recap

Eastern States 20 Miler Bib  happyfitmama.com

Going into Eastern States 20 Miler, I had one thing on my mind – What’s going on with my right knee?

Let me back track a bit. Thursday morning, I was doing what was supposed to be an easy 10 mile run. Around mile 6, my knee started hurting. No warning what so ever. Of course, in typical runner fashion, I pretended I didn’t feel anything. After about another 2 miles with the same pain that wasn’t going away, I decided that I should probably stop running. I did the usual routine – ice, stretch, etc afterwards in hopes that it was nothing. I also decided to take Friday and Saturday off from running to really let it rest.

Race day came on Sunday. My knee was feeling OK, no pain, just an occasional ache here and there. Sarah taped my knee up and we took off for the race. I forgot about my knee because it felt good.

I wasn’t really sure how I was going to run. Do I treat it as a training run that I just paid for or do I keep it long run pace for the first 10 and then drop down to goal marathon pace for the last 10? Sarah didn’t really have a plan either, but we both agreed that we wanted to just not get injured (she’s nursing an ongoing Achilles and bone spur injury). We’d go by what felt right.

Apparently, going faster felt right.

Eastern States 20 Miler Outfit | happyfitmama.com

The weather was almost perfect at the start – sunshine and temps in the upper 30s. I dressed just right – Saucony long sleeve top and capri’s. The fun thing about this race is that we run in 3 states (Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts), through 7 towns and the majority is along the beautiful seacoast. We had a short walk from bib pick up at a school to the starting line. It’s a very relaxed race. You line up and then someone shouts “go!” Or at least I think someone did because everyone started running. There is no timing chip or starting mat. You just go!

We ran along at a comfortable pace (although way faster than our usual long run pace) for the first couple of miles. (Thanks for the WOOHOO! Robin!) At one point I realized I hadn’t heard a beep or vibration for a mile marker yet. For some reason my watch was set to indoor and was essentially in stopwatch mode. After messing with it (thank goodness for easy touchscreen capability!), I got it started correctly. Since there were ZERO mile markers on the course, I assumed we were a little over 2 miles into the race at this point. I never realized how much I love seeing mile markers till this race. I need a countdown!

For the first 3 miles or so, there was not much of a wind. As soon as we reached the coast, the headwind smacked us right in the face and stayed for the duration. Sarah and I were trucking right along feeling good. We were in shock every time that my watch beeped (hers wasn’t working right either) with our splits. We tried to slow down but it felt so slow when we did. It felt good, so we kept it up.

Mile 1-2: ??? Mile 3: 8:17, Mile 4: 7:51, Mile 5: 8:15, Mile 6: 8:16, Mile 7: 8:13, Mile 8: 8:22, Mile 9: 8:11, Mile 10: 8: 18, Mile 11: 8:11

The wind really started to pick up at this point. We were completely exposed. In the previous miles, there were groups of people so it was easier to draft a bit. Not so much anymore. It was nice to see Kailey and her son at some point (mile 12?) spectating. Even if it’s for a brief second, it matters!

Eastern States 20 Miler  happyfitmama.com

Mile 12: 8:25, Mile 13: 8:20, Mile 14: 8:13, Mile 15: 8:25, Mile 16: 8:22

Around mile 16-17, Sarah and I both stopped for a water stop. I was trying to choke down some water and then stopped to fix my KT tape that had come loose on my shin. By the time I started up again, Sarah was way up ahead. I gave her the wave to keep going. Bad mistake on my part! Without having company, I started to think too much. Particularly about my knee. It was starting to bug me a bit. And then there felt like there was something stuck on the bottom of my shoe. No matter what I did to try to scrape it off, it just wouldn’t go away. I stopped to fix it and found some kind of gummy chomp stuck in the grips. Gross! After scrapping it on the curb, it finally came loose. Stopping that one time, threw me off. I started to have visions of calling Ron to pick me up and drop me off a 1/2 mile from the finish. I wanted to be DONE especially when a cop directing traffic tells you “1 mile to go!” and it’s really 2 miles.

Mile 17: 9:12, Mile 18: 8:53, Mile 19: 8:34, Mile 20: ?? Forgot to stop my watch!

Official time: 2:48:20.

Post Eastern States 20 Miler | happyfitmama.comAnd yes, that is a big pile of snow behind us!

For the most part, I felt really, really good for the duration of the race even if my knee wasn’t 100%. I’m actually shocked that I felt so comfortable and was able to run at those speeds yet still carrying on a conversation for almost the whole race. And the pacing? I’ve never been that consistent with pacing in my life! That truly was marvelous.The part that makes me worry is how much the wheels fell off once I didn’t have someone to run with. I won’t have Sarah to rely on Marathon Monday. Her wave starts way ahead of mine. My mental game, as usual, still needs some work before race day.

What would you rather run in – cold, snow, heavy rain or wind?

Boston Marathon Preview Run

Heartbreak Hill |happyfitmama.com

You guys, I ran up Heartbreak Hill.

For those who said it wasn’t even really a noticeable hill…you lied. Big time.

It most definitely is a long, gradual hill. Not the most horrible ever in the existence of hills. But it most definitely is a hill that you will feel especially after running up two right before it and it’s the last of four in Newton.

Saturday I got the marvelous opportunity to do a Boston Marathon Preview Run. Every year, one of our local running groups, Coastal Athletic Association, organizes a group run near the end of Boston training. I was so thankful my friend Dana mentioned it to me so I could tag along. There were 11 of us running. Of that, six of us will actually be running on Marathon Monday, but the remaining 5 tagged along for support along the course (water, GU’s, Gatorade, whatever you needed) in addition to keeping us company and to share their knowledge of the course. I was the lone person who has never run the course before!

Boston training run  happyfitmama.comPhoto courtesy of Kim.

I thought we were going to luck out for the run with gray skies and warm temps (30 degrees!!!). But no, it started to snow at some point. And not just little snow flakes, but big fat wet ones that stuck to your eyelashes, soaked everything from head to toe and made the sidewalks a slippery, snow packed mess.

What’s this Spring thing everyone is talking about?

We started in Needham and picked up the course (around mile 13-14). At mile 15-16 there’s a HUGE downhill. It didn’t feel so bad going down. But since we did an out and back loop, it really, really sucked going up. Especially since we were following Dana’s lead of 2:00 pick ups the last 5 miles. After the hill, we cruised along past the Newton Firehouse onto Comm Ave (or Commonwealth Ave if you don’t know the lingo) where the series of hills begins. BTW – there was a fireman in full gear outside the station manning a water station and cheering. So awesome.

It was crazy how many people were out for training runs. The carriage road was nothing but 100s of runners and water stops. While it was fun to see so many others running, it was also kind of annoying having to stop for foot and car traffic over and over. With the snowy conditions, it caused for having to work at least 3x harder to get good footing with each step. There were also little dips around the street lights that caused me to roll my ankle a couple of times. Thankfully it was nothing serious.

At the base of Heartbreak Hill, we had to stop for a mandatory photo opp with Johnny Kelley, the man who ran 61 Boston Marathons!

Young At Heart Heartbreak Hill  happyfitmama.com

Once we got to the top of Heartbreak, Molly was there waiting for us with water, Gatorade or whatever else we needed. We then turned around and headed back the way we came. So not only did we get to run UP all the hills, we got to run DOWN the hills. No wonder my legs were feeling quite fatigued at the end. I had contemplated doing the full 20, but decided to call it at 18. My tummy wasn’t feeling the greatest and I’m not sure my injury prone body would appreciate three 20 milers in a row.

This coming weekend is my last long, long run of training. I’m doing Eastern States 20 Miler and hope to add a mile on at the beginning and at the end for 22 total. I still haven’t determined what my goal will be for the race – training run/race/part race?

28 days to go!

Have you ever run up Heartbreak Hill? What did you think?

Boston Marathon Training {Week 9 & 10}

Boston Marathon Training Week 9 & 10 | happyfitmama.com

Holy cow!!!!

35 days till Marathon Monday! Excuse me while I freak out. A LOT!

This training cycle has gone by so fast. I swear it seems like it was just week 1. If you’ve missed the previous Boston Marathon training weeks, here you go: Week 1 & 2, Week 3 & 4, Week 5 & 6, Week 7 & 8.

The past two weeks have been difficult with traveling (hello no luggage and 99 laps!) and just feeling rather tired and achy last week. By the middle of the week, I made myself get into bed by 9 p.m. Some nights I actually did fall asleep right then and there. Others, I stayed up reading or catching up on TV shows. I even managed a couple of naps. I’m feeling a little more rested and less achy. Although as I’m typing this my legs are fatigued from the mornings 20 miler – which is to be expected!

Week 9 (March 2 – 8) – 41 miles

Monday – travel day

Tuesday – no luggage/FIL funeral

Wednesday – 9 miles (99 laps. Similar to 99 problems). 2 mile warm up easy pace, 7 Yasso 800s (3:39, 3:35, 3:33, 4:20 (helped an old lady set up a bike and forgot to stop my watch), 3:30,3:23,3:36), 2 mile easy cool down

Thursday – 5 miles (55 laps yo!). Supposed to be easy but turned into a progressive run as I got a little too competitive with a girl on the track. Full body weights.

Post run strength | happyfitmama.com

Friday – 9 miles, blustery, hilly and snow covered roads with Yak Tracks in the Yoop.

Saturday – travel day

Sunday – 18 miles, average pace 8:43. Entertained Sarah with my trip from hell. It made the miles fly by at least!

Week 10 (March 9 – 15) – 50 miles

Monday – bike trainer 50 minutes, core/PT exercises

Tuesday – 10 miles – 2 mile w/u, 1:00 @ 7:20, 1:00 recovery jog x 12, 4 miles easy. p.m. yoga (oh the stiffness!)

Wednesday – Easy 5 miles, Core/PT exercises

Thursday – 10 miles – 2 miles easy pace, 8 x 1000 m @ 1k pace (guessed at it since I’ve never run a 1k before) w/ 400 m jog, 3 miles easy. p.m. yoga (hello shaky legs and arms!)

Moms kick butt | happyfitmama.comMother’s Day present to my mom from 1989. Funny that I didn’t really understand just how much they do kick butt back then!

Friday – (TGIRD) Thank God it’s a rest day!

Saturday – Backed out of a 5k race because of paranoia. Last 5k/20 miler weekend I had resulted in an injured Achilles. Didn’t want to risk it! Easy 5 miles, core/PT exercises

Sunday – 20.10 miles – Average pace of 8:45. 32 degrees and snow showers at times but I’ll take it any day it’s not in the single digits. Wasn’t feeling the most energetic for most of it, but it’s done. And it was marvelous!

I’m excited for the next two weekends – running part of the Boston course next Saturday (eeek!!!) and Eastern States 20 miler the following. And then it’s taper time.


How’s you life in running right now?