The one word I would use to describe this year’s race is EPIC. If you have 5 minutes, here are the other words that I would use to describe my experience. =)
Leading up to the Boston Marathon, people asked me if I was going to race Boston. I told them that it would depend on the weather. Once the weather forecast was 100% rain, I decided that I was not going to race for a PR, but I would try to match my course PR (3:31:16) or run a course PR. I trained really well this winter with only one injury (sprained ankle that did not happen while I was running!) and I have run in rainy and windy conditions before so I thought my goal was realistic.
I decided to stick with my race outfit of singlet, arm sleeves, running skirt, hat, earband, and gloves. I added a shower cap, latex gloves, and a clear poncho to my outfit for the rain. Someone suggested wearing throw away sneakers to the start, so that I could start the race in relatively dry sneakers. My sister gave me the best throw away clothes including a one-sie that covered my feet. Now my socks would also stay dry pre-race! I was actually more worried about my spectators than about myself. It was going to be a miserable day for spectators and I did not want anyone to get sick.
My friend and former Back on my Feet teammate, Andrea, invited me to hang out with her team (Team with a Vision) so I would have shelter from the storm pre-race. As I walked through Athlete’s Village and saw the mud pit surrounding the tents, I was so grateful that Andrea offered me refuge. At Andrea’s refuge, I was able to get ready for the race and hear the start of the mobility impaired and women’s races. The rain kept coming down harder, but the weather did not bring down my spirits. I was running my 12th Boston Marathon and a monsoon was not going to stop me. I love this race!
At 10AM, I took took off my one-sie, changed into my dry sneakers, wrapped them in plastic bags, and headed out to the starting corrals. I had 3 layers on top of my singlet that I slowly took off in my corral as it got closer to 10:25AM. Once I was down to my singlet and clear poncho, we started moving up closer to the start line. I noticed that a runner dropped a glove and I quickly picked it up and chased after him. I did not want him to start the race with only 1 glove! I felt good about my good deed before the start, but my smile quickly went away as another runner looked at my race outfit and said to me “You’re going to be cold in that.” Instead of telling him to “F*%! off”, I said “I will be fine and I will run faster to warm up if I get cold.” Fellow runners, do not say negative things to other runners RIGHT before the start of ANY race. Be supportive of each other, especially when weather conditions are less than ideal.
The race announcer found Meb in the first corral of my wave and it got me excited to know that Meb was actually running in the same wave as me! It was the coolest thing! As I stood waiting for the gun to go off, I noticed that my sneakers were already getting wet. I had to mentally prepare myself for 26.2 miles with wet feet! My feet were soaking wet by the 3KM sign and runners were trying to avoid the big puddles, but there was no point. I just ran right through them.
The last time it rained on Patriot’s Day was in 2015. I remember being so cold that my bladder shrunk and I had to pee for many miles, but could not find an open porto potty. I learned that it was very difficult to make yourself pee while running so when I stopped to see my family at mile 18, I was able to start peeing and continue peeing as I ran. I hoped that I would never have to pee on myself again, but then we had a monsoon on Monday….
The rain and wind really did not bother me, but it affected my bladder and I had to pee by mile 8. My clothes were still dry because of my poncho and I really did not want to pee on myself again! I stopped at a porto potty at mile 9 and felt amazing afterwards. I thought that was the end of it, but I was wrong. By mile 13, I had to pee again. My clothes were wet by then so I did not have a problem peeing on myself as the rain would wash it away. Why waste time going to the porto potty?! The problem was that I still could not start peeing while I was running! This is a skill that I do not wish to learn! Luckily, I had many friends along the way and each time I stopped to give them a hug or say hi, I was able to start peeing before running away. Some I told, some I did not! =)
I knew after my first pee break at the porto potty that I was not going to run my goal of a course PR, so I just made the most out of my experience. I debated throughout the race about taking my poncho off or leaving it on. Every time I wanted to take it off, it rained harder, so I ended up leaving it on as it offered some protection from the elements and it was clear so my bib was visible to everyone.
One of the best parts of the race was when I got to mile 17 and saw my New York Flyers teammates! Andrew was there waiting to run a few miles with me. As we left the cheer station, Andrew told me that Desi won the marathon!! It was just the boost that I needed to get me up the hills.
Andrew ran me to mile 19 where we saw our friend Greg. After a quick chat, I headed up Heartbreak Hill solo. I managed to roll my bad ankle in a crack in the road at the bottom of the hill. Serious. A few expletives later, I gathered myself and slowly ran up Heartbreak Hill. My poor ankle was going to hate me later.
After making it up Heartbreak Hill, several things pulled me to the finish line. Seeing my good friend Caren at the end of the Haunted Mile, seeing Kurt (a BOMF teammate) on Beacon Street at mile 24, and seeing the Dana Farber cheer section at Mile 25. I gave hugs to all of them and then powered my way to the finish line.
I would not have made it to the finish line without the support from everyone. The volunteers were amazing and they deserve a medal for being out there longer than most of the runners! Thank you for volunteering!!
This makes 5 years in a row of bad weather at the Boston Marathon. 2014: hot. 2015: rain & cold. 2016 & 2017: hot. 2018: torrential downpour. Next year, I am sure it will snow. Bring it on!
Number of registrants: 29,978
Number of starters: 26,948 (3,030 did not start)
Number of finishers: 25,746 (95.5%) <-drop from last year’s 97% finish rate
This year I ran my 10th consecutive (11th overall) Boston Marathon! How did I get to 10? Seems like it was just yesterday when I ran my first Boston in 2005.
As a senior in college at Boston University, I ran on the Boston Marathon course because my apartment was at the 40K point of the marathon. During one of my runs, I thought of applying to run the Boston Marathon for the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge (DFMC)! I did not know that DFMC was the largest charity team and a lot of people applied for the team. I was waitlisted. I did not have another plan, but kept running through the winter in case I got off the waitlist. Good thing I kept running because I got an email at the end of January saying that I got a spot on the team! I was so excited, but also very nervous because I did not have a lot of time to fundraise. I reached the fundraising minimum the week before the race (whew!)! I remember race day being sunny and I made the rookie mistake of not wearing sunglasses or a hat. I finished in 4:07 and was the happiest marathon finisher ever!
I made it a goal to qualify for my next Boston Marathon run because fundraising was too stressful as a student. It took me 2 years to qualify and I have to thank my Garmin for my time. Literally. In the 2007 NYC Marathon, there was a period of a few minutes where the finish line timing mats did not work. They asked runners who were affected to send in proof of their times. I was one of those runners!! I sent in my Garmin time of 3:40:40 and hoped that they would make it official so that the BAA could verify my time after I applied. Back then, the qualifying time was 3:40:59 so I just made the cut!
New York Road Runners accepted my time and I was officially a Boston Qualifier for 2008’s race! I won’t bore you with race recaps of each year, but I will share with you my top 10 favorite things/memories of the Boston Marathon! In no particular order:
*The Dana Farber Marathon Challenge: I ran with the team again in 2012, 2013, & 2014. I owe a lot to this team and have made so many friends from being part of this team. I also met my husband on this team, so DFMC holds a very special place in my heart. I ran in memory of my dad who passed away from cancer in 1998 and Andrew was running in honor of his dad who was fighting lung cancer when we met. My dad never got to see me run, but Andrew’s dad was able to see us both run Boston in 2013. Andrew’s dad passed away later that summer. Though no longer with us in person, our dads will always be with us in spirit.
*Boston College: Everyone raves about the “Wellesley Scream Tunnel”, but to be honest, the Scream Tunnel has not been as loud in the past few years. In 2005, I could really hear them a mile away. The girls are still there with lots of signs, but there are not as many as in the past. The Boston College kids at mile 20 are my favorite. They are loud, drunk, and sooooo happy to see you! Wellesley girls: step it up!
*The Expo: I love the expo. Enough said.
*My family cheer station at Mile 18: My sister has a friend who lives by Mile 18, so she parks at her friend’s house and waits for me to run by to cheer me on. My mom usually comes up from NYC to watch me run and in the past 3 years, Andrew has watched with them too.
*Seeing my friends along the way: My friends are the best! I have to give a special shout out to my City Sports Run Club friend, Jan, for sharing miles with me and helping me when I was having a tough time in the Newton Hills.
* Kenmore Square: Running by my old apartments and through Kenmore Square always brings back fun memories of college & post college. DFMC also has their cheer station at mile 25 so that gives me a big boost before the final mile. The Red Sox game is usually done by the time I run by, so the crowds are amazing there.
*Boylston Street: The stretch to the finish line is always special. Here you can get the crowds to scream louder if you gesture to them and you can soak in all the energy and realize that you will soon be a Boston Marathon finisher!
*I cannot write about Boston and not mention 2013. The weather was perfect that day and I had the race of my life. I was having the best time until I found out what happened at the finish line. I am thankful that my friends and I were safe, but am sad every time I think about everyone who was affected that day. How we came together after that day made me realize how strong runners can be to overcome anything. We will always be Boston Strong.
*Meb: I first met Meb after the 2013 BAA 5K at the Fairmont Copley Hotel. Back on my Feet had a team run the 5K and our meeting room was in the same hotel where the elite athletes were staying. As I was leaving with my friend Seann, Meb was walking to get breakfast. He seemed to be in a rush, but when we showed him that we actually knew who he was and asked him about his injury and his plan for coming back, he slowed down and talked to us! We took a photo, shook hands, and let him go eat breakfast! Meb watched the race from the grandstands that year because he was injured. He came back in 2014 and won for the city of Boston. I was at mile 10 when someone told me that Meb won the race and it totally made my day!
*Andrew: We met on the day of the 2012 Boston Marathon at the church where DFMC runners gathered before the race. We did not start dating until after the 2013 Boston Marathon and got married last year! Andrew was stopped on Boylston Street in 2013 and he returned in 2014 to finish what he started. He decided to take a break from fundraising and watch the race in 2015. Unfortunately, it was cold and rainy in 2015. Terrible conditions for runners and spectators, but he was there again in 2016 and 2017. Thanks love! I will not talk about getting to the Quarter Century Club for a while. Getting to 10 in a row is a huge accomplishment for me. I will take it one year at a time from now! =)
I want to congratulate my marathon sister, Bethany, for also running her 10th consecutive Boston this year! Here’s to many more! =)
This past weekend, I ran my 40th marathon! I did not know until a few months ago that the NYC Marathon would be my 40th. I usually lose track of my count and have to go look in my book.
Since it was my 40th, I wanted to really enjoy the 26.2 miles and not race. Race hard=have lots of pain. Take it easy=have lots of fun. My goal was to run a 3:37-3:40. Running a negative split to earn free shoes from Strava also would have been nice, but I positive split by about 2 minutes, so no free shoes for me. Weather was perfect and the crowds were amazing! I felt great until Mile 23 going up 5th Avenue. The quads cramped like always, but I kept running because that was the fastest way to the finish line. I do not usually walk during a race because I know I will have a very hard time running again if I stop to walk. I have learned to run through the cramps over the years and they eventually go away or my pain tolerance goes up as I continue running. It was great to finish strong all the way to the finish line and I was all smiles as I raised my arms up in victory. I told Peter Ciaccia that I just ran my 14th NYC Marathon and he said “Next year, you’ll be part of the streaker club!”
I ran my first marathon in 2002. In 14 years, I have run in 8 different states (CA, FL, IL, MA, NY, OH, PA, SC) and 3 different countries (Canada, Hong Kong, and UK). The majority of my marathons have been NYC and Boston, so I did not travel to many states.
People often ask “Why do you do it?” “Is it worth it?” The answer is always “Because I love it and yes, it’s worth it!” I have met so many great friends through running, traveled to fun places, and I met my husband through running! I love the challenge and each race experience is so different.
The NYC Marathon has been on my schedule every year since 2002. How do I manage to run NYC every year? I have gotten into the NYC Marathon through the lottery, time qualifier (when the 1/2 qualifying time was 1:37), and I have done the 9+1. Since 2002, running 15 NYC Marathons to get guaranteed (non complimentary) entry for life was a goal. At that time, 15 did not seem like a huge number, but having just run #14, I am amazed that I have stuck with it for so many years! Just for comparison, to get guaranteed entry at the Chicago Marathon, you have to run 5 in the last 10 years. That sounds so much easier than 15!
The NYC Marathon is my favorite marathon and I have so many good memories from the race. There were also painful memories of legs cramping and falling down 2 times in the past 14 years, but I have loved each race every year. I am not one to look at data and statistics, but from experience, many things have changed since my first tun in 2002. Here are just a few fun facts from 2002 off the top of my head:
The 2002 marathon shirt was a cotton t-shirt.
Champion chip was the timing chip and we had to secure it to our sneakers to get an official time.
The 2002 marathon did not have a title sponsor. The race was simply “The New York City Marathon”. (ING became the title sponsor in 2003)
Meb also ran his 1st NYC Marathon in 2002 with me. =)
The Staten Island Ferry was not an option as transportation to the start.
The marathon expo started on Wednesday. =)
The day before the marathon, NYRR had a run only for international runners.
I finished in 4:38:56! (I ran this year’s race in exactly an hour faster! 3:38:56!)
Technology and social media has changed the marathon culture tremendously over the years. I am usually resistant to change, but I think the changes have been positive despite race registration being more difficult for popular races. I do not know the numbers, but I know that the number of people running marathons has increased since 2002 and I always love welcoming people to the club. More people are trying to lead active and healthier lifestyles, which is great!
Marathoning has become a lifestyle for me. I am always “in training” and running never feels like “work” (unless it’s speed work!). I have a closet that is only for running clothes (I might have more running clothes than regular clothes.). I love going on race-cations! I love that my husband also runs and supports my crazy obsession. He is the best because I always get a little crazy (from excitement!) during marathon weekend. The NYC Marathon and Boston Marathon has been part of my schedule for so long that it would seem weird if I spectated instead of ran (that will never happen!) My friends know that I run long on weekends and they know where I will be the first weekend of November and Patriot’s Day in April.
What’s next? A new country next year! Entry into 2 streaking clubs next year (Not that type of streaking! Get your mind out of the gutter!) My 10th consecutive Boston Marathon and my 15th NYC Marathon!!
Men’s Winner: Ghirmay Ghebreslassie 2:07:51
Women’s Winner: Mary Keitany 2:24:26
Total Finishers: 51,388 (Female: 21,457; Male: 29,931) : Unofficial numbers from NYRR
Last weekend, I ran my 30th marathon in Chicago. I still remember what my first marathon felt like back in 2002. It has been an amazing journey to get to 30 and I learned a lot about myself and about running along the way. I want to share 30 personal tips/pet peeves/superstitions with you. You do not have to agree with any of them, but reflect on what you have learned on your own marathon journey and see if your list is similar to mine!
1. Get the right running sneakers for you. Do not buy sneakers just because they are pretty. Get your gait analyzed and be fitted for the correct sneakers. I have tried on many different sneakers and run in the wrong sneakers, but I once I got fitted for the Asics Kayano’s by Jackrabbit, I stuck with them. I think my current Kayano 20’s are really ugly, but they are so comfortable and they prevent me from getting hurt so I wear them.
2. Have the right running clothes. When I started running, I wore cotton because that is what I had. Now everything is “dri-fit” and “wicking” and also 3x more expensive than cotton!! I admit that proper athletic clothes feel lighter than cotton on the run and I worry less about chafing, but sometimes chafing still happens! I have a full closet of running clothes and it is especially important to have the right clothes in winter weather. As Jack Fultz (DFMC’s coach) would say “There is no bad weather, just bad clothing choices”. You can run in any weather as long as you have the right clothes on.
3. Put body glide everywhere. Men, please use bandaids!! You do not want to look like you got shot during the race! I am grateful for the vaseline that is handed out by medical volunteers along the course. I often have to use some during the race for chafing under my arm or in between my thighs. Butt cheek chafing is the worst. You can laugh, but it will happen to you one day!
4. Make friends.I have met some of my best friends through running and I am lucky to have met Andrew through running. Running does not have to be an individual sport. Support from friends and loved ones make the tough days better and they make the good days great. Training for a marathon takes a lot of time and if it is not fun, then you should re-think why you are doing it. The experience should not be stressful. Have fun along the way!! Here are just a few of my friends!
5. Try out a run club. Where can you meet friends? At a run club!! There are many different run clubs out there so find the one that works for you. I remember going to my first run club at Boston’s City Sports back in 2007. It was a small group, but it eventually became a very large group of runners who would show up rain or shine every Tuesday to run. After we became better friends, we signed up for races together, had pre-race dinners, and did other non-running related things together (sometimes!).
6. Put in the work. I did not train properly for my first marathon and it showed on race day. I started to cramp at mile 17 when I got off the Queensboro Bridge and ran onto 1st Avenue. My legs were not used to the mileage and I had run too fast in the early miles because I was so excited to be running the marathon. At mile 24, my calves cramped so badly that I could not hold up my body and I collapsed on East Drive of Central Park. A spectator came over and put his coat around me because it was cold out. My 2 high school friends who had been running with me since mile 16 helped pick me up and got me to the finish line in one piece!
7. Do not run too much. I used to run 5 days a week, but then I got hurt and even walking was painful. Ultrasound and massage fixed my leg, but I also dialed down on the workouts. I ran 2x/wk and crosstrained 1x/wk. My body responded to that much better and I PR’ed that year from just running 2x/wk. It can be done! But if you are not prone to injury and love to run, do your thing and run as many times as your heart desires. Just do not forget to rest once in a while.
8. Know what your race pace feels like. If you are fit to run 9 minute miles, you should know what that feels like. You should also know what sub 9 minute miles feel like. Do not make the mistake of running faster than you can in the early miles just because you are “feeling good”. You will pay for it in the later miles.
9. Carry your racing kit in your carry on bag if you are doing a destination race. My friend, Barbora, from Prague recently had her luggage stuck in Rome and she had to buy all new running gear the day before the Chicago Marathon. She handled the situation much better than I would have handled it! I would have had a major meltdown! You can read about her luggage story here! At the end of her post, there are some useful phone numbers in case you ever have lost luggage with Alitalia or Delta.
10. Study the course. You should probably do this after you sign up for the race so you can tailor your training program for the race. Many people fail to train on hills in preparation for the NYC Marathon because they think it is flat, but if you look at the elevation map, you will learn that it is not flat! Know if the course has a lot of turns, an out and back, or no turns at all. This will help you mentally prepare for the race.
11. Know what they are serving on the course. Not all race courses serve Gatorade! The Disney races serve Powerade (because it is a Coke product) and that did not agree with my stomach so I only drank water. The Hong Kong Marathon and Edinburgh Marathon served a sports drink local to their country and I could not try it before race day so I only drank water. Most major marathons in the US serve Gatorade Endurance Formula and that is too strong for my stomach so I only drink water. Yes, I only drink water during the marathon so I make sure to also take salt tablets to supplement my electrolytes. It works for me, but it took me a while to figure that out.
12. Get a good night’s rest two days before the race. Many people have trouble sleeping the night before the race so make sure that you go to bed early two days before.
13. Watch what you eat the night before the race. Andrew and I had a very delicious and healthy dinner the night before the Napa to Sonoma 1/2 Marathon this past July. Instead of going to an Italian restaurant, we went to the pre-race dinner organized by the race committee. Dinner consisted of a pulled pork salad, beans, bread, and more salad. There was no pasta! The following day, we both had stomach issues. Andrew used the porto potty at mile 4 and I almost pooped my pants at mile 12. Needless to say, I ran straight to the porto potty after getting my medal.
14. Pee before the race. I have used a porto potty during the race 3x. First time was at mile 16 of the NYC Marathon. I really had to pee after coming off the Queenboro Bridge. All I remember was how gross it was to pull my sweaty shorts back up after I was done peeing. Second time was at mile 1 of the Philly Marathon. There were not enough porto potties at the start so I went to the corrals without peeing one last time. The third time was at mile 16 of the Chicago Marathon this year. I did not get to the start early enough to get in line for a porto potty so I went to the corrals without peeing before the race again. l lost about 30 seconds and my PR because of that bathroom break. I guess the tip here is: Get to the start line early enough to wait 20-30 minutes for a porto potty!
15. Have a plan with your friends and family on where they will spectate on race day. Knowing where they are on race day will give you something to look forward to as you run the race. Most of the time, you will see them first before they see you. Seeing family or friends on the course always gives me a boost and distraction from the miles that I have left to run.
16. Do not look back during a crowded marathon. I made this mistake at mile 3 of the NYC Marathon one year. Someone yelled “Go Bobby Flay!!” and I turned around to look for him. When I turned back around, I ran right into another runner and fell backwards. Then someone almost ran over me. Another runner said to me “You should keep looking forward!” With a bruised butt cheek and ego, I got up and never looked back again.
17. Have a Plan B. Always have a few goals in mind. If one goal is slipping out of your reach, focus your attention on another goal. If you are not feeling well, forget about the time goal, focus on just getting to the finish line or focus on getting to the next mile.
18. Enjoy the moment after you cross that finish line. Do not start texting, tweeting, instagramming, or facebooking immediately. Take in the excitement of other finishers and celebrate yourself! You just ran 26.2 miles!! You can post on social media later.
19. Share your accomplishments with others. Be proud of your hard work and celebrate your finish. It is the end of a 3-4 month journey and you deserve to tell everyone about it.
20. Sign up for another race to avoid post marathon blues. After you have told the world about your race, what’s next? Sign up for a shorter race so that you have something else to look forward to. Or sign up for another marathon! I will be running the NYRR 60K 2 weeks after the NYC Marathon. Come run a lap or two with me!
21. Take an ice bath. This is also a habit that I developed a few years ago. It is not as bad as you think. Fill your tub 1/2 way with room temperature water, get in, then throw in the ice/fill tub with cold water, and sit for 10-15 minutes. You can play Candy Crush or Facebook during this time or have a drink! I find that my legs do not feel as sore after an ice bath. Instead of buying bags of ice, I use re-usable ice packs.
22. Find a good massage therapist to work with you. I am very ticklish so I resisted massages for a long time. I was desperate when I had issues with my left hip flexors and went to see a massage therapist in Boston. I was lucky to have a very good massage therapist, but then he moved and I tried 2 other therapists at the same company, but they did not have the same touch. My friend introduced me to Amy Duverger. Amy is also a runner and had worked with my initial massage therapist. I saw Amy pre and post race and for maintenance. I was very sad to move to NYC because I would have to find another massage therapist. Trying to find a massage therapist can get expensive and your risking injury because the wrong massage therapist could hurt you instead of help you. After a few disappointments, I found Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage. Beret is amazing and I would highly recommend her and her staff. They are all athletes and really understand an athlete’s body. They have a $99/hour special for new clients!
23.Stretch. Learn how to stretch properly and do it regularly. This is something I need to work on. It will make your massage appointments a little less painful!
24. Spectate a race. It is actually a lot of fun to spectate a race. It can be a lot of work if you want to see your runner more than once, but it gives you a different perspective of the race experience.
25. Volunteer at a race. I have volunteered at a triathlon and at running races. It makes you appreciate the volunteers so much more when you have been in their shoes. It takes a lot of volunteers to make an event possible. Do not forget to say “Thank you” to the volunteers on race day!!!
26. Do not run with headphones. This is a personal pet peeve of mine. I understand if you are running a small race where there are no spectators and music will help get you through the miles, but I do not understand listening to music when you are running a marathon with 30,000+ runners. I feel that you miss out on part of the experience when you have headphones on. NYC has spectators lined for most of the course and bands everywhere. Who needs an ipod!? Also with that many people on a race course, it is a safety concern if you have headphones on. You should be aware of your surroundings and be able to hear if there is an emergency (knock on wood) and respond quickly.
27. Do not run with someone else’s number. You do not want your time under someone else’s name. 26.2 miles is a long way to run and you should get credit for it! Remember “Bib-Gate” from the 2014 Boston Marathon? People printed out copies of a real bib and wore it on race day as if they were really registered runners. Those imposters were found on Marathonfoto!
28. Buy a marathon jacket……or thirty! No, I do not have 30 marathon jackets. The Hong Kong Marathon did not sell any jackets so I only have 29. Ha! Seriously, if it is your first marathon, buy one. Wear your jacket proudly. You earned it!
29. Do not wear any marathon gear until after the race. This is a superstition of mine. You have to earn it before you can wear it! Things that I buy at the expo are extra pieces of motivation for me to get to that finish line.
30. Figure out what works for you. In the end, you are running the race. I cannot run it for you. Your pre-race rituals, race superstitions, and food choices are all yours. Do not let anyone change your routine. Do what you know works for you and have a great race!! Enjoy the ride!
Where has the time gone!?! This training season could not be more different than last winter’s training. Besides the weather being so uncooperative this season, I am in a different city, at a different job, and am not running consistently during the week.
Instead of stepping out my front door and starting my run on the Boston Marathon course, my training grounds are now pedestrian filled sidewalks and the rolling hills of Central Park. My motivation is sometimes lacking after a stressful day at work and running when stressed usually ends pretty ugly for me. I guess the solution is to find a less stressful job!
Despite the differences, I have not missed a long run, but the long runs have been hard because I have missed many week day runs. As we do our longest runs before taper time this month, I hope to be more consistent in my training and gain my confidence for the big race on April 15! 42 days will go by in a flash and I need to be mentally and physically ready to toe the line!
The support of my teammates has been unbelievable this year. Sarkis drove out of his way to pick me up for the group run this weekend and Glen drove me home. Thank you guys!! Snazzy new team jackets made the group run super fun this weekend too! Thanks to Hilary for organizing the jacket order!
Thanks to many family and friends who have already donated to my run! For those who have not donated yet, there is still time!
Here is an update on my progress so far!
Total mileage to date: 257.3 miles!
Fundraising Total: $2417.20
Honor Roll of Donors! Thank you for donating to my run! It really means a lot to me and to cancer research.
This past weekend, I went to my first Dana Farber Marathon Challenge group run of 2013. It was great to see old teammates and meet new ones. Imagine being in a room surrounded by people who have been affected by cancer and want only one thing: a cure. It has a very powerful effect and I was reminded of how lucky I am to be healthy and be able to run.
Before the run, I signed Dana Farber posters for Ann, a former teammate’s mother, who is a breast cancer survivor and just got re-diagnosed with breast cancer and for Emma, a teammate’s family friend who is 13 years old and battling cancer. Throughout the season, we will be signing posters with words of encouragement to all the patient partners at the Jimmy Fund. Even though I do not know any of these people, I am inspired by their fight against cancer. It is not an easy one and I have seen it first hand at home during my dad’s fight.
I complain a lot (yes, I am admitting to it!) and I need to put things in perspective. Life is too short to be spent complaining about nonsense. Complain less, think about how to make situations better the next time, and be thankful for all that I have. I hope to work on this as I continue my training with the team.
Thanks to the amazing volunteers who manned the water stops for us and to my amazing teammates for making my run so enjoyable! I cannot wait to be back for another group run!
Friday was a day of inspiration and I wanted to share the inspiration with my fellow runners. It was also a day of fun photo ops so enjoy!!
The New Balance store had its grand opening in Copley so I stopped by to check it out.
Niketown had the winning wheelchair from the first wheelchair race at the Boston Marathon on display. Bob Hall was the first wheelchair champion at Boston in 1975 with a time of 2:58. Since then, Bob has devoted his life to wheelchair racing and re-designing the wheelchair. Bob’s best marathon time was 1:47.
This year is the 40th anniversary of women running the marathon. I was excited to meet Katherine Switzer, the first registered runner at the Boston Marathon in 1967 before women were allowed to participate in the race. She has inspired many women runners and a photo op resulted in Katherine selling me a copy of her book!
I ended the day with Saucony’s “An Evening of Running Inspiration with an All-Star Panel” at the Cyclorama. It was one of the best pre-race events that I have ever attended!! The panel included Luis Escobar (ultra runner), Mark Herzlich (2012 Super Bowl Champion), Karen Smyers (triathlete), and Bill Rodgers (4 time Boston and NYC Marathon Champion).
Saucony’s “Find Your Strong” campaign is about sharing what inspires you and keeps you going. The panel talked about their experiences and how they found their “strong”. Where do you get your “strong” from??
Luis Escobar talked about Micah True, who passed away last month, and what running meant to Micah. Micah always told others to “Run smooth and run free.” His passion for running and for the Tarahumara tribe in the Copper Canyons inspired many ultra runners.
Mark Herlizch talked about his battle with cancer and how he found his “strong” to come back to football. Mark was determined to beat cancer and return to the football field. He did not accept defeat and he had a great support system that helped get him through chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery.
Karen Smyers was awesome and the most inspiring of the night. During her career, she had multiple accidents ( eg. broken glass slicing into her hamstring, being hit by an 18 wheeler while on a bike ride) that could have ended her career, but she found her “strong” and went back to triathlons after every injury.
She talked about her 3 P’s: Perseverance, Passion, and Positive Attitude. You need to have those 3 P’s to do well in any sport and I think we will all need them on Monday!!
Karen also said that racing was 50% mental and 50% nutrition. The physical component is not important! I have always gone by 90% mental and 10% physical so maybe I should focus more on my nutrition…..
Besides surviving all those accidents, Karen is also a thyroid cancer survivor and mother of two. I met with her after the talk and shared my sister’s story with her. Karen was amazing!
Bill Rodgers is awesome. He is the goofiest elite runner I know and his statement “I am still a crazed runner!!” supports my description of him. Every time I hear him talk, he makes me smile and makes me excited for my next run.
I left the event feeling pumped for Marathon Monday and feeling inspired to run my best on Monday. Despite the hot weather warnings from the BAA, I do not plan to run any slower than planned. I will race smart, but I want to finish the race feeling that I gave it my all.
Tomorrow is another day of inspiration. I will be spectating the BAA 5K and then attending the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge Pasta Party, which always makes me cry. Here are photos of my “In Honor” Cards that will be displayed at the dinner. After the Saucony event, I will also be running in honor of Karen Smyers, Mark Herzlich, and Bill Rodgers, who are all cancer survivors.
Fundraising Update! Thank you to those who have already donated to my run! It means a lot to me!! I am very close to my goal of $5,000!! Help make it happen!
It’s the last week of training and I think my body knows that it is taper time because my legs do not want to run! They are feeling a bit heavier than usual and I am taking it as a sign to rest and to foam roll more.
My schedule is always very jam packed and I sacrifice sleep in order to do everything that I want to do. The week before the marathon, I usually try to lighten up my schedule so that I can sleep at a normal hour. So far, this is what my schedule looks like for the week…..
5:45AM – 6:45 AM: Back on My Feet Run
8 AM – 5PM: Work
5:30PM – whenever: Back on My Feet Team Leader Dinner
8 AM – 5PM: Work
6 PM – 7:30PM: City Sports Run Club
8 PM – whenever: Monthly OT Dinner
5:45AM – 6:45 AM: Back on My Feet Run
8 AM – 5PM: Work
5:30 PM – 6:30: Back on My Feet Monthly Meeting
8 AM – 5PM: Work
6:15 PM: Pre-Marathon Massage!
5:45AM – 6:45 AM: Back on My Feet Run
2 PM – whenever: Boston Marathon Expo!!
6:30 PM: Dinner with my mom and family!
Yes, this is considered “light” in my schedule! Not having to travel this week is also a plus! I was in New York City from Thursday to Saturday this past week and I am happy to be back in my own bed in Boston! I usually do not travel back to NYC in the months of March and April because of Boston Marathon training, but because of my job situation, I went back to NYC twice (once for a job fair and once for an interview)! All this travel on top of my busy schedule has caused neck spasms and sleep deprivation.
Sleep is much needed this week and I cannot wait for race day!
Tip on Sleep for Marathon Virgins: Try to get a good night’s sleep 2 days before the marathon because you will be too excited/nervous to sleep well the night before the marathon.
Tip on Sleep for Veteran Marathoners: Don’t book your schedule like I do the week before a marathon! =)
Fundraising Update! Thank you to those who have already donated to my run! It means a lot to me!! I am close to my goal of $5,000!! Help make it happen!
This weekend was the “last long run” weekend and the beginning of taper time! Due to safety concerns, the Dana Farber team ran an out and back route from Boston College to Natick. The other charity teams ran from Hopkinton to Boston College.
My goal for the run was to not leave my best run out on the course like I have done in the past. I ran mainly with 5 other DFMC’ers (Linn, Danielle, Sarkis, Steve, and Greg), but we were always surrounded by lots of other runners. Danielle is also one of my Back on my Feet volunteers and is running for Dana Farber in memory of her mother who passed away from cancer.
I am sad to know that others my age have also lost a parent. It is sad to know that a parent will miss out on milestones in their child’s life. I do not wish the loss of a parent on anyone.
My dad came to the United States in 1969 to sell kung fu shoes. He built an entire family business from kung fu shoes and slippers. My dad worked very hard and was able to provide everything for me and my siblings. My siblings and I did not spend time at summer camp or girl scouts. We all worked in the family store in our free time and it gave me a taste of my parents’ hard work.
My dad also co-founded the New York Chinese Business Association in New York City and worked with local businessmen to help support the growth of the Chinese community in New York. The association also helped support local charities and gave scholarships to local Chinese American students.
The Ellis Island Medals of Honor are presented to Americans of diverse origins for their outstanding contributions to their own ethnic groups and to American society.
My dad was a recipient of an Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 1994. The ceremony was on the night of my sister, Janet’s graduation from Boston University so after attending graduation in the morning, my mom and my dad rushed back to NYC to attend the award ceremony.
When my dad got sick, I was 13 and I did not fully understand what was going on or the gravity of the situation. I do have very vivid memories of my dad’s last year. Besides the trips to the hospital, I remember fondly our last trip to Disney World together. My dad worked at the China Pavilion in Epcot for a short period and maintained relationships with co-workers there so we always went back to visit. We always stayed at a hotel outside of Disney, but on that last trip, we stayed at Disney’s Wildnerness Lodge. We made our rounds to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Sea World. We even went to see Air Force One (starring Harrison Ford) in the movie theater. It was the first and only time that I went to the movies with my dad and my mom.
My dad saw me graduate from junior high school and saw me start freshman year at Stuyvesant High School. I wish he was able to see more.
Even though I did not have a very long relationship with my dad, I see a lot of him in me. Leadership and a compassion to help others is in my blood. I credit my dad for my dimples too. Some people have even said that I look more like my dad than my mom. I did look like a boy when I was younger so maybe there is some truth to that.
There isn’t a day that I don’t think about my dad and wish he were still here. Take the time to call your dad today and thank him for everything he’s done for you. Call him because he won’t be around forever.
Donate to my run to help me fight cancer so that others do not have to lose their parents.
Fundraising Update! Thank you to those who have already donated to my run! It means a lot to me!! I am close to my goal of $5,000!! Help make it happen!
It’s exactly 4 weeks until the Boston Marathon and I am getting excited!! We set out to run 18 miles on the course this past Saturday. We started at BSC Wellesley and ran to Boston College and back. I checked the weather prior to getting dressed for the run and was excited to see that it was going to be 60 degrees during our run! Despite the forecast, I still put on full tights, a long sleeve shirt, and a vest. I always tend to overdress and I am glad that I did because the weather that I had looked up was for NYC and not for Boston! NYC was going to be 60 degrees that day. Boston was only supposed to go up to 50s so I actually dressed appropriately for once! =)
I was happy to see my new friends on the team and happy to have someone to share 18 miles with me. Kerry, is a fundraising superstar and has raised over $13K for Dana Farber already! You can follow her training progress here: http://runningwithkerryd.blogspot.com/
Linn is a very consistent runner and a mother of 4! I am so impressed that she has the energy to train for a marathon! I hope that if I ever have kids, that I will still be able to continue marathoning.
Like last week, the miles went by very quickly and before we knew it, we were at the turn around point and headed back to BSC Wellesley. On the run, I thought about the next four weeks and started to plan for the craziness that is marathon weekend. I love big marathons, but they also make me a little crazy. The excitement of the weekend, the marathon expo, the energy from other runners, the energy from the spectators makes me the happiest girl in all of marathon town!
The Boston Marathon gear is out and I am not a huge fan of the colors this year. They brought the embroidery back, but I just wish they picked a better red. What do you think? (Yes, “planning” involves checking out the marathon gear!)
I think I would rather spend my money on the track jacket!
Also part of my “planning” is organizing pasta dinners with my different groups of friends & my family. Besides the Dana Farber team pasta party, I am also planning a dinner with my Back on my Feet volunteers, I will probably have a dinner with my family marathon weekend, and also a dinner with my classmates. Yes, it is a lot of dinners, but I have to eat anyway so I might as well eat with good company! =)
I will stop here so that I don’t traumatize you with the rest of my pre-marathon craziness. I probably will share more later on so stay tuned! =)
Next week is our last long run on the course and I cannot wait until taper time! Woo!
Fundraising Update! Thank you to those who have already donated to my run! It means a lot to me!! I have reached my minimum of $3,500 and am now working towards my goal of $5,000!! Woo!