enjoying every second of life and running


2011 Boston Marathon – 3:32:25

The marathon of all marathons – BOSTON!!!!

I was up at 3am to eat breakfast and get ready slowly to make sure I had everything. We headed out to walk to the busses at 5am. We stopped into a Dunkin’ Doughnuts that was open on Boylston. It felt a bit silly to be up and heading to the busses so early. The wave 2 recommended time for busses was 6:30-7:00am, but they would be arriving at 6am. We were warned to get there early!

Once we got to Tremont side of Boston Common we saw that the lines were already forming so it was good that I was there early. Rob and I kissed goodbye and he headed back to the hotel to do his long run. While in line I found out that others were saying that getting in line early for the busses was the best way to go. We were on the first set and by the time they finally left the lines were insanely long.

I made friends with Natalie on the bus ride. It was her first Boston too and she was more prepared than me. She had extra food, a garbage bag to sit on, and just extra everything. She was such a cool girl that we ended up chatting it up in athlete’s village the entire time and it really helped my nerves. Natalie shared her garbage bag to sit on and extra pants. Even though the weather would be great for running it wasn’t warm for sitting on the cold ground for a couple of hours. While we were hanging out I saw my neighbor Kim that was also running! She paid $30 for a chartered bus to get to Hopkinton and it sounded like a sweet deal!

It was a long wait, the longest I’ve ever had for a marathon. Chicago is usually 2 hours, from 5am – 7am. This was 5am – 10:20am and I don’t think I judged how much food to eat correctly.

We bag checked and walked up the to hear the Wave 1 start take off. We stripped layers off and lined up for the Wave 2. Natallie was corral 6 so we hugged and wished each other well. I hope that Natallie had a great race and enjoyed every mile! 🙂 I lined up in corral 1 and within 5 minutes we were off! It was just as everyone who has ran this race before has warned, it easy to get sucked into the first 6 miles of the downhill momentum. Not to mention we had perfect weather and a tailwind. I fought to not get sucked into faster pace. I spent a the first 6 miles checking my watch often to make sure I was taking it easy. I felt totally relaxed and just enjoyed the easy pace. I knew I had to make sure that the first half was easy so I could save my energy on what was ahead.

Around mile 11 or 12 my stomach started to hurt, I knew I was going to have to make a potty stop. The Boston Marathon has frequent and plenty of water and gatorade on the course. Porta-potties, not so much. Each water stop had either a set of two or four only and a line of runners waiting, not good. This meant if I was going to make a stop I was going to have to go for an opportunity when there was one either open or where I would be the next person in line. Even though my stomach started hurting, I refused to let it ruin my mood. On the course the crowds are great. So many people are handing out sliced oranges, candy and popcicles. It was so warm out and I figured my stomach was rocked already, so screw it, I snagged two green popcicles from some kids handing them out. What a nice running treat! I also had a small peppermint pattie, yum!

Before I knew it we were through the half and at girls of Wellsley. There signs were very cute. “Kiss me I’m a chemist”, “Kiss me I’m Canadian”, etc. I saw a few guys get some run by kisses others settled for high fives. That was another thing that I noticed about Boston. Giving 5 was very common, not just with the kids, but all ages. So if you run the edges of the course you better be ready to slap hands with a bunch of people the whole way, don’t hold out on the crowd if you are on the edges. I did a few hand slaps, but then stuck to the middle of the road mostly because the road seemed pretty crowned in areas.

By mile 15 I finally found a porta-potty that I would be the next person in line. I waited and anxiously moved my legs to try and not lock up. I got in and out of there as quickly as I could.

Things in general were a blur. I’m not great at noticing landmarks or buildings. I kept my eyes on the road to keep from tripping on any crack or manhole in the road. I did notice the city signs, but time did fly by quickly. At Newton the hill things still felt good. I felt okay although I knew my pace was slowing. By Heartbreak that was another story. I learned very quickly that I’m still not hill worthy. Every hill my legs began to burn more and more and my left foot felt swollen, which was a new feeling. I was feeling trashed. Luckily I ran into a fellow blogger SkinnyRunner! We chatted for awhile. She is an amazing runner and was so sweet in person. She made the comment that this was the first time she ate candy on a race course (cinnabears and licorice for her) and I said it was the same for me. She was looking strong and made the hills look like any other day for her. Meanwhile after the hills I faded. My legs felt toasted. All my muscles were burning, similar feeling of a first marathon. By mile 22 I hit the wall. I’ve never hit the wall in the marathon, not like that. I was out of gas and my muscles were screaming. The rest of the 4 miles was a mental race to move forward. I looked around and soaked in the crowds screaming and cheering, knowing this was almost over. I wanted to remember this feeling of all of the cheering. I burst into tears of joy and cried for at least a mile while running. The last miles it was so great to be back in Boston and experiencing the large crowds. I only wish that I wasn’t feeling that awful so I could race as fast as my heart wanted to.

While all of this was going on Rob was race commentator to all of our friends, keeping them up to date with texts and posts on facebook. He did an amazing job! He tried to find me in the race, but we just missed each other. He was on the corner of Boylston and Dalton.

I finished in 3:32:25. Not a personal best in time, but the most rewarding feeling!! I felt like I really worked through the last half. The course is such an experience all it’s own and lives up to the legend! I feel like I’ve become a part of something, just like becoming  a Marathoner, I’m now a Boston Marathoner. 🙂

2011 Boston Marathon Medal


I will wear white.


Sunday (3/13):

2.33 Miles Easy (Warm up for race, 21:37, 9:17 Pace)

5K Race (St. Pat’s, 20:29, 6:36 Pace, 2nd FO, 1st AG)

3.85 Miles Easy (Treadmill, Chicago Lakefront, -2% – +3.5% Incline, 33:59, 8:50 Pace)

I had my fingers crossed that my BQ time would be enough to get me into the first string of the new start wave system, but no such luck. Last year’s system was a Wave 1 and 2 start with the cut off at 3:34. This year BAA announced that they will use bib colors of Red, White and Blue with the following segmentations:

Red: 101 – 8,999

White: 9,000 – 17,999

Blue: 18,000+

My bib number is 9,439 putting me in the white bib category. So this first timer will be in white. 😉

It would have been cool to have had a qualifying time that would have put me in the red category. Oh well, regardless I’m excited to get to race! 😀


2010 Chicago Marathon – 3:24:14

Saturday we drove up to our hotel and just relaxed as much as possible, which meant reading magazines and books for us and bone chewing for Coco.

We went to bed super early, 8pm and were up at 3am. We took our time getting ready and made our way to the starting area by 5am. We parked in one of the garages and chilled for about 30 minutes before heading out. We saw a Caribou Coffee shop along the way and stopped in for a coffee and relaxed in the leather chairs. The coffee was way too strong for me, but at least we could relax and utilize the restrooms. As we sat there discussing the race in walks our friends Ryan and Melisa! Completely unplanned and totally awesome, they too just happened to by the coffee shop, walk in and see us! I considered this good luck. 🙂 Melisa was running the race and Ryan was on pit crew duty. We chatted it up and then it was off to our corrals. This was me and Rob’s first time in the seeded corrals and it was very nice!

Walking to the Corral entrance.

They had porta potties right there and the lines weren’t crazy long, much better than open corral that we had last year. Standing aroud means we can get our money’s worth on pictures being taken.

The last hour passed by quickly and then we were off!

How quickly I forget how the amount of people running and their paces picking up and quickly slowing down all around makes it difficult to settle in. Rob was off and quickly swallowed up into the crowd so that I couldn’t see him. I was psyched that the crowd being so thick that it forced me to hold back on pace. The miles started ticking off right according to plan.

Mile 1 – 7:52

Mile 2 – 7:41

Mile 3 – 7:35

Mile 4 – 7:34

Mile 5 – 7:32 (shot of EFS)

Note: A funny sign that just said “This is a sign” hehehe 🙂

Mile 6 – 7:32

Mile 7 – 7:33

Mile 8 – 7:26

Mile 9 – 7:40

Mile 10 – 7:33 (shot of EFS)

Mile 11 – 7:43 (stomach cramping)

Mile 12 – 7:37

Mile 13 – 7:47 (not able to deny that I will need to stop, ugh!)

Mile 14 – 8:56 (Pit stop, so ticked that I have to waste time to take a potty break)

Mile 15 – 7:30 (feel better though)

Mile 16 – 17 – 15:31 (missed a mile marker)

Mile 18 – 7:44 (cant’s seem to get my pace going any faster)

Note: I hear a voice shout “Go Baby!” and it definitely sounds like Rob. I don’t see him, but I wonder if it’s him and I hope it isn’t just because I want him to meet his goal. I notice at some point that the course color system changes from green to yellow status due to increased heat.

Mile 19 – 7:47 (hmm..can’t get my pace up, guess my training isn’t where it needs to be yet)

Mile 20 – 7:45 (shot of EFS and a few Sports Beans, most fell to the ground)

Mile 21 – 22 – 15:57 (missed another mile marker)

Mile 23 – 24 16:03 (missed another mile marker)

Note: A friend of ours, Leanna, who we haven’t seen in ages, crosses right in front of me carrying her son and I can’t believe I’m able to process that it’s her and actually call out her name and wave midst mile 23. 🙂 Also, we pass a bank that says it’s 89 out and man it felt hot.

Mile 25 – 8:17 (Are we done yet? This is miserable hot.)

Mile 26 and the .2 – 9:30 (7:41 Pace)

Somewhere along the course.

Almost there!

About to finish!

All done!! 😀

Rob and me! 😀



7:48 Pace

F 30-34: 86/3,071 (2.8%)

F: 343/16,013 (2.1%)

Overall: 2310/35,809 (6.5%)

So this wasn’t even much of a PR and not what I was hoping to do. But alas, I know what training I need to work on and it still is a new PR. I

think my fueling worked out better and at least my stomach wasn’t in a huge knot the whole race like last year. I’m not happy to have to had lost time taking a potty break, but I guess these things happen. I hope that I can keep getting my stomach used to this. Also I never felt light-headed or out of sorts, so I think the amount of fuel that I took for the race worked out well. I also felt strong. I couldn’t get moving in the pace I wanted, but at the same time, I never felt really beaten down. Hopefully that’s a good sign that I can keep training myself into a faster pace.

Upon finishing I slowly walked through the finishing area and I really notice how hot it is. I ask a lady if it was really 89 degrees out like the bank said and she replied, “yes, we were just told it’s 85”. Not ideal at all.

I shuffled around and ran into Chris and we talked about each of our experiences for a moment. Then I looked around for Rob and eventually found him. Turns out it was him that I heard at mile 18ish. He fell off pace after Mile 15. The good news is that his IT Band injury didn’t flare up on him, instead it was just that he missed some critical training from recovering and just couldn’t put it together today. His fuel did work for him this time, so that’s a huge accomplishment. Rob’s final time was 3:43:11. Even though it’s not the time he wanted, he is definitely one step closer with a fuel strategy that appears to work for him.

We made our way back to the hotel, got some food and a quick nap and then met up with Ryan and Melisa for some post race celebrating. We ended up walking around downtown and stopped at a couple pubs for drinks and food.

The second pub happened to have a statue of a bull and after a couple drinks well….

By the way, Rob is not an innocent bystander in this picture. I was too sore to get up there myself so he gave me a boost. 😉 Security came and we bolted before getting into trouble. 🙂


2010 IL Marathon – 3:25:05

We got up at 2:30 in the morning to get ready for the race. We had over an hour drive away to the race and we wanted to get there early to avoid road closures and parking issues. We were out the door by 3:45am and had no problems getting a parking spot. Then we had about two hours to hang out, but they really flew by with what felt like 100 bathroom visits (they had the arena open so we didn’t have to use the porta potties) and just going over the race in our minds.

The weather ended up cooperating. The rain held off and the sky was cloudy. There was a breeze but when the sun broke through the clouds during the race it felt so warm and humid. The temps were in the upper 60s.

We ran into folks from our town that are all serious runners. I took this as a good luck sign. 🙂 It was great to get to see them before we headed out.

The 5K race started at 7am, wheelchair start was around 7:30am and then half and full marathon after that. The half and full marathon course was together until around mile 12 then the course split.

I ended up wearing my Nike LunaRacer2s for this race, with my longest run being about 15-17 miles in them (I forget which run it was). And I’m happy to report I had no issues with my feet from them, whew! 🙂

It was quite humid so I made sure that when I drank water I poured any little bit remaining on myself. I was soaked the whole race, but it felt like I helped me keep from overheating. I took water at all stops except the first one. Later in the course I took two cups of water.  For fuel I used my watermelon flavored sports beans at Miles 5, 10, 15, and 22ish. I’m not sure that I’ll keep using sports beans for fuel. I may continue to look for other options and see if there is anything else that works for me as the packaging of the sports beans is bulky and they are hard to eat while running. So far I’ve kept with them because all other Gus and blocks have upset my stomach. Right now that’s been the trade-off. Feel free to post me any suggestions in the fuel department.

I had a great race and I was all smiles and just felt so happy the whole way. I was able to thank people along the way. The cheering helps keep me going. It’s funny how at a full marathon women spectators love seeing a woman runner out there going for it. I had so many women at all ages shouting “girl power” and they would get so excited, clapping, bouncing and pumping their fists. They all really pumped me up! I would tap my heart and say thank you. Other times I would give a thumbs up and say ‘you know it!’ Other times I would give a thumbs up or the hang 10 type gesture and say ‘all day baby, all day’.

There were times on the course we were running along the opposite direction of traffic and there were cars full of runners from the half marathon and 5ks leaving and they would stick their heads and arms out of their cars cheering us. I got a lot of ‘you go girl!’ I was beaming with pride and excitement!

I got a little choked up a couple of times saying ‘morning’ to some of the much older generation that came outside their homes to watch us run. One man around mile 22 said ‘You are looking good’ in a very proud sort of way and I shouted back ‘I feel GOOD. Life is good. Life is damn good.’ My smile was HUGE the entire race and people kept commenting now how happy I seemed. I just couldn’t get enough of the pure joy I felt running.  

Outside the football stadium a group of guys started shouting ‘Hey!!’ and a man in the group said ‘I paced off you (not sure if he meant for the half or marathon relay)!’ And I responded ‘Sweet! That’s my home! Going home!’ and I pointed to the football stadium. As I approached the turn into the stadium there was a large crowd of people cheering and I said ‘thank you’ over and over as I pushed with everything I had left.

The finish line is the 50 yard line of the Fighting Illini football stadium and just a picture perfect way to finish a race. 

I got a new PR!!! 3:25:05 and I was 7th female over all (out of 635) and it appears that I got 1st in my Age Group (out of 108)!!! The 3rd female overall was in my age group so her award will pull her out of the age group ranking. They are supposed to mail the awards. I can’t wait to see what it is!!! 😀

Since I didn’t have to worry about big city building messing with the GPS signal on my Garmin I left it on auto lap and didn’t bother with hitting the lap button at the mile markers. So these split times are approximate as with having to side step people and moving in and out of a water stop cause the mileage to be a touch higher and the Garmin mile split to go off before hitting the mile markers. But for what it’s worth, here is what it showed.

Mile 1 – 7:43

Mile 2 – 7:34

Mile 3 – 7:32

Mile 4 – 7:37

Mile 5 – 7:38

Mile 6 – 7:37

Mile 7 – 7:45

Mile 8 – 7:38

Mile 9 – 7:45

Mile 10 – 7:45

Mile 11 – 7:39

Mile 12 – 7:31

Mile 13 – 7:29

Mile 14 – 7:35

Mile 15 – 7:38

Mile 16 – 7:40

Mile 17 – 7:41

Mile 18 – 7:35

Mile 19 – 7:44

Mile 20 – 7:45

Mile 21 – 7:47

Mile 22 – 7:48

Mile 23 – 8:05

Mile 24 – 8:14

Mile 25 – 8:11

Mile 26 – 7:53

Last .2 – 7:26 Pace

Rob also got a PR!!! 3:37:27 He had some serious stomach issues starting from mile 9. I caught up to him just before mile 19. I’m so proud of him to keep pushing through it. Stomach problems are just awful and he still pulled out a new PR!

Us with our medals.

Me post race, changed clothes and have my finisher’s medal. Still grubby, and happy!



7:50 Pace

F: 7/638

F 30-34: 1/110

Overall: 105/1816