Back In Action

I’ve been terrible. I know. And I’m sorry. Really, truly, I am. I haven’t blogged, I haven’t been getting my recommended 8 hours of sleep and I certainly have not been flossing. I’ve been busy. But that’s over now and I’m back!

Last week was my development psych midterm which consisted of the half-and-half approach that I loathe more than anything. This is the half-take-home-half-in-class nonsense. Just let me take the entire thing at once, please? Writing the take home portion and studying for the in-class portion occupied all of my free time last week. But with that out of the way I was free to enjoy my birthday weekend.

I won’t bore you with the details, I’ll just sum it up like this: There was food. There were drinks. There was an early morning car ride to New Hampshire, where I participated in both again. But then there was Sunday, and Sunday was time to run.

My favorite spot in the world to run is the Sagamore Canal. For those of you who don’t have the pleasure of being within driving distance to Cape Cod, let me tell you. This is a runners heaven on Earth. Central Park is a close second to me, but at the end of the day I’m a suburb girl. I like small towns, I like the ocean and I like peace and quiet. The canal is 7 miles long, one major hill at the beginning and end, and the most picturesque scenery one could hope for…

 

The Sagamore Canal

This is one of my favorite places. So peaceful (except for the height of tourist season).

I got there right about 3:30 in the afternoon as most of the late season tourists were heading out. 3:30 may as well be midnight for me, I’m usually a 6am runner. But, as I said; it was my birthday weekend. Exceptions were made, recoveries were had. I felt good for the first mile, and by 1.5 I felt great. I could feel the buildup of toxins sweating out of me and endorphins were taking over. That’s when I heard “BooM” and the rain started falling. Yup, October thunderstorm. In Massachusetts. At that very moment I realized the universe did not want me to run last weekend.

So Monday was my birthday and I took the day off of work. Hesitantly, I went to the gym. There are certain times in my life when I know as much as I despise it, I need the treadmill. These are generally times of illness (knowing I can stop at anytime and not be stranded 3 miles from my house), ungodly cold weather (as much as I love penguins, I am not one, and will run indoors if it is below zero outside) and when I need 100% predictable conditions to get back in the groove. I needed the latter. Desperately. 5 days off the road with a failed attempt, I needed old faithful.

I jumped on old #17 and turned it up to 6.1. Nothing crazy, just enough to get me started. Back when I was training for Chicago #17 and I got to know each other very well on 100 degree days. We sometimes spent close to two hours together just feeling each other out. But after my torn IT band I hadn’t been spending much time with her. Any time really. I felt bad. She felt abandoned. This was my time to make up for it.

4.5 miles later, we feel pretty good about our relationship again. It’s going to be a cold long winter lover, and with Boston less than six months away, I’m going to need you. I’m back, and it’s going to be a fun time.

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Favorite Things Friday

First and foremost…

In case you were wonder- yes i screamed when I saw it. But really quietly so no one at work would notice me sneaking away to celebrate in the hall.

I’m IN!! That’s right. Apparently if you write about how much you hate waiting to hear back, the marathon powers will be sure to send you an email the following afternoon alerting you of your fate. I’m SO excited to be running for Children’s Hospital Boston I really can’t even explain it  (awesome writing skills, right?). I have worked with the Childrens Hospital Trust through my job and am constantly in awe of the amazing work that they do to further pediatric medicine not only in Boston but around the world. They really are an amazing organization and I’m so excited to be running on their team. Ahhh!

Now that that’s out of the way, back to today. Friday.Favorite Things Friday to be exact. I don’t know if you’re familiar with her blog, but if you don’t read Ali On The Run you really should. She’s an amazing runner/writer/battler of Crohn’s Disease in NYC. Love her. Ali-if you see this- let’s be friends. But to get you up to speed on why this is relevant (other than her awesome-ness), she has this great feature called “Thankful Thursdays” that I’ve always loved. But alas, Thursdays are just a little too busy from me to commit to posting every week. Training runs in the morning, work, then class at night. Posts probably just aren’t gonna happen. Sorry.

While there is plenty in my life I’m thankful for, I also have a lot of favorite things. A lot. So, I’ll leave Ali to her thankfulness and share with you my favorite things on Fridays. Then you should share yours. I love favorites. Deal? Sweet.

Penguins. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you don’t think penguins are adorable then I just don’t trust you. Sorry. Look at these little guys! Love love love.

This is love. Right here.

Sneakers that are perfectly broken in. I hate breaking in new running sneakers. I think it’s one of the worst phases of training. However, getting a couple miles into a run and realizing that your sneakers have suddenly morphed from firm pieces of rubber to the perfectly supportive yet cushion-y goodness they were intended to be? Heaven.

Veuve Cliquot Yellow Label Champagne. Nothing says happiness like champagne. And nothing says “Big Deal” like good champagne. I’m all for the $7 bottle(s) of prosecco on the couch with my girlfriends, but you save the good stuff for life’s big moments. Graduation. Getting a job. Quitting a bad job. Marathons. Veuve is reserved for the big moments. It doesn’t mean I love you any less strawberry Andre, it just means this is a bigger deal than Friday night pizza (another favorite).

So, what are you Favorite Things this Friday?

Waiting

It’s one of my least favorite things to do. I’m a very go-go-go person. I get out of bed at 7am on Saturdays, I rarely get to sleep before 11:30 and if I’m left at home with no game plan that usually means I’ll go on a OCD cleaning spree of my room, car and closet space. So when I filled out my applications to run the Boston Marathon through their charity program 2 weeks ago I knew the waiting would be the worst part.

Now, before you harp in on me- yes- I’m running for charity because I did not qualify for the Boston Marathon. Believe it or not, not every avid runner can clock a sub-3:45 marathon. I tried. I trained. I ran Chicago 2010 in 86 degree heat. No BQ for me. But why should that stop me?

I have lived south of Boston my entire life. I remember the Boston Marathon being a huge deal when I was younger for two reasons.

1. It was always the Monday of April Vacation. What is April Vacation you may ask? I recently found out that this doesn’t happen everywhere in the country, but in Massachusetts public schools get two one-week vacations after Christmas break. The first is in February, and the second in April. As an adult, you also get this glorious Monday in April off should you work within the city of Boston. This my friends is Patriot’s Day. A holiday only celebrated in Massachusetts. Does anyone call it Patriots Day? No. It is Marathon Monday. Get it right. We take that Monday to celebrate the insanity and dedication of those willing to run 26.2 miles through the hills of the west-of-Boston suburbs all the way into the city.

2. It was the one day a year my mother would actually keep an eye on a sporting event and comment on it. Now, my mother has never been a runner. She’s never been an athlete. She was a cheerleader before cheerleading became a sport. So when I say she watched a sporting event, you need to realize what an event this was. But she would not watch it with the same awe and inspiration that the other parents would. She would watch it the way some people watch “When Animals Attack!“. “Why would anyone put themselves through that. I just don’t get it. Look at them, they don’t even look like they’re enjoying themselves…” Every year it was the same shock and horror out of mom. Those people who ran Boston had to have been doing it for some reason other than to horrify my mother. And I realized the only way I was going to find out why was to do it myself. Around the age of 13 I forgot about this ambition. Then at 24 it caught back up with me.

So after months of training and hard work I went to Chicago to see what the marathon was all about. Why Chicago when I live 20 minutes from the most legendary marathon course in the world? Chicago is flat. Boston is not. I’m not a huge fan of hills. Especially the idea of 26.2 miles of them when I had never run any road race before. Ever. Start big- with a marathon. Start small- no hills. It seemed like a fair compromise to me.

Now, I realized that getting a BQ on your first marathon is nearly- if not completely- impossible. I’m not Kara Gaucher. A sub 3-hour debut just wasn’t in the cards for me. A sub-4 hour seemed just as unlikely. And right I was. I went to Chicago. I finished. And in the end, that was all I needed to understand why all those people ran Boston.

With my love of the marathon affirmed, I knew I wanted to run Boston. However, I also knew that a BQ was in my distant future. I’m impatient. I want to run Boston while I’m young, injury free and able to appreciate the after-party. So now I wait. Please pick me Boston, please? If for no other reason than it would be nice to have mom see me on TV and explain to the newest generation that “marathoner’s are crazy, and your aunt is one of them.