It was an honor to sit down with Crystal and Tom O’Keefe for an interview about all things Peloton as well as my time in Germany, running the Berlin Marathon, and…Bradley Rose. This was one of the most fun interviews I have ever done.
Check out the episode on their YouTube channel:
You can also listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and other listening apps – you can find it by searching The Clip Out in your favorite app!!
Let’s hear it for a new course PR…by a lot! I mean…we’re talking 1 hour 20 minutes and 5 seconds difference in finish times between my 2015 Boston Marathon time and my 2022 Boston Marathon time. In 2015…I was running on a torn hip labrum. In 2022…I was healthy and feeling ready to run the course. What a difference 7 years makes, right?
But let’s not jump to the end before we start at the beginning.
On Sunday morning, I woke up in time to eat a bagel for breakfast, grab some coffee (while in Boston, get your coffee from Tatte. Don’t question it…just do it!), and get to Boston Common for the McKirdy Trained shakeout run. I wasn’t actually running, and to make myself behave, I wore jeans. BUT…I did want to go and meet up with other McKirdy athletes because…I love meeting people.
The first person I met…was Gabby. And it went from there. I had quite a few people come up to me and say that they follow me on Instagram. Enough to make my friend Heather laugh at how “famous” I am. With just over 4K followers on IG…legit not even close to Insta-famous…but it’s the thought that counts. I was in for the group shot, the trivia (I didn’t win either giveaway…dang it), and then got to take photos with my coach and the group of athletes she had there. And after that…I waved to the groups that were doing a shakeout and went to go back to my hotel room to grab the hat I bought at the expo because it was very windy and cold outside and I had a Swan Boat ride to go on.
The Swan Boats were a good way to be out in Boston but not on my feet. It wasn’t a very long ride. And it was cold. But it was fun. Afterwards, we darted over to do some shopping (and others not me because food allergies!) at Faneuil Hall Marketplace. After that, I knew I needed to go back to the hotel room to put my feet up for the rest of the day. My friend Heather and I did that, while Cathy went out to see a cemetery she had wanted to go back to from when we visited in 2015.
And so, I watched television, was amused by Heather’s shadow puppets on the wall, hydrated, snacked….and finally ordered dinner for delivery from Poke by Love Art. I ordered the Garden Special, as it was vegan. From things I have learned since then, I should have gotten extra rice and fewer vegetables that day…and honestly, should have been eating like that leading into the race since the day I landed in Boston. But I wasn’t familiar with a proper carb load until much later. I now know for later. Soon after dinner and some foam rolling…it was time to rest because the next morning was RACE DAY!!
My alarm went off at 6 am because that gave me a little over 2 hours before I had to get on the bus to head to Hopkinton. I drank a Maurten 320 at the hotel room while I got ready for race day. My roommate finished up her signs and pinned my bib on. Since I was in the Wave 3, my buses weren’t going to depart until 8:15 am. I used the bathroom a lot because I hate port-a-potties…but knew I’d have to use one at Athlete’s Village anyway. I had tried, tirelessly, to find people to ride the bus with, but never could nail down plans as others were in different waves or had other transportation.
Cathy, Heather and I made the walk over to Boston Common, expecting the buses to be loading up like they were back in 2015…but they were actually on the OPPOSITE side of Boston Common…and we figured that out by following all the other runners. Because when in doubt…
I stood outside of the security checkpoint for a few minutes to snag some photos, but it was getting close to 8 am…so I knew I’d have to go through. I lifted my trash bag and my throwaway items to show my bib and I was allowed to pass through. A girl behind me had a hydration pack and realized it was on the prohibited items list just as she was about to go through. I don’t know what happened after that…I was in and moving toward the buses.
Except they were still loading up Wave 2 (the white bibs). So, instead, I found a little curb on a corner and took a seat to stay off my feet. And that’s when my friend, Stephanie, who I met WHILE running the Monumental Marathon that qualified us for this race, found me! In this sea of people…she spotted my famous pigtails.
So, I now had a friend to ride the bus for an hour with…which was nice. She had a friend that she met at the Air BnB (I think) where they were staying. We took over the back of the bus and were able to chat and chill and get our nerves down together. The bus ride seemed so much longer than I remembered from 2015…but, honestly, there isn’t a lot I remember about that year. When we got there, we started to scout out where we could get a non-busy port-a-potty…and we spotted one across the road, but the volunteers wouldn’t let us go over there to them…so into Athlete’s Village we went.
On the way to the entrance, I was spotted by another BibRave Pro, and she took a selfie with me before hurrying on back ahead. My little group got into the village and spotted a parking lot that was lined with port-a-potties that had relatively short lines. We got into one and would hold each other’s gear while we cycled through. It was a nice arrangement. Then we settled down on the pavement to fuel (I won’t do overnight oats again as they were getting to the point where they were out of the fridge for enough time…but I ate them and hoped for the best), put on sunscreen (I had done this at the hotel…I now know to reapply), and ditch our throwaway clothes (I realize we could have kept these on longer…but didn’t remember that…so…we ditched them earlier than we needed to, but it was fine).
Stephanie and I were in the same corral, so we headed that way and decided to take advantage of one more bathroom break before getting settled into the corrals. We then got to our corral and waited for the start. We enjoyed seeing the people who lived along the start area out there day drinking and cheering all the runners on. Our wave was finally set off and we walked with the corral to the start line…and then we were off.
I thought like I was starting pretty chill. The start is always crowded and often means that there is weaving and dodging so as not to get kicked or pushed. My first mile was actually slower than it felt, especially being mostly downhill (let’s face it….it’s all rolling). My pace did pick up as runners…kind of…stretched out. Honestly, it was crowded and stayed crowded, but I felt like I had a little more space to move. I was so happy to be back on the course. Even when I had to go uphill before hitting the Newton Hills. I tried not to focus too much on my watch. The Boston Marathon was going to be run for fun…as I had an actual goal race later in the year. So, every mile ticked off and I didn’t look at my watch too much, but realize now I should have because apparently I was on PR pace for the first half. HA!
Okay…I know that Boston is a net downhill and the Newton Hills are the famous hills (Heartbreak Hill for sure) are where you hear about the hills…but there are rolling hills throughout the first half of the race. I remember at one point, maybe around Mile 10, a woman in the crowd yelled, “WELCOME BACK TO THE APRIL BOSTON MARATHON!” It made me smile. I didn’t have the chance to do the fall Boston as I didn’t have a big buffer and didn’t sign up for the virtual, for many reasons, only to find out that virtual runners did get to go and run it in person if they had qualified…but whatever. It wasn’t meant to be in 2021 for me. That was a hard pill to swallow, I admit, and I avoided social media that day in October for my own mental health, but I was proud of my friends who did complete it. I digress…
I kept a pretty spicy (for me during a marathon) pace through the first half…but I could tell I was definitely running outside of my current ability at that time. I still felt good though…and I even felt a bit of a boost as I ran past my coach at Mile 14. She sent out a cheer in my direction and I flashed her a heart symbol with my hands (honestly, we started working together in early December…so she was a big help in getting me to this point). And on I went.
Honestly, I felt really good up until the first of the Newton Hills kicked in around Mile 17. My quads honestly felt so wrecked at this point from the downhills that the uphills were just not feeling good. And so…I opted to change over to a walk on the uphills and run on the downhills method. I was a little mad that I had to take the walks, but aside from sore quads…I felt strong and capable…so I kept going.
Heartbreak Hill was my slowest mile…because it was where I had to do the most walking. At the top there is a banner that tells the runners they conquered Heartbreak Hill. From here, we go back to a more downhill than up course…and I was okay with that, but my legs were sore…and now walk breaks were happening at the water stops along the way…if not at other points. I wasn’t mad though…I was proud of myself for continuing on.
I was moving forward, and the crowds were carrying me. I was trying to make sure I was drinking water at the water stops, and except for my quads screaming at me…I felt good. I knew that I had already achieved my goal…and that was to do better than I did in 2015. It was such a blessing to see the famous Citgo sign because now I knew I was close. Just over a mile to go.
The emotions really kicked in when I made the right onto Hereford. I made the climb up that hill, feeling a wave of emotions, because I knew that the finish line was around the corner (and down the road quite a way). I smiled. I cried. I turned left onto Boylston. My legs were so sore, but I pushed. I heard Cathy and Heather screaming at me from their spot on the sideline as I ran past them. I couldn’t take my eyes off that finish line.
Crossing that finish line was emotional. I did it. I ran through, stopping my watch after I was past the photographers. I started to tear up more. I had done something that I had dreamed about doing for 7 years. I was able to run the Boston Marathon on MY TERMS. No injury dictated how I ran this time. I got to run it the best I could on the day. And I was proud of that.
I collected my medal from a volunteer. I had wanted to find a certain one who was from the HardCORE group for Peloton, but I was so done at that point. I got wrapped in Mylar and started to walk through the finish line area to make my way through to get to the reunion area to meet my friends. Soon after taking a photo with my medal with one of the photographers…I stepped past and felt really light headed. I made my way over to one of the barriers and leaned against it.
BOOM. Immediately I had medical volunteers at my side asking me what was wrong. I told them I felt light headed and one put a wheelchair behind me and the other picked me up and legit settled me into it. Then I was wheeled over to the medical tent.
The people who took care of me at the medical tent were so nice. They transferred me from the wheelchair to a little cot and wrapped me up in Mylar to get me warm. They asked me my name and confirmed that I was 41 years old. One said, “Is that why you’re dressed like Rainbow Brite.” HAHA!! They did attempt to call my roommate on both her phone and mine, but since she didn’t recognize the number, she didn’t answer (D’OH!). They said they needed me to eat something and offered me broth (not vegetarian) and chips (not gluten free)…so they settled on a banana. I did slowly manage to eat it. And after that and some water, they did have me get up and walk around. I felt much better…so they put me back in the wheelchair and discharged me.
Finally, I got to go out to the reunion area where Heather and Cathy were eagerly waiting for me. I apologized and told them I had been in medical and we all hugged and started to walk back to the hotel. This meant we also forgot to take a bunch of photos of me with my medal, but just as we neared the hotel door, Heather remembered (bless her!). So we snapped a few photos of me on the sidewalks of downtown Boston.
After that, I went upstairs to shower and to put my legs up. We had a dinner reservation that night at Davio’s with Lydia, a childhood friend of mine and Heather’s. I wasn’t really ready to eat, but I knew I needed to, so per the usual, I just ate what I felt my stomach could handle at that time. I even split dessert. I was celebrating!!
Next time the goal is to finish without the need of the medical tent at the end.
So…my official finishing time at the 2022 Boston Marathon was 3:47:03. I am ECSTATIC! It took YEARS to get back here and won’t take any of that for granted. Not one bit. I was 14808/24834 finishers overall. I was the 4980/10572 woman to cross the finish line. And, I was 942/1637 in my age division. Finishing and smiling the entire way was my goal for this Boston Marathon redo…and I definitely succeeded in that. So much fun. And, major props to the medical volunteers who were wonderful and took very good care of me while I was in their care. I already can’t wait to do it again next year…which…I have could use my Monumental Marathon time for again so I’m already accepted. So…let’s go have some fun again next year, yes?
Race: CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon
Place: Indianapolis, IN
Date: November 6, 2021
Life is all about taking risks. If you never take a risk, you will never achieve your dreams.
Let’s skip to the good part:
This was my second fastest marathon in the 17 I have run (my PR was my first marathon back in 2013)
I negative split a marathon for the first time…EVER.
I threw the plan away halfway through the race…and this wasn’t a bad thing.
Whew. Deep breath. Now let’s talk about why all of the above is important, because coming into race day, I was starting to really have my doubts. Legit, I was having meltdowns over the possibility of everything going wrong on race day (hey…it can happen), and in turn letting myself and everyone else (honestly…no one would ever be disappointed in me) down in the process.
As many of you know, this race, initially, was supposed to be Marathon #3 in a span of 6 weeks. Berlin 2021 would kick it off…then Boston 2021…then Monumental. So, when I started back with my coach in February, we were working on getting me prepared to run decent marathons over such a short span of time. But, I opted to defer Berlin, not knowing where the world would be with COVID at that point, and I really wanted the FULL experience in Germany, up to and including Oktoberfest, which was canceled in 2021. Boston announced a reduced field size, but with it being the 125th running…registration was crazy (this included international, which eventually meant spots opened up because of travel restrictions, which were then given to those who qualified and registered for the Virtual Boston Marathon (I have a lot of opinions on that too…and if you know me, you’ve heard them, so I won’t voice it again). So, when I lost Boston because a buffer that would have been big enough on a normal year wasn’t good, I was heartbroken. When Boston offered spots to those who opted to do the virtual (I opted to train and do a marathon and qualify again for more than that reason), I was crushed. It was heartbreak all over again. And it took A LOT of wind out of my sails. Not going to lie.
But we move on.
I will say this…my training from February through November was crap. I pretty much hated every bit of it. Not all of it. But I felt like the things that concerned me or that I didn’t like weren’t being heard. For instance, I don’t like training by time. I would much rather be told how far to run, and not what amount of time to run for. I have never enjoyed training by time, and I still don’t. Pretty much every run had some aspect of speed in it. I love a run where I get to chill and not think about pushing paces. Whether it was fartleks, or strides, or hill sprints, or some ungodly amount of 800 m repeats…it was always something. And let’s talk about the summer heat. For years, I was fine in the heats. I did better in the heat. But the last three or so years, I wilt in the summer and summer runs legit take it all out of me. And speed work in the heat…that’s instant death. It was rare a summer speed session went the way it should have. And when you’re a perfectionist like me…well…that gets in your head.
Add to that, getting a text from your coach a few weeks out and being told that he isn’t confident, based on training, that my BQ goal was likely. Nothing sucks more than having the person who is supposed to be confident and instill confidence in you tell you that he’s not confident. It made me not confident. Thankfully, I have family and friends who told me otherwise on repeat because that totally messed me up. And guess what? When the cooler temperatures moved in, my paces got faster and felt easier. I ran a fast half marathon without even pushing my full potential just a few weeks prior to this race. That was a confidence booster there.
On the Thursday before the race, my coach called while I was driving home from work to go over race day expectations. He was out on his long run and had three athletes running Monumental, so hew as knocking them out while on the run. He once again brought up my training, and how it really never clicked until 3 weeks out from race day. So, he said, expectations for a 3:35 were possible, but felt my 3:30 suggestion was out of my reach. He said, honestly, that a 3:37-3:40 was most likely where I would come in. He said lining up with the 3:30 group might be disheartening if I went out hot and then fell off. He said to line up with the 3:35 group…and expect that I might fall off them, but to just do my best to hold on. And…to have some names of people in mind to dedicate the later miles to, when the race would surely get hard and start to hurt. Considering I dedicated every mile in my first marathon to people, this is a tactic I have used before.
Welcome to Friday. I took the day off work so I wouldn’t have to try to make it up to Indianapolis after work when traffic might be crazy and I would be stressed out. This allowed me to do my shakeout run (45 minutes…PLUS STRIDES) in the daylight, which gave me way more options on where to run. I chose a hilly route and took it easy…then finished off those strides feeling strong and fast. Awesome. Took a shower. Finished packing. Called in my order to my local sushi place to get my sushi to go and haul it up to Indianapolis (in a cooler, just FYI) with me so I could keep the “magic sushi” pre-race/long run tradition alive. We picked it up…stored it in the cooler, and made the drive up to Indianapolis…with no delays or problems.
Because I am a self-proclaimed princess (or maybe it’s the 4 tiaras that I own…ha!), my roommate and I were staying at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis. I know…fancy. And Marriott rewards points are always nice to have and use. This was convenient, as it wasn’t far from the start and finish line…nor was it far from the expo. The one thing that was of concern was my roommate had suddenly started snuffling on Wednesday. She claimed, like everyone does, that it was allergies, but finally admitted on Friday it was a head cold. Worst. Timing. Ever. We got up to the room, on the 18th floor, and then headed out to the expo. Despite being triple vaxxed (2 shots + booster) we masked up, and with Cathy dealing with a head cold…it was the smartest thing to do.
The expo was small, but this one usually is. Cathy got her packet first…super easy. I went and got mine. And then I picked up a packet for a friend of a friend of mine. No hassles or problems. Very easy and streamlined. Then I went to Runner’s Services to pick up my Monumental Ambassador shirt (did I mention I was a race ambassador? This was fun…but it weird to still be doing it in a pandemic year as I feel like there would have been a lot more going on had we been able to gather) as well as a hoodie that was mailed to me, but never actually got to me. Seems about right. Thanks for that USPS. I met up with fellow BibRave Pro, Juan…and then took a spin through the official merchandise. It’s good luck for me to buy SOMETHING from the race. I thought about a coffee mug, but they weren’t selling any. Boo. So, I started looking for some tops…which, sadly, by 3 pm on Friday, all that was left were the L-3XL. I was really disappointed. On a side table, I did spot a bright yellow quarter zip that had a few women’s smalls in it. So…that’s what I ended up with. It wasn’t the piece of merchandise I was interested in…but it’s something that will get worn. I wandered around the expo, hoping to run into a few friends…but eventually had to head back to the room and get off my feet.
On the way back to the hotel, I did run into Tammy & Dean, who I’ve run with in the past and are local runners and friends of mine. We chatted for awhile, I we informed them of the lack of actual merchandise for smaller people. We parted ways so they could get down to the expo and I got upstairs. My friend Kelsie called just as I got back and was down at the expo. We decided we would meet up before the race because we both wanted photos together. Afterwards, I showered and settled in for the night. Yes…with Food Network and Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives (duh…always!). Cathy ended up opting for an easy room service order of a quesadilla, instead of trying to find something downtown that she could carry out back to the hotel. The box she picked up had three quesadillas in it. No lie. I think she ate half of it and put the other half in the fridge to have after her 5K (she never got around to it, though). I busted out my sushi I brought with me from Dragon King’s Daughter. I didn’t have any chopsticks with me…so I turned it into finger food. You do what you gotta do. Thankfully, sushi isn’t a messy meal.
Soon after, I was brushing my teeth and getting everything ready for the morning. I set three different alarms. One for me. Another for me. And one for Cathy. Lights out was close to 9 pm. And, of course, I couldn’t sleep. I haven’t really had good sleep since I moved apartments in March 2020 (and we all know what else happened in March 2020). I try though. And while I did fall sleep, it was for 20 minute spurts and then I’d wake up…roll over a couple times…and try again. My first two alarms never actually went off because I was already awake to turn them off.
All week, I had been fussing over the weather. We were getting a cold snap, so once again race morning was going to be cold. If you remember, in 2019…it was around 29 degrees when I crossed the finish line. This year, it was going to be 30 degrees at the start…no wind. So, after going back and forth on it…I opted to wear shorts (who am I?). Getting ready in the morning is easy. First I ate my over night oats. Then I put on my race outfit. Then sunscreen (always sunscreen!). My new friend, Sue, who I had picked up the packet for, was on her way to my hotel to get her stuff, so I headed downstairs to meet her. When I handed it off, she mentioned that it didn’t feel too bad out there. I asked her if the shorts were appropriate. She said yes. We wished each other luck and I went back up to my room. I now had to put my hair extensions in and put the signature pigtails in my hair. Thankfully, everything cooperated. I brought some throw-away clothes, which I slipped into and filled up my hydration pack with Nuun, and grabbed my Maurten gels and my Maurten 320 to drink about 30 minutes prior to the race. Cathy handed me a Mylar to wrap around myself while waiting for the start…and we were out the door and on our way to the start line.
The plan was to meet up with EVERYONE at a specific statue at the Indiana Statehouse. I managed to find a few members of my She Runs This Town (SRTT) chapter, but not everyone was there yet for the photo. I went to go fuel…and immediately had a meltdown over the race, which Cathy had to deal with. She spotted my pacer and told me to go and talk to him. He was easy to spot. REALLY tall. Wearing a throw away tie dye shirt. I called him Tie Dye Guy (any other Only Murders In The Building watchers?). His actual name was Riley. The corrals got really crowded really fast. I met Jason, another pacer. And Gerald, from Chicago. We chatted as other people started to cluster around the pace group. I ducked away just briefly to ditch the throw away clothes and returned…ready to run.
I never did get to meet up with Kelsie or Taushah. And I missed the photo op with my SRTT ladies…but the race was getting ready to go. The national anthem was played. And then Wave A was sent off. I was in Wave B, so we were moved up and had to wait until we were sent off. That was about 5 minutes later.
The first mile of this race was CROWDED. I mean…crowded. The pacers were having a hard time getting up to pace and the rest of us were trying to duck and dodge people in order to keep up with our pacers. Despite all of that…the first mile was WAY behind pace…clocking in at 8:30 (a 3:35 means an 8:11 mile average). They encouraged us by saying that we would slowly chip away at that in the next couple miles and get back on track. Mile 2 came around at 8:08 pace. As we entered Monumental Circe, there was a crowd there and a lot more room to move (finally). So Riley and Jason took us a bit faster but got us back on pace by the time we clipped over to Mile 3 with a 7:33 pace. WAY faster than we should be, but back on track.
Miles 4-7 were really easy. I stayed with the pacers or just behind them for most of it. And I found myself moving slightly ahead around Mile 6. I was talking with Gerald. Easy conversation. I could easily have a conversation. But we noticed the pace group was falling back behind us and both decided we should back off pace and keep them closer. Here, Riley busted out one of his cheers, which really made it fun. Just before Mile 8 is the split off where the half marathon runners go left and those running the full go straight. I fueled at this point with the rest of my Maurten 320 and again found myself up ahead of the pace group. I eased back again, even thought I felt good. I was Mile 8…too early, I told myself. I still stayed just ahead of them though…because I know sometimes pace groups can get crowded (I have been tripped more than once running with a pace group). I heard someone chatting behind me about living in Clarksville, Indiana. And I turned my head and said, “I’m in New Albany!” He mentioned probably seeing him on the Greenway if I run there. I’ll have to see if our paths cross next time I am down that way. I remained really steady with my pace from Miles 9-13, and was distracted between Miles 10-11 as I searched to see if my friends George and Susan were out as they live on the road those miles fall on. It was really cold…I didn’t spot them. I doubt they were out, but I always check…just in case.
We ran through the halfway point, and Riley busted out his second cheer to get us motivated and keep it fun. I still felt really good. I moved ahead again. In my head, I was hearing my coach telling me to hang with the pacers through at least Mile 20. I thought about how much further I still had to go. But I also knew I felt GOOD! So, I said…”FUCK IT!” And I went.
This is where I meet my new friend Stephanie. She moved up with me and asked if I was going for a BQ. I told her I was and asked if she was as well. She said she was and she said I looked really solid with my pace. So for awhile we were right there with each other. The miles clicked off and I never felt tired. I fueled at 12 and again at 16. I made sure I was hydrating at every mile, and in between if I felt I needed it. Mile 18 clicked off and then we hit my favorite part…the downhill at Mile 19. Love it. Downhill is my favorite.
Mile 20 is where most people start hitting the wall, but I was starting to pick the pace back up. I started passing people who were slowing down or starting to walk. (No shame in the walk game, FYI…I managed a 3:49:46 at the Dopey Challenge in the marathon (which is after running a 5K, 10K, and Half in the 3 days prior to the marathon) taking walk breaks). I actually felt like I could run this pace all day. Stephanie and I ended up running those last few miles together. It was nice to have company stride for stride. She was kicking ass. In 2019, the last three miles had a terrible headwind. This year…none of that. The sun was out. It was over 40 degrees (which meant I was now hot, but didn’t want to slow down to mess with taking off arm warmers). At Mile 23, i said, “We’re going to do it!” to Stephanie. She said, “Fuck yeah, we are!” I knew I liked her. I took my last Maurten Gel at Mile 24. I know only 2 miles remain at that point, but why risk having a lull in energy? Stephanie moved just slightly ahead after Mile 25 and inside my head I was cheering her on because it was motivating me. My friend Dean was somewhere around that last mile and he gave me a motivational cheer as I ran past. I smiled and waved. I still felt good. That final turn into the finish line was amazing. So many spectators cheering. I was looking for Cathy in the crowd, but didn’t see her as I headed into the finish line. I crossed…throwing my hands up into the air and stopped my watch AFTER I moved past the photographers. She was on the other side of the finish…holding a sign.
Stephanie turned around and we gave each other a hug and congratulated each other. We’re now friends on social media. I then went over to Cathy, and finally uncovered my watch, seeing 3:33 staring back at me. And I broke down in tears of joy. I not only hit my goal…I smashed it. She told me to go get my medal and goodies and she would meet me at the end of the chute. I spotted Riley after that and he said, “Did you get your BQ?” I said I had and he high fived me. So did Jason. I got wrapped in Mylar and received my medal. A volunteer opened my water bottle for me and I took a sip while I waited to take a photo with my medal. Gerald found me then and we talked. He also got a BQ. And the guy from Clarksville…he was behind me in the line and we chatted some more too.
Got my photo. Got my winter hat. Grabbed a bag of chips and a cookie. One runner dropped his cookie near the table and thought about bending over to get it. He started to do that, but then stopped. I said, “It lives there now…just grab another!” He did exactly that.
I met up with Cathy and we moved to the lawn so I could lay down and put my feet up. We were waiting on our friend Greg to arrive. Cathy went to grab my Indython charm and scarf and to try to get my medal engraved. The line was crazy long so I said it wasn’t that important. Greg did arrive as I was finishing up a phone call to my mom (I always talk to my mom when I finish a race). We headed back to the hotel so I could get warm. I laid on the floor with my feet up for a little longer before heading into the bathroom to shower and change.
While I wasn’t very hungry, I also know that post-race nutrition is important. So, we walked down to Harry & Izzy’s, but the patio seating wasn’t open and there was a wait for seating. Instead, we walked to where Greg was parked and headed into Carmel to try to get seating at Woody’s Library Restaurant. There was a small wait, and we decided to walk up to the gluten-free bakery, No Label at the Table, for some goodies. The restaurant called while we were in there so Greg and a I hurried back to get the table. I noticed then that I wasn’t as sore as I usually am after a marathon. Not mad at that.
My dinner was Greek Tacos with Kettle Chips (the tots and fries and stuff used to be GF here, but it’s been 2 years since I’ve eaten there and that is no longer the case). After that, Greg drove us back to the hotel and dropped us off. Cathy and I took a walk through the park before calling it a day and heading in for the night.
It was a good day. It was a very good day.
The official results of the CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon are that I finished in 3:33:46, which now makes this my second fastest marathon to date of the 17 I have now fun. This honor had since gone to the 2019 Monumental Marathon, but I beat that time by 2 minutes. Also, this was the first time I ever negative split a marathon. Cathy waid she was watching my splits and going, “She’s speeding up!” I was 1315/3948 finishers overall. I was the 333/1598 female finishers. And I was 54/287 in my age division. Considering how nothing felt like it was clicking or going well in all of my training leading up to the day…this result couldn’t have been more welcome. In the end…trust yourself…trust your abilities. And don’t ever let anyone tell you that you aren’t ready or that you can’t do it. Prove them wrong. Chase your dreams!
Disclaimer: I received a selection of Extreme Fit compression socks to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!
There is nothing that I love more than a good compression sock or sleeve. I have been running in compression since 2012, when I began seriously training for my first marathon. And I have tried out a LOT of brands.
I put in a request for the Unicorn Collection Compression Set, but it turns out they were out of that one, at the time, in my size. What happened, however, was that I was sent a bag full of different varieties (re: EVERY COLOR) of their Ultra V-Striped Compression Socks and their Run + Reflective Varieties as well. In addition…they included a face mask as well, which was a nice (and in these times, necessary) addition.
I was blown away. While these definitely were a bit more subdued for my colorful and bright running outfits, I was excited to give them all a try. And…don’t put it past me to mix and match. I love a good mashup when all is said and done. And trust me…I legit tested out every sock they sent me.
The Extreme Fit Compression Socks are a nice fit, meaning I actually could tell there was some level of helpful compression happening. I haven’t been running long distances lately, but on my 3-6 mile jaunts, they have definitely kept my legs feeling fresh…even as the rest of me wilted in the summer heat.
But that’s what compression socks are supposed to do. And with all the feet and leg issues that some runners deal with, these are designed to fight fatigue with circulation support, help with recovery after exercise, give extra support to the ankles (these do hug that area really well), have heel arch support for the rest of the foot, give relief from pain due to plantar fasciitis and foot injuries, keep feet dry, help reduce injury to the feet…so all the benefits that compression socks should bring to the table.
I especially loved receiving and wearing the Run + Reflective Compression Socks as they add a bit of safety should you, like me, find yourself often running before the sun rises (or maybe after the sun goes down…you do you!). Pairing them with my reflective shorts and my NoxGear vest made me feel seen, even while out in the dark.
I could go on and on about how much I enjoyed every run in these, but I encourage you to go and check them out for yourself.
Check out the Extreme Fit website for many varieties of socks, and save 20 percent with code BRP20 when you spend $50 or more.
You better believe I’m going to get my hands on those Unicorn Socks…
Check out what other BibRave Pro’s are saying about Extreme Fit Compression Socks:
Well, during all this quarantine time, I have finally gotten around to writing about the final race that I ran before everything shut down. It was the first leg of the Louisville Triple Crown of Running, which had been saved from extinction and re-branded with a new company overseeing it. The City Run 10K and the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K/5K would both be moved to virtual races during the pandemic.
Covid-19 really messed up this year’s race plans.
If you read my blog on the 2020 Publix Atlanta Half Marathon, you know that I was working my way back from another hip issue (it’s always my hips). I had physical therapy the day before, but was cleared to run this however I wanted to…but carefully. I knew my friend, Melissa, was signed up to run with one (no husband or baby in tow)…so I asked if she wanted someone to run with that morning. I would go at her pace…and hopefully help to motivate her all the way to the finish line. I love when I get to run with my friends, and maybe even help them reach their goals.
Cathy and I woke up early that morning to eat breakfast and dress warmly (it was C-O-L-D) for the run. I, once again, decided to deck out in my BibRave gear (this time the 1/4 zip top…because again…COLD) and found some fun leggings to wear that morning that were also warm. I have a few with lining in it…so…I went with one of those.
We headed out and went to pick up Melissa to drive into Louisville, find a parking spot, and get to the start line. We managed to do all of that without too much hassle. I was wearing my MRTT/SRTT jacket before the race and a member of the group came up and said she’d just walk with us as she was a part of the group too and was trying to get to where the picture was being taken. We told her we would probably not get to the photo op in time…so instead we just took a photo together. She went to go find her friends and Melissa and I got called over by our friends, Chris and Christy. YAY!
Christy asked how fast I intended to run this course, and I told her that I was racing with Melissa that morning. We hopped into a corral…shed our extra clothing…listened to the national anthem…and waited to be sent off. And when we were…I fell right in step with Melissa.
She was on a mission that first mile. We blazed up East Market, but the bitter air really hit us when we rounded the corner onto S Brook Street. It was here my neighbor, friend, and sometimes training buddy, Kristi Roach, saw me in the crowd and said HI. I had a short conversation with her and turned around to find Melissa behind me, having a hard time breathing as the sudden rush of cold air to her lungs kicked off some asthma. YIKES! We eased it back to see if she could get her lungs to respond and get acclimated. We still managed a decent first mile…even with the slow down to wave and thank Course Marshal Stephanie heading into the first mile marker.
We hit it, and we took a short walk break to let her catch her breath and get those lungs expanding. It wasn’t a long walk, and when she was ready, we picked it back up and started in on our second mile. I could already tell the walk break did her good, because she was looking so much stronger and better afterwards. I let her know that, and apparently a homeless man on the side of the road told her I was lying. Dude! Whatever!! Honestly, she pushed back and came back and was doing awesome. I spotted the water stop just ahead of Mile 2 and asked if she wanted water. She nodded and I ran up ahead to snag a cup for each of us and passed it off to her. We took a short water stop walk, and when we were done, we were back on.
We hit the second mile and now we were into the home stretch. One more mile to go. This was a new course for this race, so I had no idea where we were going…I was just following everyone else. As we always do, we took our final walk break at the mile marker just to attempt to get lungs working in Louisville’s polluted city air. When Melissa was ready…we were back on.
Unfortunately, it was here that a course marshal said, “That’s it…walk it in.” Melissa said, “Nope…just on a walk break!” And the course marshal said, “OH…I’m an interval runner too.” MEH! How about not making any comments on whether people are running or walking, and simply just encouraging them to get to that finish line.
We made the turn onto the final stretch. Here I heard music behind me and turned to see Melissa Joyce!! So I went and said “HI” and told her she looked great. I rejoined my running best friend, Melissa, and we hit that final stretch hard. We hit Mile 3 and she glanced at her watch and got a little upset that she didn’t hit a goal she had set, but she put it behind her and we took it into the finish line together. I think she beat me by a second.
We made our way through the finisher’s area, getting our medal and our free Chick-Fil-A sandwiches, which we gave to Cathy for breakfast. They were out of coffee, so we didn’t get that for ourselves…but we tried.
I did get to meet up with Stephanie and another BibRave Pro who was visiting (and not racing) and got to chat for a little while. But it was still cold, and Melissa needed to get home to her family…so we eventually made our way back to the car, which we parked at Slugger Field. We took some photos together before calling it a day and taking her home.
This was a fun and flat course, so I know a lot of people got PRs. Hopefully, racing will restart at some point and maybe next year, both Melissa and I can hit our own PRs. We’ll just need the weather and our bodies to cooperate a little more. But, I couldn’t have imagined running this race any differently, even if it ended up being my last in-person event before the shutdown. Being with my friend and seeing her from start to finish was the perfect way to do this race. Sometimes, we run for ourselves. Sometimes we run for others. Sometimes we run with others. I was proud and happy to have been able to run with one with Melissa.
So, my official results of the Chick-Fil-A 5K Fitness Classic are that I finished in I finished in 39:51. I was 2868/3846 finishers overall. I was the 1458/2196 female finishers. And I was 238/338 in my age division. I can’t wait to take on this flat and fast course again next year.
Disclaimer: I received a pair of Knockaround Sunglasses to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!
If you know me well, you know that I am very particular about my sunglasses. I have a head that, sadly, doesn’t play nice with hats and eye wear all the time. So, I am not one to dive in and blindly try something that I haven’t had a chance to put on my face to see if I like it or not.
But…this time…I did.
I was given the opportunity to try out a pair of Knockaround Fast Lane Sunglasses. And, in doing so, I was taking a chance that I would look like a complete dweeb in the process. But, hey, these are crazy times…might as well live a little, right? I made a point of selecting the brightest, most colorful pair I could find in the Fast Lane selection: Neon Summer.
These came into my possession JUST before the world shut down. Literally. I opened up the tiniest shipping box I had ever received and inside were these beautiful, bright glasses, staring right back at me. Literally. As the lenses are mirrored. Not just mirrored, but mirrored in this gorgeous aqua color. I was a fan of the bright neon pink frames with the loud and proud yellow arms that screamed “CHILD OF THE 80’s” like you’ve never imagined.
As someone who is a child of the 80’s for real (like…born in 1980), this made me beyond happy. And…I immediately had to put them on. I was already getting that nervous feeling…because I didn’t want to fall in love with a product that didn’t look good with my face shape.
BUT…they looked great!! The felt great. I wore them home that day from the office. And then the following day…I was stoked to take them out on a run to see how they held up to my road running adventures.
Here’s what I love about Knockaround Fast Lane Sunglasses…
They are lightweight. Honestly, you can barely tell they’re on when you’re out running or walking or even when you have them resting on top of your head while dashing into the office for a moment or whatever the case may be.
They won’t give you a headache. These glasses will fit your head without squeezing the daylights out of it. If you’re in them for 10 minutes or all day, they have yet to a headache. I love it when things fit properly!
The lenses aren’t coated in the cheap stuff that flakes off. I have had people invest in a different brand of sunglasses for running in, only to have the lens coating start to chip away. I’ve been pretty rough and tumble with these, and they still look like the did the day I pulled them out of the box.
They won’t fog up. How many of you have started out on a run, early enough to not need the sunglasses, but then moved them down only to have the lenses foggy. It’s not easy to run when you can’t see where you are going. I have gone out on cold mornings, hot mornings, rainy mornings, and never have had to pause my run to wipe away foggy lenses.
As you can tell, I went into this wanting to hate the sunglasses…but quite the opposite happened. Instead…I found a brand of sunglasses that I love to wear. In fast, I have already ordered two more pairs. One was in their big (Stay) Home (You’re Not) Alone 40% of sale…which also included the option of using the BibRave Discount as well. So, I bought a pair with the colors of my local professional soccer team.
And then I customized another pair…and those are going to be on their way to me in no time. The moral of the story is…big things come in little packages. If you’ve been searching for a good pair of sunglasses for your runs, walks, hikes, or maybe a future trip somewhere…you can’t go wrong with Knockarounds.
And if the Fast Lane style doesn’t speak to you, they have numerous other shapes and designs…and an option to design your own!! WHAT?! Yep…customize your own pair of sunnies!! Now we’re cooking with gas!
Head on over to Knockaround‘s Web site and go find your perfect pair…or design your own. But…I’m a forever fan of living my sunniest days…in the Fast Lane.
Want to hear what other people are saying about the Fast Lane’s? Let a few other BRP’s shed some (sun)light on the subject:
If you know me…you know that I don’t leave for a run, whether it’s one mile or 26.2 miles, without wearing compression sleeves or socks. I’ve been doing it since 2012 and it’s been a part of my running uniform ever since.
I didn’t think there was a brand out there I haven’t tried. And then…Nabee Compression Socks were sent my way. Fun fact for these days of quarantine, social distancing, and honoring our health care workers…Nabee Compression Socks were invented by a nurse. Don’t immediately think that these socks are only for nurses, however. These socks are also perfect for athletes, frequent fliers, as well as servers, teachers, speakers, performers, or anyone else who spends a good amount of time on their feet. They offer two different levels of compression too, starting with 15-20 mmhg up to 20-30 mmhg.
I had a lot of different fun colors and designs to choose from, but I really wanted to represent my Irish routes. I got the Shamrock socks (20-30 mmhg compression). I LOVE them…and I wear them even though St. Patrick’s Day is long past. Shamrocks are good year round, and let’s face it…we could all use a little bit of luck these days.
My first impression after taking them out of the packaging was just how SOFT these socks are. Usually, compression sleeves and socks tend to have this feel of stiffness to them. But these made me really excited about getting them on my feet and legs. These socks also have a seamless toe and added arch support for running! They feel good. But I definitely wanted to put them to the test.
So I took them out for long runs. I took them out for short runs. I wore them for recovery runs. I wore them for speed work. And I never stopped loving the way these socks felt and how I felt wearing them. And yes…I even wore them for recovery! I had many nurses comment about them when I would post on my social media, so I hope they took advantage of the one time discount that they gave to BibRave.
I know I did!! Yep…I loved these socks so much I went ahead and ordered another pair!! I went with the Celebration Socks this time, which had fun stripes of white, electric blue and hot pink. They were SO me! I didn’t have to order another pair, but I am SOLD on these. They are not just fun and fashionable, but they are effective and…above all else…comfortable!
If you have tried compression before or been on the fence about trying compression, I would definitely send you to Nabee Socks. Honestly, the company is great…and the product they put out there is now one of my favorite parts of my running gear!
Want to give Nabee Compression Socks a try? Use “BIBRAVE20” and get 20% off your order. This code is good for ONE TIME ONLY!! Also, Nabee Compression Socks is currently donating 2 pairs of their socks to frontline healthcare workers for every pair they sell. There’s a little bit of extra motivation!
See what other BibRave Pro’s are saying about Nabee Compression Socks:
Disclaimer: I received a Body Helix Thigh Compression Sleeve to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!
It’s hard to change when something feels off on your body. Do you run through it? Do you take time off? As some of you know, I had something flair up in my hip/leg/quad/hamstring back in January. After a mile or so, it normally settled down and I could run confidently without feeling I was making something worse. That is…until one day I knew something was defintely wrong, when I felt I was fighting for every step and I was limping later in the afternoon after a 10 mile run.
Talk about good timing for my Body Helix Thigh Compression Sleeve to arrive. I had a few options to choose from to test out, but I already wear my compression socks and sleeves (so I didn’t want calf sleeves). I don’t have knee issues, so I skipped the knee option. And I had no reason to get anything for my arms (so that elbow sleeve wasn’t necessary). That left the thigh sleeve. And I had never seen a thigh sleeve option before. And with my hamstrings and quads giving me some issues…it was the logical choice.
A few days later, it arrived and I couldn’t wait to test it out.
Body Helix was founded by world-ranked tennis player, Fred Robinson, and physician, Thomas E. Parker, MD. The compression wraps were developed based on both the science of movement and the research on injury management. Each sleeve is made with a material that would stretch, rebound, and stay in place. And, of course, that would be comfortable and effective to wear during exercise.
Body Helix’s tagline is “Move Through It.” Well, thanks to the thigh compression sleeve they sent me…I was able to do just that.
The package arrived and not only included my compression sleeve (which I got in a stunning plum color), but it also had a card with a note from the CEO and Chairman on one side…and WASHING INSTRUCTIONS on the other side. FINALLY! Compression that comes with instructions on how to wash it! BONUS! (For the record, it goes in the washing machine and dryer…how awesome is that?). It also had a page of all their compression options included.
And after getting cleared to run by my physical therapist, I went out for my first run in over three weeks after the leg pain wasn’t something that I felt would be okay for me to run through. And guess what? It felt great. The sleeve easily slid up and over my leg, settling perfectly on my thigh. It was a fantastic fit too. Not too tight…but not going to slide down my leg either. Which was my biggest concern going into this. Nothing would suck more than heading out to run and having your compression just continue to slide down and making me have to stop and pull it back up. It stayed put. It stayed tight. It gave me support and I was able to run, and not hobble or limp, through my runs. And, it fits under your running shorts/tights without looking, feeling, or actually being bulky. Long runs, short runs, and even some speed work…my Body Helix Compression Sleeve worked like a charm. It arrived at just the right time. Now I don’t know what I would have done without it. And going forward, I know I’ll be using it as I work on rehabbing this leg and getting back to being 100%.
Race: CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon
Place: Indianapolis, IN
Date: November 9, 2019
“Had to have high, high hopes for a living
Shooting for the stars when I couldn’t make a killing
Didn’t have a dime but I always had a vision
Always had high, high hopes
Had to have high, high hopes for a living
Didn’t know how but I always had a feeling
I was gonna be that one in a million
Always had high, high hopes”
~ Panic at the Disco
But I am getting ahead of myself at the moment. Because like any and every story…you have to start at the beginning. And the beginning, for me, started on Friday.
Friday was a complete rest day for me. Normally I do shake-out runs and the like, but I had a continuous training cycle through taper, and had done my usual (albeit much lower mileage) runs on Sunday-Thursday, with 2 of these including some sort of speed workout. So, I slept in, per usual. I took a shower. I didn’t go to work…so I had time to stretch, finish packing, and enjoy a leisurely breakfast at home. For the record, it was Trader Joes Gluten Free Pumpkin Bagels and Kite Hill Vegan Cream Cheese. I had my first melt down. I ran a couple of errands with my roommate. Made a quick lunch. Had another meltdown. She called in my sushi order at Dragon King’s Daughter (if you’ve been following my weekly training logs, you know about my “magic sushi”…so you better believe an order was traveling in a cooler up to Indianapolis with me), loaded the car, took out the garbage, went to pick up sushi order…and hit the road.
The drive up to Indianapolis was easy and uneventful. Just the way we like it. My coach, Daniel, called me on the drive and we talked. He always knows what to say to calm me down. He asked me how I felt…I told him I was nervous. He asked what I was nervous about. And I told him…the weather. To date, this was shaping up to be the coldest marathon I will have run. Beating out Twin Cities in Minneapolis, MN…and Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 2018 in Orlando, FL (which held the record…yes, Florida was colder than Minnesota). The weather was showing a 28° start, with a nice wind chill making it feel more like 21°. Good times. We discussed how my training had done, despite not really having weather like what I would be running in for the marathon. I told him this would change my wardrobe and we went over what I could/should wear and ways to keep my core temperature up before the race. I told him I already had cried twice that day…and he asked what type of crying it was…and I told him it was the “I want this so bad” type of cry. He told me how to channel that and my unease about the weather into mentally having a successful race. Honestly, I found the BEST coach. We hung up…and as we neared Indy…the local station we had found started playing every hype song it could throw at me. I cried…again.
We made it to the hotel, staying once again at the Omni Severin Hotel in downtown, and only a short walk to the start and finish lines. We got checked in. I put the sushi in the fridge, along with my overnight oats I made at home to have race morning (just as I did before EVERY long run this cycle). Then we went to the expo. I got my packet for the marathon. Cathy got hers for the 5K. And I picked up my friend, Melissa’s, packet for her so she didn’t have to drive 4-5 hours round trip with her baby to do it. Then, we went exploring. I ended up buying a singlet for this race, and my roommate bought me a finisher’s jacket (she’s the best) and a Bondi Band. She also got herself a new racing hat, featuring this race (the first one she ever trained for last year). Then, we made our way around the expo, checking out the different booths and races that were represented there. Once done with that, we took photos with our bibs, found my name on the giant poster, and headed back to the hotel.
We settled in for the rest of the day, because I wanted to stay off my feet as much as possible. We watched a couple episodes of Mindhunter. Cathy went and got herself dinner from the hotel…which was offering a nice pasta dinner with a side salad and breadsticks (although she got hers to go and they didn’t pack the breadsticks…but she said there was plenty of pasta). We ate. I stretched and foam rolled. We watched Top Chef (still in Boston…again…good sign!). Then, we called it a night. Lights out.
I didn’t sleep well. I kept waking up…needing some water…or just nerves at times. I turned off my first alarm before it went off because I was already awake. The second alarm went off at 6:00 am. Both my roommate and I got up with that one. It was officially the start of race morning. She had coffee and juice delivered to the room for her to have with her breakfast (she does this every morning, so this is part of her routine).
I had about 3 meltdowns just getting ready. I wish I were kidding. After talking to my coach on the drive up, I decided to officially nix the shorts. While the temperature would be climbing in the over three hours I would be out there…I didn’t want to start cold. So, for the first time in the history of my marathon running…I ran in pants. Capris. Of course they were bright and wild colors. HA! Because I gotta be me! I decided to go with a short sleeve shirt (BRIGHT PINK), compression sleeves, my Newtons (I also brought my Adidas Boston Boosts), arm warmers, a buff, a Bondi-Band, gloves (with hand warmers), and a throw-away hat. I wore everything pink I could…to represent my mom (as has been my theme this entire year I have raced). I started to put together my hydration pack, pouring room-temperature Nuun into the bladder (I knew it would be cold just being out there…so why make it super cold by starting that way?), packing my Maurten Gel 100s (three with caffeine, three without), shaking up my Maurten 320 Drink Mix (which some of it went into a little bottle in my pack to take at Mile 8), and then I tucked some very important tokens into a pocket to carry with me. My amazing friend, Kelly Lorch, gifted me with some plates that were to go on my shoelaces. I had my shoes on…and tied…so I said I would carry them with me. She is amazing and has been SO supportive of me reaching my goals. There was no way these weren’t coming along on the journey in some way.
Cathy pinned my bib on…then I pinned her up. I layered on my throwaway clothes and then we both wrapped ourselves in old Mylar from previous races and trash bags. Then, we headed out to meet up with Melissa at the MRTT/SRTT photo meet-up spot in the Westin (which also gave us a warm place to wait for the start AND bathrooms if needed). I walked in and was immediately flagged down my Kelly. Melissa came over and gave me a hug too…and I started to have another cry. But, thankfully, group pictures were happening so I had to go and attempt to look “homeless chic” in my “how to stay warm on a cold-ass race morning” attire. The photos were taken and Melissa had me join her as she waited for her husband, Paul, to park the car and bring the bundled up baby inside. They arrived and she brought out the MOST AMAZING sign ever. It said, “My auntie Karen chases unicorns and runs BQs.” She said she and the baby worked very hard on it the night before. I cried…again.
No sooner had I dried those tears, Cathy said we had about 15 minutes until the start of the race…so we needed to mosey outside. BOOOO. I shed all my throwaway stuff and handed it off to Paul, who was finish line support and baby watching this morning. He was very kind to let me do that so they can live to be tossed another day. I got re-wrapped up in the trash bag and Mylar…and we headed out into the cold. We stopped just before the start line, where I needed to make my way down to my wave corral, and I got final hugs. Cathy let me know (for the 2 millionth time this training cycle) that I had this. Paul wished me luck and told me I had this in the bag. And Melissa, because we are the same person, took my head in her hands, made me look right into her eyes, and gave me a pep talk to end all pep talks. We hugged it out…and I went to go get into place.
At first, I thought I was about to have a Glass City Marathon replay…because as I got to my corral…I could see the 3:40 pacer and the 3:30 pacer. No 3:35. I was about to cry again, when I spotted a guy standing in an Official Pacer orange shirt…minus the sign. I went over there and asked if he was the 3:35 pacer. He said he was, and his partner was currently missing and had the sign. The other guy showed up a few minutes later, but he was prepared to get us all there with or without the sign. I felt a lot better. No need to stare at my watch and fuss over the pace if I could hang with them. About 5 minutes before the start, I went to ditch the Mylar and trash bag and got back in line with the two pacers. The race started, with the wheelchairs. Then Wave 1. Then my wave. As we crossed the start line, it was crowded and packed, and the pacers were a bit ahead of me, but I didn’t panic. I waved to Cathy, Melissa, and Paul…and began to weave a bit to make my way closer to the pace group.
I caught up to them in the first quarter of a mile and made sure not to feel crowded. If you remember, last year I attempted to do this very same thing…but ended up getting tripped a few times. That wasn’t happening this year. NOPE! We were a fun group and the pacers were great at not only giving direction on where we were turning or where aid was…but just keeping us talking to keep our minds off the race. One of my pacers was from Sellersburg and we talked about Louisville races and whatnot for awhile. That was really cool. He apparently had never heard of me. He must run in the wrong circles, HA! Just kidding.
By Mile 2 I had already talked his ear off about the Dopey Challenge. So…there was that. This is also where my watch was off from the mile markers. And, yes, my friends…it remained like that until…I kid you not…MILE 26. My watch was beeping about .1 mile after the actual mile markers. So, with the new course changes this year, I wasn’t sure if I was actually going to get in a full 26.2. BUT…I was also reminded by the pacers, that with the tunnel overpasses we run under/through, plus the buildings in downtown…you can’t really trust your GPS and that the course WAS measured correctly. SO…we went with it. I let it go. I just let it be.
The first couple of miles of this race is a lot of turns. For real. I feel like we go around so many corners, but it was okay. Also…we were slightly behind pace for the first couple of miles, but I trusted the pacers to get us where we needed to be. I was, however, keeping a close eye on my watch, in case I needed to just break away and do this on my own. Then, we busted out a faster fourth mile and had to tone it down a bit. Too early for that kind of craziness…and they knew it.
From there on, we pretty much stayed steadily just ahead of the actual pace, which made up for those first three, crowded miles. Also, this time I wasn’t tripped about three times heading into the 10K mark. For real. Last year, I had lined up with the 3:35 pace group and it became hazardous to my health around this time. Nope. We were a large group, but we were very aware of each other’s space. And that made a whole heap of difference. I was able to stay relaxed and just breathed. We crossed the 10K mark and kept on going. One of the pacers asked, “Who was worried, for no reason, about how cold it was today? You’re warm now right?” We all raised our hands. Don’t get me wrong, it was cold…but our bodies were working hard and we were definitely warm.
At Mile 7, we separate from the half marathon runners. They take a turn and the full marathon continues on straight. I was surprised at how good I felt at this point, but I shouldn’t have been surprised. Despite the cold, I was fueling how I did in training and staying relaxed. I had goals, but I didn’t want to get worked up over them. I was just going to run my best on this day. And right now, my best was feeling good! At Mile 8, I fueled with the 5 oz flask I brought of the rest of my Maurten 320 from the morning. Onward.
I stayed just slightly behind the pacers through Mile 15 to be honest. But, I wasn’t going to sweat it. I distracted myself from Mile 10 to Mile 12 looking for my friends Susan and George. They live along there, and were going to come out to cheer. If they were out, I totally missed them. If they weren’t…I don’t blame them…it was cold. But, I continued to search for them on the sides of the roads, where people had come out of their warm houses to cheer everyone on. At Mile 12, I took a Maurten Gel 100. AND…I ditched my throwaway hat that I had kept on my head until then. The sun was finally coming out and I knew that the day was about to really start warming up. I was, however, glad I had my head covered up until that point. But now…now it was time to let those pigtails fly!
Halfway there…and I was smiling and high fiving kids and just having a blast. I mean, if you’re going to run 26.2 miles…you might as well have fun while doing it, right?
I was keeping a very steady pace, which continued as the miles ticked off. I fueled with another Maurten Gel 100 (and I was taking sips of water from my hydration vest EVERY mile (because I tend to under-hydrate in marathons and had practiced this in training so that it would be a habit and I wouldn’t crash at the end…which I still think is what happened at Glass City) at Mile 16, because I was going to do it every 4 miles to make sure my fuel stores stayed primed as the race went on.
The pacers had pulled slightly ahead of me, but I remained calm and breathed because I still had a ways to go. Panicking over pace right now wouldn’t serve me. Stay calm. My mantra crept in…”Keep Fighting.” At Mile 18 we went through this little park-like area…which I remembered last year had a lot of people inside just screaming. Same thing this year. It made me smile. “Keep Fighting.”
I caught back up to the 3:35 pacers as we started down the exit ramp at Mile 19. If you know me…you know…downhill is my favorite speed. I smiled a lot at this point…because I was still feeling good. I was feeling strong. I was ready to keep going. I had 7 more miles to go. I did that pretty much every easy run day. I just had to hold on.
At Mile 20, I took another gel. This was the last 10K. This is where most people hit a wall. Not me. I wasn’t going to hit a wall today. I was on a mission. I kept my head up, soaking in the sun (which was now up), thinking of my mom, running as fast as my legs could possibly go that far into a marathon. I was feeling strong still. No wall to have to break through this time. Although…to be honest, they have you run through this inflatable arch thing that looks like a brick wall… which did amuse me.
I maintained quite well the next few miles. I could feel some fatigue setting in, but it wasn’t bad. I still felt good. I kept telling myself that I had done this before. I raced a 30K and managed to be under my marathon pace. I did two of my five 20+ miler training runs at my marathon pace. Whatever road I still had ahead of me…I knew I was beyond capable of bringing this home.
And then, around Mile 23, we turned a corner and the headwind hit. And it hit hard. While the pacers continued on, I could definitely feel the need to fight a bit more now. The wind was no joke…and I knew we’d have it for the next few miles, at least until we turned and headed to that finish line. I wasn’t going to let it get in my head. I had time. I had this.
At Mile 24, I tried to open my final Maurten Gel 100 (I listen to enough runners on podcasts warn people to not skip that final gel in the last few miles…and now I understand why). It was hard to tear open, so I slowed to a light jog, got it opened, and picked it back up while I took it down. 2.2 miles to go.
The next few miles, I had my personal trainer, Corey’s voice in my head. All these little moves he had me do that would strengthen my body and get it prepared to find that “next gear” all came into play here. The wind was whipping, and I was fighting it the best I could. The next couple miles ticked off. I even had a friend of mine from Instagram shout at me from the side of the road. I smiled. That was amazing.
I made the turn onto W New York Street. From the years prior of me running this…the full and the half…I knew the finish line was around the corner. I made the turn. I could see it. I could see it and I picked it up…I started to just fight every part of my body that wanted me to slow down. As I got closer, I spotted the signs…the one Cathy held and the one Melissa held up. I could hear them shouting at me. I could hear them cheering. I was already crying. I was already crying because I knew I was doing it. I knew I was about to do it…FINALLY!
I crossed that finish line, arms up…and then, after I moved past the photographers…I paused my watch and glanced at it.
3:35:13…I had done it. I had gotten my BQ time for 2021. And the instant I confirmed it, I just started bawling. I was ugly crying right there at the finish. Cathy, Melissa (and Baby C), and Paul rushed over to me and we all hugged and cried together. All of us. Except for the baby, ironically. HA! Cathy pulled up her phone and started to play Dropkick Murphy’s “Shipping Up To Boston.” I cried some more. I cried more than I thought I could because I was just so happy. Cathy texted my mom and my coach. She told me they would meet me at the end and to go get my Mylar, medal, and snacks.
After I got my medal and Mylar, I spotted the pacer I ran with from Sellersburg and I told him I got my time. He high-fived me and I tried not to cry again…but I think I was. I met up with my amazing friends and they were patient enough with me to let me lay down and put my feet up for a few minutes. Melissa went to retrieve official results. Cathy and I went to see about getting my medal engraved. Then we went to retrieve my bonus shirt and medal for the Indython Ultra (for doing Fort Ben Half too). I gave Paul my free slice of pizza. It was a lot of emotions all at once and the reality of it all just kept hitting me. And I just kept crying…and smiling.
We made the walk back to the hotel together. Paul and Melissa very kindly went to retrieve some coffee for all of us. I took a shower and got dressed because I had the USL Eastern Cup Final happening in Indianapolis as well and I needed to go cheer on Louisville City FC. This also meant I had to go back out into the cold, but Cathy promised to bring blankets. Our friend Greg came with us to the match and to dinner.
I actually didn’t get to eat anything until long after the match, but the wait was worth it. I enjoyed some gluten free pizza and gluten free fries from Harry & Izzy’s. I had half the pizza left, so Cathy and I decided that would be breakfast the next morning. No shame.
We then returned to the hotel where we FINALLY got to crack open the wine I had been saving for the BQ moment. The three of us lifted our hotel plastic cups and enjoyed the celebration.
Let me also mention that Melissa and Cathy ran the 5K on race morning, with Melissa turning in her BEST post-baby 5K time and Cathy running a new PR (and her first sub-45 minute 5K).
Now that I’ve bragged on them…let’s go to the stats…
The official results of the CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon are that I finished in 3:35:13, which makes it my second fastest marathon to date of the 16 I have now fun. This took down Marshall by about 42 seconds. So damn proud of the hard work and training I did to make this happen. I was 1282/4962 finishers overall. I was the 329/2111 female finishers. And I was 98/412 in my age division. I might still be in shock from how everything played out that day. When it started to feel hard…I just kept fighting.
Never, ever give up on your dreams. It sometimes takes time to reach your goals. But that’s what makes them mean so much. Keep fighting.
I don’t know how I made it through these last 20 weeks, but with that said…race week has arrived. I’m both nervous, excited, anxious, and calm. How is it possible to feel all the thingsand remain sane? Well, the vote is still out on that whole remaining sane thing. HA!
This was definitely a week to turn it down. And my coach gave me specific instructions that he didn’t want me to take a complete back seat this week, but I could move or change whatever I needed to going into it. I didn’t change a damn thing. I did, however, knock my recovery runs down one mile and made sure to keep that pace nice…and…easy. The last thing I wanted was to go into race morning with lactic acid hanging around in these legs. NOPE NOPE NOPE!
As I mentioned previously, my coach does an untraditional taper. He does lower mileage (although I was in the 60s, 50s, 40s for the last three weeks)…kinda. He makes a lot of it all about that speed work. Getting those legs to fire…right at the end of a run…when they are the most exhausted. But this week really didn’t have too much on it. My longest run was 7 miles, and that was the ONLY one that really had a speed element to it. And it was a 4 mile fast finish. Other than that…strides on the last day I ran before the race. But I’ll cover all of that in this week recap.
It’s race week…let’s go!
Monday: INSTRUCTIONS: NO WATCH ALLOWED! FOCUS ON THE GOAL OF THE RUN = RECOVERY! GO AS FAR OR SHORT AS YOU NEED, AS FAST OR SLOW AS YOU NEED, WALK OR RUN AS YOU NEED.
I love that even in taper, my coach trusts me with “Choose Your Own Adventure” runs. Knowing that this is race week, I really wanted to make my primary focus recovery. I want to hit that start line feeling fresh and ready. I was stressing over the forecast a little too much, because it looks like this will be my coldest marathon I have run. Thanks to Canada and this arctic blast that is attacking our nation. HA! Anyway, I woke up to weather JUST above freezing. So it was a long sleeve, capris kind of a run. I didn’t wear my Dunkin’ Donuts hat…don’t know why. I just didn’t. And the legs did a little shakeout. They felt good for a Monday. I opted to do 4 instead of my usual 5 miles…and somehow snagged some negative splits in the process. I called it a day. No personal training. Just my normal PT stretches. I didn’t even do the additional hip strengtheners this week, not wanting to accidentally tweak something. Simple. Basic. Got it done.
Tuesday: INSTRUCTIONS: 5-8 MILES WITH 3-5 MILE FINISH AT MARATHON PACE – GOAL 6.5 MILES – EASY DOES IT UNTIL THE FAST FINISH AT THE END
I woke up on Tuesday morning to 50 degree weather. Yep. From 33 degrees Monday morning to 50 degrees on Tuesday. Fun times. I knew he gave me the option of 8 miles…and if this was training on a normal week and I was feeling good…I might have pushed for it. BUT…it’s taper. It’s race week. I don’t like half miles…so I rounded up to 7…and I opted to go right in the middle with that fast finish, doing 3 easy miles and pushing pace on those last 4. It felt hard. It shouldn’t have felt hard. But, I did at least get it done. My sinuses were having a fun reaction to the yo-yo temperatures, so that was fun. Other than that…I took it for what it was. Finished as strong as I could for the day, then went inside to shower and just do my usual stretching. Keeping it nice and easy. Oh, and I went and voted. Because that needed to happen!
Wednesday: INSTRUCTIONS: NO WATCH ALLOWED! FOCUS ON THE GOAL OF THE RUN = RECOVERY! GO AS FAR OR SHORT AS YOU NEED, AS FAST OR SLOW AS YOU NEED, WALK OR RUN AS YOU NEED.
Second verse, same as the first. My only other “Choose Your Own Adventure” run for the week. Happy to have had 2 of these. I opted to do 4 again, unless I just wasn’t feeling it. That’s the glory about these…I control them. I did make a note to back off on pace and just let the legs work a little less. My last 2 miles were much quicker than my first 2 miles, but that’s because it took me 2 miles to feel warm. Isn’t that fun. OH…did I not mention that the temperature dipped back down to just above freezing again? Another morning with 33 degrees. Oh…joy. And the fact that I went from a warm apartment to run and it took me 2 miles to get my legs going was a bit of a concern. I just tried very hard not to let it get into my head. I did my stretches twice that morning. And I foam rolled before work. After work, I had a sports massage and I was so thankful for that. Basically all that is holding me back right now is the weather.
Thursday: BASE FUN 4-8 MILES + 4-6 STRIDES – GOAL 6 MILES – EASY OVERALL EFFORT
It was another rainy Thursday morning. Just like last week. UGH. MEH. BLAH. I originally had thought about just doing the run on the treadmill, but I can’t do strides on the tready. Nope. So…I opted to just go and get it done. It never stopped raining on me…but thankfully, we were back up to 50 degrees. WHAT THE HELL WEATHER?! So, I definitely didn’t want to push anything. Not even the hills I go up and down. This was one of my slowest training runs to date. And some of it might have been fear of slipping on the wet pavement and falling. I won’t lie. But I really just wanted it all to feel super easy. It didn’t. I blame the rain. But, I did get in 6 miles. See…I was given the option of going up to 8…but I really am doing JUST what needs to be done this week. I reset for strides and pushed those legs on some short sprints…then went inside to take a hot shower, stretch, and get to work. I met my friend, Melissa, for coffee after work…and she gave me my start line pep talk just in case she couldn’t get that out at my start line. I appreciated it. Went home to eat dinner. Was supposed to pack. Didn’t pack. Went to bed by 8:30…because I really wanted to get some quality sleep knowing that I probably won’t sleep much on Friday night.
Friday: REST/RECOVERY DAY!
Thank God for small miracles. I woke up at normal time…of course. I didn’t set an alarm. I just woke up. So I lounged and dozed and finally got up at 5 am. I showered. I stretched. I was thankful to not have to do one single mile today. I was thankful that it was 26 degrees outside and I got to stay inside, stretch, hydrate, and sit under my snuggie, working on this blog. That’s what I did. I eventually made breakfast and my roommate and I got to packing…pretty much every option for any scenario on race day. I still don’t know what I should or want to wear during the race. We haven’t had weather this cold yet here…so I am at a total loss. Not to mention, I have never run a marathon or a long distance run in temperatures like this. It doesn’t sound fun. It’s producing a lot of anxiety…but we’re working through it. We had to wait for Dragon King’s Daughter to open so I could order my “magic sushi” to take with me to Indianapolis. Then we hit the road to get up to Indy, check into the hotel, and hit the expo. The rest of the time, I was going to spend in the hotel…rolling, stretching, and keeping myself off my feet. I wanted to feel good Saturday morning.
Saturday: CNO FINANCIAL GROUP INDIANAPOLIS MONUMENTAL MARATHON
Goal: Qualify for Boston – needed 3:40 time.
Finished in 3:35:13.
More to come in actual post race recap! This girl is going back to Boston in 2021! This is my second fastest marathon…EVER. This beats out my 2nd marathon, the Marshall Marathon, by about 42 seconds. Super proud. Super sore. But my day didn’t end with that finish line. Then I went and sat outside in Indianapolis for the USL Eastern Conference Finals between the Indy Eleven and…Louisville City FC. We won. In overtime. It was a long day of being cold.
Sunday: REST/RECOVERY DAY!
I just can’t sleep the night after I run a marathon. I was up until after midnight, watching Mindhunter (finished Season 2) and was still NOT tired. I tossed and turned all night. Finally got up and decided to finish this blog. Will take a short 20 minute walk on the hotel treadmill this morning before grabbing breakfast, packing, loading up the car, and heading out for some shopping and lunch (you know I’m going to Woody’s). Then, the long car ride home to Louisville, where I still need to buy groceries, meal prep, and all the usual stuff. This coming week will bring my 20-30 minute walks (just like I did post Glass City Marathon in April). I want to get back to spin classes…all the stuff I stopped doing when marathon training took over my life. Looking forward to this recovery time while I make plans for 2020, which now doesn’t need to include a marathon!