Some of the Best of 2011

Recently, Miss Zippy posted a great list of questions on the “best of” for 2011 and invited us all to do the same…so here are my answers!

Best race experience? 
Without a doubt Boston’s Run to Remember – this was my first half marathon! I felt like I had achieved a huge accomplishment just making it to the start line, and the whole race I had this “I can’t believe I’m actually doing this!” feeling. Also, I had my whole family there and they went through herculean efforts to see and cheer me on in multiple sports throughout the race.  It was a great first experience and laid the groundwork for my growing love affair with the half distance!

Best run?

Another first — the first time I ever ran 10 miles. It was one of those perfect runs, everything felt good and even the traffic lights cooperated so I never had to stop. I remember my confidence growing as the miles ticked off and when I finished I did a little happy dance in my driveway (neighbors must have loved that!)

Best new piece of gear?

This one’s hard – I did a lot of….um..er…accumulating this year 🙂 It’s a tie between my Brooks running skirt and my Saucony Kinvaras – for both it was love at first run!


Best piece of running advice you received?

Everything I learned during my time with Ryan Miller, certified ChiRunning instructor! Also, to make the transition to minimalist shoes slowly.

Most inspirational runner?

Way to many to pick just one! I have been inspired and motivated by so many runners’ stories this year – from daily training, to racing, to overcoming injuries.

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?

Moving in the right direction!

There is so much to reflect on this year. This list was a fun way to get started! 

What were your 2011 highlights?


 

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Boston’s Run to Remember Race Report

I don’t even know where to begin – it was a really good day…hard but good!

(Shirt– front and back)

The night before the race I got a nice surprise when my hubs J revealed that he had t-shirts made up for all the family members coming out to cheer me on! He had also taken care of all of the logistics to have family strategically stationed at key points along the route — gotta love that man!

Race morning I was up by 5:15, followed my usual routine and with my brother and mom set to take care of the boys and bring them to the race later, J and I headed in. On the way in, I read tweets, texts and re-read comments to my Race Goals post — you all rock! The support is greatly appreciated!

There was of course no traffic at that hour so we flew into town and found parking without a problem. I had plenty of time to make one last pit stop and take a quick warm-up run. We spotted a couple of friends, chatted with them and took a couple of pictures before they started calling for runners to line up. I decided to line up at the front of the 11 min group, still totally unsure of what my knee would tolerate. It was already crazy humid, and the race announcer was urging people to be careful and to take water at all the stops — at least there was cloud coverage to start!

Race ready!

The race started and finished at the Seaport World Trade Center which sits out on Boston  Harbor – so at the beginning we had to cross a bridge to head into the city. Coming up to the top of that bridge and seeing all those runners, I was overwhelmed with the thought “you’re really going to do this!” There was a little bumping and jostling in the first mile, but all-in-all not too bad given Boston’s narrow streets and the number of runners. For the first few miles I was feeling good – kept an eye on my Garmin to make sure my pace was steady…so far so good. I spotted my dad and step-mom just where I expected them to find them just after the 4 mile marker. Then just before the turn-around, I found my brother, mom and the boys waving the cheer banner! One of the great things about this out-and-back course meant I was going to see them all a second time after the turn-around — I cannot even describe what a lift it was to see them all cheering! J had made it over on the subway by the second time I passed my dad and step-mom again and joined in the cheering. I was still feeling really good but as I charged up the bridge my left leg announced that it was not happy and would no longer be cooperating! Fine be that way – I took a short walk break just before the 9 mile marker, hoping to shake it off, but as I started again I knew my pace was slipping. I ran and chatted with a woman who had stopped to walk when I did. It was getting hotter and people were starting to drop along the course. The medics were busy as we crossed 10 miles — pretty scary!

I fell in with a couple of other women as we started encouraging each other that there was only a 5k to go. We ran the next mile and a half together, chatting off and on – it was good to have the distraction. My left leg was yelling at me pretty good by now, and shortly after I passed my family one more time (yes they were everywhere and I loved it!) I took another walk break…this one longer…the heat was really draining. I knew I was close to the 12 mile water station so I told my leg to shut up cause it was time to finish this thing! The crowds were getting bigger as we made the final turn and headed back over the last bridge. Once again the sight from the top of the bridge was awesome! Finishing strong was one of my goals, so I dug in figuring I could endure whatever my leg could throw at me, and actually managed to pick a few people off on my way to the finish. I crossed the line with a big smile on my face – time 2:35:15!

Attitude Cheer Squad!

Overall, I thought this was a great race — good crowd support, great group of runners and fairly well-organized…though I do think they should consider adding more water stops given how crazy hot it can be in Boston on Memorial Day weekend. The police along the course were great, many cheering the runners on and the volunteers were really enthusiastic. I have to give a big shout out to State Trooper Riley, who I ended up chatting with a bit post-race after he loaned me his cell phone so I could track down my family.

And to my family…there are just no words…your support along the course meant everything to me!

I learned a lot during this race, but I’ll save that for another post! For now I’m happy to say, I’m a Half -Marathoner!

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