Countdown to Boston

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I did it!


This is my recap of running the Boston Marathon for Dana Farber Cancer Institute - 10 weeks and 3 days after having a baby!
Marathon DAY!!! Nick was up at 3:30 to eat, and unfortunately I put him on his back to change his diaper and he threw up most of what he ate all over my side of the bed – yes at 3:30am. He spent the next hour awake and fussing and ended up being still hungry since he spit up everything. 4:30 am – feed him again. He is still awake. He lied on Bill’s chest for a bit, and I move him and put him on his back in our bed (he was in a crib). He’s still moving around but finally goes to sleep. I’m clock watching at this point. I wasn’t nervous and had excitement going on, but really wanted to sleep. I didn’t sleep much from then on.

I got up around 6:20 and got all of my things together and got ready! I was getting pumped. I ate ½ a balance bar as I got dressed and drank water as I got ready. The last thing that I did was pump, around 10 of 7. Out the door- it was GORGEOUS OUT! Perfect running weather! Partly cloudy, high 40s. Headed to the buses in the Boston Commons – the line was really long and I left the hotel around 7:15 for a 5 minute walk. We had to board the buses by 7:30. There was an amazing line through the entire park. We hopped into small bus lines and caravans of buses were coming by, picking people up, and leaving, repeat. We left the Commons around 7:50. We arrived in Hopkinton around an hour later and sat in a bus line for a bit. We got off the buses around 9am. I headed to the athletes village and took a few pictures before headed to Dana Farber’s area, a church about ½ mile away. When I got there, I got in line for the bathroom right away. I pumped again, and walked to the start to lineup in the corrals. The bad thing was that my feet were already hurting – just from walking. I was a bit nervous about this!

When I first saw the town, it reminded me of the Steamtown Marathon – small town, tons of people. The marathon volunteers were tough about letting people into the corrals. By the time I got into the corral, we basically started walking to the start. We started walking towards the start, and they announced that the beginning of our wave had begun! As we moved up Rocky was playing. There were TONS of people. It was so exciting. I started smiling and didn’t stop for the majority of the 26.2 miles!

I took pictures for the first several miles then got tired of holding my camera and cell phone. I was getting choked up with the crowds, the excitement, and fun to be had ahead. I was thinking of my Poppy, Steph, Diane B., and Joe C. - all of these people that I know who have suffered with or are suffering from cancer and felt the tingling going through my body as I felt for these people who are dear to me and what they are going through or have been through.

Miles 1-6 were up and down – lots of hills. I think I started feeling the wind around mile 5. Headwind in our face! There were lots of people out and cheering like crazy. It made for such a great atmosphere. My first few splits were 9-9:30. I reminded myself it now takes me about 3 miles to warm up, but after 3, I still wasn’t feeling warmed up. With the wind, and my sluggishness, I felt like I was running in place. Through the towns, streets packed with people, it was really exciting. Once I made it to mile 10, I started to feel like I was warmed up, but shortly after I felt like I was running in place again! My feet hurt, and knee had started to be bothersome around mile 6. Mile 12, as we started to approach Wellesley – this was neat. Lots of college students out, many drinking and offering beer, and overly excited, due to the beer consumption, to get high fives. Wellesley looked really pretty and was filled with lots of girls holding up free kisses signs of all kinds. I watched an older fellow walk up to a girl and get a kiss. Probably made his day! The fans there were awesome and really carried you through. It was really loud.

heartbreak hill

From around 13.1 on, I felt like it was more exciting than the first ½ marathon. My half was 2:02 and I knew I wasn’t going to be keeping that pace but I was pretty happy with the time. I loved all the fans and excitement on the course. The fans really made the course. Mile 17 I got to see Bill, Nick, my dad and mother in law, I was thrilled to see them! They stationed themselves at the PowerBar Gel station – at the double latte flavor. They were easy to spot since I knew exactly where they were – thanks to cell phones! I dropped off my jacket and gloves to Bill, and gave him and Nick a kiss. I kept on trucking and was feeling good, and happy. Around mile 18, heading up a hill, a man with an Irish accent turned to me and jokingly said, “Is this heartbreak hill?” I laughed at him and told him sorry, not even close! At mile 20, I realized my last GU had fallen off of my fuel belt, and this was not good, because I felt like I needed it. I hadn’t taken a PowerBar Gel because my stomach doesn’t tolerate them as well, and didn’t need it at the time. I started feeling really hungry and I was taking oranges from anyone who was giving them out! I thought heartbreak hill was around mile 21.5, but after I made it up heartbreak, I realized it was over! It was good that I didn’t look at the map! It seemed like a long steady hill to me. It wasn’t terrible – the overall hilly course was what broke my heart! My sister Kristen and mom were waiting for me at mile 21.

I was able to spot the signs that my mom made for me, and my sister hopped in to run with me for the rest of the race. My mom had made shirts for all of the family to wear to cheer me on. Once my sister jumped in, I told her that I needed food immediately! She was my eyes as she scanned the crowds for any food! I managed to get more oranges and an ice pop but food was on my mind. And the finish line. I projected my thoughts to think about the children with cancer from the pasta party and really didn’t have any complaints. It gave me a mission. I couldn’t wait to finish! We saw my sister’s friend Mary somewhere between 22-24 miles – it was exciting to see someone I knew with all of the craziness! I felt like it was so much fun! Great, great atmosphere!

My buddy runner sister Kristen

Those last 4.2 miles were pretty tough but the race was full of crowds. I was really trying to enjoy every mile and take in the whole scene. That was a really helpful thing that my sister told me to do – “Take it all in!” There was so much going on to enjoy. The streets were lined with people, bars were full of people. Drinks were flowing freely! Fans were thrilled to get a high five or thumbs up. Throughout the race I hit tons of hands of little kids – and took oranges from their hands. They were so cute!

I remember running Disney with my sister and cheering her on and trying to motivate her and her telling me to shut up – totally understood that yesterday. You hear “Almost there!” and nice things like “You’re doing great!” but you don’t want to hear anything. You just want to cross that line. We ran a bit in silence which is kind of what I needed. I think I told her she could stop talking when there was about ½ mile to go. There was a one mile to go sign which was awesome, and you could SEE the finish. Victory was only a mile away – and in view! This was when I started to get delirious and excited. I tried to go as fast as I could but I’m pretty sure that last mile was in the 11s. I totally slowed down the last 10k. I couldn’t keep up the pace and my feet, knee and legs just HURT!

It was AWESOME crossing that finish line. Soon after we crossed, we saw my sister’s college roommate, Susan, and I felt like I was drunk! She took our picture, I got some food, a warm wrap, and finally my medal. Such a great moment. I kept walking and Bill, Nick, my dad, my mother in law, and Bill’s friend Matt were waiting for us. I was picturing and dreaming about this moment of seeing Bill and Nick at the finish for the last 7 months and throughout the race. It was amazing and a moment that I won't forget. My mom was still traveling back to the finish and met us back at the hotel.

I found out later that night that one of my former students, Christina, had missed me in the run. She was standing by the one mile to go mark and made me a sign! I was so sad to have missed her! Thank you for coming out Christina!

We took lots of pictures, I wimped out of an ice bath, and we had to pack up and check out! On the way out we stopped at a restaurant near the airport where I inhaled half a pizza before dropping off my sister to the airport. All in all, a great day, I couldn’t stop smiling, and I can’t wait to do it again. Next time I run with Dana Farber I want to have a patient partner to run for.

Today I am pretty sore and limping around, but it was all totally worth it. Thank you for all who have donated! I have not reached my goal of $5000 just yet and I am even more motivated after seeing the small children who have cancer firsthand. Every dollar that I raise goes directly to cancer research. Any donation, big or small, makes a difference. Thank you all for your support and encouragement! A big thank you to Bill for his support throughout the last 9 months! To Nick for putting up with the bouncing around in my belly! And to my family including inlaws for coming out to cheer me on!

Whew - that was tiring!

Final time: 4:21:03/ 9:57 pace

Monday, April 6, 2009

2 weeks to go!

I can't believe it is almost here!! My training which commenced when I was around 34 weeks pregnant with long runs on the treadmill with bathroom breaks very often and an obsession with GU gels. This obsession quickly went away when I wasn't pregnant anymore - very weird! I've done lots of treadmill runs, some stroller runs and some solo runs, all in preparation for the big day on April 20th, which is going to be 10 weeks and 3 days after Nick was born.

Yesterday I did my last real "long" run of 12 miles, with 8 slated for Easter weekend. I ran the hills of my parents' neighborhood to get ready for the hills of Boston - yikes!

My 20 miler last week gave me alot of confidence and I am really excited to reach the finish line!

I am still raising money for cancer research and you can find the link on the sidebar.

Thank you for your ongoing support and love!


Monday, March 30, 2009

20 miles - check!

I did my 20 mile run in an interesting fashion. I planned to do the Ocean Drive 10 mile run on Sunday the 29th of March, and there is also a marathon that takes place. I did the 10 miles, stopped, took a break, received my medal for finishing, and continued on with the marathoners along the course to do the 20 miles. It was GREAT! What a great course, plus mile markers and people to run with! It gave me a whole bunch of confidence, I was doing a nice pace and it felt great! The day started off rainy and windy but ended up clearing by the end. This race started in Cape May and I ended in Avalon while the marathoners finished in Sea Isle.

2 more weeks of long runs - a 12 and an 8 and marathon day will be here in about 2 weeks!!

Thank you for your support!

Friday, March 20, 2009

1 month to go!

Yikes - one month to go! This weekend a 16 mile run is planned and I feel pretty good! Then it will be the home stretch, and that FLEW by! I've been keeping up with 35-40 miles a week to prepare for the big day.

Nick is 6 weeks old today!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

14 miles in the bank

At 5 weeks and 1 day after Nick was born, and 1 week and 6 days until Boston, today I did my first legit long run with my friend Abby in preparation for the big day!!

We met in Conshohocken and ran towards both Manuyunk and Valley Forge to cover the mileage.
Abby was a bit faster than me so I was pushing it a bit and ended up doing around a 9:15 pace. I have no pace goals for the marathon and I think I'll be a bit sore tomorrow, but all in all, it was a successful training run. I am READY!

14 miles/2:09:34/9:14 pace

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Training update

Nick is on the couch on the right in the background. Sometimes he sleeps through me running and other days he plays

It has almost been a month since Nick was born! I have been able to get my mileage back up to where it was before he was born, and my speed is coming back. It feels good to get a good sweat!

Thank you to everyone who has donated to Dana Farber. This is a great cause!
The winner of the "door prize" is Rich Farr - some great harvest bread and jam!
Thank you!

Friday, February 20, 2009

2 months to go!

What the little guy does while I run!

This was my due date - but he came 2 weeks ago!! I've been able to get in about 20 miles in the last 2 weeks -slowly but surely. Yippee!

Right now the key is going to be coming up with a flexible training plan to get me to finish Boston. I don't need a personal best out there, I just want to enjoy and have fun, and raise as much money as possible in the process!

Here's a pic of running now versus a few weeks ago :

Friday, February 13, 2009

Give love - share love!

It was one week ago today that our joyful addition Nicholas came into the world! Nick is one week old! My last run was on Wednesday February 4 - 36 hours before the peanut was born - a little over 5 miles. I think it was part of helping me to go into labor which started slowly that night, and ended with Nick's arrival Friday morning Feb 6, 2 weeks early! Now I have 2 more weeks to get ready for the race, thank you Nicholas!!

Today I ran/jogged/walked one mile to see how it would feel. I took it very easy and it felt nice not to run with all of the extra luggage! I missed it at the same time, but I can't wait to do some runs with the jogger and bring my new running pal along!

A great big thank you to everyone who has donated to Dana Farber in honor of my upcoming Boston marathon! I appreciate your support and generosity! I am about $1200 from my goal and hope that I will reach it by race day April 20th! Dana Farber is an awesome charity in that 100% of the proceeds go directly to find cures and research for cancer. I feel very strongly towards this cause and hope that you will please consider giving some love and donating ANY AMOUNT today!

I am holding a random raffle for those that have already donated and those that donate in the month of February for a door prize - donate today!

Please donate to my mommy's cause! She tired me out by running with me for 9 months!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pregnant Running

Alot of people have asked me what it is like to run and be pregnant or have looked at me wide-eyed or in disbelief - especially now as the end is near and I am pretty big! It doesn't feel THAT weird, it is just SLOW. From the beginning, my doctor supported my running and said to listen to my body. I've done a good job at this, which has ended up in slower running, walking breaks, and more fuel if I'm doing a longer run.
It is also touch and go. Some days I can have a great "run" and other days it is horrible and I have to do something else or walk most of it. I remember a day back around 5 or 6 months pregnant and I thought it was the end of running. I kept getting side stitches throughout a run and couldn't finish it, and drove home from the gym in tears. The next day I had a fine run! So it does take patience and determination to keep going when you are running so much slower than you are used to, but it is completely worth it in the end.

Before I was pregnant, I was running 35-40 miles per week and my average pace was around 8 to 8:30 minute miles for training. My runs had alot more variety - tempo runs, hill runs, and interval training. Throughout the pregnancy, most weeks I have been able to continue to do 30 miles a week, but my pace has declined with time, and my runs are all just "easy" runs - the goal is to finish them! At this point with 3 weeks until my due date, my pace is around 11:30/12minute average. My biggest concern is recovering after the baby comes, but I think that all of the running that I've done throughout the last 8 months will really help me to recover quickly and get ready for Boston with plenty of time. My goal for Boston is to raise as much money as I can for cancer research. I don't want a PR, I just want to experience and finish the Boston marathon and enjoy it - and then I can say that I did it!

This week I didn't take many running rest days, which I think are crucial to letting your legs rest and recover. A snow day was thrown in midweek (which was GREAT!) on my normal swimming day, so instead I ran. I got in a long "run" of 12 miles Saturday morning which included many walking breaks and I'm looking forward to a few recovery miles with Bill outside tomorrow @ our loop up the street in Malvern.

Thank you for your support!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Training begins!

As of Jan 12, training has officially begun! I received my official confirmation in the mail this past week and it is hanging on my fridge. In just 3 months, I will be running the Boston Marathon!

Last weekend, my sister Kristen became a marathoner, finishing her first marathon in Walt Disney World and raising tons of money for leukemia. It was awesome to be able to be there and I was even able to be a buddy runner and join her from mile 18 to the finish (Way to go sister!). It was motivating to be running along with all of the marathoners and made me super psyched for April 20th!

I also just hit 8 months pregnant this week! I have been able to safely run throughout the entire pregnancy and it is my hope that I will be running up until the day the baby comes! The first week of "training" went well, and I’m looking forward to running with a little friend on the outside, which should make running a bit easier!

This will be my fourth marathon, but the most challenging yet given the circumstances. I will be running in honor of family close to me who have battled cancer. My grandfather fought and won a battle with kidney cancer in 2006-2007. Poppy/Joe Santo had success with a new drug that was being tested. I'll also be running in honor of my cousin in law Steph, who has been fighting breast cancer and is one of the most positive and happy people that I know.

Dana Farber is committed to providing cancer patients with the best treatments available today. They perform cutting edge research to develop cures for the future. THANK YOU so much to all of you who have donated already! I strongly believe in this cause and hope that you will consider donating towards progress, innovation and compassion in the fight against cancer. Any donation that you can make will be greatly appreciated. You can be assured that 100% of your donation goes directly to the Claudia Adams Barr Program for Innovative Basic Cancer Research. Thank you!

The link to donate:

Stay tuned for more updates!