The Blonde Runs

Colorado lovin'


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…on Boston

I have wanted to write about the Boston tragedy since I found out that Monday afternoon, nearly two weeks ago. Anything that I came up with was a muddled mess in my head, and seemed so insignificant to what others have written. But I also didn’t feel as though I could say nothing. Letting this awful event fade away without sharing how heartbroken I am. Especially since the Boston Marathon has been a huge part of my life on two separate occasions.

I don’t think you need to have run Boston, or even be a runner, to have felt an overwhelming sadness for what happened at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. You just need to be human.

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I was shocked when during my lunch hour I pulled up the news, innocently checking the snowy Colorado weather forecast, to see that two bombs had gone off at the Boston Marathon finish line. I wasn’t able to research much, as I was on my way to pick up my littles from Music and follow up with an afternoon of Math and Social Studies. My thoughts were jumbled, thinking of what possibly could have happened, and of the 10+ people I knew (either personally or through blogging/Twitter/IG) were okay. I couldn’t think straight and quite possibly was the worst teacher ever that afternoon. For the rest of the afternoon/evening, I was overwhelmed with text messages, emails, phone calls, and PM’s of people who felt prompted to check on my well-being.

Tell me you aren’t in Boston…
I saw what happened. Are you okay?
I’m so glad you didn’t run Boston this year.

See, last year was “Hot Boston.” The high was around 90 with humidity around 80%. All runners were allowed to defer to 2013 if we chose to not take on the heat. I went through with the race (more of a hassle to cancel flights, hotels, family spectators, training, etc) and ended up running my worst and slowest marathon. While I am, now, so grateful that I ran Hot Boston, I know that what I suffered through pales in comparison to what so many suffered through (and are still suffering through) due to the events of this years race. Mentally, physically, emotionally. And of course I wondered how many took BAA’s offer to defer and were running the race this year, instead of last…

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I have been deeply heartbroken by the bombings. Such an innocent event that celebrates hard work and dedication was marred by hatred and selfishness. But the runners, the heart of all of this, have shown true resiliency. While I didn’t think for a moment that this would get us down, the confirmation came from within, in these past two weeks. The runners. The meet ups. The #runforboston jaunts. Short and long. The yellow, the blue, and the rainbow of others colors representing Boston race years.

Because we won’t stop running. We won’t stop doing what we love.

I am proud of us.

XO,

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…a 2012 wrap up in pictures (mostly)

My little running world has definitely been full of ups and downs in 2012.  Each has been a memorable learning experience and I know they will propel me toward my next goals.

Here is a photo-doc of 2012 with only a smattering of words.

Boston Marathon-April

While this 2nd running of Boston was less than thrilling, due to the heat wave (~90 degrees), I endured and finished with a PW.

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Leadville Heavy Half-June

I had always wanted to run in the Leadville Series, so I hit the trails/mountains during the summer and geared up for the Leadville Heavy Half (15.4 miles) with my friend Danielle.  The twist, I would run another half marathon the next day.

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Steamboat Springs Half-July

The day after running Leadville, I drove to Steamboat Springs for another half with my friend Erika.  I was really excited to attempt back-to-back halves, but I crashed and burned on this 2nd race.  The last 5 miles were painful.  I am happy with my attempt but would train differently next time.

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Great Urban Race-August

The boy’s brother came into town and wanted to run the Great Urban Race in Denver.  It’s a mix of running, puzzles, and challenges.  Surprisingly, we landed a 6th place finish!

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Redline Turkey Day 10k-November

All that running in 2012, coupled with a late 2011 marathon caused some scar tissue in my left hamstring. After a few rounds of PT in September, along with some build up in October/November, I felt ready to get back out for a race. This first race as a Oiselle ambassador was run with Erika and my brother on a cold, windy, Thanksgiving morning.  I loved getting out there!

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This year, I was also able to run/hike some 14ers this past summer.  Some old, some new.

Grays and Torreys-May

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Mt. Elbert-June

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Mt. Sneffels-August

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I met some fabulous, inspirational people.

Scott Jurek
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Courtney C

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Bridger (my new nephew)-Juliet (my niece)

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I’ve done a little bit of travel.

Hawaii-January/February

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Boston-April

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Whistler-July

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Telluride, CO-August and September (2 trips)

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Minnesota-March and December (2 trips)

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And of course, my proudest accomplishment was being accepted as a Oiselle ambassador-September

Oiselle Team Badge

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To finalize 2012, I have one more race to run.  Tonight, a local Resolution 5k at 6pm.  It’s the best way I know to end a year and start a new one; with a run.  Nothing amazing, just something fun, light, and a reminder of why I do what I do.  My love for running has carried me for over 20 years.  It has brought about new distances I never knew I’d attempt, new friends I never knew I’d make, to new places I never knew I’d travel.  Running helps define me.

I am a runner.  

XO,


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…through a few more Boston thoughts

Thanks to everyone for your support in my running of the Boston Marathon this year! Your encouraging comments/tweets mean so much to me!

The night of the marathon, I got a little emotional with the boy. The fact is, I was disappointed. But, I couldn’t really pinpoint why. Boston was reportedly the 2nd slowest in its’ history and also the 2nd hottest. Given this, I should probably have just been happy to run it experience it and know that one day someone will ask me if I had known anyone who ran “that one really hot year in Boston.”

Part of me was disappointed that one of my best training cycles, with my highest mileage week ever, had gone to waste. That I had pushed myself so hard, even when my work weeks were absolutely nuts, to make sure I hit all of my daily workouts.

I was disappointed that my body had responded so poorly to the heat and fueling. I worked through the same nauseau/lightheadedness once before and never expected it to hit me again. Especially at Boston.

And I was disappointed with my time. About halfway through the marathon, I began negotiated with myself. Maybe I can make it in by this time. A few miles later. Maybe I can give myself 10 extra minutes. A few miles later. Maybe I can beat my old PW. A few miles later. Maybe I can beat the next half hour mark. All of these thoughts were weaved between thoughts of gratitude for just being there again. Just being thankful for the ability to run. Just trying to enjoy the experience and take from it what I could. See things I hadn’t seen before. Notice things I hadn’t before. Focus on the journey, not the destination.

Because of all things, you can’t control the weather.

The truth is, I’m pretty hard on myself. I set expectations. And often, when they don’t come to fruition, it takes me some time to cope. I knew I’d come around. I always come around.

So, I had my night (and maybe a few moments since) of frustration and disappointment, but I’ve managed them well. I’ve chalked this up to a great experience and I’m definitely happy that I ran the race and completed it without visiting the medical tents. That alone was probably a big enough feat!

While I’m not turned off by running (not sure I every could be), I am turned off by marathons. At least for the time being. I didn’t really have any marathons in my long term plans after Boston, anyway. Instead, I’m anxious to get moving toward a new goal…

PS-I heart you boyfriend. Thanks for you-know-what.

XO,


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…around in Boston

After pulling it together physically, I rallied for a seafood dinner at Legal Seafoods. Nothing like filling up on fried sea scallops and french fries post 4+ hour sweat bath. The Boston Cream Pie and glass of wine didn’t hurt either. Later that night, I expressed all of my feelings about the marathon to the boy. He listened intently, let me feel every emotion, and supported me through each of them. I’m planning to post more on this at another time.

The next day, we played tourist, as my brother and I navigated everyone through the Freedom Trail.

The State House

Park Street Church

Granary Burying Grounds

Quincy Market at Faneuil Hall

Paul Revere and the Old North Church

Rino’s Italian in the East End (Diners, Drive-ins, and Dive’s suggestion-WORTH IT!)

Fenway Park

We made it home Wednesday morning and I’ve been back to busy and back to running every since. Time to plan new goals, but maybe one more Boston post… 😉

XO,


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…Boston 2012; Part 3: Post Race

*Pic of me at the finish in this post. Or scroll to the end without reading. Whatever works…

After crossing the finish line of my PW (personal worst) marathon, I could only think of lying down, having been nauseous the majority of the race. I eyed the medical tent to my right, but quickly noted the line of athletes pouring out of the entrance. Most in wheelchairs. Probably not worth it, since they would likely hook me up to an IV or some sort of nonsense and all I really wanted was to paint a psychedelic rainbow.

Through the runner’s chute, I stopped often, needing to sit for a bit before moving on. Pathetic, I know. But, hey, I was going to do what I needed to feel even a titch better. Every time I stopped, or slowed, a medical volunteer approached and asked if I was okay. I was mostly honest and told them I was just nauseous and lightheaded. When I would sit down, they asked me about visiting the medical tent, which I quickly shut down. I knew what I needed. A little privacy and a technicolor yawn, but they gave me a biohazard bag and a 5 minute time limit nonetheless. After 5 minutes, and warned me that they would take me to the medical tent. I eyed my watch, and methodically moved on when the time limit approached. At one of my stops, I saw a guy collapse. A runner just standing there, talking to a spectator. Gosh it was hot….

I finally had enough sense to ask one of the meds for her phone so I could call the boy and tell him I was okay but it might be awhile before I made my way to the family meeting area. He seemed worried. I hung up.

Gradually, I made my way to receive my medal, the heat blanket (which served no purpose), and my food bag. Next stop, port-a-potties. I probably don’t need to go into too much detail about how I took advantage of that empty, private space. But I can assure you that I felt better when leaving. I could actually make it to the bus to pick up my check bag without stopping. Next stop, family meeting area.

I began walking toward the A’s, as that is where the boy, family and I decided to meet after the race. As I was making my way, a couple of volunteers approached me and asked if I was Rebekah. Yes, a bit disoriented. Your family is waiting for you over here, they said, as they directed me to my left. There was the boy. The sweetest sight I had seen since 6:45am when I saw him last. Okay, okay, not to mention the couple of times I saw him during the race, but this was different…

A big hug and then lots of banter about how I ran my PW, and how hot it was, and how nauseous I was, and lightheaded, and how they weren’t getting any text updates after the halfway point, and they didn’t know where I was, and my dad and brother were checking the medical tents, and thank goodness I finally got a round trip meal ticket (if you know what I mean).

We rounded up the family and made our way back to the hotel. During which, I found out about the heat (86 as a high and 90 as the heat index) and the elites who collapsed. Or pulled out of the race. I guess they didn’t feel as much pressure as I did to finish.

PS-Next up: Fun stuff and fun pics about our time in Boston AFTER the marathon! And NO reference to Barffalo Bill at all!

XO,


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…Boston 2012; Part 2: The Race

WARNING:  Several references to puking (i.e. the liquid laugh, spray the puree) are made in this post.  And I can think of only one person who will truly appreciate it.  Stop now if you’d rather not know.

From early on, Boston became less of a race and purely about “body management.” And this perspective from a friend of a friend who placed 20th overall.

While I went out with a choked up “I-can’t-believe-I’m-running-Boston-again-this-place-is-beautiful-the-spectators-are-amazing-soak-it-all-up-be-in-the-moment-and-be-grateful” feeling, I also reminded myself over and over to conserve. A little bit because of the imminent hills. A little bit because of the heat and the consequential unknowns. I stuck to 8:15 miles, as I reveled in the foot pounding and serpentine flow of constant runners that preceded me on roads through once sleepy towns.

I remembered my new mantra of drink early, drink often, and I intended to grab-and-sip some water at the first aid station.  But I didn’t fully realize the predicament we were all in until I came to that first water stop.  It was completely packed with runners who weren’t just stopping to grab water for the road, but walking through, or stopping fully.  Several runners deep.  I couldn’t get close to a table if I wanted to keep moving.  I skipped it, hoping it would thin out by the next one, and shuffled through the crushed cups resting two, three, and four high.  Little did I know that this first aid station would set the climate for the entire race.

Conserving, I continued on, forcing my way in for some water at the next few aid stations.

I was looking forward to mile 6.5, when I saw the boy and my brother.  I gave a wave, a big smile, and kept moving.  But very soon after, it hit me.  Nauseau.  By mile 10, it wasn’t just a “maybe” my stomach feels funny, it was a “street pizza delivery” kind of stomach feeling.  Press on, I said.  By now, a friend of mine, Amanda, had found me, though she began in a different coral.  After checking in on each other, we both knew we were feeling less than fine.  We briefly discussed our goals going out the window and just running as much as we could together, take in the experience, get to the finish.

Amanda and I began walking through each aid station as we guzzled down water or Gatorade with the rest of the crowds.  It seemed a great majority were either walking through the stations or stopping completely to take in liquids.  While the volunteers were spectacular, there were several stations where the tables were completely void of water cups.  Not because there weren’t any, but because the volunteers could not fill the cups fast enough.  Each aid station was a sea of green crushed Poland Springs and Gatorade cups.

At several locations along the course, BAA had set up water spray tunnels.  Arched tunnels, 20 feet long, spraying cool water throughout.  Everyone diverted.  Every single time.  Not only this, but the spectators who had access to a hose were spraying any runners who ran by.  At times, there were single file lines by the sidewalks, as we each humbly begged for a quick spray.  Ice.  Oranges.  Extra water.  Popsicles.  All for the 22,500 runner who chose to gut it out on that hot day.

Amanda and I ran through Wellesley.  We supported each other at the beginning of the Newton hills.  We saw the boy and my family again at mile 15.5 and waved.  As I passed them, I turned and gave a thumbs-down sign.  It was my only way of letting them know I felt awful and I wouldn’t have a good time.  I only hoped they understood.

Shortly thereafter, Amanda, feeling better than I, slowly pulled away from me.  We had determined earlier that if one of us were feeling good, that girl should go.  This was her moment.  I was glad one of us was feeling okay!  Me, all I wanted to do was unswallow everything I had already swallowed for the day.  It was that feeling when you know that if you do that, you will surely feel better.  Several miles later, I even stopped by a large trash can, in hopes that I would be productive.  But I got all crowd shy, and nothing happened.  On I went.  But then, I started realizing how lightheaded I was.  At each aid station, I was not walking straight.  Zig-zagging along.  I’d pour water on my arms, down my neck, over my head.  Anything to cool me down.

Somewhere in those Newton hills, I saw a reader board with the temperature:  86.  And with all of that direct sun and no breeze, I wondered about “real feel.”  Humidity.  Heat index.

By mile 21, my only goal was to finish.  There was a chance I could beat my previous PW (personal worst).  I had even briefly considered a DNF at one point.  But realizing I had already bought the jacket, I couldn’t just quit now!  And I’m too stubborn to not finish.  Even though laying down felt like the greatest thing since the hula hoop.

Most of this race was a blur.  Putting one foot in front of the other took a lot of convincing.  Also taking a lot of convincing, holding back on the involuntarily personal protein spill.  I remember negotiating a lot with myself. Adjusting my time goals. Accepting a slower time. And finally coming to grips with it being my slowest time. By the time my PW had past, I was already in the city and the crowds were thick.

When I turned on to Boylston, it was bittersweet.  Relief that all the discomfort I was in would go away.  Sadness that it would be over all too soon.  If it’s possible, the heat seemed to swell even more in this short .2 mile stretch. But I kicked it in past the shouting crowds, past the grandstands, past the Finish line.

XO,


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…Boston 2012; Part 1: Pre Race

After obsessing about the weather, but never seeing a change, I came to grips with the fact that I’d be starting the Boston Marathon in the mid-70s. By the time I was halfway, it would be close to peaking at the high temperature for the day: 86 degrees. With a heat index of 89. Oh yeah, and about 50% humidity.

I woke early, as I normally do before a race, and completed the rituals: oatmeal, bagel, coffee. I had already methodically placed everything in my check-bag for what I might need after the race and I knew I’d be ready for a couple of hours in Athlete’s Village.

It was already pleasantly warm when the boy, and my family, left the hotel at 6am, headed to the T. I felt overdressed in my old, thin yoga pants and light GoLite long sleeve top.

I had planned to meet up with a few girls at Boston Common. With a meet time of 6:30, Kelly, Kaitlin, Amanda, and I found each other quickly, and after casual introductions, we got in line with the masses to head to Hopkinton.

A short hour later, the girls and I planted roots in a shaded corner, given off by the Boston College Team’s tent. Anything to get out of the direct sun and heat, as it was already in the mid-70’s. We chit-chatted, caught up with life, discussed fueling, and tried to avoid the elephant in the field. Probably the thing on everyone’s mind: the heat. I couldn’t help but wonder how BAA had prepared, knowing about some other marathons gone bad (i.e. Chicago 2007). But I had a lot of faith. If they had been sending out emails trying to warn people of the heat, then the MUST be preparing themselves.

I applied sunscreen. I packed my SpyBelt with fuel. I put on my lulu hat. I even decided to wear arm coolers. None of it would have really mattered.

The time had finally come. I packed everything else away in my check-bag. So much for getting rid of those old yoga pants and oversized GoLite shirt at the start line as my throw-away clothes. In fact, I had dropped them all soon after arriving at Athlete’s Village. I packed them in my check-bag too. Much too warm. I guess they remain for my next race.

If it’s possible to already by hot before a race, then this was that moment. Because I was. As I dropped my bag in the corresponding numbered bus, and walked the .7 miles to the start, I reminded myself to conserve. Go slower than my original plan and just see how I feel. No goals.

I hit the start mat and hoped for the best.

XO,