The Weekly Running Recap: And now, the end is near, and so I face the final tempo run…

My friend, I’ll say it clear. I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain…

THANK EFFEN GOD THE TRAINING IS OVER. 

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No offense Hansons, but I am STOKED. The work. The stress. The tired legs. The “No thank you. I’ll just have water” is fucking done-zo. I couldn’t be happier if I tried. Week 17 of training with Hanson’s Marathon Method ended not with a bang, but with a gentle, exhausted whimper. And maybe also with a firm fist pump. We have arrived. Welcome to Taper Town. The speed limit is 3mph. Don’t over do it. I’m overwhelmed. I’ll admit it. In fact I’ll save my hysterical thoughts for another post. For now, here’s how the final week of Colby’s Magical Boston Marathon training went! 

Monday: Easy Run. 6 miles. 9:13 pace with my chocolate monster, The Incomparable Drunk Otis Brown. This has become the routine. And he knows it. He grabs his leash and puts his face in my lap, both drooling and completely prohibiting me from lacing up my kicks. He’s a mess. But I love him. 

Tuesday: Strength Intervals. 6 x 1mile, 400m recovery. 11 miles total. 8:10 pace. AND THAT’S A WRAP!!!! Best I’ve felt this whole Strength Interval section. For reals. Brought a tear to my eye and everything. Ahhhh. Done. 

Wednesday: RESTFUCKINGDAY. Zero miles. Pace 0mph. Absolute. Zero. 

Thursday: Tempo Run. 10 miles at marathon pace, 8:35. 12 miles total. There is NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING like running your final tempo run. My legs were TIRED. My glute was not happy. I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. But I finished that shit like I broke the tape on Bolyston. WINNNNNNER! It was ugly. But it was done. And now I must rest. 

Friday: Easy 7 miles. Ummmm. No. Instead, 60 minutes on the elliptical followed by a deep tissue massage. My legs were not happy. They were miserable. So instead of slugging through 7 painful miles, I cross trained and went to my gifted massage therapist. When I got there she said:  Looks like I’ve gotta clean this shit up. And then I burst into a sweat. 

Saturday: Easy Run. 8 miles. 9:01 pace. New. Legs. I’m not kidding. So much better. Find a good massage therapist. Someone who gets it. They will change your life. And keep you moving. 

The Thrill of the Done

Sunday: Easy Run. 8 miles. 8:58 pace. New Legs Act II: Shut up and Taper. 

  • Total Number of Miles Run: 45
  • Number of Hours Spent On The Elliptical Because I Felt Broken: 1 hour
  • Number of Times I Had To Pinch Myself Because I Still Can’t Believe I’m Running Boston: 6  

When is the last time you’ve been genuinely, legitimately excited about something? How do you celebrate a monumental occasion? When is the last time you cried from pure joy? 

The Weekly Running Recap: Are we there yet? 

For the love of fartleks, are we there yet??? I mean. ARE. WE. THERE. YET.  I’ve aged.  I am haggard. I’m crying into my delicious IPA nightly. When can I taper?!?!?! This seems like the longest training in the history of training. All is going well *knocks on as much wood as she can find*, but it’s time to wrap it up. Sweet Unicorns. Let’s do this.

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Welcome to Week 16 of Colby’s Magical Boston Marathon Training with Sir Hansons Marathon Method. I am in the Homestretch. Two weeks to go before I’m toeing the line in Hopkinton, smiling ear to ear with a combination of butterflies and straight up nerves.  Why aren’t you tapering yet, Dear Colby?

Because Hansons Marathon Method has what we call in the biz, a short shit taper.  Ten days. The first time I used Hansons- which is what got me into this mess and Boston in the first place- the taper came as a complete surprise to me. How had I missed it? A 10 DAY TAPER???? I was despondent. I will say that despite my initial shock, horror and reservations, it really worked for me. Brilliantly. Come race day I felt shockingly fresh. I need to focus on that memory. Put it smack in the middle of my mind’s eye. So, in the spirit of Trusting Thy Training, I am trying to head back into that head space. The “10 Day Taper Makes You Feel Like a Zippy Running Fiend!” head space.  And not let the people all over social media who have been tapering for WEEKS – Ok. I’m being dramatic – ruin my mind set –But THEY HAVE BEEN!!!  See? It’s work, Poodles. I’m a lot of work.

Here’s how last week went!

Monday: Easy 6 miles. 9:23 pace. A lovely First Day of Spring Run with the Incomparable Drunk Otis! It was beautiful out. We had a blast. Until Oats almost ate a small poodle en route home. #snack

Tuesday: Strength Intervals. 4 x 1.5 miles, 800m recovery. 8:13 pace. 10 miles total. Thank goodness these are almost over. Believe me. l will not be sorry to see these little bastards go. However, I will say that if you are training for a marathon- either with Hansons or without- intervals work. They make you run faster. They make you run stronger. It’s been amazing to see the progress. Awww. Maybe I’m not happy to see them go…

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Wednesday: RESTFUCKINGDAY. Zero miles. Two glasses of Rosé. And Wine Bingo. Or, W-I-N-E-O as it were. It’s like real BINGO but waaaay better. So much fun and silliness. Perfect Rest Day shenanigans.

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So much fun!

Thursday: Tempo Run. 10 miles at 8:35. 12 miles total. GET ‘ER DONE! A chorus of angels croon “YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS-AH.”

Friday: Easy Run. 6 miles. 9:30 pace. Tired, heavy sausages. That’s what my legs felt like. Awful, tired run.

Saturday: Easy Run. 10 miles. 9:12 pace. What a difference! It’s this bizarre phenomenon. The Easy Run after the Tempo Run totally sucks. Sausage Suffer Fest every damn time. Then Saturday’s run? Heaven. Never fails.

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I love my Janji hat but I’d like to stop wearing it. Because Spring.


Sunday: Easy Run. 10 miles. 6 miles.  8:55 pace. Why? Because Brunch with Friends. Here’s what happened. There was an awesome trail race in my town. The Bimbler’s Bash. It’s one of my all time favorites. However, with my knack for falling on my face and winding up with plastic surgery, I decided to pass. Besides, I like my teeth. My friends were running it though. So my plan was to run to the race, cheer them on, run back to town and eat brunch all together. Only I passed on the “run back to town” portion of that sentence and ate a delicious omelette, drank coffee, laughed with friends and planned our June Dirtbag Adventure. (Stay tuned!)

I regret nothing.

  • Total number of miles run: 50
  • Number of times Drunk Otis turned around and gave the side eye to that poodle whilst running: 3
  • Number of substantial runs that stand between me and my taper: 2

How long do you taper for? Do you get punchy while tapering? When’s the last time you played a game? 

While visions of unicorns, danced in her head…

Reality Check: Marathon Monday is in 19 Weeks. 

Reality Check Number 2: The party is about to be over.

I’ve got 7 days. So repeat after me.  Put down the IPA, Colby. Pick up your beloved Hansons Marathon Method. This will become your Bible. You will not complain about running in freezing temps.  You will lay off the suds. You will eat copious amounts of spinach and leafy greens. You will make sleep a priority. You will cross train. You will work your goddamn core. You’ve got one week before you start training to run the race of your dreams.  You waited your whole life for this- DON’T SCREW AROUND. 

*puts on game face*

Right after my game face was firmly planted, I randomly burst into tears. Yup. Totally true. While running intervals tonight it really sunk in- It was time to start training. Official Training starts next Monday. In one week. So like a total Crazy Pants, I sobbed.  Not because I was dreading training. Not because I was overjoyed. I cried because I was overwhelmed. I was beside myself. I’m training to run THE Boston Marathon. I can’t even wrap my head around it. Still! It’s a dream. The enormity of Boston. I never thought I’d ever run it. I never thought I would earn that BQ. It’s so damn big. 

So tonight, like I do every single time since I started this Boston Marathon journey, I visualized myself turning onto Boylston as I ran. I tried to imagine how I would feel so close to the finish. I visualized every breath, every stride. I allowed my imaginary feeling to sink in.  Such hallowed ground. I imagined myself seeing that finish line. I am Boston Strong. It moves me every time I visualize it. I finished my run, and headed home to find a package from my very best friend, Tina. What a nice surprise. She always knows exactly the right words to say at the exact right time. That’s a true Best Friend. If you find one good friend in life you are lucky. Me? I Found Tina. That means I hit the jackpot.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m taking my pillow to bed. I’ve got some dreaming to do. Thanks, T! Muahhhh!

❤️

Are you kicking off training for a Spring Marathon soon? Do you practice visualization techniques

Acceptance. 

Ready for this crazy talk? Sweet Sacred Unicorn! I am running the Boston Marathon. I trained with Hansons Marathon Method. I ran the Baystate Marathon. I qualified. I registered. I got accepted.

Me! Me. Me? How in the actual fuck did that happen? If you were to have told me 7 years ago that I would be running the Boston Marathon, the Holy Grail of running, I would have laughed straight in your pretty little face. Never. Never in my life did I think I would be fast enough. Runner enough. Athlete enough. To qualify for the most sought after marathon around. Just never. 

I didn’t believe I had it in me. It wasn’t even on my radar. It was a mythical beast, a literal and figurative unicorn that existed only in the pages of Runner’s World. BQ? I hadn’t seriously considered it. Then last year rolled around. I decided THIS WAS IT. I am giving it all I got. I discovered Hansons Marathon Method and decided to give it a go (here). I also decided to blog about my weekly running recaps (here’s number 1 .)  It was my first REAL BQ try. I blogged faithfully. Each week I posted “Colby’s Week In Running” all the while apologizing for the profanities, beer and sweaty tired miles. Humor me, Poodles. Just read this. It kept me honest. It kept me accountable. Then I ran the Race of My Life (here and here) with Tina. Best Day Ever. That is, until yesterday. 

I found running, or rather running found me, in what seems like a million lifetimes ago. It was during one of the lowest points in my life. I have to say, I didn’t feel worthy of anything. I’ve blogged about that time before (here)  and several other times over the course of This Little Blog’s tenure. Running became my constant companion. It was my control in my time of chaos. I ran to feel pain that pieced the numbness and ran to let it all go. Each mile taught me I was capable of moving forward in the truest sense. It was transformative. I started to believe in myself. Believe that I was capable. Believe I was strong. Believe I could…{insert anything here}. 

So when I saw that email telling me I had been accepted into The Boston Marathon, I had the feeling that this arc of my life, from low to high, was closed. And I accepted it with an open heart. I started in one place and landed in another, having run the whole way. Never forget where you start- where you really start. It will give you the greatest perspective on where you are now. What a journey! I discovered who I AM!  Strong. Worthy. Capable.  

And in the process, found a damn unicorn. 

Spotted: A Unicorn in TJ Maxx. 

Before I launch into my rant about running, TJ Maxx and counting chickens before those bastards actually hatch, I’m pleased to announce that WE HAVE A SKRATCH LABS HYDRATION PACK #GIVEAWAY WINNER up in here!!!! Congrats, Adrienne!!! Stay hydrated, Girl. 🙂

Drink up, Adrienne!

I love a #Giveaway. Probably because I am a sucker for a deal. However, I don’t like to feel like a sucker when I stumble across a deal that reaches up and slaps a big old sign on my back reading “You’ve Been Hosed!” This brings me to my next point. Settle in, Poodles. This one got me. Here’s what happened. 

I woke yesterday all full of ambition and decided to put on my new Janji duds and head out for a run at ass crack o’clock in the morning.  It was barely light out. And it was glorious. Crisp. Cool. Gorgeous. I had a fantastic, zippy 6 miles by the sea. Before coffee. Before avocado-sriracha-toast which I am totally obsessed with lately. It must have been the shorts. Cute, right? Adorbs

Anywho, my run totally rocked, I had my coffee and toast, showered, fluffed up and skipped off to work feeling accomplished. With OODLES of time left after work because I ran early, I took a spin to my local TJ Maxx.  Mill around, check out shoes and possibly snag a new pair of jammies. (Negative.) What do I stumble across in clearance? This. *jaw drops*

What?!?!

Yup. A freaking 2015 Adidas Boston Marathon jacket. FOR TWENTY BONES. There was a rack of them. I just purchased one for my Other Half- I ordered it in advance- and paid the original price of $110.  Just so he’d be guaranteed to get one in his size to wear AFTER he finished. He didn’t even try it on before for fear of bad running juju. 

Now here’s the thing. I know this is last year’s. I know it’s on clearance. But what in the actual hell is it doing in TJ MAXX to begin with?!?! Am I the only one who thinks it’s weird? I didn’t even want to touch the thing because I’m superstitious. Try it on? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Sacrilege! BLASPHEMER! That’s like the Holy Shroud of Running. In TJ MAXX.  For twenty bucks. That jacket is earned. I can not wait to have earned mine. And next year, *makes sign of the cross, sprinkles holy water on head* I will slip mine on, selfie the hell out it, and cry with glee. 

But for twenty… 

I’M KIDDING. 

NEVER. 

Not until it’s earned. However, I do believe I’ve earned this one. And yes, of course I bought it.

Mine!

I wouldn’t buy that jacket out of superstition, but I will admit that I booked my hotel for next year. Totally uncharacteristic of me. And I don’t even know if I’m in Boston 2017 yet. I mean other than death and taxes, is anything in life a given?  I’m willing to take my chances. Either way, at least one of us is running. I have a high 3 minute window and my Other Half and Tina have gobs of time to spare. So minimally, I’ll be a spectator. In a phat hotel. While there have been some chatter on the interwebs about prospective qualifying times and cut-offs for Boston already, it remains to be seen. Patience, Colby. Patience. If I don’t get in, I’m buying that damn jacket. At least I qualified in 2015.

There is ALWAYS an opportunity to run the Boston Marathon for an amazing charity.  Like Miles for Miracles and Bain Capital benefitting Boston Children’s Hospital! They reached out to us with an amazing info graphic to share. See what great things they did in 2016 below. Running for a reason is always an incredible experience- Boston notwithstanding.  And if I miss the cut off?  At least there are wonderful options to run for another. Besides, I’ve got the hotel room. 

And quite possibly a jacket. 😋
More Than Miles 2x

What’s your greatest TJ MAXX find? Would you purchase and wear an item for a race you haven’t run? Have you ever run for a charity? 

Top 9 Moments in 2015! Why not 10? Because Instagram. 

  
Welp, Poodles. 2015 is almost a wrap. I would be remiss if I didn’t at LEAST post a sort of “Colby’s Year in Review” post for auld lang syne. Seeing as how #2015bestnine is taking the Insta-nets by storm, I figured I’d jump on the Trendy Bus, give it a whirl and see what moments were memorable. There were plenty more than nine, and I’m not sure how Rudolph made the cut, but he did. And so did Shalane Freaking Flanagan! So there’s that. Let’s review Colby’s Epic 2015, shall we? 

1. Hansons Marathon Method. How could I put together a “Best of” list without my beloved Hansons? 2015 saw me setting a super high running goal- To Run a BQ. With great goals, comes a great training program. And a shit load of craft beer and lobster rolls. I loved them. I hated them. The Hansons Method kicked my ass. That damn training program pushed me so far out of my comfort zone I might as well have been in orbit. But it worked. And in the process I learned I am far tougher and stronger than I ever thought possible. 

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2. I found a unicorn! I qualified for Boston! And in the process had one of the BEST weekends of the year with my BEST friend and Blogging Partner in Crime, Tina. We both ran the races of a lifetime and did it together. Two friends. Two BQ’s. Two PR’s. And 200 beers.  Ain’t nothin’ better. 

3. I watched Tina run her first Boston Marathon! In the pouring rain with Shalane Flanagan (see above). I was overflowing with happiness. So proud of her. I can’t wait to run it together. 2017 here we come! 

4. I rode in my 11th consecutive Pan-Massachusetts Challenge! ~200 miles in two days across the state of Massachusetts- all to raise money for cancer research. Personally, I have raised over $73,000. Yeah. I’m pretty proud of that one. My heart simply overflows. ❤

4. Drunk Otis. I mean, do I really need to write another word about this sock-eating-hot mess-drunken-frat-boy of a chocolate lab we rescued this year? I hate to say it, but in some ways he’s rescued us. We love him. And sometimes hate him. Maybe we should have named him Drunken Hanson.  

Drunk Otis.

 
5. I am healthy. I had a very real cancer scare this year. It was terrifying. Thankfully, after surgery, all was well. I exhaled. And realized that without health, you have nothing. Nothing at all.

6. Janji! I am honored to be associated with such an amazing, socially responsible running apparel company. Each item of clothing provides a year of clean water to a person in an impoverished country. And the stuff is cute to boot. My fellow Janji Corps Ambassadors are an AMAZING group of runners- some of whom qualified for Olympic trials. Um. That wasn’t me. Not even with Hansons Method.

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Janji kit on point.

7. I discovered Hoka One One. And my legs and feet rejoiced. I also discovered InsideTracker. And my health did an about face. 

8. I fell in love with trail running. And plan on running more trail races in 2016 and quite possibly, another ultra. Gulp! I ran a bunch of trail races this year and loved every muddy, hard ass technicical minute of it. Run Wild! Get Outside, Poodles! 

9. I have amazing people in my life. My Other Half is referred to as such, because he is. He makes me whole. I watched him run his first marathon this year and race cyclocross like an Elite BOSS. He qualified for Boston straight out of the gate. He makes me proud. All of my friends do. This year wasn’t the “Best” for many of my friends. Yet, they handled their year with strength and grace. I am honored to be their friend.

#happiness

   
You know, in writing this 2015 Best Moment list and thinking about what 2016 will bring, what goals and accomplishments I am gunning for, what races I will run, a thought occurred to me. I don’t want 2016 to be all about things I want. Instead, I’d rather work on becoming the Best Me I can be. A better listener. More present. And far more kind. I think we all need a lot more of that. Besides, aren’t we all a work in progress? I’ve got my hard hat on. That’s it.  I’m officially “Under Construction.” To a happier, healthier, kinder 2016! 

Cheers, Friends! 

Baystate Marathon. The Recap. Part II.

Thank God Colby updated the world on our epic day at the Baystate Marathon in a timely manner. Had you waited for me, you might think we were still running it 2 1/2 weeks later.

It was a GREAT DAY. This is actually somewhat of an understatement. We were together this past weekend and talked about how it was such a wonderful day – from (oh, so early) start to finish.

First, the Baystate Marathon itself is terrific. I had never run a small marathon before. The race organizers and Expo volunteers could not have been nicer or more helpful. It definitely set the tone for the whole event. (PS – Baystate has continued to impress even after the event finished – we got an e-mail a few days after the race stating that because the race organizers were unhappy with the finish on our medals chipping, they are mailing every finisher a new medal sometime next month. Talk about customer service).

We got up bright and early on Sunday morning and were out the door by 5:30 AM. Had our first massive laugh of the day when we pulled into a Dunkin Donuts in a sketchy neighborhood on our way to the race. Colby and I first raised an eyebrow when we saw that there were “No Loitering” signs at each table that limited even paying customers to 20 minutes. Then, when she asked to use the bathroom, she needed to be buzzed in. Needless to say, once she was released from the custody of the bathroom, we decided to take our orders to go.

We parked – on the street – about 2 blocks from the start. I can’t even do that for local 5K’s. Or my local J Crew, for that matter. Awesome. Plenty of time to mill around and use one of the 8 zillion clean porta potties sprinkled around the area. Bag check took approximately 4 seconds, and there was a warm place to wait inside for the start.

Oh, did I mention it was cold? It was cold. Perfect running weather. Not perfect hanging around waiting to run weather. We were grateful for the warm place to wait.

We headed to the start around 20 minutes before start time but decided not to enter the almost empty corral because there would not be enough body heat there to keep us warm. I kid you not. Had Colby and I taken our places in the corral at that point, we probably could have toed the start line. Instead, we stood next to a building to break the wind and thought warm thoughts. I in particular had a really hard time staying warm, and Bestie that she is, Colby blew hot air into my back as I shivered waiting for the start. Friends don’t let friends freeze to death.

After a beautifully sung national anthem and a chaos free start, we were off. You may recall that I was nervous about this race because I didn’t have time to train properly. Another understatement. Most of my weeks had mileage in the 30-35 mile range. I had only one week where I topped 40. And some lower than 30. Yikes. By the time I got to “taper,” I didn’t know what to do because if I cut my mileage as per the normal guidelines, I would be below zero.

Well, next time I sign up for a marathon, I’m going to train by sitting on my couch and eating donuts, because I felt great in this race from start to finish.

The larger lesson, of course, is that you just never know how you will feel on race day. You can train perfectly and come down with a bug or an ache. The weather may be horrible, or you might get stuck in a bottleneck at the start that rattles you. You might even have a severe allergic reaction to something the night before the race that throws you off your game (Naaah. That never happens.)

I apparently trained “enough,” I guess, given that I had a solid base of training behind me from the two other marathons I ran in the past year, and the race conditions were perfect. Cold, only a little windy, and not too crowded. And the course, as advertised, is flat and fast.

The course was well marked, well supplied with water stations and had some really pretty sections along the Merrimack River. Spectators were strong in a few areas and spotty in most others, but that didn’t bother me at all. Nor did the fact that part of the course was a loop that you run twice. It was a huge loop and only partially overlapped. I definitely did not feel like I was running in circles.

There was not one part of this race where my stomach bothered me or I felt like I was going to hit a wall. I enjoyed myself every moment of this 26.2 mile run. What a gift.

I happily trucked along for the whole damn race.

I happily trucked along for the whole race. I look a little like I may have been speedwalking here – I swear, I wasn’t.

Somewhere around mile 20, I realized that I would likely PR this race. And once I hit mile 24, I let myself really think about it. By the time I saw the finish line, I was already celebrating in my head. And PR, I did!!! 3:42:11, beating my prior PR by over 5 minutes.

That look you get when you finish with a PR! You seriously would have thought we won the damn thing.

That look you get when you finish with a PR! You seriously would have thought we won the damn thing.

After being wrapped in mylar and medaled, I walked back to the finish because I knew Colby would be coming in any minute and I wanted to be there for The Moment. Because I knew in my bones that she would also PR. And BQ. And it would be A Moment.

A Colby approached the finish, the announcer called out, “And coming toward the finish, with a well-deserved smile on her face…” and I knew it had to be her. As you already know, she BQ’d. I thought, “Announcer Dude – you don’t even know. You don’t even know.”

It took me a few minutes to get to her because she was hugging her new Bestie – some random chick she met at the finish line (WTF?) – but when I finally peeled her away from her new buddy, we both started bawling. Loud enough that a race volunteer came over to check on us. And when she heard why we were crying, she started bawling too. We were messes, all of us. Colby, me, her new Bestie and our favorite race volunteer. A freaking spectacle.

Not sure what else can be said – this was the first marathon we ever ran together, we each had the race of our lives, and we got to spend the rest of the day basking in the glow – together.

Well earned.

Well earned.

It doesn’t get any better. It just doesn’t.

Baystate Marathon. The Recap. 

For Runners-By Runners!

 
If “Run a PR” is high on your running bucket list, do your list a favor and run the Baystate Marathon in Lowell, Massachusetts. In fact, if “Run a BQ” is on there, then register for that bitch RIGHT NOW! I ran Baystate on Sunday and achieved BOTH of those magical running goals. Squeee!  I am still giddy. And probably will be for quite some time. Oh, you’ll still have to do the work. It’s not like you’ll line up and suddenly sprout silver wings on your feet. Although, I bet you might come pretty damn close to doing so. 

This course is fast. And about as flat as they come. Baystate is small by marathon standards (<1500) but it has an enormous heart. It is billed as a marathon “For Runners- By Runners” and it truly is. The quaint expo, the friendly volunteers, stellar porta-potty placement and a wonderful post-race results area, with your results popping up as you walked by, all helped make this race incredibly runner friendly and simple to navigate. The marathon course is two loops- which I didn’t think I would be thrilled about.  However, I didn’t mind it one bit.  

‘Murica.

 The trees and foliage were absolutely beautiful. It’s a New England Fall Marathon along a river. Doesn’t get prettier than that. Is it the most scenic course? No. But let’s be honest, I wasn’t there to Leaf Peep. I had 18 weeks of Hansons Marathon Method Training under my belt. To say I had my game face on would be an understatement. I had my game face, heart, head and legs on. 

The Start. 

The start of the Baystate Marathon will go down in my running history as the most un-stressful, low-key beginning to any race I have ever run. Which is strange considering I was putting all of my eggs in the BQ basket.

Caffeine and Carbs.

 In light of the EPIC stress of days prior, I thought I would be a wreck. I wasn’t. I woke up. We drove. We stopped at Dunkin Donuts for coffee and bagels. We parked then hung out in a nice and toasty Tsongas Center with our other new runner friends. We laughed. We shivered. We lined up, hugged and I momentarily got completely choked up. In that one second I realized: This. Was. It.  All that work. All that effort. I gave my training everything I had. I exhaled those 18 weeks. And inhaled desire. I wanted this. Badly. I was prepared. 

This is My Day. 

And just like that. I was off. 

The First Half

I started running and immediately noticed the 3:45 pace group right up ahead. Huh. This might work. I fell into step with a group of roughly 12 runners. I vowed to not obsess about my Garmin. My Awesome Pacer was handling that. I just relaxed and ran as if on autopilot. It was brilliant. My breathe was even, my legs were light. I had trained my legs to run just shy of this pace. They knew what to do. And they were doing it. Effortlessly. I was stunned. I was mindful of the pace, vowing that if I began to fade, I would keep this group in my sight. I had figured that I would stay with them to the half, assess, then take it from there. The first loop was complete. 

This is My Day. 

I started smiling. 

The Second Half. 

Around mile 14, a New Pacer took over. My Awesome Pacer peeled off, but not before yelling such encouraging words. You are all so strong. I am so proud of all of you!  It was just what I needed to hear. There I was, more than half way through, and I was still hanging with The Cool Kids. ME. I was. I couldn’t believe it. And I felt fantastic. I hadn’t felt fantastic EVER during this training. That was the point of it. Cumulative fatigue. Train your legs to run tired. They were chronically fatigued all throughout training. But not today. Today they were snappy. I decide around mile 17 that I would ease off of the gas a bit. I was concerned about falling apart. This feeling has got to be too good to be true. What if I blow up, lose my shit, and throw it all away because I got greedy? Peer pressure kills PRs.  I didn’t work this hard to toss it away! Screw The Cool Kids! Whoa, Colby. Ease up. I kept them in my sight and ran my own race. I fell into a comfortable rhythm for the next 6 miles. It was cold. And I missed the warmth of The Cool Kids. I carried on, steady, waiting for the other Hoka to drop. It didn’t. 

This is My Day. 

My jaw is set. 

The Last Three Miles. 

I run across the Rourke Bridge. I have lost sight of The Cool Kids. This does not upset me. I am running my own race. Dammit. I glance at my Garmin:  I have three miles left. Only 3. How is that possible? For the first time all day, my legs feel fatigued. I quickly envision worst case scenarios as a mild panic creeps in. If slow by one minute per mile, will I still squeak through? What f I fall? What if I cramp? What if I crash and burn?!?! WHAT IF?!?! 

Stop. Just. Stop. 

What if I just keep running and finish what I started?

This is My Fucking Day. 

I grit my teeth. 

I run those last three miles as hard as I can. This is everything. Everything I have! I make several turns. I hear the finish. My heart overflows. I start smiling. And sobbing. And laughing all at once. I round the bend. I have never felt so strong, so ALIVE in my life. I cross the line. 3:51:23! Three minutes faster than a 6 year old PR. And 25 minutes faster than my average past 3 marathons. I can’t believe it. I sob and yell and fist pump like a Crazy Pants! Tina is there and we hug. Tears. I break down. So does the volunteer who hangs the medal on my neck. 

Christ. You would have thought I won. 

Because I did. 🙂

 

I did it!

 

 

This is My Day.

 

The Grand Finale.

ermahgerd hernserns mahtherdIn the spirit of Finishing What I Started, I will wrap up this series, Hansons Marthon Method Training with Your Pal Colby, with one final weekly recap. It just wouldn’t be complete. I couldn’t skip Week 18, lovingly referred to as My Shit Micro-Taper Week which ended, of course with The Baystate Marathon. In case you nodded off, Week 18 also included a double eye infection, Drunk Otis’ million dollar emergency sock extraction surgery (and subsequent satellite dish of a cone) and the usual phantom taper aches and pains. Between Tina and I, we had plantar fasciitis, piriformis syndrome and a broken hip. Total Insanity. I blame Hansons.

So without further ado, here’s how Week 18 went down.  Hold on to your butts, Poodles. IT’S COMING!werk it

Monday: Easy 6 Miles. I had an early morning panic attack wondering if my legs would actually recover this week and feel fresh come Sunday. I had beaten them into submission for 18 Weeks and almost thought they would revolt and hitchhike right outta Dodge. Instead, they were compliant. And giddy.

Tuesday: Easy 5 miles. For the first time in months, I did NOT run intervals at Half Past Ass O’clock. Instead I slept in and drank coffee in bed in the morning. Is that what normal people do? My legs sent me a cookie bouquet in gratitude.

Wednesday:  RESTFUCKINGDAY!  I obsessed about what I was wearing on Sunday since the weather had turned from chilly to frost warning. However, my wardrobe issues quickly dissipated when Drunk Otis and his sock-blocked intestines wound up at the vet having emergency surgery. Because that’s the kind of crisis you need during your taper. Or any day. Dumb Brown Dog.

Thursday: Tempo Run? What Tempo Run? NONE! And Thank You Sweet, Tired Baby Jesus. Because between my still sore eyes and The Sock Guy, 6 easy miles was about all could handle. In light of all this nonsense, I wondered if the taper would even work.

Friday: 6 easy miles. Dare I say I started to feel rested?!?!? And felt like I had oodles of extra time! I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I went and got a brow wax. #priorities Then went to the eye doctor. Then picked up Drunk Otis and His Massive Cone. I also poured myself a drink and remembered Tina was picking me up in the morning. You know, to finally run the marathon I had been living, eating and breathing for 18 stinking weeks? Honestly, it didn’t even seem real. Primarily because I felt as if I couldn’t run to the mailbox if I tried. Even a micro-taper screws with your body-mind connection.

Saturday: 3 miles. THREE MILES. I hadn’t run “just” 3 miles in an eternity. HOLY TOLEDO. IT’S FINALLY HERE. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Instead of being nervous, I got excited. Really. Freaking. Excited.

Sunday: 26.2 miles. The Grand Finale. All that work. All that doubt. All those miles. And?

I did it!

I did it!

I DID IT!

3:51:23

I can’t even. I’m sitting here with tears rolling down my cheeks. I am totally overwhelmed. I did it!  I really did it. BQ and PR. I had the run of my life. OF MY LIFE! Expect a real recap once I compose myself. Today I was alternating between spontaneously fist pumping to bursting into tears every 25 minutes or so. GET IT TOGETHER, COLBY. After all, you’re runnin’ Boston. 😉

Total number of miles: 52

Total number of times I said: I JUST FUCKING QUALIFIED FOR BOSTON!  1,648

Number of hours spent smiling the biggest, toothiest, happiest smile of my life since yesterday: 24

  

Rut.

ChooseRut

I’m in a rut. A running rut. Or maybe just a racing rut. Or some other rut. I don’t know. Could be global.

Do I still like running? Yes. Unless it is 8000 degrees and 500% humidity.

Do I still like racing? I think so. But I’m not sure. Maybe yes, but not right now.

Do I still like training? I think the answer, at least for now, is no.

Do I still like blogging? Definitely yes, but given my recent rut-like existence, I just haven’t had much to say. Which is why I have been The Worst Co-Blogger Ever. Haven’t posted because I don’t want to harsh the blogosphere mellow. If Colby didn’t love me so much, she would have fired me months ago.

I do think a large part of my running rut has to do with my lack of a goal.

For the first time, I’m racing without a goal. None. Nil. Nada. And let me tell ya, it’s incredibly un-motivating.

For the Marine Corps Marathon, my goal was to finish, which I did.

I didn’t have a specific goal for the Philly marathon, but I wanted to do it as a “pre-training” of sorts for The Big One. Boston 2015. I didn’t want Boston to be my second marathon for some reason (?).  Despite my bizarre, allergy-ridden experience at Philly, I’m glad I did it because the snowy weather last winter was brutal, and if I was starting from scratch in my winter training for Boston I would have had a panic attack. Or ten.

Then came Boston. And, except for the weather, it was everything I hoped it would be. Everything. My goal for Boston was to experience running Boston. No Other Goal Needed.

Though I struggled with the weather during Boston, I BQ’d again. So I’ll be back in 2016. And for Boston, I think that just running Boston will always be enough of a goal for me. Now that I know what it is like to run that course, experience those crowds, and turn right on Hereford, left on Boylston, I’m pretty sure I’ll never need another motivator to run Boston.

But before Boston 2016 comes Baystate 2015. And I’m not sure what the hell I’m doing with it.

Fact: The only “goal” I can think of right now is a PR.

Fact: I have neither the time nor the energy to train for a marathon PR at this time. I’m split a lot of different ways and the piece of the pie available for racing right now is not big enough to train for a PR. I’m also dealing with some as-yet undiagnosed GI issues which will not help in that regard.

Fact: I find it hard to feel excited about training for a race when I have no goal. And that is what I have been dealing with this summer. I don’t mind the running  (except for the heat and humidity, which is always the case), but when I think about it in terms of “training,” and what I “should” do, the spark just isn’t there.

I can easily run a 5K with no goal. A half marathon is a little harder, but still doable, since I run enough that I don’t really have to train for a half anyway. Still, I ran the Fairfield Half in June: I was crabby going to it, meh during it, and didn’t even get an adrenaline rush after it. It was yet another race where I did fine but nothing new or exciting. I don’t even think I recapped it here, because I had nothing to say.

And now I’m training (and man oh man, I use that term loosely) for a race that is twice as long as the Fairfield Half. Oy. That’s an awfully long way to run without a spring in your step.

The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a cold & snowy winter this year, so working toward Baystate will give me a base for my Boston training. At least that is what I tell myself when I’m procrastinating before a 6 AM run.

And I still like running. I really do. But the time commitment and mental commitment for “training” is so different. Having to put in the time (and even there, I’ve been slacking)  without the mental investment is just not fun. Or inspiring. Or motivating.

Methinks I’m taking a racing break after this one, so I can just run without any sort of plan – even a half-assed one – and not worry about it. I can still do the running, but not have to think about the running, talk about the running, plan the running, track the running…

At least until January, when Boston training will start. Hopefully, I will have climbed out of the rut by then.

Have you ever been in a running rut? Or a racing rut? What the hell did you do to get out of it?