Category Archives: Boston Marathon

“Running Connects Me”: Giveaway Winner

Ellie from Eat, Run, Pavement had this to say about how running enriches her life:

“Running connects me with my body. I can feel everything, pain, pleasure, elation, sadness, feat. It is the one thing that makes me feel completely alive.”

Touche! Everyone’s entries were wonderful and demonstrated all the things running can do for the body and soul. For her entry, Ellie wins a copy of Marathon Woman, the new book by Katherine Switzer. Congratulations Ellie!

Giveaway: Marathon Woman

There are few running scenes more recognizable than that of Katherine Switzer being forcibly removed from the Boston Marathon course. With the help of fellow runners, she was able to fight back and finish the race, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon and an undeniable marker of women’s coming of age in running. When Switzer ran Boston again this year, it was in her original bib 261 and was one of my favorite moments of the day. I even told the story to my non-running colleagues in the SICU and they too celebrated as she crossed the line again.

I was thrilled, then, when the publisher of her new book offered me a copy of Marathon Woman and a copy to share with others!! I haven’t finished the book yet but it is an inspiring read that I would recommend to all runners. 

Enter to win by Sunday May 21st at 11:59 and I will select a winner on Monday. There are three ways to enter and you get a chance to win from each:

  1. Comment here on your favorite Boston Marathon moment.
  2. Head to my Instagram (@runswatrun), find this Giveaway Post and comment there on what running means to you.
  3. On the Giveaway post, tag three friends who inspire you to move daily.

Do one or do all three for three chances to win! Winner will be chosen via random number generator. 

An 18 Month Check In

18 months ago, I put my goals out there for all to see, judge and watch me strive for from behind their computer screens. Since some were on an 18 month time frame, it’s time to check in on how things are going.

18 Month Goals

PR in the marathon. Done, 2:54 at Mohawk Hudson in 2014. 

Break 1:20 in the half and 37 in the 10K. Not so much, although the first is possible at Philly. 

Get a shiny new 5K PR. Done, 18:44 at Champlain Classic in 2015. 

Someday

Win a marathon. Nope, was 2nd by 20 minutes last fall. 

Win a national title. Nope. 

Run a beer mile. Nope.

Break 2:45 in the marathon, 1:18 in the half, 36 in the 10K and 17:30 in the 5K. Nope, nope, nope, nope. 

Run a trail marathon. Nope. I forgot I even had this as a goal. I actually loathe trail running. 

Transition to an excellent masters career. We can give me credit for this, as it’s a process of staying uninjured and stacking cycle on cycle. 

Pie in the Sky

OTQ. Not yet. 

Elite Women’s Start at Boston. Nope.

Get invited to the USA Running Circuit. Hoping this happens in 2016 after a great Philly. 

Get a mention on Let’s Run or Running Times. Nope, but I did post my first ever comment on Let’s Run recently. Does that count?

In all honesty, I’m actually pretty happy with the way I’m progressing towards these goals despite the fact that I haven’t met all my 18 month goals yet. I named those goals less than 6 months out from foot surgery and at the end of my first year of medical school before I knew what my recovery would look like, what studying for the Boards would mean and what clerkship hours would feel like. Despite all that, I’ve made continual forward progress and continue to chip away at these goals.

For the next 18 months (which terrifyingly takes me up to my graduation from medical school and beginning of residency), my goals are to:

Break 1:20 in the half. Breaking 1:18 at Philly would be my A+ day goal.

Break 18:00 in the 5K.

Run a trail marathon.

Win a marathon (perhaps VCM 2017 before we leave Burlington for a while).

What are you short term goals? Long term goals? How often do you check in on them?

Week in Review: 4/20/15 to 4/26/15

An alternate title for this week in review could have been don’t burn the candle at both ends. What started last Sunday followed me through a truly miserable week of illness and fatigue that I just couldn’t shake. My time in Lewiston and Rotation 1 is almost done and besides the enormous amount of clinical learning, I’m also learning to accept this new normal of running for me.

Monday: Inspired by the Boston Marathon, I put 7.25 in through pouring rain and wind plus striders. Right hip pretty darn tight. Stomach feeling better but starting to get a wicked cold.

Tuesday: No run, thanks to the cold from hell. Couldn’t breathe or hear.

Wednesday: Spent all day in bed and was so restless by 5 that I went for an easy 4.3. Really dizzy but otherwise ok.

Thursday: Still dizzy and sick but went for my workout, figuring that effort above jogging still counted as a stimulus. 3 by 800 (2:59, 2:59, 2:55…woof) and 8 by 200. Total of 10 miles. Legs after.

Friday: Had a relatively quiet night shift on Thursday and got a few hours of sleep, so I drove home to surprise Will and the doggies for the weekend!! Glorious 5 miler around the golf course with my favorite running buddies. Arms after.

Saturday: Still feeling horrible. Dizzy, weak and couldn’t breathe so Coach Will took over and made me rest. Just a walk in the woods with the family.

Sunday: Workout 2 for the week. Paces still slow but starting to feel really smooth when moving fast(er). 2oo at R pace, 2 by 1000 (3:39, 3:42), 2 by 400 (81,82), 2 by 200 at R pace. 9.5 miles total. Legs after.

Total Miles: 36

I’m working on adjusting my attitude towards running and being grateful when I can get runs in and trying to let go of times when I can’t. I have one week left in Lewiston, which means that I’ll be back in Burlington in no time where I can run safely almost any time of day. I have the Champlain Classic next weekend and am looking forward to another opportunity to race.

A couple of articles from the week…

Really excited to try this new Nuun product when it comes out; could make Nuun the only thing I need for a marathon!

I’m not a parent so maybe I don’t get it, but I don’t see this move as inspiring and selfless like most people seem to; I’m in the obnoxious camp…

Similarly, I wish we’d get tougher on life after drug bans, both to send a message to young athletes that it’s unacceptable and to keep the playing field fair for those of us who don’t INTENTIONALLY INJECT EPO FOR ADVANTAGE. Sorry for the caps, but Hunter-Galvan didn’t even pretend to call it a mistake, she fully admitted that she doped to hang on to her competitiveness. Given that we still don’t know whether the benefits of doping continue for years, I feel horribly for the master’s women at Boston who were displaced from significant prize money.

Week in Review 4/13/15 to 4/19/15

Monday: 7.4 miles plus striders. Thrilled to sneak this in. Right hip a total mess.

Tuesday: 3 miles just before dark.

Wednesday: Found out that Thorncrag is NOT for runners…7 miles after work.

Thursday: Off day. Too tired to function.

Friday: 5 miles on the new bikepath. Legs felt horrible but grateful to get out.

Saturday: 4 miles before my 24.

Sunday: The best laid plans…3 miles before projectile vomiting and spending the rest of my run on the bathroom floor.

Total Miles: 30

Not the best week, but not the worst considering I worked 84 hours and was on my feet for most of them. Bummed I ended up sick by the end because I really needed a nice long run but trying to be grateful for any miles given what I saw all week. I’m also super inspired by Boston today and of course pondering racing it next year. I vowed that I wouldn’t go back until I earned my elite bib but now I’m rethinking that.

For this week, I’m back to clinic and back to training. Hoping to heal up quickly and tackle some monster workouts in preparation for a redemption 5K when I get back to Vermont.

Why I Think Ryan Hall is FOS and Other News of the Week

Boston in Review

What a Boston! Meb became a household name and the women’s course record at Boston was broken by not one, but two women. Shalane Flanagan got a new American record as well. Both Meb and Shalane used brave, but risky tactics. Although Shalane didn’t win (and I don’t think it was ever a likely outcome), her attempt to challenge the Africans was impressive although probably an incredibly painful way to run a PR. I was most impressed with Desi Linden, who quietly executed nearly perfect splits throughout the race and ended up only a minute or so behind Flanagan.

As always, the spectators at Boston were fantastic, even in a higher security year. Here are some great signs seen en route, my favorites being #4 and #28. In not surprising, but annoying news, apparently four questionable people stole the image of one runner’s bib from Instagram and printed their own copies, only to be busted when photos came out. One of the bandits is a job hopeful graduating from BC this year. Not a great professional move…

Rather than rehash the whole thing, below was my twitter reaction to the most recent Ryan Hall excuse for why he hasn’t had a good performance in over two years. To be fair, I haven’t like Hall in a long, long time.  I have a problem with Hall’s inability to stick to a training plan, coach or training venue while simultaneously committing to or showing up for paydays when he knows he’s not ready to race. I have a problem with him taking even an ounce of the spotlight away from Meb, who pulled off a bit of a Miracle on Boylston Street. I don’t know what actually went down on Monday, but my suspicion is that Hall knew he didn’t have it so hoped he could turn it into a kicker’s race. If he was working to “help Meb win,” it doesn’t explain a 2:17 mid finish that barely qualifies him for the next Olympic Trials. It doesn’t explain why the other guys involved in the team tactic ended up 6 minutes ahead of him. Why we’re still talking about Hall’s Boston performance (myself included) is beyond me; I’m more interested in Nick Arciniaga, Jeff Eggleston, Joseph Boit, Craig Leon and Mike Morgan, all of whom had impressive results in the top 13.

Ryan HallIn Other News

More reasons to drink chocolate milk (or perhaps greek yogurt with almond milk)

And in the best news of the week, I may finally have jeans and pants that fit. Normally, I have to fit my legs, which leaves me cinching down waistbands and generally looking like a clown. I’m really REALLY excited for July.

What did you read this week? What was your Marathon Monday like? Anyone else screaming at the television when Meb was coming through the last few miles?

Recently Read: 4.18.14

It’s been virtually impossible to avoid conversations about the Boston Marathon this week with the anniversary of the bombings passing and the race ahead on Monday. We were on vacation on the anniversary but I couldn’t get away from coverage entirely. It’s not that I don’t want to remember or honor those injured and killed, but reliving it is not the way in which I process things. Until my schedule made the decision for me, I wasn’t even sure I would return to Boston to cheer this year. It turns out that I have a lab at 1 pm so will be watching the race remotely. The text that made me realize what Boston and life after Boston is all about, however, came from Meredith and said “Been thinking about you all day. I love you!”

As such, much of what I read this week was about Boston. There’s a great Buzzfeed article featuring some of the survivors, two amazing videos and songs and a blog post by Kara Goucher on her three Bostons.

And then there was this week’s move by the emerging evil empire of Nike/USATF. Others have written way more in depth and first hand experiences about why a 23 contract between USATF and Nike might not be the best for our sport. I know I’ve referenced Oiselle a lot recently and although I don’t have any real affiliation with that brand, I do appreciate articulate women standing up for the sport and for some logic and transparency. Why is Oiselle often the group speaking out? Watch this video on some uniform ridiculousness and you might start to appreciate how Nike and USATF exclusivity hinders other brands and athletes.

M and I, Boston 2013 just past 23

M and I, Boston 2013 just past 23

Boston Marathon 2014

No, I’m not running. I’m hoping I’ll be running by the time Boston rolls around, but I know I’ll be grateful for 2.62 miles in April. As a runner, however, it’s hard to avoid the Boston Marathon buzz at this time of year. On Sunday, I worked on a friend’s training plan for Boston. She ran an absurd number of half marathons this year and it will be her first Boston. I’m so excited to be involved in her training and to cheer for her in April.

They also announced the elite fields today and boast some very strong American runners. I’m personally most excited to see Desi and Serena Burla run. Desi was second the year that I ran Boston, an incredibly high finish for any American woman. She’s also been on the comeback trail and has been humble and patient about that process. Serena Burla is just an incredible story. She had cancer of the thigh and a major surgery that most thought would prevent her from running again, let alone storming forward with top marathon times.

One of my “bucket list” goals is to be an invited female athlete at the Boston Marathon, not on the level of Desi or Serena of course, but one of the 50 or so other women who get to toe the line ahead of the elite men to race from Hopkinton to Boston. Here’s hoping (and working my ass off in 2014).

Normal?

It’s hard to get back to normal after a week like last week. By the time we’d stopped shaking from Monday, it was 5:30 am on Friday morning when my mom called, crying about “Suzy, bomb, Watertown.” As I woke up and started to process, we realized that what we were hoping was a one time nightmare was back again. For 18 hours, I talked to my sister while she was on lockdown less than a mile from where one of the suspects would eventually be found. On Friday night, when it was finally over, I went for a run in the pouring rain and felt like I was full of electricity. People were staring at me like I was crazy, but it was the only thing I knew to do.

Saturday and Sunday were beautiful here. On Saturday, I volunteered at Rollin Irish Half Marathon and watched one of the Olde Bones Myke run his qualifier for Pikes Peak. Saturday afternoon, my mom and I did heavy duty wedding tasks. Saturday evening, Will, Watson and I headed out for a great run and Will set a new PR for running time on his new ankle! Sunday was great too. Will and I headed out for a huge long run for me and our goal was to nail down my nutrition. We took notes on everything and carefully planned it out and IT WAS PERFECT. I felt great for the entire run and was bouncing off the walls, even at the three hour mark. I had no post-run stomach and even took the dog for an hour hike when I got home.

It’s hard to get back to normal. I feel guilty for forgetting, even momentarily, what the people of Boston are still going through, what the victims of the bombings are feeling this week. Their normal has been shifted and it feels weird to be in Burlington and mostly back to business as usual. I am far more jumpy than normal and sirens are suddenly causing a pit in my stomach, unfortunate as I work next to the hospital, but our day to day is fairly benign again. One of the working definitions of terrorism is that it’s an act intended to rob people of normal, to create fear in situations where fear is not normally present. In that light, I guess it’s good that our house is back to sleep-walk dog-work-workout-shower-sleep-walk dog.

Running is helping me find normal. What are you doing to find normal again after Boston?

Myke literally flying at the end of Rollin Irish

Myke literally flying at the end of Rollin Irish

Near Misses

After 9/11, Ani DiFranco wrote this incredible spoken word poem titled Self Evident, in which she captures what I’ve been feeling over the past few days:

and the streets are full of stories
sudden twists and near misses
and soon every open bar is crammed to the rafters
with tales of narrowly averted disasters
and the whiskey is flowin
like never before
as all over the country
folks just shake their heads
and pour

These near misses are what continue to haunt me and keep replaying in my head when I do sleep. Since Monday, I’ve had a recurring dream of running down Boylston but as running dreams almost always go, my legs won’t work and I’m stuck in place. In awake life, I keep revisiting how close it was for so many people. Most years, one of my dearest friends stands where the second explosion went off. She couldn’t make it this year and I cheered for her boyfriend at 22 instead. I forgot to grab my Charlie Card when leaving Vermont on Sunday and thus didn’t head straight downtown to watch the finish. Two years ago, my entire family stood at the finish line waiting for me, with extra family members around because we were headed to a funeral after the race.

A few friends came into town last night and shared their Boston stories; I was supposed to see them after the race downtown, but when the explosions happened, our plans changed. One had been standing at the finish line but went to grab something to eat, leaving another friend waiting for his brother to cross the finish line. Terrence was way too close for comfort when the bombs went off. When we finally reached him at 6:30, the words “we made it to cover” were of little comfort.

But that’s what makes what happened on Monday scary. If you run or love someone who runs, we’ve all been standing at that finish line. We all narrowly averted disaster.