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turkey trot

To me, Thanksgiving is the start of the holiday season and I was thrilled that it was here!!  It meant even more to me this year since it means that marathon training is over!  Yahoo!
 
Brant and I took the week off after the marathon and basically road tripped from Philly to NYC to Newport, RI to Long Island and back to Boston.  We spent Thanksgiving with my family in Newport, RI.  My family always does an “on the road” Thanksgiving, and this year Newport was the spot!  The weather wasn’t the best, but we spent our three days there eating, drinking, shopping and sightseeing!
 
On Thanksgiving morning, we also squeezed in a Turkey Trot (or Thanksgiving Day Pie Run as they call it in Newport).  Each runner received a shirt and a pie!  How fun.  My family was up bright and early for the run (my 2 cousins, sister-in-law, husband, mom and aunt).  I have made this a very fun tradition for Thanksgiving for a few years now.  I love being able to spend time working out with my family (because honestly, it’s one of my favorite things to do!).
 
At 8 o’clock sharp the starting gun went off…and the runners were off!  Now, this was only 4 days from my marathon, so my plan was to take it slow.  However, me and slow do not mix well together, so of course as soon as we started, I was off.  It was a very scenic 5 mile run through Middleton, RI…we ran through cute neighborhoods and along the water.  I felt a little tightness in my legs, but since I had not run in 4 days, I had quite a bit of energy.  I was shocked that I felt this great!  I managed to keep a steady 8 minute mile pace throughout the run and crossed the finish line in 40 minutes flat.  My fastest 5 mile run yet!  (just imagine how fast I could have gone if I had not just run a marathon!)
 
After my finish I walked up the course a bit to see the rest of my fam come in.  Abby, my youngest cousin, came in right after me!  Way to go Abby!!  And, Brant, Jaimee, Casey, Gale and Carol all did a fabulous job as well!
 
We definitely deserve our delicious thanksgiving meal tonight!

a little tea shop

On our visit to NYC before Thanksgiving, Brant and I visited my favorite little tea shop, Podunk, in the East Village.  My friend, Rebecca, introduced me to this little shop when I visited her last year.  It is adorable!

Unfortunately, my stupid camera deleted all of the photos that I took of this cute little shop. 

My husband and I stopped at Podunk for an afternoon treat after a busy morning of shopping.  The shop is on a side street in the East Village.  It is a long and narrow shop lined with funky decor.  The woman who own’s the shop bakes all of her tea treats each morning, and serves her tea in individual funky teapots.  She has a mismash of teapots and cups all over her shop, which makes it feel so much more like home!

I ordered a teashop blend of coconut black tea, while Brant ordered a darjeeling.  Mrs. Clause (as we refer to her, since she is fully dressed in her apron and cap) recommended this tea to him after asking him a little bit about his tastes in tea.  We also ordered 2 pink frosted cupcakes and some homemade chocolate chip cookies.

You order at the counter in the shop and seat yourself.  We picked a small table in the front corner to enjoy our tea, as well as, the ambience.  When the tea is ready, it is served on a tray with your individual teapot, teacup, strainer, spoon, plate of goodies and milk or cream (whichever you prefer).  We both fully enjoyed our tea and our teatime at Podunk!

It is definitely worth a visit on a trip to NYC!

marathon recap

This is it!  Marathon day!  I cannot believe that this day is finally here, and that i woke up 3am and was wide awake.  The race started at 7am, so our plan was to be to the start area by 6:15 in order to have time to stretch, use the bathrooms, and get in our corrals.  Therefore, we needed to leave the hotel at 6:00am.  My alarm was set for 3:30am in order to eat and digest before leaving my hotel room.  For breakfast, I ate my normal pre-long run fuel of an english muffin, peanut butter, a banana, coffee and water.  It was harder to make myself eat all that food due to my nerves, but I ate it all and was digested, dressed and ready to go before 6!

with our coach!

We arrived at the start area about 6:20, and immediately went to the bathroom line.  We were threw that in no time, and into our corrals soon after.  It always feels like you are standing in the starting line for so long, but today it was only about 10 minutes.  This race started in waves, so once 7am hit, the elite runners were off!  Then, each corral moved up and started every 3 minutes.  I was in corral number 3 (green), so as soon as they gave us the 2 minute warning, I got rid of my “throw-away” shirt, and started taking some deep breaths.  And, then the countdown started: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – and we were off!

the elite runners!

The start was great – I was feeling great!  I saw Brant and some other friends right after the starting line, which was definitely motivation that I could do this!

Mile 1

They had planned to spot me at other places along the route, so I was excited to look out for them at those points!  The first 10k was nice – fairly flat, fairly scenic, everyone was in a great mood!  We started down the main street in town in order to hit the 10k mark and it was lined with onlookers.  They were yelling out everyone’s names and just cheering people on (I definitely ran that mile too fast!), but they were pushing me along.  Shortly after the 10k I spotted my fan group (Brant, Brian, Jaimee, Andrew, Rachel, Debi, Eric…) and gave a smile and a wave.  How fun to spot them in the crowd!

The next 10k was great as well.  We ran through a few parks, up some hills (mile 9 was a killer!), and had some great support especially as we were making our way closer to the halfway point.  The halfway point was packed with people!  Half marathoners were finishing and marathoners were half way done!  It was definitely my favorite part of the whole race.  Once again, I spotted my fan group.  I was off to run another 13.1 miles, while they were off to breakfast :).

The next half was getting harder.  I needed to focus on my pace to make sure that I would have enough steam in me to finish those last few miles.  We made our way towards the river, which is where we would run the last 10 miles.  Once we were along the river, we were passing runners heading to the finish line.  We saw the lead male and female – it was so cool!  At mile 16, it was motivating to see those runners almost finishing, but by mile 19 I hated all of them!  They were past mile 20…and I was not!

Eventually, I hit mile 20 and was right on pace!  The spectators were few and far between during miles 14-19, but mile 20 was our turnaround and it was on a small main street with hundreds of people cheering!  People were passing our beer and chocolate brownies, along with the normal water and oranges.  Everyone was so into it.  And, there is was!  Right ahead of me, Mile 20!

I touched the cone at the turnaround point for good luck and made my way back up the gradual incline to the river for my final 6 miles.  Miles 21-23 were great.  I was focusing on pace, and cheering on the runners who had not made it to the turnaround yet.  But, at Mile 24 my legs started throbbing.  It was all I could do to keep them moving!  I knew that if I stopped, I would not start running again and I was determined to come close to my goal!  I still kept an ok pace of a 9:30 mile for these last 2.2 miles, but it felt so much slower than that.  I passed Mile 26, saw my fan group (to whom I did not flash a wave or a smile to this time!), and saw the finish line!

Mile 26

Those last .2 miles felt like the longest .2 miles I have ever ran, but I stayed strong until I crossed the line with my hands and head held high!

I did it!  I finished my marathon in 4:04!!!

garmin!

I could not believe it, and still cannot believe it 3 weeks later.  I could not be prouder of myself for sticking through the training and running a great marathon!

I eventually made my way through the finishers shoot – got my medal, mylar blanket and Philly pretzels in hand – and to the family meeting area to meet my family and friends.

Me, Brant, Brian & Jaimee

More of my fan group!

My legs were initially throbbing, but felt much better after a little walk back to the hotel, a snack, some stretching and a hot shower!

What a day!

the day before

We left bright and early saturday morning (nov. 21st) to make the trek down to Philadelphia for marathon weekend!  We woke up, packed up the car (who knew I would have 4 bags for a 1 week vacation?!), and hit the road!  The drive down was a breeze.  No traffic, and bright and sunny our whole way!  Once in Philly, we made our way over to the Convention Center for my number pick-up!

at the expo

There were a lot of people at the expo, which made me both more nervous and excited!  This was it!  My 18 weeks of training come down to one day – and that day is tomorrow!!  Holy moly!

While at the expo I picked up my number, packet and shirt.  It’s a great shirt!  I also changed corrals.  After much debate, I decided that I needed to start off with the faster runners.  It was up to me to be disciplined enough to keep my own pace, but I would be anxious to start the race, and even more anxious if I needed to bob and weave my way through the pack at the start (this wastes way too much energy!).  This ended up being a great idea for me, but more on that later!

The remainder of the day on Saturday was spent just lounging around, hanging out with friends, and eating!  We ate dinner at a fabulous italian restaurant right around the corner from our hotel, La Viola.  They had homemade pasta which was to die for!  I’m bummed I didn’t snap a photo.  The menu looked delicious, but I ended up ordering plain fusilli pasta with homemade tomato sauce.  I needed to keep it plain and simple the night before my big day!  After my pasta, lots of warm italian bread and water, I was ready to call it a night.

Back in our hotel room, I layed out my clothes for marathon day, put my name on my shirt and kept debating about what to actaually wear, since the temperature at start time was going to be about 40 degrees.  Chilly!

time to carbo load

It is getting so close to marathon day!!  I am so excited, but so nervous as well.  I know that I can do this…I can finish.  I have trained so hard for this, I have given it everything that I have, so I feel more than prepared for this big day!  I have a goal in mind, but will be happy enjoying the day and finishing!

I have been doing a lot of reading up this week to try to keep my mind off of the actual run…and I have been finding some interesting reading on carbo loading and how it actually helps an athletes performance. 

The biggest mistake that a runner can do is to overeat or eat to many fatty foods the week before a big race.  Research shows that the three days leading up to a race are the most important, so it is not the time to try new foods, rich foods, cheesy foods, etc.  I normally eat a very healthy diet, with some splurges every now and then.  I always say everything in moderation, but once I started eating healthy my body stopped craving sweets.  So, now I eat them when I want and crave them…not just to eat them.

This week, my goal was to stick to my normal eating routine of mostly protein and carbs with some fat.  I added some more carbs with lunch, and a snack in the afternoon.  Today (3 days before my race), I have been trying to eat more carb-dense foods.  Some pasta is on the agenda for dinner, mixed with protein.  I will cut down the fruits and veggies a lot for the next 3 days because sometimes my tummy gets a little upset from all that I eat.

Hal Higdon has a few tips for preparing for the race on his website:

  • Weight Gain:  Runners who have properly carbo-loaded should gain about one to three pounds-but don’t panic! This weight gain is good; it reflects water weight and indicates you have done a good job of fueling your muscles. For every ounce of carb stored in your body, you store almost three ounces water.
  • Fluids: Be sure to drink extra water, juices, and even soda pop, if desired. Abstain from too much wine, beer, and alcoholic beverages; they are not only poor sources of carbs, but can also hinder your ability to perform at your best. Drink enough alcohol-free beverages to produce a significant volume of urine every two to four hours. The urine should be pale yellow, like lemonade. Don’t bother to overhydrate; your body is like a sponge and can absorb just so much fluid.
  • Protein: Many marathoners eat only carbs and totally avoid protein-rich foods the days before their event. Bad idea. Your body needs protein on a daily basis. Hence, you can and should eat a small serving of low-fat protein-such as poached eggs, yogurt, turkey, or chicken-as the accompaniment to most meals (not the main focus), or plant proteins such as beans and lentils (as tolerated).
  • Event Day: Carb-loading is just part of the fueling plan! What you eat on marathon day is critically important and helps to spare your limited muscle glycogen stores. By fueling yourself wisely both before and during the event, you can enjoy miles of smiles.

Off to carbo load!!