7 Comments

Mud, Vegas, Fire (Part 1)

Holy cow. Life is awesome. I FINALLY did a Tough Mudder. Remember a while back I did a Spartan Beast and it made me feel like a badass? Well, the Tough Mudder gave me those similar fluttery warm, iron feelings. Spartan and Mudder are definitely different events, but they both test strength, grit and endurance all while getting dirty in mud. I loved them both and happy I have another obstacle course race in the books.

The special thing about this particular Mudder is that it took place on the same course I pitted for Stephen last year at the World’s Toughest Mudder. The familiarity helped, and I was stoked I got the chance to run around the rocks and hills. I was super jealous of Stephen knocking out miles upon miles on such pretty terrain and happy I finally was able to experience the course firsthand.

Pre Mud, clean and sunscreened! Our friends Matt and Erin came out to Vegas for the race and all the other Vegas activities. It is so fun traveling with friends!img_20181020_090439

That sun got hot pretty quickly on the course…

img_20181020_090250

Stephen

img_5650-cea969db4b7afcbd5962d6b5f5a0ba57

Me (and look at how proud Steve is) —————————————– >img_5656-b293bbf5d46f61fb88240de3bb7c020a

Out of 10 miles and lots of obstacles, I completed all of them! Felt strong with my grip strength and even stronger with hill and trail running. Check out the elevation for our run! 2,320ft gain! (loss was 2,238)Screen Shot 2019-01-08 at 5.39.06 PM.png

Obligitory ugly face picture.

img_20181020_124521_1

And our finishing picture. I earned an orange headband which i’m sure is the first of many more to come!

6111

So we spent some time in Las Vegas where our hotel was, but about half our time we tried to get off the strip to do adventure/outdoorsy stuff. Hence the Tough Mudder. That night after the race we hit up Las Vegas Beer Fest, which was SO much busier than the local brew fests i’m used to back in Maryland.

img_20181020_181739We’re ugly photo professionals. If you need tips feel free to email me!img_20181020_190053

The next outdoor activity was hiking around the Valley of Fire (1 hour outside of Vegas). We did several short hikes on an incredibly beautiful day. I’m not going to narrate this, just take a look at these pictures and go the next time you’re near Vegas. It was SO WORTH IT.

img_20181023_135556img_20181023_133015

img_20181023_105122

These were called “beehives”mvimg_20181023_104520img_20181023_105343img_20181023_113426img_20181023_104348mvimg_20181023_133948

Stephen, Me, Matt, Erinimg_20181023_135111img_20181023_115637mvimg_20181023_122717img_20181023_114923img_20181023_115240mvimg_20181023_134348mvimg_20181023_134223mvimg_20181023_122350img_20181023_125457img_20181023_125636img_20181023_123801

I felt like I was in Mad Max following behind Stephen, every picture I took made him look like an action star.img_20181023_125114img_20181023_125009

Vegas Part 2 is coming early next week! Hope everyone is enjoying these photo dump posts!

Ever Been to Valley of Fire?

What’s your favorite thing to do in Vegas?


4 Comments

The Best Snow Weekend Ever

Saturday started out with good company on a 12 mile run.

(This is how Laura and I start each of our runs, creating an album cover for our next rap album)

50080991_10104223223253791_5235287373994000384_n

Later that evening Maryland finally understood it’s January and instead of the rain we’ve been used to, we got a ton of fluffy, powdery snow. So Steve, Clint and I bundled up and wandered around the extremely silent neighborhood.

mvimg_20190112_210018The sky was SO bright from the snow!

img_20190112_210302Once we got back home we lit a fire and enjoyed staying warm while the snow kept falling. (picture below is from a week ago, not Saturday- but it’s a cool picture!)

img_20190106_131928-effects-1

Sunday morning Steve and I woke up way too early because we were so excited about playing in the snow again. After breakfast and piling the winter clothes back on, we walked to Clint’s, pounded on his door and said “COME PLAY!” (Yes we are all 30+ years old) We threw snowballs, lit another campfire and tossed Steve in a tree to get a loose branch down…

img_20190113_111959jpeg-imagimg_7723

Then we wanted to hike near the river again.

img_20190113_142339img_20190113_162031mvimg_20190113_161956img_20190113_161920

This was amazing. The temperature was perfect and we got to do some urban exploring.

img_20190113_154559img_20190113_155716img_20190113_155431

img_20190113_155115

Steve’s album cover:

img_20190113_155247img_20190113_154748

img_20190113_160136img_20190113_160325img_20190113_160446img_20190113_160559

img_20190113_162757

We made a beef stew and white chicken chili, watched movies and played Nintendo. Pretty sure this was one of the best weekends i’ve ever had. ❤

 


3 Comments

Nevertheless She Persisted, but Seriously Didn’t Want To.

Oh man. Okay. I know this is an old recap, but it’s super important that i write about it. I’m coming to terms that blogging is a dying animal, but I still use archived blog posts for help with training, mental training and remembering all the sweaty bad details to help with future races and training cycles. So as long as it’s helping me, I’m gonna keep writing. I hope this stuff is still helping some of you out there.

The Brokebabes Marathon was a last ditch effort to try and PR and see if my potential, my peak, had passed for the Boston Marathon training cycle. I’m still bitter about Boston. I’m still cold from April. Literally and figuratively. Even now, running in the east coast winter wind, it takes me back to some awful memories of Boston. It still makes me angry that my time didn’t reflect the training. Even Des Linden, winner of that race, said the conditions made the race equivalent to running 30 miles, not a marathon. As in, we couldn’t “race” a marathon, it was about survival, like during an ultra marathon. Those conditions shook the best of the best. As bitter as I am, that race has carved me into a much more resilient runner and I learned a ton about myself that day. I have a TON more to get out of these 33 year old legs.

Two weeks after Boston I won a 10 Miler race in southern Maryland at a blazing fast (for me) pace. I thought that I could possibly try and hit another marathon hard and the PR I’d worked so freaking hard for, would appear on a time clock. I found a local marathon where my extended relatives live, asked for a place to stay and signed up. The race was exactly a month later than Boston, if I had anything left in my legs this was the last shot.

Screen Shot 2018-12-14 at 6.59.07 PM

I made it to Ohio. Carbed up with Emmeline (we suck at taking pictures together btw). Did my normal night before race rituals while stuffing my face full of chips and candy, drinking a ton of Nuun and laying out a flat racer.

IMG_2262

Eating brunch leftovers

The course consisted of two 13.1 mile loops on generally flat, paved asphalt with a bit of dirt trail. However… dun Dun DUN!!! Thunderstorms in the forecast led to a last minute course change. Runners would be doing shortened loops around the park closer to covered shelter if needed.

I was mentally prepped for a 13.1 mile loop, the course change ended up being NINE 2.8 mile loops. Nine. 9. I’m not speaking German. Regardless of the change, I stayed calm about the whole situation and race morning went smooth as ever. I drove myself to the start of the small, local running event.  I warmed up on what started off as great weather, cloudy and cool. I felt good, strong and ready to work. I was excited!

IMG_2274

We all lined up, I set myself up at the front, and the race started. I followed directly behind the bike that was leading runners on the first loop so no one would get lost. My first miles were about 7:10/pace and felt easy. I remember hitting the first 3 miles, holding back and thinking, “Today is my day. I can do this.”

Very quickly after the 3rd loop, 6-ish miles in, things started feeling hard out of nowhere. My breathing was labored and it scared me a bit, so I slowed down, thinking I had plenty of time so early on. But nothing changed. Mile 7 and 8 came.  I stopped at my cousin’s stake out point with her husband and kids where I found myself hyperventilating. Becky told me to put my hands up over my head and try to relax. I didn’t realize it, but she told me a huge fog rolled in and it was extremely humid.

IMG_2271

Below is a snapshot of the race loop, the temperature and the humidity. I wasn’t imagining anything, 100% humidity. I’ve never raced in 100% before.

Screen Shot 2018-12-15 at 8.07.52 AM

Once I could talk to Becky between the wheezing, I told her I might drop out. This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever said out loud during a race. It made me tear up, and my cousin did her best to keep me calm and moving. After her pep talk,  I continued. I slowed quite a bit, and even with that adjustment to pace, I still had to take walk breaks to catch my breath and stop wheezing.

The time goal was no longer on my mind. I just wanted to finish. But let me tell you something, when you start walk/running a marathon at mile 8, you’re not going to have a good time. I felt like I hit a wall over and over again, yet I willingly kept slamming my body into it. As runners, we are taught that there are easy miles and hard miles, you just don’t know what order they’re gonna come. I stayed positive, thinking I was just going through a rough patch, and hopefully I’d be able to run (albeit not at my racing pace) but I’d be able to enjoy myself and do an easy long run. I didn’t drive all the way to Ohio, have my family watching me do an insane amount of circles just to be like “eh, I’m done.” So again, I continued on. Or should I say, “I persisted.”

Screen Shot 2018-12-14 at 6.36.35 PM

Zone 5 for the majority of the race is no bueno.

This marathon was about staying present and putting one foot in front of the other, whether i was running or walking. Just continuing on, quarter mile after quarter mile. (yes, i was checking my watch that often.) Every several minutes felt like an eternity, seeing the same course turns, markers, the water fountain on the left, the metal sculptures on the right, were driving me insane. The thing that kept me going was Becky, Josh, Gabby & Pierce cheering for me. I kept apologizing for how long this was going to take (must be that weird Midwestern, Catholic, probably should be Canadian problem I can’t shake).

Each loop they cheered me on like I was winning the race. Like I was the best runner they’d ever seen. The fun thing was… I was winning the race. If I’m not mistaken, there were 5 women in the marathon and most of the event were half marathoners. I received cheers and “keep going” “you’re looking awesome” etc, from a ton of people. And that, quite honestly, kept me mentally in it. I didn’t check out, I wasn’t giving up. Marathons are hard and humbling. Somehow through it all, I was having fun and enjoying a very long Sunday run.

32375957_10216865221525576_3702312416751648768_nI finished in 3:47:44, the course was short (25.7 miles) but I just didn’t have it in me to go beyond the finish line.  Just tack on the excess mileage from all the other marathons and we’ll call it even. I’m proud I was able to finish. Proud I can walk/run a sub 4:00 marathon. And proud of my first ever marathon win!

IMG_2279

The biggest takeaway from this? I set a positive example for some awesome young kiddos. My second cousins, Pierce & Gabby won’t forget the day I ran a marathon and for that I don’t regret pushing on for a second.

Screen Shot 2019-01-01 at 1.17.41 PM

The nicest FB post, from my cousin ❤

The second learning experience, especially as I start to dip my road weathered toes in the ultra world is that during longer endurance races “the wall” isn’t predictable. It won’t always come between miles 18-22 as it often does during a marathon. And sometimes, it won’t be a bad couple miles, it might end up being a bad 20 miles. I scored a lot of mental points, knowing I can still go on and move forward, even when the body rebels and conditions aren’t ideal.

Screen Shot 2019-01-01 at 2.06.42 PM

And if all else fails, Ohio has some great places to stock up on beer.

IMG_2959

What are your big plans for 2019?

Any races on the schedule?


3 Comments

Back to Asheville!

I lived near Asheville in the small town of Black Mountain, NC during a few months of my 8th grade year. My mom and sister both lived there when I was in my 20s so i’ve visited plenty of times. It is such a refreshing and unique place to go and I couldn’t wait to take Steve for his first time!

We started our first morning in Asheville with a hike up to Mount Mitchell. If you recall this is where my mom took me on my trip from last June. Mom and me did a short half mile out and back on a very pretty trail near the summit of Mount Mitchell, and I’ve wanted to come back and go further out ever since… go figure, endurance runner wants to go longer.

We took a few pictures at the top then started on our trek.

IMG_20180907_115432

IMG_20180907_120155IMG_20180907_115509

“What’s your goal for this hike?” Stephen asked, walking a few paces in front of me.

“I don’t know, what do you want to do?” I replied with a typical female response. I knew Stephen well enough to know he already had a set plan, and I already knew I’d go along with it.

“I want to go four hours. Two hours out, two hours back and negative split on the return.” said Stephen, happy and full of energy.

IMG_20180907_121304

IMG_20180907_123445

My view for the next 4 hours was pretty spectacular 😉

MVIMG_20180907_123447

Up, up, up we go! Our total elevation was just about 2500ft

IMG_20180907_121833

IMG_20180907_122516

Quads were killing me, but the weather was perfect and the views were outstanding.

IMG_20180907_142243

41413809_10102322831863273_3201936803938435072_n

And down, down, down…ropes were in some steep areas and much appreciated!

IMG_20180907_122149img_20180907_152112.jpg

img_20180907_1243081.jpg

Looks like we were standing in front of a painting. Also this must have been way early on in the hike for us to be so smiley.

Screen Shot 2018-10-01 at 5.57.14 PM

After our 4 hour hike…Actually 3:55, we did in fact, negative split! We cleaned up and drove to Ivory Road Cafe & Kitchen, a place we had to hit up since the owner and chef is an old friend of Steve’s.

IMG_20180908_090953

Steve & Jill
IMG_20180908_092526

We ordered several things off the menu and all of it was to die for! I apologize for the lighting, but we needed to sit outside. The weather in Asheville was beautiful in early September compared to the oppressive humidity back home.

IMG_20180907_193823

IMG_20180907_194603

IMG_20180907_205812

MVIMG_20180907_200233

You can’t really see, but there’s an egg in the middle of this cast iron skillet of cinnamon roll goodness… I declared this in my Top Five Favorite Breakfast Dishes of All Time. And if you know me and my love for breakfast, this was a big deal.mvimg_20180907_200157.jpgSo much of a big deal that the next morning we showed up when Ivory Road opened for breakfast. What? We needed to fuel our morning hike…with donuts that they bake fresh and special on Saturday mornings. Travel Tip: get there early, the fresh donuts sell out fast!

IMG_20180908_090839IMG_20180908_090834

Our breakfasts, and coffee and a lemon donut! Don’t get me started on my lemon love.MVIMG_20180908_092434img_20180908_091228.jpg

After we carbed up we left for a much shorter waterfall hike at Pisgah National Forest that Jill suggested we try. Since the route was shorter we ran most of the trail until we got to the waterfall where the hike turned into a climb and ascended, what seemed to me as, almost vertical. It actually scared me a bit, not the heights, but my legs were in garbage time from the day before and I didn’t have much confidence in the going down part after all the climbing. You know how after a marathon or long run going down stairs is the tough part? Yep, that’s kinda what I was experiencing. I just didn’t trust my legs that morning, so we made it up about 3/4 of the way took some fun pictures on the way down near the falls, and ran back to our car.

IMG_20180908_114938IMG_20180908_112311IMG_20180908_105712-EFFECTSMVIMG_20180908_112837

It was finally time to head to downtown Asheville and hit up a few breweries. One I’d been dying to try was Wicked Weed’s Funkatorium which features a ton of sour beers.

IMG_20180908_172126

IMG_20180908_194748

not Funkatorium, but still out for a good beer

This place had a great outdoor area with bocci ball and cornhole. I absolutely will go back.

clone tag: -6282837955100101204

And that was our trip! 2 great hikes, a ton of amazing food and new beers! It will not be our last trip out there. Til’ next time…

IMG_20180907_111812-COLLAGE

What’s your favorite place to hike?

Who’s running a fall race? 


6 Comments

Ragnar DC – Sentence Per Picture Recap

Hi guys! I’m still plowing through the remaining fall race recaps, mostly to scrapbook and keep pictures organized. I apologize these races are old, but I can’t not post these. Too many great picture and memories that absolutely need to be on the blog.

I wanted to do something fun/different with the Ragnar post. Giving you mostly pictures and less chatter. Plus, I think i’ve recapped enough Ragnar’s for you to get the gist. 2 vans, 2 days, 12 people, little sleep, and a lot of fun and peanut butter. Enjoy!

Our fridge always has fun things to say…

22007598_10154964988522135_2505691705404846310_n

Time to decorate the van!
IMG_20170922_115143IMG_20170922_115201
Bff’s for life…Steve & Clint21766782_10101940021887533_837669613674356631_n

IMG_20170922_104917

So many amazing views!IMG_20170922_140728

IMG_20170922_140830IMG_20170922_142010

Clint, Steve, Josh & Me.

22046798_10101940024242813_8293038296072353790_n

Josh, Jen & Me. We had a really fun breakaway finish line we used during the race. Big hit, highly recommend getting one made!

21765219_10101940023414473_7186836973272265504_n

So happy when I’ve been under slept and fully caffeinated. 21766353_10100166942469848_7765123196585653957_n

I have to what? Run 900ft up a mountain? 21767965_10100166942619548_5829279076512379710_n

Guess I should stretch…21618039_10100166942599588_6921656752472737216_n

What goes up must come down. On the backend of the 800ft incline, the 800ft elevation loss helped me PR my 5K time with 20:04. A nap was deserved. 21761960_10100166943258268_2722906189281368055_n

No sleep, makes us all a little silly.

22046546_10101940025954383_3971585067487933282_n

21764771_10101940022401503_2660913952164783196_n

Finishing leg 2 of 3.21766373_10101940022067173_6907849611830540212_n

Everyday i’m…21762029_10101940022012283_4094527894663939797_n

Chillin’ at the finish line/port-o-potty line.22008482_10101940021827653_2883613740745346470_n

What are Hot Shots?

21762175_10100166943288208_5225877753323723733_n

Running at night.

IMG_9619 (1)

Oh man, is he really running with me up the mountain? My life = complete.22007801_10101940021702903_1751003791167305673_n

The handoff to Clint…

22046148_10154964983387135_4025240733275720042_nAnd the handoff to me…21768136_10100166974131398_6189094536953477190_n

Off I go on the last leg…21764939_10100166974919818_1918494675656913503_n

IMG_20170923_071123

And all of us together at the end!

21765167_10101940028434413_4015258811692984614_n

Barbara, Nick, Normalied, Andrew, Me and Steve.

IMG_20170923_182856

IMG_20170923_183304_1

IMG_20170923_183307

IMG_20170923_184306

IMG_20170925_182741

Anyone doing a Rangar this year?


4 Comments

The Tale of Two Ten Milers

(Okay not so much of a tale, but more of a few humble brags and fun running pictures.)

Soon after Boston the questions, “Are you taking time off running?” and “When’s your next race?” pop up. Friends and co-workers all kinda laughed when I said Steve and I already signed up for two back to back 10-Miler weekends.

Six days after the marathon we had the Columbia 10 Miler on the schedule. I was using this as a shake out run and didn’t want to push hard so soon after Boston. And Steve hadn’t been running more than a few 5k’s each week. He sacrificed time out on the road to be sure I got in all my marathon training miles. (If I haven’t said thank you, Thank You Stephen.) Our Columbia 10 Miler goal was to finish in 1:30-1:40 which breaks down to 9-10:00 minute per mile pace. We thought that would be doable for the day.

If you can spot us below, I’m pretty sure we were chatting about pace, downhill felt awesome!

mg_7379.jpg

_MG_7381

I had to wear my Boston shirt, but I didn’t know we’d be matching… oops.

We cruised. Hitting much faster paces than we had talked about, and working hard without over doing it. That’s key for distances over the 10k.

_MG_7723

We took a gel at Mile 5 and later learned that Steve needs more nutrition for that type of duration. We maintained a good pace, slowed just a bit, but there was a point around mile 8 where he just felt out of energy. He needed more fuel. Lesson learned!

We crossed the line in 1:22:41 (8:16/pace)

Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 7.17.44 AM

@shesgoingforspeed

Steve is a lot like me with running and fitness, he’s a workhorse. Even low on energy he never lost steam. It’s the part of running where your mind takes over and you ignore the body. You can do anything for a mile or two. I broke down the end of the race in minutes instead of distance. So i’d tell him, “We have about 5 minutes left to run.” To me, minutes are easier to wrap the mind around than distance. Time goes down, distance seems far. I’ve been using this trick for the last year, especially during the final miles of a marathon.

Stephen PR’d his 10 Mile and I finished feeling pretty good. I was so proud of him, but little did I know a week later he’d do it again…

The following weekend we headed south to St. Mary’s for the next ten. Last year this race was a half marathon and we ran it the day after completing a Ragnar Trail event. I will never forget how it felt waking up that morning, like a truck had run us over and we were about to go run another 13 miles in the heat. Haha.

Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 7.17.56 AM

We both don’t normally run in compression socks, but we were brutally sore and thought it was a good idea, even in the heat and humidity.

IMG_1142

Anywho, we headed down, settled into a Comfort Inn, grabbed dinner and relaxed in the hotel. I knew I wanted to run this ten miler hard. I wanted to see if the training I had put in for Boston was still there. I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t and still don’t feel like I got to use the training because the weather in Boston held me back that day. I was still hungry to see the Garmin flash numbers that showed the training.

It was a cold breezy morning and both of us seemed ready to work. We warmed up, stretched and soon after some encouraging words to each other, we took off.

_MG_8846-XL

_MG_8849-XL

I went to work immediately. I knew the 10 mile tempo workouts I had been doing once a week since January were paced between 7:10-7:20s. My goal was to do a normal for me tempo and try to stay near those paces, hopefully finishing between 1:10-1:15.

The picture below is me thinking “oh god, wind.”

_MG_8896-XL

_MG_8906-XL

I tried not to think about the wind. I kept reminding myself that Boston’s weather was 10000x worse and it was sunny and mild out. I could deal with wind.

I could also deal with the pace. 7:05s were showing up on my watch and it didn’t feel too bad. I knew it was going to hurt for a bit until I settled into the pace, and I was right.

_MG_8994-XL-1

_MG_9050-XL

Below: notice the wind in my hair haha. We had it at our sides on some roads, but on the open country roads it was head on terrible wind.

_MG_9004-XL

There were a couple out-n-back turnarounds where I got to see Stephen and get a few high fives in passing. It definitely helped my morale. I was running even paces, I felt good, but like any race, it’s hard to run hard for extended periods of time. And almost every turn was into headwind, which I was so over.

Can you spot Steve below? These are the open, flat, boring, windy roads I was talking about.

_MG_9080-XL

A left turn happened and the wind died finally. The camera guy caught the moment of sweet relief going into mile 7. About 21 more minutes of work.

_MG_9261-XL

I chased the few guys in front of me, never letting anyone pass. My pace started hitting 6:45s, I just had to push for a few more minutes.

_MG_9351-XL

I finished in 1:09:13 (6:55/pace) 1st Female

_MG_9474-XL

Steve finished in 1:19:57 (7:59/pace) 3rd in his age group! He absolutely crushed the Columbia 10 Miler, PR’d AGAIN and if post race memory serves me correctly he said to me,  “I’m coming for ya.” That’s my man.

_MG_9878-Edit-XL

_MG_9890-Edit-XL

We had two very good races back to back which were great practice for the future. Stephen’s 2nd gel at St. Mary’s obviously helped his energy and finishing speed and I learned that my Boston speed wasn’t a fluke.

Neither was this picture I took. Always happy to catch the fun moments.

Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 7.18.33 AM

Have you ever raced a 10 Miler?

What’s your favorite race distance?


6 Comments

RAW: A Boston Marathon Recap

It was like running on a treadmill in a freezer, with someone throwing buckets of water at you with a high velocity fan to the face and another person is just fucking with the incline button for 26 miles.
-Cori Maley

Yep, that’s me describing the Boston marathon either on the ride home to the hotel or at dinner that evening. I honestly can’t remember, the entire day was such a cold, wet blur.

The day before marathon Monday the tv weather forecast read: “RAW” (where it usually says cold, warm, ice, snow etc.) I pointed at the tv and asked Steve if he knew what the hell that meant. Raw. 40 degrees, real feel 22 degrees, 15-20mph sustained E/SE wind (that means headwind for the duration of the marathon), gusts up to 50mph and oh yeah, watch for falling trees. Splendid.

IMG_20180414_183309

I woke up in Boston Monday, April 16th feeling excellent. Better than I thought i’d feel, even though I knew the weather was going to be a disaster. My head was screwed on right. I was going to face the hardest race conditions of my life head on for 3+ hours. Stephen reassured me that morning (and all the weeks leading up) that I was well trained for this, and a very strong runner. I’d finish the race and run the best I could. Like I always do.

I had good feelings until we got on the busses taking us to Hopkinton. All I heard for the hour drive were runners throwing their goals in the trash, talking about how hard this was going to be, how awful the weather was, they “can’t believe this is their Boston experience” etc. I stayed as positive as possible. I knew my goals were lofty and I would have to shift to effort based running depending on the wind, but my god people… rain isn’t a big deal and to throw your race, to throw 16-20 weeks of tough marathon training down the drain because the weather wasn’t ideal? In my head as I sat silently amongst some very negative runners, I knew I was mentally tougher than most.

I’m not delusional though. I do understand the affect of the elements. Temperature, weather, wind, cold, the sleet that started coming down while I waited the 40 minutes for a port-o-potty were going to slow my pace. While standing in line, a girl from Charlotte, NC caught my eyes under the mylar blanket i hooded myself in and went off like a cannon. “Can you believe this sh*t?? This is going to be *expletive* horrible! I can’t believe I flew in from NC!!!” …yada yada more expletives, you get it, she was NOT happy. I turned to her, red faced, purple lipped, shaking and said, it’s not going to be that bad once you get moving. Yeah this weather sucks, but you know what, we get to run a marathon today and when we’re done we get to say we ran Boston. It might not be that bad, try to stay positive.

IMG_20180414_165000

It might not be that bad. <—This was about as close to rainbows and butterflies as my morning went. Once I finally made it to the bathroom, my corral was already 15 minutes ahead, walking down to the start, which was a .7 mile walk away from the mud pit ahem i mean, Athlete’s Village.

I sat down on the mylar blanket. If you don’t know what this is, it’s the shiny space blanket runners get after marathons to keep their body temperature warm. It was a life saver and I just so happened to find it on the bus that morning. Alright, so, I’m on my blanket to try and stay out of the mud, to change socks, get my ipod ready, my fuel belt on. Last minute details which should have been easier had my fingers worked. It took longer than normal, I fumbled and cursed. I wish I had more clothes, I wish I had Hot Hands, I don’t want to run like this. I don’t want to run. It might not be that bad. Walking to the start corrals, it felt good to get moving, and was entertaining to see so many people trying their best to stay dry. Like walking to the corrals with grocery bags around their shoes. News flash: in rain like that, your shoes don’t stand a chance. In ankle deep puddles, which we hit in the first mile, your shoes don’t stand a chance. Just pray you wore the right socks to avoid blisters.

Am i boring you yet? I just think it’s important to set the stage as to what went on before the race started. This was the first and only time in my running career I wanted the race to end before I even stepped foot on the course. I can’t tell you how uncomfortably cold I was before the start. But once the gun fired, and our corral was off, I did get excited to start running and hoped to warm up, still optimistic things would get better.

0040

I embraced the rain. It honestly never bothered me too much. I kinda enjoyed running through the puddles, except when I got splashed from the runners at my sides: It felt like my crotch was getting water boarded. That was COLD rain. Cold. Icy cold. The rain was coming down. Off and on it would let up and drizzle, then in the next minute would downpour where I couldn’t pick my head up to look around. Notice I’m not describing the small iconic towns leading to Boston like most articles and recaps would normally detail. It’s because I didn’t see most of it. I wore a hat to shield the water from my eyes, which helped a ton, but looking up and around was mostly out of the question.

I remember seeing a train station in Framingham (i think) and thought it was pretty cool, then my head went back to looking ten feet in front of me. This is why I felt like I was running on a treadmill. I stared at asphalt for 3 hours. About 5-6 miles into the race my feet and fingers regained feeling. This isn’t so bad and my splits were looking alright. I kept reminding myself not to go too fast, stay conservative for the Newton Hills and the cold/wind which will zap energy. I needed to save all the energy I could to get to the finish.

0022

Around mile 8 I saw a Medical Tent and asked myself if I wanted to drop out. I started doing time/distance/Uber/How-mad-would-Stephen-be math in my head, then looked at my watch, hitting 7:30-7:40s pretty consistently and not actually feeling bad isn’t enough of a reason to drop out. But I wanted to. A lot. Also, I thought I might have to pee… but getting into a port-o-potty was completely out of the question. I knew if i sat in something out of the wind and cold I wouldn’t get back out, and didn’t want to worry anyone watching the app, getting mile splits and wondering what the heck happened if I just stopped.

I told myself to get to the halfway mark and assess. I tried high fiving kids, but my fingers hurt too much. I still gave my best smiles to volunteers, officers and to the crowds that lined the course. They were all so awesome, so needed, so necessary. 13 miles came and I hit the halfway mark at 1:40, which meant if I negative split somehow, I could squeak in a small PR today. I wasn’t running happy, I did NOT have a good time out on the course, but I was super pleased with my effort which reflected my training paces more than the clock would show that day. In hills, I slow about 25 seconds per mile, the same in winds above 15mph. The fact that i was going 22 seconds slower than my marathon goal pace in wind, cold, rain, etc says a lot. And I would have had a great PR if just one of those dang elements were absent that day.

0039

Alright back to the epic cold run. The Newton Hills. I saw the sign that said you were entering Newton (about mile 15-16) and i knew there would be some climbing until Heartbreak Hill at 21. My head went down and I went back to work. Watching the asphalt fly under my feet, feeling the gentle grade changes, up and down. Finally, I looked up again and saw a Nuun tent! Woo! Picked up my one and only cup from the race (I was holding a small 10 ounce bottle with Tailwind that took me 13 miles to drink) and shortly after I glanced up and saw a brown banner that said “Heartbreak is Over!” This was the only time on the course I laughed, I can’t believe i was holding back for this… Heartbreak hill was easy, the Newton Hills were just a few grade changes, knowing the last 5 miles were generally downhill, I hit it and tried to run faster. Tried.

My legs wouldn’t open up. I couldn’t finish as strong as I wanted, I couldn’t feel my quads at this point. The cold and wind were holding me back quite literally. I still pushed and maintained, fought and rallied. I was keeping an eye out at Mile 23, my friend Jordan and her husband Jake were going to be on course, and I desperately needed a pick me up. Somewhere around 22 (I think, it could have been earlier, this was all such a blur) I saw a woman holding a sign with a cartoon beer mug and what looked to be a dixie cup of glorious pilsner. I did a middle of the road 90 degree left turn and asked, “IS THAT BEER?!” She smiled and handed it me. I chugged the 6 ounces of liquid carbs and pain killer. Sorry mom, I take candy, booze and other things from strangers. Quite often now that I think about it.

0038

The 23 sign came and went and I was a little disheartened, but not more than a few moments later I heard Jordan and Jake screaming my name and holding a wet, white sign that read Cori Maley Whiting, IN! (my hometown and where I know Jordan from) I stopped to hug her and started crying/hyperventilating and she yelled at me to keep going. It took a few minutes to stop gasping for air (crying and running is not easy).

I needed that. I could run a 5K. I will finish. I tried to pick up the pace, I suppose I did here and there, but my legs were ice cold and still couldn’t open my stride. When I tried, the wind was quick to put me in my place. I saw my watch, did quick math and knew I was close to a PR, but I didn’t think it was smart to attempt to push 7:00 minute miles just for a few seconds off my current best time. I chose wisely and tucked my headphones away (my 10 year old ipod nano is now broken btw) and took in what I could of the last half mile of Boston. The iconic, “Right on Hereford, left on Boylston” repeated in my head.

And like that, it was over.

0039-1

I crossed the Boston Marathon finish line, profusely thanked the volunteer who slung a medal over my neck and to the women who wrapped me in the very fancy velcro hooded mylar coat and heard my group yell to me. Steve, Clint & Matt were right there behind the barrier. I left the food, drinks, free Sam Adams beer for the other runners, I just wanted to get out of the weather.

3:21:54 (1:05 slower than my PR)

Steve was so proud of me, my effort and impressed with my splits. I felt the same, I was pleased with my effort, even though I did not have one ounce of fun. I never gave up and I stayed positive. That in itself was worth starting and will make me an even stronger runner for future races.

20180416_172031

After marathons I usually cross the line with a new version of self worth, appreciation and knowing I can accomplish big things. But after that day in Boston, I feel unbreakable. I truly feel like I can get through anything. I have run in rain, heat, snow, sleet, hail, wind, ice, 9 degrees, up trails, down mountains, through mud and in the middle of the night. Stephen has pushed me so far out of my running comfort zone during the last year so I could become a better runner. He saw potential in me during our first trail runs together where I was SO uncomfortable and afraid and constantly rolling ankles and sobbing because it was just too plain hard. Why am I gushing so much over him? Because I wouldn’t be the runner I am today if it weren’t for him. I’ve never had someone believe more in me. I owe him. He just made me fall more in love with a sport i’m already obsessed with and gives me the courage to constantly do my best.

IMG_20180414_135815-EFFECTS

My final thoughts on Boston: It was that bad. And totally not fun but I’m so glad I didn’t skip it or quit along the way and so happy with my effort and the time I crossed the line with. As much as I didn’t want to go back and repeat Boston, I may just have to…I would kinda like to see the course. haha.

FullSizeRender (9)

Tuesday morning I gazed out the hotel window at the Charles River one last time before we drove back to Maryland. It was dry, cloudy, 45 degrees and with my head cocked to the side like a dog, I noticed the waves on the river were moving the opposite direction. A western breeze. Absolute perfect marathon conditions with a tailwind. Funny how life works like that sometimes.

IMG_20180414_123405