Thursday, April 28, 2016

Inaugural Run for Chardon 1/2 Marathon & 5K is This Weekend!

Sunday, May 1 is a special day for the Chardon, Ohio community. It is the inaugural Run For Chardon 1/2 Marathon & 5K race. Proceeds from the race will be donated to the Chardon Living Memorial Fund to help remember the Chardon School Shooting victims and their friends and families.

Chardon is a small and lovely community with an adorable town square and cute neighborhoods among the rolling hills. This should be a fun and challenging course and there is prize money up for grabs! Top Five males and females in the 1/2 marathon have a shot at $500 for 1st, $400 for 2nd, $300 for 3rd, $400 for 4th and $100 for 5th. So, chances are you could win your entry fee back if you sign up! If not you still have a shot at top 3 in your age group awards! 5K awards will also be given out to the top three males and females thanks to Achilles Running.

Even if you don't want to run or just can't find the time, you can come out and cheer and make a donation here. Hope to see you there!

Monday, April 25, 2016

2016 Boston Marathon Race Report

It's hard to believe it's already been a week since I ran my first Boston Marathon! The whole experience was incredible. First off I would like to thank my family and friends that supported me in getting to this big goal of mine. Your cheers gave me the energy I needed to have a good race!

Day One:
The whole race weekend was a blast. Steve and I made it a road trip and  drove in this year. We had nice weather for travelling both there and back. We rented a great condo in Navy Yard this year right by the Charlestown Marina. We loved our place and it was great to have our own kitchen. Our first night in town we found a cute bistro around the corner from us called the Brewers Fork. They had an excellent craft beer list and wood fired pizza - what more could a couple or carbo-loading runners ask for?

Expo Day:
We met Scott Jurek!
Sunday was race expo day. The Boston Marathon expo is world class! After picking up our bibs and shirts we walked around the expo for a while. The highlight of the expo was meeting one of our running heroes - Scott Jurek! We also hooked up with our friend Jillian who was running her first Boston as well. Then we hooked up with our friend and fellow Snakebite Racing mate Mark for some much needed post expo beers so we crossed the street and headed into McGreevy's (bar owned by the Dropkick Murphys). After that it was time to head back to the condo for some prerace prep and we made a high carb dinner of pizza, garlic bread and roasted potatoes.

Race Morning:
Race morning went pretty smooth. We got up at 6am figuring that we would Uber over to the finish area to drop our bags and load the buses to Hopkinton around 7:15-7:30. We ate a big bowl of cereal, got dressed and headed out. The energy was electric as we walked to the athlete tents to drop our finisher bags. There were people screaming and cheering already. We bumped into our friend Karen who was running and then walked over to the commons to catch the bus. We were lucky to run into my friend Jen from Charlestown who I had met last year at the Cleveland Marathon. We hung out with Jen and her friend Siobhan as we waited to board our bus to the start in Hopkinton.

pre race before loading the bus
The bus ride went smooth and before I knew it we were in Hopkinton at Athletes Village. There were thousands of runners everywhere along with hundreds of porta potties, tents, snacks, etc. We ran into our friend Ryan walking in to the village and after using the bathroom we found a place under the tent to sit down in the shade. It was probably about 8:45-9 am but it was already getting warm quickly. Our time to leave the village was 10:20 or so with a wave start at 10:50. I was a sweaty, nervous mess. I had heard all the warnings about the race. Watch the downhill, don't go out too fast, beware of the Newton Hills. When the gun finally went off I was ready to get going.

Focused look!
Running Boston is unlike any marathon I've done. You are literally running with a sea of people for the whole race. Not to mention the hundreds of thousand of fans cheering. The crowd support was unbelievable...for the whole race! The miles ticked by quickly. I was overheated from the beginning and knew a PR was not likely and that a BQ might be a stretch but I had set a goal of 3:35-3:45.  I just tried to soak the experience in and keep within a pace that was comfortable given the heat and later the nasty headwinds that we battled.

My favorite part of the race was Newton. I actually enjoyed the hills (does this make me weird?). I also laughed through Wellsley as I read all the goofy signs and listened to the loud screams. I also really liked the last few miles. I picked up the pace a little in the end hoping to run a 3:40 but came across the finish in 3:43:11. Not a BQ or my best time but a time I am happy with for my first Boston and on a tough day for many.

Post Race: 
Snakebite after-party!
We  Ubered back to our condo to shower, change and eat and then met our Snakebite teammates Mark and Dan and Dan's wife for some post race celebratory beers and more food. Our first stop was a cool bar called Mead Hall in Cambridge followed up with the Cambridge Brewing Company. After that it was time for some much needed sleep.

The day after we walked around Boylston Street and shopped and took in the city - the streets filled with Boston finisher jackets (including us). I was pretty excited to have my finisher jacket embroidered with my time at Run Base at no cost! They were also doing free medal engraving at Marathon Sports but there was a long line and we did not have our medals with us anyways.

The next morning it was time to drive back. That was not much fun. Definitely not as fun as the drive there but we were ready to go home.

Closing Thoughts:
I was part of something special in Boston. It was the 120th year and the 50th year since the first woman Bobbi Gibb ran the race. I am pretty excited to say that I am a Boston Marathon runner! No doubt I will be back for more! My goal for the next Boston is to start in a faster wave (#2) and PR for the course.

Thank you to my teammates, family and sponsors this year especially Pearl Izumi, Nuun and Freeplay Magazine. My next big race is the Cleveland Marathon on May 15. I am hoping to run a BQ time there. Fingers crossed for cool temperatures and no rain this year!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Boston Marathon Weekend is Almost Here

For years I have watched the Boston Marathon streaming on my computer each year on Patriots Day. Last year I was there in person for the first time as a spectator cheering for my husband as he ran his first Boston. The energy in the city on Boston Marathon weekend and race day is magnetic. Boston people LOVE their marathon and so do the thousands of runners who come from all over the world to lineup in Hopkinton on "Marathon Monday" as the running community affectionately refers to the race. In four short days I get to lineup in Hopkinton for my chance to run the best marathon in the country and probably the world!

What makes Boston so special is that you have to qualify to be there, running with some of the best marathoners in the world. You can also run Boston for charity if you raise $5000+ for one of their charity partners but as a competitive runner I wanted to earn my spot there. My qualifying time as a woman in the 35-39 age group is 3:40. After four tries last season (Toledo 3:46), (Cleveland 3:52), (Charlevoix 3:42) and Erie (3:35) I finally got the job done. Prior to last year I had run the Cleveland Marathon three other times including the previous year. 

I am both excited and nervous with the race being just a mere four days away! I have had a pretty good running season so far and I am hopeful that my Boston experience will be a good one. I am tapering and my body feels pretty good this week...for a taper anyways! I have been warned to take it easy for the first half of the race, which is largely downhill and to save some energy for the Newton Hills and of the course for the final miles. If you're interested in tracking me Monday I am in wave 3, which starts at 10:50 am and I am bib #19350. I want to enjoy the race and not put too much pressure on myself so goal for the race is to run between a 3:35-3:45 depending on the course and weather (right now forecast looks to be on the warm side at 72). 

If I don't BQ in Boston that is okay. I will have more chances to BQ again for 2017 at the Cleveland Marathon on May 15 and then again this fall at one or two more races. My big marathon goal for the year is to run a 3:25 or close this fall in Erie. I still have some work to do for that but I don't mind hard work! 

Special thank you to the folks that have helped me this season including Pearl Izumi, Freeplay Magazine, Nuun, Honeystinger and of course to my teammates and sponsors on Snakebite Racing! It takes a village to achieve big goals!