Monday, April 25, 2016

From Blue Ridge to Boston:
Marathon Weekend Part 2

As those of you following our story know, the weekend of April 16-19 was a pretty busy one for us! We discussed the craziness that is the Blue Ridge Marathon and Star 10K in Part 1 of our Marathon Weekend recap. Well this post is for Part 2, which started on Sunday bright and early at 5:00 AM when we left from Roanoke (where the Blue Ridge Marathon was held) and flew to Charlotte, NC and caught our connection flight to **drum roll**.....


Our 5:59 am flight out!

We landed in Boston at around noon and checked into our hotel and hit the expo! First of all, though, we had to figure out the subway system, which fortunately wasn't that hard once we figured out how to use the kiosks to buy the tickets! Anyway, we hopped on the Blue Line, switched over to the Green Line (don't I sound totally Boston?) and we got to the expo on the one and only BOYLSTON STREET! The expo was crazy busy with a ton of hustle and bustle of marathoners and spectators alike. Mr. Marathon picked up his bib and his shirt and then we went to check out all the vendors. And believe you me, there were plenty to see! We saw Runner's World, Nuun, Clif, Healthy Warrior, Sam Adams (which was giving away free beer! that we didn't drink!), CEP compression, the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon series, and so, so, SO many more! Oh, and I think Adidas may have been there? (note: Adidas is like the main sponsor for the Boston Marathon. And they had the first quarter of the gigantic room for their booth. And there was a ton of Adidas merch. EVERYWHERE.)

That's a huge piece of pizza!
After braving the expo, we had some pizza at a local pizza place (Il Monda Pizzeria) that had GINORMOUS slices of pizza! Of course some of us (cough cough ALFREDO) had to have two. Ok, I'll cut him some slack because he was carbo-loading in preparation for the marathon. As well as still recovering from the marathon the previous day. After eating pizza, we walked around Massachusetts Avenue and surrounding streets for a little while and made our way back to Boylston Street to see the Finish Line! I knew that as a spectator, I wouldn't really get to see the finish line up close and personal on Monday, so I was excited to see everything before the marathon. So we took some pictures and gallivanted around Boston for a little while, then took the T (that's what they call the subway) back to our hotel and settled in and called for dinner, even though we had just eaten mere hours before. Carbo-loading AND recovery, remember???
Starting line photo....
Hey thanks Marathon Foto! ;)

The next morning, we (Mr. Marathon) had to wake up at 4:15 AM to get ready to take the T to the Boston Commons to catch his shuttle to the starting line in Hopkinton. He made his way and caught the shuttle at 6:00 AM and hung out at Athlete's Village until around 9:00 to get in his corral/wave for his 10:00 (ish) start time. Wave 1, Corral 1 started at 10, but he was in Corral 6 so that means he started a few minutes past 10. His race was a little more challenging than he expected. I mean, let's be honest- he had just run 26.2 miles on 3 mountains 48 hours before, but Boston has a net downhill elevation. What he didn't expect is that even though it's got a net downhill, ummm, it's still 26.2 miles, and it's still hard, especially on not-so-fresh legs!

The most interesting thing about this race for him was the fact that he hit a reverse wall...?? Don't understand? Stay with me. So what happened was he figured he would start feeling loosey goosey by the time he hit 6 miles, and he looked at his watch: boom! 6 miles arrived. And he still did not have that feeling he was looking for. He was hoping his legs would become warmed up, loosened up, and no longer stiff, and that they would be ready to run. But instead, he just had to keep pushing, especially because of the small hills that started popping up. One thing in his head was the he refused to walk. He didn't walk at Blue Ridge, so no way was he walking at Boston. The fact that he refused to walk caused him to experience a feeling of accomplishment, and once he arrived at Heartbreak Hill (starting at around mile 18), there were so many people walking up it. Not him. He was determined to keep running, and so that's exactly what he did. He tackled it, and the real reward was at the top: just 10K to go and his body had finally loosened up! At this point in the race he got a surge of energy! (Does this happen to anybody else in a marathon? Anybody??? No???? Didn't think so) He was just passing people who were cramping, walking, slowing down, giving up. But he felt great! All he kept doing was just waiting for that rush to come crashing down, mile after mile. But it didn't! He rode that (endorphin) high all the way through the finish. So after dragging through Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, and Wellesley, and pushing through Newton, and breezing through Brookline, he made it all the way through the finish with a right on Hereford, left on Boylston to the finish! However, once he made that left on Boylston, he was expecting the finish line... instantly. It seemed like it went on forever. It was disheartening, but nonetheless he crossed the finish line with a time of 3:10:27!!! He was proud of his time, but more proud of the fact that he refused to quit, and he gave it everything he had.

As for what's next: we have no clue. Blue Ridge Marathon 2017, Boston Marathon 2017 (if he manages to get his spot, thanks to his Charleston Marathon 2016 time), and possibly some other races here and there. And lots of recovery miles, of course. And food. Lots of that too. Considering while writing this post, SOMEONE (ahem, HIM) has eaten 4 pieces of pizza and 2 ice cream sandwiches.... HAH! We will also have to come up with a new blog title, considering we have completed our mission and this blog has become a reality. From Bassett to Boston: done. From 13.1 to 26.2: done!!!

Oh, and as always- more pictures! Enjoy!

Selfie with the finish line in the background

Yay he won! Jk this was taken the day before while sight seeing.

It's like Where's Waldo! Mixed with a word search.
And his name is Alfredo. Not Waldo.
So it's actually nothing like Where's Waldo, sorry.
Nobody Runs Like Boston
New Balance billboard
Pre race Flat Stanley
Boylston St!
At the expo... GOOD LUCK!
Runner's World did an article on us and put us on the cover.
Psych they had a photo booth at the expo.
Ok this picture looks like just a picture online.
But I promise Alfredo took this of
Shalane Flanagan- Olympic Marathon Qualifier !!
She was at the expo but the line was too long to take a picture with her. I fangirled!

He literally had just met these people at Athlete's Village. 
And they became friends.
More new friends at Athlete's Village
The push rim wheelchair racers were beasts! Got see them go by
I got one quick pic of him prancing by from
where I was spectating a little after mile 25!
He went by in a flash! That arrow is pointing to him.
Just take my word for it, I promise!
My selfie game is strong...
The winning pose from our fundraiser: THE ROCKY!

The real Rocky. This is not Alfredo in case you didn't notice.
Post race cheesin!

My parents joined me to spectate!
MHC Representin!
Alfredo with the amazing father-son duo Bobby and Gregg Dean
He was so kind to let me have my Boston mile! :)

Til next time, y'all!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

From Bassett to Blue Ridge:
Marathon Weekend Part 1

We had a very exciting weekend this past weekend. As many of you know, we had a marathon-filled weekend. On Saturday, April 16, mister and I traveled to Roanoke, VA for the Blue Ridge Marathon and Star 10K! It was a gorgeous day for a run, and on our hour drive north that morning, we got to see the sun rise over the mountains that we were about to DOMINATE!

The sun rising over Mill Mountain
As we arrived, we hit the potty and headed to the starting line. One of the best things about BRM being a relatively small race (this year there were approximately 2,200 runners in the full, half, and 10K combined), is that participants can park very close to the starting line (like across the street) and they don't have to wait ridiculously long for the porta-potties! Both are very important factors for runners. Anyway, everything went smoothly race morning and I was lined up near the back of the middle of the pack while mister was up front chomping at the bit (no, he was not biting anybody... just excited to go).

The start line

Blue Ridge Marathon: 
America's Toughest Road Marathon
Mr. Marathon knew that he had a challenge ahead of him on race day, as he would be running the 26.2 and 3 mountains today, which is always a challenge, but he also had to remember to keep some gas in the tank for Monday, when he would be taking his 26.2 on the road (erm, in the sky?) to Boston, MA! Just a mere 48 hours later! He decided to still push himself throughout the course, but to a certain extent so as to not overdo it. He chugged up the hills, and pushed (flew? pranced? levitated?) down the hills. His pace was everywhere from 5 minute miles through 9 minute miles. Whatever he did worked for him, though. He ended up crossing the finish line with a time of 3:07:47!! This landed him 1st place in his age group and 5th place overall! You guys, that's a 7:09 min/mile pace. On mountains. 3 mountains. With 7,430 feet of elevation change. Let that sink in... Pretty impressive right? He was very proud of his performance and felt like he did try to reserve some energy for his upcoming marathon on Monday, but he did push during every mile.

Star 10K
I decided this year was finally the year that I would participate in the BRM shenanigans. However, I knew I was not ready for the full right off the bat. I briefly considered the half, but then realized I would probably finish the half after SOMEBODY I know who runs the full (cough cough, ALFREDO GARCIA). And that would not be ideal. So I decided to start with the Anthem Star 10K, which is essentially half of the distance up Mill Mountain to the Roanoke Star, turn around, and run the other half back down. It was very challenging going uphill. I was determined to try to run as much as I could. That did not last long as I made it 2.49 miles up the mountain, then I began taking intermittent walking breaks. I got up to the top of Mill Mountain and was averaging 13:51 min/mile (ew), but then back down, I was rolling and keeping my pace under 10 min/mile (!!!!!!) and so I ended up with an average of 11:54 min/mile and a total time of 1:13:54! My pace was all over the place. I do attribute my downhill pace to the extra power boost I got from the mid-race mimosa I drank at mile 4!

And now, enjoy pictures from our Blue Ridge adventure!

Starting up Mill Mountain,
leaving downtown Roanoke

The Adam and Alison Ascent :
Maroon and turquoise balloons
 lined the section near the
very top of Mill Mountain
in memory of Alison Parker and Adam Ward...
loved this so much ! < 3

Uphill was torture!
And the ladies with orange shirts had a quote on the back:
"I eat hills for breakfast"
Apparently that's where I went wrong. I had eaten oatmeal.

At the top of Mill Mountain!
The Roanoke Star!

View at the overlook at the top of Mill Mountain

Drink Mor Moo-Mosas!
Don't have to tell me twice!


This was the lovely lady making the mimosas!

Mid-race mimosa for the win!
My awkward, blinded-by-the-sun finish line photo
My parents missed my finish
and arrived right after I crossed the finish line!
Oops! I finished too fast! 

Chugging along

I don't look like I'm going very fast,
but at this point I promise I felt like Speed Racer!

Striding downhill

This totally looks like a promotional image for BRM!
So presh!

Is he levitating? Is he a magical reindeer?
Posing with the real celebrity here:

Um hello, I am a running goat
running this marathon

Our only complaint of the race:
ALL of the finish line volunteers were standing against the barricades on the side that the spectators had to be on!
Spectators were not allowed to stand on the other side, so the race officials SHOULD HAVE stood over there. So watching for finishers proved to be very challenging.

Our best attempt at the finish line photo...
We appreciate the volunteers, but they had access to the whole other side!
We finished! Hooray!
Our makeshift sign:
Go Alfredo! Boston Bound!

He got a massage after finishing to help his recovery for Monday!
His watch showing his finish time!

1st place age group award!
This race was a great experience, and we settled down Saturday night to prepare for the next leg in our adventure: flying out to Boston for the one and only Boston Marathon!!!!!!!!!! Stay tuned and there will be a Part 2 to recap the Boston Marathon experience! Coming soon!