Back in Boston

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Last month Chris and I got back from a much need vacation to Boston.  Boston is one of my favorite cities ever and a reason for that is because it is such an amazing place for running.  Having worked there five times in the past couple years, I know the city pretty well.  It gave me a chance to show Chris around the city that I love so much.  It also allowed me to continue my training runs without getting lost.

On our first night there I decided to run with the Nike Run Club.  If you have been following my blog then you know that I used to run with Nike when I worked in Boston.  They didn’t have the long runs like I used to do, but they did have what they call a home run at 6:34 pm.  The home run is either a 3 mile or 6 mile run.  Our hotel was about a mile from the Nike store so I decided to do the 3 mile run along with running to and from there to make up five training miles.

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When I got to the store, there was a tent outside.  Apparently there are a lot more people that do this run then the long runs because the sidewalk was packed!  I checked in at the tent and was directed to the side where they had water and Gatorade.  I grabbed a Gatorade and drank it right away.  Shortly after that we started.  We were directed to a park a block away where we were led in a warm up.  That took about 15 minutes and then we broke into groups for the 3 and 6 miles.

The course was an out and back along the Charles River Esplanade.  On the way back I missed the turn so one of the pacers caught up with me and we ran back to the store together, chatting the whole way.  I love these Nike runs because the running community there is so great and it gives me a chance to run with others rather than running by myself like I normally do.

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The next morning I got up and did a short run around the river before sightseeing.  The weather was 55 degrees and perfect!  My pace wasn’t the greatest, but I was busy taking in all the sights.  It felt like I never left.  I remembered all the turns, landmarks, and street names.  Boston was still as beautiful as ever.

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I skipped a day of running and then got up at 6:45 am the following day to complete my long run for the week. I had about a month until the OUC Orlando Half so my long run was an hour and fifteen minutes with a ten minute cool-down (my Garmin plans are done by time, unlike using mileage with Nike +).  That time allowed me to run almost nine miles at a 9:33 pace.  Like the other morning the weather was nice and cold!  Even with the cold weather I had to remove my arm warmers after only a couple of hours.  I was surprised that after a year the same water fountains were not working!  Come on Boston!  I did have a very enjoyable  run through the Common and around the river.  Running around the Charles river as the sun rises above the Boston skyline has to be one of my favorite things to do.

Later that day I had the chance to show Chris around the river.  It was extremely cold there on the edge of the water, but he enjoyed seeing the sights.  It was my last time to visit my favorite running spot before we had to leave the next morning.  I know I will be back someday and Boston will be waiting there for me when I return, hopefully as I am crossing the Boston marathon finish-line.  Who knew this Yankee fan would end up loving Boston so much.  Farewell, until next time, my beautiful city.

 

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OUC Half Training – W10D68 – Distance 5 Miles

wpid-20151119_073253-1.jpgIt amazes me how people here act like runners don’t exist. It happens at work, but I didn’t expect it to happen when I am barreling down a hill at over seven miles per hour. One lady walked right in front of me crossing my path. She was on the phone and walking really slow. She was even looking at me while she did it! I barley missed her, but I couldn’t help think, what is wrong with people? A lot of these people don’t even seem to mind being run into. I have hit several and they just kept walking, not even turning around. It is like they are used to it and it doesn’t bother them. One guy at the end of my run today did turn around and look back at me like it was my fault. He was walking in the opposite direction, looking at his phone and not paying attention to where he was going. He drifted over in front of me at the last second on a very narrow path. I clipped his shoulder and kept going. People here make no sense.

Anyways, besides the people in the city on my first and last mile I had a pretty good run! I ran almost the same route as yesterday, but this time I ran on the path that was right on the water’s edge. As I was on this path during mile two I heard a noise that sounded like a dog collar behind me. I turned around and sure enough there was a dog! It was a beautiful, active looking dog and it ran by my side in the grass until it made it’s way to it’s owner. I just smiled; it was nice running with a dog even if it was only for a couple seconds.

Miles two and three were my slowest, but I picked up my pace during mile four for my return home. Mile five was supposed to be my fastest so I ran as fast as I could maintain for a mile while stopping for red lights. At one point I ran at a 6:44 pace! It was going downhill, I believe, but still a great accomplishment! My total time for the 5.03 miles was 46:02 giving me an average pace of 9:09. I felt great during the run and hope I can keep it up for tomorrow’s long progression!

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OUC Half Training – W10D67 – Distance 5 Miles

Another cold morning, but only two more days until I am back in Florida! Running in the cold never gets easier.  The wind cut right through my running clothes and my face froze from not being covered. Once at the river, the path to the left was still under construction so I took the path to the right.  When I hit two and a half miles I turned around and headed home.  I ran a total of 5.09 miles.  I don’t know how that happened because I turned around at the halfway point and took the exact same route home.  Like usual my last mile was my fastest at 8:48.  I couldn’t wait to get to my heated bathroom!  This run seemed harder than other runs recently, but I was glad I was able to push through it and complete it in a decent time of 47:28.  I did make the mistake of stopping to take a picture, because by the time I started running again I had cooled off already.  My hands hurt for the rest of the run!  Enjoy the photos:

OUC Half Training – W10D66 – Distance 7 Miles

I couldn’t believe how cold it was when I looked at the temperature on my phone this morning, and I had to double check it. Unfortunately, it was indeed 34 degrees outside. I reluctantly got out of bed to find some warm running clothes and then headed downstairs. I could feel the cold air before even I opened the front door. Once outside I stood there shivering while I started my Nike app and waited for the cross walk symbol to say it was okay to proceed.

I felt a little better once I started moving causing me to speed up and finish the first mile in just under nine minutes. There are no photos in this post because I was just too cold to stop and take any. Once I arrived at the river I noticed that the left side was now under construction. There were orange cones and detour signs blocking it off and I could see the machinery off in the distance. I took a right and followed the path around the river. I wondered when and where I would get detoured around the construction. I found out during mile four when I couldn’t enter the ramp leading from the Harvard Bridge due to even more orange cones and detour signs. I kept running and took the first left I could. I still needed about another mile so I ran back to the river to make up the mileage.

On my way back to the river a man yelled to me on the overpass that the path was closed. I was just here so I knew that was not the case and continued on my way. I took a right again, ran about half a mile and then turned around. As I made it back to the detour signs I noticed that there were quite a few runners on the other side. How did they get there? Both sides of the path were blocked. Did they go through the detour signs? I just shook my head and headed back to my apartment. I finished the 7.01 miles in 1:04:47 giving me an average pace of 9:14. I really hope it’s a bit warmer for tomorrow morning’s run.

 

OUC Half Training – W10D64 – Distance 5 Miles

wpid-20151115_095150.jpgI went running after nine this morning and it was still 40 degrees out. The cold motivated me to run faster as I ran an 8:57 first mile. As I got to the river I took a left and ran straight down my favorite five mile route. There were a lot of people out this Sunday morning despite the cold. I even saw people dressed in shorts and a short sleeve shirt! My Florida blood could never handle that. Since I started off so strong I decided to keep a strong steady pace the entire run. The pace wasn’t my fastest, but it wasn’t my normal slower training pace either. On mile five I sped up for my fast last mile like my training plan said to do.

I finished the five miles in 43:51 giving me a pace of 8:45! It has been a long time since I had a fast run outside, since I now do all of my speed work on the treadmill. According to my Nike app I ran my fastest 1k in 4:38 and my fastest pace was 6:26 per mile! I also hit 1000 miles since I started using the app in March. On Charity miles I am now 7th out of over 1000 other Gryffindors and I hope to climb up some more before the house competition ends at the end of the year.

After my run this morning I decided to head over to City Sports to pick up some energy gels and Clif Bars for my last two long runs before my race. I walk in the store and right away I noticed that there were yellow percentage off signs on almost everything. I walked around the store once and thought, “this is weird,” and that is when I looked up to see the closeout signs; City Sports was going out of business. I had heard a couple weeks ago that the one on Massachusettes Ave was closing, but I had thought that was a one store thing. Apparently the company filed for Bankruptcy and started closing stores in October. They wanted to keep the Boston ones open and sell them, but they couldn’t find a buyer so they had to resort to closing all of the stores. They just couldn’t compete with the national retail sporting good chains. This really hurts because City Sports was a nice local chain where I could shop for running gear while in Boston and at home from their website, and now it is no more.

Working at the 2015 Wine and Dine Half Marathon

wpid-20151107_200612.jpgThe Wine and Dine Half Marathon is held every November during the Food and Wine festival that takes place at EPCOT. The race is now the only runDisney race held at night. There is also an after party after the race at the Food and Wine festival. I began working with Track Shack at the Rock n’ Run last September and when I was asked to work at Wine and Dine I jumped at the chance to work at a Disney event. I was going back to Boston to work, so I bought planes tickets for that weekend.

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View of the Charles River, where I run every morning, on my way out of Boston

On the day of the race, Saturday the 7th, I woke up at 4:45 in the morning so I could catch my shuttle to the airport. I wasn’t able to get a direct flight, making me stop in New York city before I made my way to Orlando. I was so happy to make it back to Florida, even if it was for a short time. Chris picked me up from the airport, I spent a few hours at home to eat and visit my kittens, and then I was off to the ESPN Wide World of Sports, where the race started.

When I arrived, we were all given a tour of the starting area and were told how everything would work before and during the race. Most of us were what they called corral leads. We wore reflective safety vests and were in change of our own corrals. I was in corral “I” and was given four volunteers to help me out. They were very friendly and this was their first runDisney event. I had my work cut out for me because this was the first time I was working at a runDisney event and I was in charge of a whole corral and four volunteers! Our job was to make sure the right people were in our corral and then to lead everyone to the start line.

wpid-20151107_221249.jpgThe weather had been acting weird all night. There were gusts of wind as I stood in the corral waiting for the runners, and flashes of light all around us. At about nine o’clock when the runners were supposed to enter the corral area, I noticed the other corral leads and volunteers walking up to the field house. I was told that we were evacuating. All the runners were already up there when we arrived and we just waited around until we heard word on if the race would be canceled or not.

I felt really bad for the runners; they should have been training for this race for months and what if it was cancelled? All of that hard work would be for nothing. Some runners were still arriving on the buses and were very confused as they were ushered inside instead of towards the starting line. We were watching the weather radar on our phones and it showed us surrounded by storms. After a while we were told to head back to our corrals and we would find out if the race was canceled in about ten minutes. I waited at my corral and then my volunteers showed up. I guess this race would be happening after all! It turned out that the course would be shortened by about 6 miles! The part that ran through Animal Kingdom would be taken out completely.

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Empty corrals

A little while later I see thousands of people heading our way and a lot of them running! The runners were on their way and they were ready to race. This was probably the hardest part as the volunteers and I had to check everybody’s bib to make sure they were supposed to be in “I” as they hurried into the corral. They could also belong in a higher corral and be in “I” to run with someone who belonged there. The entrance to the corrals were at the back of each corral so that caused confusion as well as I had to direct people to the different corrals that they were looking for.

Eventually everybody made it into a corral and the race started about eleven o’clock, an hour late. After corral “A” started I had two of volunteers hold up a runDisney ribbon while I took off the mesh gate that separated corral “I” from corral “J.” The ribbon then separated the corrals as we moved toward the start line. Each corral started a couple minutes apart and then that time increased as it got into the latter corrals, so it was a slow progress towards the start line. While we proceeded, the other two volunteers stayed at the gate to direct runners to the last corral if they showed up late.

I could feel the excitement as we made our way to the start line. It made me excited for my Disney half marathon in February. I kind of wished I was running with all of the Wine and Diners when the fireworks went off. At the starting line the volunteers and I moved to the side so as not to get trampled by all the runners. Immediately I was told that it was time for us to head to EPCOT, where the finish line was. This wasn’t supposed to happen until later, but because of the shortened race length, we had to get going.

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Finishing chute

When we arrived at EPCOT, we made our way straight for the finish line. There was a huge finishing chute at the end where runners get various items, took photos, and made their way to the family reunion area to meet their loved ones who didn’t run. We were each stationed every so often in this area to make sure runners kept moving to avoid over-crowding. That was the hardest part of the entire day because my feet were killing me and I had been up since 4:45 am. While I stood there I was asked to take photos with people’s phones and asked different questions.

I was so glad when they finally released us to go home. I drove very carefully and made it back in time to take a shower, get a couple hours of sleep, and then head back to the airport for my return trip to Boston. It was such a long day, but I am so glad that I did it. Next time I will make sure that I can rest the day after the race.

I would like to say that I think runDisney and Track Shack handled the situation very well.  Their number one priority was the safety of the runners.  There were storms all around, so the race had to be delayed.  They also had to shorten the race because roads had to be opened up.  Sometimes things just happen and there is no controlling it.  They did everything in their power to make sure the race went on and everybody had a great time.  I was very impressed with how fast the corrals were loaded and the race started.  Disney races are some of the most organized and fun races out there and I am very glad that I got to work at one.

OUC Half Training – W9D62 – Distance 14 Miles

wpid-20151113_080721.jpgI woke up this morning just as the sun started to rise.  The temperature wasn’t too cold; a nice 50 degrees!  I only got about six hours of sleep during the night, but I was feeling pretty good and ready for my long run.  My training plan called for an easy fourteen mile run: my last fourteen mile run.  The first three miles, like usual, were some of my slowest and I was okay with that.  It is really good for your training to run a lot of slow miles to improve your aerobic capacity and that is what I did today.  For my fourteen mile route I ran two loops around the Charles River, Boston Common, and the Public Gardens.  I really like that the mileage adds up so perfectly and I don’t have to make up much distance after the loops are completed.  It makes time seem to go by faster when I know exactly where I have to run.  I don’t think about the distance and just run while my mind wonders and before I know it I completed a lap!

wpid-20151113_065807-1.jpgWhen I made it to the Common on the first lap they were putting up Christmas lights in the trees!  I have never been here during Christmas time, so I hope that they finish the decorating before I leave next week.  I decided to carry a water bottle today because of the lack of working water fountains last week.  For some reason I started getting really thirsty at mile four. Right after I turned around at mile seven to complete the loop in the opposite direction, I finished my water.  I was then forced to use the water fountains wisely.  Luckily there was a working fountain right near the bridge that I take to the Common, so before I went there for the second go around and when I got back to the river, I was able to hydrate.  I also chose that spot at about mile nine to open my energy gel which was chocolate again!

I was in such a hurry to finish the run that I started subconsciously speeding up.  For some strange reason my legs started to feel sore around mile seven.  Usually that happens later in the run.  Then my left foot started to feel sore.  For a brief moment I thought that my tendinitis from earlier in the year had come back, but fortunately, it didn’t hurt the rest of the day.  I’m hoping the soreness was just because I need a little break and not a serious problem.  With the race three weeks away I can’t afford to get injured.  I still can’t believe that I only have three weeks left until my first half marathon!!  Okay, now I am freaking out.

I finished the run strong with a time of 2:11:48 giving me an average pace of 9:23.  Tomorrow is a rest day and I couldn’t be happier about that.  After not getting much sleep last weekend because of Wine and Dine and today’s long run, I am in much need of a rest day.