Sunday, April 24, 2016

Boston 2016

Marathon weekend began on Friday with a trip to the expo to pick up my bib number. I dropped the kids off at school and took Oliver in the stroller to the expo downtown. He was excited about riding the train, but not as jazzed about waiting in line to pick up my bib number. I didn't walk around the expo this year; it's not nearly as fun with a kid in a stroller and I wanted to stay off my feet as much as possible, so we headed home and scrubbed bathrooms and did laundry and such to prep for hosting people.

My big sis Janis and her husband (also named Scott) flew in Friday afternoon. One of my BYU cross country and track teammates, Sherida, flew in that night. Sherida actually transferred to Boston University from BYU her final year because her husband entered dental school here. She was here and in my ward when Scott and I first moved to Boston 12 years ago, so we have lots of good memories and she had a bucket list of Boston things to do (again!). Anyway, my sister and husband got the futon in the living room and Sherida got Phoebe's bed, so we all squeezed in our place for marathon weekend.

I warned everyone that I would be a bad host. If they wanted to walk the Freedom Trail, good for them but I wasn't going to be a good entertainer. So Janis and Scott and Sherida went about their Boston bucket lists on Saturday and Sunday and I went about my usual business: babysitting friends' kids, cooking, more laundry, church, pasta party, etc. All week I'd been obsessing over the weather. At first it said Monday would be a high of 64 and cloudy, then it climbed as high as 73 for the high, then downgraded to 57 for the high. I think the weatherman was playing with the marathoners because even the final prediction was completely wrong.

On Sunday night I got out my uniform and shoes, bib number, gear bag, and food. I pulled out my fancy new arm sleeves that I had just purchased a few days ago. I pulled it out of the package and realized that it was actually just one sleeve; apparently Adidas sells arm sleeves as single entities. Ridiculous, right? That's what I get for waiting until the night before to open the package. No fancy arm sleeves then. Turns out I didn't need them anyway.

On Monday morning Oliver woke up at 4 a.m. Scott got out of bed to help him get back to sleep and I laid there for another hour or so, but never fell back asleep. I got up and got ready and headed to the train with Janis and Scott (Sherida got up really early and was out the door fast!). Because I run for the Boston Athletic Association, the club team that hosts the marathon, I was able to catch a sweet charter bus. There was an assortment of "VIPs" on the bus: employees of companies that sponsor the marathon, celebrities, etc. The guy behind me talked about his longest run of 16 rainy miles being so hard. Poor guy. There was a Tarahumara Native American in sandals made out of tires in the row in front of me. I saw him talking to Scott Jurek at the Athlete's Village later. At the Athlete's Village, I held a door for supermodel Christy Turlington Burns.

About 45 minutes before the race, my teammates and I headed to the starting line. My bib number 2993 had me in the first start wave and third corral, but I moved back to the fifth corral so I could try to run with my teammate and Tuesday night training partner Amanda. I wore a bunch of junk clothes thinking it would be cold, but quickly realized I did not need them at all. I threw them all off and waited for the start in my uniform tank and shorts. It was warm just standing there. Not hot - not like 2012. But warm.

The gun went off and we walked and lurched forward, eventually making it over the start line within three minutes or so. We dodged in and out of people, but it was really hard staying together! There are just so many people that it's easy to get stuck in the crowd. We waddled off the first mile in 6:54, the next in 6:45. I was already reaching for water at mile 3 and so was everyone else. Water stops made it even harder to stick together and around mile 8, I couldn't find Amanda.

I plodded on through Natick to Wellesley and the famous "scream tunnel." I reached the half mark in 1:29 and knew I wouldn't reach my goal of breaking three hours. I didn't feel great and still had the Newton hills ahead. Despite this, I wasn't dreading the distance. I never felt like the miles got longer as sometimes happens in the marathon. Perhaps the awesome spectators helped with that.

I saw Amanda around mile 16. She was feeling good and said hello as she zoomed by. I plodded up the Newton hills, not crashing but not feeling fabulously powerful either. I was happy to see a lot of familiar faces around miles 18-20 - especially Scott, Bruce, Phoebe, and Oliver. I stopped for high fives (thanks Ellen for the proof in the above photo). Phoebe later said it was her only high five for the day (Scott said she didn't stick her hand out far enough or long enough).

I felt a little better in the final five miles and made the turn onto Boylston Street feeling tired but not shuffling. I ended up finishing in 3:09:56. I was a little bummed that my last half was 10 minutes slower than my first half, but after talking to a bunch of finishers I ended up being proud of that; lots of people ran 15-30 minutes slower because of the heat. The winning times this year were even 8-9 minutes slower than normal, so now I feel justified.

Once I finished, I headed for the VIP tent (this is seriously the best perk of running for Team BAA; it is so nice to have a place to sit down right by the finish line!) and found Amanda, who finished less than a minute in front of me. I grabbed my gear bag, sat down, and pulled on layer after layer. Even though I was warm, I was cooling fast. I often get hypothermic post-marathon, so my gear bag included a winter hat, gloves, and down coat. I grabbed some food (which I couldn't eat for several hours since I just felt queasy and unsettled), waddled to the train, and waddled home to a hot shower.

Sherida, Janis and Scott wandered in later and we took a good long time to clean up and exchange battle stories before heading to a nearby restaurant for dinner. Janis could only stomach toast, but by then I was actually getting hungry so finally got a legit meal. Later Sherida and I went out for round two: desserts. Janis and Scott headed home that night, Sherida the next morning, and the Raymond Fam and I headed to Cape Cod for April vacation. More on that in the next post.

All in all, the 2016 Boston Marathon was a success. I was happy to run with the yellow and blue jerseys of the BAA and enjoy a few perks. Despite slathering up with sunblock, my right side got a little sunburn (because we run in one direction from Hopkinton to Boston). I got one black toe, but no blisters. I trained hard and ran well, but I know I can run faster so I'm already shopping for my next marathon. Any ideas?

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Calm before the Crazy

Looking at my phone I see that I have lots of photos of Oliver holding worms, so I guess it's blog-worthy. Above, he found a worm while hiking.
And here he found a worm in the garden. For Easter, we got the kids kiddie-sized garden tools. They were so excited they got right to business digging. 
San Diego! Scott had a radiology conference there, so Grandma Raymond flew to Boston to be with the kids so I could go with Scott! It was amazing! On the first day, we rented a car and drove to La Jolla. 
We stopped at a taco stand...
...and got the most amazing fish tacos ever. We ordered a few, ate them, then ordered more because they were so so good.
It is pupping season for the seals, so we watched them play in the waves and lay around on the beach. From there, we drove to Scott's uncle's house and went for a run on some nearby trails, then had dinner with family. 
On the second day, I went for my last long run: 23 miles from San Diego down through Chula Vista and Imperial Beach to the Silver Strand parkway up to Coronado - all around the bay. I had the run timed so that I would catch a ferry from Coronado Island back to downtown San Diego, so the last three miles I picked up the pace. I made the ferry by three minutes! The run was great and the view was amazing (at least after the first five miles of running between train tracks and navy yards!). 
This was the view from the ferry. Our hotel is the tall one on the left side of downtown.
This was the view from our room. Pretty much every morning I ate breakfast slowly while staring out the window. Because I could. I also indulged in luxuries like shopping by myself, sitting under palm trees for no good reason, sleeping continuously for 8+ hours, talking on the phone without interruption, taking long showers...
...and meeting up with a friend for lunch. This is one of my BYU cross country teammates, Tara Rohatinsky Northcutt. She is awesome - and not just at running. 
Scott had 6ish hours of lectures and stuff every day and then we would do something touristy together. We went to Old Town and the Mormon Battalion Museum one day. Another day we went with some co-residents to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. It is far out of town, so we had to rent cars to get there. The rental car place ran out of vans and didn't have many options for cars, so we drove away with two convertibles. When in Rome...
We got back to Boston on Friday night. I ran the Upton 15K on Saturday morning then hung out with Scott's sister, Nancy, and her family, who came to visit from Philadelphia. On Saturday night we took Scott's mom to the Figure Skating World Championships. She has always loved watching figure skating. I've always wanted to go to something like this too. Win, win.
We watched some amazing performances from the women's long program. By the end of the night, American Ashley Wagner was in second sandwiched by Russians on the podium.
The weather has been cold. It snowed a few inches last week. Now I'm obsessing about the weather because the Boston Marathon is only a few days away! Hopefully the weather will cooperate because my training has been great and I'm hoping to run a fast time.

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