Marathon 411

Howdy, Marathon Enthusiasts!

Marathon Monday is a mere 5 days away. Oh, the anticipation! I’m feeling ready and enjoying the
unbridled carbo-loading and temporary license to drink as much blue Gatorade as I like.

If you’re out on the route, or know someone who will be, please commit this information to memory:
My number: 23906
Check my progress here throughout the race.

My start time: 10:30am (2nd wave)
Bear in mind, it can take 10 to 15 minutes just to cross the start line!

My (approximate) mile time: 9:30
I should be at the halfway mark in Wellesley at 12 or 12:30 and the finish line in Copley at 2:30 or 3ish.

My team: Children’s Hospital Boston
You’ll see me in a neon blue and orange-checkered singlet with “Running for Jayla” written on the back.
You can’t miss me, but here’s a photo just in case.

If you see me, or any runner sporting the Children’s singlet – scream, cheer, jump up and down, offer
orange slices and do anything you can to let us know you support us and simply KNOW we can do it!

If you see this little lady (Jayla in her Miles for Miracles cheer gear), be sure to giver her a “Hoorah” too!

Please let me know where you’ll be watching and I’ll be sure to look for you. I’ll be hugging the left-hand
side of the course, so I’ll be more likely to see you if you stand on that side.

See you at the finish line!

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Calling All Cheerleaders

I need your best stuff!

Please, whoever you are, from wherever you’re reading – send a little inspiration my way. Whether you’ve commented once, twice or never before, I’d love to read your finest, most fantastical encouragement, praise, and well wishes.

What would you like to hear the evening before your last law school final, in the middle of a difficult labor, or on the last mile of a marathon? If I’ve learned anything from this experience, it’s that we all have our own mountains to climb, adversities to overcome, and marathons to run. How we handle the tough stuff is what sets us apart.

That which has meant the most to me over the course (ha!) of this training, preparation, anxiety and joy has been the love.


·      The love of Jayla and her family who made sure I was properly outfitted for the chilly, early morning runs with my Miles for Miracles team windbreaker and their limitless warm words.


·      The love of my parents who made my first donation, listened to me fret about shin splints and knee pain and sweat-wicking gear, and promised that no matter what, they would be there for me at the finish line. 


·      The love of my sister, who will be pulling me home on Monday, literally and figuratively.


·      The love of my brother, sister-in-law, and sweet niece, who’ve sent me buckets of support – from their home in CT and through the power of the blog.

·      
The love of my lovely Boston and New York City girlfriends, who have promised to show up on game day, intoxicated and bearing (potentially inappropriate) signs.


·      The love of aunts, uncles and cousins, who have offered my support and advice of all kinds.


·      The love of coworkers who always asked, “How many miles this weekend?” and truly cared about the answer.


·      The love of my second family in Newtopia who have cheered on my every milestone and counted down the days ‘til Marathon Monday as if it were a second Christmas.


·      The love of my coaches and teammates, whose mere presence has calmed me, and made me feel part of something amazing.


·      The love of myself and the realization that much like overcoming 8 surgeries and a lifetime of medical difficulties, this is just another thing I KNOW I can do.

So, my question is this: next Monday, April 21st, on the 112th running of the historic Boston Marathon, can I take you with me?

Leave your most inspiring message in the comments section and I’ll put it on my Inspiration Card, shrink it down, laminate it, and put it in my “Break Spandex In Case of Emergency” pocket. Really.

Thanks in advance. I couldn’t have done it without you. 

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The Journey

The much-anticipated 21-mile run was last weekend.

This, the last long run before game day, was hosted by the B.A.A. and set on a freezing Saturday morning, in a sun-shining, main streets and back roads-meandering kind of way (if by meandering, you mean chugging along with hot pink Kinesio tape on your legs and a booger rag tied to your fuel belt).

We merry Miles for Miracles runners began our run in Hopkinton, crossing the official marathon start line (!) at 8:30am and following the real-live marathon course through Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley and Newton.

It was encouraging to see how quickly the time passed between “Entering X(Town Name)” signs. We watched carefully along the roadside for the mile markers to appear – some with “Water” hugging the number to signify that the sweet relief of good old H2O would be provided at that mile. (Really – the miles of the marathon are painted – stencil-style – on the left side of the road, in the same white paint used to mark the lanes.)

So, all was going well. Happy volunteers were ringing cowbells and pumping fists, assuring us that next time we passed these stretches, they’d be covered with wall-to-wall spectators screaming “Go Children’s” and offering orange slices.

Basking in delightful anticipation, it was all spectators and slices for me … until Mile 16.

Mile 16 is on Washington Street in Newton, at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, just before the right turn onto Comm. Ave. and the ascent to Heartbreak Hill.

It was then when an imaginary child – overweight and cantankerous – grabbed each ankle, demanding to be carried the remainder of my run. It was all I could do not to shuffle the last 5 miles.

I took a handful of walk breaks – never on the uphills, strangely my forte – and then pretty much, okay, fully struggled the rest of the way.

I welcomed a quick break at Comm. and Center (where I will be meeting Sissy to run the last 6 miles together, when I will be swallowed up by the enchanting glow of Heaven and overcome by the melodic voices of a thousand angels whose wings will blow sweet warm breezes under my shoes and whisk me to Copley Square).

Where were we? Ah, yes, REALITY – salty, sweat-stained temples and ten-ton legs. Back to Comm. and Center. That was where I was interviewed – no joke – by a reporter from WBZ News who asked whether I was experiencing a runner’s high. “Right now?” I asked, and quickly continued, “No. My legs are so heavy I can barely move.”

Not the answer she was looking for. I pressed on.

The last of Heartbreak’s 4 hills found me pulling out all the stops – I mean, ALL the stops. With an overpowering desire to stop right where I was and become better acquainted with the pavement, I first tried some tough love. It went something like this:

“Don’t stop now, dude. Just do it. Run. RUN. No stopping. Power through. You OWN this hill.”

Too mean. I tried a kinder approach:

“Come on, honey. You’re doing a grrrrrrreat job. You are working so hard. Keep it up!”

Didn’t last long. Searching brain for inspiration … got it:

“Do it for Jayla! She and her parents have been through so much – surely you can run a few miles for them!”

Getting warmer. Still struggling. My legs were shaking, my mind was racing (at least one part of my body was), and all. I. wanted. to. do. was. STOP, for the love of God – let’s just call it a DAY!

And then, from out of nowhere, all the panicked thoughts exited the building and the loudspeakers in my head blasted “Don’t Stop Believin’” and the uphill became a downhill, the downhill became Mile 21, the Journey became the Children’s volunteers screaming my name through a megaphone, and the volunteers parted to reveal my favorite running partners – offering high-fives for a job well done.

The moral of this story – Journey: not just for the Sopranos.

Can’t wait for game day.

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Special Delivery, The Second

I got my official runner packet for the 112th Boston Marathon. Yippee zazoo!

It came with a number voucher for the fabulous 23609 (good guess, Sissy) and a super- frightening informative book of Marathon weekend deets.

Did you know there was an offical dance party for all marathoners at the Roxy?

Did you ever hear of exertional hyponatremia? Oh, it’s nothing really. Just another thing to keep me up at night with cold sweats and chattering teeth consider before game day.

On the positive – do you remember my first special delivery? Oh, how quickly the time passes!

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23906

But what does it mean?

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Cheese

Hey, Marathoners, it’s time for your close-up!

Here we are, the proud and the faithful: The Boston contingent of the Miles for Miracles team.

march_22nd_team_run_002.jpg

Note the effectiveness of the reflective material on our tops, hats, sneakers, etc.

I’m 4th from the left in the front row. Is that a boy? No, it’s Kerry and her trusty glowing fuel belt. Coach Annie is the cutie preggo on the right. (Big news: her baby boy was born last night! I wonder if Saucony makes itty bitty baby shoes.)

Below: The Miles for Miracles ladies, chugging along. march_22nd_team_run_004.jpg

Take THAT, Heartbreak Hill!

Consider this the Where’s Waldo of Kerry’s running pics – If you look very closely, you can see my oh-so-slender left hip poking out from behind the runner with the red collar. I’m 4th from the left.

What you don’t see? My absolute glee and indefatigable joy at being only 4 weeks away from game day!

What you don’t hear? The runner on the right, happily trotting down the hill, shouting, “Suckers!”

Photo Credit: Coach Annie

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Victory

I did it! 18 miles! WHEW! Lots of exclamation points!!! Lots of CAPS! Come on, people, put your hands up! Say it with me: “EIGHTEEN MILES!”

Katie, Jen and I (along with Holly and about 15 other Miles for Miracles runners), completed the New Bedford Half Marathon yesterday. But not before running 5 miles – at pace – as a (hold on to your hats) warm up.

All told, it took me about 2:46. I was psyched to run in an official race with time chips, numbers, water stops and (some) spectators. My lower back became very crunchy (yum) about 13 miles in, but after scaling three decent-sized hills (that have nothing on Heartbreak) and braving a pretty intense headwind brought to me by the Atlantic Ocean, I did it.

And I’m ready for the 21-miler on March 29 and 26.2 on April 21.

A treat for you – three sweaty hot runners:

216.jpg

Proof that my “running partners” are actual people. That’s Katie, Jen and I, at Train Boston, after our 12.5-miler.

I’ll try to take more photos in the coming weeks, but some of this stuff you just have to see to believe.

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