Wednesday, April 30, 2014

9 Days Post Boston Emotional Hangover

It's crazy to think that just nine days ago I ran The Boston Marathon. I had one of the best experiences of my endurance running career that weekend. I couldn't be more prouder at this moment. Not just of myself, but of Katie and Adam two of the best folks you can run with and I am so happy to call them friends. Now that Boston is over, I know that I personally am reeling from an overwhelming amount of thoughts and emotions. And because that's that this blog is for...I thought I would share them with you. I mean a lot of you do have an invested interest in my Boston Marathon through your donations to the Boston Bruins Foundation so it's only right that I share with you! Before we go any further...yes that is Matt and I at the Samuel Adams Brewery with our glasses of beer. Don't judge we were celebrating. are the things giving me a post-Boston Marathon hangover.

The City
I miss Boston. I think Boston is such a special and unique city. I even made up a little story about the magical land of Boston during my first visit to Boston in June of last year. The energy and the spirit of the city is something that is so special and unique. I've never seen anything like it. And let's be real, I wish they had a Boston Common / Public Garden type of location where I live because I would never leave.

Time With Friends & Making New Ones
Of course I spent the weekend with my #CorralG peeps but honorable mention absolutely goes to Matthew & Angela Ammick for their hilarious personalities and generosity. They were just a barrel of laughs the entire weekend and even nice days post we are still texting back and forth reliving the amazing moments of the weekend!

Friends and Fun at Fenway!

No shocker here, but I love Sam Adams beer. So much in fact that when the invitations came out for the Brewery tour for the runners I RSVP'd Adam, Katie, and Jen then told them about it later. These things are important. Priorities people! Sam Adams has some yumtastic stuff and anytime I go to Boston the brewery is a must do on my list of things to do. The tour guides are hilarious and the tasting room is always a riot because you always make a new friend...and find out who's mom can drink you under the table! Work out Mama Chambo!

Hey! We are celebrating!

The Excitement of Race Day
There was so much anticipation building up to race day. Then race day happened and it was over. I really didn't want the experience to end. The spectators were amazing. The communities all came together to show the world what Boston Strong really meant. That energy from that marathon won't be duplicated again. This was a healing day for the city of Boston and the running community. I also believe that every marathon has it's own personality so this was very special.

The "Team Jackets"

DOYLE'S!!!!! *fist pump*
After the brewery tour, it's only right that you board the Party Trolley and go less than a mile down the street to DOYLE'S *fist pump*. DOYLE'S!  has delicious food and Samuel Adams of many varieties on draft. And you can trade your tour ticket for an authentic Sam Adams glass. I love that place. I had the potato chip crusted chicken strips. I was basically in heaven. Now the problem comes in when you have to come home and get back on that training program. Work Hard Play Hard!

My life.

The Excitement of Boston 2015
Now the waiting game begins. I have been in contact with the BBF and it looks like I may be returning to Boston in 2015. Now we will see what happens as the months go forward but I am excited to see what the future holds. I have some unfinished business with Heartbreak Hill! She's so rude. So stay tuned to see what happens!

Those are just a few thoughts I am having at the moment and thought I would share with you! Now time to rest up, continue the recovery from Big Sur and get ready or OC Marathon on Sunday! YAY! I'm not hungover from the beer...although I drank it all...I am hungover with emotion. I loved this trip so much.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Big Sur International Marathon - The Beauty AND The Beast

Six days after running The Boston Marathon I took on the challenge of running The Big Sur International Marathon. Prior to being accepted into the Boston Marathon I signed up as a marathon participant for Big Sur. After being accepted as a charity runner, I confirmed my participation for the Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge (presented by ASICS). That brought me to Saturday morning, the lovely 5 hour drive to Monterey on the central California coast. Jason was kind enough to drive me up and back over the weekend so I got to rest and try to catch up on some much needed sleep on the drive. I've been pretty exhausted since returning from Boston (I can't imagine why) so I've been staying hydrated and partaking in EnergyBits to keep myself healthy.

We arrived in Monterey around 1 PM on Saturday. The expo was pretty small compared to other expos and that was perfectly fine with me. Coming off of the Boston expo, a small expo was much appreciated. I went upstairs to Boston 2 Big Sur packet pick up which was very exciting. Now...a perk of being one of four hundred people that participates in the challenge is not only the bonus medal you receive, but an awesome ASICS track jacket that displays your Boston 2 Big Sur accomplishment. Well...due to an unforseen circumstance, the jackets were not ready. I was WAY bummed out. But the folks at the marathon and ASICS were not only apologetic, they helped to make it right. ASICS gave the B2B runners a gift certificate to mail in for a free pair of ASICS shoes of our choosing. THAT was really awesome. I didn't expect that. Our jackets will be delivered in the coming weeks along with the shoes we select. So, thanks ASICS! I then picked up my bus ticket for Sunday morning. The race itself starts at Big Sur station in the mountains. The roads are closed to private vehicles and the only way up is by bus and it takes an hour to get up there. I received a 4AM bus loading time...what's another early morning right?

After that I made my way down to the expo and did some light shopping. I mean what could I possibly need, I bought everything in Boston! I found some awesome ASICS gloves that I fell in love with and new nifty pouch I can use to store my fuel from the lovely folks at Roo Sports! I will review that later in the week. I picked up some throw away garments for the start line because in my sleep deprived state I didn't bring anything to bundle up in at the start area.

After some shopping and wandering I met up with my good buddy Bart Yasso at the Runner's World booth. Now some of you may be aware that Bart said he would treat me to coffee in Boston. We even have a hashtag #CoffeeWithBart! Well, due to both of our schedules being CRAZY we just couldn't link up...Bart made really good on his promise and treated me and awesome follower Sarah to Starbucks across the street. That was really fun! In case you didn't know, Bart is the best story teller.

After that we went and checked into the hotel, grabbed some lunch/dinner and winded down pretty early. I took a bath to help relax and prepped myself for the next day. I fell asleep and woke up at 3AM (joy.) I boarded the bus with my english muffin with peanut butter (NOMS), and took a window seat. Before I knew it I was asleep...again. I didn't realize how much I enjoyed sleep until last week. An hour later we arrived at Big Sur Station, the start of the marathon. It was still dark, and there was no cellular service. So I took a seat on the curb with the other participants and continued to think warm thoughts...and I think I took another nap.

When the sun started to come up, my my what a beautiful sight. I'm not the camping type...I prefer the spa but nature is so amazing first thing in the morning. Don't get me wrong I LOVE being out in nature and running in it, sitting in it, picnicking in it...I just don't wanna sleep in it lol. We all started to line up and get ready to get the marathon underway. The weather conditions couldn't have been better. No rain, a lovely cloud cover, heaven. I lined up with the 4:45 pace group. I did this knowing I wouldn't finish with them but to keep a consistent pace the first 10 miles of the course. The race began and the first 5 miles of the course were gradually downhill. We maintained a very comfortable pace, as to not blow out before the huge mountain we would have to climb for two miles at mile ten. The scenery was just break taking.

Redwoods and other familiar trees and plants surrounded us. Open rolling hills covered in lush green plants, grazing cows, crashing waves on the cliffs in the distance. This is probably the most scenic marathon I've ever run. Now she is a beauty of a course, but don't let her fabulous appearance fool you...she is a BEAST!

Arriving at mile 10 is where I took a big gulp and went for the awesome two mile climb to Hurricane Point. You are greeted by Japanese drummers (who were AWESOME) and they absolutely get you pumped up in preparation for the climb. This climb is the highest elevation gain and fastest gain on the will feel this climb and it isn't nice. I stayed focused and walked/ran the hill the best I could. I knew I had 13 miles following this hill so I needed some muscle and stamina to finish this race. I eventually made it to the top of the hill and took a minute to just appreciate not only the breathtaking views but looking behind me to see what I just accomplished. I was so happy. In front of me was the race famous Bixby Bridge. Of course I touched the mile 13 marker and made my way across the bridge. My Garmin told me I was around 2:26 at the half way mark so I was pretty pleased with myself at this point. What I thought was cool was the really kick ass pianist that you could hear as you ran across the Bixby Bridge. Really a special moment on the course.

The remainder of the course was pretty much the same. Rolling hills and lovely views for the next 13 miles as I continued my quest toward Carmel. Along the way I saw some awesome homes along the cliffs, met some great runners who were working their hardest to beat the clock, and conversed with the course support (which was amazing). This race was all about the views. That's what makes her a beauty to behold. You can't see awesome coastal views like this on just any course. This course is special! There were points where I got chills just looking at the colors of the rock formations and ocean foam.

What makes this course a beast is the constant hills and elevation change. If you aren't used to that you will struggle here. This course does not hold back. For what you get in delicious candy for your eye you pay for on the hills and inclines.

All in all this course is FANTASTIC! It truly is a treat. No wonder the race sold out in under an hour! I crossed the finish line after giving Bart Yasso a high five at 5:44. I took it easy the last 5 miles. I was definitely feeling the fatigue and needed to save some juice for OC Marathon. I was already pushing it with this marathon 6 days after Boston.

I felt pretty good crossing the finish line but also had a lot of time to think while I was out on the route which is always a good thing. I find my mind is the clearest and most honest when I am running a race. Combine that with lovely sights of the central California coast and that creates a storm in my head. I have so much more to say about those thoughts and some of those I will share in a later post, others I will have to process on my own.

I hope you guys enjoyed the journey through the Big Sur marathon. I as always appreciate all of the encouragement and congratulations along the way. I try to respond to as many as I can so know you guys are absolutely appreciated and I can't do this without you...well I could but it would you guys are 100% important to me! Thanks! Next up, OC Marathon and my Runnerversary on Sunday!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The 2014 Boston Marathon Experience

This is the story of how I was initiated into the Order of the Unicorn (yes I just made that up, go with it.) The Order of the Unicorn is an elite group of athletes who successfully meet the criteria and complete the challenge of crossing the finish line of the Boston Marathon. If you were following on social media over the past week, then you know I was blessed to be able to run in the 118th running of the Boston Marathon. My journey to Boston started on April 15,2013. That was when two bombs exploded near our finish line and shook the spirit of America and the running community. Well, luckily the running community has a HUGE resolve and unwavering spirit. We banded together in support of one another. My thought immediately when I heard the tragic news was "What can I do, I need to be there to help!" That is when I began donating to the One Fund and researching charities. I knew more than anything I HAD to be a member of the field in 2014. My spirit was pulling me to Boston. After several regrets letters from June to December, I was offered the final spot on the Boston Bruins Foundation charity team, and together we raised more than $8000 in less than 65 days. A good friend of mine Adam who was lovely enough to house me this week also was a charity runner with Beth Isreal Deaconess Medical Center. Katie won her entry into the big show. We packed up and headed to Boston!

I landed on Thursday afternoon in Boston and Katie was waiting for me in bag check. 3 baggage carousels and a cup of Dunkin coffee later we were picked up by the awesome Adam.

Hugs were exchanged and I could tell at that moment that this was going to be an unforgettable weekend. Our first stop, the Newton hills...lovingly called Heart Break Hill...I'll get to that. Adam showed us the hills we would be running over on Sunday and the famous Newton firehouse.

Newton Firehouse Selfie
We even took selfies in front of the Johnny Kelley statue! I was inspired already. Oh I almost forgot to mention, when I left home it was in the 80s, I got to experience weather in the thanks. After our brief tour we made our way to Union Street Grill where we met up with Dani and I had my first Samuel Adams 26.2 brew of the weekend.

Linz and Dani
This stuff was so good! We were joined by fellow so cal running pal, Julie. We shared laughs and talked about our weekend plans. After a great dinner and several beers, we headed to the #CorralG Mission Control Center...also known as Adam's house.  We settled in and headed to bed, we had early mornings every day in Boston.

Friday was gonna be awesome. Jen landed in Boston. We fetched Jen around 8, then headed to Mike's Pastry in the North end...canollis!!!!!!

YAY Jen is here!
After delicious morning pastries we headed to Boylston Street. We made a stop at the Boston Public Library to view the Dear Boston exhibit/memorial of last year's events. That was a very beautiful, touching, and moving experience. Last year in Boston I had the chance to see the Copley Square memorial before it was moved, so this was very touching and well put together.

A collection of shoes left at the Copley Square Memorial last year turned into art

Once we finished there we walked across the street to the Old South Church. I had been following the Marathon Scarf project online for a few weeks so I was excited to see that the church was open and scarves were being distributed to runners that passed by. We stopped and thanked the church for their wonderful efforts and received our scarves and blessings. We got to pick our scarves and I love mine.

Katie and I selecting our marathon scarves

Special thanks to Pamela from CT for creating such a wonderful gift especially for me. I totally teared up.
After that we headed to the Hynes convention center. I knew INKnBURN was unveiling a secret item at the expo and whatever it was I wanted it. It was the exclusive windbreaker. I was in love instantly.

After that, I made a stop over at the Skechers booth to see what all the hype was about the Skechers GoRun 3...that shoe is pure magic! I hope to pick up a pair soon, and I will tell you all about it. I made a point to stop and say hello to some of my pals, you know Jeff Galloway Bart Yasso.

Before I knew it, we headed upstairs for the moment of truth...packet pick up. I got really nervous and anxious at this point. It would become real at that very moment. I would be picking up my bib number which would identify me as a participant in the race. Boston is a big deal, so imagine how I felt sweating standing in line.

I'm on the guest list.

I am surrounded by veteran Boston marathoners in their jackets, picking up their packet like this is their neighborhood 5K. It is VERY intimidating being among athletes with such a pedigree. This race attracts the best of the best from around the world. What I will say is that every person I spoke to was nice, warm, and welcoming. They even wanted to share their stories. It was my turn next. I handed the wonderful volunteer my ID, signed my packet pick-up card in my Runner's Passport (which is one of the coolest things ever) and received my bib! I didn't know what to think or what to say.

What shock looks like

I was just overcome with emotion and happiness. I hurried over to watch Adam get his bib and exchange a hug with his dad! Katie obtained her bib and came over shouting "OMG OMG OMG" repeatedly, then we had a photo shoot...because that's normal.

After the expo, we made our way over to my friends at RunKeeper. They were having a special Open House for those that signed up. They had great refreshments, beer, and I got to meet so many great people from the team, like Erin! Many people participated in the scavenger hunt, we made it in time for the awesome gathering and watched the prizes get distributed. RunKeeper is a solid operation with great folks, I always enjoy getting a chance to work with them. Jason met us at RunKeeper and I was happy to have my marathon support with me...lord knows I couldn't have done it without him but let me not get ahead of myself. After RunKeeper we hopped in the van and made our way to Wahlburgers! This was my second time going there so I already knew what kind of delicious food I was in for. While we were waiting to be seated, a Bostonian woman walked up to us and asked if we were running the marathon. We said yes, she extended her hand and thanked us for being in Boston. She then described where she was on April 15th, 2013 and how the tragic events affected her, her family, and friends. She got teary-eyed and gave us all hugs. Hearing those types of stories and seeing those type of responses from people affirmed for me that we were doing the right thing not just for the running community, not just for the City of Boston, but for the American people who are still coping with this. We sat down and enjoyed a delicious dinner. I even got the chance to reunite with Lizzie from Team #RunDisney, I hadn't seen her since Wine and Dine of 2012 so this was special. A great Friday night indeed.

Saturday came and it was time for the B.A.A. 5K. What a chilly morning that was. We made our way into Boston and parked near the Boston Common, which is where the race started. We connected with various friends behind the t-shirt pick up tent and conversed for a a few moments. There were lots of smiling faces that morning. Plenty of marathoners (myself included) were using this 5K as our shake out run prior to the marathon. We lined up in the corral and made our way around the Back Bay of Boston. We ran the 5K in 33 minutes. I felt great afterwards! After the race, lovely TRD friends Angela and Matthew were gracious enough to let us use their nearby shower to freshen up before continuing with our broadcast day. They were only two blocks from Boston Common so this was quite spectacular. Nothing like a hot shower on a chilly April morning that's for sure. After we showered we made our way to The Baseball Tavern down on Boylston for the Marathon fundraiser that Adam and I co-hosted. Adam did a wonderful job coordinating everything so major hats off to you!

We enjoyed some lovely food and beer and I got to meet some pretty awesome folks. After the event we headed over the bridge to America's Most Beloved Ballpark, Fenway Park! We had GREAT seats for the Red Sox game.

Fenway Selfie
The tickets were a part of the fundraiser so this was pretty cool. I enjoyed a Fenway Frank, another beer, fried dough, and of course singing Sweet Caroline at the top of my lungs. Jen was also sitting next to me and felt it would be funny to steal my phone from me. You can't blame me for wanting to keep all of you in the know! Lots happened this weekend HAHA! After the game we went back to the expo (ya know since it was on the way back to the car) and picked up a couple last minute things we thought about. We also spent some time at the Saucony booth checking out the Find Your Strong Boston wall collage. It turns out I was in the collage 7 times! HA! I win! After a day like this you can imagine we were pretty tired so we made our way back to Adam's.

Easter Sunday was upon us. It was the first day we got to kind of sleep in. And I say kind of because some of us were planning on heading into the city. Adam stayed home with his beautiful baby girl Caitlyn and enjoyed a day of rest. Jen, Katie, Jason, and I headed into town. Since we were in town I took this opportunity to take some pictures at the Finish Line. It was so humbling and awesome to be able to sit on the finish line with a smile on my face knowing that tomorrow I would own it and become a Boston Marathoner. I kept the picture to myself until I finished the race. After that we made one last trip to the expo for last minute fuel and items for the race. I packed poorly and didn't have my normal fuel. Thankfully EnergyBits was expoing and had some packets they hooked me up with. I got my supplemental fuel items so I would be stocked and ready to go. My fraternity brother recently moved to Boston and we met at the Thinking Cup for a few hours of catching up and humor. I had just seen him a couple weeks ago, but it's always nice to have a chat with someone you don't see often. Jen had to take off to get ready for her volunteer shift at the pasta party. We would meet up with her later on. After coffee and tea, we met up with Angela and Matthew and headed to the Pasta Party which takes place at City Hall. The line was wrapped around the block. Literally. You would swear that Oprah was there giving away bags of money...although I would have waited for that...the struggle is real. After some deliberation we decided to join the line. I personally am glad we did. The pasta was pretty delicious and there was Sam Adams Summer Ale on draft! I have to give it up to the BAA and the volunteers! They really made the pasta party a really fun event with awesome energy!

The snackage bags they gave us afterwards were quite fantastic! I was very happy. After Jen's shift we headed to the car. Tomorrow would be the day. Race day.

I woke up with butterflies in my stomach. I woke up excited. I woke up anxious. I woke up ready for the moment. We were all getting ready for our day, discussing logistics, eating our fuel filled breakfast items and headed to Hopkinton. Adam lives closer to the start line than he does to Boston Common so we elected to get dropped off at the bus shuttle in Hopkinton. We cleared security and were dropped off at the Runners Village. We continued int he opposite direction to One Ash Street. Does that address sound familiar? It's because it is the corner where the start line of the Boston Marathon is. It is also the location of the Boston Athletic Association.

We were invited to hang out in the same building as the BAA and enjoy some breakfast and comfortable seating before the race. EPIC. We were able to go downstairs and we had FRONT ROW seats to the wheel chair, elite women, and elite men start. THAT was a treat!!!!! I mean I saw Shalane and Meb less than 5 feet from me!

ELITES! Front row seating!

After the start of the elite men we made our way to the corral chute. This is the fun walk where everyone can discard their warm up clothes and begin fueling up. I ran into Kelly and fellow INKnBURN ambassador Melissa on the walk. After a quick potty stop I turn around and see Dani! Of course we run to each other and exchange a hug and take a selfie. Before we knew it we were all corralled for the start. I turn to my left and there is Jeff Galloway ready to run his race!

That was a really fun and energizing way to begin the morning in the corral. Before the wave got underway I looked at Katie and Adam and we just gave one another the biggest group hug ever.

Then we we crossed the start line. Everything became real and this surge of life altering energy shot through my body! We paced ourselves and took it easy and maintained around a 11:20 pace. The last thing we wanted to do was burn out to early especially since the first part of the course is downhill. It's easy to go out and blow out in Newton around Heart Break Hill. I have to say that the architecture of the buildings in the Boston suburbs is just BEAUTIFUL! So many great brick buildings with so much history. I had an idea to take a selfie at every town sign...I mean why not. From Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick (which felt like we were there forever), Wesseley (where they apparently have moneeeey), and Newton around mile 16. It was really awesome to see the Chambos, Jason, and Jen throughout the entire race course giving us lots of support and cheering! I know it meant a lot to Adam, Katie, and myself! Now let's talk about Newton. The weather on race day was in the low 70s. Being from So Cal I am used to running in this weather, in fact I love it. But something was different. Boston has a little thing called humidity. Newton is where Heart Break Hill starts. HBH is not just one hill...oh no...its a series of 4 gradual inclines. It starts at mile 16 and you aren't done until mile 20.

HBH is certainly named properly. Around mile 18 I experienced one of the worst cramps of my marathoning career. I had to lay down and stretch it out and it made me real nervous. Luckily, I was able to work it out and continue on without medical assistance. Katie was right there and encouraged me the entire way. That hill will try to break your spirit! I didn't let it at all!I stayed focused and made my way to the top of those hills! I meant what I said earlier...I will not let Boston beat me! The Boston Marathon is a historic marathon and it is to be respected. Giving up or not giving it your all wasn't an option for me, especially on a year like this.

One of the most amazing this about this race is the course support from the spectators! The streets are lined from start to finish with SHOUTING fans! They were cheering for US! No one was left out or forgotten! What I found most touching was when spectators would call us by name and thank us for running and being there. Since the Bruins are in the playoffs and I was wearing my foundation tee, I got lots of BRUINS! shout outs...that was so much fun! I love Boston!

As we entered the final stretch of the race passing Fenway Park and the Citgo sign we knew we had done it. In less than 10 minutes our lives would change. We turned right on Hereford Street and tears started flowing immediately. We held hands as we walked up Hereford, turned the corner onto Boylston and saw the finish...queue more tears here. Katie found her parents on Boylston and Angela and Matthew were right behind the mile 26 sign and greeted us with hugs and congratulations! I personally needed that extra boost. We held hands and the announcer called all three of our names as we crossed the finish line of the 118th Boston Marathon. Then we hugged and cried some more trying to figure out what just happened. WE RAN THE BOSTON MARATHON! We did it together! We gave a new meaning to the tag line #WeRunTogether.

We reunited with our family and friends after getting our medals and some snackage. Jason greeted me with my Boston Marathon jacket and all was right with the world. I had done it. We had done it together.

The entire experience of running the Boston Marathon is insane. It is a complete journey and not one thing can be missed. I raised $7500.00 for the Boston Bruins Foundation in 60 days, I am now well over that minimum thanks to all of you. Knowing that those funds will go to needy children is priceless. This race is bigger than any single person. It is a community of people that banded together to heal a city and a country. The race was amazing and the experience unforgettable. What I love most is that I was part of healing the community. I was part of providing resources to children that need them so badly. I made a difference. I touched someone's life. That made it all worth it. Thank you to all of you again for your support and for cheering me on through the entire journey from start of fundraising to finish! I couldn't have done it without YOU and I am forever grateful.

***Photo credits to Katie, Adam, Kira, and Jen!***

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Boston Strong

Well, tomorrow is the day. I board my JetBlue plane and head to Boston! I will reunite with old friends, and certainly connect with people I have met through the Inter-webs for formal introductions, high-fives, and laughs. I couldn't be more excited to begin my journey as I "Chase the Unicorn". As I sit here less than 24 hours to my departure, I can't help but feel various types of emotions many of which are VERY new and raw.

First, I am fact I am beyond excited. I am thrilled. I was given the opportunity to run the Boston Marathon as a charity runner. I blew past my charity minimum fundraising requirement, and am currently the number 1 fundraiser on my team...with the shortest amount of time to raise funds. So in addition to excitement, I am proud. I am proud to be able to call myself a Boston Marathon participant. Although I am not a qualifying participant...I'll just be frank (we are all friends here), I raised my funds, I raised awareness, I earned my place on that start line. One day I'll be fast enough to earn my BQ shirt, but this year isn't that year, and that is okay.

I am anxious. I don't know what my emotions are going to be on race day. I feel like my spirit is just going to be full of all the emotions and I may just explode into tears upon seeing the Citgo sign in Boston.

There is one thing I am not. I am not afraid. I need you to follow me here.

Last night, some idiot decided it would be funny to place full backpacks on Boylston Street near our finish line. It was also the 1 year anniversary of the tragic events of 2013. Whatever this moron was thinking, he caused a great deal of concern which made this national news. Boston PD SWAT teams and bomb squads were on scene and detonated the bags as a precaution. The suspect was taken into custody.

I REFUSE to be afraid at this race or any other! I will not be scared away or detoured from my goal. First and foremost, the Boston Athletic Association has been wokring with law enforcement and security agencies for MONTHS. Athletes have received almost weekly emails providing us with updates, information, and regulations for race weekend. When I tell you that the BAA has this under control...believe me.

The Boston Marathon is OUR race. Many runners were robbed of the opportunity to finish this race last year, and others have had their moments tarnished by selfish acts of domestic terrorism. Honey, I am NOT here for it. We are runners! We are tenacious. We are strong. Give me a break we run damn near 30 miles for fun in crazy weather conditions! We aren't invisible and we are human but our resolve is solid. When you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us...36,000 of us to be exact. And we have every intention of showing Boston who we are, what we are about, and to remind the world that this community will not be shaken or destroyed. We are here to stay! I know it's hard, but don't worry about us. We will all watch out for one another. We will all support one another. We will all encourage one another to be strong and cross that finish line reclaiming it not only for the running community but for the city of Boston.

Don't worry about me. Encourage and support me. We can do no more than run our races and be there for one another. I'll be alert and careful but no need for concern. We Are Boston. We got this! Love y'all! Let's boogie!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Boston 2 Big Sur 2 The OC The 78.6 Mile Challenge

Talk about running all the races! I have gotten myself into quite the interesting challenge. Next Monday, I will run my very first Boston Marathon! I can't even describe how excited I am to be part of such an amazing field of runners...during such an important time in not only the races history but the history of the running community! After I cross the finish on Boylston Street,  I will fly home for a few days then drive up Pacific Coast Highway to take on the Big Sur International Marathon! BSIM along with ASICS hosts what is known as the Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge. This challenge invites registered participants to see if they have what it takes to run another 26.2 miles just 6 days after completing Boston! Big Sur is no walk in the park, but it is sure to be one of the most scenic and beautiful runs I've ever completed. I have had my eye on Big Sur and this challenge for months. I was fortunate enough to be accepted to the challenge and am ready to rock and roll.

Now here is where it gets interesting. Coming up on May 4th is the OC Marathon. The OC Marathon was my first half marathon in 2012 so this is my anniversary race, or as I like to refer to it as my "Runnerversary". I usually register for this race right away because it is the race that doesn't escape me if possible. You never forget your first. Last year I ran the marathon distance, this year I will do the same. Then I realized, "Crap this is the week after Big Sur." Oh well, not much I can do about it now, so I guess I will be running three marathons in three weeks.

Yes it is crazy, yes it is going to hurt, and yes I have a plan. I am ALL IN for Boston. I am secretly hoping for a PR on that course. My current PR for the marathon is 4:54 so it's absolutely possible. During Big Sur, I will keep a steady consistent pace but will not be at 100%. OC Marathon I will trot to finish. I will not get injured. OC is going to be a scenic celebration of running, life, endurance, and I will use the time to reflect.

What comes after the marathons? A break and serious training. I have some training plans I am working with and I will be concentrating on consistency, speed, strength, and healthy eating. I go into Beast Mode. Getting these three marathons under my belt successfully is very important.

This is a crucial time for me and I will be very focused and determined to be my absolute best. The next three weeks I know will change my life. I am not afraid of a challenge. Watch me work, encourage me, and let's make some magic happen people!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

7 Days to Boston Number 6 & 5

Sorry about last night. I had dinner plans and forgot to set up my posting to go out. So this morning you are lucky enough to get TWO for the price of one in my 7 Days to Boston countdown. We are now 5 days out and it's about time to start preparing wardrobe items. Boston is looking to be in the mid 50s all week...which is quite the drastic change from the 85-90 degree weather I am living for in Southern California. Which brings me to my number 6, Marathon Scarves!

Number 6 - Old South Church Marathon Scarves

The wonderful folks at the Old South Church, often referred to as the Finish Line Church started this incredible project. The asked knitters, crocheters, and other types of folk that turn yarn into pretty things to make scarves in the BAA colors of yellow and blue. The church will take the donated scarves and wrap this year's runners in love, warmth, and blessings as we prepare for our journey. This is really an incredible though and quite touching. So far, the church has collected over 5000 scarves that will be given to runners who come to the church during their designated times. I will make sure I am first in line to receive one of these unique gifts. Thank you to the Old South Church and the hands that prepared the scarves for your time, generosity, and thoughts. I know each of them are unique and made with love.

Number 5 - Buy ALL The Things, The John Hancock Race Expo

Yesterday, I wrote out my budget for the weekend. I know how much I am spending on food and beer, but even better, I know how much cash I am spending at the race least I am going to try my best! It is no secret that the Boston Marathon expo is the premiere race expo of the year! Vendors and companies come from all over the world to promote their races, new products and services, and of course bring delicious samples to try. I can not wait to pick up my race packet, go to INKnBURN and see what's up their sleeve, head to Skechers and check out their new shoes (i've heard good things), buy a million t-shirts, buy all the glassware...then be upset because I will more than likely have to go to the UPS store to ship my goodies back home! LOL

Thursday, April 10, 2014

7 Days To Boston #7 - Sam Adams 26.2 Boston Brew

Today marks exactly one week until my flight to Boston!!!! I can't even express how excited I am to get into town and start having a blast with so many great people! In celebration of this awesome event, over the next week I will be sharing 7 things I am most excited for! Today we start with something that has been on my mind ever since I heard it existed...The Samuel Adams 26.2 Boston Brew, crafted especially for the Boston Marathon.

This is Samuel Adams' third year as a sponsor of the Boston Marathon, and they are excited to present this awesome brew to the athletes and supporters again this year. Last year, after the tragic events that took place, Sam Adams donated the proceeds of 26.2 Boston Brew to the Greg Hill Foundation, which provided immediate support to the survivors of the Boston Marathon Bombings...and this year they will do the same! How cool is that!

Now, what exactly IS 26.2 Boston Brew, and why is it so awesome? First, let me tell you my first time drinking this stuff will be next my thoughts are based on reading articles and reading the Sam Adams blog. Although, everything I have read has me SO excited...ya know since I am such big beer snob. 26.2 Boston Brew is a Gose style of beer...this is a really old style of beer that dates back to the year 700...yes folks it's true our ancestors were getting their lives with libations back then!  The beer is perfect for marathon weekend because the alcohol by volume (ABV) is 4.5%. The beer has hints of flavor that are spicy, peppery, with a touch of hear that, SALT! Runners need salt! How can this beer be bad?!?!? I mean is this not the perfect recovery beverage to celebrate with! Imagine drinking it at Fenway Park after the race...oh wait that's gonna happen!!!!!!!

Another fun fact about this beer is that is only sold on draft at specific bars along the marathon route! No bottles are available for purchase, so sorry I can't bring some home to share. My running family will be wrapping up our weekend of excellence by taking part in what was one of Sam Adams coolest gestures, a tour of the brewery (which he had planned on anyway) but runners will get a great 26.2 Boston Brew shaker glass as a souvenir! I toured the brewery last year and had a blast so this will be extra special! And yes the brew will be on tap for us to sample (YAAS!)

I love a good beer, so I am REALLY excited to try this out. I plan on buying my glass stein and having it filled to the brim! I in fact may just do a review about this stuff! OH! So excited! I hope you're ready Sam Adams!

*Reference Samuel Adams Blog for more information. Some information cited for reference purposes.