Boston 2018: Day 2 & 3

Saturday started out as a beautiful day, and then it got cold. We were thinking of maybe seeing a Sox game, but decided it was a bit too cold. I didn’t do too much because I didn’t want to overcook my legs. I got to have coffee and second breakfast at George Howell, which was great. I also stopped by a Nuun ambassador meet up briefly. Aside from that, I quickly checked out Heartbreak Running Co. After lunch, I headed back to the condo to relax and wait for my friend Sky to arrive. We hung out for a while before dinner. I spent an hour in the jacuzzi which was wonderful, and then went to dinner with my family down the street in Little Italy. I struggled to fall asleep but eventually slept pretty well.

Sunday I woke up bright and early, had breakfast and then my dad and I Uber’d down to the expo briefly. I got to test out the Normatech which was a great thing to do the day before the race, my legs felt so fresh and light after! Following that we grabbed an Uber to Tracksmith to try the newly launched Linden and True coffee, a joint effort between Ben and Sarah True and Des and Ryan Linden. It all worked out perfectly because I had a brunch to attend on Newbury shortly after with the Saucony crew.

We had brunch at the Met Back Bay, and there were 4 of us running and 3 spectators. All us runners were experiencing Boston for the first time, so that was pretty exciting! I had pancakes because well CARBS and I felt they were a safe GI choice. I went right back to the condo after brunch around 1:30pm and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. I put my legs up, drank herbal tea, Nuun and water and prepared to work hard the next day.

After a pre-race chat with my coach, and laying out a massive pile of clothing and gear for the following day, there was really nothing else to do to prepare. Sky came over and we hung out for a bit before dinner. Dinner was downtown at Post 390 and was put on by John Hancock. We had some chips and guac followed by pasta and roast chicken, it was all very good. I had a couple of waters and was surprised by how many people were drinking. Shortly after dinner, a few special guests arrived, Joan Benoit-Samuelson and Bill Rogers! Joan came over and introduced herself and I asked her if she had advice for a Boston first-timer. She was super nice and very helpful.

I took an Uber home and went to bed, my wake-up time was 5am and I needed all the sleep I could get.

Boston 2018: Day 1

Woke up super early this morning, sleep has been a challenge, I keep waking up insanely early (3:30am today). Not sure if I went back to bed, but at 5:40am I gave up and began getting ready for the day. Our flight was at 9am, so we were leaving by 7:15am since we were flying out of Billy Bishop and not Pearson (woohoo!). The flight was quick and uneventful, I just wanted to arrive and head to the expo right away in pursuit of a certain donut themed shoe. The plan was for the Uber to drop my mom and I off at the expo, while my dad and brother continued on to the condo.

We arrived at the expo by 11:10am and it was already mayhem. The Saucony booth was right near the main entrance, so we found it immediately, and noticed the crowd of people and POLICE! The system was, grab a number, wait in line to be called and then hope your size is available once it’s your turn. We got #148 and #149 and joined the line.

We debated running to the washroom, but decided against it as the line was moving pretty quick and if your number was called and you weren’t there, you had to start all over again. Once we were called, a friendly “runner” (shoe runner that is, and potentially a runner-runner too) greeted us and asked what size we were after. “8.5? Oh yeah we’ve been out of that size for a while. 9 too. I can do mens’ 7 and 7.5”. I knew this would likely be the case, and expected to go for mens’. They fit great so it all worked out, but this is seriously the most insane Boston edition shoe release ever! What an epic marketing campaign this was! They also had donuts and iced-coffee available. Here’s what I ended up with:

The long-awaited Saucony x Dunkin Donuts Kinvara 9’s

Cute lifestyle Tee. And, it came with this sweet trucker hat!

Following that, we headed for the Cliff bar booth to sample new flavours. I ended up grabbing a box because I like to have something on hand for a quick snack and they have  protein in them as well as other macronutrients. It also came with the hat shown below!

We noticed a Lululemon truck around the corner and made a beeline for it, the plan was not to spend too much time at the expo because I wanted to go to Tracksmith ASAP and also have lunch. Lululemon had a few Boston pieces on offer and I went for this one:

Then I went upstairs to grab my bib and my mom went to scope out the Adidas gear. The bib pick-up process was very simple and the volunteers were super happy and genuine. The contents of the package are shown below, can you guess what my favourite part is?

Once I made it to the Adidas section, it began to be very overwhelming, so many people, so much stuff everywhere. It was time to go. I found my mom, we picked up a few pieces and joined the massive lineup at the cash.

Celebration jacket (mandatory purchase!)

BAA fleece (super cosy), it has the BAA logo on the arm.

Marathon t-shirt

Pin

There were also these freebee’s, a poster with the name’s of every runner this year and a card holder.

We grabbed an Uber to Newbury st for Tracksmith. They are giving out runner packs this year which is pretty freaking amazing. I love Tracksmith and Ciele and they collaborated on a hat in the pack. The theme is bananas, which as well all know are a staple in every runners’ diet as well as every finish line. Pretty cute idea if you ask me!

We found my dad and brother on Newbury shortly after and scouted out somewhere for lunch. We decided on burgers at B.Good, they use good ingredients and my mom and I just got beef burgers on whole wheat and lemonades. Definitely hit the spot.

The final stop on the sportswear tour was Nike. I had been eyeing their Boston collection, but it never made it on the Nike site, so I eagerly awaited arriving here to see the goods! Love the colour of the green they used!

Run united singlet

3/4 zip

I retired to the condo by 3pm to preserve my legs. It wasn’t much walking (I took 3 Ubers), and I plan to keep it that way.

Up next: dinner for my brother’s birthday at Alden and Harlow near Harvard!

Training Recap April 2-8, 2018

One. Week. To. Go. I know that isn’t much time but it still doesn’t feel real yet, even though I don’t think or talk about much else right now. I’m guessing that when we arrive on Friday morning and feel the energy of the city, that will change and the realization of the upcoming 42.2km will set in. Here’s how the week went:

Monday: OFF. Went for a walk with a friend and that is it!

Tuesday: Group WO, 20′ easy, 2×3’@5km, 4×90”@5km, 10’@MP, 20′ easy. This was fast and fun.

Wednesday: 45′ easy, ran in the rain for the first time in what felt like a very long time, which is lucky! It wasn’t so bad once I was out, but I dreaded it leading up to it. I also did core.

Thursday: 30′ easy, I ran in the morning because I had a massage before work. Typically, they suggest for me to take the day off running after a massage so I got it done before, easy since it was so short. I also did core.

Friday: 40′ easy in Toronto! Got up just after 4am PST to catch my early flight to Toronto and once that was all taken care of did an easy run in the beach with my Dad.

Saturday: WO for 1, 10′ easy, 12’@MP, 3×3’@10km, 12’@MP, 30′ easy. This felt great! Fun how marathon pace feels like a stroll in the park after 10km pace. It was also did my last practice with fuel before the race and everything went well!

Sunday: 70′ easy, this run felt very easy and my legs are feeling fresh. There was a wicked wind but aside from that it was perfect. I also did core.

Total Weekly Mileage: 60.3km

I’ll be spending this week in Toronto to relax and continue tapering before race day! I am not sure what I will fill my time with aside from the haircut I have planned and getting my #boston nails done.

Shoe Review: Saucony Breakthru 4

I have worn many models of Saucony shoes over the years, The Ride, The Hurricane, The Fastwitch, The Triumph, The Freedom and of course the Kinvara. I had never tried the Breakthru previous to receiving a pair a couple of weeks ago. Initially, it was the aesthetic of the shoe that caught my attention, the pair I saw on IG were a striking red colour and they looked similar to my go to shoe, The Kinvara. Naturally, this piqued my interest.

In spite of having a go to shoe, I like to rotate my shoes depending on what type of run I am doing ie. long-run vs. speed work vs. track etc. Some days you just want a bit more cushion, especially for a long run, and I was typically using The Triumph for this purpose. The Triumph and The Breakthru both have an 8mm offset, whereas The Kinvara is only a 4mm offset. For reference: the offset is the difference between the heel stack height of the shoe and the forefoot stack height of the shoe. There are different theories on why offset is important (or not), but basically it is said to change your gait. A higher offset might encourage you to land on your heel, whereas a lower offset might encourage you to land on your mid-foot or forefoot, running in a way that is more bio-mechanically efficient.

My point is: The Triumph and The Breakthru are fair to compare as they are both neutral shoes with the same offset and are both suitable for road and track surfaces. The most shocking difference I felt when wearing The Breakthru was how light it felt (and is!). Some shoes with an 8mm drop feel clunky and bulky, not The Breakthru! They only weigh 7.4 oz, almost 2 oz lighter than the Triumph, and under 1 oz heavier than The Kinvara. At only 7.4 oz, you would be hard-pressed to find another similar shoe so light.

Running in The Breakthru 4 feels like a shoe you already know. Like a relative of The Kinvara. It is comfortable, light and still feels natural. You feel connected to the surface beneath you, which isn’t always the case in shoes with an 8mm offset. The Breakthru 4 also feels much more responsive than other running shoes with the same offset. Needless to say, I was impressed with The Breakthru and happy to be introduced to it. They will definitely be a staple in my shoe rotation, and I recommend you try them too!

Training Recap March 26-April 1, 2018

This week marked the beginning of the taper for Boston. I had two days off running instead of the regular Monday off. My mileage will continue to decrease over the next two weeks. This Friday I am flying to Toronto to hang out for a week before heading to Boston the following Friday. I am looking forward to enjoying my taper and not working, but what will I do with all that free time!?

Monday: OFF. I did strength training.

Tuesday: 50′ easy, ran an out and back to the bog with my running buddy.

Wednesday: Group WO, ran 5km easy to the WO location and then, 3 sets of: 2x 3’@tempo, 1′ fast, then 5km home. I also did core.

Thursday: 45′ easy, did an out and back to the bog the other way with my running buddy. I also did core.

Friday: OFF. Nothing at all!

Saturday: Group WO, 20′ easy, 2×2′ tempo, 4x1km (4:04, 3:57, 4:02, 3:59), 20′ easy. Going into this and even during the 1km repeats I felt slow, but I was not! I was targeting 5km pace, but those are all faster than my actual 5km pace. I would love to race a 5km right now to see how it would be! I also did core.

Sunday: “Long run”, 80′ minutes for a mix of trails and road, I had 4 bunnies join me for this Easter run. I also did core.

Total Weekly Mileage: 60.8 km

Training Recap March 19-25, 2018

This week was pretty BIG. I was definitely tired going into it after the half last Sunday check out my Race Recap: Comox Half-Marathon  In less than 2 weeks I will be in Toronto and in 3 weeks I will be in Hopkinton waiting to start the race. I decided to go to Toronto the week before Boston to acclimate to East Coast time and relax before the race.

Monday: OFF. I actually took the day off and did no running, weights, or core!

Tuesday: I did strength in the morning, ran 60′ easy in the afternoon and then did core.

Wednesday: My WO’ was: 20′ easy, 4×2’@4:40, and then 12′ continuous running up and down a hill, 20′ easy, the hill part was absolutely BRUTAL.

Thursday: 70′ easy, did an out and back to the bog, we were lucky enough to catch the sunny part of the day for this. I also did an upper body and core workout.

Friday: 35′ easy, I ran to work.

Saturday: WO, 20′ easy, 8km @ 5 seconds slower than marathon pace, 2×1 mile @ half-marathon pace, 7km @ marathon pace, 3km @ half-marathon pace, 4km @marathon pace. This ended up being 30km, my last supersized workout of this training cycle!

Sunday: 2:10 easy, did a mix of road and trail, this was very hard by the end and my legs were absolutely DONE when I finished. I also did core.

Total Weekly Mileage: 94.3km

And now I taper! That means 2 days off running this week, (WHAT!?).

Race Recap: Comox Half-Marathon

I arrive at the Florence Filberg Centre just over half an hour before the start time. The room is buzzing with runners. I grab my bib, listen patiently to the instructions I am given about not folding it and ruining the chip, and attach it to my shirt. I begin looking for a place to leave my bag of clothes for after the race, people are putting theirs on chairs, reserving places for the awards. I find a spot in the corner, I am not expecting any awards today. I stow my gels away in pockets, and overhear a conversation about applying more vaseline before the race, old-school.

I head outside to do my warm-up, only 10 minutes today, lots of other runners are doing the same near the beginning of the course. The course is totally new to me, I have heard rumours of rolling hills, and downhill, but overall a “fast” course, great for Boston training. We line up and someone says, “5 minutes to the start”. I take a gel while we wait. There is no gun or horn, and after 5-minutes we here a quiet “GO!” I love the start of a race, everyone is excited, very high-energy and take off like it’s a 100-m event regardless of the actual distance.

I settle into my pace and observe who is around me, I can stay with them to keep me on pace and from going faster than I should. At the 2km marker a volunteer says, “great job, see you on the way back!” A guy turns to me and says, “that’s not very encouraging, when we’re just starting!” I say “she just means see you soon”. 21km is hardly daunting when your goal race is double the distance. Shortly thereafter, I notice a figure standing on the side in cycling gear, waving and cheering, a teammate who lives in the area. He congratulates everyone, snaps a few photos and hops back on his bike. I move in behind two girls in matching outfits, I-Pods strapped to their arms. This is 3km in and I feel like I’m walking, the pace is so comfortable. Every so often one will say to the other something like “we could be drinking wine right now” or “mimosas at brunch!” Unfortunately, our paces don’t match and I can’t hang out to hear the rest of this.

I begin to wonder where these rumoured hills are because, from what we’ve seen so far it’s pretty flat, making the finish the same. I am holding marathon pace easily and pleased with it. Then I notice the upcoming hills, nothing too steep, but enough to feel the lactic acid. I focus on effort each time rather than pace, knowing I will naturally increase speed on the downhill. This is around the point where I notice everyone I started with is gone, oh well, time to find a new group. This works for a while, but before long they are gone too, hills are hard. At the top of one of the hills, lays a pig and cow farm, the smell is so bad it makes my stomach turn. I can tell everyone around me agrees by their faces and sounds they make. I feel like speeding up just to get to fresh air faster.

Around km 8 I start to feel tired, which worries me. I have not been going faster than my pace, but suddenly feel tired. Some of my km show as being slower than I planned. It is hilly and also I notice my Garmin’s km are not matching the courses km. I try not to think about it and instead look ahead. Fortunately this doesn’t last long, and before I know it we are at the half-way turnaround point. As we turn around I begin to feel more energized, we are already half-way done! Since we just have to retrace our steps I know the course, and that the uphills are mostly over. I embrace the downhill and when I see 4:29, and 4:35 km’s flash across my screen, I know I have made up for those slower uphills. I focus in on 2 women in the distance and wonder if I’ll end up running with them. The downhill allows for this and I am excited when I catch up with them. However, once we get to the flat one of them falls behind. With 2-3 km to go, so does the other. I am feeling strong at this point. The finish is fast and flat and my final km is 4:29, sprint to the finish at a sub 4:00 pace. I’ve said it before, I can’t not sprint to the finish, it’s too much fun.

I finish in 1:41:44, right on track. I grab a cup of water, remove my bib and head back out on the course for my cool-down, 45 minutes easy. I see a woman I ran with at the beginning walking towards the finish, when suddenly, a friend runs up to her, puts her arm around her and helps her run to the finish. As I pass the 2km, a volunteer smiles at me, and says, “aren’t you already done!?”I respond with something like, “just a bit extra”, and carry on. Further down the road, another volunteer says, “you’re back!”, “round two”, I say. Around the 3km mark, I see the final runner and support cyclist, I am trying to encourage her, but somehow trip, maybe over a pylon. That feeling when you know you are going to fall, and hurt yourself flashes through my head and how awkward this would be in front of other people. Somehow, I stumble instead, double over, and recover without ever actually falling. This is still awkward, but far less so than actually falling to the ground. I give them a thumbs up and carry on.

After 4km out, it’s time to turn back. The course is being torn down, I get asked if I missed the race. Everyone is friendly and encouraging though. I finish up my cool-down for a total of 31.5 km for the day. I head inside to grab my stuff, and quickly check the results, realizing I have come in 3rd in my AG. That means I get a medal, not bad for a training run.

Training Recap March 12-18, 2018

This week was pretty BIG. In spite of it finishing with a half-marathon, I had no taper leading up to it. This is marathon training after all! The final push of this training cycle in fact, I feel like it flew by!

This is what I did last week:

Monday: OFF. I did strength training and core.

Tuesday: Double run, AM: 30′ easy, PM: 50′ easy, this covered my commute to AND from work.

Wednesday: WO for 1, headed down to this park by the ocean where there is a 1 mile loop. My WO was: 20′ easy, 3km@4:34, 2x1km@4:21/4:19, 2km@4:29, 40′ easy. I also did core.

Thursday: 50′ easy, met up with my running buddy before work to get ‘er done early. I did strength training and core in the afternoon.

Friday: Double run, AM: 40′ easy, PM: 40′ easy, I ran to and from work again.

Saturday: 40′ easy + strides, headed out on Lochside, where I normally run on Saturdays, no WO though, but a beautiful day. I also did core.

Sunday: My WU was 10′ easy, I did a few strides and then ran the Comox Half-Marathon as a marathon pace training run, it was a great course for Boston training and it went well, I finished it off with 45′ easy for a total of 31.5km.

Total Weekly Mileage: 94.1

I’ll be posting a race recap early this week!

Training Recap March 5-11, 2018

This week was a bit smaller than the previous one, though it didn’t feel much smaller, and my legs are telling me they are working hard. With only 5 more weeks until Boston, it’s starting to get more real. At the same time, I cannot believe how fast it is coming up! Here is what I did this week:

Monday: OFF. I did strength training and core.

Tuesday: 40′ easy, I ran home from work. I also did core.

Wednesday: Double run day, I did 40′ in the morning, and my WO was: 20′ easy, 2 sets of: 10′ alternating between 1’@4:50, and 1’@4;40, 20′ easy.

Thursday: 40′ easy, I ran to work. In the afternoon, I did core and strength training.

Friday: 40′ easy, I did an out and back before work.

Saturday: WO, 20′ easy, 4x4km, sets 1&3: 4:35/4:50/4:25/4:50, sets 2/4: @MP, 20′ easy.

Sunday: 120′ easy, ran to my friends house and we a mix of trail and road and HILLS, I added on more hills at the end too. My legs are feeling this one!

Total Weekly Mileage: 86km

Happy rest day!

Training Recap Feb 26-Mar 4

The notes for this week were, “Big week, buckle up”. With that in mind, and the 3 double run days on my schedule, I knew I was in for some hard work. Seeing 3 double run days might seem daunting, but I enjoyed them. The morning run wakes you up before work and I swear it leads to a better day. Normally, I run in the afternoon/early evening, so the second run was around the regular time.

Monday: OFF. Did some upper body stuff and core.

Tuesday: Double run, AM: 30, PM: 60, I also did core work.

Wednesday: Double run, AM: 30, PM: Group WO: 20′ easy, 5’@tempo, and then alternating between 5km and 3km pace with 30 seconds rest between, the 5km bouts started at 2 minutes and went up to 5, and the 3km bouts were always 1 minute, 20′ easy. After this we had a team dinner to celebrate our coach’s birthday.

Thursday: Double run, AM: 30, PM: 45. I also did strength training and core.

Friday: 40′ easy, ran this one in the morning before work as I had a massage in the afternoon.

Saturday: WO, 30′ easy, 6km@5:01/km, 3km@4:48/km, 4km@4:42/km, 1km@4:50, 4km@4:59/km, 20′ easy. The route for this was chosen to incorporate some rolling hills, and while the majority of it was done alone, I “ran into” my coach after the 3km bout, and she paced me for the 4km and 1km, and then waited for me during the final 4km. This was very helpful because she gave me tips about how to approach the hills at Boston, and how to run to conserve energy and preserve my legs.

Sunday: 2:30 easy, after the longer workout the day before, I was worried my legs would be shot. I had spent the remainder of Saturday recovering and eating well. I even had a hot bath (which I do not enjoy, but know is good to do), wore compression socks and slept in them. It seems all that helped a lot because my Sunday run felt great, and it was a rolling course. I met up with some friends in the middle portion, which was great, and a different route is always awesome, this was along the water.

Total Weekly Mileage: 107.8 km

I am happy with how this week went, and feeling great about how training is going during this marathon training cycle!