Colonie track mile (5:08) and a ShowerPill giveaway!

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Last night I spiked up for the first time in probably 4 years for my last race on the oval this summer. I hadn’t been nervous for my past two attempts, but something about lacing up the spikes got my adrenaline going. I was a little annoyed that I missed the start button on my watch, but luckily Pete was able to take lap splits for me (I accidentally left my Garmin at home too)… my splits were 77-77-77-75, not bad! I wasn’t feeling all that confident that I could dip under 5:10, but I somehow pulled it off!

The kids races were entertaining as usual. It was ribbon night (they actually handed out 1st- 6th place ribbons after each race, from 50 meters up to 400 meters). It was adorable.

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After these late night track meets I’m usually disgusting (combo of sweat and dirt) so I always do a quick clean up with ShowerPill wipes. They really are perfect for after a race when you can’t get to a shower and need to look and/or smell presentable. I also use them after the gym, on camping trips, and on those days when I just don’t have time to shower.

I’ve been an ambassador for ShowerPill for the past year, and I wanted to do a giveaway for you guys so you can see why I love them so much. It’s not just a glorified baby wipe- these wipes use witch hazel, Vitamin E, and Aloe Vera to clean and hydrate your skin and never leave a sticky residue. I also like that they are antibacterial (with an FDA-approved formula that kills 99.99% of germs) and hypoallergenic and paraben-free.

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So, here are the giveaway rules and details:

  • Head on over to my Instagram page here (@molliedeturner) and tag a friend in the comments who you think would love to try ShowerPill. Make sure you follow me and Shower Pill on Instagram (@showerpill)!
  • You can tag more than one friend, but please leave a separate comment for each tag
  • The giveaway starts now (Wednesday 7/27) and ends Thursday 7/28 at 8 pm EDT.
  • The winner and their friend will each receive a free box of ShowerPill wipes (10 wipes)
  • I’ll announce the winner on Friday!

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One more thing! I’m excited to offer you guys 30% off ShowerPill when you use this link: ShowerPill and the discount code SPSHARE30

Disclosure: The above link is an affiliate link- I receive a small kickback from each ShowerPill purchase. You can also go to the ShowerPill website directly and use the code if you prefer. I was not compensated to write this post and all opinions are my own!

 

July Races and Places

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This July has been all about treadmill runs at the YMCA (thank you free child care) and racing my way back into shape. Since the Firecracker 4 on July 4th I’ve done 3 races: 2 track miles and the Roller Coaster Race 10k.

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Roller Coaster Race 10k

Our local running club, HMRRC, hosts free track meets on Tuesday evenings in July. I hadn’t been to one since I was in high school, but I wanted to take Emma to run in the kids race and figured I’d hop into a race while I was there too. I surprised myself by running a 5:23 for the full mile. Emma ran the 50 meter kids race, although she kept running through the finish line and didn’t want to stop.

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That weekend we took a quick trip up to Lake George, where we stayed at the Great Escape Lodge (the host hotel for the Roller Coaster Race). It was a nice hotel, and the kids loved the indoor water park. It was convenient for race morning too because we were able to just jog from the hotel to the start line, and then run back after the race to shower. The race itself went pretty well- I’m not usually a fan of 10ks because they just seem so long but this course had a lot of twists and turns, so you really had to pay attention and couldn’t zone out. I ended up running 39:58, which wasn’t bad considering my lack of workouts lately. We spent the rest of the day at Great Escape and Splashwater Kingdom (tickets were free with the race entry). Emma had the time of her life on those rides!

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This past Tuesday I hit the track again for another mile, this time a few seconds faster (5:16). Emma and her cousin Mia ran the kids races again. We’ll be in town for one more track meet next Tuesday, so I might break out the spikes and see if I can get under 5:10!

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We’ll be in Lake Placid this weekend for IMLP to cheer on my brother-in-law for his first Ironman! I’ve never spectated an Ironman race, so this will be a fun new experience. I’m not sure what to expect of an all-day endurance event (what do we do? will there be beer? where will my kids take naps?)… I’m still at a loss trying to figure out how anyone could swim and bike for hours BEFORE running a marathon. Badass.

A quick recap and Roller Coaster Race giveaway!

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Training has been very, shall we say, “relaxed” recently. After months of structured marathon training, I welcomed the recovery with open arms. It started with plans to take it easy for a few weeks after the Rhinebeck Marathon, and then all 4 of us got hit with a round of chest colds and ear infections, and no one slept through the night for the entire month of June. Let’s just say we were a cranky group.

My local team, Willow Street Athletic Club, was planning to run the Firecracker 4 on the 4th of July (this past Monday). I was in the middle of organizing Natalie’s 1st birthday party on July 2nd, so I was hesitant to commit to running it (never mind the fact that for the past 7 weeks I have averaged 10 miles per WEEK). But I knew I could run 4 miles, so I decided to just go for it and I’m so glad I did. I went out faster than I planned, and paid for it big time in the last mile (which happens to have a huge hill that I almost walked up), but in the end I still managed to run a decent race and finish just under 25 minutes averaging 6:15 (6:05, 6:08, 6:24, 6:27 woof)*.

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After the Firecracker 4 with Mia and Emmaline!

Okay, all that being said, I found myself looking for more races to stay motivated over the summer and  one race stood out as a MUST do- Roller Coaster Race at Six Flags Great Escape in Lake George. I told Pete about it, and he thought it looked fun (and it’s hard to impress him with running). They have a 10k and 5k option as well as a roller coaster challenge that you can do in addition to the race OR by itself (if you’re not a runner) for a special medal. Plus the rides open early for the race participants and you get a ticket to Six Flags Great Escape and Splashwater Kingdom with your entry. I kid you not, the next day I woke up to an email asking if I’d be interested in doing a blog giveaway for this exact race!

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So, if you want to enter a giveaway for a free entry to Roller Coaster Race next Saturday July 16th in Lake George at Six Flags Great Escape, here are the rules:

  • To enter, just comment below and tell me your favorite roller coaster (or 2 or 3 if you can’t decide).
  • Share this blog post on twitter and tag @molliedeturner and @runorriderace for another entry. Make sure you follow me @molliedeturner and follow Roller Coaster Race @runorriderace so we can see your tweet!
  • Share this post on Facebook and tag me for another entry!

You can enter the giveaway through Sunday night July 10th at 8pm EDT** and I’ll announce the winner on Monday morning.

If you’d like to sign up on your own, here are the details:

Registration is open through Tuesday July 12th at 11:59 pm EDT. There are discounts on hotels through the race website as well as the option to purchase additional park tickets (if you have friends or family who want to cheer you on)! Registrants receive:
  • A t-shirt (tech for runners, cotton for riders- both if they’re participating in both events)
  • A ticket to the park good on event day
  • Free parking at the park on event day
  • A finisher medal for each event in which the registrants participate
Here’s my referral link if you’d like to sign up through that directly : The Roller Coaster Race

Disclosure: I did receive a free entry for this race, but I was planning on registering on my own anyway. I paid for a registration for Pete as well. All opinions are my own! 

*this is not the way to run a race, positive splits are BAD!

** I learned something today! EST is Eastern Standard Time (during the fall/winter) and EDT is Eastern Daylight Time during daylight savings (spring/summer). Lived on the east coast most of my life and never paid attention to that little detail…

 

 

 

My marathon history…

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(I haven’t finished my recap from this past weekend’s race yet but if you want to skip below I wrote a little blurb about it…)

One of the questions I was asked in the med tent in Boston was “how many marathons have you run?” and I had to think about it for a moment before I gave my answer. I was so dehydrated and exhausted that I couldn’t recall exactly, so I just said “six”, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized how abnormal it was that I didn’t know. So today I parked myself in front of my laptop to look up my past race results.

Part of me wishes this fit into a perfect little progression that makes sense. Instead, there’s a story behind each of these races.

#1 Charlottesville Marathon (Charlottesville, VA) 2006 3:52:29

… I was in grad school at JMU and had recently “retired” from running when one of my friends asked if I would train with her for this race. We followed a Hal Higdon plan (her idea) and did our weekly long runs together. I was hung over the day before the race, and ate veggie pizza for dinner that night- both were terrible choices. I felt good early on but spent portions of the last 8-10 miles walking and swore I would never run a marathon again. Because I hadn’t fueled properly, this was my first experience with “hitting the wall”.

#2 Vermont City Marathon (Burlington, VT) 2008 4:33:09

… My sister and her boyfriend (now husband) decided to run this race so I ran it with them. They followed a Hal Higdon plan and I followed a no running plan. All I remember from this race was that it was hot and very hilly, but I thought it was a nice course.

#3 Shamrock Marathon (Virginia Beach, VA) 2009 3:43:45

… Pete and I had moved back to Virginia and I started coaching cross country in the fall of 2008, which is when I started getting interested in running again. After cross country season I didn’t run at all and I was in school to get my teaching license. Between that and planning my wedding, I didn’t have time to train, so I’m not sure why I signed up for this race. I did one random 3 hour run at the end of February and otherwise made it through this race on the fitness I had leftover from the fall. I was on pace to run 3:40 and qualify for Boston (the old qualifying time) but ended up slowing way down in the last few miles.

#4 Mohawk Hudson River Marathon (Albany, NY) 2011 3:05:22

… The death of one of my college teammates prompted me to get off my ass and actually train for a marathon, so I started a blog on blogspot and chronicled my training (actually “our” training because Pete and I trained together and he wrote some of the posts). We used a plan from the Pete Pfitzinger book “Advanced Marathoning”. I had run a 1:30 half that spring without training, so I figured I might be able to run close to 3 hrs with a solid training block. I ran into a few issues training through the intense summer heat, so I was pleasantly surprised to run this fast and feel good doing it (and I learned how to carbo load properly which was why I was able to hold my pace in those later miles).

Shamrock Marathon  2012 DNF (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

… Had some great training for this race but also a lot of personal health issues which affected my training, and dropped out around 14 miles. Boo.

#5 Three Bridges Marathon (Charlottesville, VA) 2012 3:12:42

… Took some time off from marathons for most of 2012, but after spectating at the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon I decided to give it a go and find a winter marathon nearby. I had 8 weeks to train for this, mostly done on the treadmill at 4 am before work. I also got really sick about 3 weeks beforehand with a virus and didn’t know if I’d make it to the start line, but my doctor cleared me to run that week and I somehow pulled it off.

Boston Marathon 2013 DNS

… Preggers with Emmaline. This was the year of the bombing. I had initially planned to run this race or at least part of it, but changed my mind a few weeks beforehand.

#6 Boston Marathon 2014 3:46:44

… An injury forced me into cross training for about 6 weeks. I ran alongside my sister for about 21 miles of this until we hit the top of Heartbreak. This was the year after the bombing. I’ll never forget running up Heartbreak and finding out that Meb had won. It still gives me chills.

#7 Mohawk Hudson River Marathon (Albany, NY) 2015 3:05:25

… I surprised myself with this race, almost running a PR with a pretty pathetic training cycle. I ran about 5 days per week pushing Emma in the running stroller for almost every run. My mileage averaged about 45 mpw. I lost motivation at the end of August and took 10 days completely off from running. We were also in the process of selling our house… and a few days after this race I found out I was pregnant with Natalie!

#8 Boston Marathon 2016 3:24:57

… I trained with a new coach and although it wasn’t the time I was hoping for, I was happy to make it through the post-baby comeback without a major injury. It was very warm for Boston this year, not hot, but enough to affect many of us who train in cooler climates. I wrote a recap of the race, and my splits are up on Strava. In general, it’s best to run evenly or negative split a marathon, although that’s difficult to do in Boston the way the course is laid out (with the significant hills in miles 16-21). I was attempting to run this race at an even pace, around 6:50s, but around mile 10 or so it became obvious that wasn’t going to happen. I was really sore (even four days later when I originally wrote this post) particularly in my right quad.

#9 Rhinebeck Hudson Valley Marathon (Rhinebeck, NY) 2016 3:10:39

… This was such a fun race, and I felt great for this one even though it was another very warm day (probably similar to Boston weather but we had a lot of shade too). I signed up for this one a few days before the race and went into it without a goal time, just planning to run how I felt and maybe try to get my marathon mojo back after a disappointing result in Boston.  I ended up having a good group of guys to run with for the first half and finished feeling pretty strong. I loved this course- it was two loops, with lots of hills and gorgeous scenery. My splits are here.

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So… maybe I’ll get it right by marathon number 10? I’m not planning to run one this fall, so I think number 10 might have to wait until Boston next year. Or maybe I’ll sign up for another one on a whim, who knows!

What are some of your favorite marathon courses? Big or small, flat or hilly, doesn’t matter, just looking for a good excuse to travel and run 26.2 miles (although a fast course wouldn’t hurt)!

 

Mother’s Day 5k bRUNch 18:47

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Hey, it’s been awhile! I won a race this weekend! I’m still in lazy mode after Boston, so I wasn’t sure how this would go. We left our house around 8 am on Sunday and got to Schenectady Central Park around 8:30. No alarm necessary since the girls have been getting up at 5:30 am lately. I warmed up 1.5 miles with my sister, very easy, then nursed Natalie before walking over to the start. Reluctantly did one stride and waited a few minutes for the race to start. I don’t know if there was a gun (I think the starter just said GO!!) but once the race was off I went straight to the front. Usually I don’t care if I start off easy, but since there were a lot of young kids in this race (which was awesome, go Girls on the Run) I thought it would be better to just get out. The race made a small loop back through the starting line and then looped around a lake in the park. There was one woman ahead of me in the beginning but I passed her in the first mile, and after that I ran alone.

I came through the first mile in 6:03 (side note: why does Garmin show different splits than Strava and sometimes different distances?) I felt pretty good so I decided to maintain the same effort. The course went up and over a medium-sized hill and then turned left into the woods where we ran along a trail with some uneven footing (although it was well marked). I came through two miles just as we ran back out of the woods and saw my split was 6:13, so I had slowed a little with the hill and uneven footing, but I still felt pretty good.

The third mile looped back around the lake in the opposite direction, and I tried to quicken my pace a little on the back half of the loop. I completely zoned out after that and before I knew it I was at the third mile marker (5:58). Then I looked up and saw my family cheering for me and the finish clock- I didn’t have a big time goal for the race, but it’s always nice to get in under 19 minutes. My official finish time was 18:47 (results here).

After the race I ran an easy mile with my sister as a cool down. I was planning on running another half mile with Emmaline during the kids race, but she decided not to run (it was pretty cold and windy). I’ve been reeeeally enjoying NOT marathon training- probably a little too much.

I won flowers and a year membership to a local gym. Totally didn’t get a photo of the awards because I had the post-race shivers and just wanted to peace out and get some food. We had brunch after the race at Perecca’s Italian Kitchen (they make the BEST bread) which was awesome because we were starving.

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They put sprinkles on Emmaline’s pancakes at our request. Yum!

Boston Marathon recap

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Well, friends, I was hoping for a better result on Patriot’s Day this year. I didn’t even come close to reaching my goal, but I finished.

I had to be transported to the med tent in a wheelchair, which was not something I ever imagined happening.

But let me go back to earlier in the day.

My sister Steph (19 weeks pregnant) and I (breast pump in tow) were laughing at the  hashtag she created #breastpumpsandbabybumps and attempted to figure out a vague timeline for the morning on the bus ride out to Hopkinton. When you look at the schedule for race morning, it seems like you’ll have so much time but in reality the time goes by really fast. All we really did was wait in line for the porta potties and then it was time to go to the start. I didn’t have any trouble finding the operations tent where I turned in my pump. It didn’t bother me, but I did think it was comical that they put a bunch of guys in charge of that area.

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Did you catch the selfie of a selfie? Also, Steph finished Boston in 4:50 at 19 weeks pregnant (thanks for making the rest of us feel lazy, sister)

It was a lot warmer than I had expected in Hopkinton. Apparently it was 70 degrees at the start, clear and sunny. I started coming down with a cold on Friday night so I already had a sore throat but I noticed that despite how much water I had been drinking my mouth felt dry. That was my first sign that I might have to adjust my goal.

After you leave the Athlete’s Village, it’s about a mile jog/ walk to the start line. Before you go into the corrals, there is an area with a bunch of porta potties where everyone makes their last pit stop. The lines were long and I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to get through before 10 am. A bunch of guys were lined up along the embankment next to that area and I though “well, that’s not fair” so I marched myself along the row, kept my eyes down, and peed. Only got a little on my shoe.

I made my way to my corral and looked around to see if I recognized anyone. Nope. The sun felt really hot at this point and I was glad I had decided to wear a hat. A few minutes went by and I sort of spaced out until I heard someone call my name. It was Meg, another runner that I know from social media. We figured out that we both had similar goals so we decided to run together. The race started a few minutes later, and I was so damn excited to get going.

The first mile is a really steep downhill. We were towards the back of our corral and one of the last corrals in Wave 1, so it was tough to hit pace (although somewhat expected). The first mile was around 7:15, and then it started to spread out enough to weave through the crowds. The next three miles were all in the 6:50’s, which was encouraging except for 2 things- 1) my Garmin was already way off the mile markers on the course, and 2) I wasn’t feeling “good”. I tried to ignore those issues though because I know it’s normal to go through rough patches in the marathon (although not usually this early on). We chatted briefly about how we were feeling and decided to settle into the low 7’s for awhile.

At this point I knew I wasn’t going to hit my A goal, so you can only imagine what was going on in my mind. Of course I was disappointed, but I also knew going into this training cycle that Boston weather is totally unpredictable. I really had three main goals for this cycle- 1) to get through it without a major injury like I had 2 years ago coming back from my first pregnancy, 2) to run a PR in the half, and 3) to run a PR in the marathon and hopefully closer to 2:55- 2:59. So, knowing I already had met 2 of 3 made it a little easier to let go and back off the pace.

Although there were a few slower miles, we stayed in the low 7’s for the most part through Ashland, Framingham and Natick. Wellesley was a nice boost- my Oiselle teammates came out in full force at Cowbell Corner (there were almost 100 of us running Boston) and I got to see my family there and hug my girls. According to my watch I came through the half around 1:35 but was getting further and further off the mile markers. I had separated from Meg by then, so getting to see some familiar faces was awesome.

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Don’t remember which mile this was, but I was still feeling good here.

 I still felt pretty good through the first of the Newton hills and had a smile on my face even when I was hurting. I noticed somewhere in Newton that my right quad and the front of my hip had tightened up, so I tried to relax a little bit and just focus on getting up and over each hill as delicately as possible. I was tempted to join the walking party since it seemed like so many others around me were doing it, but I knew if I started walking now it would be hard to fight it for the next 6 miles… so I smiled up Heartbreak at 9:00 pace.

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Nearing the top of Heartbreak  Hill.

From the top of Heartbreak to the finish the streets are lined with people cheering. It’s such a strange experience because you’re exhausted, your legs feel like jello, and every ounce of you wants to stop running (or at least somehow skip forward to the finish line). But you’ve got friends and strangers cheering for you and telling you to keep going… and somehow you will your legs to keep going. I felt myself starting to get emotional, which led me to start hyperventilating so I had to try to disassociate in those last few miles. I counted from 1- 100 focusing on taking deep breaths. Then I’d start over again. I did this for 6 miles, with a few breaks in between. I looked up and saw the Citgo sign, then looked down and started counting again. I looked up when I heard someone cheer for me by name, then I’d get back to counting. It felt like I was barely picking my feet up but in reality I was still running around 8:30 pace for the last 10k through Brookline and Boston.

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Running through Chestnut Hill area and Boston College.

Before I knew it, we were turning right on Hereford! Both times I’ve made that turn it has caught me by surprise…. like, this can’t be the finish already?! But, there’s only one right turn into Hereford, so it has to be the end. Then we turn left on Boylston and you can see the finish line. Without thinking, my turnover got quicker- I just wanted to get to the finish.

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I see you, finish line.

I remembered to stop my watch this time. My official finish time was 3:24:57 for 26.2 miles.

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Yassss.

…and I actually ran 26.9 miles, which is probably the worst tangent running of my life. But for this race it was more important to get water every mile than to try and run the shortest distance possible

I had another hyperventilating episode at the finish but I was able to calm myself down, then slowly walk through the finish area along Boylston and pick up my gear bag. This is when things got a little ugly…. I was dehydrated and not thinking straight. I had to find the operations tent to pick up my pump, but I couldn’t remember any details about where it was (they transported the pump from Hopkinton for us to the finish, unlike our gear which was dropped off at the same tent where we picked it up in Boston). The volunteer who I spoke with wasn’t helpful- maybe I wasn’t being clear, maybe I just picked the wrong person to talk to, but I felt myself start to hyperventilate again and then I started seeing stars and things got black for a moment. A kind volunteer brought me a wheelchair, and since I wasn’t confident I could walk on my own at this point they wheeled me to the med tent.

They used a scanner on my bib number as I went in the tent and then took me to an area for the less serious ailments. There were signs over each section, and I noticed one that said “Leg Cramps” which made one of my legs instantly cramp up. I laid down on a cot with a blanket, tried to eat and drink water.  A nurse came to take my blood pressure, and a doctor came over to ask me questions and make sure I was okay (like how many marathons have you run, was this your first Boston, and a few others pertaining to how I was feeling). My breathing was still labored at this point but much better than it had been. The staff and volunteers were all incredibly helpful and talked to me until I felt better. It took about 30 minutes before I sat up and realized I was fine. They brought over someone with a cell phone and I was able to call my family and let them know I was okay. Once I was cleared to leave, they scanned me out and I met up with my family.

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I wanted to get a photo with my two girls after the race, but Natalie had me pinned down and Emma wanted to play hide and seek with her cousins. So, you get the idea. I was pretty sore yesterday, I think partly because of the hills and also from sitting in this position for an hour and a half after the race. Poor girl was hungry.

I plan on taking two weeks completely off from running and then will go from there. I was lucky I felt good enough to finish and get a qualifier for next year. Maybe the third time I’ll get it right. I’m extremely excited to run shorter distances this summer and then go for a fast half marathon in October, and as of now I’m not planning to run a fall marathon.

A huge hug, high five, and thank you to everyone who offered support these last few months and on Monday. My mom, dad, sisters, and Pete all helped watch the girls on weekends and sometimes on weekdays so I could train. Thanks to my Willow Street teammates for your words of encouragement and support on the course yesterday, my Oiselle teammates who had such a freaking awesome cowbell corner in Wellesley and along the course, and the Averill Park alumni cheer section (Mindel, you really are everywhere). Over and out for now, friends. Boston, I love you!

The longest three weeks…

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Three weeks from today, if everything goes to plan, I will be hobbling around town doing the marathon shuffle. A few weeks ago I was really doubting myself, but after a good half marathon race and a few decent long runs and workouts I’m feeling much more capable. There have been some highs and lows recently, but I keep referring back to my theme for 2016 and that whole “hay is in the barn” saying that every coach in the history of running uses when their athlete starts to panic.

I felt good after my half marathon, almost too good, but I had strict instructions to take the next four days really easy. I had a short workout on Friday evening leading into a 24 mile long run on Saturday morning. I’ve done a few of these pre-fatigued long runs and they are NOT fun. Looking back at long runs I’ve done on fresh legs versus fatigued I can see such a difference in my pace and how I felt overall, so I just need to remember that and not dwell on how awful that 24 felt. Both kids were having sleep issues the week leading up to Shamrock, and for the week afterwards it was even worse. So, I was going on two weeks without a full night of sleep until yesterday. Getting almost 8 solid hours of sleep was magical.

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We’ve been lucky to have unseasonably mild weather recently, so the girls and I have been strolling around in the double BOB most days. Now that Natalie is getting bigger she doesn’t just fall asleep immediately, so I’ve caught Emmaline playing peek-a-boo with her and trying to get her to laugh. The two of them giggling together is the cutest thing and makes stroller running fun. As much as I’m looking forward to Boston, I’m also looking forward to some lazy days with the girls once marathon training is done where I don’t have to stress about fitting in a 12 mile workout.

I have a 5 mile race this weekend that I’ll do as part of my long run. After this weekend comes a two week taper, and then it’s game time!

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Although I looked like a drowned rat., I love that Shamrock offered free photos this year. And evidence that I didn’t make up that story about my watch falling off and not being able to put it back on.