TBT: The Journey to Marathon #6

17 Apr

In honor of TBT, I decided to write a little throwback post to marathons 1-5, and how I made it to #6. After I ran my first half marathon, I vowed to never run a marathon. I remember thinking to myself, “If a half was that hard, how could I EVER do a full??” It wasn’t gonna happen.

My mind was changed after watching my friend Stacy run her 10th marathon in Chicago on 10-10-10. I remember cheering from the sidelines thinking, “someday soon, this will be me. I want to run a marathon. I want to experience this excitement”

December 2011 – 14 months later, and I was scared to death at the starting line of my first marathon. Marathon #1 was so easy for me and felt so natural. I crossed the finish line and thought, “Bring on the next one baby!!!” It truly was one of the best experiences of my life, and I knew a marathon addict had been born. Finish time: 3:32

May 2012 – 4 months later, I brought on the next one. And it sucked ASS. A totally different experience than marathon #1. I had to walk. I had to cry. And I wanted to quit. But I didn’t. And in the end, I came out of it more determined for marathon #3. Finish time: 4:13

December 2012 – Marathon #3 was also a tough one. Right before the race, I got sick. The week of the race, I wasn’t sure if I could even run. I toughed it out, and ran my heart out. I had to take my inhaler 4-5 times during the race, stop multiple times to catch my breath, and shed a few tears. But after it was all said and done, I was so thankful my body could support me for 26.6 and my mind could make it too. Finish Time: 3:43

April 2013 – The months leading up to Marathon #4 were quite grouchy. I did not want to train. AT ALL. The 3 marathons before were all back to back (fall – summer – fall) and I was ready for a break. It actually took me until April to get excited. How silly that I would let my mind get in the way of being excited for BOSTON!!! I was about to run the most exciting marathon in the world, and I wasn’t excited?!?!?! This race ended up to be one of the most memorable I have ever done, and not because of the bombs. I ran this race with two people that mean so much to me. In my opinion, there is no greater bonding experience than surviving 26.2 together. Finish Time: 3:54

November 2013 – BRING ON NYC. The race I waited to run for 18 months. To say I was excited was an understatement. I trained hard, and I conquered the race. For days after this race, I was living on cloud nine for what I had just accomplished (in fact, I think I still am!!!). Finish Time: 3:21

Marathons are not always easy, and certainly not always fun. But every single marathon teaches us something. Through the good, the bad, and the really really ugly races I have experienced, I have never given up. These marathons have taught me what to means to be tough, mentally and physically. They have taught me discipline, and taught me how to set goals and reach them.

And even though I have not loved every step of these races, I can still say that after every 26.2 completed, I have said, “so when’s the next one?”

xo,

Ali

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If Not for the Perfect Stranger

14 Apr

Last fall I was contacted by a woman named Diane. Diane wanted to interview me about my Boston Marathon experience for a book she was working on. The theme of the book was strangers helping others on April 15, 2013.

I was immediately intrigued by this project and loved the theme. This book was about the good, not the evil. Love, not hate.

Diane and I had at least an hour long talk about my experience, as well as her Boston experience. Diana was at the finish of the race when the bombs went off. Something that I cannot even imagine being a part of. Talking to Diana and sharing experiences together was the best therapy session I had. It was so different to talk to someone that knew exactly what you were feeling, because they felt it too. I did many interviews about my Boston experience, but none were like this. Diane and I shared a bond.

I remember telling her about how hard it was for me to come home from Boston and return to “life as usual”. I could not get away from Boston. Wherever I went, people wanted to talk about it. Whenever I turned on the TV, I would go straight to CNN. When I was alone by myself, I would cry because I was still so sad. It was always with me, and very few people in my life understood that.

Diane told me that she struggled for quite awhile after Boston, and going back to normal life was very difficult for her too. I remember her telling me that she would get upset when people would try to talk to about something else, which is exactly how I felt. How could people think about anything else when Boston was the ONLY thing I could think about?

When I hung up the phone with Diane, I felt like a weight was lifted. Finally someone “got me” and felt the same as I did. This interview was truly a therapeutic experience, even 6 months after the race.

Last month, I received my copy of “If Not for the Perfect Stranger”. This book is full of stories of courage, love, hope, and strength. People in Boston all became family that day. We all stood together and helped each other. I am so lucky to have been helped by my Perfect Strangers. Without them, who knows how different my day would have been.

This book is a great way to learn about the goodness that happened on April 15, 2013. Through terror, love prevailed. And these pages are packed full of those amazing stories. Yes, you might cry reading this, but it is worth it. So many incredible people were among us that day, and this book pays tribute to those that truly deserve it.

My story is one of a few that was featured on their website. It is available here.

Where to buy:

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xoxo,

Ali

Boston 2014: How I got in the race

3 Apr

After Boston last year, I wasn’t sure if I would want to run it again. I was scared, sad and anxiety ridden. And for awhile, I lost the desire to race.

When it was time to train for NYC, I didn’t want to start. I actually decided that I wasn’t going to do it at all. Then I realized what I was about to give up, and give in to, and I got over it. And I am SO glad I did, seeing that it was one of the best races of my life!

After NYC, I was beyond motivated for racing and knew I had to get myself back to Boston. NYC had qualified for me for the 2014 and 2015 race, however the 2014 race was no longer an option, as it was full. I was sad I didn’t get myself a new BQ before the 2014 race cut off, but I accepted that I would just have to wait for 2015.

Then this happened….

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I saw it around noon, and by 12:30pm, my essay was written and submitted. It was one of the hardest, yet easiest things I have ever written. The words just flowed. It was like I didn’t even think about what I was writing. All of my thoughts and feelings poured out on the keyboard, and in the end, I had my 250 word essay ready to submit.

A couple weeks after submitting my essay, I received my good news. I was ACCEPTED into the race.

After I read my email, I was in shock. I immediately called my Mom and told her. Naturally she tried to talk me out of it with everything that was going on in my life. New job, getting married, honeymoon, etc was a lot to handle during marathon training. But I never thought twice. I knew I had to run this race. And I wanted to run this race.

On April 21, I get my Boston Marathon experience. I get to remember the day for what it is supposed to be – a huge celebration. Not for what I have stuck in my mind – a terrible tragedy. It won’t be my fastest marathon, but I have a feeling it will be my best marathon EVER.

And in case you’re up for some light reading, here is my essay:

On April 15, 2013, my life was forever changed. My Boston Marathon celebration was cut short when two bombs exploded at the finish line of the race. While I did not see the terror of the bombs exploding, I heard it and felt it. So many emotions came rushing at once, most of which were fear and sadness. Boston changed me in many ways. Many months following the marathon, I lived with fear in my heart and mind. Fear that my fellow runners and I would go through this situation again. And mostly fear that our Nation would have to experience this horror again. While I have been able to overcome much of the anxiety, fear and panic the Boston Marathon bombings had on my life, some of it still remains. I think about Boston every single day. To this day when I hear a loud noise, my heart skips a beat and I have to fight off an anxiety attack. My Boston Marathon experience was stolen from me, just as it was for many other runners. And I want my chance at redemption on April 21, 2014! The possibility to have another shot at Boston would be amazing. I want my chance at happy memories from the race and the opportunity to conquer a fear that was not there when I crossed the starting line in 2013. I also want to celebrate my finish by drinking a Sam Adams with friends that were accepted into the 2014 race. And lastly, April 21 is my Birthday, and I cannot think of a better way to celebrate than by crossing the most prestigious finish line in the world and finally having my closure!

Ready for redemption.

Ready for redemption.

 

Xoxo,

Ali

I’m Getting Married!!!

5 Mar

In case you didn’t know – I am getting married!!!

In just 3 days, I get to marry the man of my dreams. “The One” that I wished for so many years ago. The person that knows me best. And the person that loves me for all my good, and all my flaws.

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And I cannot freaking wait.

Time goes by so fast. Especially when you are planning a wedding, starting a new job, and training for a marathon. Life is full, and my cup runneth over. But I am so lucky and feel blessed beyond belief!

This entire process of wedding planning, I have had a goal to remain calm and not get overwhelmed with all the stupid things. And really, I think I have done a good job. Over 8 months of planning the wedding, and I have only had a few meltdowns. In my research of TLC bridal shows, a few meltdowns = a really sane bride.

Now with the wedding just a few days away, I feel like I am at mile 20 of the marathon. It is getting hard right now, but the finish is so close (duh – I had to use a running metaphor somewhere!!), and I am ready to see it :)

I keep asking my friends that are married what their advice is for the last few days of being a single girl, and I would love to hear your advice too!!

After the wedding and the honeymoon, it is my goal to get my blog life back and document the rest of my Boston Marathon training. I was not expecting to run Boston in 2014, but through a crazy turn of events I now get to experience this race again. Everyone told me that training for a marathon and planning a wedding would make me crazy and would be fairly impossible. However I must say that this is what has made my freakout level stay at a minimum and I am glad I made the decision to go for it!

Take care and I will see you soon!!!

xo,

Ali

Running along Lake Michigan with Stacy and Diana.

Running along Lake Michigan with Stacy and Diana.

Bachelorette Party in Chicago!

Bachelorette Party in Chicago!

With some of my favorites!

With some of my favorites!

Sweetheart Run 5k.

Sweetheart Run 5k.

Random Ramblings

15 Nov

I had a free night, so I figured I would share some of my random thoughts and ramblings. Here we go.

WSJ

This WSJ article and associated backlash is very much entertaining me. If you didn’t see the ridiculous article written by a guy that obviously doesn’t exercise or care about himself, you should check it out. Here it is.

After you read the insanity of this article and laugh at this angry man, read some of the follow up blogs and articles. It is pretty awesome. Moral of the story – Don’t f*** with runners.

Here are my favorite rebuttals:

Lululemon

I don’t really have much of rambling to do about this topic, but I want to know what you think. Obviously the CEO (or whatever that guy’s title is) is an ass. But should we stop shopping at lululemon because of it? I actually felt semi guilty wearing my lulu clothes on my morning run….

How are you reacting to the backlash of this yahoo’s remarks? I can’t lie…I see many more Athleta purchases in my near future.

First Run Post Marathon

Today was my first post-marathon run. It has been 11 days since my race, and it felt like I ran it 2 days ago. My butt pain is STILL there. I don’t know what to do…my mind tells me to be smart and take a couple weeks off the sport. But I don’t know if my brain can handle that right now.

Another thought I had while running this morning is how in the heck people run back to back marathons. I mean, seriously. HOW DO THEY DO IT? If I could barely make it 7 miles 11 days out, how do some of these people run marathons every weekend? Are they just a different breed of people? Or do they just continue to be sore FOREVER? Please help me understand.

I could write another post completely dedicated to how much I love these dumb sparkles on photos.

I could write another post completely dedicated to how much I love these dumb sparkles on photos.

The Baby Karly

My parents have two wiener dogs, and my brother has one. As soon as Ramsey and I get married, we are getting a wiener dog. My family is obsessed with these things. But how could we not be obsessed?? These dogs are so cute.

Well, this last week has been a tad traumatizing because our “Baby Karly” had to have emergency back surgery. It has been so hard to watch this previously spunky and full of life dog look so sad and be in so much pain. But she appears to be healing well and we hope she starts walking again soon.

Have you ever had an injured pet? Did they heal back to their normal selves? Did you struggle with it like we are?

LOOK AT THAT SWEET FACE!!!!

LOOK AT THAT SWEET FACE!!!!

This is all for now.

What is on your mind? Have any thoughts to the things I discussed?

xo!

Ali

and TGIF!!!

Being the best version of YOU.

13 Nov

Lately I have been thinking a lot about life – specifically living the best life possible.

Much of living the best life possible comes down to the decisions that we make on an everyday basis. We control our lives. We control our happiness. And we control changing things if we aren’t happy.

And sometimes “changing things” can mean making hard decisions.

When I talk to a friend that is sad or in a lull, I always ask them the same thing, “are you living the life that makes you the best person you can possibly be?”

Usually if I am having this conversation with them, the answer is “no”.

I have found that usually the areas we are discussing revolve around three things – Jobs, relationships and ourselves. And I always offer the same advice for each.

If you are unhappy with your job, you should look into ways you can make your job work better for you. And if your job doesn’t work for you anymore, you should think about another path you could take.

If you are unhappy with your relationships, strive to make new ones or let old ones go (I wrote about this specific item earlier this year)

If you are unhappy with yourself, do something that makes YOU happy.

Strive to live your BEST life. Strive to live a life that makes you the BEST version of yourself.

Sometimes the route to making positive changes can be extremely hard, and sometimes feel negative. Trust me, I know.

But I ask you to keep your eye on the prize. And the prize is your happiness. Which in my opinion is one of the best prizes of all :)

xo,

Ali

Have you ever made a hard decision because it would give you a happier life?

What advice do you tell friends or family members that are going through a hard time?

NYC Marathon Race Logistics

6 Nov

Yesterday, I posted about my PR and success at the NYC Marathon. Today, I wanted to share some of my race logistics and tips!

Running a marathon definitely takes a lot of strategy and preparation – and this is in addition to the 4 months of training leading up to it.

In my opinion, big city races are really hard to prepare and plan for. You have to travel, and you want to see the sights while you are there. You also want to enjoy a vacation and live it up. However too much of any of these things and you will ruin your race.

Friday Prep:

We arrived to NYC on Friday afternoon. Immediately when we got there, I wanted to eat something semi healthy and go to the expo. I thought it would be smart to get all of my wandering around the expo out of the way on Friday.

We ended up walking to the expo, which I was NOT happy with. But traffic sucked and it was our only option. I knew I needed to save the legs, but sitting in a cab for an hour and going into debt didn’t really seem like a better option.

After coming back to the hotel, I rested my legs for a while and chugged some more water. That night, we took another walk that was way too long, but I made sure to go to bed early.

I have read many times that two nights before your race is the most important night to sleep, so I was sure to get in a solid 10 hour rest that night. Sleep is so important to a successful race!!!

Saturday Prep:

Saturday morning I had pancakes for breakfast, a little coffee, a ton of water and a gatorade. We had a late breakfast on Saturday, so I had a light lunch which consisted of a bag of pretzels and another gatorade. Doesn’t sound like much, but when I added the calories I figured 500 was pretty solid. Saturday dinner was full of carbs. I had bread and ravioli. It was the perfect meal. I also continued to chug water.

My biggest obstacle to overcome on Saturday was all the walking. I kept thinking to myself, “you are walking too much!” I took cabs whenever I could and sat down at every opportunity. Normally before a race I will run a couple miles the day before, but on Saturday I decided not to run at all. I was very concerned with overdoing it and tiring my legs. I figured all the walking I had done was plenty and would count as my shake out..

Saturday night was daylight savings, which was amazing!! I was able to sleep lay in bed an extra hour and recharge my body as much as possible.

Sunday Pre Race:

When I woke up Sunday, I felt crazy rested and more than ready to run.

After putting on my race outfit, applying all of the Body Glide in NYC, and making sure everything was secure, I started putting on my layers.

I decided not to check a bag, so everything I was wearing would not be coming home. My layers consisted of a jacket, a long sleeve t shirt, a short sleeve t shirt, another jacket and fleece pants. It was insane how many layers I was wearing – but let me tell you – I was warm! I also had on tube socks as arm warmers (a tip my friend Stacy taught me), a fleece headband and cheap cotton gloves.

On the way to the start, I had my first meal. This meal consisted of a banana, a nutri grain bar, and a cup of gatorade. I also sipped on water the whole way to Staten Island.

When we arrived to Staten Island, I went to my corral and sat down. I was insistent on not using extra energy standing. As I sat there, I drank some more water, and ate another nutri grain bars (nutri grain bars have become my go-to pre running meal).

I was able to use the port-a-potty twice in the corral, but it wasn’t enough. Next time I won’t drink so much before the race, because I ended up having to pee for 26 miles!! (btw I am annoyed yet again with how easy it is for men to pee ANYWHERE!)

When we walked to the starting line, I found another place to sit down. I sat in a ball for at least 20 minutes. This would ensure I didn’t waste energy standing or waste energy shivering like most of the people out there.

Sunday – Race Time:

To stay warm during the start of the race, I wore an old jacket for the first two miles. This jacket was awesome for the wind on the bridge. I ditched it around mile 2 when I started getting hot. I wore my arm sleeves for about 14 miles. The gloves stayed on until mile 21, and the headband was there until mile 22.

I took GU at mile 6, 13, 18 and 23. Sometimes it is hard to force the GU, but if you don’t take it you will pay for it. Usually my tactic is to take it every 45 minutes.

I had water and gatorade at every stop, except the last one (I feared if I stopped I wouldn’t be able to move again). I usually walk to through the stops so I don’t choke. This time I was able to make it through quite a few of them without stopping because I mastered the drinking and running thing!

As I said in my recap, I took my inhaler 3 times during the race. I also took it twice before – once when I got to the start village, and once right before the gun went off. On a day when my asthma is normal, I would only take the inhaler at the start and then again around mile 20.

Recap:

Two days before the race:

  • Sleep as much as possible
  • Rest your legs
  • Drink lots of water

One day before the race:

  • Eat carbs (I always avoid heavy carbs and veggies)
  • Drink lots of water
  • Drink a couple gatorades
  • Minimize the walking

Race morning:

  • Start sipping water/gatorade immediately
  • Eat carbs with sugars (if I eat anything with protein I feel weighed down)
  • Sit down as much as possible
  • Stay warm
  • Pee as much as possible!!!!
  • Stretch

Race time:

  • Sit down at the start if you’ll be there awhile
  • Stay warm
  • Eat gels (or your energy of choice) consistently – this piece is really different for everyone. It is important to train with what you will use on race day so you know if your body reacts well.
  • Force water/gatorade at every stop if you can

Now you know ALL my race secrets, tips and tricks! While all of these things don’t work for everyone, I do believe they are all important things to think about and consider.

Do you have any race tips? Are there things that you have to do before each marathon?

xo!

Ali

NYC Marathon Race Recap

5 Nov

Start spreadin’ the news, I’m leavin’ today
I want to be a part of it
New York, New York

And that is how the 2013 NYC Marathon started – Frank Sinatra belting it out as thousands of runners stood on the Verrazano Bridge waiting to cross the start.

Freezing at the start.

Freezing at the start.

At 9:45am, I crossed the starting line and began my journey from Staten Island to Central Park. I knew the start would be an emotional experience, and let me tell you – it was. I fought back the tears then switched my focus to the 26.2 miles ahead.

The first couple miles were so cool (and quite windy too!). We were on theĀ Verrazano bridge with one of the most incredible views of the city. Hovering next to the bridge were NYPD helicopters keeping us safe and waving to us as we ran by. We could feel the love of the city, and we felt safe.

Everyone told me that this race would be crazy crowded at the start and to expect a very slow first mile. While it was crowded, I don’t think it slowed me down too much. I think the main thing to slow me down was the incline. I ended up running an 8:07 first mile, which made me pretty happy.

Around mile 3, we hit Brooklyn. I could hear the music and the fans as soon as we got off the bridge. They were ready to welcome us to their borough!

My tactic for this race was to run a consistent pace for as long as I could. I didn’t really know what that pace would be, but I hoped it would be something under 8 minutes a mile (I really wanted to break 3:30). I knew that pace so well from all my training runs, and was hoping I could get into the under 8min groove and hang onto it the whole race.

The first half was all in Brooklyn. We saw a number of different neighborhoods and many different people and cultures. I tried to soak it all in and enjoy every minute. I wore my Garmin that doesn’t show overall pace, but just my overall time and mileage (to avoid over thinking and obsessing on pace). When I knew I was reaching a mile marker I would try to check and see what pace I was hitting. Pretty much everything I saw the first half was around 7:35-7:45.

Half of the race DONE!

Half of the race DONE!

I will say I did have a few moments of worry the first half of the race. From the minute I crossed the starting line, I had this annoying pain in my butt. I had been experiencing this nagging pain for quite awhile during training, and hoped my taper would force it to go away. Well, it didn’t. I kept hoping it would either go numb or go away (umm yeah it never did).

Another issue the first half of my race was my asthma. This was another thing that had been bothering me over the past few weeks and I was pretty worried it would affect my race. At mile 9, I had to take my inhaler. I NEVER have to take my inhaler that early in a race, so this was a reason to be worried. I told myself over and over again not to panic. I also told my asthma that I wouldn’t let it ruin my race. I would conquer the marathon even though my breathing wasn’t the best. Letting the asthma win was not an option.

Hitting 13.1 miles in this race was huge for me. The first half was over, and I could evaluate my pace and body.

I crossed the half point in 1:41:52, which was right on target for a big PR. And most importantly, I felt positive and knew my body could make it another 13.1 at a good pace.

The race tactic for the second half was to ‘keep on keepin’ on’ and continue exactly what I was doing.

When we hit the Queensboro Bridge around mile 14 I was a little intimidated. I had read a lot about this race and knew this was a hard part. You are all alone on that bridge and you face an uphill. This was one of the first miles when I felt like I had already run an insane amount of miles. I got myself up the hill and then made my way down. I knew that my family was waiting at the end of the bridge, and I wanted to keep going hard for them!

Exiting the bridge was very exciting, but I will say not as exciting as I had expected. While there were a TON of people down there, for some reason they weren’t screaming as loud as I had expected. It even took a couple runners pumping their arms to really get them going. After that, they got loud for us and welcomed us into Manhattan (anyone else that ran notice this?).

Turning onto 1st Avenue was awesome. The crowds were loud and you could see a sea of runners in front of you. This was also the first time I got to see my family – Ramsey and my soon to be sister Sarah! I LOVED seeing them and gave them a huge smile and huge thumbs up so they would know I was having a good day and felt great.

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Yay!

Feeling good!

Feeling good!

Right after seeing my family, I had to do few more hits of my inhaler. Again, this did not make me happy but I refused to let it screw up my day. Thank God for my Lululemon Stuff your Bra tank. Because of that tank I could keep my inhaler right on my chest and not have to fish it out of my belt. While it certainly looked a little odd bulging out of my bra, it probably saved me a few seconds on the day.

My mile splits continued to be consistent and on track for my PR.

Mile 18.5ish was crazy exciting because I got to see some of my NYC blog friends!! They screamed so loud for me and it was awesome. It was so fun to be in a city away from home and have people supporting you. Seeing them gave me an extra boost and another reminder that I could do it – and I was going to do it!

Thank you Michele for the photo!!

Thank you Michele for the photo!!

Aside from the 13.1 mark of the race, mile 20 was another BIG milestone. I was actually excited for mile 20 of this race. I knew once 20 hit, I could start picking up my pace and hit it hard to the finish. And when I still felt good at 20, I knew I was going to have a great day. I actually said to myself multiple times – “F the wall!!”

The support in the Bronx was pretty great. Everyone was cheering and yelling and was there to get the runners to the finish line. There were also some pretty great spectator signs.

When we left the Bronx and hit 5th Avenue, I knew it was time to get serious and focus on the finish. Only 5 more miles and I was done.

Mile 23 is when shit got real. I was starting to really hurt. My ass was ON FIRE (remember the pain in my butt, yeah still there), I had to take my inhaler AGAIN and I just wanted to be done. This is when having my name on my tank was the best decision ever. Everyone in the crowds was yelling “Go Ali!” and supporting me.

When I turned into Central Park at mile 24, I knew the race was coming to an end. At this point I was thinking, “one foot in front of the other. keep on moving. you can do it”.

At mile 25, I saw Ramsey and Sarah again. I struggled to wave to them and couldn’t really say anything back. I was hurting so bad. But I knew I was still keeping a strong pace and on track for a huge PR.

“Keep on going, you are almost done”

ouch ouch ouch ouch

ouch ouch ouch ouch

I wore my 2012 bib on my back.

I wore my 2012 bib on my back.

GET ME TO THE FINISH.

GET ME TO THE FINISH.

Turning onto Central Park South was another huge moment. I knew I had one more turn and then the finish would be there. I saw my watch beep Mile 26 (my Garmin was off about .4 from the real mile markers due to all the weaving I had done) and couldn’t believe my split – 7:16. I was booking it, and even though I hurt I was still staying focused and very strong. It was great to see that I was going faster than I had thought.

Right after mile 26.

Right after mile 26, with my Boston Strong temp tattoo on my arm.

As we turned back into the park, I started giving it everything I had. I pumped my arms like I never have before and had quite the mean face determined face going on.

Get it!

Get it!

I saw that finish and had my eye on the prize. I ran harder than I could have imagined possible to get my body across the finish.

I think this was right before the finish line.

I think this was right before the finish line.

And then I was done, and promptly hit my watch.

Holy crap. 3:21.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I DID IT!!!!!!!

As soon as I could think straight, I got out my phone and texted Ramsey. This conversation makes giggle and also makes me emotional. I was so tired I couldn’t even text a sentence. But I wanted him to know I was happy, and I was alive. I think he figured it out. (and yes, he is the most supportive soon-to-be-husband ever).

This makes me smile and I realize it is so sappy.

This makes me smile and I realize it is so sappy.

Then I called my parents. As soon as my Mom picked up the phone, I started crying. I told her I did it and she said, “I know you did! We are so proud right now!!!” Then she told me that my Dad and her were shocked at how perfect and smart I ran the race. My Dad got on the phone and swooned over my negative splits. Negative splits are ALWAYS a reason to celebrate!
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As I hobbled through the park to the family meet up (longest walk EVER!!!) I called Stacy and Nicole to tell them I was ok and that I was so happy.

Seeing Ramsey and Sarah at the family meet up was amazing. They hugged me and helped me put on my warm clothes. Then we posed for a few pics before limping hopping onto the Subway.

As I reflect on this race I am still in total awe that it worked out so perfectly. I did not let my booty pain slow me down, and I didn’t let my asthma mess me up either. I knew I had a good training and was capable of running great on Sunday, but an 11 minute PR and a 3:21 were not expected. I really couldn’t be happier or more excited. This also means that I get to go back to Boston in 2015!!

The NYC marathon should be on everyone’s “bucket list” and I hope to go back and experience this race again. A huge thank you to all the supporters (near and far) for all the love. I felt it the whole time!

Official time: 3:21:19
Overall Pace: 7:40

Splits:

  1. 8:07
  2. 7:30
  3. 7:36
  4. 7:35
  5. 7:51
  6. 7:42
  7. 7:44
  8. 7:40
  9. 7:45
  10. 7:29
  11. 7:47
  12. 7:40
  13. 7:42
  14. 7:35
  15. 7:30
  16. 8:03
  17. 7:18
  18. 7:25
  19. 7:38
  20. 7:33
  21. 7:16
  22. 7:22
  23. 7:21
  24. 7:45
  25. 7:20
  26. 7:16
Damn I am proud of these splits!

Damn I am proud of these splits! (click on this to make it bigger)

A New York State of Mind

30 Oct

I am currently sitting on my couch all cozy listening to the rain with the song “New York State of Mind” on repeat. I might be getting a little teary too.

I am so excited for the NYCM to be here, and I am so excited to be in New York on Friday. The trip could not come soon enough.

Today, my blog friend Doug sent me a list of questions and asked me to answer them for a blog project he is working on. The questions were about NYCM and my thoughts, feelings and goals towards the race.

As I sat there reading those questions and thinking about my answers, I reflected on how thankful I am to be running this race. This race has been nearly 2 years in the making, since I first received my acceptance January 2012. I have dreamt about this race, visualized this race, and planned this race. And on Sunday, the race will finally be here.

New York is not the only thing I have been thinking about though. I have been thinking about Boston too. A lot.

Boston will forever be a part of me. The experiences in Boston will always stay with me, and the memories of what happened will always live in the back (and sometimes front) of my mind. Boston changed me, but it changed me for the better.

The experiences there showed me what is important in life. And it showed me how precious life is.

I am not just lucky that I got into the New York City Marathon, I am lucky because I am able to run the New York City Marathon. I have my health. I have my strength. And I have my support system.

To me, this race on Sunday will be a celebration of what our communities (running, cities, nation, etc) have overcome this last year. We have stood strong together through hurricanes. We have been brave for each other through horrible attacks on our nation. We have stuck together through it all, and we will continue to do so.

I am not scared anymore to run on Sunday. I am excited. And I am ready.

On Sunday, I will run for the victims of Sandy that are still recovering from the aftermath of the storm.

On Sunday, I will run for those in Boston that continue to be affected – mentally and physically. Especially those that cannot run anymore.

And on Sunday, I will run for me. I will run to prove to myself what my body is capable of. I will run to see the pay out of the hard training. And hopefully, I will run to a big fat PR on the clock.

xo,

Ali

At the 2012 NYCM finish line.

At the 2012 NYCM finish line.

Race Recap: KC Half Marathon

22 Oct

The Kansas City Marathon is one of my favorite races.

In 2008, the KC Half Marathon was the first half marathon I had ever done. I trained relatively hard, and went out there having no clue what I was doing. Originally my goal for the race was 1:45…well, I shocked myself and ran a 1:34. To this day, that is still my half marathon PR.

This year was my 4th time running the race, and my 6th time being down there for all the action. Like I said, I LOVE this race. The city is beautiful to explore and people come out to cheer you on. It is also usually a perfect fall day.

I decided that this race would be my final “long” run before the NYC Marathon. It was perfect timing being two weeks out, and Ramsey was registered too – which meant I would get to run the whole race with one of my favorite running buddies (awwwwwwwwww).

Our goal was to beat 1:50, which would give Ramsey a PR and allow me to run a good pace before NYC (not too easy but not too hard). I was very excited to run and to be there for Ramsey to beat his goal!!

I wore my favorite socks at the race!!!

I wore my favorite socks at the race!!!

We got to the starting line right on time, and I was able to say hello to a few friends that were running too. We all hugged and wished each other luck, then Ramsey and I parked ourselves next to the 1:45 pace group.

One of my favorite pre-race moments was when the National Anthem played. There were some issues going on with the audio, and part of the way through the Anthem the music went out. Instead of the crowd losing patience and moving along, everyone started singing. And we sang until the Anthem was over. I got chills, and choked up. Not sure why…but something about it was so moving. We were all united as one, and ready to conquer the miles ahead.

A beautiful morning in KC!

A beautiful morning in KC!

The first few miles of the race were slow. Some of the biggest hills of the race are in miles 1-4 (which includes one of the biggest hills in KC!). We ran these miles conservatively, and chatted about the course and what was coming up.

Miles 5-8 were fun because they go through one of my favorite parts of the city – The Country Club Plaza. We also got to see our friends Adam and Amber out cheering. This was definitely a boost for Ramsey.

Miles 8-10 are more hills. And they suck. If you run the KC Marathon, these gremlins hit you right at mile 21. If I am cursing them in the half, I can only imagine what my friends running the full were experiencing.

Once we got through mile 10, we had a 5k left. I was giving Ramsey non stop pep talks and chatting his ear off. But he liked it (whether he admits it or not!!)

Mile 11, 12 and 13 we really picked up the race. Ramsey wanted to finish, and I was going with the flow! I knew we would break our goal of 1:50, but wasn’t sure how close to 1:45 we could manage to get…

Before we knew it, the end of the race was in front of us. I really wanted to do this adorable finish line photo of us holding hands, but Ramsey was having none of that. He was focused and wanted to get past the finish. So there went my frame-worthy photo opp ;)

Finish time: 1:45:50ish

I am CRAZY proud of Ramsey and how well he did. He really toughed it out on those big hills and never gave up (mentally or physically).

Post Race photo with Ramsey!

Post Race photo with Ramsey!

I will be back to run the KC Half Marathon next year, and I suggest that you consider it as well.

Splits:

  1. 9:01
  2. 8:17
  3. 8:40
  4. 8:10
  5. 7:50
  6. 8:10
  7. 7:47
  8. 7:59
  9. 8:03
  10. 8:03
  11. 7:27
  12. 7:15
  13. 7:27

Judging by these splits, we ran a very smart race!

And a quick shout out to some of my friends that ran this race and PR’ed!!! Lee ran a 3:24 marathon, Amber ran a 3:14 marathon, and Krista ran a 1:33 half. Wow….I have some FAST friends!!!!!!! I am still in awe over their times!

Did you run last weekend? Have you done the KC Marathon or Half Marathon?

xo,

Ali

Lola trying to wear my medal after the race.

Lola trying to wear my medal after the race.

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