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The 2014 Boston Marathon

29 Apr

When I signed up for Boston this year, I knew it would be an amazing day. And amazing it was.

From the walk to Boston Commons, to the ride to Hopkinton, and the 26.2 mile journey back to Boston, it was amazing. And there is no better way to describe my experiences from April 21, 2014.

I thought about April 15, 2013 every day for the last year because it was terrible. Now I can’t stop thinking about April 21, 2014 because it was so much FUN.

Before the Race
When I woke up on Monday morning, I was instantly excited. The nerves were there, but not too crazy. I knew the day would be fun, and I could not wait. As I got dressed in all my gear and layered on all my throwaway clothes, I got more and more antsy to be at the start.

Love these socks!

Love these socks!

Thanks for the ugly shirt, Mom!

Thanks for the ugly shirt, Mom!

Ready to go.

Ready to go.

After saying ‘Bye’ to Ramsey, I flew out the door and started my walk to Boston Commons. Along the way, I started chatting with a few other runners that were as anxious and excited as I was. Once we got the Commons, we parted our ways. Last year when I got there, I had to wait in line FOREVER to board the bus. This year I sat outside gate and hopped right on a bus when they called my wave. It was pretty awesome not to waste an hour of energy standing in a line like we did last year.

On the bus I sat next to the awesome guy named Mark. I told him he was a good sign, as my Dad’s name is Mark. Then he informed me he had a sister named Ali! After that, we knew we were going to have a good day. The bus ride was long, made longer by the fact that we were all 100% certain that our bus driver was falling asleep on the drive. Not even kidding. It was terrifying. We had to keep whistling at him to keep him awake. That scare took some of the anxiety away from the 26 miles ahead…..

When we arrived to the start village, Mark and I parted ways. Then I immediately got in line for a potty and settled myself down on the ground. It was great that the weather wasn’t freezing so we were’t miserable before we started. I was able to see my friend Kerri in the village and sit with her for quite awhile before the race. That was nice to chat and catch up.

My friend Mark was fast...like, really really fast.

My friend Mark was fast…like, really really fast.

We were all best friends in there.

We were all best friends in there.

So many potties but still not enough.

So many potties but still not enough.

Hanging with Kerri.

Hanging with Kerri.

Start village.

Start village.

Trying to chill out.

Trying to chill out.

Then I saw Kathleen!!! Another running friend from KC.

Then I saw Kathleen!!! Another running friend from KC. Her throwaway clothes were much cuter than mine.

The process for getting to the starting line this year was much different than last, and felt very rushed. I liked that last year I could hang out at the start and watch the first wave go by. This year we were not allowed down there until they called our wave. When they finally called us down, I felt like I was in a HUGE rush to get myself in line and ready. Luckily – I made it in my spot with a minute to spare. I also got to see a couple more friends on the the way down – Jeff and Crystal!

It’s Go Time
When the gun went off, the enthusiasm of the runners and crowd was something I had not ever experienced. Everyone was celebrating, smiling and happy. We all wanted to have a great day, and the fans wanted us to as well.

Here we go!

Here we go!

I decided to run with my GoPro camera so I could capture moments and remember exactly how it was. Ramsey will be helping me make a video, but for this post I just added some of the photos.

My goal for this race was to have fun. My second goal for this race was to run under a 3:40. I had no idea what my body would be able to do, seeing that my training was a little different (ahem…slacking) than usual. I had some really good runs, but I also took two weeks off in the middle of training. I felt that 3:40 would be doable for me on that day.

Ashland - GoPro got a little sweaty.

Ashland – GoPro got a little sweaty.

I knew starting too fast was going to be an issue. I was corralled with people that ran 3:20 marathons….so I was not surprised when my first mile clocked in under 7:40. But I did say to myself, “you are running too fast….slow down”.

The first few miles blew by. I even got to run with Summer Sanders for awhile!!! That was pretty awesome and she seemed like a really nice girl. She even laughed at me when I made a joke (insert crazy happy face).

Summer is in the pink. And I am a creep for taking this photo.

Summer is in the pink. And I am a creep for taking this photo.

The towns promised that this year would be a Boston like none other, and they did not disappoint. Running by the Framingham train station was indescribable. The fans were screaming for strangers and thanking us for being there. Thinking about it now gets me all choked up, it was that incredible.

Framingham

Framingham. Can you see the “Run on Boston Strong” sign?

I continued a consistent pace of 7:50-8. I also continued to tell myself, “You are going too fast….” but I just couldn’t slow down. The crowd had me all jacked  (in the words of Greg Hall) and there was no slowing down while my legs felt good. I decided my new tactic would be to keep it going for as long as possible. Then I started thinking….”is a 3:30 in my future today?!?!!?!” (spoiler: it was not)

I was straight up giddy when we arrived in Wellesley. I heard the screaming before we saw the girls. Wellesley is the best part of this race, hands down. And this year, it went one FOREVER. I ran along the fence and high fived every girl I could. I watched the men getting kisses and some women too, and just laughed. It was insane and SO MUCH FUN!!!!

The best part!

The best part!

Please read these signs

please read these signs.

and these.

she’s a ginger.

and these

hippie girls.

Pure joy!!!

Pure joy!!!

When I hit Newton I knew the hills were coming. This would be my moment of truth and tell me just how long I could continue to run my 8 minute pace.

Newton Hills are upon us...

Newton Hills are upon us…

Then at mile 18 I made the huge mistake of stopping to walk through a water station and take my GU. I knew my legs were getting tired, but had no idea how tired they were until I started running again. Ouch ouch ouch. I remember thinking, “my legs didn’t feel like this at mile 18 in NYC….”

From that point on, I knew the rest of the race would be pure survival. My legs were burning bad, my asthma was horrible (I had to take my inhaler multiple times), and I was getting hot. We had super cold training runs all winter in KC, so running in 60 degrees and sun was not ideal.

I knew I was slowing down a lot on the hills, so I decided to stop looking at the Garmin. I didn’t want this race to go south mentally. The day was not about my time, it was about the experience. I made a rule that it didn’t matter how slow I was running, I could not walk. Walking is bad and only makes you want to walk more.

As I started heartbreak hill, I braced for what was to come. Then I saw a sign – “MEB WON!!!” As the runners went past this sign, we all cheered and celebrated. At that moment, it felt like WE WON this race. We were so proud and excited (I am crying right now writing this…that is how emotional it was). That sign was encouragement enough to get up that hill.

Heartbreak Hill!

Heartbreak Hill!

From that point on, I had my eye on the prize – finishing. I continued to soak it all in and enjoy every moment. I also continued to ignore the Garmin on my wrist because I did not want to ruin my moment.

With every hill I hit, I received cheers and encouragement. Wearing your name on your shirt is amazing in this race. A group of college guys started chanting “ALI ALI ALI ALI” around mile 23 and all I could do was laugh. That is why I was there. To have fun.

Every step was hurting. But every step was closer to the finish. In no time, I would be there.

Back in Boston

Back in Boston

I pocket face-timed Ramsey! See my yellow skirt?

I pocket face-timed Ramsey! See my yellow skirt?

Mile 25 I saw my amazing husband, as well as some of my blogger friends (Leticia and Michele!). This was one of the first times I looked down at my watch to calculate my pace. I realized if I kept going at the same pace, I would meet my goal of 3:40!!!!

This is what 25 miles of running looks like. I had to rub vaseline all over my shoulder, my inhaler is shoved in my bra and I am trying not to fall over.

This is what 25 miles of running looks like. I had to rub vaseline all over my shoulder because it was chafing, my inhaler is shoved in my bra and I am trying not to fall over. At this point of the GoPro video I am saying “This is the ugly”

GET ME TO 26!!!

GET ME TO 26!!!

See the Citgo sign???

See the Citgo sign???

As I turned right onto Hereford, I grabbed the GoPro to capture the moment. It was nothing I have ever experienced and something I never want to forget. So many people, all cheering for ME. And even better – yelling my name. I had nothing left in the tank, but this crowd got me through. (crying again right now!!).

So glad I got this photo. Ahhhhmazing.

So glad I got this photo. Ahhhhmazing.

Almost to the finish.

Almost to the finish.

And then I was on Boylston running to the finish.

Wow.

So much enthusiasm and encouragement there to support the runners, the victims, and the city of Boston.

26

26

As I ran by each bomb site, I blew a kiss to the victims and their families. Those victims were there on April 15, 2013 to cheer for the runners. And I could not pass by those sites without acknowledging them with some love.

When I crossed the finish I was flooded with so many feelings. The main one being happiness. I was sore, I was tired, I was struggling to breath, but it was still one of the happiest moments of my life.

Finishing the race. And healing at the same time.

Finishing the race. And healing at the same time.

Nothing like this finish.

Nothing like this finish.

And I crossed just fast enough to reach my goal – 3:39:14

Even in those painful miles at the end, the race went by so fast. I wanted the pain to end, but I never wanted the experience to end. I wish I could re-live that joy every single day.

Post Race
After crossing the finish line, I hobbled along for what felt like an eternity. I got to see Natalie Morales being interviewed by Extra and I thought, “damn that would suck to have to do an interview like that right after crossing the finish”. I also talked to a few other runners and we celebrated our races together.

Smiling right after I crossed the finish.

Smiling right after I crossed the finish.

When I saw Ramsey at the family meeting area, I couldn’t help but start to cry. So many emotions from the day all flooding out of me. I was so happy, and so thankful it had gone so perfectly. Even through the pain, the day could not have been any better.

We took photos and began the walk back to the hotel. I told him all about the race and how happy I was. I think he was expecting me to be disappointed, since he could see my splits significantly slowed down the last 8 miles, but I told him I had no feelings but joy. How could I complain or be unhappy about anything? I just completed my 6th marathon, which happened to be the best marathon in the world. And it was also my birthday – you can’t be mad on your birthday!

So happy!!!!

So happy!!!!

And so lucky!

And so lucky!

I still can’t stop thinking about this race and how awesome it was. I love the marathon, and I LOVE Boston. And I promise to be at that race as long as my legs will carry me there.

Thank you for the all the love, well wishes and support. I felt every last bit of them on this journey.

Wearing my Boston medal and jacket proud.

Wearing my Boston medal and jacket proud.

Splits:

  1. 7:37
  2. 7:50
  3. 7:59
  4. 7:39
  5. 8:08
  6. 7:41
  7. 7:52
  8. 8:01
  9. 7:55
  10. 7:47
  11. 8:04
  12. 7:45
  13. 8:04
  14. 7:54
  15. 8:02
  16. 7:44
  17. 8:26
  18. 8:33
  19. 8:39
  20. 8:40
  21. 9:31
  22. 8:47
  23. 8:51
  24. 9:04
  25. 9:19
  26. 9:30 + .45 @ 3:40

3:39:14

Xo,
Ali

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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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 the 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.

IMG_2234------

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!
IMG_3755
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)

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.

{Yowza} Broadway Bridge Half Marathon Recap

16 Sep

About a month ago, I made a last minute decision to run the Broadway Bridge Half Marathon in Kansas City. I had a few other friends running, and thought it would be a perfect way to get my long run in for the week while getting in some “race pace” miles (anything at 8:00 or right under). I also thought it would be a great way to trick myself into running 13.1 miles hard! (Is it just me, or do races always seem easier than if you would just go out to run hard??)

In the days leading up to this race, I kept hearing how hilly this course was. I am not a wimp when it comes to hills, and sometimes I really like hills. So I considered this fact an added bonus of running the half. Now I will get hills, race pace and a long run in! Could it get any better?!?!

Answer: Yes it could get better! Add the insanely humid 85 degree weather to the mix and we had the perfect race to test me physically AND mentally!

My attitude about this race stayed extremely positive, and I was actually really excited to run it. I love hometown races, and this race was one going through quite a few places I had never ventured to before (including the downtown airport). Even when I walked outside the morning of the race and felt the weather, I remained excited. Call me crazy, but I was totally ready for the torture to come and knew it would do nothing but help me in NYC.

Pre-race photo with Sally and Amanda!

Pre-race photo with Sally and Amanda!

The first few miles were semi flat, with a few rolling hills. The bad thing about these miles was the sun beating down on us. I think I was sweating 3 minutes into the thing, and I don’t usually start sweating until at least a mile or two in!

Mile 6 was the first BIG hill. I remember thinking “one step in front of the other” all the way up that hill. And when I finally made it to the top, we were blessed with a mile of all downhill. I cruised through the mile and knew I had to use it to my advantage, as one of the biggest hills in Kansas City was waiting (I ended up running a 7:37 split!).

Chatting with Candace!

Chatting with Candace!

All smiles on the broadway bridge!

All smiles on the broadway bridge!

Mile 8, we hit the monster hill. I decided I would try to run this hill like a hill sprint and hang on to a solid pace for as long as I could. It was my goal to run under 8 minutes this mile, and it took all of my guts to make that happen! When the Garmin beeped a 7:54 mile, I had a BIG smile on my face!

Right after conquering the big ass hill.

Right after conquering the big ass hill.

The last 5 miles of the race were all about survival. This hills were brutal, the sun was HOT and my legs were getting VERY heavy. I just kept trying to hit under an 8 minute mile, which would result in my “goal time” of 1:45.

For Mile 13, I decided to put all my energy into it and see if I could make it my fastest. My old bootcamp teacher would always tell us that the workouts we did when we were the most tired made the biggest difference. So I figured I might as well try to run my last mile the hardest I possibly could!! There were a couple BIG hills that last mile, and when the watch beeped 7:28 on mile 13, there might have been a tear in my eye from being so proud of conquering them!

I ended up finishing in 1:44, which was a 7:52 overall pace. If I want to PR NYC, I need to run this pace for 26.2 miles…so I would say this was VERY good practice.

This was by far the hardest half marathon I have ever done, yet I would consider it my second best half marathon ever completed. Not because of the time, but because of the mental toughness I was able to fight through. The heat sucked and the hills were never ending. But my attitude remained extremely positive the entire time. Sure, I would’ve loved to run closer to 1:42 or 1:43, but I can’t be anything but proud of how I ended up.

I strongly believe that your time does not always dictate your performance. Sometimes it is your mental strength that will determine how well the race went. While a 1:44 will show up on paper as my time and won’t look that great comparative to some of my other half’s, it does not make me feel less of my performance. That thing was freakin’ HARD. And anyone that made it through all 13.22 miles (yes, adding on the extra .12!!!) is a rockstar in my book!! No matter what your time was, you should be proud of that finish :)

DEG runners.

DEG runners.

Congrats to my friend Noreen on her first half!!! (red shorts)

Congrats to my friend Noreen on her first half!!! (red shorts)

Stacy and Di were there too!

Stacy and Di were there too!

3rd in my age group!

3rd in my age group!

Splits:

  1. 7:49
  2. 8:06
  3. 8:29
  4. 8:07
  5. 7:48
  6. 8:14
  7. 7:37
  8. 7:54
  9. 7:53
  10. 7:40
  11. 8:06
  12. 7:41
  13. 7:28 (.22 1:44)

Have you ever done a race that was not your best time, but made you so proud?

Did you run Broadway Bridge???? And did you survive??

xo,

Ali

Hospital Hill Race Recap

19 Jun

June 1st, I ran my second Hospital Hill Half Marathon.

Last year at this race, I had the most fun I’ve ever had running, and this year was almost as good.

Throughout my Boston training, I also served as a blogger for Hospital Hill. Due to some crazy life events, I couldn’t blog in the few weeks leading to the race, but luckily, I was able to contribute in other ways.

My friend Sally is the volunteer coordinator for Hospital Hill, and hooked me up with a job at packet pickup. I always thought it would be fun to work packet pickup, and the job did not disappoint. While handing out the bibs for the 10k race, I was able to talk to many people preparing for their first race, running their first 10k, trying to PR, and friends I had met online but never in real life (including Crystal, a KC native living in Cape Cod! Go visit her blog, she is so sweet!). It was such a fun experience and I can’t wait to work another race.

Our picture from last year made it up at the expo!!!

Our picture from last year made it up at the expo!!!

Another perk at packet pickup was that I switched out Ramsey’s 10k bib for a half marathon bib! I knew he wanted to run the half, but the race was already sold out when he registered. When a lady at packet pickup asked me if I knew anyone that would want to switch her half bib for a 10k bib, I quickly snatched up the offer!

Morning of the race, Ramsey and I were excited and ready to run!!

We have completely lucked out the last two years when it comes to weather. Humidity has been low and temps have been manageable. You seriously could not call for a better June race than we have had in ’12 and ’13!

At the starting line, I met Stacy, Kerri and Andrea at the 1:50 pace group. Ramsey started a little behind us (SO I THOUGHT!!!) at the 1:55 group. We were full of energy and ready to run.

40 and FAB!

40 and FAB! And fast too!

However, I cannot lie….I was a little bit nervous for this race since I hadn’t run a ton since Boston. I definitely did not train to be able to run this half…and if I made it the 13.1 miles, I knew it was because of two things: A. someone high up was on my side…OR..B. I had enough endurance from Boston to get me to the finish.

The gun went off and the girls and I continued to chit chat (I am sure Greg is shocked by that statement!!). The first few miles went by relatively fast, but as expected were pretty hilly. Andrea and I stuck together, and Stacy and Kerri also stuck together.

Andrea and I. You can see Kerri in the background too!

Andrea and I. You can see Kerri in the background too!

At the halfway point, I remember thinking to myself, “There were NOT this many hills last year!!!”

I am sure that feeling was due to the fact that I was in much better shape last year at the race than I was this year. (Note to self – always respect the distance you are about to run! You can’t”wing” it like you used to!! )

Andrea and I ran together for about 11 miles. It was so fun running with her because we always talk about running, but we have never actually ran together. She did awesome. Especially considering she had been sick the week before and I could tell she was still dealing with some respiratory crap (way to go, Andrea!!!).

The last two miles, I ran alone and soaked in the KC scenery. Although this race is hilly, it is still my favorite race in KC. You get to see some of the best places in this city and around every corner are more people cheering you on. And while there are some killer uphills, you get some of the best downhills you will experience in a race!!!

Hi :)

Hi :)

Focused to the finish!

Focused to the finish!

Speaking of downhills, the downhill finish is the best part. I let my legs pull me down the hill, and across the finish line. I believe my time was a 1:51 or 1:52….I never even looked. Sometimes you just need those races where you run how you feel, and not for the clock.

After I crossed, I immediately started to look for Ramsey, Stacy, Kerri and Andrea. However, I did not see any of them.

I made my way through the chute, and felt my phone ringing. It was Ramsey! I thought to myself, “oh good! he finished not too far behind me! Maybe he PR’ed”.

Yeah, Ramsey PR’ed. And somehow, he had managed to beat me!!!!!!

Yes, I am excited and proud, but I was not expecting him to beat me (he totally snuck by me at the start!!)! Sheesh, I have created a monster ;)

I am maybe still holing a grudge!

I am maybe still holing a grudge!

Overall, the race was great and I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day.

The crowds in KC were supportive, and the race organizers did a great job. You can bet that I will be back at Hospital Hill in 2014, and I urge you to be there as well.

And Ramsey….it is ON in ’14!!!

xo!

Ali

Boston Marathon Race Recap

12 Jun

Almost two months since Boston, and it is still on my mind every single day.

Every time I run, I think about it. Every time I hear a “boom”, I fear what it could be. Every time I hear a siren, I get chills. And every time I read something or someone talks about it, I have to hold back tears. Boston continues to weigh heavy on my mind and in my heart, and I have a feeling it will continue to do so for a while. Just as it will for the many others out there that experienced this, some not nearly as lucky as I was.

For the past few weeks, I have been debating whether or not I would write a race recap for Boston. Partially because I didn’t know if it was appropriate, and partially because I didn’t know if I was ready. To be honest, it has taken me time to even remember things from the race.

Well, I have made the decision that I am READY to write this race recap and I will CELEBRATE the finish of that race. I must remember that before 2:50pm on April 15th, I was having one of the most amazing days of my life. And I had been experiencing an amazing weekend in Boston prior.

Everything I write in this recap will be prior to 2:50pm. While much of my experience is still a blur, I do believe I have enough memories to write a pretty good recap!

Morning of the Race

5:15am on the morning of the race, I sprung out of bed. I was so darn excited! My clothes had been laid out since the night before, and I was ready to run. I got dressed, did my hair, put on some makeup (yep, I wear makeup when I race, judge away!), and headed downstairs to meet my friends.

Lulu all the way.

Lulu all the way.

I had my Girls on the Run girls with me.

I had my Girls on the Run girls with me.

At 6:15am, I saw my friends in the lobby and we had one big group hug. We were nervous but excited for the adventure to come. We took some pre-race photos with our families (we have the most amazing support systems!) and headed to Boston Common to meet our bus.

So supportive.

So supportive.

Looking our best in throwaway clothes!

Looking our best in throwaway clothes!

Mom and Dad :)

Mom and Dad :)

When we got to Boston Common, I was stunned by the lines. I had seriously never seen a line that long, and we had to wait in it in order to get to the starting line in Hopkinton! At first I panicked a little bit thinking we should’ve arrived earlier. The “what ifs” of not making it on the bus were going round and round in my head. Thankfully I had Stacy with me, who calmed my nerves and assured me we would make it to the start on time.

The insane lines!

The insane lines!

Happy, excited and nervous as can be!

Happy, excited and nervous as can be!

At 7:45am, we FINALLY made it to the front of the line and got on the bus. Note to self the next time I run Boston: get to Boston Common earlier!! We were one of the last buses to load up for the 26.2 mile journey to the start line.

Breakfast on the bus.

Breakfast on the bus.

Hopkinton!!!

Hopkinton!!!

Runner's

No Stopping Monday!!!

Around 8:45am, we got off the bus in Athlete’s Village in Hopkinton, MA. The sight there was amazing. It was FULL of runners and porta potties – I had not ever seen so many porta potties in my life. Photographic proof below!

CRAZY!!!

CRAZY!!!

We decided that our first order of business would be a trip to the previously mentioned porta potties before we were in an emergency situation (pretty sure I drank at least one bottle of water on the bus). We got into line, and 20 minutes later, we were still in line. All those porta potties, and they could’ve used 100 more. As we got to the front of the line, a man approached us and offered us toilet paper if we let him cut in line. Pretty smart guy if you ask me….as almost every porta potty was out of toilet paper!!

He was awesome.

He was awesome.

Diana did not cooperate!

Diana did not cooperate!

Stacy and I eagerly accepted his offer, but Diana did not…girlfriend had to go BAD and no one was cutting in front of her!!

We didn’t get out of that porta potty line until 9:30am, and by then it was time to start walking to the infamous starting line.

Pre-race jitters were in full bloom. I am pretty sure that everything on my body was shaking I was so nervous and excited for the journey ahead! When we finally got down the start (it felt like it was at least a half mile from Athlete’s Village) we found a little spot to sit down.

Follow the arrows.

Follow the arrows.

BABY GUURLL!!!

BABY GUURLL!!!

At our spot, we put Diana’s pretty pink blanket to full use. The story of the blanket could be its own blog post….we had to force Diana to bring “baby girl” (quick back story: the blanket was originally meant for Di’s “baby girl”…but Di had two baby boys, therefore “baby girl” never served her true purpose) to the start line of the race and leave her behind. We needed baby girl to keep us warm and shield us just in case we needed an emergency impromptu bathroom break (no comment on whether or not it was used for that…)

Baby Girl ended up saving the morning for us, and she will be remembered dearly. (Diana, I hope you read this so you can see that I paid tribute to your blanket in this post!!!)

At 9:55am, we went to the starting line and waited to be lined up in our corral. We watched the first wave start their journey, then made our way into corral #9.

At 10:15am, I posed for a pre-race photo and uploaded it to all my social media outlets. I wanted all the positive energy I could get, and I knew my social media friends would take care of that for me. You all are the best!

"It's go time"

“It’s go time”

Stacy at the start too!

Stacy at the start too!

Race Time

10:20am, the journey from Hopkinton to Boston began. I had just crossed the starting line of the BOSTON MARATHON. Holy freaking cow. I was living a dream.

I think I ran with tears in my eyes for the first mile. I was so excited to be there, and what I was about to accomplish really hit me. In a few short hours, I would be crossing the most exciting and prestigious finish line in all of marathon world!

The first few miles flew by. The main thing I remember about these miles is how many pregnant women I saw! I ran by at least three obviously pregnant women, all with little signs attached to them that said “running for two”, or something of that nature. Seeing these pregnant women out there running a marathon reaffirmed what I always thought and knew – you cannot stop a woman on a mission!! Especially a woman-runner on a mission. If she qualified for Boston, she is running Boston and you can’t stop her!

Around mile 6 I met a girl that reminded me of myself. We were almost the same age, and had both qualified for Boston at rainy races in Dallas. We ran and chatted for about a mile, and then she pulled back because she was battling an injury and had promised she would take it easy. I still think about this girl and hope that she was able to get her finish and was safe.

Mile 9 we hit Natick and I loved how familiar it felt. I used to have a client in Natick and have been up there a few times, so I could recognize the streets. I am sad I wasn’t able to see my old clients along the course, but I understood why I didn’t. Natick had some of the most amazing crowds along the entire course. I remember running through an intersection and I couldn’t believe  how loud it was. People were screaming and cheering to a point that I couldn’t have ever imagined. I remember looking at Diana and making eye contact with her. We both had tears in our eyes because we could not believe the experience. It was incredible and I cannot wait to experience it again.

Another one of my favorite parts of this race was leaving Natick and heading towards Wellesley. Around mile 12, we passed through an extremely loud cheering section with gangham style blaring. I love that song, so I perked  up immediately when I heard it. Then I saw something that made it even better. Lined along the right side of the road were at least 15 kids jumping on mini trampolines doing the pony. I still laugh every time I think about that.

Wellesley College was everything I heard it would be. Screaming girls waving their signs throwing out their hands were everywhere. I now understand why people say to watch your pace through Wellesley, because it would be so easy to get excited and run too fast. The energy passing through Wellesley was incredible, and it was one of my top 5 moments of the day.

My favorite sign from a Wellesley girl: “Kiss ME! I’m in a long distance relationship!”

After Wellesley we hit the halfway mark. It was so fun to hit the race “milestones”, because we would make sure we ran over the tracking device at the exact same time. When we hit them we would say, “HI!” to our family and friends we knew were following us.

My brother was tracking us! Loved how it showed us as little runners!

My brother was tracking us! Loved how it showed us as little runners!

We knew if we hit them at the same time, our supporters would know our plan was working out and we were doing it all together. No matter what, we would finish this race together. That was always the plan.

Following the halfway, we started to hit our big hills. I remember thinking on one of them that it might not ever end. This is the first time in the race when I felt tired and questioned if my legs would be carrying me 26.2 miles that day.

Diana zoomed up these hills with grace, while Stacy and I brought up the back. Di was having her “A” day, I was about a “B”, and Stacy was probably a “C”. Having a B or C day on the Newton Hills was tough. But with the help of each other we would make it through ‘em.

Running by Dick Hoyt and his son. Don't know who they are? Google it NOW!

Running by Dick Hoyt and his son. Don’t know who they are? Google it NOW!

Mile 16ish.

Mile 16ish.

Heartbreak Hill was something I feared for months. Mile 20 is one of the hardest miles of a marathon, and knowing we had a huge hill to face at 20.5 was terrifying. But guess what? I ran up Heartbreak Hill and didn’t even know it! At the top of the hill I saw a sign that said “You just conquered Heartbreak Hill!”. I didn’t believe it. I had to ask the give girl running next to me (remember…Di was A, I was B, Stacy was C, so we weren’t together at the top!) if I really just ran up Heartbreak Hill! She confirmed that I did, and when I saw Diana I screamed “WE JUST RAN HEARTBREAK HILL!!!!!”.

The last few miles of this race were miles of survival and getting to the finish. The downhills started to hurt far worse than the uphills because of the pounding on our already sore hamstrings.

We knew our families planned to be between mile 24 – 25, so we were on the look out. By this time of the race, we were hurting BAD. We were hurting so bad, we weren’t even talking anymore (that means it was BAD!). It was really a moment of thinking, “every step is one step closer”.

Mile 25, we saw our families and it was so exciting!!! We heard them yell and saw their excitement for us. We ran to them and got our high fives and the last bit of encouragement we needed.

ahhhhh hi!!!!

ahhhhh hi!!!!

I love our faces here. You can tell we were so tired, but so excited.

I love our faces here. You can tell we were so tired, but so excited.

We love you!

We love you!

The best support group!

The best support group!

After passing our cheerleaders, we had our eyes and minds on the finish.

We approached Boylston Street, and knew we were so close. The volume of the cheering on Boylston was incredible and I soaked in every step.

As we got closer to the finish, we veered towards the right side of the street and embraced our hands. We threw them up high in the air, and celebrated the finish exactly as we had planned.

The happiest photo.

The happiest photo.

The entire race went as planned and was one of the best experiences ever. For the first time ever, my running buddies and I all three ran a race together. And it was the best race we could’ve possibly run together.

I will be proud of this finish and celebrate this finish. I will hang my finish line medal in my home, and reflect on the amazing time we had during those 26.2 miles.

And I will run Boston again.

Xo,

Ali

 

Top 5 Moments of the Race

  1. Passing the Starting Line
  2. Wellesley
  3. Seeing Our Families
  4. Running 26.2 side by side with Stacy and Diana
  5. Crossing the most exciting and famous finish line in the world of marathons

 Splits:

  1. 8:31
  2. 8:33
  3. 8:38
  4. 8:20
  5. 8:48
  6. 8:23
  7. 8:35
  8. 8:41
  9. 8:21
  10. 8:32
  11. 8:37
  12. 8:35
  13. 8:40
  14. 8:48
  15. 8:45
  16. 8:32
  17. 8:53
  18. 9:02
  19. 9:07
  20. 9:10
  21. 9:47
  22. 8:53
  23. 9:07
  24. 9:33
  25. 9:14
  26. 9:43

 

More photos from the weekend (before the bombings)

The finish line on Saturday. I cried when I was taking this photo. So excited to be there.

The finish line on Saturday. I cried when I was taking this photo. So excited to be there.

14445 - my new lucky number.

14445 – my new lucky number.

:)

:)

Excited!

Excited!

Glad they talked me into a jacket!

Glad they talked me into a jacket!

Cheers to us.

Cheers to us.

The whole group.

The whole group.

laying on the finish line. Dirty, but fun :)

laying on the finish line. Dirty, but fun :)

We did it!

We did it!

Mom and Dad.

Mom and Dad.

Calling KC Area Runners to the Drumm Run!

19 Mar

3-19-2013 5-38-10 PMWhat are your plans this weekend? If the answer is, “not sure” or “no plans”, I now have a plan for you!

Join other Kansas City area runners and myself on Saturday, 23 March at 9am for the Fifth Annual Drumm Run 5k and 10k!!

The Drumm Run is a 5k/10k event, for participants of all ages and athletic levels.

It is low key, relaxed, and most importantly – FUN!!!

The swag is great too – long sleeve shirts! – and the entry fee is pretty darn low at only $35 a pop (for either the 5k or 10k). You will also get to run through the grounds of Unity Village, which is one of my favorite places in the area.

Along with getting in a great run, you will also be helping an amazing cause.

3-19-2013 5-11-53 PM

I urge you to consider joining in for this event and helping with a cause very near and dear to my great friend and running buddy Stacy!

And if you can’t join the race, please consider donating to Stacy’s volunteer page – Caden4Kids. She is almost halfway to her goal of $500!!! And trust me….you want to click this link to see the cutest 5 year old in town.

Hope you’re having a great week!!

xo,

Ali

3-19-2013 5-11-09 PM

Pilgrim Run 5k

29 Nov

I got in the Thanksgiving mood by signing up for races, Thanksgiving races to be exact. On Sunday, I ran the Gobbler Grind Half Marathon, and Thursday I ran the Pilgrim Run 5k. My main purpose of running these races was to get in solid training runs, and have some company plus added motivation while doing so.

If you read my post on the Gobbler Grind, you know that one went well and I was very happy. For the Pilgrim Run I was determined for the same feeling.

In Kansas City, there are a TON of Turkey Trots on Thanksgiving. I reviewed many of them when making my decision, and decided that the Pilgrim Run was the one for me. Not only was the Pilgrim Run very close, but it was also a very small race. I’d be lying to you all if I said that winning the female division was not in the back of my mind :)

I went into the race with a goal of running under a 20:30. My last 5k in October was a 20:50, and I knew I could beat that time if I didn’t miss the start again (whoops). According to the Mcmillan pace calculator, I needed to run a 20:20 to match my other race distance equivalent times, and I knew that running a good time would add confidence for me going into the Marathon.

When we arrived to the race on Thursday, I did a mile warmup before getting in line. I was surveying my competition and decided I would finish in 3rd place. There were two other girls lined up that looks super serious and like they were ready to kick some ass. I was just standing there bopping around in my pleated skirt chatting with my boyfriend. I told myself that 3rd place was still really good, and I would just focus on my time.

Ready to run!!!

The race began, and I kept a steady pace. I was shocked that the girls I had placed in 1st and 2nd place in my mind were not too far ahead. I continued to check the good ole Garmin to make sure I wasn’t killing myself the first mile, but to my surprise, I was right on track.

You can barely see my in the background!

Right after Mile 1. I was so mad that my outfit didn’t match, but the weather was a lot warmer than I was planning so I had to compromise on the ensemble…

Right before mile 1, I began leading the women. Mile 2 got a little harder with a big hill, but I continued to run strong. Before I knew it, it was mile 3 and I was almost done (it is amazing to me how fast a 5k goes by!!!). I continued to push it and run as hard as I could. I crossed the finish line to cheers and the announcer saying I was the 1st female finisher. It was pretty damn exciting.

Mile 1: 6:26
Mile 2: 6:39
Mile 3: 6:28

Official Time: 19:51

After the race, I cheered for the other runners and then went into crazy girlfriend mode cheering for my boyfriend as he crossed the finish. We picked up some water, and then checked out the official results. I was very proud with what I saw!

It then became the best day ever when I discovered I got a trophy and HUGE pumpkin pie for my winnings!!!! I later made the trophy our Thanksgiving table centerpiece. :)

Holy cow!!!

Best winnings ever!

Posing with a turkey. He told us this was not a very comfortable outfit to wear in a 5k.

Found a friend at the race! Jenna makes me look very short!

More turkeys. Gotta love the Thanksgiving spirit!

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I am already excited for my next 5k, and the possibilities ahead for my 5k time. I never thought that a 5k PR would be possible after I ran a 19:40 in high school (11 years ago!!!), but now I see that it is definitely possible. And I spy many more 5k’s in the near future. After all, I am pretty PR hungry right now!

XO,

Ali

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