Archive | June, 2013

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

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I’m Back!

13 Jun

Since Boston, I have taken a little blog hiatus. Partially because I have been really busy, and partially because I didn’t know what to talk about.

Life has been really busy lately, but busy in great ways. Family, friends, work and a new home have been occupying most of my time. And after my 7 week hiatus, I am ready to add the blog back to my list of items filling my time. And in a few weeks, I will also have running back on my list of priorities.

After each of my half or full marathons, I have taken a break from running. I have a tendency to get burnt out with the sport, especially with the time training consumes. If I don’t give myself a break, I fear that I will lose my love for the sport and not enjoy it as much.

In a month, I will start training again. But until then, I will most likely be writing blog posts that aren’t as much about running, but more about life!

Here are some highlights of my life in the last few weeks:

Celebrated my friend Laura getting married!

Celebrated my friend Laura getting married!

Experience what a professional photo shoot is like!!

Experience what a professional photo shoot is like!! (This was for the July issue of Runner’s World. While this photo did not make the paper version, some of my other photos and quotes did! It was a really cool experience to be involved with)

Partied with friends for Stacy's 40th birthday!

Partied with friends for Stacy’s 40th birthday!

Celebrated my Girls on the Run group running their 5k!

Celebrated my Girls on the Run group running their 5k!

Met baby Charlotte :)

Met baby Charlotte 🙂

Spent time with my family in Kentucky

Spent time with my family in Kentucky

BOUGHT A HOUSE!!!!!

BOUGHT A HOUSE!!!!!

Accidentally got beat by Ramsey at the Hospital Hill half marathon!

Accidentally got beat by Ramsey at the Hospital Hill half marathon!

Celebrated Ramsey's 30th birthday with friends.

Celebrated Ramsey’s 30th birthday with friends.

Took professional photos with my Grandma Clark, all her grandchildren, and all the quilts she handmade for each of us.

Took professional photos with my Grandma Clark, all her grandchildren, and all the quilts she handmade for each of us.

Talked about my underwear in the July Issue of Runner's World!

Talked about my underwear in the July Issue of Runner’s World! Be careful what you say in an interview! hehe!

 

I hope your last few weeks have been wonderful as well!

Thank you for all the continued support and love. You guys are the best!!!

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.

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