TAPER TIME | April 11 | Lobstahs Run Fastah

One last brunch, high fives at the top, and all of the jumping pictures.

Miles: 10

Song in my head: Trumpets by Jason Derulo (because this run deserves a fanfare)

Brunch food motivation: Omelette

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I know I said we had our last longest run before the race, but we still had a couple shorter long runs to knock out before race day. Taper time doesn’t mean we completely stop running. It just means we eat a lot, run less, and cruise into race day. Saturday was a 10 mile lap around (or rather an out-and-back) along the marathon course. The photo at the top of this post is at the top of Heartbreak Hill, the site of high fives and where we are going to crush it in exactly one week.

There was so much sun we didn’t know what to do with it. I had one layer on! I repeat one layer! Since this last weekend my laundry basket has been filled to the brim, nay overflowing, with clothes. I’ve worn a minimum, minimum, of 3 layers of running clothes every run. This season we’ve run through sleet, rain, snow, wind. We’ve found shelter on an indoor track for 16 miles at a time. We’ve run the course countless times, because it was the only place plowed. I’ve been mistaken for a transient in my layers of sweats getup. We survived a record 110.6″ of snow and danced our way through it.

Maybe it was the sun that caused all of the celebratory jumps for joy. Or maybe it was because after all of those hurdles we somehow managed to find our way over them. I don’t know, but what I do know, is that running  through it and leaning on joyful people has gotten me here. In my very first post, I said that marathon training has to break you down in order to build you up into a stronger version of yourself, and I’d like to think that’s what it’s done. We started with 10 miles on our first training run and ended with 10 miles on our last.

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After the run, Meesh, Allie, and I (along with so many others!) could not resist the temptation of these bad boys, and I  succumbed to the bright red, lobster-patterned kicks and adorable puns, because you know how I feel about a good pun. “Prepare for the main course.” was Brooks’ tag line for these Boston-inspired sneaks, and I could not be more ready to serve up the main event. The lobster theme also perfectly summed up our long run friendship. (sorry ’bout it Brian! :)). For better clarification, see Friends reference here.).

It also sums up how I feel about all of you. I would not have reached this point without each and every one of you. I’m behind on my thank-you’s but know that it does not go without immense gratitude and a fast clap or two. Each time the winter was ready to take me down, I had a word of motivation, a quick note, a sweet campaign (Eric & Laura and Leonard I’m looking at you!) or a notification a donation was made to my page. As cheesy as it sounds, thanks for being my lobsters and helping me run fastah. (Ryan, my only follower, please don’t abandon me because of all of these cheesy puns.) We have raised over $5,100 for cancer research!!! We are more than halfway towards our fundraising goal. I still can’t believe how far we’ve come. We are one week away from the Boston Marathon! THANK YOU for being a part of those miles and milestones, for coming to events, for providing virtual cheers, and for seeing it come full circle. Thank you for supporting cancer research. I started running two years ago for my grandparents. This year I’m running in honor of two friends whose parents were diagnosed with cancer this past summer. They’ve been the inspiration behind the miles. You’ve been the push to get me there. Let’s get ready for the finish line.

Help us reach the ultimate finish line: a world without cancer. Give here: http://runDFMC.org/2015/elisek

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This kid deserves a post all to herself. The jumping photo shows our first run and our final run together 5 months later, still smiling. There are no words to express how proud I am of this California kid for braving this new challenge.

Bright tights and happy trails,

Elise

THE LONGEST RUN | Mar 28 | Here’s Good

The Longest Run. PRPs. And Taper Time.

Miles: 20

Song in my head: Break Free by Ariana Grande because I can’t get enough of that kid

Brunch food motivation: Eggs. Of the homemade kind.

This is my favorite training run. Runners from all clubs and charity teams come out to prepare for the last long run before the marathon. No other city would shut down an entire lane of traffic for a training run just to accommodate the hundreds of runners. Cones were set up along the marathon route. Buses of runners were taken to Hopkinton simulating race day and vans of people set up water stops and cheering sections along the route to support the runners. Even in the snow they were there. One group had cheering signs. One sign read, “Channing Tatum is up ahead.” (True or not, that definitely gave me a little boost.)

The story behind the PRPs (pre-run pants). On race day of last year, it was the first time we were not allowed to bring bags to the starting line. Because we bus to the start at 5am and don’t race until 11am, we would usually have warmups and a bag to store them. Then the buses would bring them back down to the finish line. With the new policies last year, however, anything that came to Hopkinton, stayed at Hopkinton, unless we wanted to carry it with us. To lighten the mood, my main man Shifter put forth the challenge of finding the ugliest pre-run pants a runner can own.

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Faux denim and 80s neon lettered tights are the only way to rock pre-run pants.
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PRPs

Obviously Meesh and I were all over that gauntlet. We hit up the Buffalo Exchange and found these gems. Without question, they secured us first place in the ugly pre-run pants contest. Meesh was able to somehow cleverly save our prized possessions, and we thought it was only fitting to wear them on our final longest training run of this season. Granted they weren’t really made for running 20 miles, but you can’t go wrong with faux denim and 80’s print neon letters. Or so I’ve been told.

There was a smorgasbord of brightly patterned tights everywhere I looked, making me beyond envious. Runners dressed as rabbits, bunnies and a carrot with a sign reading, “Best By Date of 4/20/15 (marathon day)” emblazoned on his chest braved the wet falling snow. Never mind that it was the end of March. Mother Nature wanted us to know she was Queen Bee and she didn’t give a you know what. This is how I imagine she was this season. Spring? Nah. More snow!

Meesh and I decided to do 20. And you know what? I felt like I could go another 6.2.

I’ll let you in on another little secret. We don’t just think about brunch on the run. While that does help to motivate, we also talk about and recreate NFL Bad Lip Reading. Some great Youtube videos quoted on runs have gotten me through those miles (also through some ice baths).

At the last water stop at mile 10, Meesh and I looked at each and said, “Here’s good.” And we turned around to complete our out-and-back. On the last stretch we may have lingered a little longer than we’re supposed to at the Team Matty water stop. I just can’t get enough of the energy from that crew. We saw familiar faces from team members from last year, greeting us with Gu, giant hugs, and #selfieswithChristy. At the water stop this year was a couple jars where you could pick up a pun from Murph or an inspirational quote from a Jar of Joy I’ve been adding to sporadically this season.

When I made it home, I whipped up some eggs and chocolate milk. and tucked myself in for a long nap.

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Just before I was drifting off to sleep, I was checking Facebook and found this post from Christy Ciccariello.

“Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.”

— Edmund Lee

This training season has been tough. We hit a record-breaking winter in Boston. We’ve laced up when all I’ve wanted to do was snuggle in. We’ve made snowy days into high-five central. We got hit by a puddle of street water. We’ve nursed our injuries and we’ve covered miles in snow and below zero weather and done 16 miles on an indoor track. But surrounding myself with not just the people I run with, but the people across the country giving me calls full of virtual high fives and encouragement, have been beyond important. I’ve said it before and I’m restating it now, because it really has been those emails letting me know we hit another fundraising goal and those calls of excitement that have gotten me through this long run, reminding me it’s all going to shake out okay despite all of the setbacks, and that I have a pretty kickass friend group. Less than 3 weeks to go before marathon day. Banners are up. The roads are being repaved. And anticipation is in the air.

And you know what that means…

TAPER TIME!*

Bright tights and happy trails,

Elise

*Some people have asked me what taper time means. It means we decrease in mileage each week before the marathon. Basically, we run less and less each week and want to eat all of the food in the pantry.

LONG RUN | Mar 21 | Snowy, Sleepy Streets

Snow in Spring. Quiet Streets. 18 Miles.

Miles: 18

Song in my Head: Lose My Breath by Destiny’s Child

Brunch Food Motivation: Crepes

Meesh and Kate were on a mission. Over the rolling hills, through the sleepy streets (as Eric calls them) of Wayland, we made our way through the flakes of snow silently drifting down. Destiny’s Child stole the soundtrack to my run today. Once I get a song stuck in my head, I’m (and my training partners are) done for.  It could be why I occasionally find myself running alone or chided for unexpected spurts of a song. It’s usually the same line over and over. The lyrics that kept popping into my head this time were, “Can you keep up, baby boy? Make me lose my breath [exaggerated huffing].” It was the best. It gave me a nice distraction and also let me push myself a little further instead of giving into the cold and wet weather.

The run was out of Wayland today (not out of Boston College woot!).  I regret not bringing my phone to capture it. A white, untouched layer of snow blanketed the expansive yards. Several large homes with tire swings, barns, and wood tucked away in the back dotted the landscape. It was my idea of a perfect New England postcard, but that’s just one Californian’s perspective. The roads were clear, except for snow drifting down throughout the run, and the pockets of neon-clad runners making their way along the twists and turns of the black swath of road covering 3 Massachusetts cities.

The route was an out-and-back. 9 miles out and 9 miles back gave us a total of 18 for the day. With one month to go before the marathon, that was a significant chunk. I also neglected to mention it had been the first day of Spring yesterday. So naturally Boston welcomed it with a snowstorm.

I don’t run with music, mostly because I like to carry as little as possible with me, but also because I think it keeps me more in tune with how my body is feeling and lets me work out problems from the day. This run was a bit quieter than the others. Maybe it was the snow or the peaceful town of Wayland, but I think everyone was just reflecting inward this run.

I promised I would talk about the Claudia Adams Barr Program as that is where 100% of the proceeds from this fundraising go, but I think it might be better to hear how it has impacted one of my friends firsthand.

Each run we start with announcements. In those announcements are Barr Program impact statements that highlights projects through the Barr program and lets us see the impact researchers are making using the money we fundraise each year for them. Today one of my favorite and most inspiring people was at the run and read the impact statement: Hilary Hall. Hilary Hall is a research coordinator at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She’s also my friend and embodies positivity. Hilary battled and beat leukemia as a kid and remained cancer-free for 15 years. She became pregnant with her son and then twins two years later, a family she did not think she would have because of the treatment she had received for her cancer as a child. Hilary ran the Boston Marathon and then came back and did it again. Needless to say, she is my hero. I’m completely blown away by her passion for life, her humor, and her unshakable determination. You can read about her story on her blog www.runningbecausecancerstinks.com and you can watch her video about why she runs here.

No photo of brunch, because I definitely didn’t have crepes. Will probably get those tomorrow. But have no doubt, it was part of the motivation behind the run.

As I got home to settle in for a nap, I found out UCLA made it to the Sweet Sixteen in NCAA play, a feat no one saw coming. With an epic game the first round, winning in literally the last seconds of the game, to playing against a team that also had an upset, UCLA crushed their goals even when the odds were against them. I think that was a nice reminder on a day like today.

This was the view from our car as we entered back into Boston and this is how we look after crushing 18 miles in the snow.

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These tights were a weak-moment buy. But I kind of love them. I admit I have a problem. First step to recovery. #ididitallfortheblog

Bright tights and happy trails,

Elise

 

LONG RUN | MAR 14 | Rocked by a Puddle

Rocked by a Puddle. Respecting Grossman’s Hill. Rainy Day Running.

Miles: 16

Song in my head: Go Getta by Young Jeezy ft R. Kelly

Brunch Food Motivation: Warm things

My carpool buddy Tim pulled up alongside my apartment at 7:40am ready to take on the day. With a playlist by Murph pumping, and Katy Perry’s Brave coming through the speakers, we trekked out to a new road. Finally! A run not at Boston College. This route started from the 16 mile mark of the Boston Marathon in Wellesley and wended its way back onto Commonwealth Ave where we’ve spent part of our previous training runs. The real kicker on this route is Grossman’s Hill. Grossman’s Hill is .5 miles of straight incline. It’s great fun going down it, but a heck of a challenge making it to the top. Katelyn told us on the way up, “I’m going to show Grossman’s some respect.” Well played, Katelyn, well played. We respected the -ish out of Grossman’s. Then we got hit with a different kind of surprise.

We had put 12 miles behind us and rocked up Grossman’s Hill, finagling through the speckles of raindrops coming down. It was the type of rain that sprinkles down incessantly until you don’t realize you’re soaked to the bone. Then a car came alongside. If only there was a stop-motion photo of our faces being splashed by the water. I’m talking a huge puddle and hit with enough force that it spanned the length of four runners. If we weren’t sopping wet before, this secured it. It was actually pretty funny. It seemed to be in slow motion as the wave of dirty street water hit us like a tidal wave as all four of us let out tiny screams. I mean what are you going to do? We just (semi) laughed it off and kept on trucking to hammer out the last four miles. While we don’t have photo evidence, I think it looked a little something like this.

I always liked running in the rain. Admittedly, this run was a little chilly for my taste (27 degrees and wet is not a great combo). But I’ve always felt that running in the rain was freeing, untethered. It mixes things up and it’s just a way of letting everything go…splash in a few puddles, get rocked by a couple cars…you can’t control the conditions around you. So why not play around in it? The icy patches made for a tricky obstacle course but simultaneously made the miles fly by.

The only thing playing in my mind was Go Getta by Young Jeezy. No explanation needed.

At the end of the route, the refuge of the Boston Sports Club (BSC) was awaiting us to change into drier apparel. And the best part of a long run is most definitely earning some solid brunch time with this crew. Paninis all around.

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Home called for an ice bath to keep the hamstrings happy and chilling in some bright tights to keep me warm on this grey day. I also just want to say THANK YOU to everyone because we have hit the $2,000 fundraising mark!! You are all so amazing and keep me motivated on days like today! http://runDFMC.org/2015/elisek

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Bright tights and happy trails,

Elise

 

 

 

LONG RUN | March 8 | Dibs, Dunks, Friends

Shorts weather, a semi-new route, and a game of dibs.

Miles: 17

Song in my head: Baby Don’t Lie – Gwen Stefani (because she is one badass lady)

Brunch Food Motivation: Dunks (half hot chocolate, half coffee – a glorious recipe Mal Sakats taught me)

We switched things up today – a new starting destination, a Sunday instead of a Saturday morning run, and headbands instead of hats! It is crazy what starting from a different point can do. Even if it was only a 2 mile change, you view the run differently. There was no avoiding the hills, but we did veer from our out-and-back plan to tack on a few extra miles. We explored down some side streets of Commonwealth Avenue and while there played a game of dibs about which ginormous house we would get to keep. I obviously won by claiming the most houses, despite Chris informing me that was not how the game was played.

25 was the low instead of the high! That meant we saw runners upon runners wearing shorts. (I also claimed dibs on a couple of these. Just kidding…ish.)

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More sweatpants advertising models. 🙂

The only thing getting me out of bed on a Sunday after losing one hour of sleep from jumping forward for daylight savings? This girl. Volunteering at a waterstop for Dana-Farber runners, Bevin came out to hand out water, Gatorade and fuel to the runners pounding miles up and down Commonwealth Avenue. Getting me to the top of Heartbreak Hill was knowing I would see this smile at the end of my run.

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I look like I just ran 17 miles on very little sleep. Alien-like. Bevin on the other hand, hair flowing, looks glowing.

I grabbed my post-run hug from Crystal who crushed 20 miles, before hurrying to catch the bus to NYC for a visit with friends, wedding dress shopping, and for a wonderful, much-needed break from the city of the arctic. Sometimes the only thing getting me out and about are friends. Your support is what gets me moving and picks me up. Thank you for warming me up.

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Bright tights and happy trails,

Elise

 

Throwback Thursday | Why I Started Running Long Distance

For Throwback Thursday (#TBT) I thought I would talk about what prompted me to start running long distance.

I’ve been asked a couple times how I got involved with running long distance. While I had run in high school cross country and carried it through to running club in college, I had always stuck to 5k’s or 10k’s, living comfortably in my comfort zone and saving those lofty half marathon goals for a later date. When I moved to Boston for grad school I had never done above a 15k (10 miles) and that was stretching it.

In the Spring of the year I moved to Boston, I got a phone call that would forever change my life. I was in the BU bookstore when I got a call from a friend I had fallen out of touch with. It was weird that she was calling me. I didn’t answer and went back to my purchases. She called again. Again I let it go to voicemail. Finally, as I was getting on the train, I called her back. The news she delivered felt like a blow to the chest. My roommate and close friend from undergrad had passed away. My world stopped. I got off the train and broke down sobbing. I couldn’t process it. I had just seen her that fall here in Boston. We had just gotten cannolis and visited our other old roommate at Yale.

She had been having trouble breathing. They had thought it was asthma. However, it turns out she actually had cysts on her lungs. They found out when one burst, causing her lung to collapse. She was in the hospital waiting for a lung transplant when she went into cardiac arrest and passed away. She was 23.

It was a shock.

I had experienced loss before, but never a close friend that young and so unexpectedly. I decided I wanted to stop putting off things that were important to me, and do all that I could in the life that was given to me. I didn’t want to wait for tomorrow anymore. I signed up for my first half marathon that fall: the BAA half. And I wore a green ribbon around my wrist to dedicate the run to Shruti. Green was her favorite color. Shruti had a sassy spirit about her, unlike that of any person I’ve met. She didn’t worry about the little things. She laughed a lot and was full of mischief. She was quick-witted. She was the one I could count on to do crazy things with. She taught me how to solve a rubics cube. We took Thai Chi together. We danced baranachtyum in her dorm room floor lounge. We pined over Chris Pine on the magazine photo on her dorm room wall. We made up songs together. We did midnight yell together as she played her flute. We had game nights. We flirted with boys. We ruined a dorm room waffle maker (sorry about that!). We discovered medori sours together. She taught me a lot about loving life and always looking on the bright side. She once told me, “Elise, you laugh from the soul.” Funny, because that was what I loved about her.

So I guess I have one foreverly sassy young friend to thank for propelling me into this journey, for helping me remember you have one life. Live it. Go after what you want, don’t let anything ruffle your feathers, wear lots of jewelry, enjoy it, and take it one step at a time. Thanks, Shrutles.

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Bright tights and happy trails,

Elise

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LONG RUN | Feb 28 | A Repeat of Sorts

More Heartbreak Hill. Superhero costumes taking over. And a familiar road. 

Miles: 14

Song in my head: Sugar by Adam Levine

Brunch food motivation: Barcelona’s Homefries

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At 7:30am I laced up for the outdoors, grabbed my new Garmin, and raced down the steps to hop in a white car and greet a smiling Crystal. Sugar was playing on the radio, and the sky was clear, allowing the sun to scatter sunshine all over the snow-covered streets.

This run felt like a repeat of many runs before. Sugar was playing on repeat in my mind and making me crave something sweet. Heartbreak Bill was back on the course taking pictures with the crew. And for a fourth week in a row, the team was facing the carriage road on Beacon Street heading out of BC. Granted, this was my first time venturing back on the roads as opposed to the warm indoor track. We must have missed the memo because there were superheroes everywhere. At the waterstops. On the roads. Outside of Heartbreak Hill Running Company. On John Kelley’s statue.  I found out later it was for another charity team, Team Martin W. Richard, the 8-year-old boy who was killed at the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. We had our own superhero-themed waterstops, and I saw so many familiar faces – Lindsay, Murph, Kellen, and Grace. I don’t think I properly hydrated because I was too busy doling out hugs to faces I hadn’t seen in a little while.

Repeating the same 4 mile out-and-back for a third straight week did not sound appealing to most. I was just happy to be back outside. It was the first run that I’d done outside since hurting my hamstring and knee a few weeks before. It was also the first run in awhile that didn’t start in the negatives. We decided to go a little further out on the carriage road so we would not have to repeat the same strip of road too much. I’m really not exaggerating that the topic of conversation tended to fall on what is going to be consumed at brunch post-run. Today were the homefries specifically at Barcelona, which Eric described in detail just before we made our way up Heartbreak Hill to give us a little extra boost. It always gets very quiet when we ascend Heartbreak Hill. Everyone turns on another gear to get her done. And then share in high fives at the top.

We got back to BC and tacked on an extra loop around the campus to hit 14 miles, waiting for our Garmins to give that sound of completion.

The best part was after the run I got to hang out with this kid and make plans for more runs and Boston exploring.

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To complete our repeat run, we ended this long run with a make your own bloody mary bar, which in and of itself is amazing. It also obviously means bacon IN bloody marys, which I think is a pretty great combo and not one I mind repeating.

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Bright tights and happy trails,

Elise

 

 

LONG RUN | Feb 14 and 21 | Running in Circles

Breaking records and Laps. Then more laps. Then another set of laps.

Miles: 13.1 (93 laps) and 16 (112 laps)

Song in my head: Megan Trainor – All About That Bass

Brunch Motivation: Bloody Mary

February 14

It was Valentine’s Day. I found myself navigating through snowbanks and slush and limited T-service to reach the shelter of BU’s indoor track. Earlier in the week I had been prepping for a 20 mile run in Martha’s Vineyard with Allie and Tim. We were going to make a weekend of it. Then another blizzard warning, piles of snow, and negative temperatures put that trip to bed. The race coordinators cancelled the race due to unsafe roads and race conditions, and I felt my motivation deflating once again.

There have been no breaks, no reprieve from this winter. Cold, wind, and snow. Cold, wind, and snow. It was beating me down. The cancelled race was probably for the best as I was nursing a hamstring/knee injury. Too many miles of not properly warming up in the cold, making my previously injured hammies work harder on the slushy roads left me with tendinitis. And now restricted me to indoor training.

However, waiting for me at the BU gym were Allie and Tim with Valentine’s Day hugs and water stop essentials in hand. We had our Valentine’s Day run after all. The idea of tackling 13 miles on an indoor track was daunting, but not having to go at it alone made it into a much less formidable goal. While it wasn’t one we had anticipated, it was the best backup Valentine’s Day plans I could have asked for.

While Boston winter was breaking records outdoors, Allie, Tim, and I were breaking records indoors. Prior to this run, the longest I had ever done on an indoor track was 11 miles. And I thought that was crazy. 🙂 But what are you going to do when it’s below zero? When we wanted to quit at mile 10, we found it in us to break the 11 mile record. We called it a day at a half marathon. Hands in the air, breaking the imaginary tape. I suppose that’s the funny thing about marathon training, running, or life in general, once you break that barrier, you have a new perspective, a new base. If I can do 11 miles, why can’t I do 13? If I can do 13, why can’t I do 16?

What do you talk about for 93 laps, around and around. Well for one, we made plans for our next races. That could have been the crazy talking, or maybe we were dizzy with delusion. You have to understand. This indoor track is quite small. 7 laps is equal to one mile. That’s a lot of circles. But given the alternatives, I was just happy to be warm and would happily turn to the indoors if it meant avoiding further injury and the chilling winds. After mile 12, the tendon in my knee started to stiffen, letting me know it was about time to call it a day. Talking to the PT, though, if I took proper care of it – ice, foam rolling, Advil, a couple more trips to the PT to work out the tension – I would be back on the roads soon enough.

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I’ve recruited Allie and Tim as my sweatpants models this year. You too can have them (the sweatpants not the runners. 🙂 ) Find out more here!

February 21

The following weekend threw another cold spell to Boston and I managed to recruit another runner friend to the perilously monotonous ways of the indoor track. We broke up the 16 mile run into thinking about it as 4 sets of 4 miles, switching directions for each set so as not to put too much pressure on one hip. As with any daunting task, breaking it up into manageable pieces made it into a much more achievable goal. The club basketball tournament happening below us and the view of Sunset Cantina, home of the most giant breakfast burrito and bloody mary ever, with every single passing lap provided some necessary motivation. Plus, if I can do 13, why can’t I do 16?

Thank you for keeping me warm on these snowy days with your encouragement, donations, and hugs.

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I think all of those things earned me a bloody mary…or two. 🙂

Bright tights and happy trails,

Elise

 

LONG RUN | Feb 7 | Like Shalane

Blueberry Pancakes, Blueberry Pancakes, Blueberry Pancakes

Miles: 14

Song playing in my head: Uptown Funk – Bruno Mars because why not (and Allie put it there)

Brunch Food Motivation: Pancakes

Reminder: We are $155 away from the $1,000 milestone! And as promised in my emails (get yours on the right), if we reach it by mid-February, I’ll put together a few lyrics or a jig just for you. Link here.

Woke up to this text this morning:

“Had a dream you and me were running with Shalane Flanagan! Great karma for the run!”

And Kate was right. As a quick aside, Shalane Flanagan is a kickass long distance Olympic runner and you can probably spot her in the elite field at the Boston Marathon this April. She grew up in Marblehead, MA and runs a 2:22:02 marathon. Yeah, she’s fast.

I was late as per usual, but Grace met me to huff it to Boston College on the B line again. Today’s route was the same as last week, down and back along the carriage road adjacent to the marathon route. It’s the only place that is semi-cleared of black ice and snow with relatively low fear of getting hit by moving vehicles. Up until now we’ve been hit with freezing temperatures, snow, and ice. And while the thermometer still read 20 degrees, that was a heat wave. I don’t know if it was the warmth, the company or a good night’s rest, but it was today that I finally felt that old excitement for being out on the road. Honestly, just being on the other side of zero made all the difference.

Today I ran with Grace and Kate. We passed by John Kelley’s statue along the course. A little more Boston Marathon and long distance running history for you – John Kelley was another long distance Olympic athlete who grew up in Massachusetts. He’s run in a record 61 Boston Marathons, winning 2 and finishing in 2nd and the top 15 in many others. 61 marathons means he was running in his 80s. The statue was decorated with beach-themed attire as that was what a handful of runners and waterstop volunteers were wearing, I’m guessing to honor this 20 degree heat wave.

IMG_3484We hit Heartbreak Hill twice today because Kate made us go 14 instead of the 12 I secretly wanted to do. I immediately begin internally and, as Grace can attest to, externally debating between salty or sweet for brunch. I landed on blueberry pancakes. Thank heavens I had my purple pants on as they always bring a little sunshine. I teased about these pants last year when my favorite Nancy Gould had on matching purple pants and we dubbed them our fast pants because long runs in the cold will do that to a person.

At the end of the run after much stretching I had my lusted after blueberry pancakes at Deluxe Diner and catch up time with Crystal. As you can tell from the picture above, they kind of hit the spot. I like to think Shalane Flanagan also enjoys a blueberry pancake every now and then and that we’ll see a few more days like today.

Bright tights and happy trails,

My purple "make us run fast" pants.
My purple “make us run fast” pants.

Elise

PS. Next week’s post will have more on the Barr program, which is the program at Dana-Farber this run benefits and will focus on the great work researchers are doing to take steps toward finding a cure. It will also have more on my fundraising updates! We are $155 away from the $1,000 milestone!! And as promised in my emails (get yours on the right), if we reach it by mid-February, I’ll put together a few lyrics or a jig just for you.

LONG RUN | Jan 31 | The Frozen Tundra

Snot rockets, rock hard shot blocks, Gatorade slushies, and 2 Heartbreak Hills

Miles: 16

Song in my head: The entire Frozen soundtrack because that was the only way to describe my entire body

Brunch Food Motivation: Bacon

The weather app read -9 degrees with windchill. I begrudgingly pulled myself out of bed and texted my running partners asking if they were going, hoping for a different answer than what I got back. “Yes! I’ll be there.” Poop. I hurriedly put on my layers and layers of clothing. Is that enough? Probably. I put on one more. I hustled out the door and caught the B line to Boston College to meet our brightly colored, neon team huddled close outside the parking garage before taking off into the frigid temps. We winded our way out of the college and down the road backwards along the marathon route.

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Heartbreak Bill and me hanging out in 2013 and 2014 training seasons.

The piles and piles of snow pushed us off of our previously planned route and put us on the carriage road of Commonwealth Ave. The carriage road is adjacent to the final stretch of the marathon course, meaning it’s hilly and Heartbreak Hill looms in the distance (and for this particular route – Heartbreak Hill loomed twice). We took off four miles out, turned around and then repeated for a total of 16 miles. Heartbreak Bill, the furry gorilla mascot of Heartbreak Hill Running Company located at the base of Heartbreak, was back for a brief bit providing much needed frozen high fives. 

I was just coming back from a cold and still fighting a congested head and the sniffles when this run came up on the schedule. This wasn’t the first time I had run in the negatives. A couple weekends back, I trekked outside when my weather app warned me of the frozen tundra. When I got back from that particular run, my iphone announced its disapproval with an “iphone needs to cool down before starting” warning and locked me out of my phone.  Siri’s a passive aggressive one. It was that day I promised myself never again. Yet here I was. I did keep Siri at home this time. After today though, I think I will need to revisit my initial vow. I will learn to love that warm, glorious treadmill.

Along the route we had the support of other crews stationed to provide water and sustenance to the runners as they train. One crew member shouted, “Water, snacks, warm hugs! I got what you need!”  I got my own mid-run hug from Crystal that most definitely served to warm me up. And there was that faint smell of bacon coming from inside each of those cozy houses we passed.

A lot of people want to know what I think about when I’m running. I’m not gonna lie. A lot of the time, I’m thinking about what I’m going to eat after the run. Brunch. How soon can I get to brunch? And what kind of brunch food am I going to have?

So naturally I was using that thought of salty bacon and brunch to will me up each of the hills. I was also cursing the wind and praising the new fleece-lined buff I just purchased. I know I’m late to the party on this one, but BUFFS ARE THE GREATEST INVENTION of all time. Fleece-lined buffs. They combat the wind and make you feel like you’re taking on the next challenge of Survivor.

My shot blocks became rock solid. (I’m trying out shot blocks as opposed to Gu this year for fueling during the run. They’re delicious.)  My nose joined the battle cry and would not stop running. The Gatorade at the water stops turned to slushies. And I finally understood what a snowman felt like (And all I wanted was some brunch!).

I think it takes a special kind of crazy to venture out in that cold. I don’t think my California bones are quite ready to handle that on a regular basis. Although, Olaf was right: Some people are worth melting for. You have to find that reason to get out and run. This one was a little bit of peer pressure and a giant reminder I have more people to run for this year. Another long run in the books! Stay warm, my East Coast friends!

Bright tights and happy trails,

Elise